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.

Dear Diary: I’ve just given up on mesh heads

Dear Diary

Dear Diary,

I have just spent a truly maddening  (and expensive) two hours fucking around with mesh heads, head appliers, mesh bodies, and body appliers, as well as skins and all kinds of associated crap like that. At the end of those two hours, I was SO FUCKING FRUSTRATED that I was all but screaming at the computer, and eventually logged out of SL, fuming.

So… what happened?

Warning: A lot of text incoming…

We’ll begin with my finding a gorgeous male skin that I wanted to try. The only problem was, this skin only  came with an applier for a specific mesh head (not TMP, since I refuse to consider that one, regardless). No separate skin and no Slink mesh body applier. However, the same store did  have a full set of general male skin appliers, which – since there was only one body applier set – I assumed would work with all  of their skins. This seems to be similar to many other skin stores: they have just one set of body appliers, and the head appliers (or system skin faces) are the parts that are actually different. It’s a good business model, and it means that a store’s customers would only need to purchase one set of body appliers, and can then buy either the standard skins or head appliers that they wanted from a new release.

So I picked up the demo of the Slink mesh body applier and the demo for the mesh head. I then picked up the demo of  the mesh head. And then the fury began.

The mesh head appliers do  come with a standard skin, but only for the body. No Slink body appliers. So I wore my Slink body and used the all-in-one Slink mesh body skin applier from the skin store. I then tried on the Omega version of the mesh head, applied the skin head applier and… there’s a very visible dark join at the neck. Great.

The head applier didn’t come with eyebrows, so I picked up the demo of that, too. Tried them on, and all together the mesh head with its skin and brow appliers looked good enough for me to think, “Okay yeah. I’ll get it. It’s not perfect around the neck, but eh, I can use something else there.” Since I don’t wear mesh heads all the time, I figured that if I wanted to wear that mesh head, I’d wear a collar or choker or scarf or something to cover the join. It’s something I do quite a lot, to cover little imperfections.

So I went ahead and spent an eye-watering L$2500 on the mesh head. While I was there I thought I might as well be in for a penny, in for a pound, and also purchased the Slink body appliers, extra expressions HUD, and a set of complementary vampire teeth for the head, because one of the other head applier skins was pale and delicate, so I figured this could make a great pale vampire look. All told, a full purchase of L$3650 or so. Ouch.

I got them home and – out of interest – I tried on the ‘pale’ colour of the mesh head’s own appliers (both head and body). What this store calls ‘pale’ turns out to be what most other skin stores would call ‘deep tan’. Oh, joy.

Well, let’s try the original gorgeous skin applier, then. It applied perfectly to the full Omega version of the mesh head. Looked great. At last! Ka-ching! Might as well purchase the eyebrow appliers, too, because the skin applier doesn’t include them. And let’s get those Slink mesh body appliers, as well. I liked two tones, so that’s two head appliers, one all-in body applier, plus eyebrow appliers. Total purchase: L$1497.

And then… more problems. The eyebrow applier – which worked on the demo head – doesn’t work on the full mesh head. I checked several things. Yes, I’m using the Omega-specific version of the mesh head, and the brows are for Omega. I tried all three options (brow, makeup, whole head) and it refused to apply. OK then, let’s look at the HUD for that Omega-specific mesh head.

Attach HUD, start clicking through brow options… and find that almost every single damn thing  you might want to use doesn’t have an option on the Omega-specific mesh head HUD. O-kay. Now what?

I tried purchasing the OMEGA Systems installer for that mesh head. Installed Omega, and tried again. Still nothing. The brows just wouldn’t apply. I relogged. Tried a different region. Nothing.

*snarl*

Breathe, Skell. Breathe. You’ve only wasted a total of L$5200 or so. That’s (*eyeroll*) all.

I’d purchased one other skin (in two tones) from the same store. Loved the skin, then found out the Slink body appliers I’d already purchased (which were the only  ones in the mainstore) didn’t work with that skin. I had to purchase individual body appliers (for L$200 per skin tone) for that specific skin, which are on Marketplace only. Also, that skin only came with a TMP mesh head applier.

