Jun 212014
 

This past Monday at Strawberry Singh’s blog, Edie Sedgwick brought us a new meme for the week:

Your challenge this week is to imagine your own avatar demise. Choose a sim, a pose, and wardrobe. Snap a photo of your avatar corpse and blog it! And of course, add your link in the comments below so we can all grieve over the loss of someone so beautiful.

I would never kill off any of my avatars in the sense of deleting them, but I was very tempted to retire Ravensong after my husband died because bringing her in world without him felt too lonely. I did put her into semi retirement for a while, and let her take some time off while I used a different account for a few months until it felt right to bring her back. Now I don’t think I would ever retire her for good, but if did for some reason it just seems logical she’d return as a zombie.

  1. What would you eat for your last meal?  I think I would have something from Chipotle. Zombie Raven says any avatar that doesn’t run fast enough is fair game.
  2. Where do dead avatars go? Well, today Zombie Raven thought a stroll on the pier would be fun. And she had to stop and take a selfie, of course.
  3. Have you ever been to a cemetery in SL?  No, and right now I’m not sure I could bring myself to. I’m still taking baby steps to deal with my own loss, seeing the emotional losses of others would be hard to bear.
  4. What would you like them to do at your avatar wake?  I don’t think any of my avs would require a wake, they’d just quietly transition to their next stage of existence.
  5. What would you like it to say on your avatar tombstone? “Watch out, I’m right behind you.” }:D
  6. Which is worse, when a good friend moves away, or losing touch with a good friend who lives right near you? When they move away. Usually if you are losing touch with people nearby it’s because you’ve begun to grow apart and don’t have a lot in common anymore.
  7. If you knew that everyone you know was going to die tomorrow, who would you visit today? Zombie Raven will just hang out and wait for her friends to turn.
  8. If life is so short, why do we do so many things we don’t like and like so many things we don’t do? Sometimes we have to do things we don’t enjoy a lot because we need a paycheck, and we don’t do as many things as we’d like because we can’t afford it.
  9. If you could offer a newborn child only one piece of advice, what would it be? Hang in there, kid. And watch out for zombies.
  10. What color is your underwear? Underwear?

 

Love

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Jun 152014
 

I’m still lost in memories.

Eight years ago tonight we were making the last preparations for our wedding. We were getting things ready, picking up my maid of honor from the bus station, and looking forward to the big day. I was a nervous wreck, but he was calm. He was always calm. Tuesday will be, or would have been, our eighth anniversary. Thinking about that has been extremely hard, and this is going to be one of the toughest days I’ll face, but I’ll try to make the day special, and maybe try to get out and do something we enjoyed. And maybe I’ll go in world for a bit, and tour some of the places we liked to visit together.

Now and then I entertain the idea of logging his avatar in and just sitting with him. I’ve logged his av in a few times to do some account maintenance and if I have need of his inventory, and a couple times I’ve logged Raven in to stand beside him, or cuddle on the couch for a few minutes. It’s one thing to do that with one of the alts, but when it is his own main avatar it’s a strange feeling. Strange and lonely and sad. It’s quite surreal to watch his av standing there, moving around on screen, while knowing that he will never be the person behind that avatar again. I still haven’t completely grasped that he won’t be a part of my real life again either. I still think I’ll hear him come in the door, and everything will be normal again. Full acceptance is a long and hard journey so far, I’ve still barely gone more than a few steps.

Amidst all my musing about love and memories, I noticed that the weekly blog challenge that went up this past Monday over at Strawberry Singh’s blog, is about love. It comes courtesy of Edie Sedgwick, who is keeping the lights on while Ms. Berry is vacationing. Edie asks us to grab an avatar we love, a friend, a partner, a colleague, and take a selfie. As I’ve mentioned in the past, I’m not terribly social in SL, I never have the courage to friend people and I rarely get friend requests, so any of the “grab a friend” memes have been a bit challenging.

