“Still whining, Louis”

“Oh, Louis… Louis. Still whining, Louis. Have you heard enough? I’ve had to listen to that for centuries.”

This week’s Monday Meme is all about movie characters, and from the moment I saw it I knew who I simply had  to recreate. And boy oh boy, was it tricky ;-)

Meme instructions: Dress up your avatar as a character from a movie. Don’t forget to share the link to your post in the comments and add your pictures to the Blog Memes flickr group.

The Brat Prince himself, Lestat de Lioncourt. Now I’m no fan of Tom Cruise, but in this movie he was utterly brilliant (and yes, I’ll admit it: he was also fucking hot). So I trundled off to SL Marketplace, knowing the store that I needed for the outfit, and in the vain hope that I might find a hairstyle that came close enough. I managed both, but my sartorial darlings it was one hell of a struggle because I was chucked firmly back into the days of alpha-layered flexi hair and sculpt/prim clothing.

Ouch.

Yeah, much though I love Le Grenier du Château for their historical clothing, I’ve yet to find a store that’s making this kind of rococo fashion for men – in mesh. There’s plenty of stuff for the ladies (as always) but the guys are still stuck back in 2009. Still, I made the best with what I had, and some judicial choosing of poses and a smidge of Photoshoppery (yes, I hold my hands up to that; a bit of cloning went on here, where the waistcoat poked a little through the coat, etc) saw me ending up with something I was pretty happy with for a meme photoshoot.

The hair, as you can see, is alpha-layered, and it doesn’t play too well when you cam around to the side of it (good old alpha conflict issues) but it’s a good replica of Lestat’s loose hair in the movie, and for that I’ll forgive it a lot of problems ;-) I couldn’t find anything approaching his mussed-up queue (the tied-back style) so I went with the formal style he had at the start of the movie, where he first encountered Louis.

The shoes… *sigh* Again, issues. They’re absolutely spot-on, but (wait for it) they’re no copy and no mod. Argh!  So yes, you’ll have to fiddle and fuss with your foot size, find an alpha layer that works (none is included in the pack), and eventually you’ll come up with something that’s workable. These are still my go-to shoes for this kind of look, though. Please, someone make something similar in unrigged, editable mesh!

Credits

Coat, breeches, waistcoat, stockings, shirt: Le Grenier du Château – Le Vicomte set
[ trasgo.beaumont ]
– Sold Separately

Shoes: Westboutin – Le Tancarville Noir Chausseures [ west.lyvingstone ]

Hair: Jolie Femme – Lestat (light honey blonde w/golden beach blonde) [ mcgeeb.gupte ]

Ring: Chop Zuey Couture Jewelry – The Raven’s Claw Men’s Ring [ belle.roussel ]

Skin: KOOQLA – Knight (01) [ rocketta.haven ]

Eyes: IKON – Hope Eyes (glass) [ ikon.innovia ]

Hands: Slink – AvEnhance Male Hands (relax) [ siddean.munro ]

Poses: Agapee [ argnit.igaly ]

The bare-faced cheek of it!

Argh! Nose triangles! *runs around, screaming*

There is an SL-based challenge – started by Genkai Tesla – currently doing the rounds on Flickr, called the SL Bare Face Challenge. It seems to take its inspiration from the recent RL ‘no makeup selfie’ challenge for cancer awareness, and – since the world (and the virtual world) is obsessed with looks it’s providing an interesting insight into how people present their avatars to others.

The rules are simple: post an unedited shot of your avatar, bare-faced. No lashes. No makeup. No enhancements. No Photoshop.

Some guys are taking the bare face idea to the point of removing facial hair, but – to me – if that’s something you normally wear then you may as well leave it on (either that or you’d have to remove your eyebrows, too!). Most of the time these days, when I’m not doing the fashion thing, Skell’s got some face fuzz going on. However, since I do  also do the fashion thing, there’s a second side to him: the smoother and more boyish andro-look. Hence I took two shots and combined them (click here to view that on Flickr).

This is everyday Skell:

Skin: Æros
Hair: Exile
Eyes: IKON

You have to agree, that is a fucking amazing skin. I practically live in it these days. But yeah, like every other skin that I wear, I have nose triangles. Those are one of the very few things that I edit in Photoshop for this blog, because they’re a flaw in the base LL avatar mesh. Normally, I would also smooth out the lumps and bumps where the side of the torso meets the arms, and I’d ease out (as best I could; I only have an ancient version of Photoshop with no liquify option) the worst of the angles on the shoulders.

Here, for comparison, is fashionisto Skell:

Skin: Swallow
Hair: Exile
Eyes: IKON

Exactly the same pose and the same shape (although, interestingly, his face looks rounder and his shoulders look slightly narrower; interesting, isn’t it, how the illusion of youth transfers from face to body?). This skin provides a much better base for layering makeup, as do many of my other more andro skins.

Now, the rules for this challenge state ‘no Photoshop’, and people are getting very  creative with all kinds of ways to show their avatar in a good light. This intrigues me. We all squirm a little uncomfortably at not being seen at our best (you have no idea how hard it was for me to let those nose triangles go!) and I can’t help but wonder if that’s not a companion to the fact that in Second Life we can be  the perfect creatures that we are not in real life. Letting go of that perfection feels like being the real ‘us’ rather than escaping to the place where we’re (very likely) a lot happier with our looks.

I’m going to go through some of the entries in the Flickr group and make a few notes about them. Please be aware that, if the original images are removed from Flickr by the people posting them, they won’t show up here.

Firstly, a stunning example of ‘bare face’ from Maya Reyes. This, for me, is the standout of the entire group at the time of writing this post.

That is taking the challenge as-is. An incredible avatar wearing a gorgeous skin (I’m reminded of the beauty of Alek Wek here). Yes, those do look like mesh ears; in fact that could also be a mesh head, since the crown of the SL head isn’t that smooth! But, if a mesh head (or mesh body) is something that you always  wear, then – shorn of makeup, lashes, piercings, etc – that is the ‘basic’ you. I think mesh heads are in keeping with the spirit of the challenge, as long as they are a permanent part of the avatar taking part.

Another lovely entry (and one which makes use of Windlight to minimise flaws in the avatar – more on that in a moment) is this shot by Alana Roses:

Very much the ‘English rose’ look, but take a closer peek around the nose. Yes, I see nose triangles! That’s a genuine bare face without Photoshop, but hmm. Don’t you think that choosing a Windlight preset that minimises the avatar’s natural flaws is actually enhancing  the avatar? While it’s not a physical enhancement, it’s still an attempt to improve on what is seen by the viewer. I’m not knocking this shot by any means; it may be that Alana always uses this kind of Windlight, so it’s in keeping with her usual style. I’m just fascinated by how people are both getting creative with ways to ensure they look their best, and why  they want to look their best.

I used a basic, full-lighting preset because, for me, this challenge was supposed to represent my avatar looking blearily in the bathroom mirror at 6am. No lovely soft light to make him look great; just full-on daylight.

And then we have the jokers. There are always one or two ;-) This one from Miss Yoon, subtitled, “not much left of me, sorry” gave me a giggle:

And then, of course, we have the ones in full makeup. I’m sorry, Talija, but this isn’t ‘bare face’:

I’m not bitchin’; just going by the rules, which state “no makeup”, and you very clearly have full makeup on: eyeshadow, mascara, eyeliner, blusher, and lipstick.

