Saturday, February 28, 2009

A dedicated follower of fashion

Right, so I didn't work the whole way through my list. I did get some of it done though. Kind of.

I started messing with a few poses, as you can see here. And I managed to get my white background prim sorted into one unit from two (hey, it's a big deal for me. It's my first construction). I think this is definitely still my favourite outfit. And you can see it properly this time. I even decided I like the boots so much that I went back to get the black ones. I think they're from Renegade.

I am having trouble making these boots work with any other trousers other than these though. Which is a shame. How do I tuck my trousers in at the bottom?

I caught up with Banana tonight. She was most helpful dragging me round a few different shops trying to find me some eyes. I have to say that Adam n Eve - Men have a wonderful collection. We then disappeared off to a sandbox somewhere so I could switch between all of the eyes in my inventory (lots and lots of freebies from all over the place) and all of the skins in my inventory (lots and lots of freebies from all over the place). I don't think we really reached a conclusion on the eyes. The skin was another matter though. I think, in the end, we concluded that the one I was wearing was the best, especially given the free ones I'd collected made me look like Michael Jackson, an alien or a combination of the two, with a bit of lizard thrown in. I still think there's room for improvement, but Rayskin will do for now.

The whole skin thing started to get a bit surreal though when I opened one box of about 100 skins and started trying them on. As they rezzed into place we realised that they might actually all be women's skins. I'm not sure I can carry off blusher and lipstick. But I'll put it to a vote. Number 1, 2 or 3 for my new look? (A clue - number 1 is my old/current look!)

After Banana shot through I headed over to Starting Point where Tym and her hubby run a sort of rent free apartment block for noobs, offering a place to hang, to socialise and to get help from kind volunteers. I've filled in an application form. I think it's a great idea. There's a pool, a TV and loads of games too. What more could an avi want?

After chatting briefly there to an American lass giving her friend a guided tour of SL (I know 'cos I could hear them both talking and their ipod through voice) I started running through the shopping landmarks Chry and Knowledge had given me the other night at the Pond. I started at the bottom with Vista Animations. I was determined to finally get an AO sorted. I think I had reached up to about five free variants, all empty and needing loading. It was going to be easier to buy one pre-loaded wasn't it?

I was not disappointed. Lag apart, Vista was a pretty impressive place with preloaded AOs coming out of their ears and pose-sets enough to keep any model happy. Well, suffice it to say, I now can number another AO with the suffeit in my inventory. I just need to unpack it and install it now. I also bought a load of poses for good measure.

I continued wandering round and discovered that Vista, aswell as selling animation stuff, also had a menswear department, a womenswear department, a shoe department, an accessories department and even a skin and eyes department. They cater for everything it seems.

Well, some stuff was ok, some was not really me, but there were a few items that really caught my eye. I just couldn't resist. Like this aviator outfit. It's something a bit different, but just so sharp. It's definitely me. If you see me inworld in the next wee while, there's a fair chance I'll be wearing this.

I did get some other stuff too. I've just not had the chance to unpack it all and check it out. Yet.

I think my to-do list is now actually longer than before I jumped in-world tonight.

Oh, and I've not heard so much as an IM from my neko friend from yesterday. And she promised she'd call ...

Friday, February 27, 2009

RL reflecting SL

Is it weird, d'ya think, that all this shopping I've been doing around SL recently has given me the urge to shop in RL?

Cheers, Ears

I was determined last night to get some stuff sorted.
  • I was determined to work out which AO I was going to use
  • I was determined to go through the hundreds of poses I'd collected in the past few days to work out which ones were any good so I could do cool with my strut, stand and sit
  • I was determined to get myself a chimera to sort out some easy dancin' so I could cut a rug, show off my moves, and generally get on down
  • I was determined to sort out my hair issues (especially since I saw this dude pulling the same style as me - albeit not as well, of course)
  • I was determined to choose some eyes and definitely not the free Matrix ones I found somewhere (definitely a bit freaky unless you're a techno-goth-android sort of a person, I guess)
  • And some skin (that doesn't have light patches that make it look like I had sideys, got a tan, and then shaved the sideys off)
  • I was determined to finally go through some of the gear I'd picked up on my travels and devise a few sharp outfits to go with my styled hair, piercing eyes, radiant skin and smooth moves.
Not too big a deal you would have thought. and indeed it started ok.

