Wedding On The Beach In Wales

I was thrilled when I saw that this week’s color challenge was a green called Wales.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t normally get excited about green in general, but I’d recently picked up this grass skirt outfit called Wedding on the Beach from Boudoir that I thought would make a really fun photoshoot and this gave me a perfect reason to use it. It does come with a bikini which I, of course, presumed to be optional.

Wales Gone Wild

I really like the outfits at Boudoir, though admittedly I can’t see myself wearing many of them in my day to day Second Life, I do think they make for fantastic photo opportunities. I tend to stalk the Vitabela blog  to see all the wonderful works posted there, many of which feature creations from Boudoir.  In these shots, I was able to play with some of the focus and blurring effects and tools in both Second Life and Picmonkey to add to the perception of movement in the grass skirt, as if she was dancing, or at least that was what I was trying to do.

To find a location I searched for “Tropical” in the search, and limited the selections to only Adult rated sims as I knew I was at best mostly naked. After two pages of nudist beach results, I decided why not and popped over to one. It did have people around, but they were all understanding when I explained that I was there to take pictures, and either went on their way or stood out of the shot to watch. Well, other than the one guy who kept riding this dragon like creature over my head and casting shadows. No harm done though, the diversity of our world and the ways in which we chose to enjoy it is a huge part of the magic of Second Life.

Wedding On The Beach

I’m not sure if it was because of the darker skin and hair I chose for this set, or the grass and flowers of the outfit, but this made me nostalgic for my gorean panther girl character. People often ask me if I miss it, and there is no easy answer to that. I do miss writing, I miss that feeling of losing myself in a story, I miss watching a character come to life and take on a life of her own and I especially miss some of the friends I had when I roleplayed. Recently I’ve had a few people contact me and invite me to come see a new sim or join them in a scene or a story, and as tempting as that does sound, I’m not ready to go back yet. Something in the way I’m built can’t do things half assed, when I play, I commit 110% and though I don’t regret all the hours I’ve devoted to various sims, stories and players, I reached a point where I had nothing left. Those reserves have built back up since my time away, but until I’m confident that I can go back and maintain a roleplay story and character without over extending myself and burning out again so it’s best that I stay here in out of character land exploring what else Second Life has to offer.

That doesn’t mean I don’t occasionally wish I had reason to flash my boobs though and this outfit lends itself quite well to that, so I am going to include a gratuitous nudity shot behind the spoiler after the credits.

Outfit: “Wedding on the Beach” group gift at Boudoir (bikini portion not shown)
http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Boudoir/120/150/21
Hair:  “ffwd Kahlua” hair fair gift from Analog Dog
Skin: “chen blackpearl choco” former group gift from Al Vulo
Poses: Del May
Location: A nudist beach somewhere in Second Life

NSFW after the cut
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Aliens and Rainbows

I’ve said before that Second Life is a procrastinator’s wonderland, and luckily for me I excel at it.  This week it paid off for me as I logged in Friday still unsure what I was going to do for this week’s color challenge of Aqua Island and found that my favorite store, Miel, released a new mesh dress that was not only on for 50L Friday but had a color change hud.  You know how much I love anything color change.

This is definitely my new favorite dress.  It is standard sized, but somehow it fits me so much better than most, especially in around the shoulders.  The belt is really the masterpiece of this dress though.  As much as I love mesh, I do find much of it still lacks in the little details so this is just perfection.

I then needed somewhere to take pictures.  Lately I’ve been using the Destination Guide to find my choices, partially because I find the search function in Second Life a hit and miss gamble at the best of times, but also because I’m doing a sim crawl of sorts and visiting everything in the Guide.

I don’t know that I fully understand how things get on here.  Do the sim owners submit the entries themselves?  Is there vetting or maintenance processes of any sort?  I find a lot of great places here, some not so great, some of the listings no longer exist and I’m quite confident there is a lot more to see and do than this guide reflects.  I definitely want to learn more about how this works, I think this is an under utilized resource that needs more entries.

