Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I bear no grudge

She may have cancelled on my gallery launch but I love her music just too much to not go see her live when I get the chance.

An hour spent listening to Starflower Orbit sing with a few friends around me is a good way to spend a Sunday afternoon, I reckon.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Finding our space

Over the past six months or so, I have learned many things. Most of them I have shared here as I have discovered them, been taught them or stumbled across them.

One thing I have learned is that we are all here for a reason. We all exist in SL for a reason.

Our own reasons are specific and particular to us. Our reasons differ from person to person. And even, to some degree, from time period to time period.

One thing I have learned is the secret to a happy SL. It is simple. We just need to surround ourselves with people who have compatible reasons.

Custom work

I was going to hold off writing about my art again for a while. What with the gallery launch and everything pretty much taking up every blog post for the last week or so. But I changed my mind. And I can do that, y'know. It is my blog :)

This post is dedicated to custom work. Stuff created specifically and uniquely for someone. And particularly, in this instance, for Magen Jigsaw and her store Emjay.

You should follow the slurl above and go check it out. And while you're there mebbe have a look at Mags' stuff. I'm a bloke so know nothing about these things, but to my untrained, fashionista-less eye it looks good.

Monday, September 28, 2009

I filled a sim!

So, the big gallery launch finally came and went. You should ask others for a second opinion but I think it went well. At least it seemed to, when I wasn't crashing. I am told that some people couldn't TP into the sim because it was full. That's got to be a good thing, right? I never knew before the party that you could only have 40 people in a sim at any one time. I'm learning new things every day.

So yeah, it was great to have so many friends, of both SL and plurk flavours, turn up to support me and hear the live music of Shane Kirshner. There were even people there I didn't know. Like, strangers and everything. Maybe some of that publicity worked after all.

One thing about filling a sim, I discovered, is that it makes it incredibly hard to do anything. Like move. Or cam. Or breathe. Fortunately some people did manage to stumble into the gallery from by the stage outside to have a look at my work though. That was kinda why we were all there after all.

Shane's performance was brilliant. Even more so given it was 6am for her when she kicked off. She even managed to throw in a bit of impromptu French, reading from a French textbook she had lying around. Now you don't get that sort of variety performance with just any run-of-the-mill musician, you know.

Things all ran really quite smoothly in the end. Despite my worries. For everyone who contributed in the run-up (and you know who you are) I thank you all most deeply. It meant an awful lot to have your support and encouragement. Take as an example the friend who disappeared ten minutes before a party gets under way, wearing a shimmering silver ball gown to track down champagne and a chocolate fondue.

I even had a certain someone agree to be my date for the party too. Don't we look cute together in our gothic-casual attire?

And the final result of the opening? Well, I had hoped people would come along and enjoy the party, enjoy my art and that maybe it would get my name out there a little. And if I sold a few paintings, so much the better. I think it was mission accomplished. And I sold 15 pieces too, so it nearly reimbursed me for the cost of the vendor I bought the other day and spent hours setting but that no-one bought anything from. You live and learn, eh?

I'm not quite sure who arranged the security though, but it thankfully proved an unnecessary precaution.

Oh, and thank you, Lysi, so much for the photos. It is very much appreciated!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Two V-cherries

I popped my SL cherry with two particular 'V's last night.

My gallery only has limited space, obviously, and I don't want the walls to feel cramped. But I really wanted a way to make available my paintings that were either in the gallery before but have now been superseded, or are just new pieces that haven't quite made it onto the walls yet. The answer is the first 'V' - a vendor!

Now we all know there are some ugly-ass vendors around SL and obviously, with a place like Swirly Disco Flames, I wanted something classy, cultured and some other adjective starting with c.

So the hunt began. I had the perfect idea in my head - some sort of computer terminal console pedestal thingy. But I could not find one for the life of me. I found all sorts of promising vendors, but nothing the shape I wanted. And then I had a brainwave. I felt like such an idiot. I could use the nice vendor I'd found, rez it at a slight angle and create the pedestal myself. Not really having ever built much before, this idea didn't come to me right away. Don't laugh. Seriously. Stop laughing.

