Just a Doll

I confess.  I hadn’t really jumped on the mesh bandwagon.  I did install a viewer that can see mesh, just so that I can view people and things the way they were meant to be, but I haven’t gotten anything mesh for myself.  I’ve just been sort of “meh… whatever” about the whole thing really.

Then I started reading about the Mesh avatars from Doll Coco.  http://cocorolemon.blogspot.com/

They remind me of Angelina Wrona’s artwork.  A haunting beauty that I had to check out for myself.

The bodies are free, there is a light and dark.  Then you have to buy a head and clothing for it and only heads and clothing from Doll Coco will work on these avies.   I can only probably afford one head and I couldn’t decide which one I wanted so I went home to try on the bodies first and see what I thought before making a purchase.

Being a headless mannequin is probably supposed to be a bit creepy to most people, but it wasn’t to me. I think it’s gorgeous. The lines of the body and the way it moves, which is probably the whole mesh thing at work, whatever the reason I found this avatar breathtaking. Sensual even.

I decided to take my doll out for photos and chose [.XIV] which is a an interesting sim that incorporates the artists thoughts about dolls, fairytales, time and not wanting to grow up. You can read more about it here http://xivinsl.wordpress.com  and  here http://secondlife.com/destination/-xiv–2

I probably shouldn’t have, the sim is rated moderate and only after I took these pictures did I notice that and read the no nudity rule. I promptly left but the sim has much more for me to explore so I plan to go back  when I’m clothed… and when I find my head.

Doll Coco Mesh Doll Avatar and Clothing
http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/COCO%20DESIGNS/168/143/4014

[.XIV] Evanesce   http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/XIV/80/161/21

 

Dolls make think of Emilie Autumn and this whole post reminds me of this song.

HuMaNoiD

I stumbled on a hunt today called “The Diamond is Mine” and since hunts are one of the activities I’m doing as part of this project I decided to follow it and see where it brought me.   It was a nice easy hunt, not too long, and once I got home and unpacked I found quite a few great gifts that I’ll definitely be able to use.  One of the dresses was black and white polka dots, with a bright red belt.  Stark contrasts inspire me for some reason and I decided this look had to be photographed.  Immediately I thought of HuMaNoiD which I hadn’t visited yet but heard a lot about.

The ground level of Humanoid has a beautiful starkness that I feel changes mood depending on the lighting you chose so I took the opportunity to play around with my lighting and see what I could come up with. From eerie to nostalgic to mystical in just a few clicks.

I felt that my photos were leaning a little too much towards fashion shots, and though there is nothing wrong with that, I am trying to stretch myself and see if there is some artistic ability in me. I saw a box, a crate really, and immediately knew that’s what I was looking for. It turned out to be the perfect opportunity to play with depth of field again. I tried to show you that once before, but I think this time it was a bit more successful. With depth of field the part you focus on, this case the neck/face is in focus and the foreground and background end up a bit blurred.

I was pretty happy with how that worked out actually. I think maybe it works better on close ups because I could barely see it when I tried it on a landscape shot. Now to experiment with shadows.

That one might be one of my favorite photos I’ve done to date. It really captures that contrast inspiration I had when I set out on my journey today. I do realize a lot of my photographs tend towards a “dark” feel to them and I’m not actually a dark person so I wanted to see if my next picture could capture the idea of stark contrast but feel “light”. The dragonfly walkers (I don’t know if that’s their real name, I just made that up) on the Humanoid sim made me think of butterflies so I pulled out this free butterfly prop and pose a friend of mine showed me on Marketplace.

I think it worked out pretty well, despite my legs sort of cut off there.

You can spend an hours discovering every little nook and cranny of the HuMaNoiD sim, but that’s just the beginning. At the landing point you’ll notice about a dozen doors. If you click on them they open, and click again and you’ll be teleported to various skyboxes with different themes and moods. One of my favorites was this circus and being the clicker that I am I noticed you could swing on the trapeze, or even walk the tightrope.

Of all the shots I took today, I identify with this one the most. It’s perhaps not as nice a picture as the others but I had to include it because it really speaks to me.

Just a few more steps and I’ll be there.

