Dear Diary: All gatcha’d out

Dear Diary,

I have spent an insane  amount of money at the Arcade Gatcha today. I’ve been putting it off until the weekend, when I can log on in the early morning GMT (I figured it would be quieter then, and I was right; only 19 avatars present at the Arcade at that hour).

When I landed, I found this:

And, naturally, the last things to rez were the images of the prizes themselves, so I parked myself in an out-of-the-way corner and went to make breakfast. When I returned to the computer everything had rezzed and I was ready to spend.

And, by god, how I spent O.o

L$12,650

Holy shit. *koff*

Most of it was spent at Apple Fall (I’ve already blogged about how much I wanted everything in this set), Pilot (milk & cookies bar), Vespertine (autumn decor), Pixel Mode (spa bath set), Standby Inc. (coffee machines etc), Barnesworth Anubis (decorative wooden boxes), DECO (awesome ‘legends’ weapons), Art Dummy (beds and other furniture), MiaMai (cute plushie avatars), Half Deer (carved wooden animals & trees), Lark (imaginarium librarium), Baiastice (omg, the porcelain fairies!), Keke (homeopath medicine cabinet), and Trompe Loeil (I wanted every.single.lamp.dammit).

As you can see, I have what might be called a ‘weakness for decor’. What can I say? *rueful grin* I have a ton of duplicates, which will first be given to Daros, and then I might list the rest in a blog post here, for people to claim. I can’t join the trading group, as I’m maxed out on groups and don’t want to drop any.

I left after an hour, as I was experiencing godawful texture thrashing (if you don’t get that problem, be thankful; it drives me bonkers) and the sim was packed out by then. I was lucky to get out without my teleport failing. And, after all that spending, all I can say is: Holy shit, the creators who get into the Arcade must thank their lucky stars, because a whole month of L$ ringing in like that could set them up for the entire year!

In other news, the mini Lord of the Rings  ‘journey’ that we appear to be creating down on the ground in Jindalrae has now been increased by the addition of The Prancing Pony. For those of you (Philistines!) that haven’t read the series or seen the movies, The Prancing Pony is the tavern in Bree where the hobbits meet Strider. Since I had a Strider look already put together, and Daros had created a brilliant  little hobbit look, have a couple of pics:

“Excuse me, that man in the corner, who is he?”

“He’s one of them rangers. Dangerous folk they are — wandering the wilds. What his right name is I’ve never heard, but around here, he’s known as Strider.”

I’ve also been re-reading Virginia Woolf’s Orlando  this week, and it’s prompted a lot of thought about gender, identity, and expression in Second Life; particularly the scene where Orlando meets Shelmerdine, and each realises that the other began their lives as the opposite biological sex and woke up one day simply… changed. Expect a ‘thinky thoughts’ post on all of this sometime soon, once I’ve let it percolate for a bit.

I’ll close with two gorgeous fan-made compilations of scenes from Sally Potter’s lush movie adaptation of Orlando, starring the incomparable Tilda Swinton in the title role, and an utterly fabulous turn from Quentin Crisp as Elizabeth I, whose birthday (Elizabeth’s, not Quentin’s) – incidentally – it would have been yesterday. Again with the unwittingly-synchronicitous ponderings, Dagger!

And this, which – despite the audio being slightly out of sync – I have  to include, simply because, well… Billy Zane as a long-haired Shelmerdine. Be still, my throbbing… yeah ;-)

Dear Diary: It’s a day for cuddling

Dear Diary,

It’s a day for cuddling. It’s been a frustrating day, with a lot of packet loss issues that I’ve reported to my internet service provider. At times, webpages have taken over a minute to load, and trying to build anything in SL has just been a non-starter. And, when that happens on a day that you actually feel creative, it’s stifling and plain old bloody annoying.

Daros and I have been hard at work on the ground in Jindalrae. Since we won that big parcel of land recently, we decided to start building a few things down there. We often get random avatars just teleporting in, and before now there’s just been a couple of our homes rezzed there (mainly the big steampunk tower, and the MYST-based ‘Cleft’ that Daros dug into the ground. I thought I’d share some images of what we’ve been putting into the sim.

First up, on the Tor at the north end, Daros has rezzed and furnished The Looking Glass’s gorgeous Castle Ruins Lodge.

Looks fabulous in daylight, but even better in a dark, evening Windlight preset.

Further down, just below the Tor, I’ve rezzed another Looking Glass build: the Ancient Ruins.

In the middle of a stand of forest (Studio Skye’s Enchanted Tree Tunnel set) you’ll find a pool, and beyond that… something in a clearing.