(As an aside, I thought I had actually added a new person the other day, after a brief pleasant chat… I would swear to you that I clicked ‘accept’ on the friend request… but when I logged in there were no new names on my friends list. I don’t know if the other party thought better of it after I logged out and unfriended me, or if I just somehow manged to mess it up, and I’m too embarrassed to send an IM asking if it was my mistake. Oh well.)

There were actually a couple of people I could think of that I might have grabbed and photographed, but as always my thoughts go straight to my husband. You’d think that since I have another blog created just to work through this widow thing that posting there would be enough. Nope, I still must talk to anyone who will listen. He will always be the first person I think of when I hear the word “love” in any context. He was and will always be the love of my life, so I thought I’d answer the questions and gaze at his pictures.

  1. How did you and the person in the photo with you meet? • Via match.com. Sometimes the online dating things work. Or, at least they did several years ago when we tried them. I’d never have the courage to do it again.
  2. How long have you known each other? • Next week would have marked our 8th anniversary, and about 9 years together.
  3. What do you love about this person? • His creative spirit. His calm. His confidence. A million other things.
  4. What place in SL do you love? • I always seem to fall hardest for the scenic, natural landscape sims.
  5. What clothes or shoes in SL do you love? • L&B jeans, they just have such nice butts! Looking through my inventory, I probably have more clothes from Sn@tch than any other individual designer, especially when it comes to texture clothes. I also used to love Artilleri a lot. For mesh clothes I like Cold Logic, and I’m trying to branch out a bit and learn some new designers.
  6. What does love mean to you? A shared joy in each other’s company. Or a particular attachment to something, like nutella. No really, I love the stuff. :D
  7. What is your biggest regret? The past seven and a half months have been filled with “What if?” moments. What if I’d done this differently? What if we’d been more in tune with our health? What if? What if? What if?  It’s hard to shoo the what if’s away.
  8. Which is the one event that has had the biggest impact on you and your life? Meeting my husband.
  9. What do you love and hate the most about the human race? We have such capacity for compassion and joy and friendship. Sadly, it seems many also have a great capacity to be cruel.
  10. What color is your underwear? • Blue ^_^

Thanks to Edie for the meme! :)

Memory Lane

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Jun 052014
 

I’ve found that when, in RL, I start going through too many old photos I begin to get too depressed to function for a while. That’s been happening to me lately, and I suspect it’s worse because my RL wedding anniversary will be in a couple weeks. It would have been eight years this month, but on that day instead of eight years of marriage,  I will have been looking at almost eight months of widowhood. I don’t want to think about that, so I dive into the old photos and try to relive happier times, but I think I just miss my husband more with every photo I see.

I sometimes find that it’s just as hard to look through my old SL shots of his avatar, or the two of us together. It may not be the RL us, but for each shot I can remember what we were doing, whether it was some fun little random moment at home, or out exploring. And for each shot we were together, a few feet apart, in RL. We were constantly looking over each other’s shoulders to see what was going on. I miss that terribly. Every time I go in world I miss him. I want to take him to fun new places, and watch him find spots I never thought of exploring.

Given that I’ve been feeling sad for the past few days you wouldn’t think I’d want to dive into nostalgic photos of our early days in Second Life, but I just felt like doing that today. Maybe it was the idea of “Throwback Thursday” that inspired me, I see people on blogs, or Facebook, or Twitter, posting with that theme every week. so I thought I’d jump on the bandwagon. So back I go to those thrilling days of yesteryear, when particle clouds floated in non-Windlit skies, and ad farms were cultivated all over the mainland.

4-JUNE_002

The old home site. Looks a bit empty these days.

Every now and then I like to go back to the first parcel we ever owned, just to see what it looks like these days. I should have thought of this last month, as it was right around the first of May in 2007 that we decided we really needed to own land. Technically the first land program was still in effect when we joined, but it was never available so we went shopping for a suitable little 512 parcel and eventually found one that wasn’t too pricey, and was bordered on one side by what would eventually be a Linden road. These days there’s nothing there and it has been abandoned to Governor Linden, but back in May of 2007 it was a little green patch amid flashy nightclub supply places, resorts, and big stores.