Finally, of course, we have the people who post ALL of their shots to EVERY group they’re in. There are already two full-body fashion shots in the Bare Face Challenge group, and I wonder why people do this? Is it because their finger slipped when ‘adding to group’? Is it because they use a script of some kind to save time by adding every shot they take to every group they’re in (like the people whose ‘following’ count you can watch rise by about 200 people if you refresh their profile every ten seconds; you know the ones – they’re following around 1500 SL avatars)? Is it because they know that group is likely to grow into a huge and popular one (like the “What’s your digits?” group did a few years back) and they see it as a great way to promote their fashion blog?

I really don’t understand this. I see images of fashionistas in the Pretty Boys Flickr Group (here is an example of that. Note the end of the URL: in/pool-sl_pretty_boys. What on earth does this sexypose pic of a female avatar have to do with pretty boys? Scroll through that group and you’ll see loads of female fashion shots). Not a male in sight in those pics. Why post your female fashion shots there? Pure mistake? Trying to catch someone’s eye? (And yeah, that latter is cynical of me, but I’ve been  in large menswear stores and watched as female avatars twirl and pirouette in front of solo males, giving up and moving on to the next solo male when no interest was shown. When they got to me, I’d usually just ask them to stop blocking my view of the vendors, because I was trying to shop.) I really dunno. Makes me scratch my head and shrug.

You can find the Bare Face Challenge Flickr group here. Why not take off the slap and have a go yourself?

“We regret to inform you…”

…the Company has decided that it will be unable to continue to provide work for your role, and we therefore will have to make this role redundant…

There are fashion credits at the end of this, for those that are interested in them, but this is a personal kinda post.

So yeah. I’ve had the shittiest of news, right before Christmas. I guess I should be grateful that, food-aside, my Christmas is all paid-for and sorted out this year. Gifts, cards, and wrapping paper all purchased and ready to go. One of the benefits of being one of those annoyingly-organised bastards hated by those red-faced and flustered shoppers that are still rushing around John Lewis at 4pm on Christmas Eve, I suppose.

I can take comfort in a few things:

  • I wasn’t alone. Several of us got the chop. While that’s shitty news for all  concerned, it does soften the blow a little and reduce the ‘why me?’ feeling somewhat.
  • My redundancy package was very good, as it should be for the length of service I’ve given to my company.
  • I’ve made some good friends there, and we’re still keeping in touch. Promises of meeting-up for coffee or other liquid lunches have already been made.

Most importantly, my beloved Daros has been there for me throughout, listening to me worry, calming me down, and simply being the best friend that I’ve always known he is. Love you, gorgeous. <3

What this does  mean is that I can no longer afford to support 1.5 regions of tier. No matter what, I’m going to have to tier down, and it hurts to know that we’ll be losing some of our land. We’ve always tried to keep it as clear as we can, not vomiting up full-bright free-textured monstrosities or lagging the place to shit with a million Meeroos. Our builds were subtle and blended in to the landscape. Old ruins. A Hobbit hole rising out of the ground. A forest clearing. I fear that our few remaining neighbours are about to realise what damned thoughtful neighbours we really have been…

We’re going to try and finish turning Jindalrae into a freestyle roleplay location, with rentals to help us recover the tier. I’m going to let one more month of current tier go by, so we can give that a try, and then – if it doesn’t take off – I will have  to downsize drastically and start creating a lot more, in the hopes that I can cover what tier I do decide to keep.

This has been a real kick in the nuts for me, and I am so  not looking forward to re-entering the job market. It’s been a few days since I was ‘regretfully informed’ and I’m having low days and okay days. This kind of shit really digs an elbow into your self-esteem for a couple of weeks, I’m discovering. Still, maybe I should listen to Michael Jackson: “Don’t let nobody take you down, brother”.

Credits (with apologies to those featured here, in what is not the happiest of posts; your stuff is awesome, as ever)

Jacket: Gizza – Moto Jacket (black)* [ giz.seorn ]

Jeans: Gizza – Turn-up Jeans (dirty)* [ giz.seorn ]

Shoes: Eudora 3D – Oxford Low Tops [ eudora3d ]

Glasses: ieQED – Wright Shades [ sigifaust ]

Hair: Exile – Machinehead* [ kavar.cleanslate ]

Earrings: Just Magnetized – Genesis Magnet Earrings (star onyx) [ justyna.magne ]

Ring: KOSH – Adain Ring (brass) [ lynaja.bade ]

Skin: Æros – Javier (praline) [ pi.rain ]

Beard: Æros Facial Hair – Beard (scruffy soft) [ pi.rain ]

Eyes: IKON – Hope (glass) [ ikon.innovia ]

Poses: Momomuller [ momomura.zehetbauer ]

Steamer Trunk: FANATIK [ kendra.zaurak ]

Luggage: POST [ van.auster ]

Boxes: sTwo [ stwo.acker ]

*review copy

I told my brother how to do the thing right
Lift up your head and show the world you got pride
Go for what you want
Don’t let them get in your way
You can be a winner if you keep the faith

Straighten out yourself and get your mind on track
Dust off your butt and get your self-respect back
You’ve know me long enough to know that I don’t play
Take it like you want it but you got to keep the faith

Dead March

We live, we whine, we wait for our decline.
We close our eyes, we know all beauty dies.
We fear no more and walk this road like martyrs.
Jesus play me your dead march.

Killing (hehe) two birds with one stone here. A blog for A Clockwork Spiral, and  the Monday Meme, which today is on the delightfully morbid subject of, well… death.

Meme instructions: Answer the following questions about death. Don’t forget to share the link to your post in the comments and add your pictures in the Blog Memes flickr group.

Do you ever think about dying? How do you expect you’ll die?

I think most people do think about it. Confronting it, mentally, is the first way of dealing with the fear of it. Most of us, at times, hear a song that means a lot to us and we think, “Oh, I want that played at my funeral”. So yes, I do think about it, especially as I grow older (because, believe me, when you’re in your twenties you’re immortal. Move beyond those years and, when those you love start leaving your life in a permanent way, you realise that our bodies are only temporal).

As to how I’ll die, I have no idea. If someone could tell me, then I’d refuse to know. I’d rather live the life that I have, than live in the knowledge that I have x-number of years remaining, or that I’m going to have an unpleasant encounter with the No.19 bus next Tuesday.

And hey, my avatar’s name is Skell. What else d’you think he’s named after, but death? ;-)

Do you believe in an afterlife? If so, how do you visualize it?

Absolutely I do. It’s the one insubstantial thing that I believe in utterly, not being of a generally religious persuasion. And I think that, when we finally shuck off the dust of mortality, we’ll go to whatever eternity we considered when we were alive (or not, if – for you – death is it and there’s nothing beyond). Whether you believe that Heaven is Pearly Gates and St Peter, or whether you think heaven is a beautiful little cottage with a rose garden, that’ll be the afterlife you reach. Even if you’re non-religious (as in, organised religion) I think that whetever you consider as heaven on earth, will be your heaven in the afterlife.

My personal afterlife? Not something I’ll share :-)

What is your preferred form of apocalypse and why?

A huge meteor slamming into the earth and wiping out all life. Who would want to actually survive  an apocalyptic event, be it with zombies or radiation fallout?

How many times have you cheated death so far?

A near-miss in a car when a truck came around a bend on the wrong side of the road and missed me and my then-boyfriend by about an inch, after some evasive driving that saw us almost end up in a ditch as we tried to stay alive. I think that was more than enough. Cheating death is like sucking an Everlasting Gobstopper: “Everybody has had ONE, and ONE is enough for anybody.”

Which fictional villain would you be okay being killed by?

Rutger Hauer as The Hitcher. Because come on! Rutger Hauer! (Okay, he’s gone to seed in his old age, but back then? OhHellYes.)

If you’re murdered, do you stay and haunt the culprits forever or do you give up that opportunity to leave and go to heaven/hell/Cancun?