I got a chimera easy enough from Owenimations (Ooh look, I included a slurl!); I visited Pffiou, Laleeta's pose store, in the quaint and quiet French street of Rue D'Antibes to see what she had available for blokes and ended up picking something up; I spent some time in Natalia's Sirena store leafing through her mountains of hair to find something I like (and settled on Kevin and Dominic) - as well as picking up a free Workspace Buster SkyPad so I wouldn't upset those of a sensitive nature when I got my bits out later getting nekkid doing the skin changes.

So far so good. I even had time to chat to a lass from Brazil in Rue D'Antibes talking about the places I had visited when I was there in RL the other year.

OK, so next up to find myself a sandbox and use the SkyPad to head on up to 300m and a bit of privacy. Tick. Still on track.

So here's me, 300m above a quiet sandbox, the rays beating down on my nekkid bod when I notice some movement over my shoulder. Camming round I see that some chick has parked a skypad not three metres from mine and is merrily dancing away totally oblivious to my presence. Three hundred metres up and she's only three metres away. What are the chances? Can a fella not get a bit of privacy?

I pull on my best underwear (I thought it only polite) and wander over for a chat with be elevated neighbour. And then I notice a tail. And ears. I was about to pop my neko cherry, if you will. I'd only ever chatted to 'humans' before.

After she got over the initial shock of someone coming up behind her while suspended almost a quarter of a mile above the earth we had quite a chat. And that's where all my good plans and ideas about the stuff I wanted to get done ended. It started ok. She said she'd help me and we started going through some of my eyes and some my animations and stuff, her giving me opinions on what worked and what didn't, but then that kind of went by the wayside. She was a very friendly little neko and the bottom line was that chatting to her was fun. We even got on to the whole "why a neko?" question, but her answer's between her and me really, I think.

So, in the end, of all the things on my to-do list, I maybe got one or one and a half done. But, the other stuff will keep. I'm in SL to meet people and make friends, so when a chance presents itself for a bit of a chat with an amiable sort of a lass (be she human, neko, furry or whatever) I'd be a bit daft to turn it down.

And the lesson I learned from yesterday - three fold:
  1. Learn to make a skybox so you can get privacy if you want it (although I wouldn't have met neko-chick yesterday if I had). 300m up on a SkyPad is just not private.
  2. Take more spontaneous pictures. This post would have been so much more amusing if I'd thought to take a shot of the moment I first noticed the oblivious dancing neko behind me.
  3. Ears can be cute

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The sexes

After reading quite a few of these blogs a bit, which are interestingly enough quite often written by lasses, I can firmly conclude that guys in SL give guys a bad name. You get the impression that in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred blokes are after just after a quick pixel-poke and will do and say anything to make that happen, often with as much bluntness as big flat rock and as much tact as a big rock too.

I do wonder whether the blogs overstate (SL)reality a little though, only taking the time to note the cyber-Michael Douglas’s out there, or whether the life of a female avatar really is to constantly reject the horny little shagmonkeys rubbing up against her legs, hoping that ignoring them and a bucket of cold water will quell their swollen libidos long enough for her to finish her conversation with her friends around her.

I also wonder what proportion of lasses in the SLuniverse fit into the same category, only looking for a quick flesh snuggle, and whether SL inhibitions differ to RL ones.

My hunch is that there are some nice SL-blokes out there just after a chat and making some new friends around the place, and that, much like RL, there are some girls out there seeking the bouncy bunk-up without so much as a “Can I buy you a drink?”. I am glad there are also the lasses I’ve discovered in the SL-blogosphere, more intelligent with something to say. I just wish they didn’t so often portray all SL-blokes as bad little animals with the sex drive (and house-training) to match.

Falling off the log

Is it time to worry when there are loads more recent entries in my SL blog than in my RL blog?

Do I need to have a conversation with myself about balance?

And while I'm asking myself these sorts of questions, do I need a disclaimer? Would I be a sheep with one and an rebel beyond the law without one?

