Stick a fork in me; I’m done

Or, rather, GB City is done. I’m still around, and will be for as long as SL is still kicking and screaming. But I took a long, hard look at my transaction history today, and realised that – much the same as home taping was supposed to be killing music – so Marketplace has killed my inworld store.

In the last month I have had a total of 87 transactions: people purchasing things I’ve made. 86 of those were from Marketplace, and just ONE was from the inworld store. We get plenty of visitors  to GB City, but they never go beyond the landing point. Why? Well… that’s where the lucky boards are. (And yes, I’ve tried out various things, from moving the lucky boards [in which case people stop showing up altogether, because they’re too lazy to go looking for them] to building an entire roleplay location with Daros, to try and boost visitors to the area.)

I’m sorry, guys, but I can no longer justify paying for an entire region of tier (not to mention paying for a weekly classified ad) just so you can get a freebie. GB City will be closing this month and our stores will move to being Marketplace-only. I’m going to tier down to a more affordable level, so I’m no longer paying almost £250 a month for nothing. It’s long  overdue, but I’ve hung onto all of that land for as long as I could. It took us a long time (and a lot of money) to obtain it all, and I suppose that now we’ll probably end up surrounded by shitty, lagtastic mainland-type homes full of poorly-scripted waterfalls and horses (dear god, the memories I have of some neighbours who lagged the sim to fucking soup, but hey-ho).

I could be doing much better things with that £250, which right now I’m effectively throwing away. If people would bother to shift their arses out of their skyboxes and actually go around and shop inworld  then it might be worth keeping, but since most people are too lazy to even leave a fucking review on a Marketplace item, I’m not going to expect them to haul arse to anywhere except the latest lagged-out special events that only the big-name creators get to sell at. Fuck the rest of us little guys, eh?

Bitter? Me? Yeah, I kind of am. Almost ten years in this place and I still go out to visit stores in person and shop there. It’s a shame that so many other people can’t be bothered to do that anymore, and prefer to shop from an online fucking catalogue.

Someone broke my boyfriend! (aka: The Day When Support… Didn’t)

Inventory not loading? Avatar a cloud? Unable to change outfits or wear anything? You need to read this post.

Last night, Daros and I were chatting outside of SL. It was getting late, I was yawning, and so he suggested we both log into SL for a goodnight kiss. On arriving there, I was greeted by a textual wail of, “I’m a cloud!”

He was still a cloud five minutes later, although he appeared perfectly normally to me. We tried the usual fix of changing his hairbase (the brow-shaper one) but that didn’t work. Several relogs later, this exchange took place:

Daros Jewell: argh
Skell Dagger: Still cloud?
Skell Dagger: Change your entire outfit
Daros Jewell: cloud!
Skell Dagger: You look fine to me, so it’s something at your end of things
Daros Jewell: omg
Skell Dagger: It’s usually me suffering the cloud problems! It’s a network issue, normally
Daros Jewell: i can only share rename or delete my outfits. i cant wear them
Skell Dagger: Are they greyed out?
Daros Jewell: nope
Skell Dagger: Can you right-click and replace current outfit?
Daros Jewell: nope
Skell Dagger: OK, you’re going to need to do the default avatar thingy
Skell Dagger: Hang on
Skell Dagger: Avatar > Avatar Health > Default Male Avatar.
Skell Dagger: You’ll be a noob again, but then you need to relog.
Daros Jewell: k done
Daros Jewell: waiting
Daros Jewell: nothing
Skell Dagger: Are you getting any messages from SL?
Daros Jewell: no
Skell Dagger: Like inventory cannot be found etc?
Daros Jewell: no
Skell Dagger: OK, is your inventory fully loaded?
Daros Jewell: folder contains no attachments or clothing
Skell Dagger: The outfit folder is empty?
Daros Jewell: i’m missing about 16k of inventory

Okay, so this was pretty serious. He was missing a third of his inventory, he couldn’t wear any outfits, he couldn’t even wear a single item, his outfit folders (of which–like me–he has hundreds) were all empty. And, about ten minutes after doing the Test Default Male avatar thing, he looked like this:

Right then. Time to crack knuckles and get that inventory cache cleared. So I talked him through how to do that on Firestorm, and he relogged. We waited for his inventory to load…

Fetching 0 items.

Well… shit. Right then. Drastic measures. A full, clean installation of Firestorm. We followed the proper procedures for that. Log back in, import his backed-up settings… and still a cloud with no inventory.