I’d probably do the pissed-off ghost thing, just out of sheer annoyance, but then I’d sod off to my personal afterlife. A great quote that I read recently runs thus:

Holding a grudge is letting someone live rent-free in your head. EVICT.

I’d try to remember that.

Will you have done everything you have wanted by the time you die?

I’ve already achieved the thing that I’d dreamed about since I was a kid, so the Big One has been crossed off the bucket list. But I think I’ll keep wanting to do things, right up until that moment comes. The day you stop having dreams is the day you might as well lay down and never bother getting up again anyway. Keep dreaming and keep Doing All The Things.

Credits

Your locations are:

A Clockwork Spiral (runs until October 1st)
We <3 Roleplay
Secret Affair

Shirt: Go! – Dorian Shirt (black) [ gocha.merlin ]
– for Secret Affair

Boots: House of Rain – Decadencia Boots (black)* [ axi.kurmin ]
– for A Clockwork Spiral

Pants: Sn@tch – Twisted Circus Pants [ ivey.deschanel ]
– good luck in finding these; I’ve had them for 5 years ;-)

Ring: Unrepentant – The Deep (oil spill)* [ jalynne.ohmai ]
– for A Clockwork Spiral

Monocle: Souzou Eien – Serpentine Optics (left)* [ draconias.timeless ]
– for A Clockwork Spiral

Hair: Tableau Vivant – Nyoki (equinox) [ m4r1lyn.magic ]
– for We <3 Roleplay

Eyes: Negaposi – Elfin Eyes (darkmatter) [ durttrashdurt.zipper ]

Skin: KOOQLA – Gray (Mr Frost) [ rocketta.haven ]

Couch: NanTra – Dozer’s Divan* [ nancroix.urquan ]
– for A Clockwork Spiral

Poses: PDA [ izzy.bereznyak ]
– no longer available

*review copy

And here’s your awesomely-dark and appropriate music:

The Specs Meme

Oh hey, a Monday Meme – all about specs – and I missed the damn thing!

Well, y’know, I could rival Auntie Elton when it comes to specs. I have pairs from Sorgo, from ZOOM, from CheerNo, from–

Huh?

Oh. Wait. Not those  kinds of specs?

*ahem*

Soooo, computer specs. Okay, well, uh. *toes banner shot under the rug and hopes nobody notices*

Meme Instructions: Share your computer specs and answer the following questions.

I built my personal Little Monster about two years ago now, so she’s due for an upgrade very soon. And, when I say ‘Little Monster’, I mean it. She’s a big lass, my computer. Mainly because of her chassis ;-)

Case: Antec 1200

Image from overclock.net

This is why she’s a monster. The case – purchased primarily to make this machine as easy-to-upgrade as possible – is the size of a medium suitcase: 22.9″ (H), 8.4″ (W), 20.2″ (D). She overhangs my desk at the front by over two inches. And yep, she lights up just as that picture: like a pretty blue Christmas tree, thanks to the LED fans. And hell, does she have some fans! Six in total, including that whopper on the top; all adjustable. And yet, she whispers like a Bentley. Can you tell that I love this case? (Even though it’s as heavy as hell  and took me ages to lug upstairs – one step at a time – into my study.)

CPU: Intel Core i7 3770K 3.5Ghz

The CPU still rates pretty well in benchmarks, even though it’s getting slightly long-in-the-tooth. Let’s face it: anything over six months old is, in computing terms (and, especially, in gaming terms) already past-it.

PSU: Corsair 650W TX V2

Quiet as the proverbial mouse. I can sleep in the same room as this thing running full-whack and it wouldn’t even disturb me. In fact, I’d be more disturbed by the blue spectrum of light coming from the LED fans than I would by any noise it’s making.

Cooling: Corsair H80 Water Cooling System

I cannot  recommend water-cooling systems enough. This one is cheaper than you might think, ultra-quiet, and the reservoir never needs refilling.

RAM: 16GB of Corsair XMS3 DDR3

It’s RAM. What more can I say? The more you have, the better it goes.

Motherboard: Asus P8Z77-V LX

HDD: Seagate Barracuda 1TB Hard Drive 7200rpm 32MB Cache

Works silently and remains pretty cool. However, I suspect it’s beginning to fail. A few days ago I had the dreaded Reboot and select proper boot device or insert boot media in selected boot device and press a key  error. Going into BIOS setup, the drive wasn’t even showing, which led to me removing the case sideplate and wiggling plugs. Everything was still firmly-seated – nothing had come loose – but the wiggling did at least make the drive show up in BIOS again. From reviews that I’ve seen online, this particular drive seems to have a habit of conking out at around two years of age, which mine has just reached. I just hope the damn thing lasts until Christmas, which is when I plan to do some upgrades.

UPDATE: It didn’t last. It failed less than three weeks after I made this post.

GPU: AMD/ATI Radeon HD 7870 2GB

Aaaand here’s where I made my big mistake. All my computing life I’ve used NVIDIA, but – thanks to good reviews – I opted for the Radeon this time around. HUGE mistake. It struggles with alphas like you wouldn’t believe in SL: with many of them showing white halos around the edge. I played Dear Esther  on my old PC with the NVIDIA card and it blew me away. On the new PC with the Radeon? It was kinda meh. If you know that game, then the crystal caves are the big, “Oh. My. God. This is GORGEOUS!” moment, and they were  on the NVIDIA. To say that I was underwhelmed when I went back to them on the Radeon was an understatement. So, when I upgrade the GPU I’ll be back to NVIDIA again.

And now, onto the rest of the meme stuff.

Which viewer do you use most often?

I’ve been using Firestorm exclusively since it came out, and before that I used Phoenix. As a builder, it has so many extras over and above what the official viewer offers (more decimal places for positioning when building, and a really handy align tool, to name just two), and as a photographer the Phototools are par-none.

What is your FPS (Frames Per Second) when you have your graphics on ultra?

Due to living in the UK (and having only an ADSL connection, albeit an 8MB one) my ping* to Second Life is always  ridiculously-high, therefore I only ever run Advanced Lighting when I’m taking images for Flickr or the blog. I can  run around with it enabled, but my FPS drops drastically – again, mainly due to the high ping and slower connection – so I tend to run on average at High rather than Ultra, and with Advanced Lighting off. Everything else is maxed, though. I keep particles down to about 1200, draw distance to 64m (unless I need to see further) and avatars to no more than 12 (except when I’m in busy areas such as sales; more on that in a minute).

These are my normal graphics settings:

These give me the following FPS (and yes, I took a screenshot, because I knew you wouldn’t believe me!) –

However, if I simply enable Advanced Lighting (and nothing more; still on High with the same settings apart from that) look at the hellish  drop in FPS:

That, my sartorial darlings, is why I don’t run ALM all the time!

And here, for comparison, is the viewer on Ultra (but without ALM) –

Still pretty decent.