So below you can see the result. A surreptitious little number with a marble base that hopefully looks like the "sort of computer terminal console pedestal thingy" I'd envisioned. It's all loaded up with paintings for people to buy and you can flick through them and stuff. It all works and everything. I am feeling right pleased with myself. Yes, yes, small victories and baby steps and all other self- patronising phrases spring to mind.

The second 'V' cherry I popped last night is 'voice'. Now some of you know the reasons why voice is not always an option for me but last night was not one of those times. I plucked up the courage, bit the bullet, wrestled with technology and hey presto voice-ahoy. My dulcet northern tones hit the airwaves.

It's not as scary as I imagined, you know. But I do worry my 10gb a month data limit is going to become a problem. Once I hit that my connection speed drops to dial-up rate. Bye-bye SL. Unless I ration myself.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Arsecakes no longer

After the disappointing news I broke earlier about Starflower Orbit being unable to play the gig at the gallery opening, I am now pleased to announce, in a change to our advertised programming, the special appearance of Shane Kirshner to entertain us with her vocal stylings at the Swirly Disco Flames party on Friday. The rest of the details remain unchanged.

I had a promo pic of Shane so I thought I'd stick that here too.


I've just been told that the live musician I had lined up for Friday evening and the whole gallery launch thing has pulled out. I don't usually swear but in this case I think it is warranted. Shite!

She'll still be my fave live musician in SL but I won't smile so much when I listen to her music anymore.

/me is feeling a little deflated.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Early warning

If you're free on Friday at 10pm SLT I would just love to see at the long-awaited grand official opening party of my gallery, Swirly Disco Flames.

And, as an additional bonus, entertainment will be provided by my fave live SL performer, the amazing Starflower Orbit, so come along and enjoy the honey-toned music as well as the art.

It's just an excuse for a party really, and everyone is welcome!

Of course, the gallery is open already and you can pop over any time you like. You don't have to wait until Friday.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Being appreciated

Few things make me feel quite so warm inside as going to visit a friend and seeing some of my art up on their wall.

It's not like a personal pride thing or anything. It's just that I like to know that my art is something that people like to see and like to look at.

It's nice to feel appreciated. Is there anything so wrong with that?

Oh, and speaking of my art, there are tentative plans for some sort of gallery launch for this Friday at 10pm SLT. Yes, I know the place has been open for about three weeks now, but that's not the point. This is the official grand gala opening. With people there and everything, rather than just me and ma dawg.

Further details and confirmation to be given at a later date but you know you're all invited, right?

Not quite myself

Sometimes, you know, it's just good to hang out with a couple of friends and show off some funky avs.

Left to right: Lysi, me and Alvena. And yes, Lysi is a flying book in this pic. She also shoots fire but I didn't get a pic of that.

Left to right: Alvena, me, Lysi. I guess me and Lysi had been to the same 'make me an alien' place.

But as good as it is to be different for a while, it's always good to get back into the old familiar skin. And shape. And size. With less fur. Or claws.

Friday, September 18, 2009

What's it called when you reproduce someone else's work?

Today's blog has been mercilessly nicked from a newspaper column and edited as needed. I couldn't help it. It's just such an awesome bit of writing. And was kinda a apt for where my headspace was at a few days ago. Credit where credit is due though.

Today Marnix is taking a long, hard look at himself.

There comes a moment in every big-budget story of pride, fall, redemption, hope and a bit at the end where someone wise dies (perhaps Morgan Freeman) while everybody else cries and looks brave, where you have to hit rock bottom. Rock bottom is an important place. No mild-mannered idiot savant character played by Tom Hanks or Tim Robbins can ever truly become smug and glib and, for some reason, rich right at the end if they haven't hit rock bottom on the way. Rock bottom is the bit where they have a moment of life-changing epiphany, often involving crying and doing some overblown "acting" where they shout "goddammit I just don't know ... who I AM any more", or where it rains on them heavily and they sink to their knees and look up to the sky and wail. Or where they get really badly beaten up outside a bar by some faceless men in jeans and cowboy boots who say "hell yeah" and "asshole" as they walk off leaving Tom Cruise/Will Smith/the de-superpowered Superman lying bleeding in a car park full of pickup trucks where you can hear the faint jangle of country and western music from inside.