Fucknuts!

Okay, it was Live Chat time. I thought that maybe he was suffering something akin to the Current Outfit Folder corruption issue, or that Linden Lab needed to run the inventory fixing tool they have on his account. And, of course, Live Chat told him to download the latest official viewer. He did, installed it, shuddered his way through a login on that monstrosity, and sat at Pooley while his inventory… did  actually load.

Fixed? Thank god! Now to relog with Firestorm…

…and he was a cloud again with no inventory. What in the ever-lovin’ name of FUCK was going on? We’d now been trying to fix this for over an hour and a half, and poor Daros was at the end of his tether, figuring that something was completely fucked up in Firestorm and that he’d have to use the official viewer from now on. I was scratching my head and thinking of all potential issues:

  • We’re in a Le Tigre region and we’ve often had weird problems after new server code was rolled out to Le Tigre
  • But I wasn’t having the same issues, so why was that?
  • It was the day after a rolling restart… oh wait, what were the server release notes for that restart?

So I went off in search of those. Five minutes later, I ended up on the official forums. And, by chance, I spotted this thread on the ‘server’ sub-forum: What is going on today with inventory and clouding?  It was dated from April 7th, and Daros hadn’t logged in since before then (as we usually chat on a daily basis elsewhere). I quickly scrolled down and then I saw this reply from Inara Pey:

[ … ] as of today, all viewers must  have HTTP Inventory enabled in order for your inventory to load following a refresh and for your avatar to render, as service-side support for UDP fetching has been deprecated by the Lab grid-wide.

  1. Normally HTTP Inventory is enabled by default. To do this:
  2. Make sure you have the Develop menu enabled in your menu bar at the top of the viewer. Press CTRL-ALT-Q if you cannot see it.
  3. Click on Develop to list the menu
  4. Make sure there is a tick alongside HTTP INVENTORY.
  5. If HTTP INVENTORY does not have a tick in front of it, then it is disabled. Click on it to enable it (and display the tick)
  6. Closed the Develop menu and re-log.

Your inventory should fetch correctly / your avatar should render OK once you have re-logged. The option to disable HTTP Inventory will be removed from the viewer in a future release.

I pasted that to Daros and he quickly relogged back into Firestorm. Sure enough, HTTP Inventory was not checked  in his viewer (it was checked in mine, because ages ago I suffered from the texture-thrashing issue and I remembered seeing someone mention checking HTTP textures was a way to stop it. I must have checked both HTTP options, which was why I was having no problems at all).

He checked HTTP Inventory (and textures, just to be safe), relogged and BINGO! He could see himself, and his inventory loaded just fine.

So, Linden Lab:

  1. Where was the advance notice that UDP support for inventory was ending, and that residents would have to ensure that HTTP Inventory was checked in their viewer (with, y’know, instructions on what to do, in a MotD perhaps?), or else they’d lose all ability to work with their inventory, change their clothing, or even rez?
  2. Why weren’t the support team aware of this simple fix?

In total, it took me and Daros TWO HOURS to figure all of this out, and by the end of it I was dropping with sleep and poor Daros was frustrated as hell. That has to be the longest goodnight kiss ever.

TO SUM UP

If you’re having all of these issues:

  • Your avatar is a cloud and won’t rez
  • Your inventory won’t load (or won’t load properly)
  • Your inventory folders are empty
  • You can’t change outfits (right-click > replace outfit)

Then open the Develop menu of your viewer (CTRL + ALT + Q) and scroll down to ensure that HTTP Inventory has a tick or checkmark next to it. Relog, and everything should be fine.

If you’re only having the first issue (avatar is a cloud) but your inventory is loading just fine, then either try changing your hairbase (the one that looks like a brown wig, not the one that looks like a pink dragon tattoo) or check your connection to SL (wireless connections can struggle a bit).

 

The miracle of love

How many sorrows do you try to hide in a world of illusion that’s covering your mind?
I’ll show you something good, oh I’ll show you something good.
When you open your mind you’ll discover the sign that there’s something you’re longing to find.
The miracle of love will take away your pain when the miracle of love comes your way again.

My beloved, my best friend, my beautiful boy. I can never thank you enough for everything you’ve done for me, everything you’ve been to me. Love you, gorgeous. Thank you for always being there for me.

<3

Uninvited

Like any uncharted territory I must be greatly intriguing.
But you? You’re not allowed. You’re uninvited
An unfortunate slight.

