Wednesday, March 24, 2010

My name's Marnix and I'm broken

If you're a friend on plurk and you read my verbose outpourings there as well as here you might remember a few days ago I mentioned a small bug I was experiencing in SL. For some reason I could no longer run, I could not fly, I walked as if through treacle and I fell at an alarmingly slow rate. Added to that was the issue where I would tp to some sims, and I stress some, and land in a spot that wasn't where I tp-ed to and would then promptly not be able to move. I would just moonwalk on the spot. It was, to understate it, immensely frustrating.

The other day I fell off a sky platform 700 metres up. In the end I got bored and logged off. As a result this is what I logged in to. I was still falling. That's a plane in front of me there, by the way, just hovering at about 650m.

I decided I'd wait and see how long it took me to reach ground level. I changed clothes. I chatted with a friend for a little bit. And I continued falling. I measured that I fell 73m in 8 minutes.

Eventually a random stranger on the ground below me IMed me and asked if I was alright up there. He even flew up from the ground to meet me and just hovered a bit. He was as perplexed as I was about the issue but he suggested TPing me to somewhere with less lag to see if that helped. I'm a trusting sort of a guy so I agreed to give it a go. The issue couldn't get any worse. And by now I was down to about 500m anyway. Another hour and I'd be at ground level.

He TPed me somewhere and we landed on a quayside outside of a built-up city. The sim was named Kowloon. The first thing he said when I landed was "take off all your clothes except your pants". For a minute I thought I'd been kidnapped for the Hong Kong sex-slave industry, but then he qualified it by adding something about making sure I was wearing absolutely nothing containing a script.

I did as instructed and tried flying. And running. And falling. And wahey! Success. It worked. I was mended. Next up was to slowly, one item at a time, add all my stuff back on again - the AO, the Pandora HUD, the mini-radar, the flight feather, the type-blocker thingy - to see at what point the bug returned. Because then, of course, I'd have found the offending item.

One by one I added stuff back, tried flying and falling. Each time I found everything was good. Until eventually I was back, exactly as I had started, fully-dressed and fully-HUDed up. And yet I still worked. I was not broken any more. Now is it me, or is that some weird-ass shit?

I went to thank my unlikely fairy godmother but he'd vanished. As suddenly as he appeared, he was gone. Just who was that mystery stranger who came to my aid? Perhaps we'll never know.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Publicity ho

I've been syndicated! No ,really!

The 'Home and Garden SL Feed' does exactly what it says on the tin and from now on relevant Swirly Disco Flames posts from here will appear there too.

Don't worry though, all the rambling drivel I spout about something and nothing and anything will be filtered out though. It will be solely art stuffs. Well, art stuffs surrounded by minor drivel. Like this. Only this doesn't have any art. Only drivel.

Although, thinking about it, if you're reading this here, then chances are you won't need to read my stuff on the feed because you'll have read it here already. But don't let that stop you checking the feed out, no siree, as you'll be able to find loads of amazing stuff there too.

What an awesome idea, huh? It works for all that fashion stuff. And now, all those with interior design (and exterior design, come to that) fetishes can get their fill too. Genius!

The flip-side

The other day I introduced the eponymous protagonist of my overly ambitious and never to be completed SL-based comic project, Norks McCracken. And like any good 1920s-style private eye, Norks has an arch-enemy in organised crime. A racketeering anti-Norks, if you will.

Of course, like any self-respecting archetypal prohibition gangster, my villain is Italian American. He needs a name though. Something suitable. Which is where you come in.

I am holding a competition. It is called 'Name the mobster'. What happens is that you all suggest appropriate names for a crime boss, something suitably Don-ish, and I choose the winner and adopt the name. Simple, huh?

It's all about getting you involved in the process and giving you ownership in the project. It's a wicked marketing ploy really, but I removed the majority of the wickedness by exposing my motives. Cunning, huh?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Getting around

It seems that nowadays you can't go anywhere without seeing some of my art plastered on the walls of SL.