By this time, I am so fucking frustrated that I’m at the point of almost defenestrating my computer. I see this SO MUCH these days. A skin store might do one or all of the following:

  • stop selling standard skins altogether and focus only on one mesh head applier (usually TMP), so that people who have purchased their other skins and mesh body appliers (but don’t use TMP heads) are left out in the cold. At least two skin designers, in whose stores I have spent tens of thousands of L$ in the past, and whose older skins I have worn almost exclusively for years, have now moved to only creating for TMP heads and Slink body. No system skins for those of us who won’t use TMP heads. I see countless beautiful skin ads by those designers, and then I realise that oh; it’s for TMP head only. Another lost sale for them.
  • have different skins on offer, each one specific to a different mesh head (and, invariably, the only skin I love is the one for TMP, which I refuse to use)
  • not have matching head and body appliers (eg: Omega or Slink body appliers and only TMP head appliers)
  • separate out each new release to get as much money from customers as possible: system skin (no brows; they’re a separate purchase), Slink body appliers, mesh head appliers (again, no brows; they’re a separate applier) so that someone with only a Slink body will need to buy the system skin just for their head (usually the most expensive option), the Slink body applier, and the brow  tattoo layers. Whereas people with mesh bodies and heads only have to buy the cheaper head, body, and brow appliers.

My sartorial darlings, I railed against mesh heads for a long time, but by god I have tried my damndest to like them, despite that. But this is not the first time I have been so thoroughly frustrated by the confusing lack of choice in the male skin market when it comes to mesh heads and their appliers, that I am about ready to simply give up on them for good.

Seriously, fuck it. I’m done with mesh heads.

ETA: (Several days later) Okay, I’m a stubborn fucker and I refuse to give up. I finally got the damn thing working. Eyebrows are on (although I can’t wear any makeup, because it removes either my eyebrows or my hairbase, but still, the mesh head actually works and looks good. FINALLY.)

Bitch, Please: Let me insult you for having no creativity or drive

It’s time to put those bitch heels on and strut the runway of annoyance again, my sartorial darlings. So, what’s the latest thing to make Skell mutter, “Oh, bitch, please,” at his computer screen?

This little gem from group chat last night, with regard to the limitations of mesh:

Skell Dagger: Sadly, it’s a limitation with mesh. It’s much harder to find shoes that work with pants when you can’t edit the pants now!
Bitch Please: I don’t have any issues finding pants and shoes that work together. Seems to me it’s not a limitation of mesh, but a limitation of ones creativity or drive to make things work together.
Skell Dagger: It’s different for guys, BP. And while I do wear heels sometimes, there is (as yet) no heeled mesh foot for men. Finding flat shoes for men that work with various pant cuffs *is* tricky when you’re a guy.
Other Avatar: BP, nothing wrong with my creativity. :) But I have leggings that extend all the way to my toes. It’s simplty hard to find shoes for slink feet that will not try and compete with that, as it were
Bitch Please: I have male alts. I still don’t have issues finding things. :)
Bitch Please: And they’re always well dressed.
Skell Dagger: I have plenty of creativity and drive to make fashion work. My 190k+ inventory will testify to that ;-)

Hrm. Shall we just analyse Miss BP’s responses, one section at a time?

“I don’t have any issues finding pants and shoes that work together.”

  1. You’re a female avatar.
  2. There’s a METRIC FUCKTON more stuff out there for female avatars than there is for male avatars.
  3. Well ain’t you something, huh?
  4. You’re a female avatar.
  5. Preach it, sistah! Because what the hell do us stupid men know about shopping, huh?!
  6. You’re a female avatar.
  7. Do I need to repeat that you’re a female avatar?

Let us take a little diversion here, shall we? How many special sale events are there that cater almost exclusively for female avatars? I’d guess at least a dozen, changing around every couple of weeks. Now, how many for male avatars? ONE. Per. Month.

“Hey, some of those are unisex!” I hear you cry. Why, yes, they are; if you don’t mind buying only furniture. Or jewellery. Let’s take, as an example, the new round of Genre – one of my favourite places for a freaky boy like me to find unusual stuff to blog. The current round’s theme is Baroque, and you’d think there’d be several gorgeous items for men there, wouldn’t you? Here’s a breakdown of what’s actually there:

  • Dresses: 10 (in multiple colours/variants)
  • Corsets (rigged; only female avatars or male avis on a female mesh can wear them): 1
  • Female footwear: 3
  • Unisex footwear: 1
  • Jewellery: 5
  • Furniture: 10
  • Other female clothing (with boob-shaped mesh jackets, etc): 3
  • Hair: 2 (I’ve seen one male blogger who has worn the tall female powdered wig, but his avi is small and slender)
  • Poses: 2
  • Tattoos: 1
  • Accessories: 5
  • Makeup: 1
  • Female skins: 1
  • Churchwarden pipe: 1
  • Male clothing: 1 (a pair of harlequin leggings)

The last two in that list, plus the unisex footwear and one furniture item, are the only  things that are marketed towards (and would appeal to) the majority of men. I already have a great churchwarden pipe, so I don’t need a new one. I came away from Genre with the following items:

  • The unisex boots (sadly there’s no demo so I took a chance on them and sadly they just don’t work with my avatar)
  • The single available tattoo
  • Two necklaces (unrigged mesh, so I can resize them)
  • One of the female outfits. (I’ll be throwing away the boob-shaped mesh jacket, but joy of joys the gorgeous harem-style pants actually FIT on Skell. Expect to see those in a blog post soon)
  • A brooch
  • A fan
  • Some decor

So, in reality, Miss Bitch Please, you need a damn sight MORE drive  to make things work, when there’s less to work with.