Everything I have on today  is from The Diamond is Mine Hunt:  http://sophiarossen.blogspot.com/2011/11/diamond-is-mine-hunt-3.html

Butterfly Prop and Pose Free on the Marketplace:  https://marketplace.secondlife.com/p/Baffle-I-flutter-by-Freebie/2672536

The breathtaking HuMaNoiD Sim:  http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Gilmour/97/120/21

The Ravenswood Theatre Company Presents Phantom of the Opera

We took our seats and a voice came on and told us a few of the grounds rules. They asked us, as many large events do, to remove scripts or other unnecessary attachments to assist however we could in reducing lag. In speaking with Alexial earlier she had asked we not to TP in our friends. There is limited seating at Ravenswood Theater mostly, as you can imagine, because the timing of all this is down to science and lag could certainly have hampered the experience. It would have been devastating if one of the actors were to crash and not be able to get back in so the number of avatars is carefully planned and controlled by RSVP. We were asked not to use gestures or open chat during the performance, and though a reasonable request I think it probably turned out to be unnecessary. I think everyone in the room was as speechless as I was and no one said a peep through the whole thing other than the roars of applause at intermission and the standing ovation at the end. Lastly, not a rule, but a suggestion, we were asked to turn off name tags, display names and group titles. I wasn’t really convinced that it would make a difference, but I complied. I’m SO glad I did. These folks know what they are talking about.

This is another one of those times when my pictures won’t do something justice, and not just because of my photography skills or computer, but because you need to have been there to experience the lighting, the set changes, the costumes, the animations all timed perfectly with the soundtrack to Phantom of the Opera.

The curtain opens to the auction scene and I’m looking down from my balcony all smiles. I knew the performers would be furries as it was noted in the news release, and I felt that added to the charm of seeing this done the Second Life way, but honestly with 15 minutes I stopped even noticing because they were just the characters.

Being in “SL” mindset I was camming around, peeking back stage and on the roof when suddenly the chandelier crashed onto the audience.

That was the moment I was hooked. The pixels fell away, I forgot I was wearing a headset. I was there, in that moment, watching Phantom of the Opera and the next three hours were pure magic.

The set changes were done so smoothly I didn’t even pause to wonder until after the fact how they managed to move prims so quickly let alone consider the amount of work that must have gone into creating all this.

The costumes were brilliant and the speed with which they did costume changes, the perfectly timed coordination of all this, I just know they must have put countless hours into rehearsals.

The use of animations is what made this performance come to life. Whether they were meticulously selected or created specifically for this I’m not sure, but it takes a special kind of animation to make you forget you are looking at an animation and not people moving around a stage.

Lighting and special effects plays a bit factor in any production and they went to a lot of trouble to incorporate that in the Second Life version as well. I should have taken some video to show you, but look carefully at these two pictures, taken seconds apart and mostly unedited other than cropping. It was the actual lighting that changed in the venue to match what was happening in the performance.

Look again, just over the fireplace… isn’t that amazing?

Now remember, the soundtrack is running over the stream this whole time, so all of these set changes, costume changes, lighting effects, particles, gestures and animations have to be timed perfectly in order for the show to work, and it absolutely did. I have so many pictures here hoping in some small way to be able to demonstrate that.

This next one I took after one of the brief IMs I exchanged with my date when he said “Zoom in on the desk, look at the note.  I can’t believe the detail they’ve put into this”

My favorite scene of the entire performance.

The one point throughout the whole evening when I actually paused, pulled myself out of the moment and said “They had to have custom made that animation sequence” because this was just entirely too perfect for this scene, and look at that mask!

I’m not sure if you know the story or not, so I don’t want to give away too much here near the end.

I was wiping away tears right about here and didn’t get a snapshot of what came after this but… well you know the story.

The audience leapt from their seats in a standing ovation and typing *applause*  just really was the only part of the experience and evening that I felt was underwhelming. Somehow typing “bravo” didn’t properly express how impressed I was with not only the performance, but all the work that must have gone into this production, by volunteers, provided for free.

There is a donation box in the lobby and I gave what I could even with my limited budget and my date kindly donated 5 times that as well as buying one, or even two, of just about everything they had in their gift kiosk. I still don’t know that it was enough to show our gratitude.

If you are interested in seeing a performance, and if you are only ever going to try one thing new in your SL please make it this.  Head down to Ravenswood Theater Company and join the group.

http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Jaguar%20Valley/223/236/3200 

Future dates of Phantom of the Opera will be announced via the group and you’ll have to RSVP for the limited seating or you can contact Alexia de Ravenswood (alexiel.czaczkes) for more information.

As I said in my post below, the Ravenswood Theater Company’s presentation of Phantom of the Opera is probably the most remarkable thing I’ve ever seen in all my years in Second Life.

 

UPDATE:

Ravenswood Theater has announced another upcoming performance of Phantom of the Opera on Wednesday December 7th at 7pm SL time.

As before it’s limited seating in order to keep the performance running smoothly.  Head down to the box office and pick up an RSVP form, fill it out, and drop it in their mail box.  They will get back to you to confirm your seats. 

http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Jaguar%20Valley/223/236/3200

You really really must see this if you are able to.  It’s a once in a SLifetime opportunity.