*To find out your ping to Second Life, open up the viewer’s Help > About panel when you’re logged in. On there, you’ll see info about the sim you’re in, and it’s that sim address that you need to input at the command prompt. Here’s the sim info for our home sim of Jindalrae:

You are at 114.9, 86.7, 37.4 in Jindalrae located at sim10091.agni.lindenlab.com (216.82.48.157:13001)
SLURL: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Jindalrae/115/87/37
(global coordinates 265,075.0, 239,703.0, 37.4)
Second Life RC LeTigre 14.08.01.292564

The bolded bit is what you enter into the command prompt, like this:

Alternatively, you can ping the IP address (minus the :13001 after it). You’ll get the same results. The lower your final ping, the better SL will run for you. This is my ping to Jindalrae, and it’s a typical high trans-Atlantic ping of 140ms. If you’re in the States you can expect your ping to be much, much lower than that:

Pinging sim10091.agni.lindenlab.com [216.82.48.157] with 32 bytes of data:
Reply from 216.82.48.157: bytes=32 time=141ms TTL=51
Reply from 216.82.48.157: bytes=32 time=140ms TTL=51
Reply from 216.82.48.157: bytes=32 time=140ms TTL=51
Reply from 216.82.48.157: bytes=32 time=140ms TTL=51

Ping statistics for 216.82.48.157:
Packets: Sent = 4, Received = 4, Lost = 0 (0% loss),
Approximate round trip times in milli-seconds:
Minimum = 140ms, Maximum = 141ms, Average = 140ms

How often does Second Life crash for you? Is it usually just a viewer crash or your whole system crashes? What are you usually doing at the moment of the crash?

It doesn’t. On the very rare occasions that it does crash, it’s always a viewer crash and never a system crash. The main thing that used to cause crashes for me was possibly a bug: I’d be fine facing in one direction, but if I turned to face another my FPS would drop so drastically that the viewer would all-but freeze up. I suspect this was a texture memory issue, and possibly related to the old texture-thrashing problem that Firestorm had a while back. I’ve not encountered the direction-freeze in recent months.

Do you know of any tips or tricks in the settings that would improve performance?

The main one is to keep your draw distance low. 64m is fine for most things; if you’re exploring push it to 128m but no more. Firestorm has a useful command line for changing the distance, so you don’t need to hunt around in menus: just type dd 64  or dd 128  in chat to change your draw distance.

Secondly: RAM. RAMRAMRAM. The more you have, the better your system will go. It’s not hard to install; you just plug it into the slots. It’s probably the easiest (and fastest) way to upgrade your computer.

Thirdly: A PSU (power supply unit) that provides enough power. You would be horrified at the low-wattage PSUs that most off-the-shelf PCs come supplied with. My last Dell PC (oh god, never again, seriously) was one that I customised on the Dell site with a graphics card that needed at least  a 500W PSU to power it. I checked and double-checked with Dell’s CS rep that I would get at least that, and they assured me that…

Oh, wait. I can show you the actual support chat transcript!

Me: “But I know that the GTX460 needs at least a 500W PSU and the power unit wattage isn’t listed, I only thought of it this evening.”
Agent (name redacted): “We will provide you a suitable power supply”
Agent (name redacted): “On our application it is not mentioned and you will get a suitable one”
Me: “OK, thank you. It just crossed my mind, so I had to check before the system was built.”
Agent (name redacted): “you can relax”
Agent (name redacted): “you will get suitable power supply which will support the desktop”
Me: “So it’ll be at least 500W?”
Agent (name redacted): “Yes it will be”
Me: “Ok, that’s all I needed to know. Thank you very much.”

The computer arrived, and out of curiosity I opened it up. They’d installed a 350W PSU. I protested, but they refused to change it, telling me it was ‘suitable for the system that you ordered’. It lasted less than a year before it burned out.

Lastly, a tip that has proved invaluable to me is the Zero Avatar Trick. When you’re heading into a busy event (such as the opening day of a sale, or one of the regular fairs in SL) set your maximum number of rendered avatars to zero. Again, Firestorm has this option in the little Quick Preferences panel on the toolbar, but users of the official viewer will have to look in their graphics preferences for that. It’s like an ultra version of the Avatar Imposters setting, and will render every other avatar around you as a pixellated blob, while you still look ‘normal’. You won’t have to render their high-poly mesh hair or clothing, and your actual surroundings (the things you want to see, such as ad boards etc) will be what your viewer focuses on rendering first (because hey, it’s already got you  cached, and it doesn’t have to worry about anyone else).

 

 

 

A very strange, enchanted boy

There was a boy; a very strange, enchanted boy.
They say he wandered very far, very far;
over land and sea.
A little shy, and sad of eye,
but very wise was he.

And then, one day;
one magic day he passed my way.
And while we spoke of many things,
fools and kings; this he said to me:

“The greatest thing you’ll ever learn
is just to love, and be loved in return.”

Twenty personal SL questions, my sartorial darlings; that’s the theme of today’s Monday Meme, and I’m feeling pretty introspective and thoughtful today, so this should be… interesting ;-)

When and how did you discover Second Life?

I first learned of it quite a while before I joined. I remember an article on the BBC website about Duran Duran being the first well-known band to play a gig inside a virtual world, and I was intrigued as to the logistics of this. I’ve seen Duran Duran live in concert a couple of times (they put on a damn good show) and so, curious, I decided to investigate. I looked up Second Life, and found my way – somehow – to what I now know was the map view. Since that was all I found, and there was nothing to tell me I needed to download a viewer, I thought that was all there was to it. So I pretty much closed the browser and forgot about it.

ETA: I just found the actual article that I read. It’s dated 8th August 2006, so I can say that’s the exact  date when I discovered SL. I finally signed up on 24th June 2007. Duran Duran still have a presence inworld (four adjoining islands) and members of the band (notably Nick Rhodes) often log in to interact with fans and the otherwise generally-curious. I attended the exclusive premiere of the TV Mania album (written by Nick Rhodes and Warren Cuccurullo) back in March 2013, and it was awesome to be among the first to hear those tracks, and that they chose Second Life for the premiere.

Then, back in 2007, Daros and I were chatting elsewhere and he mentioned Second Life. He’d just got an account and was raving about how amazing it was, how different it was from other ‘games’ where you’re restricted and guided as to where you can go. I joined up a few days later (Skell is still ‘older’ than Daros, because Daros’s first account was on a different name, but then he decided to change it), but at the time I only had an old laptop with integrated graphics. Remember, this was 2007, so the height of style was YadNi’s and those Freebie Warehouses that we all laugh about now :p It was also pre-mesh and pre-Windlight (for you newer avatars, that’s the gorgeous glinting water and fluffy clouds) and yet still my poor old lappy couldn’t handle it.

I could. not. move. It was molasses everywhere. I tried so hard, because I really wanted to be inworld with Daros, but it was no good. Taking just a few steps was an exercise in futility, and I was frustrated as all hell. So it had to wait for around five months until I had the money to buy a new, more powerful desktop computer, and then I was up and running.

Did you know about virtual worlds before or was this your first experience with them?

This was my first experience with visually-oriented virtual worlds, but not my first experience with using my imagination as I navigated a player-created space. Daros and I were avid MUSH roleplayers before we got into Second Life and, to me, text is still my favourite way of roleplaying. I’ve noticed that things such as fights and battles, for example, lose their magic when all you’re doing is either bashing buttons on a weapon HUD, or trying to type a response to someone who is more interested in bashing buttons on their own weapon HUD, while trying to dodge the blows at the same time. A typical SL roleplay with a weapon-basher in the vicinity usually runs thus:

Assassin very slowly and quietly begins to remove the blade not letting it touch its shealth …getting ready to pounce…slowly breathing in and out

Il Capo draws his sword.

There’s an itch between Skell’s shoulderblades, and he dives out of the doorway, both blades raised

Fred Resident bumped you.
Fred Resident bumped you.
Fred Resident bumped you.
Fred Resident bumped you.