“Seems to me it’s not a limitation of mesh, but a limitation of ones creativity or drive to make things work together.”

Ahahahahahaha! Aaaaaahahahhahahahaaaaa!  NO.

Oh, honey, so very much NO. With that one sentence you shoved not only me but the others who were agreeing with me in that group chat straight down the garbage chute and into the depressing morass of Not Being You. How will we ever cope without your awesomesauce levels of creativity? How do we even bring ourselves to get up in the morning without your levels of drive to make things works together?!

OK, let’s just address that issue of “drive to make things work together”. I went through more than sixty  pairs of shoes and boots in my inventory to find a pair that not only fitted  the extremely-skinny ankles of these fucking amazing pants by VRSION KONVERT, but that also fitted the style of look  that I was going for. More than sixty pairs. I spent almost three quarters of a frustrating hour trying to “make things work together” (fitting both physically and stylistically) on just the shoes alone, and still  I was only about 80% happy with the boots that I ended up using. So don’t you dare  fucking tell me that I don’t have the drive to make things work.

And yes, I can make those same pants fit a ‘normal-with-a-Skell-twist’ look, too, with some great studded loafers (below). But ‘normal’ wasn’t what I was going for in the look, above.

Now, onto “limitation of creativity”. Christ on a cracker, does Skell have to slap a bitch? SERIOUSLY?!

Exhibit A:

I desperately wanted to get that insane female hairstyle to work on a male avatar. There are items from fifteen  different stores in that look (not counting the birdcage and the pose), after I’d cannibalised at least three separate outfits (one of them female-only) to put that look together. *tsk* However did I manage that with my poor levels of creativity? *shakes head at self*

Exhibit B:

Gosh, I must have totally  lucked in here, and the Fashion Gods were feeling benevolent towards me when I put this one together (from sixteen different stores) completely by accident!  It wasn’t that I remembered I’d purchased that amazing headdress over a year before this photoshoot, knowing that – at some point – I would be able to use it for the perfect outfit, after all! And it wasn’t that I was buying female Maitreya hair over four years ago, now was it?!

So yeah, honey. Don’t you dare  fucking tell me that my creativity is ‘limited’.

“I have male alts. I still don’t have issues finding things. :)”

Oh, how fabulous for you! Please do tell me where these male alts of yours shop, because on this blog I’m always looking out for the latest ready-to-wear complete outfits! <insert passive-aggressive smiley here>

“And they’re always well dressed.”

That’s awesome. I’m happy for them. I’m well-dressed all the time, too. This is well-dressed:

I’m well turned-out enough. Nice pants, nice shirt, nice shoes that match and fit, nice bit of retro chic with the sunglasses. It’s all just so…. nice.  That’s just me as I am when I’m hangin’ around, doing nothing very much special. It’s normal-me. It’s average.

I’m very happy for you, that you’re able to dress your male alts well. However, on this blog, I’m mostly not aiming for ‘average’. I’m shooting for a bit more than that.

Then again, on reading your profile after you shut down the chat with that little offhand insult of several people in  said chat, I shouldn’t be surprised. In it, you state that you don’t need my permission to fuck with my head. Well, sweetie, you also didn’t need my permission to shove your head so far up your own arse that you were in danger of seeing daylight past your tonsils, but hey; you went ahead and did it anyway. Might wanna dial 911, because it looks as if you’ll be stuck there for a while.

/me eases off the bitch heels and goes to soak his feet for a bit.

Timezones Unlimited

Bitch heels on, my beauties, and let’s strut that runway of frustration. Today’s topic of ire?

LIMITED EDITION SALES.

Or, to be more precise:

LIMITED EDITION SALES GEARED TOWARD US-ONLY TIMEZONES.

Oh, Europeans, Asians, and Antipodeans, I hear you screaming, “YES!” at me, and I agree: it’s probably the biggest source of frustration for me in Second Life. There is nothing more annoying than receiving a notice from a store that you love, which says, “Only 100 available! Come and get ’em before they’re all gone; sale starts at 2am your time when you’re fast asleep because your alarm for work goes off tomorrow at 5am in your timezone you LOSER, but for hey all my GORGEOUS American friends it will be between 9pm (EST) and 6pm (PST), so they win!”