In any case, today I came across a listing for the Alien Abduction Trailer Park. Really?  Well this I had to see.

Aliens

I have to say it’s one of the more charming places I’ve visited in Second Life, and in reality it’s a shopping district with stores like Pig, silentsparrow, Schadenfreude, and MiaSnow.  From the description I’m going to say it used to be the Starlust Motel, but I love what they’ve done with it.

We, or at least I, seem to get our minds set to certain ideas when we want to photograph places in Second Life.  I tend to look for sims to photograph that are artistic and creative, or stunning in their realism, or breathtaking in their presentation of natural or magical beauty.  I’m usually looking for roleplay sim or art installations, not stores and shopping districts, but this is obviously an oversight on my part.  I know that creators put a lot of time into their venues, I really should explore more of them.  I also rarely go looking for quirky or fun, and you know, considering quirky could more or less by my middle name, I don’t know why I don’t.  I’m really glad I stumbled upon the Alien Abduction Trailer Park, it reminded me of a completely different kind of wonderful build in Second Life, the kind that can only be experienced there.

I spent a couple of hours touring the various stores, cracking up at the giant pig, soaking my feet in a stream of lily pads, and then eventually came upon a rainbow.  It seemed quite fitting to photograph it.

So what is at the end of the rainbow you ask?

The End of the Rainbow

Well apparently, just me.

Credits:
REGATTA DRESS with color change hud from MIEL
Earrings:  UVA earrings subscribomatic gift from MIEL
Skin:  Giselle Light Kajira by -Glam Affair – (previously available at The Dressing Room) and I had quite a chuckle that is was named Kajira considering I spent three years in Gorean roleplay.  You can take the girl out of Gor, but I guess you can’t take Gor off the girl.
Floral Pink Clutch Purse with pose from [Echo]
Hair:  Evelyn w/Roots – champagne from >TRUTH<
Eyes: Ellis-Lavender from [LeLutka]
Pose in the second picture is from Olive Juice (no longer available)

Location:  Alien Abduction Trailer Park at Two Moons and Lusty Stars Island
http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Twomoons%20Island/79/148/23

My First Video

One of my favourite things to do in Second Life is dance.  I’m always dancing, and I don’t mean just at a club.  I dance in my house, I dance when I’m sorting inventory, I dance when I’m stalking lucky chairs… everywhere really.  Why stand when you can dance right?

In fact, when I’m having an off day or just want a little silly time in SL I often go hang out at Humanoid Motioncapture Animations.  They have these giant laptops set up each containing a different dance series and each key is a different dance component in that series.  I find my favorite music, skip along the keys dancing my butt off and before I know it everything is right in the world.  One of the coolest things about Humanoid is that they provide videos of the RL dancers they used to capture the animations.  I’ve never seen motion capture being done before, so to me it was pretty amazing.

I stopped over the other day and noticed that they have one of the animations for their new Ally series set to only 1L.  Yes, only 1L.  I couldn’t believe my luck.  I love love the dances from Humanoid but my budget has only allowed me to buy a few so adding another was like winning the lotto.  I was going to get it whether it suited me or not.  Luckily, I hopped on and guess what.  It’s totally me!  My new signature dance.  I just had to show you guys but how do you photograph a dance?  Well, you can’t and so begins my journey into learning video capturing and eventually, I hope, machinima.

I’ll never be one of those people who can say “Oh, I just whipped together a little video”.   Not even a little bit.  That one minute video took me two days to make!  Well, not a whole 48 hours or anything, but I worked on it over the course of two days.  Rather than baffle you with bull and make it sound like I was just born knowing how to do this I thought I’d share the struggles I had and the things I learned on the off chance there is someone else out there like me who would like to try and doesn’t know how.