Love this mix of this song. I have a habit of banging it on repeat and singing along (pity my neighbours!) whenever someone’s goaded me, wound me up, annoyed me, pissed me off; anything like that. See, I’m normally the politest, most tolerant person you could ever meet. I’ll talk to anybody (I’m that guy who strikes up conversations at bus stops) and it takes one helluva lot to force me to the point of letting off steam in any way.

(Scroll down. There’s fashion stuff in a minute. I just need to get something off my chest here…)

One surefire, guaranteed way to do that is to be pushy, and that’s one reason why I have so few people on my Contacts list in SL. For many years, the only others on my list were trusted friends I’ve known for years, and recently I’ve added a couple of creators to that number. Very, very occasionally I’ll add someone I’ve spoken to a few times, but in all honesty I don’t actually like  adding people to my list. If I add you and you never contact me again, then after a couple of months you go off the damn list. Why the hell add me if you don’t intend on speaking to me now and then? Not keen on ‘friend collectors’, darlin’.

(Incidentally, if you’ve been added to my list and you’re wondering, “Shit, is he talking about me?” then a clue is if I’ve ever instigated an IM conversation with you. If I have, then I’m happy to have you on my list. Also, if I don’t instigate an IM conversation, but you can see  that I’m enjoying the conversations that you  instigate [and honestly you’ll know if I’m enjoying the chat, because if I’m forcing it then you can see I’m actually making a real effort  to be part of the conversation, rather than it flowing naturally] then I’m also happy to have you on my list.)

The other kind of addition is worse, for me, and it’s my damnable English politeness that makes it so fucking hard for me to say, “Sorry, no,” when I get a friendship offer. That addition is the kind that pushes. And I don’t mean the kind that sends occasional IMs. I mean the kind that:

  • IMs you the very second you log in, before the login progress bar has finished moving across and you’ve even bloody rezzed  (they want your attention NOW)
  • Logs on, IMs you immediately, then logs off again when they get your autoresponse (they only log on because they want your attention; if you can’t/don’t give it, they log off)
  • Constantly asks you what you’re doing, then when you ask them why they want to know they say, “I’m bored.” (they want you to entertain them)

Seriously? That last one actually happened to me with someone recently, and more than once. You’re bored, so you’re asking what I’m doing, because… you hope it’s something I can stop doing so I can un-bore you? What the fuck does that make me, to you?

I AM NOT A FUCKING TRICK PONY WHOSE SOLE PURPOSE WHEN LOGGED INTO SL IS TO ENTERTAIN YOU. GO ENTERTAIN YOUR-FUCKING-SELF.

Booted and muted. Because that wasn’t the first time this person had been pushy and demanding like that. And yes, I know this rant didn’t deserve to be put into a fashion post, but this look was put together while I had this song on repeat, and that kind of behaviour is most definitely uninvited.

What’s also uninvited? The intimation by a certain ‘macho’ section of SL that femme boys (and occasional femme boys like me) aren’t worthy of the descriptor ‘male’. Stop sucking your own dicks, ladies, and go tell it to the flowers. Y’know what? We don’t give a flying fuck what you think of us, because we’re the ones flying the creative flag, we’re the ones pushing boundaries, and we’re the ones with the BALLS around here. You? You just amble around in your massive muscles and boring denims and split-open shirts and look down your over-tanned noses at the guys who are having real fun with fashion. You wouldn’t have the balls  to try anything different. Too. fucking. scared. No homo! No homo! God, get a fucking grip, girls.

Have a pretty, pretty boy, my sartorial darlings. He doesn’t care what you think; he’s just flying his beautiful freak flag :-)

Like anyone would be, I am flattered by your fascination with me…

I’ve had my say and I’ll say no more. Credits are at the end of the post. Enjoy the song; it’s great for sticking the metaphorical finger to arseholes. Pun totally  intended ;-)

“This is not allowed”? You’re uninvited. An unfortunate slight.