Yeah, not so fun, huh? This is what a text-based MUSH fight can look like:

If the soldier had expected Skell to pull back, he’s mistaken. Oh no, if anything that goads the little bastard even more, and he laughs delightedly. Oh, so it’s a dirty fight, then? All the better and, as he lunges forward again, both blades slash out before him at shoulder height. A long leg snaps out, the toe of Skell’s boot slamming up into the soldier’s crotch before slamming back down to the floor as he dances back with another mad little laugh. Now that’s got to hurt…

And that’s just one pose from one participant. Best roleplay fight I ever had, that one XD So yeah, slight digression there, because although SL is visually beautiful I still think text-based MUSH-style roleplay knocks it into a cocked hat.

Has Second Life met your expectations?

In everything other than roleplay, I think it’s exceeded them. But then, coming in when I did, back in 2007, what we had even then was incredible. Over the years the leaps and bounds that have happened to make this place so amazing are nothing short of mind-boggling.

If you could teleport back to the first ten minutes of your avatar’s slife, what would you tell yourself?

“That freenis? So not a good idea.”

Actually, that’s the flippant answer. The more serious one would be to tell myself not to get involved with a certain group of people that I, naively, did get involved with a few months into my SL. It’s all water under the bridge now, but back then I was very innocent to the unbelievable amounts of manipulation that some people try on in SL and that was my very first taste of it. It took me a few years to wise up to the manipulators (I’m that nice guy who chats to anyone, regardless, and so those people tend to see me as easy meat) but these days people like that get short shrift from me.

How long did it take you to master avatar flying and driving vehicles inworld?

Flying took just a few minutes, although I did a lot of crashing into walls because old laptop = horrendous lag. Driving… ha! That’s something I’m still mastering. I can manage a motorbike well enough, because with that I can drift and the road forgives me, but anything wider and I’m running through hedges and into peoples’ prize prim petunias XD

Do you have a mystery alt?

I have a few ;-) I have a couple of store inventory mule and texture mule alts, I have one that I created just to keep my name when single names came out, I have roleplay alts. Interestingly, of the ones that aren’t just inventory mules, each one has his own personality. It’s like this alt focuses on one part of my personality, whereas this alt focuses on another. It’s both fascinating and bizarre. I put it down to the fact that I love to write, and – while these avatars are all, essentially me –  by the same token they’re also sort of characters of me, too.

Is your SL avatar a reflection of you, or someone you wished you could be?

Well, I wish I had his money when it comes to shopping! This is a question that could be answered differently, depending on how you view it: purely physically (as in avatar shape, age, gender, etc) or esoterically (as in creativity, ability to do things one can’t in RL). If you speak to Skell in SL, you don’t get an avatar; you get me. You get my words, my thoughts, my feelings. A good friend once told me that you only have to let someone talk for long enough, and if you really listen you’ll know who they are. She didn’t mean that you’d know if they were really male or female, fat or thin, young or old; she meant that you’d know the person. For all its simplicity, it’s one of the most profound things I’ve heard in SL.

Yes, of course Skell is wishful thinking. Who wouldn’t want legs for miles, an unlimited wardrobe, and the ability to make something out of nothing? But under all that, he’s still me.

Is there an individual you met in SL that inspired you in your RL? How?

I would put Daros forth for this, but I didn’t meet him in SL. We met before SL, so technically he doesn’t count for this question (although he counts everywhere else; he quite literally is my inspiration).

So the one person (the only  person) that I actually met  in SL who inspired me in Real Life would be my old friend Æble. Indeed, it was she who came out with that quote about listening to people. Æble was the one who inspired me to meditate, and who got me thinking a lot. She was also great fun and a fabulous fashionista in her own right. Sadly, she no longer logs in very much, and I miss her.

Do you feel it is easier to create stronger bonds/relationships with people you meet inworld as opposed to the real world?

Well, as I’ve already mentioned, I’m that guy who talks to anyone. But I’m also that guy who is very  wary of getting close to people. I’ll happily chat away in IM or in person, but I don’t do the ‘strong bond/relationship’ thing. The very fact that I can tell you I’ve only ever called three people ‘friend’ in SL should speak volumes. Not about the other people that I talk to, whether on a random or more regular basis, but more about how I shy away from getting too involved with anyone.

Having said that, Daros and I met online. We’ve never met IRL (we live thousands of miles apart) but he’s been my closest and dearest friend for almost ten years now :-)

Did you ever imagine or believe people could fall in love with someone they never met before Second Life?

Absolutely. As Berry said in her original post, people used to fall in love with penpals. And, as Æble said to me, if you let a person speak (or write) for long enough, you know them and their heart anyway. Physical attraction is one thing, but a deep connection of two minds is the real magic of a relationship.

How has your perspective of dating changed (or not) since you started playing Second Life?

My own personal perspective hasn’t changed, no. SL is its own peculiarity when it comes to romantic relationships. We’ve all had ‘that friend’ (or known someone who did) who is a serial bride, falling from one failed marriage into another. Sometimes I’ll browse the Lifestyle and Relationships section of the SL forum when I’m a bit bored and fancy something to read, and it’s like a neverending soap opera. Drama, cheating men, wives who turned out to be husbands… it’s enough to make my hair stand on end and thank Philip (O blessed Codpiece!) that I already have someone to love.

How has your perspective of employment changed (or not) since you started playing Second Life?

That’s an interesting one. Maybe not of employment, but definitely of making money. I guess there’s a parity with RL if you consider creative outlets such as Etsy, where people can sell things they enjoy making as a hobby, but I do love the possibility that other people like things that spring from my creative well, and they like them enough to buy them. I also like the fact that (if I wasn’t a lazy sod and actually applied myself to making more things in SL) it would be perfectly feasible for me never to have to buy another L$ again. Well, that doesn’t count tier, but for spending money? Sure, if I really worked at it, I could support myself in SL, and that’s something I love about this place.

Name three things in both your lives that overlap each other significantly.

Creativity. In RL I love to write and sketch, and in SL I make stuff. Hrm, what else? I suppose my general gregariousness, in that I’ll talk to anyone. Oh yes, and a healthy dose of bullshit-detection ;-)

If you could live your life more immersively in a virtual world, would you? (Kind of like the Matrix)

Oh hell, YES. Can you imagine not having the work commute and being able to work from home via SL? Or being able to sit around with a bunch of friends from all over the world (which, sure, you can do now, but maybe actually eating and drinking with them) in a dinner party scenario? And what about those times you’ve lounged on an SL beach with waves lapping at your feet, the perfect music playing, and you feel as if you really are  on a beach vacation? If you could live more immersively, you would  be on a beach vacation!

There have been times when I’ve left Skell logged in and sleeping when I’m asleep in RL, just because Daros is on and I wanted to still be there with him, or even when he’s not, purely because I felt so… comfortable  inworld that I didn’t want to shatter the moment by logging off.

How do you think behavior changes for people if they’re inworld vs in real world? Why do you think that is?

I think we’re not constrained by what other people might think of us if they were to see us, and that’s one driving force as to why so many people feel more comfortable interacting in a virtual environment. We all make snap judgements about others, based on how they look (just catch yourself next time you see an avatar type that makes you go “WTF?!” and you’ll see what I mean) so having that removed, and having the ability to be our ideal selves – be that as simple as ‘losing a bit of weight’ in SL, losing a considerable number of years over our real life age, or being a completely different gender – leaves us free to let our minds  speak for us, untrammeled by our bodies. It’s incredibly freeing.

How has second life consumerism changed your perception of spending habits, the value of money, the need to be “bleeding edge” with fashion?

I’ve found myself side-eyeing Skell as I’m trying for the 40th time to get into a packed, limited-to-100-copies sale event and wondering what the hell  I’m so bloody frantic about. Sometimes I give in to that need (because hey, it’s fun) and sometimes I just shrug and think, “Meh, not worth it.”