Are you freaking kidding me?

Shush.  It took me two days to come up with that clever title if that gives you any indication how my week is going.  I will get to the post about the Phantom of the Opera in a bit here, but first let me tell you how the night started out.

Remember I said I asked a non roleplaying friend to be my date?   And how I’ve been talking to him about immersion in Second Life?  Well, I guess he was listening.  An hour before the show was to begin he sent me a teleport request and then told me to count to 5 before accepting it.  Fair enough.  So I count and then take it and I arrive to find myself in a skybox.  I’m standing on a turn of the century New York street in front of a row of brownstones.  And then he pulls up…

Then he proceeds to tell me he built the entire vignette just so the he could pick me up like this for the Opera.  I’m glad he sent the teleport an hour before the show, because I spent about 20 minutes sitting in the buggy and laughing.

We get word half an hour before the show that the doors are open and we can come take our seats.  I was already giddy by then, so walking into the theater and getting the program hud is sort of a blur.  We walked up the stairs to the balcony and…

I spent the next three hours not talking to him other than brief moments of inspired and witty conversation like

O
M
G

THAT’S how good this performance was. I know, I know, I go on and on about all the fun things I’ve discovered in SL since starting this project, and how much I love roleplay, but I’m serious. The Ravenswood Theatre Company’s production of Phantom of the Opera was probably the single most amazing thing I’ve ever seen in Second Life. Bar none. I had chills. Take my butterflies and auctions, all my years in roleplay, the football and hockey, Burn2 and put them all in a horse drawn carriage and it STILL wouldn’t leave me as speechless and impressed as this one performance did.

It deserves it’s own post, and that’s coming up next.

Dates, Dates and more Dates

Welcome to Day 1 of what I’m affectionately going to call Hell Week.

I could, and probably should, wait until it’s over to post but I’m going to document this “live” and see what happens.  If I make a fool of myself, oh well, won’t be the first or last time.

By some strange twist of fate the period of Nov 14 to 22 marks several, a disproportionate number in fact, of major events in my life.  Perhaps it’s just me, or perhaps in general it’s more women than men who mark certain “dates” in their lives, but I do it a lot and it’s no different in SL.  Whether it be a first meeting, a first kiss, a first scene, a birthday, a special occasion, a good bye… I often make note of dates and celebrate them.  There is no possible way I’m not going to be reminiscing about some of those events and people during this week but I actually thought I was doing pretty well with it all as I watched the calendar creep closer and closer.

I heard this song the other day and I did pay attention to the lyrics but I thought it was sort of catchy, not that depressing really, so I went to look at the video.

Well, I couldn’t stop crying.  Not necessarily about any lover past or present, it’s the video, really.   Her face from about 3:10 onwards, the way she just drops at about 3:50, and then the Johnny Cash at the end?  Ugh, gut punch.  It’s not just me right?  Come on, this video really got to you didn’t it?  Hmmm Well perhaps I am a wee bit sensitive this week after all.

Luckily for me I have a lot of ridiculous people in my life and a couple of stubborn mules who don’t let me sulk and get on my case if I’m in my skybox alone.  Even though for the most part I haven’t confided in many of them about everything coming up this week, and I consider myself an expert at the dodge and weave when I’m asked about me or how I’m doing, there seems to be this grid wide conspiracy to distract me or make me laugh.  Bastards.

Even something as simple as going to an auction with Kismet and then having her invite me to the Butterfly Preservation Society meeting.  I’ll stop there, while you laugh, because I sure as heck did.  Or other friends (nameless for their protection) who randomly link me music (ok porn) and even bless them, give me cute nicknames like cockcozy.  Ah, what would my SL be like without you guys.

Then of course there is my buddy Ice, who has sort of turned into my room mate.  Ice is homeless in SL as he retires his character and creates a new one for a new RP genre so he asked me a couple weeks ago if he could park his marketplace servers or whatever they are in my sky box until he gets settled.  I said sure, as long as he doesn’t go over 4 prims, I’m so generous aren’t I?  Well not only has he put his boxes at my place, but he logs in and out from there too. 

Now he and I are on complete opposite time zones, only being online together for 10 or 15 minutes here or there, but I keep warning him that he really shouldn’t just log in on me like that because we’re going to have an awkward moment one of these days.  I don’t mean just seeing me naked, anyone who has roleplayed with me has probably seen my avatars naked, but there are other more, how should I word this?  Well other more adult content awkward moments he or I could potentially log in to.  What?  It could happen! 