Credits

Jacket: A:S:S – Idol Jacket (white) [ photos.nikolaidis ]

Pants: Gizza – Vintage Jeans (ornamental silver) [ giz.seorn ]

Boots: Razor – Dread Boots (bleach) [ kehl.razor ]
From the Final Fantasy Festival

Necklace: Ellabella – Ensorcelled Necklace (lavish) [ ellantha.larsson ]
From the Final Fantasy Festival

Ring: Maxi Gossamer – Royal Khadijah Estate [ maxi.gossamer ]

Hair: Exile – Far Behind (frost) [ kavar.cleanslate ]

Eyes: IKON – Lucid Eyes (gray) [ ikon.innovia ]

Skin: Swallow – Manu (ivory) [ luciayes.magic ]
From the Mens Dept  February collection

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

Nails: A:S:S – Slink Appliers (dragon scales) [ photos.nikolaidis ]

Makeup
Down nose – Pin Me Down – Bane [ shyntae.demonista ]

Base layer – A:S:S – Glam Rock Glitter (silver) [ photos.nikolaidis ]

Top layer – A:S:S – Hydra Makeup (black) [ photos.nikolaidis ]

Forehead – The Plastik – Soul Ink Reloaded (Ege) [ aikea.rieko ]

Poses
Purple Poses [ audrey.guter ]

AKEYO (from my AO) [ artoo.magneto ]

The Muse Poses [ audrey.cresci ]

Petit Pont [ hironey.fairey ]

CheerNo Motion [ sinystra ]

The Winter Season Challenge: Norwegian Wood

For some reason, The Beatles’ classic Norwegian Wood  always makes me think of winter, and especially Christmas. I’ve no idea why (read the lyrics; yeah, nothing to do with snowy stuff!) but I suspect it’s just a longstanding word-association for me. Norway’s Christmas gift to the UK – since 1947 – has been the huge Christmas tree that stands in Trafalgar Square each year. It is given in thanks for Britain’s support of Norway during the Second World War. So, to me, Norwegian Wood  makes me think of trees from Norway, and that leads inevitably to that Christmas tree.

Today’s Monday Meme is a winter season challenge, to take a wintry image (you know me; I can’t stop at just one, because I love to tell stories with my pics) and answer some questions about winter. I decided that, since I dragged the decs out of the loft IRL at the weekend, I’d bring home the tree in Second Life :-)

What is the December/Winter season like where you live?
Changeable! I remember brilliant winters as a kid, knee-deep in snow, but until recent years we’ve had more wet winters than snowy ones; more winters where the white on the ground comes from successive frosts than from whirling flakes. Only in the past three years have we returned to the freezing, snowy winters.

When you think of winter, what’s the first thing that pops into your head?
Preparedness. Not because we have the kind of winters where you need your own personal snow plough (not where I live, anyway) but I walk to work each day. It’s 20 minutes each way – uphill on the way in (and consequently downhill on the way home). Plus, as I work an early shift, I leave my house at 5am. In the middle of winter in my part of the UK this means I pay attention to the ‘feels like’ temperatures and wind direction more than anything. It may be only -7ºC outside, but the windchill can bring it down to something like -15ºC. (That’s 19.4ºF and 5ºF respectively, for those of you still using old money *g*.)

I keep one drawer ready for those winter walks to and from work. 100% cashmere scarf, Thinsulate beanie hat and gloves, thermal socks, waterproof ski jacket with a padded hood (keeps my ears warm!), ice grips (needed on those hills), lined waterproof overtrousers (for when it’s pelting down with snow/sleet/rain), and waterproof thermal hiking boots. I may look like the Michelin Man, but at least I don’t arrive at work/home shivering and with a broken bone or two!

On the plus side, at 5am after a snowfall? Yeah, nobody else is around. I maaaay have been known to act like that little kid in The Snowman, giggling and stomping through all that thick, virgin snow when nobody’s looking. It’ll be slush by the time I walk home, so I enjoy it at 5am ;-)

Have you ever played any extreme winter sports?
Nothing extreme, no. I daren’t risk broken bones. I did all the usual kid things, though: sledging and pouring water onto the ground to make ice slips. God knows how many pairs of shoes I ruined skidding down those things (or seats of trousers that I ripped!)

What do you like most about this season?
Sitting indoors with a cup of something hot (a really good coffee laced with brandy, for example) and watching snow whirling down outside. I’ll happily hypnotise myself that way for hours ;-) My grandparents had a coal fire, so I have a lot of wonderful memories of winters spent at their place way out in the countryside, toasting bread (and myself) by the fire. They lived opposite open fields, and I remember a fierce winter one year that had snow drifting across the fields, over the five foot hedge that surrounded their garden, and halfway up the living room window. Grandad opened the front door to a wall of snow so I could stare at it (and probably poke holes in it or something, curious little brat that I was).