I started by downloading Xfire because it’s free and I heard it has better recording quality than WeGame.   It looked pretty easy, there is just one thing you can do with it, record, and the command is ScrollLock + V.  I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve been typing for many many years and did not know what or where the Scroll Lock key was.  I finally had to ask someone.  That’s when I learned it’s the wheel on your mouse, you hold it down, that’s scroll lock.  Naturally, my next question was “Why didn’t they call it the mouse wheel?” to which I learned that there is also a Scroll Lock key up by the Print Screen Button.  Oh.  Look at that. So there is.

Now I was ready for sure.  Log into Xfire, Log into SL,  hold down the Scroll Lock and V and nothing happens.  Nothing.  An hour or more of googling and browsing their forums I finally stumbled on this blog post  with some instructions that put me on the right path.  Basically, Xfire does recognize Second Life but doesn’t recognize third party viewers so you have take a copy of the folder with your TPV in it, and in the copy rename the .exe to SecondLife.  Then make sure you log in with that copy!  I learned this the hard way.  Then you have go into the options panel of Xfire and manually set it to find and recognize the new Second Life exe you copied.  It’s all described with pictures in the blog post, far better than I could, so go have a look if you need to know more.

So I finally captured a few videos, just trying to get the hang of it, but I didn’t like that the SL interface was showing up, the header bar and such.  Again, I asked if there was a way to hide this with Xfire but learned that pressing Ctrl+Alt+F1 in SL hides your interface.  Did you know this?  I didn’t know this.  I think I’m need to start a “Things I learned today” section in this blog.

I then played around with multiple lightings to get the effect I wanted.  I liked this one as it has that dancing at night feel, but also if you look at the ground there is a shadow of her dancing.  I’ll wait while you go watch it again, I knew wearing my physics layer for this would prove to be a distraction.

Once I had a video clip I liked, the hard part started, as if it hadn’t been trying enough already.  I’m using Windows Movie maker, which also is new to me and though it looks pretty simple it’s trickier than it sounds to edit the clips just right.  In the end, I gave up trying to piece together multiple clips and just stuck with a segment of one.

Then came music.  Trying to find the right piece of music to match the dance, and then chose the one minute of the song that I wanted and set the timing to the video.

At the end of the day, it’s not what I was hoping to create, it’s really just a screen shot clip with music but I’m really proud of myself.  Yes I do realize my alpha peeks out by my hip now and again, but I don’t even mind, I love this dance and these are my happy pants so a little alpha slip isn’t going to hurt anyone.  The video is no masterpiece, but it’s a lot further ahead than I was two days ago and I’m confidant that future attempts will be faster and smoother now that I’ve learned a few basics.

I think I’ll be doing some more experiments with Xfire and MovieMaker to see what I can come up with.  I’ve always been fascinated with machinima, and though I’ll never be an artist in this field, I think some of these tools will come in handy to capture some of the incredible places I visit in Second Life.

If you are looking for a new dance, or just something fun to do one night, stop by HUMANOID Motioncapture Animations and skip along the keys.  I dare you not to smile.

Dance:  Ally 31 only 1L at HUMANOID Motioncapture Animations  http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/HUMANOID/124/114/22
Music:  Organismic – Unexpected Sky http://www.ektoplazm.com/free-music/uprising
Mesh Jeans:  Class Act Pants from [Aura]  (also known as my happy pants)
Shirt:  Pinstripe Cropped Top  from Waffle
Shoes:  Orange Mary Janes from Duh!
Tattoos:  Take Flight Makeup and Tattoo hunt gift from Yayo
Necklace and Ring VIP group gift from ::LEO-NT::
Hair:  Rhonda w/Roots – strawberry from >TRUTH<
Skin:  Giulia former Diamond Hunt prize from Al Vulo
Eyes:  Ellis-Lavender from [LeLutka]

A Punch of Persian Rose… or not

This week’s Color Challenge was a bright pink called Persian Rose which should have been a no brainer for me as half my inventory is pink.