It’s Senzafine’s ‘La Gitana’ Gypsy Musician Set.

To the right of this, an imposing gate (Botanical’s Japanese Torii Gate) rises above a set of steps that lead down to the new (as-yet-undecided!) land.

Across the way, a bridge leads to a house where a long-expected party is being arranged. (In other words, the most perfect replica of Bag End! It’s Nakama by Funatik.)

Inside, though, it’s oddly quiet. Mainly because we’ve not furnished it much! XD

Down in the Cleft, there’s a waterfall and pond, and strange lights circle around the tree.

Walk past the grain store (stop and pet Flame the cat!) and the library, past the open-air reading room and Atrus’s bedroom and you’ll find a tunnel.

At the end there’s a darkened cave entrance. Dare you go in?

*gives you a shove* Go on, ya wuss! Inside you’ll find an edited version of the Domicile Ruined Temple (made by moi).

Yep. Jindalrae’s starting to come together now.

Meanwhile, I’m snoozing blissfully on the couch, being cuddled by my gorgeous boy and listening to the storm on the Rainy Mood website.

Dear Diary: Weekend headaches suck

Dear Diary,

Weekend headaches suck. They really do. I’ve been nursing an absolute stonker between my eyebrows for the past couple of hours (so what do I do? Yep; I get online to bitch about it, while looking at a bright LCD monitor. Smart move, Skell). Painkillers and Pak Fah Yeow should help, though they both take a while to work.

The main reason why I’m waiting for this headache to abate is that I need all available braincells to box up, put out in the store, and write the Marketplace listing for my latest item. I wanted to put something out (so the world at large doesn’t think I’ve fallen down a big hole, because it’s been a while since I released Interessovat) so I took a look around the GB City build that I put together and realised I could sell some of the empty store shells. The first one out will be the Gorean Medieval store: a giant warehouse with grunged Japanese souko textures. I’ve renamed it Chew’s Warehouse, and if you know your movie references that one should be easy ;-)

Couple of teaser pics:

In other news, I’ve been freaking out over the quality of Apple Fall’s upcoming Arcade Gatcha items. Honestly, I swear I’m going to bankrupt myself trying to get everything that’s been teased on Flickr over the past week or so. So far, I want the reclaimed dresser (all variants), the backgammon board, the chair, the plants… um, basically everything. My wallet is doomed…

I’ve also been getting to grips with CasperVend. A few weeks back, I bought the massive fatpack of everything, and I’ve slowly been going through the options, figuring stuff out and getting items loaded into dropboxes. It’ll be a while yet before it goes live in the store (seriously, we’re probably talking around Christmas!) but once it does you’ll be able to gift items, redeliver, and also use a rezzer to see and walk around anything that catches your fancy.

Ugh. My brain is practically out for lunch. Here, have a couple of pics of me sitting in our office at GB City. I love this place (and yes, I’m blond today). I’m off to find something to eat, in the hope of poking said brain back into relatively-full functionality.

Dear Diary: Today I bought a butthole

Don’t look at me like that. These things are important! Have you actually looked at what’s between an avatar’s buttcheeks? Trust me, even on the loveliest boy, it ain’t pretty. Until recently, the only thing one could buy to simulate an actual arsehole in SL was a pair of underpants layers (and oh.my.god, if you run a search for ‘anus’ on Marketplace you will see more than you ever wanted to see. People, you are seriously, filthily kinky…) or take the route of desperation that I’ve seen at least one male Gorean kajiru go on, and attach a prim pussy to your butt…

Much though I want to beg the creator of the æros cock to make a butthole as good as his dicks, I do what I can and check MP every now and then to see what’s out there. While decorative is nice, animations are better, and an access list is more than important. I ended up buying the Male XTC Ass from VAW (Virtual Artworks). Once your partner’s added to the access list, they can make use of some decent animations (fondling, spanking, rimming, etc), and there’s a really great ‘wiggling’ animation that held me transfixed (because Daros also got one of these things, and oh boy did we have fun last night…)

And then… there’s the poo thing.

Skell Dagger: Realistic poo option? LMAO
Daros Jewell: HAHHAHAHAHAHAHA
Daros Jewell: you kinda got to get it just for that
Daros Jewell: wonder if its mesh poo?
Skell Dagger: If only to see what… oh god, it’ll be temp-rez turds, won’t it? XD
Skell Dagger: FARTS! It farts! *dies* I gotta buy this! *falls off chair, snorting*

(Yes, all men are still 12-year-old boys at heart *g*)

And then…

Daros Jewell: pardon me but I want to ….play with my butthole….
Skell Dagger: O.o
Daros Jewell: oh
Daros Jewell: my
Daros Jewell: god
Skell Dagger: It IS temp rez poo! XD
Skell Dagger: /me falls off chair
Daros Jewell: CANNOT BEND OVER WHILE POO IS ACTIVE

At that point, we were both laughing so hard, we could barely breathe. Yeah, but then – after the playtime, came the, uh, playtime.