Baby steps

Firstly, thank you for the pointers, Banana and Laleeta. It’s nice to be noticed. It makes me feel all fuzzy inside :)
But, Laleeta, only "quite funny"? ;)

I made my first tentative steps into creation last night. I had previously dilemma-ed about how to extract my image from a snap for when I wanted to show off an outfit or a pose or something without the beauty of the background distracting from the task at hand. My Photoshop skills are adequate, I’d guess you’d say, but cutting round stuff has always been pretty much a mystery to me. I was monumentally proud of myself for managing to remove the background to make that banner you see above. Perhaps, overly proud. I take pride in small victories. And that was certainly a personal victory.

OK, so back to creation. I was watching a tutorial yesterday about making a big white background to keep in your pocket and pull out at a moment’s notice for those sorts of photo moments. (Thank you, Vint). It seemed like a good idea. It went quite well actually, for a first attempt, but then I came unstuck. I couldn’t figure out how to stick the two big white objects together to kind of make them one object. I am sure it is really simple, but I couldn’t figure it out. Maybe I needed to watch the tutorial all the way through or something. Or maybe I just need to have a moment to go through Natalia’s amazing list of tutorials. Wow, lass, that is sterling work.

Ooh, and a quick break from blogging for a quick look-through comes up trumps. Linking objects. Nice. (Thank you, Tymmerie, for pointing me in Natalia’s direction. I shall be attempting to resize hair later.)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Pushing the envelope

I should be doing some RL work right now, but my mind keeps wandering SL.

I keeping thinking back to when I was messing with the AO last night. I get you can set up which poses and things you use in place of which default animations. And I get you assign those to a particular AO using the contents and the notecard and stuff. And I think, as I understand it, you can load different notecards from within the AO HUD to deal with different moods and stuff. But how about setting up a 'dance' notecard that has your five favourite dance animations in place of the stand poses? Then when you load that (instead of your default one) and you stand still it will cycle smoothly through your funkiest dancefloor styles. Will that work?

Or am I barking up the wrong dancing pole?

Knowing and not knowing

It's kind of weird reading all these SL blogs. Through them you kind of get to know people a bit and a get a bit of a sense of what they're like. Even the fashion orientated ones still have a bit of their personality showing. (The SL version of a VPL? Visible Personality Line?)

However, most of these people I haven't actually met yet. So I don't know them really. And they definitely don't know me. But how do I meet these people other than hoping I'll bump into them by accident in the thousands of sims around the SLuniverse?

I mean, I could IM them and compliment them on their blog, and an IM exchange could follow but that's still not hanging out and chatting and getting to know them a bit. I basically need to know when people are in world. But you can only see who is online if they're your friend (in the readily-understood interweb sense). And it's a bit presumptuous to ask someone remotely to be your friend just on the strength of you reading their blog, isn't it?

I guess that's why when I see someone come online (who is listed as a friend) I make contact kinda quickly usually. Depending who they are of course. Like last night. Melissa (whose surname always makes me think she's Canadian) came online so I nipped on over to her house on Whimsy (yes, yes, I know I should include a SLurl really) hoping she'd be home. I wasn't disappointed. There she was and it was good to chat, however briefly given the RL a.m. hour my watch was showing. She liked my shirt too :)

Get down

Yesterday, during the day, I came across the most wonderful newbie guide, with a special bit directed towards blokes even. Reading through it, after making a note of some key places for freebies, my attention was drawn to the section on AOs. I'd always wondered how some people maybe to have different walks in SL, either purposeful manly strides or cute, bottom-wiggling totters. Also I'd heard mythical talk of poses - different stands, sits, jumps and flys, overriding the default animation. It intrigued me.

So there I was, minding my own business, following SLforNowt's perfectly detailed instructions when a TP request came in. It contained just one word. "Party!"

Given my recent personal epiphany that making SL friends is not quite as easy as bumping into someone mid-sim I had no choice to abandon my AO experiments and head on over to someone called Galatea's place to join Chryblnd for a party.