But if there’s one thing I won’t do, it’s try and calculate how much money I’ve spent over my seven years in SL, because it would horrify me. We are talking literally thousands  of pounds, from shopping to tier, from renting before we got land of our own, to various tipjars and god knows what else.

As to being bleeding edge with fashion, you know what? You don’t need  to have that latest 100-copies-only item in order to be bleeding edge. The original punks were bleeding edge with safety pins, old bits of plaid, and holey sweaters. You can be bleeding edge these days by digging deep and making fashion from some mesh, some sculpt, some clothing layers, etc. It needn’t cost the earth, and it most certainly doesn’t come from putting on all the latest stuff, in exactly the same look as the designer put together! The best bleeding edge fashion comes from play. From putting this with that, trying something else, adding that thing there, and thinking, “Hey, that looks interesting/fun/daft; I’m gonna go all-out with this!”

Do you think virtual worlds like SL drive and redefine human interaction or do they narrow and limit it?

I think they drive it, because in places like SL text is the main method of communication. Yes, we have voice, but I think most people still prefer text. And, with text, you have to really work  to communicate, as it’s devoid of the nuances of body language and emphasis.

If technology progressed tomorrow to allow you to send emotions to people the way you’d send text or voice messages, would it enrich your SL experience or infringe on it?

Hrm. If it was optional (ie: you could choose who you gave emotions to and received them from) I’d be interested. If it was mandatory, I’d probably hit the Quit button so hard you wouldn’t see me for dust. Can you imagine having some of the drama llamas in SL spewing hateful emotions  at you, along with their hateful text? That would be enough to outweigh the good that I might find in such an ability!

Name three skills you attribute to having learned or honed in Second Life alone.

Heh, this is like one of those “how can I make my mundane real life skills look good on a CV?” kind of questions, so let’s see…

  • 3d Mesh Modelling
  • Photography
  • Fashion Design

;-)

If your grand kids googled your Second Life Avatar’s name, would they be intrigued, disgusted, proud or something else?

Not that I’ll ever have any, but they’ll probably just see, “Did you mean Skull Dagger?” XD

(Google ‘Skell Dagger’ and you’ll see what I mean.)

Bloody hell, I got wordy with this. Sorry for the lack of pics interspersing all the text (ETA: I added a few, just to break it up a bit, but I don’t have time tonight for a full credit list. This look will be blogged tomorrow, so come back then if you want credits!), but I did warn you I was feeling kind of thoughtful and introspective tonight O.o

Have some music (and a wonderful video) –

“What are you dooooiiiiinnng?”

Once again you find me full of a stinking cold, my sartorial darlings. The resident Typhoid Mary at work has infected three of us with her offspring’s latest brought-home-from-school offering, so these words are being typed through a haze of hot lemon de-crapifying drink, a throat that feels like it’s swallowed a cactus sideways, and full-on snot-n-sneezes. (Hey, enjoying your breakfast over there? *g*)

Today’s Monday Meme is asking about photobombing, and while I really don’t have the oomph remaing in my poor, infection-ravaged body (oh, shut up, it’s man flu, dammit) to go out and inflict my avatar on someone else, I have been photobombed myself on occasion. I don’t often shoot on location, but when I do there is invariably some poor soul, usually devoid of important things (like, say, a great deal of their clothing… or most of their brain cells) who flies above me or walks right up to me, and then asks, “What are you doing?”

Being English (and brought up proper-like) I usually reply politely that I’m taking pictures for a blog and ask them if they would mind moving out of shot for me. Most of them do, but there are always the persistent ones who linger.

“Why are you taking pictures?”
“What’s your blog about?”
“Can you lend me L$200?”

Then, there are the ones who want to be in the photo so they can be on a blog. Seriously? I’m dressed up in some tragic copper robot steampunk outfit, shooting a dark storyline at Innsmouth (or what-have-you). What makes you think I want Miss Booby Blingtastic 2008 sticking her pixel knockers up my nose on the blog?

In fact, I could  have photobombed someone myself last night inworld. I’d been at Exile, picking up some new hair, and when I teleported back home my Mysti immediately alerted me to the fact that someone was in the house. Resigned to yet another  round of, “Excuse me, private property, kindly leave now,” (because I never eject-on-sight, especially if it’s a newb; I figure a quick tutorial about why it’s impolite to just barge into a clearly owned-by-someone-else home and start using their furniture will never go amiss), I cammed around and realised there was a female avatar sitting in my favourite armchair in front of the fire… completely stark-naked and taking photos of herself (I knew she was taking pics, because her avatar kept smiling).

I swear, our poor beagle in front of the fire was traumatised. DO NOT walk into someone’s house, strip off and start snapping your naughty pics on their furniture, miss!

So yeah, I should have stood behind her and ruined her photoshoot, but to be honest? There’s no fucking way I want pictures of Skell with some naked pixel floozie floating around the interwebs.

As for polite English gentleman? Yeah, she was booted on sight. Naked be-damned. OUT OF OUR HOUSE with yer tits, dammit.

Anyhow, completely unrelated to the subject matter, have a shot of Skell’s Rockstar persona on a fabulous new chair by 22769 [ Bauwerk ]  at World Goth Fair. Including a ton of great poses, it’s available in both plain and gold brocade versions at the event, together with a huge load of other fabulously-dark and gothy items, which benefit the Sophie Lancaster Foundation – a very worthwhile cause that’s dear to my heart. For more info, check out the World Goth Fair blog.

And, with that, it’s time to take my sorry, snotty, sneezing arse off to work. AAA- AAAAA- AAAAAAAAAAA- CHOOO!

*sniffle*

What is this ‘colour’ of which you speak?

Never heard of it.

Black IS a colour! It’s all the colours mixed together, so hell with it; I wear ALL the colours! Just… mixed togeth– *sigh* Okay, okay.

So, today Berry has got it in for me, because her meme is all about COLOUR. (Shut up. I’m English; we add unnecessary u’s to everything like that.) Seriously, I swear she must have been having a sneaky chuckle at the predicament she was going to put Monochrome Me into with this one. *shakes fist!*

BUT! I have, on occasion (when I’m feeling a bit woozy and not quite myself) been known to dabble in the non-monochrome areas of the palette, so here is the Dagger Bird in his more colourful plumage.

I describe Skell’s colours thus: Black, Blood, and Bone. You could also argue that it’s Russian Constructivism at its earliest and finest. Whatever ;-)

The one thing about having a limited palette is that it makes things very easy when you go shopping. You know  that, if you buy these specific colours, you’ll be able to match them to anything you have in your inventory. Monochrome is just my thing, but my other colours are red (denoted by the ‘blood’ bit up there), teal (haha, revenge on Berry who – apparently – can’t bear teal!) and coppery autumnal colours.

We begin with teal. Credits for this look can be found here on my Flickr.

That’s quite an old look, so let’s get more up-to-date with my character of Aes Dana. Credits, plus his story, can be found here on the blog.

Moving on to red, another fairly-old look. Credits and more images here.

Here’s another red look: the boy from Prisoner of the Light. More images, plus his story can be found here.

You will probably have noticed by now that I rarely wear all-colour. It’s mainly still monochrome with splashes of colour. I simply cannot do all-over colour. I think Skell would pass out if I forced him into that XD

And this is my autumnal colour set, my sartorial darlings. Named ‘Captain Tightpants’ (for, well, obvious reasons, plus I’d been watching Firefly ) it’s kinda steampunky. I love these colours and usually have variants of them in at least one of our homes. Credits can be found here.

I even did this, once. Never quite got over it O.o (Credits here. Good grief.)

But, seriously, black IS a colour. And Berry DID ask which colour is our favourite. So it’s this.: Black-swanning about the solar winds. Credits here.