Rock bottom is good for you. It gives you a sense of steely purpose. And, like an opening scene where you briefly play baseball in the street with an adorable neighbourhood orphan child who appears to know you well and gives you a high five as you scoot off to hop in your car and upbeat power pop music plays gently in the background, establishing that you're a fun, cool, hip hard-working guy, it also proves that you're nice. And destined to go out with Julia Roberts/crack the case/become not just rich but also at peace and be best friends with a wisecracking fat man.

For all these reasons, it's with a sense of some occasion that Marnix can announce that this afternoon he has finally hit rock bottom. Marnix is weeping on Whoopi Goldberg's shoulder. He is on its knees in the snow. And he feels relieved, happy in a funny kind of way, to report the only way is up.

As I say, this is kinda where my head was a few days ago. But only kinda. I wasn't at rock bottom. I was low but I have wonderful friends and equally wonderful semi-anonymous readers who gathered together in a tag-team pincer movement to slap me round the chops, lend me their perspective goggles and remind me that everything works out for the best.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Riding the rails

I wanted to find the perfect site for a picture of me sitting in one of those empty train carriage cargo things that hobos travel around the place in. But I couldn't track one down. Truth be told, I didn't really look. So you'll just have to imagine the scene that such a picture would set for this post.

OK, can you see it? You there with me? Good. Then I'll begin.

I plurked the other day about needing somewhere to live and lots of lovely people came back with suggestions. Well, I say lots. It was more like six. Or five maybe. But it's better than none, eh? Last night I went to check out a couple or three of these suggestions. All three places I checked out have definite plus points.

I want to live near friends, or at least people I know who it would be good to become friends with. All three places fulfil this criteria. I don't know any of the people who invited me and showed me around particularly well, but I'm working on that.

Where all three places differed though, was in terms of size, and resultant prim count and cost and stuff. The first one was maybe half of what I had before. The second was similar in size etc to the old mudmound. The third was a skybox with minimal prims and a little bit of beach space. The bonus about this one is that it is cheap, sooooo cheap.

I guess I just need to decide what I want really. And what I need. After I disposed of the chickens I really wasn't using the total prim allowance I had before. So a smaller plot would be an option, especially if I garnished the place with less primmy but awesomely cute trees and shrubs.

On the flip side, a furnished skybox with only 30 or so spare prims (more if I decide to remove current furniture and use my own) would not break the bank in any way shape or form. In fact the paintings I'm selling at the gallery would probably even cover it. Even before the great big gala launch I'm kinda almost getting round to planning. This is a pretty big plus point. On the down side of this however, there would be no prims spare for Buckley, nowhere to rez a motorbike for a bez at home, no choice of house and nowhere for my "primmy but awesomely cute trees and shrubs". It would be a compromise.

So basically, just like Natalie Imbruglia, I'm torn. I can't make up my mind. There are a couple of others places I need to check out with friends but I think I'm still going to be faced with the same choices, but just with a bigger list of options.

Oh, something else in common - all three friends showing me around had names beginning with vowels. Just me that finds that interesting? Oh, ok.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The littlest hobo

Just as it is time to reconfigure my affection settings and lower my fondness slider, it is also time to move on down the track.

This little corner of Bluebonnet was my first ever personal bit of (solely rented) land and will always have a special place in my heart. [sniff]

Goodbye, little mudmound. You're flatter than when I arrived, but you gave me joy. Mostly. I choose to forget the grief you gave me with my first toe-dipping experiments into terraforming.

I kinda feel like David Banner in the final scene of each Incredible Hulk episode.

Although he didn't have a motorbike. And his flares were wider.

At least I have somewhere to lay my head until something else turns up. Just don't tell the landlady. Oh, and if you come by to check out the gallery, just excuse the tent, yeah?

