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. 😀
  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. 😀
  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.  😀

Newbie?

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May 162014
 

15-MAY_019
Linden Lab released new mesh starter avatars yesterday, giving new accounts a variety of choices of human or supernatural avatars, all using fitted mesh bodies over the basic avatar shape.  They’ve also been added to the library, so I thought I’d try them on to see what new accounts will have to choose from, and to see just how much they could be tweaked.

15-MAY_014

This is the Sara av in her natural state. It seems that they are entirely no mod when you put them on, but you can swap out the shape for one of your own and then tweak the body a bit. You can’t modify the face, unfortunately, and they’re incapable of changing expression. I think she looks okay but she’s a bit thin, (although probably not when compared to most of the standard small and extra small avvies running around SL.)

I swapped her base shape for a standard medium shape, then outfitted her in a nice new Magika hairstyle and a mesh dress from Cracked Mirror, also in medium. Some of the mesh dresses I tried fit okay, others required a large size because it’s not possible to wear an alpha layer for the dress.  Since I had her standing still in a pose I’m not sure how well she’d move with the dress, I suspect she’d have a bit of clipping here and there. Shoes are a lost cause, since nearly everything is designed for Slink feet these days I think our starter will have to stick with her boots or roam the grid barefoot.

15-MAY_017She doesn’t look bad, although the skin on all of the avatars looks sort of splotchy up close. I can’t guess at what people entirely new to SL will think about these. I remember my first few minutes in SL, I wanted to start playing with avatar customization immediately, and didn’t even start exploring orientation island until I’d tweaked my shape and fiddled with my clothes. If I’d found it impossible to customize my look and thought my only option was to swap to another starter avatar I’d have been really disappointed. On the other hand I came into SL having already gotten used to highly customizable Sims characters, so I may have had a higher expectation for how much I could change my appearance than other new users.

I don’t know how much information LL will have available for brand new users to explain the difference between a basic avatar and a fitted mesh avatar, or if they even feel it’s necessary.  If they don’t offer anything I suspect it will fall to merchants to explain why clothes don’t fit, or in the case of system layer clothes or new skins, why they don’t appear on the mesh avatars at all and require switching to the “classic” avatars. I would imagine most people will eventually want to change their appearance. especially after they see how nice an avatar can look with a good skin and nice clothes, so there will probably be some moments of frustration. I rather wish I could think of someone I know offline who might be persuaded to give SL a try so I could hear what they think of everything. I’m curious to see how this works out.

As for me, I was just really happy to put my own shape and skin back on.

Quiet time

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May 112014
 

I shall relax and catch up on my reading.

May 062014
 

The blog challenge this week over at Strawberry Singh’s blog is all about color! She asks us to blog a pic of our favorite color or colors, and we learn that if anyone is considering giving her a gift it probably shouldn’t be teal. 😀  I wasn’t sure if I’d try the challenge this week because I felt like it should have a fashion component, and I usually avoid fashion challenges because I’ve no idea how to style my avvies and talk about clothes like a fashion blogger. Eventually I realized that it’s useless to resist a meme so I began sifting through my inventories to see if I could find something colorful.

I always say my favorite color is blue, (and I’m pretty delighted by the skies in the pic above too) but I also am fond of pinks and earth tones, and I really like some shades of fuchsia and (sorry, Berry) teal, especially when paired as an accessory with black. In RL I’ve always tended towards wearing dark colors, in fact I have far too many dark colors. I definitely took to heart that old advice that dark is supposed to be slimming for a big girl and as a result I now have to stop myself when shopping because I instinctively reach for the black shirt first. I seem to be doing this in SL as well, although as standard mediums I don’t think either of my girls need to worry about looking thinner. I’m amused that I dress Ravensong like me rather often… sometimes just in the sort of clothes I’d love to wear if I were a bit slimmer or could afford the RL versions, but other times, as below, she’s totally me. Or I’m her… I haven’t quite determined which yet it is yet. 😀

Raven and her slightly flashier altsister do have the benefit of a better wardrobe selection than I, and there were some brighter colors lurking in inventory. I love the little pink jacket from Emery, and the pink Nairobi shirt from Cracked Mirror at the latest Fameshed needs to be in my RL closet. 

At the end of the day, I realized I was more obsessed with finding pretty skies than finding colorful outfits.  I may not wear a lot of vivid colors, but I love to have them surrounding me, whether it’s windlit SL skies, or colorful accessories in SL or RL, or the various bits of cobalt blue glass stuff i have a fondness for in RL. Color is wonderful, I could never last for long in a subdued, monochromatic home.

I think the next time I take Ravensong out shopping I’ll inject some brighter hues into her wardrobe. Since she’s pretty much mini-me perhaps she’ll inspire me to liven up my RL wardrobe too.

🙂

Has the dawn ever seen your eyes?

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May 062014
 

Have you walked on the stones of years?
When you speak, is it you that hears?
Are your ears full?

Music keeps me afloat. Music has held my hand for the past six months and reassured me that life really will get brighter one day.  A common love of two bands in particular has introduced me to some of my closet and most treasured friends. Sometimes I wish I could thank my favorite musicians, and let them know how much the music they’ve created has meant to me, but I’m sure they’ve heard people tell them these things many times. I’ll just leave my little bits of gratitude here and there for a while.

Thank you, guys. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

My song of the day is in honor of my prog sisters. They don’t read this blog or have much interest in SL, but I had to share the above pic of me and my armored pal at the Prog Museum with them earlier today, which they did find pretty cool. 😀