Do you celebrate Christmas, Hannukkah, Kwanzaa or another holiday during this time of year?
Christmas was a big ceremonial thing when I was a kid. It was the only day Mum cooked a full fry-up for breakfast, and my grandparents would visit (we alternated where we spent the day: at home with grandparents visiting, or visiting them). In order for the adults to get a couple more hours of sleep, there would be one gift waiting for me outside my bedroom door: something quiet, but absorbing (I was – still am – a bookworm, so a fascinating book was a favourite here), but once I heard the family stirring that was my cue to leap out of bed.

I would be vibrating with excitement, but nobody was allowed to open any gifts until breakfast was consumed. My one fry-up of the year and I was always too excited to enjoy it! While Mum washed up the breakfast plates, I would be given permission to carry all the gifts from under the tree (which was in the dining room) and into the living room, sorting them into piles by each armchair (my pile, being a kid, was about three times the size of everyone else’s). Finally, everyone would sit down, and we’d open gifts in order of age: first Grandad would open one (inveterate squeezer that he was, he’d try and guess each one before opening it), then Nan, then Mum, then I’d have to open two or three to keep up.

We had to keep a pair of scissors on the coffee table, because Grandad was a sneaky git with the sticky tape and you’d be lucky to find a gap big enough to get a fingernail in. Then, when we were done unwrapping, Grandad said the same thing every single time: “Well… that’s that for another year.” (You know what? I decided to carry on that tradition, and still say it myself each year.) Then it was Christmas dinner and a snooze before we all watched the Queen’s Speech at 3pm. More presents on Boxing Day (Dec 26th) because Mum didn’t want me to have the excitement of loads of gifts one day and then nothing the next.

Happy memories, those :-)

And that’s the end of the questions. Now, for the rest of the pics!

The house is no longer available, sadly. It’s POST’s offering for last year’s Cold Winter Nights Hunt. There’s a summer version, plus two winter ones. I’m not going to list every single item by name; I’m just giving the stores and their creators. It’s getting late and I want to get this posted before I crawl into bed for my 4am start for work tomorrow. If you want to know the exact name of something, drop a comment and I’ll let you know what it is :-)

Full-sized versions of all images can be found in this Flickr set.

Credits

Jacket & Sweater: Sleepy Eddy [  metro.moonwall ]

Jeans: Gizza [ giz.seorn ]

Boots: Lapointe & Bastchild [ paul.lapointe ]

Glasses: Steinwerk [ aveline.stein ]

Hair: Redgrave [ emilia.redgrave ]

Piercings: Pekka [ kathya.szczepanski ]

Skin: Birth [ silent.alchemi ]

Eyes: IKON [ ikon.innovia ]

Poses: Grafica [ alyx.aerallo ]

Gloves: FATEwear [ damien.fate ]

Indoor Decor

POST [ van.auster ]
House
Red Laquered Boxes
Red Votive Candle
Books
Notebook
Candles
Ashtray
Trunk
Pencils in pot
Bellows & Iron Poker
Rug

Wayward Muse [ nidalia ]
Radio
Vases

Cheeky Pea [ isla.gealach ]
Cacti Terrarium
Dreamcatcher

What Next [ winter.thorn ]
Charlotte Sofa

LAQ Decor [ winter.diprima ]
Decorated Christmas Tree

The Dreamer Creations [ anthony.gartner ]
Chest Trunk
Potted Palm

Alouette [ scarlet.chandrayaan ]
Fire Escape Shelf

Zigana [ nalena.fairey ]
Workbench
Books & Letters (packaging item, works nicely as decor!)

Nordari [ jordan.giant ]
Curtains

Outdoor Decor

Studio Skye [ alex.bader ]
Enchanted Tree Tunnel (4 seasons)
Enchanted Woods

Dwelling Quay [ xavier.novelli ]
Best Weather (non-particle rain/snow/etc)

!bang [ trieste.minuet ]
Sledding (sled & poses)

Sculpty Republic [ anthonys.republic ]
Pine Tree Mesh Kit (full perms)

Holly came from Miami, FLA

We’ve lost a fucking legend :-(

Holly came from Miami, FLA
Hitch-hiked her way across the USA
Plucked her eyebrows on the way
Shaved her legs, and then he was a she
She says, “Hey babe, take a walk on the wild side.”
Said, “Hey honey, take a walk on the wild side.”

Music drives my life, and when the news of Lou Reed’s death broke on Twitter about an hour ago I – like everyone else – went straight to my music folder and dug out the classics, and then went deeper into the old Velvet Underground stuff.