At first I had a fabulous idea to play off the word Persian but I got sidetracked with a bunch of other things.  I’m going to have to learn to manage my time better in SL, or make an alt to work on this blog because I’m getting frustrated and disappointed that I’m moving further and further away from the original premise of finding things to see and do in SL.  I don’t blame anyone else, I just need to learn to say no sometimes or set myself as busy more often.

So today I realized it was the last day of the challenge and I hadn’t even started so I was in a bit of a panic.  I could have just slapped on any number of things from my inventory and called it done, but I like to use these challenges to push myself and spark my creativity so I wanted to do more.  Normally for color challenges I try to use as much of the color as possible but this time I had a different idea.  What if I use a totally neutral palette and make the challenge color pop by being a contrasting accent?

Persian Rose

Hey, not bad, even the pink books stand out.  Let’s just pretend there isn’t a cactus growing out of my boob ok?

The skirt alone wasn’t enough though, I needed one more punch of Persian Rose so I asked in the MOCK group chat for ideas for jewellery stores.  I don’t have a lot of jewellery, and a few big name stores come to mind but I find that group often has lots of ideas for places I’ve never been.  To my surprise, bracelets started dropping down on me from a perfect stranger.  It turned out that one of the members, Endra Graves, owns a jewellery store, one I’d never heard of despite it being around for 4 years and she wanted to show me a few samples of her work.  I liked the bracelets so much I stalked her profile and ended up at her store Artistry by ~ E ~  and bought these earrings that were exactly the extra pop I needed.

Sometimes we get caught up in shopping the same stores we always shop, or the same ones we always see on the feeds and blogs, it felt good to learn about a new store and even better to be able to tell you about it in case you’ve never been.  I know I have my eye on a few other sets for future challenges.

Persian Rose in the Bedroom

Where am I in this picture? It’s new my skybox.  Well, technically I’m in the demo because I can’t currently rez it on my land.  Yes, I bought a skybox I have no where to put.  I suppose if I pick up everything from my beach I could rez it, but I’m pretty happy right now living on the beach but this loft was too amazing to pass up so I bought it hoping to use it in the future.  It makes me feel like a trendy city girl, a modern day Mary Tyler Moore, which in hindsight probably played no small part in the outfit I put together.

The skybox is called Stockholm Attic by Barnesworth Anubis currently available at Collabor88 this month for 188L unfurnished and 388L furnished.  It’s 68 prims unfurnished and 16×24 m footprint, or 28x24m with the backdrop surround so you have a view out your window.

Persian Rose in the City

At the end of it all, as much as I love the look I put together and am pleased with the photos, I don’t think my experiment worked.  I don’t look at these and think Persian Rose.  If anyone would have told me that I would have had to take a pass on pink of all colors, I wouldn’t have believed them but it looks like I won’t have a submission for this week.

Oh well, I have a new skybox tucked away for the next time I move and discovered a new jewellery store so it was definitely worthwhile.

Earrings:  The Jordan by Endra Graves of Artistry by ~ E ~

http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Le%20Petit%20Trianon/214/42/3948

Skirt:  {SMS} High Waist Pattern Skirt Zig Zag available at The Dressing Room

Shirt:   Pandora Sand  only 25L at the  -paper.doll-  Summer Clearance Sale

Hair: Kirby w/Roots  champagne from  >TRUTH<  (yes, mesh hair again,there’s no stopping me now)

Skin:  Ebba – [Fair] – 04 from LAQ

Shoes: Delphine’s Pumps in Gold Subscribo Gift from Shiny Things

Eyes:  Ellis Lavender by [LeLutka]

Poses:  Back Up Mini Series by !bang available this month at COLLABOR88

Skybox and Furniture: Stockholm Attic by [ba] barnesworth Anubis available this month at COLLABOR88

Shoes, Bubble Gum, and a Fancy Chair

I’ve seen people with bubble gum a few times over the years in SL and I always think to myself “I’d like to have some gum too” but I never ask them where they got it because people can be strange about that.  I suppose I could have clicked to inspect their gum, but I just didn’t for whatever reason.  Got distracted probably.