05-MAY-07 HOME SWEET HOME_002

Almost the same angle as the pic above…

Still, it was all ours and we loved our little patch of land. We happily rezzed a cottage from the library, moved it around a few times, eventually built a privacy screen at the sides and back, then finally moved up into the air, where my hub re-textured the cottage and built a turret, with a little library inside.

16- June b_005

But the best part was the giant flexi earthworm hanging out under the platform

We kept the first plot for about five months before selling it off to the guy with the giant store across the road, and moved to a larger spot. At first I just rezzed the old house, then we began building our own hobbit hole, and I kept trying to set up garden spots with just Linden trees and freebie landscaping items. It may be a little cheesy by today’s standards, but at the time I was just excited to be building stuff and I didn’t care how bad it looked, it was all wonderful and fun.

03-SEP-07 hobbithill_001

In a hole in the ground lived two avatars

We spent tons of time in world in the early days, just building anything and everything we could think of, then deleting it and trying something else. Part of it was because the ability to make stuff was just so much fun we couldn’t resist it, part of it was we were super stingy. If I wanted something to decorate with we hated to spend money on it, at least in those early days, so we tried to make things ourselves. Some of the biggest joys of my second life were watching my husband get absorbed in creating something.  As he started experimenting with making sculpts he decided to build a tree house. I actually quite miss the little tree house, I think if I had my own land I’d be tempted to fish around in his inventory and rez some of these things, just for nostalgia’s sake.

7-OCT-07_015

With fab particle clouds, and spinning ad signs too! Woot!

Much like the first, the area around our second land is mostly empty these days although a large build sits in about the middle point of where our land was. I looked around for a bit, but I didn’t want to loiter too long because there were people about on their own property and they were probably wondering what sort of trouble I might get up to, just standing around on the road, so I flew away.

A lot of the land around where we had the second home was up for sale, though some was at a steep price for a landlocked bit of mainland. Part of me considered the cheaper parcel for a little while, I’m not premium anymore but I’ve contemplated going premium again to get a little plot of my own. I’m not really sure I’d want to live on either of our old sims again, though. Too many memories of the things we built, and all the fun we had there. I have enough trouble wandering through my city in RL and finding spots that remind me of my husband, I’m not sure I want to have that be any more of a thing in SL than it already is.

Still, it was fun to look back, and remember how excited we were about everything in those early days. It was a nice little trip down memory lane.

If only First Life were as easy.

 

 

 

 

Jun 032014
 

This week’s Monday Meme from Strawberry Singh is a new look at the What’s Your Digit question, as well as asking our opinions on fitted mesh. Easy peasy challenge this week! Still, I thought I’d just stand against the wall and look cute rather than post actual digits, because these days mine conform to mesh standard sizes so there’s nothing really remarkable about them. I usually am either in an exact large (as in the pic above) or a medium… the mediums seem to fit better in most mesh clothes so I probably wear that more often, but I really prefer the way a higher body fat setting looks and always keep it higher if I’m stepping out in texture layer clothes.

I did check Ravensong’s height, she’s currently 6’1″ in the Slink flat feet, and 6’4″ in the mid height feet, and her body proportions remain on target for an average human.  I think she’s come down in height two or three inches over the years, but she’s still pretty tall.  I rarely make more than minor adjustments to the face unless I’m switching to a new skin, but I tweak body shape settings not related to the standard sizes all the time. I’m happy with how Raven looks right now, but my avatars will always be works in progress.