It’s with no small amount of eyerolling from me that a death like this is usually greeted by some people trying to out-muso each other, citing more and more obscure songs as their favourites. Me? I went straight for the following:

And my absolute favourite:

And here’s a wonderful interview with Lou Reed, conducted by Neil Gaiman. (Note: Since Neil’s just linked to this on his Twitter account, the link may be slow to load for a while.)

Keep walkin’, big man. You’ll be sorely missed.

Update
I’m closing comments, trackbacks, and pingbacks on this post, as – for some reason – it’s currently attracting some 30-40 spam comments per day. My Askimet filter is catching them, but it’s a fucking pain to keep emptying the damn thing every day.

The lights in my Second Life

The second part of this week’s Monday Meme asks us to do the following: Blog about one of your closest friends in Second Life.

Second Life (along with other portions of the interwebs that I’ve inhabited over the years) reminds me of one of those plastered-all-over-the-net inspirational quotes. You know, the kind that go like this:

Sometimes the people who are thousands of miles away from you can make you feel better than the people who are right beside you.

I’m not going to blog about one of my closest friends in Second Life; I’m going to blog about the three people who are the only ones I’ve called ‘friend’ in SL.

Only three? Yep. I don’t collect friends. I do have many acquaintances inworld, but very few people who are close enough to me that I would call them friends.  And I’m going to start with the most important one of all…

My beautiful Daros.

As I was walking home from work today and pondering over this post, I wasn’t sure if I could find the right words to express how much Daros means to me. I could stretch my arms out as wide as I could, standing on tiptoe like a child and yelling, “THIS MUCH!”… but that wouldn’t be enough. I could hire a plane to drag a big banner emblazoned with ‘THIS MUCH!’ from one end of the horizon to the other, but that wouldn’t be enough either.

Don’t be fooled by the beautiful big innocent eyes, the love of all things cake, and the endearingly childlike attitude; my guy is smart as a whip, unbelievably creative and talented, and a neverending inspiration to me. He’s been there for me through no end of RL crap, and in turn I’ve tried to be all I can for him during his own episodes of RL crap. One of my fondest dreams is to cross the ocean that divides us and just hug the stuffin’ out of him. One day I will :-)

My profile pick for him says the following:

My dearest and most treasured friend, both in SL and RL. We’ve been just about everything we could be for each other: best friends, brothers, lovers, business partners, and spouses. But no matter what we are to each other in any given time and place, the thing that I value the most is your unwavering friendship and love. You’ve always got my back, and you know I’ve always got yours. Love you to bits ♥

I wrote that several years ago, and it still holds true. No edits required.

Actually, yes. One more edit. This:

Love you, gorgeous. You’re my life <3

And next up? This big dude:

Rannon, fellow Bastard (Gentleman Bastard, that is; our group of builders), and a big, ol’ hunk-o-pervy-lurv. (He is SO going to bend my ear for that – heh!) I’ve known Rannon for years, too and he’s the most solid, steady, and dependable influence anyone could have. If you ever met him, you might think he’s a bit gruff; the strong and silent type. He kind of is, but he’s one of life’s anchors: the steadying presence that makes itself felt even if the person isn’t around. Hey, big guy, so damn glad you’re a part of my life.

And lastly – yikes, it’s a girl! XD

I rarely meet Æble in the pixel, because most of our chatter has taken place in IMs. We used to hang out more when Daros and I frequented the old Forum Cartel place in Allana, but over the years we morphed into a comfortable long-distance IM ‘correspondence’. She doesn’t log in as much as she once did, and I miss yacking with her about fashion, giggling over completely stupid shit, bitchin’ about the peculiarities of some designers/bloggers/et al, and – most of all – I miss the conversations we had about awareness. It was Æble who introduced me to meditation and sent me the occasional notecard with some Buddhist quote that made perfect sense for me at that moment. She has the most amazingly Zen attitude to life and I wish she’d get back to her fashion blogging, because dammit, she’s so good at it!

Them’s my friends, folks. A very small and special bunch of people that I’m blessed to have had cross my path.

The Secret Diary of Skell Dagger, Aged Seven and a Quarter

Don’t worry about the pilot. He’s… uh… otherwise indisposed.  *toes rug over wriggling heap that’s making muffled sounds* You’ve got ME today, not him! See, there’s this meme thingy that he sometimes puts me into stupid poses for… something about raspberries? Anyway, this week’s meme thingy is all about what I get up to when he’s not arou–

*fetches stapler and STAPLES rug down over not-so-wrigging-now heap*

Where was I? Oh yes, this week’s meme thingy is all about what I get up to when he’s not around, and for that… well, he needs to be not-around, as it were. So he’s not. Ignore the thing under the rug. It’s a, um, very big rat that I caught. *nods* Terrible rodent problem in this house.