I must say I was a little reluctant, mainly due to the serious lag I've experienced being in some SL clubs surrounded by a lot of people, but when I landed I was pleasantly surprised to find little lag (once Chry's clothes had arrived and filled in the scarf that gave her the appearance of an Ethiopan granny) as we boogied around on the terrace and Galatea was playing some banging 80s tunes. Good choice on the music, mate!

I know that I should get SLurls and pics of stuff like this to embellish the text - where I was, who was there, what it looked like sort of thing, but I didn't. It maybe doesn't help when my SL exists at home but I blog about it in RL at work the following morning, on a different laptop and everything. Maybe I need to be more organised and email stuff to work from home. Or something.

Oh, and to complete my happy evening, Chry complimented me on what I was wearing (the after-party tux effect) so there were big smiles all round.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I am mostly wearing...

So what's a noob about town learning the ways of SL wearing these days? Well, I am sure protocol dictates I point out where all this stuff comes from, but that would involve me remembering, which I don't. I'll try and keep a better record in future, I promise.

My current fave outfit is seen here. Grey trench coat, black tee, striped trousers and some amazing white shoes to finish it all off. Classy.

Next up is a morning-after-the-night-before tux affair. Open collar, loose bow tie and no jacket. Ah, it takes me back. It's not shown off here in all it's glory, but it does show the boots I wear with this suit. It was initially because the trousers are too short and don't reach my shoes and all manner of ankle-age is unattractive, but after that I actually grew to appreciate the apparent opposition and now rather like it. Yes, I can dress up. But I'm a bit of rough too. Kind of thing. Incidentally, this shot was taken just before I got booted in the head.

Third up is a tweed suit with roll-neck sweater and neck scarf. I'm not quite sure what it's appropriate dress for, but hey, that doesn't stop lasses shopping, eh?

Finally we have something a bit more caj (is that the proper way to abbreviate casual?). A pinky sweater over a white shirt, paired with some decent jeans. You can't see the jeans but I am wearing some. Here.

Evolution : a challenged answered

Laleeta offered a challenge earlier today to compare your oldest pic of yourself with your current one. Now I've not been around as long as some others around, sure, and 12 days is still noob in anyone's books, but I reckon I've come a long way, baby, in that time. Check it out.


I was having a discussion with someone the other day (Talyna, I think) about being someone you're not in SL. About being a different person. I, in my noob naivety, suggested that it would be possible to be someone completely different to SL. To live out a life detached from RL. Do things you would never do in RL.

Her battle-hardened counter-argument was that you cannot hide the real you. You might put on a different face or a different body, a different sex or a different race, but ultimately an arse is always an arse.

I suggested she's meeting the wrong sort of people as a pole-dancer.

Bad hair day

During the whole trying-on-new-outfits-and-sorting-out-my-inventory marathon last night I found a couple of hair set things I'd bought the other day. When I first arrived in SL I had big black pointy spikes. My second (and current) hair is something I picked up free somewhere along the way (or maybe bought with the L$100 from Knowledge) and is called Biker Hair. It's ok, but I don't know I'm a hundred percent happy with it. So I bought these other couple of styles the other night.

I tried them on and from the front, and the sides, they look ok. Good even. The problem is when you swing round to the back. My head was sticking out. Of both of them. I don't think I can wander round with a great big pink hole in my hair, looking as if I'd got chewing gum in my hair and my mum's had to cut it out or something. Bald patches on the back of your head are not a good look, I feel.

I tried to resize my head to see if I could make it fit within my hair, but I had to shrink it so small to make it fit that I ended up looking like I'd lost an argument with some Amazonian tribesmen. Back to the drawing board then.

Kicked in the head

I spent a lot of time last night sorting out my clothes a bit, making some outfits, looking over some new purchases and that sort of thing. It takes quite a while doesn't it? I took a few snapshots of a couple of outfits I particularly like at the moment and will stick them up here when I get a chance.

After I'd finished that I decided to take a wander and see who was around. There weren't any people who've 'friended' me about so I headed on over to The Pond, where I'd chatted to a few people the other night. (I would include a Slurl but I don't have the ability here to do that at present.) The Pond is a kind of Aussie-themed sim and the other night there I met a few Aussies around there. One of whom, Knowledge something-or-other, took pity of me as a noob and gave me L$100 to go buy some clothes and a new shape. (It was Knowledge who told me my feet were too big.) How lovely is that, eh?