Oh, and if you're looking for somewhere to live with some really great neighbours you could do a lot worse than IMing Alicia Chenaux and asking to look at Marnix's old place.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Maudlinism vs pragmatism

In a comment on my last post, my good friend Quaintly wrote something about it being good to take a step back and gain some perspective. How right she is.

Last week another friend, Meara, wrote a meaningful post where she basically said we can decide which waves of emotions and feelings we choose to surf, negative or otherwise.

I think, combining those two pearls of wisdom, I have come to see that I can let recent events overtake me and leave me wallowing in my personal slough of despond or I can take the positives and continue living my sunshine-sparkled SLife. So I have chosen the latter.

I would not change the last six weeks for anything. I have made a really good friend out of hours spent together, I hope, and although things haven't worked out the way I would have hoped and certain feelings are not reciprocated I have decided it will not get me down.

Another friend told me I wear my heart on my sleeve. It has always been true. In RL as in SL. I'm not sure whether that's a strength or a weakness. Maybe it's both. What you see is what you get with me when it comes to emotions.

One thing to come out of this all, I think, is a need for a re-evaluation. I lay awake in bed last night, Mrs Marnix snuggled next to me, wondering if it was right for me to not find comfort in her for rejection felt in SL. And if it is right for me to be grumpy all evening with her because of news I receive in SL. I don't think it is. So for now, at least, my focus is going to be on friends and fun and community. Companionship can sit on the back burner. At least for now. Of course I give you all full permission right now to say "but you said..." to me next time I fall head over heels for someone.

The other week, when I was seriously thinking of moving on, I was thinking about how many people in SL I would need, or want, to tell I was going. The number I reached was four. Maybe five. I am determined now to expand that number.

An issue I have had for a while is my timezone. It just is really not conducive to meeting people in SL. Or at least not people who are around consistently at the same time as me. I am totally wrong for Europe and pretty much most of the US too. At least the west coast of the States are so far behind me they're almost back round to where I am again giving us a smidgin of overlap, I guess. Bottom line - I need to meet Kiwis. East coast Aussies too, I guess, but more Kiwis. There have to be more of us in this timezone in SL, right? So where are they all hiding? If you know any nice friendly Kiwis point them in my direction, yeah?

Monday, September 14, 2009


Most of you will never know just how apposite that last post was.

If I'm not around much over the new wee while, don't panic or send out search parties or anything. I just need a little time reaquainting myself with RL to wean myself off a particular aspect of my recent SL a tad.

As a teenager I always developed crushes and infatuation quickly. Some things never change, eh? The disappointment sure doesn't.

I need a change of scenery.


I was away from SL yesterday. For the whole day. And it bothered me. Now, in itself that's not a bad thing. But when it makes me grumpy in RL and that ends up affecting those around me perhaps it is.

Now I kinda now what's making me feel this way, and why I want to be in SL almost every spare moment I have, but that's really not what this post is about.

It's more about the emotions we feel in RL as a result of SL. The other day I had someone try to tell me again that SL is just a game. But if it's a game then why does it affect our RL emotions so dramatically?

I mean, as a result of SL I have experienced a whole gamut of emotions. The full emotional spectrum if you will - from red, through yellow and green, to blue. And maybe some pink. I've felt joy, happiness, contentment, affection, longing, lust, surprise, amusement, awe, sadness, disappointment, irritation, anger, guilt, jealousy, rejection. I am sure that anyone reading this has felt most of those and more besides.

What I can't answer though is, for me (and me alone here, as I know that everyone is different and has different RL and SL situations) is it right for SL to impact my RL in such a way?

Friday, September 11, 2009

Chicken Valhalla

I decided the other day that I was over my chickens. Finally. The moment has left the building. Or something.

But I wanted to give them a good end. An honourable end. Something memorable and worthy of them.

I've heard of people blowing theirs up, running them over, shooting them, kicking seven shades of crap out of them and bouncing them from 3000m. All of these lack a little panache though, I reckon. I wanted to create something memorable.