Oh yeah. Daros thinks so, too ;-)

And, since it’s kind of apt, here’s some music ;-)

Dear Diary: Mmm, those words taste… crunchy!

Dear Diary,

Well, I am quite happy to munch on them (my words, that is) because it appears that my initial worries about SSB (Server-Side Baking) were completely unfounded. (In my defence, LL has a certain track record for rolling stuff out that, frankly, cocks stuff up at times, so wariness is a good position to adopt. Be prepared, dib-dib-dib and all that.)

I logged on, somewhat nervously, since both of mine and Daros’s home regions are in the Le Tigre server channel: the first channel to get SSB. Le Tigre was the first to get the rollout that irrevocably destroyed all “stitching type = none” sculpts in July 2011. A rollback didn’t fix it. Much of our home turned into this:

Torii. Everywhere.

And then there was the server rollout in October 2012 that returned most of the thousands of prims on all our parcels, leaving us with this:

(That was actually the one home that had the most left over. In some of them the only things that weren’t returned were a single chair.)

So yes. I was slightly nervous ;-)

Nervous to the point of actually considering logging on at a non-Le Tigre region and changing to default noob before teleporting home. (Okay, maybe that was a tad excessive, but the thought of potential fuckery happening to stuff worn from my inventory? In the words of Vizzini: “InconCEIVable!”)

Meh. Stupid thing to think. I ended up forgetting all about it, logging in without thinking, and only remembering as the login progress bar bled past region handshake. By which time, if fuckery was going to happen, it was too late anyway.

I rezzed just fine. In fact, I rezzed bloody fast. “Ooo!” thought I. “Okay, well fuck it; let’s give this thing a go. New skin, if you please!”

Right-click > Wear.

A one second wait, and BAM. There it was.

Woah. The fuck? What’s going on? I’m not used to this speed! No blurring or re-blurring. Just *zap!*

Excuse me while I go O_________o

Yeah, I could get used to this…

Update: Hrm. Okay, I changed outfit (it took ten seconds to rez fully in my Le Tigre region, which – trust me – is lightning-fast compared to the wait times I was experiencing; textures rezzed almost immediately, as did the mesh items – the only thing that took the outfit from about a four second rez to the ten seconds was waiting for my sculpted hair to rez) and then I teleported to the Mudhoney region (to buy Pilot’s 50L Friday item). Mudhoney is on a main channel (Second Life Server 13.06.21.277682) and, within seconds of landing, Skell blurred out completely and would not bake in until I manually rebaked. And then, of course, I was reminded of that loooong wait time I used to have just a few days ago. It’ll be interesting to see what happens when I teleport back home…

Nope. Everything seems to be fine. Looks like there are two bakes going on here: one on Le Tigre and then another one composited by my viewer on non-Le Tigre regions. Heading back to Le Tigre, the bake that was done there is still available, so I notice no difference.

P.S. Oh, Dear Diary? The Hair Fair merchants send out their demos in the Hair Fair Demo group today! I may not be seen for a few days…

Dear Diary: Ch-Ch-Changes

Dear Diary,

Well, here I am on a Sunday morning with a headache. Mainly because I stayed up until after 3am this morning, working on something new and huge, and for some reason I woke up just five hours later.

Tomorrow is Skell’s sixth rezday (*balloons!* *party streamers!* *virtual booze!* *virtual hangover!*) and, usually, I treat myself to something special on that day. My first rezday gift to myself, way back in 2008, was a brand new skin. Back then, at about L$1500, that was a large outlay for me, but now? Pfft! That’s nothing ;-)

It’s getting harder and harder to find things that I want to buy or have room to rez. I’ve seen several beautiful homes, both inworld and on Marketplace, that I’d like, but we already have… several homes (it’s something of a giggle between us, just how many we have) and I don’t know what I’d do with anymore! (Having said that, every year Daros manages to find the absolute perfect thing for my rezday. In the past that has included a building which, after saying I don’t think I could want any more buildings, is so absolutely, achingly gorgeous, I have to rez and furnish it!)