Well yes, I know those notices never actually say that, but they might as well. And sure, I understand that – when the creator of the items in a limited sale is in a US timezone – then of course their own personal store sales will begin at a time that’s convenient to them. But what about limited sale events?  Ever notice how those always begin on a weekday at midnight? Do you stay up and then trawl into work the next day, yawning and fit for absolutely nothing because you were up past 1am battling to get into a crowded region (where nothing rezzed anyway) in an attempt to get that awesome 100-copies-only item? Or do you just give up and watch the bloggers all writing NO LONGER AVAILABLE under their amazing pictures the next day, as if they’re going, “nyah nyah!” at you because they are US-based and got in (or got sent review copies).

Incidentally, if I get sent review copies of something in advance of a limited-edition event, you will see them before the fucking event, not after it. And, if they’re sent to me at such short notice that I don’t have time to put together a look around them or even take a single photo of them? I won’t blog them.

I’m trying to understand these events. For most people, I suspect it’s just about exclusivity; the opportunity to own something that only 99 other people have. I never really understood that whole I don’t want anyone else wearing what I’m wearing  mentality (which was behind those awful anti-inspection shields that lagged regions to the point of crashing and were easy to circumvent anyway). I guess that’s why I blog, and why – before I had the blog – I posted full credits on Flickr, for years. I don’t want to be selfish; I like to share where I got this awesome stuff, sending customers in the direction of the creator as a way of saying thanks for making said awesome stuff. Yes, I know my paying for the stuff should be enough, but if you stick to that mentality then why do people leave reviews on Marketplace? It’s a way of saying thank you and helping the creator out. No brainer, really; it’s just nice and it’s polite. (Why yes, I am English; how did you guess?)

What I don’t understand why the creators only want 100 sales and no more. As a creator myself, I’d be frustrated as hell if I had to put a high-selling item back into my inventory, never to be on sale again, after just 100 sales. And that goes for any item. I’ve even put old hunt items out for sale when I’ve discovered them mouldering in my inventory years after the fact, because I love them and I want to share them (especially since hunt items are usually very special creations for me).

I guess, if you’re a prolific creator, putting one or two items into a limited sale is water off the proverbial duck’s back. I’m not even going to try and tax my brain (currently suffering from my usual weekend headache, which is probably why I’m extra grumpy about this) by thinking about the stores – yes, one in particular, and my male readers will suspect which that is – whose entire stock  is limited-edition.

*sigh* I think I need to just leave that group. That way I won’t be notified in advance that I’m going to be frustrated as hell every couple of weeks.

Bitch heels off, before I wring my ankle. I’m gonna find some more painkillers.

.::{~~[^**Quit With The Cute Folder Names**^]~~}::.

Admit it. You took one look at that title, shuddered, and nodded emphatically. If not, then take a little scroll through your immaculately-sorted inventory because, even if – unlike the rest of us heavy shoppers – you don’t have a pile of unsorted stuff waiting to be neatly put away, you must have at least one folder where **!!<<OMFG MY STORE IS AMAZING!>>!!** sits above COME SHOP AT MY PLACE.

One starts with the letter ‘O’, the other with the letter ‘C’. Unless you deliberately sort every single thing in your inventory in date-purchased order, rather than alphabetically, the fact that C should come before O is… a no-brainer.

Why do creators do this? I tried to come up with some reasons, and they boiled down to the following:

  • “Special characters put my item at the top of everything; it gets my item noticed1 more”
  • “It looks cute2/creative/artsy/fun”
  • “I am expressing myself 3 through my branding”
  • “I’m going to make you file my item in its own dedicated place4, because you’re so sick of trying to find it”

1: Yes, for being annoyingly-named
2: No, it doesn’t
3: Actually, you’re telling me you don’t give a toss about my blood pressure or my filing system
4: Yep: the trash

UPDATE (July 5th 2013) – Ruina makes a good point in the comments about branding, and I’ll admit that I was being kind of arsey in this post about that. She’s absolutely right (see my reply to her), so I’ve struck that point out. (Note: if I’m ever wrong here, you won’t see me delete shit. I’ll strike it out, but let it stand. The internet is forever, so if you’re an arse at any time, might as well let your arse-ishness stand, rather than try and cover it up.)

Any more suggestions as to why, drop a comment, because I am stumped, dear reader. Thing is, I love many of these stores, but I am getting heartily sick of having to constantly re-name their folders (so heartily sick that, clearly, I’ve procrastinated for too long and I now have a complete morass of folders to work through *sigh*).