OK, so that's not strictly true. But it is true that a couple of custom pieces of mine now adorn the walls of the offices of the editor-in-chief of Icon Lifestyle magazine.

Did I mention I undertake commission work?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Norks McCracken

Meet Norks McCracken. He's a 1920s Private Eye, living in Chicago, walking the tightrope that is staying on the right side of both the law and organised crime.

The other week I had an idea. A bold and imaginative idea. I wanted to create serialised graphic novel-type blog, set in SL. All I'd need were characters, a storyline or two, locations, poses and time. Lots of time. Oh, and a bit more inclination.

I still haven't ruled out the idea. My good friends are all making supportive noises. But it would be an awful lot of work. And I just don't think I have the time, sadly. I wish I did.

Take tonight, for example. I probably took two hours finding a location for some introductory shots. (Admittedly SL was being an arse during that time.) I then sorted through the shots, chose some good ones, and then experimented to find some suitable comic book effects. This probably took another two or three hours. And this was just me, so no other characters or poses to worry about. Four or five hours for an output of six pics. No diva actresses or ill-disciplined actors to be bothered with. No framing of the pics into a comic-strip and laying on of dialogue etc. To do it justice it would be a full time job.

But then I look at pictures like this one here, and I get excited by the idea again. And I want to find a way to do it. But other than resigning from work or just not sleeping I don't have a solution.

So for now I think the idea will have to sit on the back-burner. Let's call it an ambition. Norks will have to wait. The murder, kidnap and theft cases will just have to be left unsolved.

I am quite pleased with some of these pics though. I would need to choose one particular style though, I reckon, eh?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Quite a fun game

Ok, the skin game went down quite well (on Plurk rather than on here tbh), so I thought I'd try the same but with hair.

As before, click through to see the image bigger. Oh, and these are demos again, so you kinda have to ignore the colours shown here.

Once again, pick your fave.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Pick a number

I am working on a little project, and for that project I need a new skin. So I am trying to choose one. But I got lost in the mire. So am seeking opinions.
Pick a number for me and help me out.

You should be able to enlarge the pic by clicking on it

Experiments in scupltiness

If I am showing demos of my art in plurk to friends quite often I will import the images into Powerpoint (for ease) and use this neat little effect it has to make them look kind 3D-ish. It looks pretty, that's really the only reason for it. As you can see:

Just recently I received a comment that made me think. Someone said they liked the rounded canvases. I wondered whether this is something that I could perhaps try in SL, for a change and stuff.

I had no idea how to do it, mind, not being a builder and stuff. But after consulting with the oracle that is my plurk friendslist it came down to two options. One was to effectively 'build' a canvas from multiple prims. This was a no-no because a) I kind like my art being one prim, and b) how on earth would I texture a multiple prim build?

Option two was to use sculpties. Once my eyes had finished glazing over, friends came to the rescue. Quaintly told me about a free sculptie fatpack which would contain what I would need, Tym ran over to grab said fatpack and then dropped me a copy given it was trans, and then later Quaintly dropped into my gallery and volunteered to help teach me texturing skillz.

In her words though: "texturing sculpties is like winning the lottery". I've never won the lottery. Not even three numbers. I didn't hold much hope for sculpty-texturing therefore.

And yet, after much head-slapping, swearing and tweaking of numbers this was the result below. The original is on the left.

It's almost ok. And I learned a lot, so thankyou, Q. But the bottom line is that texturing a sculpty with my art kinda transforms the art a bit. It makes it a little different to what I original created. And so for that reason, I still be sticking with the simple prim canvas.

I least I can say I tried it though, right?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Productive Friday afternoons

A couple of months ago I mentioned about a gallery owner approaching me to see if I wanted a room in his gallery. For free. You'll be pleased to hear his hand, the one I bit off, has grown back nicely.

Yesterday afternoon, in a period of inactivity at work, I thought it might be a nice gesture if I made a special collection for his gallery, rather than just recycling the old stuff from the main gallery at Idle Rogue.