So, the big ticket items for this year’s rezday will probably be something to build with. Maybe a pile of gorgeous texture sets, or a builders’ package of… something. I don’t know yet. I spent rather a lot on textures yesterday, but I’m sure I can find some more ;-)

The reason why I stayed up until after 3am is that, every couple of years I get a bit antsy about the mainstore and want to re-build it. As our stock of items for sale has expanded (along with our building skills) we’ve slowly increased the floorspace of what we’ve always called the GB Mall (it’s actually one big store with several departments, each one of which is owned by either Daros, me, or our dear friend Rannon). I looked back over past screenshots to see if I could find any with images of the stores we’ve had so far.

The first incarnation of it was a little sky mall, probably no bigger than about 30×30, featuring 10×10 stalls, into which we placed our ad boards. I found a few old shots of us at Halloween (with our pet dancing skeleton!) on my Flickr stream:

The second incarnation of the mainstore was a much bigger grungy building (which I later remade and stuck out for sale in both incarnations: with lava, and without lava – but not including the ‘work area’ shown in this image).

The most recent incarnation of the store is two of Lost Dawn’s fabulous old warehouses, rezzed one behind the other. It was the only way we could fit everything in, as back then the land we owned in Jindalrae was limited and the parcels slightly awkwardly-placed. Since we now own almost half the region, it’s time for a change.

Daros’s old Beggar’s Day grunge and skater clothing store. Now he can rez that all out again!

The new build is big. I mean really BIG. I ended up rezzing megaprims over all the land we own (on the ground) then sending them up into the air so I have a base to work on and can see where the ‘holes’ (parcels we don’t own) are. There are only three main ones, and I’ve blocked those out with tall trompe l’oeil buildings, so it looks as if you’re in a city. Then, with the aid of some fabulous new textures, and some (unbelievably cheap and free) modifiable buildings, I got to work.

Here’s a preview of what I got done in just a few hours:

Yes, this is a candy store in the second pic. I want this to be as much a photo op location as a store location. Hell, people could probably even roleplay there, if they wanted to. We might! And yes, there will be more stuff going up behind me in this shot.

I won’t be using all the mapped-out land (I’ll block it off with more trompe l’oeil) but it’s good to know that we can expand if we want to. The one thing I’m dreading is changing all the LMs, but I’ll get to that when it’s done.

Dear Diary: Spread a little happiness

Dear Diary,

It’s surprising, really, how few people in this little pixelated world we inhabit think to contact a creator when something goes right. They’ll quickly send an IM or a notice if something is wrong (and sometimes, oh boy, they do themselves no favours with the way they phrase their problem. “I bought this and WTF? Is this a joke?” doth not for a happy reply make), but when they actually like or enjoy something? It’s usually nada, and I get that; I’ve been that person, too – ooh-ing and aah-ing at a build I’m exploring with Daros, but never thinking to send the creator a quick IM to let them know how much we enjoyed it.

I’ve been to builds that have knocked me for six, for which the creators are lauded throughout the blogs, but I’ve also been to places where it’s the small things that I love. The exquisite textures of the Zigana store (past and present). The texturing on the drawers and vase I bought last week from the Kastle Rock Arabian Market. Finding the perfect pair of sunglasses for an outfit I’m putting together, in RYCA: a store I’d never heard of or seen blogged very much.

And sometimes I receive those kindnesses myself. It saddens me a bit that they come so rarely, but I’m a very small fish waving his creative prim-n-sculpt tail in a fucking great big ocean of ultra-talented creators all hammering out exquisite mesh creations the like of which I doubt I could come close to achieving (mainly because I downloaded Blender, opened it up, took one look at the squillions of buttons/sliders/inputs, and my jaw dropped. Um, yeah, I’ll get back to that one day…)

Last night, I was the recipient of excellent service from a creator, and overnight I received a lovely offline IM from a customer. I have thanked them both personally, but I want to thank them here, too. So…

THANK YOU! to Stasey Oller, creator of Pink Acid, for adding resize scripts to a pair of rigged mesh heeled boots that I’d bought. Graciously acknowledging that a ‘click boots to resize them’ notecard inside the folder was accidental, she then went out of her way to rectify the matter by customising a pair of the boots for me, gladly and with a smile. Service like that is always remembered.

And THANK YOU! to EQ (since she’s not a creator, I’m not sure if she wants her full name out there on a blog) for the lovely offline IM she sent me about my work. I woke up and read my emails, and that put such a smile on my face.

In other news.. Okay, Collabor88. I’ll come back later…

(And, seconds after I took that, I was logged out. AGAIN!)

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 ;-)