Seriously, if you don’t believe me, check out my Fashion set on Flickr. Yes, there are occasional splashes of colour, but you’d be amazed at how versatile  monochrome can be.

 

 

Hey Joe

Monday Meme time rolls around again, and those are all I seem to have been posting for a few weeks. I haven’t really felt like doing the fashion thing during those weeks, and I’ve never stuck rigidly to a posting schedule anyway. Sometimes you might get multiple updates per week, other times the meme is the only thing that pokes me into blogging. This one’s a lot of questions that’ll need a lot of answers, so I’m starting it before work (yes, Mum, the time on my computer clock right now reads 04:50am) and I’ll be finishing it after I get home.

This week, Berry’s asking about blogging. Given that it’s almost a year since I started Virtual Bloke, I guess I can answer these questions with some sense of retrospective by now.

Which electronic devices do you use to blog with?

For the actual posts, just my desktop computer. Given that I never make a post without including an image, and my image-editing software is all on the desktop, that’s the logical place to do it. I do have the WordPress app on my phone, but the security plugins that I run on the site mean that most of the time I can’t use it! So I’m probably going to uninstall it.

Do you have a mission statement for your blog, if so, what is it?

Not specifically, no. I just waffle on, have fun with SL fashion, bitch a little bit about other SL-related stuff, and generally post whatever I feel like posting, whenever I feel like posting it. Perhaps not having a posting schedule means that I’m never going to be a ‘popular’ blog, but I’m not really bothered. I just enjoy doing what I do. So I guess that  could be my mission statement :p

How do you feel about blogs that use their platforms to spread negativity?

Drama llamas can keep it. I may click once, but never again, once I realise a blogger is being a little shit-stirrer.

Are you a grammar junkie? Do you thoroughly check your blog for errors before posting and/or do you judge other people’s posts if they contain errors?

Oh, hell yes. I’m terrible  for wanting my posts to be written proper ;-)

If I’m looking back over an old post and spot a typo or a grammatical error I cringe and think to myself, “Oh god, how many people read that?!”, and I can’t go on without editing to correct it. That said, my writing is very much what I call ‘headflow’, in that I write as I’m thinking and as I might speak. I’ll give it a once-over to ensure that it all makes sense, and while I’m at it I’ll also proof-read at the same time. You may also have noticed (well, the grammar junkies among you) that I’m a stickler for the Oxford comma. Can’t help it!

If you could switch blogs with another blogger who would it be?

Nobody. I’m me, and I wouldn’t want to be anyone else. Everyone else does their own thing really well, and I do my thing (I hope) really well. That’s good enough for me :-)

Has your blog/blogging style evolved over the year(s)? How?

Possibly? I don’t know. I’ve actually been blogging online for years, but it was more of the ‘shared personal journal’ kind of thing, rather than the focused specificity of an SL fashion and blatherings blog. So I don’t think my style has changed or evolved, but maybe someone who’s been reading from the start might say differently. I’ve no idea.

What is the most extraordinary thing that has happened to you because of blogging?

Someone popping up in the Sn@tch group chat after I’d said something in that same chat, and who piped up with, “Skell Dagger? I feel like I’ve just seen a celebrity!” I was kind of O_____o and then kind of “Huh?”. I didn’t know how to feel about that. ‘Weird’ mostly described it. I’m not a celebrity or a SLebrity, and I don’t want to be one. I’m quite happy sitting over here, yammering away about fashion, bitchin’ about silly folder names, and doin’ my thang, y’all.

When it comes to Second Life blogs, there are different styles: Fashion bloggers, Lifestyle & Travel bloggers, Informative bloggers, and more. Which style do you prefer and where do you feel your blog fits in?

You could call my style “six of one and half a dozen of the other”. I don’t do pigeonholes, so I’m a little bit of everything. I guess some people would class me as a fashion blogger, because I post quite a bit of fashion, but then I also post memes and ranty stuff , which is one reason (the other is my frequent use of fuckin’ profanity, my sartorial darlings) why I don’t get onto the major fashion feeds. That doesn’t bother me (the fashion feed thing) in the slightest, incidentally. I won’t change the way I do things just to be considered acceptable to the people running a feed. If you like the blog, great! If the occasional f-bomb causes your panties to knot up, then well… there are plenty more blogs out there.

What has blogging taught you?

  • That I’ve got an even bigger mouth than I thought.
  • That I need to expand my vocabulary of positive descriptors
  • That putting together full, linked credit lists is a pain in the arse

Share your top 3 tips for new bloggers.

1. Write about more than one thing. If you only blog about one thing, eventually you’ll get burned out. Having another topic to fall back on will give you a boost whenever you’ve hit that burned-out point on your usual subject.

2. Don’t worry too much about visitors and stats, and don’t pushpushpush to get yourself out there, making a nuisance of yourself (and looking desperate, to boot). Just keep posting and readers will eventually come, and they’ll interact. Or maybe they won’t. When I was running a stats program on this blog most of my readers never commented or anything. Consider this: how many blogs and articles do you read in a day that you never comment on? Everyone else is pretty much the same as you. It’s not a contest. Just enjoy blogging, and if you stop enjoying it, take a break. Simple :-)

3. Don’t change the way you write just to please someone else (example: I won’t curb my propensity to swear just so that I can get onto the fashion feeds that don’t allow profanity). Of course, if someone has pointed out to you that you’ve been offensive or rude, then step back, look at what you wrote, and then maybe that  needs to be something you have to work on. But, in general, you’ll find your style and when you have? Stick to it.

4. Next (yes, four; I like bending rules), be honest but don’t be rude. If you blog fashion, don’t Photoshop bad clothing to look good because the designer is your friend, or in the hope that you might get onto blogger lists. And don’t be afraid to be open about faults with an item (although, for the love of all things you hold dear, there’s a way to do that without being rude. Tempering the critique with praise for other things about the item is a good way to do that). And, if you can find nothing  to like about an item then don’t blog it just to rip the shit out of it; simply don’t blog it at all. Ditch it and move on.

5. Then (um, okay, five) learn how to take good pictures. Lighting is important, so make sure you have one good Windlight preset for your shots. If your computer allows it (I know many don’t) then try to make your snapshots as high-resolution as possible, so that resizing them in image-editing software will get rid of the jagged edges. Although your writing is what speaks for you, your images are as much a part of the overall presentation of the blog, so don’t let them let you  down. As you go along so your image-taking will improve.

6. Lastly (okay, six; I like breaking rules, too), don’t expect to get lots of stuff for free (unless you’re a freebie blogger, but that kind of goes without saying). As in #2, just keep posting, taking good pictures, submit them to the relevant designers’ Flickr groups (if they have one) and remember to tag all the designers’ store names on Flickr. You may get noticed, you might not. In the main, you’re writing a blog for you  and for anyone else who cares to read. If you’re only writing it to Get Free Stuff, then the designers of that Stuff will see through you right away.

Okay, blatherings out of the way, onto the fashion stuff. I’m late blogging Menswear Fashion Week (which is ongoing until May 3rd) but this look comes from one of my favourite stores at the event: E-Clipse. They have some fabulous hippie flares and around-the-waist denim jackets, and I’ve paired those up with some sandals (for Slink mesh feet) by Pure Poison, and dreads from Tableau Vivant (currently at the soon-to-change-around April Mens Dept collection).

Since I was listening to Hendrix at the Miami Pop Festival last night, a little Hendrix-themed music seemed just the ticket, especially for this look. Sadly, that album isn’t on YouTube (it’s here on Spotify, though, if you have an account there) but you can preview tracks briefly here on Amazon. The audio quality of this 2013 release is absolutely stupendous  and well worth getting hold of. I had ‘Red House’ on repeat last night; that’s some beauuuutiful  blues right there.