That’s how his day with me usually ends. I just sit around in silly outfits and full-on slap, waiting for him to CTRL+Q. As soon as he’s poufed, I fucking scarper, mate!

I’m in a constant panic, in case he suddenly remembers something and logs back in, but that only happened once, and I was *cough* with Daros at the time, so I don’t think he minded at ALL. *innocent blink*

So, I go here.

And I leg it into the bedroom…

OFF with all that tarty crap, dammit! And back in my own skin. You think we’ve all got those crappy Linden skins underneath? Pfft! We only wore those – every one of us – so you lot out there would make us more and nicer things. And IT WORKED. Muahaha!

*cough* Um, yes, back to the blog post thing. My own skin.

See, he puts me in all this fancy stuff, so when he’s finally gone? I kind of… don’t wear anything.

First, I gotta wash off all traces of the pasty skin and slap…

And then, ’cause I don’t want to tan with a beard, I ‘ave a shave…

(Uh… do you always tilt your head like that when you’re reading blog posts? Mustn’t half give you a crick in your neck…)

Anyway, then I catch some rays.

Do I feel bad about him having to work out there in that Real Life place?

Nah ;-)

Look at me. Do I LOOK like I miss him?!

See, I figure it this way: he makes me do all that fashion crap, so I deserve a nice break when he’s not got me all dolled-up, right?

And then… hey, you’re doing that tilty-head thing again. (Also, why are you screaming?)

Ohhh… oh, NOW I get it…

Hehehe ;-)

AAAAANYway. There’s one thing we both have in common…

*blink* What tap? Oh, THAT tap? Perfectly coincidental placement, I assure you. *blink* *innocent smile*

As I was saying…

…after a long day’s slog (him at that Work thing, and me doing his fashion crap) we both gotta just… faceplant.

And then Daros’s pilot logs off and the fun really begins. And no, you ain’t seeing pics of THAT! O.o

Brief credits (hey, I ain’t him; you’re lucky I’m giving you these!)

Skybox: reBourne

Shaving kit: Pilot

Skins: Fruk & Birth

Hair: Exile

Feet: Slink

Pants: Shi

Boots: [email protected]

Neck thing (never said I was a wordsmith, okay?): Aitui

Cock-that-you-can’t-see (hehehe): æros

SUDDENLY (!!) A HAND RISES FROM BENEATH THE RUG!

Ack! *legs it back into the tarty stuff and poses prettily as the pilot emerges, spitting tack— er, staples*

Pilot eyeballs avatar, then mutters something about blogging the friend thing tomorrow.

Namaste

Soon, silence will have passed into legend. Man has turned his back on silence. Day after day he invents machines and devices that increase noise and distract humanity from the essence of life, contemplation, meditation.
– Jean Arp

The quote at the top of this post is, I’ll admit, somewhat ironic, given that I’m writing this on one of said distracting devices: a computer. However, there is much to be said for the immersiveness of Second Life (which, of course, needs a computer to access it) and how, even when sitting on a beach in SL one can feel a sense of the same relaxation one achieves on a real life vacation.

We’re a quirky bunch, us avatars. Many of us dress in SL according to the RL seasons. If I’m chilly sitting here at the computer, I’ll pull on a sweater, but then… so will Skell. Daros prefers open spaces inworld, whereas I would rather be surrounded in some way, be it in a house or a forest etc. We decorate our SL homes for various holidays (for us that would be Halloween and Christmas).

Inworld is a mirror of Outworld… or is it the other way around? Let me tell you about something that just happened…

Roughly half an hour ago, I found myself on one of our platforms with a rising and rather intense urge to DO something. But I didn’t know what. I quizzed myself: do I want to build? No. Do I want to put together a fashion plate? No. Do I want to read a book IRL? No. Housework? Hell, no! Sleep? Already had a nap.

I was getting frustrated and feeling pretty restless. ‘Caged tiger’ comes to mind, and it was getting worse. I rarely feel like that, but it’s horrible when I do.

And, just like that, I realised what it was that I needed to do. I needed to breathe. So I went to my beautiful reBourne Bali  skybox, sat down in my meditation room, and did just that.