Onward to the questions:

  1. What are your thoughts about Fitted mesh? • So far I haven’t had much success with getting fitted mesh to work with my shape. With only on or two exceptions just about everything I’ve tried seems to fit if you wearing a small or below, but on my shape some of the clothes clip through the avatar at their edges, so you couldn’t even hide that with an edited alpha. Hopefully everybody will continue to include standard sizes in their releases even if they go to fitted mesh.
  2. Have you tried any of the new fitted mesh avatars released by Linden Lab? What do you think of them? I played with them here and here. I, along with every SL photographer out there, love the zombies. The rest didn’t impress me.
  3. Have you tried any fitted mesh avatars/bodies created by residents? • I have a petite, but I’ve never tried a full mesh body for a regular sized avatar. I keep meaning to pick up demos just to see what they look like.
  4. Have you tried a mesh head? What are your thoughts about mesh heads? • I think they look really pretty, and are very well done, but unless mesh heads begin to offer the same degree of facial  customizing that I can do on the basic avatar I’m not interested in one for myself. It’s like the petite avs… they’re cute and pretty, but the faces all look the same.  I’m way too attached to my face to use a mesh head.
  5. Do you foresee a lot of changes to our current Second Life avatars because of fitted mesh?  Among the fashion and avatar photography community, sure, of course. They will always be innovative and showcase the newest things available to make SL look stunning.
    Among the general population, I don’t think fitted mesh will make much difference. Lots of people don’t wear mesh clothes or hair now, or buy mesh replacement bits for their avatars. I’m not sure they’d see a reason to buy fitted mesh, which still requires demos and some degree of adjusting one’s shape to make it fit properly. A full mesh replacement body would probably require a new wardrobe as well, especially if you didn’t have many mesh items to begin with. It may be too big of an investment for it to become the common standard for all SLers. Still, this is all early in the game. It will be interesting to see where it goes.
Jun 012014
 


NEWBESTPAL

But how could I resist?

I don’t play a lot of Gachas or try to collect sets of items, so I’m not sure what possessed me to try to get into the Arcade at the moment it opened instead of waiting a week or two until it was easier to access. But I found myself hovering two sims away and happily camming around, and the universe rewarded me with my small new rare friend from Mutresse on the first try. All of their garden gnomes are adorable, but this guy? Couldn’t help it, squealed out loud and fell in love immediately. Come on, how could you not?

I do recommend grabbing the pre-rezzing HUD from the Arcade group before visiting. I put it on about a half hour before hitting the sims (they advise wearing it at least 15  minutes in advance of going in) and when I did cam in everything was rezzing within seconds.  There are lots of really nice decor items this time, and I did spend more than I’d thought I would. I blame it on a lack of sleep, but it was totally worth it. The L.A. hair from Exile and the shoes from Fashionably Dead are also darned cool prizes. And the MishMish Travel Kitties. Ahhh! So much stuff!

But my new little pal is the best.

Yep, I always fall for the guitarist. ♥

May 272014
 


Everybody loves questions! Well, I love questions. I used to love reblogging the “ask me” posts on Tumblr, where readers pick from the list and drop the question number in your inbox. I don’t see those as often anymore and I miss answering them, dorky as some of them tended to be.  Tumblr hasn’t been much of a social space for me in quite a while, even though I have more followers than ever they are all very quiet. I really miss the interaction and community I used to see a couple of years ago.

At the same time I have noticed the SL Tumblr community seems to have really taken off. At the moment I only follow a handful of SLers and haven’t used the Tumblr counterpart to this blog in a good seven months, but it’s fun to see so many posts in the SL tag these days. I sometimes think I should make a new primary account to follow only SL blogs, because right now when I follow them they probably wonder why and assume I’m fishing for followers since I don’t post anything related to Second Life. On the other hand even if I make a new SL Tumblr I suspect I’d always forget to log into it, because that’s what always happens whenever I’ve tried to make an SL-specific account on any social network.

In the end I think I’ll just dust off the little neglected Tumblr mirror blog and see if I can pay more attention to the SL community. The Strawberry Singh Monday meme for this week asks Twenty SL Personal Questions, which seems like a good post to start with if I begin publishing back to the other blog again, right? :)

And once again: Yay! Questions! Jumping right in to the long list.