In this post, Tony Curtis's part will be played by myself, while the Kirk Douglas's part will be played by eight chickens.

So yeah, a memorable end. I wanted to see them on to a better life. To send them to chicken heaven in style. And what has more style that a Viking funeral? Sending off the dead to chicken Valhalla to evermore feast and frolic, waited on by chicken valkyries. If I was a chicken, it would be my idea of heaven. And how I'd want to go.

It was going to take a little arranging, but I knew I could give the chooks an admirable goodbye.

The first job was find a Viking longboat. And to transfer the chickens to said boat. The second part of this was easier said than done due to their innate desire to want to return 'home'. Fortunately I had a willing accomplice on hand to move the chickens and hold them in place while I touched them and typed quickly to 'home' them.

They looked a little uneasy over there on the boat, bobbing up and down with the swell of the sea. I think they looked a whole lot more uneasy when I pulled a bow, an arrow and a Zippo out of my inventory.

The first shot fell short. The second shot sailed over the bows. The restless chickens definitely picked up on the warning shot. But the third shot dropped perfectly into the bowels of the longboat. With a whoosh and a puff smoke the flames began to spread.

It didn't take long for the flames to take. And spread. The boat was wooden after all. I'm sure the squawking of the chickens got a lot more deliberate and panicked at this stage. I couldn't hear it though, over the laughing from the girly next to me. "OMG. This is all sorts of wrong" was a rough approximation of her sentiments. Between the laughs.

The longboat burned long into the night. I stood there on the foreshore in the shadows of the flickering glow. Watching. Reminiscing. Taking in that oh-so-good chargrilled chicken fragrance.

So, as the longboat drifted off into the night, glowing brightly against the dark sky and even darker sea, I contemplated my feelings. Was I sad? I had expected to be but no, I wasn't. Maybe the send off had been some sort of flame-grilled closure. We'd been through a lot but I'd sent them on their way with glorious honour.

Alternatively it may be that I wasn't sad because I was already too busy contemplating what I was going to do with an extra 200 prims.

I've heard tell of a yard sale close to my little mudmound that's happening this weekend. Do you think anyone would want to buy one slightly charred Viking longboat?

Ok, so that's the chickens gone. What's the next craze I can jump on the bandwagon of well over two months late? I've got 200 spare prims after all...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A minor celebration

I made my first ever sale on XStreet today!

Well, I thought it was exciting. Mildly exciting, at least.

I will get truly excited when someone I don't know makes a purchase.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Normal service is restored

After a small emotional hiccup yesterday a few slaps round the face, a few encouraging words, and a few correctly placed hugs have got me back on track. Some people are lovely, y'know?

And what better way to get back on top of things than attending a gig by my fave SL performer. It is rare I make her gigs because of the old timezone thingummy but today everything was in alignment for me to catch the mellow guitar and vocal stylings of Miss Starflower Orbit for a second time.

And just like last time she rocked. It was just the chill pill I needed.

I have been trying to persuade friends to go along to Starflower's gigs when they're on, even if I'm not inworld, but with no success so far.

Today, being inworld, I was determined to spread the word and invited a couple of friends to join me. You'll have to ask them for a definitive answer, but I am pretty sure Lysi, Lolita and Boss enjoyed Starflower's music.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Time heals all wounds

I was told something yesterday that shocked me. It gave me a stark and bitter warning as to the potential effect our actions in SL can have on those around us and their RL.

I've hardly ever managed to affect someone's RL with my RL to the same degree so to hear that a particular course of events in my SL have had such repercussions is sobering.

There are many things said and done beyond those that I will mention on here mainly because they are not solely mine to share. Truths shared and reality bared, if you will. I will not betray that trust.

And yet I had to write this. I want this post to serve as a warning to you all. Please never forget that people sit behind those avatars. What we do and say impacts the lives of others.

I am almost ready to walk away from my SLife.