Back just before Christmas 2012, a friend introduced me to meditation. She patiently guided me as I sometimes IM’d her wondering if I needed to sit a certain way, or breathe a certain way. The answer was no; there’s no right way to meditate. You find your  way to do it. The only thing that’s important is to be calm and still, and not berate yourself or get frustrated if your mind wanders (as it inevitably will). Her method of finding stillness (becoming a lake) didn’t work for me. Every time I tried to become a still lake, I found myself rising, until I realised my stillness was a slow-drifting cloud in the sky.

I meditate twice daily, both for very short periods (just 5 minutes as soon as I wake up and 10 minutes right before I go to sleep), for which I use a simple meditation bell app on my phone. It can be incredibly difficult to still your mind on first waking (all those sleep thoughts still being sorted!) but when mine wanders I just gently bring it back and carry on. Dispelling tension is also hard (I carry mine in my shoulders, facial muscles, and scalp) and I’ll sometimes focus a full meditation session on simply doing that.

The method that I use is a simple one: I focus on my breath at the point where it enters my body (just inside the tip of my nose). I feel the coolness as it enters, and the warmth as it leaves. Simple as that. This YouTube video was the one that eventually gave me that method, and it works perfectly for me.

I remained sitting at my computer desk for today’s extra meditation, simply cupping my hands in my lap with thumbtips touching, and placing the soles of my feet together on the floor (closing the circuit, as it were). With the big mindfulness bell at this website set to ring every minute, I sat and breathed for 20 minutes while Skell did the same in SL. As well as the sound of the bell, I also had the ambient sounds of the forest and birds that come with the Bali skybox.

And the caged feeling melted away :-)

So yes, there’s a hell of a lot to be said about the immersiveness of Second Life. Even though I was sitting in a desk chair behind a computer, I was also sitting in a beautiful house in Bali with birds chirping in a dense, distant forest and a sonorous bell chiming as I became air.

Thank you, Æble, for showing me the way :-)

Dear Diary: Veni, vidi, Venexia

Dear Diary,

Daros and I have been having so much fun in Venexia since the changes to the sim were announced. They’ve breathed fresh life into our roleplay, now that we’ve changed our race to Paesani (human). The roleplay on The Redemption (the ship that’s the Paesani ‘safe haven’) has been great and, while the Pae are still a small band, they’re a happy few: a band of brothers (and sisters), all with interesting backstory.

The Paesani have laid claim to the docks, but the Jakaal (Venexia’s equivalent to Lycans) have claimed The Slaughtered Lamb, which is the tavern directly opposite the main bridge to the docks. I plan to stand on the safe side a great deal, and pull faces at the puppies in the pub ;-)

Our clan is L’ombre, and Daros is Baldassare (second-in-command). We are the humanity of Venexia, fighting to reclaim the city from the clutches of the undead. Yes, there are other humans – the Borghesia – but don’t speak to me about them. *yells across the sim* “COLLABORATORS!”

We’ve rented a small room on the dockside (directly opposite the bridge to the city – ack!) It’s not much, but it’s a home, and it gives Skell a place to brew up his weird concoctions of healing herbs, not to mention the pouches of various smoking herbs that he relies on rather too regularly…

Couch: Dutchie
Drawers: Zigana
Chest: Dysfunctional Designs
Candle, chair, and Books: POST

Washstand, mat, screen, fireplace: Dysfunctional Designs.

Shelves, pestle and mortar: Dysfunctional Designs
Copper pot: 7 Pasangs to the South
Herb box: Sa’ng Fori Design (felicitas.finney)
Dresser: from a sculpt map by Katy’s Kreations

The entire home is furnished for a total of 53 prims. The fireplace is especially great, at  just two prims: one for the fireplace itself and one for the chimney. Fabulous for roleplay location rentals, where prim count is often tight.

We have two captives aboard Redemption, vampires both: a Cainaanite (traditional Lestat-type) and a Lilitu (demon-type). Skell has been guarding them in their cage on deck. Whether they end up eating each other isn’t his responsibility. *shrug* If one decides the other is dinner, you think I’m going to step in there and pull them apart?!

Mind you, catching that Lilitu wasn’t easy. It might be small, but it put up a helluva fight. Skell ain’t looking too pretty right now…

But, for better or worse, this is where we Paesani find ourselves. This is our home.

This is our haven, and this is where we must try to find our freedom.

Pick up an explorer tag, and come and add your story to ours.

.::VENEXIA::.  [SGS] Action RP Game, Venexia