  1. When and how did you discover Second Life? • My husband saw tech blog articles about it, when it beginning to get a lot of attention in 2006 as a place to make money and create things. As an artist he thought that was pretty cool, and he was also intrigued by the idea of buying and selling land. But at the time we were too busy being newlyweds so we didn’t get around to thinking of signing up until January of the following year. Since we were both hopeless researchers we bought the Official Guide to Second Life, studied it cover to cover, read everything we could find, and were probably the most prepared newbies to hit the grid in early February of 2007. We were ready to create!
  2. Did you know about virtual worlds before or was this your first experience with them? • Although they were not shared virtual worlds I was hugely addicted to the Sims and Sims 2 games, so I was familiar with a 3D environment and was pretty instantly comfortable with SL. This also probably explains why I mostly just wanted to decorate houses and dress up my avatars when I joined. I was aware of online virtual communities well before I heard of SL, but because they were for social interaction they scared me off. I preferred a single player experience.
  3. Has Second Life met your expectations? • I didn’t have any expectations to start with, so I’d say it’s exceeded them and has made me very happy.
  4. If you could teleport back to the first ten minutes of your avatar’s slife, what would you tell yourself? • Can I go back to the first ten minutes of registration instead and head myself off before I create my first account? At that point I will be shouting in my ear, “No! No! Give the name more thought! You can’t change it, ever! Pick something you really like!”
  5. How long did it take you to master avatar flying and driving vehicles inworld? • Flying was pretty easy, I got that right away. I still can’t drive any manner of vehicle without looking like I’m drunk. You should’ve seen me trying to steer a bike around Frisland recently. xD
  6. Do you have a mystery alt? • I have several alts, but usually I only log them in if I want to take a pic with more than one av, or to take them shopping to spruce up their wardrobes. Most of them were created to make cute names, to be testing alts, or to see what was going on with the new user process.
  7. Is your SL avatar a reflection of you, or someone you wished you could be? •  Actually just yesterday a friend commented that he thought I’ve done one of the best jobs he’s seen of matching my av’s looks to my human, lol. I feel he’s being pretty generous, but I have spent a lot of time trying to tweak my avatar’s  features to be a reflection of me. Well, at least as much as one can do with sliders. I wish my RL self was as thin and pretty as Ravensong, she’s me, but definitely an idealized twenty years younger version of me. Personality wise she’s entirely me, I’ve never attempted to create a persona and unique avatar identity that is distinct from my RL identity.
    Actually in some ways Ravensong is someone I wish to be, in that as I tweak her shape a bit I’m using her to visualize my fitness goal, as she’s right around what I aspire to reach ultimately, if I can stick to my plan for a year or so.
  8. Is there an individual you met in SL that inspired you in your RL? How? •  Although I’ve never met them, a lot of the SL photographers I see on Flickr are amazing and inspire me creatively in SL and RL. :D
  9. Do you feel it is easier to create stronger bonds/relationships with people you meet inworld as opposed to the real world? • I don’t think it’s any easier, actually I’ve found that my social anxiety is a little worse in SL than it is in RL. I’ve seen other people make a similar statement and I have no idea why this happens. Maybe it has to do with not being able to make eye contact, and read a person’s body language and hear their voice. Now once that social anxiety hurdle is crossed I think it’s as easy to make good friends in SL or elsewhere online as it is offline, and the closest friendships I have at the moment are with people I met in online communities.
  10. Did you ever imagine or believe people could fall in love with someone they never met before Second Life? • Sure, as Strawberry mentioned, you used to hear about people who fell in love as pen pals long before there was any such thing as the internet. I was never a bit surprised to hear about online romances.
  11. How has your perspective of dating changed (or not) since you started playing second life? •  Not really.
  12. How has your perspective of employment changed (or not) since you started playing second life? •  I don’t think so.
  13. Name three things in both your lives that overlap each other significantly. • I love photography in both worlds. I love to create things in both worlds, albeit with entirely different tools! I keep in touch with some friends in both SL and RL.
  14. If you could live your life more immersively in a virtual world, would you? ( Kind of like the Matrix) • I don’t particularly want to plug something into myself physically because ouch, I’ll just wait for the singularity and download my consciousness lol. Actually what I always wanted was my own personal Star Trek holodeck so I can make my wish fulfillment fantasies come true. Okay, yes I do want to live more immersively, at least sometimes. :D
  15. How do you think behavior changes for people if they’re inworld vs in real world? Why do you think that is? • If somebody keeps their real life identity a complete secret then they can do whatever they want in world, whether it’s good or bad, because they are totally anonymous and there won’t be real life consequences.
  16. How has second life consumerism changed your perception of spending habits, the value of money, the need to be “bleeding edge” with fashion? • I budget a little fun money for SL each month, though not a lot, and I’m stingy with my Lindens when it comes to buying clothes and stuff. I don’t really care about how bleeding edge fashionable I am, I do like to read fashion blogs and pick up new things, but I also still like to wear my regular system layer clothes sometimes. (Horrors!) I am far more likely to buy clothes in SL, RL me is totally the opposite of fashion forward… I’m content to putter around the world in jeans and tee shirts, and when I do see something cute in a display at the mall the first thing I think sometimes is “I wonder if I can find something like that in SL?”
  17. Do you think virtual worlds like SL drive and redefine human interaction or do they narrow and limit it? • I think they present a fun, new dimension to human interaction.
  18. 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? •  I think you’d want to limit that to only receiving ‘feelings’ from people on a very restricted friends list. A sensation of loving emotions from your partner would be pretty cool, or sending someone a feeling of joy, or something uplifting. Not sure I’d want to be the recipient of an emotion sent by a friend who was mad at me though. And certainly not from random strangers, imagine an emotion IM from somebody who thinks your avatar is super hot and wants to let you know just how attracted and excited they are about you… *shudder* O.o
  19. Name three skills you attribute to having learned or honed in second life alone. • The only thing would be 3D building, because I never attempted that before SL. But everything else I’ve honed in SL has also been applicable to and practiced on real life hobbies, such as practicing on how to compose a nice photo, or becoming more comfortable with Photoshop.
  20. If your grand kids googled your Second Life Avatar’s name, would they be intrigued, disgusted, proud or something else? •  If I ever had any I suspect they’d be amused.