I know I should not feel guilty. But I do.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Out of the blue - *please*

The are few things I enjoy more in SL than receiving a random IM. Ok, ok, so I don't mean a truly random IM like "Emancipated pudding hurlers!" or anything like that. I mean specifically IMs out of the blue from complete strangers who read my blog and just want to wave hello. It happens, you know, every now and then. And it's just soooooo encouraging and heart-warming and other snugly stuff ending in -ing.

It is always so nice to meet readers inworld. Especially when they're friendly and don't bite. Some people are uncomfortable sending unsolicited IMs but I say sod it. Who is ever going to mind a hello from a potential new friend and a little ego rub?

Last night was just an occasion. There was me, just sat around, when up pops an IM from someone with a name seemingly from a 2nd century BC Sanskrit play. A little chat later and I nipped over to her skybox to chat a bit more although to be honest her prog rock radio feed was not quite my personal cup of tea ;)

We ended up just hanging a while and discussing music tastes, AO peculiarities and what SL means to each of us. Most pleasant.

She said, that from reading my blog, she picked up that I "get" SL. I am not sure I agree. I don't "get" SL. It is more that I get what SL is for me. It's different for everyone and it just takes some time sometimes to work it out for yourself.

I know I've talked about it before, and to be honest, I am sure I'll cover it again, but heck, I'm gonna talk about it anyhow. It's my blog :p

So what exactly do I "get" about SL and what it is for me?

SL is different for all of us. I don't make it more than it is and I definitely don't make it less than it is. For me it's a way to meet friends. And a way to see nice places. And a way to be blown away by the imagination and creativity of others. It really is that simple. SL just fills the gaps in RL.

With that general umbrella arching over everything I do in SL, as if I'm ever going to mind a random IM from a blog reader. So if you're sat there reading but don't know me. Say hello sometime. I won't bite either.

Oh, and as a last thought - "Eggs have no business dancing with rocks" says the old Italian proverb. Just a little something for you to contemplate over the weekend.

Beautiful Freaks

It's an interesting title for a blog post, eh? Beautiful Freaks. Beautiful Freaks. Beautiful Freaks. Tell me though, what did you expect to find here? Borked rezzing incidents? Avs with extra prim-limbs? Bearded ladies that are stunning as well as hirsute?

If you'd guessed any of the above you'd wrong. Because Beautiful Freaks is actually the name of a show coming soon to a Second Life near. Actually 'show' is too light a word. I think 'extravaganza' is probably more apt.

Part of the creation and performance team, Chryblnd Scribe describes the extravaganza as "a creative venture where burlesque meets metal, featuring exotic acts, dancers, and SL innovation". I don't know about you but I'm intrigued already. She goes on that the event is "jam-packed with entertainment, charisma and the very best no-drama atmosphere inworld." Yup, I'm sold.

Beautiful Freaks starts this Friday, the 4th September, at 7pm SLT. And it runs till 10pm. 7-10pm!?! That's like three whole hours of "Burlesque meets Metal under the Big Top". But if you can't make it this week, do not fear, as it is running every Friday night during September.

I can't find the exact SLurl for the place at the moment, and I'm not inworld, so you'll have to make do with this one. TP over to Idle Rogue (right in front of my gallery!) and turn round, the circus tent is behind you. I'll see you there!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Swirly Disco Flames

A little while ago I mentioned that I had a business idea. I also mentioned that I wasn't going to be put off despite someone kinda doing the same thing (although not as well!) already. I ploughed on blindly regardless and am at a stage now where I can share news of some developments.

Swirly Disco Flames is officially open for business!

And I've made two sales already! Woohoo!

The place is finished, apart from a few final tweaks. But while those go on, the place is most definitely open. Come on down to Idle Rogue when you have a few spare minutes and check it all out. I'd love some independent feedback :)

You never know you might even get a photo opp with the artist himself ;p

I intend to have a grand opening party ("GOP") (which you're all invited to, of course) and I'll have news about that as and when plans begin to firm up. There is a group set up for my place too, if you want real up-to-the-minute news on the GOP, but at the moment I haven't figured out how to sort a group joiner thingy for the front of the gallery. You can find the group in my profile though and join that way if you're keen.

But yeah, other than that, please enjoy my work :)
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