Ha! This font is too much fun :p

This is the ‘Woodstock’ shade of the jeans so, naturally, they’re going to be grubby and grungy.

 

Jeans: E-Clipse – Funkey Jeans (Woodstock) [ thetra.blackheart ]
At Menswear Fashion Week

Jacket: E-Clipse – JeansJacket Around Waist (washed brown) [ thetra.blackheart ]
At Menswear Fashion Week

Sandals: Pure Poison – Adam Sandals (brown) [ shaleene.kenin ]
For Slink feet only
At Menswear Fashion Week

Cuff: Pure Poison – Jake Leather Cuff [ shaleene.kenin ]
At Menswear Fashion Week

Bracelet: Redgrave – Armlet Leather Cord (dark) [ emilia.redgrave ]

Glasses: BY-Design – Lennon Glasses [ partly.falta ]

Necklace: KOSH – Infinity Necklace [ lynaja.bade ]

Earring: KOSH – Infinity Earring [ lynaja.bade ]

Feet: Slink – Mens Natural Barefeet [ siddean.munro ]

Hands: Slink – AvEnhance Male Hands (relax) [ siddean.munro ]

Hair: Tableau Vivant – Monk Hair [ m4ri1yn.magic ]
At the Mens Dept April collection

Arm Tattoos: Little Pricks – Ride the Waves [ syn.beresford ]

Clavicle Tattoo: Aitui – Cover Music – It Was for Freedom [ jesseaitui.petion ]

Belly Tattoo: Corvus – Destruction Tattoo [ lori.stanton ]

Skin: Belleza – Jacob (tan) [ tricky.boucher ]

Eyes: IKON – Ardent Eyes (bone) [ ikon.innovia ]

Poses: Maitreya Animations [ beauvoir.rousselot ] & MiaMai [ mavi.beck ]

Flag: Flag Factory – Hippie Peace Flag [ frenchy.kazan ]

VW Combi Van – Apolon Motors [ apolon.obscure ]

Deckchair & Guitar: What Next – Woodstock Deckchair [ winter.thorn ]

And while I don’t think you’ll find a better audio quality version of ‘Red House’ than the one on the Miami Pop Festival album, this one’s pretty damn good:

Blessed are the posemakers

“What was that?”
“I dunno. I was too busy talking to Big Nose.”
“I think it was ‘blessed are the cheese-makers’.”
“What’s so special about the cheese-makers?”
“Well, obviously, it’s not meant to be taken literally; it refers to any manufacturers of dairy products.”

Heh. You know me: if I can get a Monty Python reference into a blog post then I will. Today’s Monday Meme is all about the pose-makers; a sadly under-appreciated and under-blogged sector of the SL creative market. I always try to mention which poses I use (the only time I don’t is when I’ve literally used so many – sometimes I’ll take upwards of 50 photos for a post and whittle it down to half a dozen – that I can’t remember which ones I used).

Like many other bloggers and fashionista/o types, my poses folder is a sodding behemoth, containing thousands of the damn things. I could give you a list as long as the proverbial arm, but here are a few of my favourite pose-makers.

1. Momomuller

I discovered Momomuller (aka: 3M) during the first Make Him Over Hunt. It was one of the last stops I made, and boy was I glad I stuck the hunt out that far. She has some of the best mens’ poses in SL, and at very reasonable prices, too (L$40 a shot, if memory serves me well). I’ve been using her poses for absolutely years, and I still come back to them time and again. Her store builds are also amazing and inventive, and every time I go there she’s added something new or completely remodelled.

Momomuller creator: Momomura Zehetbauer

2. Agapee

Another one whose poses I use a lot, Agapee also includes a nifty little HUD that acts like a pose stand with all of their poses. Lots of variants of a single pose (different hand placements) and some really great hands-behind-head/hands-in-hair poses.

Agapee creator: Argnit Igaly

3. Diesel Works

I don’t have as many Diesel Works poses as others, but what I do have are really damn good. Again, great basic poses that cover a multitude of situations.

Diesel Works creator: Rogan Diesel

4. R.icielli

Maybe a surprise inclusion here, but around a year ago, R.icielli put a humungous  fatpack of their poses up for just L$99 on Marketplace, and I couldn’t resist it. Yes, many of them are for leggy female models, but a ton of them work for leggy blokes, too ;-) Pretty much every single pose they’d ever made (now back to full-price packs) was in that fatpack, and it’s a treasure trove of stuff.

R.icielli pose creator: Fleur Nicoletti

5. Grafica

Another recent addition for me. Great poses (mirror versions included, which is always a bonus; thank you to every pose-maker who does that) and a good selection of both ‘normal’ poses and the out-of-the-box stuff that I love.

Grafica creator: Alyx Aerallo

Lastly, because when have I ever not broken the rules of these memes, here’s a sixth!

6. Striking Poses

Purely because I couldn’t write this post without mentioning the very first pose-maker whose work I bought. The late Zelly Mornington was one of SL’s most generous early pose-makers, giving away regular dollarbie poses (which I and many others snapped up). I picked up a ton of her poses, from the standard ‘for the guys’ ones to the more out-there ones that worked for Skell (because he’s nothing if not adventurous when it comes to poses) like the one below, which is a Playboy cover pose.

And now, let me just list the pose-makers that are in my Poses folder. There are probably a lot more in my as-yet-to-be-filed folders, but these are just the organised ones. Ready? *deep breath*

Momomuller, 5ifth Order, Abranimations, Agapee, Alchemy Immortalis, ANA, Ana-Nations, Animations Rising, Animazoo, B&F Poseworx, Body Talk, C’est la Vie, CheerNo Motion, Cyanide, Dare, Del May, Don’t Freak Out!, Diesel Works, Discord, Elisa’s, Glitterati (and Glitterati Gay Poses), Grafica, ImpEle, Izumiya, Jonimation, Long Awkward Pose, LeLutka, Luth, Lyndzmatic, MADesigns, Maitreya, Meteorain, MiaMai, Muism, Niqotine, Nlimbo, Oberon’s Trick, oOo Studio, Outrider, PDA, Pididdle, Poise, Pulling Strings, R.icielli, Sociopath, Striking Poses, Sugar Mill, Sunflower, Torridwear, Urban Apes, Vista, Vmotional, Vposes, YuiYui.

Others that I just dug up include:

BehaviorBody, La Malvada Mujer, Petit Pont, Garden of Ku, Zeb & Sly, Ma Vie, Pose Maniacs, Purple Poses, NanTra, Zzang, The Muse Poses, Shey, !bang, Lark, and Rack. Plus some poses that I made for myself using Qavimator. And that’s not even counting the odds and sods of poses dotted here and there in my inventory. So yeah, something of a pose h0r, me ;-)

And now, a dash of colour in this monochromatic post, because a proper Gatsby-style suit deserves a proper Gatsby-style location shoot:

Credits

Suit & Shoes: Just Because – from the ‘Modern Gatsby’ collection (multiple colour options available) [ annie.melson ]

Hat: Couture Chapeau – Sleuth Fedora (white) [ chigadee.london ]

Cigar: Nikotin – Cuba Premium [ raph.dirval ]

Sunglasses: Urizaska – Vintage Glasses (silver) [ hays.uriza ]

Skin: Mr. Bloch – from ‘Notorious’ avatar [ thiagoo.bloch ]

Hair: Shag – My Command (heavily-edited to fit under hat) [ sebastien.aries ]

Aaaand, of course, here is your Python classic for the week!