Well, over in The Pond, none of those I'd met the other day were around. No Knowledge, no Chryblnd, no Scarlett. So I wandered a bit further, along and into the outback bar and took a seat by the counter. Next thing I know some lass has walked up to me, and then she kicks me in the head. I go down, and stay down. And can't get up. She laughs and then says something about only her being able to 'debloke' me. I think her French-to-English translator broke at that point. She continues saying that she will debloke me but only under one condition - that I give her money. She laughs. What a cheap shot. She inflicts some pain on some poor unsuspecting bloke and then demands cash to fix it. I was not amused, I can tell you. If I could remember her name (it was close to 2am by that point and well past my RL bedtime!) I would name and shame her. But I can't, so I won't.

You'll be pleased to hear though, that I had the last laugh. I told her I was new to SL and had no money so she'd not be able to get anything from me. I think at this point she felt a bit guilty and said something about her probably having to debloke me then. Next thing I know, I'm upright and storming out of the door, trying to make a decisive exit.

The lesson I learned last night - don't allow avis you don't know to run scripts that take control of you! A lesson cheaply, but potentially expensively, learned.

Monday, February 23, 2009


Only a short time after being in world and after googling for SL hints and tips I noticed that there was a bit of a SL presence in RL, namely blogs. It was fascinating to read some of these. (You'll see my favourites over there ----->)

Again, I guess I was probably naive to expect SL to be so different to RL. People blog about RL, so why not SL. In fact, many people's lives I guess are more fun and much more of an escape in SL. Surely they're much more fun to blog about.

So, I thought I'd join them and document my way through the SLuniverse. The places I go, the people I meet along the way. I'm not really sure where my time in SL will take me or how long it will last but it'd be great if some of you could join me for the ride.

First impressions

The thing that blew me away initially about SL was the sheer scale of the thing, the SL-universe, as I hear it's called. It's just massive. Just area after area, island after island, sim after sim. And some people have got some amazing imaginations.

Maybe I'll settle down, get a little turnip to call my own one day, but for now I am happy to wander, to be a nomad and to mooch about, just exploring. There is so much to see.

I love the way people just let their imaginations run away with them in SL. And the skills they have to create worlds to match the magnitude of their imaginations. Their is some mighty fine design-work going on in their. And some mighty fine programming, I'm sure.

If you look at most avatar profiles you'll see something about being friendly. It is amazing though how it can seem like a lonely place sometimes. You wander round from place to place, attracted by the green dots on the map showing where people are (and staying clear of the huge great gatherings for fear of lag), but when you get there everyone knows everyone else and no-one has time for a stranger. Virtual cliques. Sure, it's not true of everyone, I've met some friendly folk around, but I think I was surprised that it takes time to make friends. I'm not really sure why I was naive enough to think that SL would be any different to RL in that respect. There are a couple of people I'll IM when I see them come online to say hi and chat a bit, but we're not quite at the stage of them IM-ing me when I come online. I guess I just need to put myself out there.

In the beginning

In RL I'm a fan of all things CSI. I mean, come on, who isn't? A few weeks ago the episode was one that featured SL.

That looks interesting, I thought. It took me back to those text-based MUD days at uni. Hours spent chatting with faceless nanmes around the world in a text-based world doing text-based things. That's why SL interested me first up. Maybe a way to recapture something of those days, but no longer text-based. Let's go meet some people.

If there's one thing CSI:SL taught me it was not to wander round like a noob for too long. A quick visit to the library led to a change of clothes, and a trip to the appearance editor resulted in a trip to the gym, the hair stylist and the plastic surgeon all rolled into one. Only, as I later found out, I still looked like a noob. I hit the freebie shops and got what I thought were some decent clothes, some decent hair and even a colgate smile from somewhere. I was told I still looked like a noob. It was something to do with the size of my feet supposedly. "Big feet, big noob" the SL-saying goes. Or something. I wish I'd kept a snapshot of how I looked back then, when I was young and naive. About two weeks ago.
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