:)

Photobombers

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May 212014
 

The challenge from Strawberry Singh this week… Photobombing! Our instructions for the day:

Meme Instructions: Go out exploring the grid and find someone to photobomb, or share a picture or anecdote of a time that you were photobombed in Second Life… 

I contemplated this, but the idea of intentionally photobombing somebody I don’t know fills me with waaay too much anxiety. I rarely have photobombers in my own shots, whenever I’m taking pics somewhere I will either wait until the sim is empty, or I’ll focus on the areas where nobody is wandering around. Still, random people turn up now and then, so I browsed my pics a bit to see if any of them had extra subjects I hadn’t planned on.

01-sept_024smI really didn’t find much, except for this newbie explorer who was hanging around the landing point at Bogon Flux last fall. That does tend to be an issue when you’re trying to capture shots of any sim that is or has been in the Destination Guide, people drop in at random just as you have something set up. I don’t think I had noticed Miss City Girl Newbie  had rezzed in until after I was logged off and looking over my shots.

01-sept_024b

Well, at least she was out exploring!

Although I couldn’t find any good examples (because I’ve probably fixed all of them already), I’m certain the worst photobomber in any SL photos I have taken is myself. When I’m trying to take pics I often hover well above tree level so I’ll be out of the way of the scenery I’m trying to capture, then I begin to cam around for good angles and more nice shots, and eventually I completely forget where I left myself. I usually never realize where I was until I look back at a pic and see that I’m hovering nonchalantly off to one side.  :D