As a result I bring you the "Not-really-keen-to-work-of-a-Friday-afternoon" collection - exclusive to UrbanARTs.

You should really go check UrbanARTs out. Not just for my stuff, but also to see the amazing work of some of the others artists there. Some of the stuff makes me feel like such a fraud masquerading as an artist. Hehe.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

SDF goes green (and orange)

After the relatively minor success of my valentine's-themed Aroha collection I decided I'd try something new for the next upcoming celebration. Just to see. I seemed to remember last mid-March everything going a bit green with copious amounts of pixel-Guinness staining the inworld floors so I thought I'd give it a go. Especially when friends confirmed SL celebrates every festival going.

St Paddy's Day - consider your bandwagon jumped on.

This Murphy's-fueled collection is entirely inspired by the Irish flag. Think green, orange and white. Interestingly, if you don't celebrate St Paddy's but are Ivorian then this collection is for you too. Bonjour mes amis africains.

So if you're going to be celebrating on Wednesday and perhaps you have a room that needs decorating thematically and you maybe have something missing and you're perhaps thinking that that gap could maybe be filled by a little abstract art in the right colours to match the bunting then hop on over to Swirly Disco Flames.

I kinda think I should be wearing a leprechaun outift in these photos. They were taken at short notice though so you'll have to settle for a green bowtie and waistcoat with the tux.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Honesty and friendship

This week a blogpost has started a minor plurk meme. The idea, in case you're too lazy to follow links, is that every day for a week you share a truth about yourself.

Now there has been all sorts of debate and drama and to-ing and fro-ing about the motives behind the idea but I'm not going to get into that. I'll leave it to the llamas. But for what it is worth, I like the idea. I am enjoying reading what people decide to share each day.

Myself, I haven't participated. I might, but haven't yet. The reason for this post though is my whole thought process and stuff after hearing about the challenge. It is stuff that's been on my mind this week. So where better to spurt forth drivel than here, eh?

For various reasons I don't share much about my RL self, either on here, inworld, or in plurk. Some stuff I do, on plurk at least, but nothing of great significance. Superficial nothingness really. Yes, I have two kittens. Yes, I work at a desk making pretty tables and charts. Yes, I am married, English, live in New Zealand and play football a bit.

But I wondered to myself, if I did participate in the great honesty challenge, what would I share? The fact I like banana icecream, or that I am left-handed, or that I once broke a finger catching a ball? Hardly life-changing revelations are they? But anything deeper than that I struggle to feel comfortable sharing.

So then that led me to wonder, if I don't actually share anything about my RL self, can I really claim to have friends here? Sure, I have acquaintances. Plenty of those. Plurk is ripe with pretty ladies and nice blokes and it is a real joy to pass my working day with them. But friends? Like real friends? I don't know.

After I had been inworld a little while I drew myself a line. I knew I needed one. This line would be the line I would not cross with RL information. Basically I wanted to ensure that my SL self was so divorced from my RL self that I would be untraceable. Should I ever encounter someone with malevolent intentions I wanted to ensure I could not be found.

However, I now realise that this line, rather than giving me the freedom that was its intent, has actually enslaved me. I cannot open up and develop true friendships because I cannot let people through my monitor and into the part of my life that isn't pixellated. Sure, you get snapshots. You get to look through the keyhole as I bare my dazzlingly dry sense of humour and rapier-wit. (Oh and my tongue-in-cheek attitude to most stuff, including faux arrogance and indignation. Plurk friends will know what I mean.) But you don't see me. You don't know me. In so many ways I regret that. I regret that the line was necessary. Or at least is necessary now. I have done things that I cannot risk coming to light in RL. I think it is kinda obvious what I mean. If you have been reading for the blog for a while you should be able to pick up what I mean.

But through all of this there are bright spots. There are a few that have crossed the boundary. A small few. I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of people that I am comfortable enough with to entrust with significant aspects of my RL. And I wouldn't need all the fingers to count them. But they are there. They know who they are. Some people do know me and I am so very glad I have let them into my life. It just took time.
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