As a creator myself I wouldn’t dream of it, because if there’s one thing I know it’s this:

Putting non-alphabetic (for me, this also includes numbers, and when people use the letter ‘x’ as decoration) characters at the start of a folder/item name means your item gets LOST in the scrolling to get PAST all that stuff to find the stuff that’s actually named normally.

You want to be actually found in someone’s inventory? Give your folder a normal name. You do know that certain special characters trump other special characters, right? (Of course you do. You researched that and you use the very top special characters that come above everyone else’s special characters? Dear god, give me a fucking break!)

I’m going to subject you to the mess that is the special-charactered miasma of my unfiled inventory folders right now. Be prepared for a L A R G E image, my little darlings. I don’t like to brag, but you might want a little lube over there, honey, because this baby is BIG:

Mmm, betcha feel nicely sore after that ;-)

The red lines denote points where the alphabet ‘breaks’ (ie: a much later letter comes before an earlier letter). In the case of folder names that start with the same letter, any breaks are taken from the second letter (thus there would be a break between ‘brown’ and ‘beige’ if the former came before the latter, since ‘e’ should come before ‘r’).

Count ’em. EIGHTEEN breaks.

Now, find me the Æros ‘Miles’ avatar that I want to blog.

I’ll wait…

… I’m still waiting…

Ah! You found it! Thanks! I was looking for that ;-)

And, creators? The same thing goes for your inventively-prefixed landmarks…

Dear Diary: Crappity arsebuckets

May 25th 2013

Dear Diary,

I know I’ve neglected you for, well, all year. There was that vaguely hungover entry made on January 1st, wherein I promised (yeah, yeah) to keep up with a diary this year. I even wrote another entry on January 2nd. Then there was that long, whinging entry on January 3rd about not wanting to go back to work after the Christmas break, but after that you and I parted ways and somehow you found your way under the bed (do I even want to know what you were doing under there?)

Anyway, here’s What I Did Today, by Skell Dagger, aged five years and 11 months:

Today was a crappity arsebuckets day. Nothing went right. Purchases = L$3146 (yikes!) and could I put together one fucking outfit from that? Nope. The fashion gods baulked at my every attempt. Individually, it was all completely fabulous stuff. A quick jaunt around the Genre event (current theme = aliens) landed me seven pairs of boots, one pair of earrings, and a necklace. Oh, and some lamps, although god alone knows where I’ll find room to rez those (Skell Dagger: over-decoration a speciality). I guess the lack of anything resembling actual clothing didn’t help much with the general outfit-making, but it was one of those days when nothing worked, and Skell wailed that pathetic cry of pre-party-goers everywhere: “I have an 85k+ inventory; how can I have nothing to wear?!”

Tacked onto the crappity arsebuckets mood, I have a complaint. (Yes, Skell is bitching. Deal.) Whyohwhyohwhy do creators put ‘rigged mesh’ on their ads, and then sneak in an unrigged mesh version as well? I hate to think how many fabulous pairs of female footwear I’ve passed up on, because I’ve seen ‘rigged mesh’ on the ad and assumed there’s no way they’d fit my (size zero, but still clodhopperish, because I’m a bloke, dammit) feet. Today’s seven pairs were all female boots, in three styles. Only one of them stated on the ad that they included unrigged versions, but I picked up demos of the others, just in case.

Sure enough, they contained unrigged versions, but – being demos – those… were no-modify. Not even a resize HUD! How in crap’s name am I supposed to see how they fit if I can’t resize them? You give me unrigged, but they’re the same size as the teeny-toed rigged versions! AUUUGGHH!

I took a risk, and it was worth it in the end, but if there’s one thing that’s increasingly beginning to bug me (other than the usual stuff that bugs everyone in SL) it’s that. Those. Whatever!

So, having failed miserably at fashion, Skell turned his creative talents to building. With Daft Punk’s latest blasting out (on repeat for five days now; we won’t mention what the neighbours think of me, now will we, Diary?) he decided to try his hand at building something in black and gold, inspired by said musical masterpiece.

Two hours later, and no matter which way he tilted his head, it looked… doubleplusungood. Daft Punk? Daft ha’porth, more like.

I’m going to close, dear Diary, by flashing my arse at you. Well, by flashing Fruk’s idea of my arse at you. I had begun to despair of ever seeing mesh pants of as high-quality as I see in womenswear, but without the saggy, “I just crapped myself” look. If that’s your thing, well fine and dandy, but it ain’t mine. I like a firm butt, thankyouverymuch, and thank fruk someone out there gets it.

So here. Happy-arse Skell ;-)