So he logs into the skybox yesterday as I was standing there doing nothing really, just staring at my flutters thinking up breeding strategies and he made a comment about me having changed my skin.  I turned around to tell him why I had a new skin and saw this.

A dancing Santa in a thong.  For real?  I don’t know about you guys, but not even I can manage emo in moments like that.  It’s just too funny that he somehow took my concerns about us having an awkward moment and turned it around to make me laugh, but he and I really do need to come up with some sort of system one of these days.  It’s not like college, SL doesn’t have an equivalent of a sock on the door handle.

He made me realize that perhaps the best way to fight fire is with fire.  So, since I’m staring down the throat of a week of difficult dates, why not make some new dates?  Clever huh?  I know. I bet you wish you had thought of that, but feel free to use it as needed if this actually works.

Forging ahead with a new plan I have a couple “dates” planned this week.  One with a remarkable roleplayer and storyteller who recently managed to pry out of me the types of RP I’m interested in but don’t currently have going on.  He knows me well, understands that roleplaying and writing is a cure for anything that ails me, so when I told him about how I was feeling about this upcoming week he proposed to meet, new characters, new place, and begin to write those stories.  Now I’ve had these offers from others before, often in fact, but I have this strange luck that if you plan something with me, something catastrophic will likely happen to you.  An emergency at work and your boss will ask you to stay late or the whole weekend, your computer will blow up, a tornado will wipe out the power to your city… No really, I should wear caution tape!  Just this past Friday I had plans to start a new story with someone, we’d talked about it all week, set the date and time and made sure I was there but… well… four hours later LOL he still wasn’t online.  Anyway this time though, this time I just can’t help but think that it will actually happen so I’m letting myself be just a bit excited about this, to actually look forward to something even though that tends to be against my rules it might be worth it.  Free falling into a story, losing myself in a character, is like a drug that no matter how many fun things I find to do in Second Life will always have it’s place with me.  It’s pretty hard to think about anything else when you’re immersed.

I was trying to explain that the other day to one of my non roleplaying friends, the one who factors into the other date I planned.  He asked me why I roleplay, what I get out of it, and I told him that’s easy, the immersion.  He wasn’t sure what I meant, because wasn’t being in SL already a form of immersion?  Well it is, for sure, but roleplaying is like one step further, double immersion.  Heh heh, that sounds kinky.

As I mentioned in my last post, an SL Phantom of the Opera Production is coming up this week, and yours truly has an RSVP’ed balcony seat.  I was planning to go alone, because… well… the whole point of my Renoobed project has been doing things in SL when you are alone and how to meet new people and get involved in new communities and activities.  It seemed kind of cross purposes to invite people to do things with me, whether that be a Hockey Game, dancing at Organica, exploring Sims, or even this performance, I felt like I had to do them by myself.  Somehow he managed to convince me I don’t have to do everything alone, that I could involve my friends in my activities, that just because I don’t necessarily have a “some one” didn’t mean I had to actively orchestrate having no one.  There seemed to be some merit to that, or perhaps I just actually would like some company.  I can’t deny that one of the best parts of discovering new things in SL is having someone to talk to about those things.  Whatever the reason, I asked him to join me.  I can’t remember the last OOC “date” I’ve had, well I can, but we’re trying not to think about that remember?

It turns out he has his own way of doing immersion, an OOC immersion, but I think he’s very on to something.  I wasn’t planning on doing anything special before going to this performance, just showing up, but he said no no no, I HAD to dress up.  We had to make a whole night out of this, we were going to the opera after all, we had to go in style.  He was right but I didn’t have anything really formal, it just hasn’t come up a lot in Gor.  I’ve been having a fair bit of fun trying to find something Opera appropriate that fit in my budget.  I finally did and putting it on and getting dressed up felt pretty good really.  He didn’t come shopping with me, but he did tell me not to get jewellery, that he has that covered…

<< 

>> 

I was already excited enough about this performance, I don’t think I’ve been to anything like it in SL, but he’s really going all out to make this a big deal for me, a speical night over and above seeing Phantom of the Opera.  I have to admit I’m pretty lucky to have friends on both sides of the RP fence who would go to all this effort. If I wasn’t such a dumbass I probably would have said something to someone sooner, or to more people, and I wouldn’t have built up this whole hell week phobia in my head to begin with. 

I’m dying to post a picture of the dress, and tell you where I got it, but he hasn’t seen it yet and doesn’t want to.  He wants it to be a surprise.

Is this the part where I can giggle?  I’m far far too old to giggle, but really, this feels like one of those moments.  I have to say, if all I get out of this week are a few giggles, that’s far far better than the alternative.