None of that matters now though, because I have my own gum.  I’ve been wearing and staring at it for days.  The bubble grows, and grows, and grows, and then pops on your face and then gets sucked back in to start the cycle all over again.  I should have taken a video to show you, but this will have to do.

One Voice:  Blow-up Bubble Gum

The gum is by Blow-Up and I got it at the One Voice event.  If you haven’t heard of the One Voice event it’s a fund-raiser for Gala Phoenix of Curio Skins to help her with the cost of a legal battle.  I won’t go into all the details, several others have done it far better than I could, but if you want to read more about the situation  I recommend the Curio Blog itself to read Gala’s statement, or The Blogging Elf’s recap or some of the posts on Salome Says, this one in particular.  You might also want to check out the a list of creators and the items they’ve put up that are either 50% or 100% donation to Gala Phoenix in her copyright battle.

I have dropped by a few times since it opened, and managed to pick something up each time, much of which has been on various feeds so I won’t blog them all but you will probably see me in them soon.  I can’t not mention this fabulous lawn chair though.

One Voice: Sway's Lawn Chair

It’s by Sways and also at the One Voice event.  It has 10 sits and a guitar playing animation that rezzes a guitar.  This was too perfect for my deck, which is small, but needed a little something to perk it up.  I now have the perfect spot to sit and watch the sunset and, coincidentally enough, a post which ties into Elysium’s fancy chair challenge.

One Voice Fund Raiser for Gala Phoenix of Curio Skins http://slurl.com/secondlife/Mesh/92/84/22

Have a look at the shoes I’m wearing.  I really wanted to mention these, they aren’t from the One Voice event, but they are a perfect addition to my inventory and I think just about everyone needs a pair.  They are made by Snow Bristol and you can get them on the Marketplace for only $99l.  They are mesh and come with a hud that allows you to color change different parts independently.  There so many different options I’ll never run out of possibilities with these.

The Tank Top is by Envy Me, also from the One Voice Event and the band aid on my nose?  It’s the gift from .::CENSORED::. in a new hunt I’m currently doing, the Makeup and Tattoo hunt.  Here is the blog with hints in case I don’t get a chance to tell you more before it’s over.

Astronaut Blue Meta Body

I don’t know if the rambling mess that was my last post actually flushed out my Writer’s Block or if the fact that it rained and I finally got a full night sleep cured my blahs, but I was feeling much more in the mood to explore and take pictures today.

I was browsing the Destination Guide and came across an entry for Meta-Body.

In this new project, Meilo Minotaur and CapCat Ragu invite you to rethink your bodies through your avatars, making available all kinds of skins, shapes, body parts, clothes, etc.

That sounded promising, and I really liked the avatar shown on the ad so I went over to see it for myself.  To my surprise, this and all the other Meta-Body avatars were absolutely free.

Meta-Body: See My Inside

As soon as I arrived I realized I’d heard of this before, in fact I’ve seen some of these avatars, but I never did get around to visiting it myself.  I must have lost the landmark in my big bucket list of things to do and see so I was quite happy to have discovered this again.   The notecard for the Meta-Body project describes it better than I could.

The virtual experience of the body is not exactly an experience of the flesh. These sensations, albeit having a physical sensorial aspect, continue to be experienced in our bodies behind the screen, not in our avatar body. The virtual body is a metaphorical body, all language, therefore open to experimentation and possibility.

In this new project, Meilo Minotaur and CapCat Ragu invite us, once again, to rethink our bodies through our avatars, making available all kinds of skins, shapes, body parts, clothes, etc. All these items are fully modifiable, shareable and copyable, thus challenging the audience to become creators and also share their derivative work with us, in the All My Independent Women exhibition. While the avatars are available in the Second Life Sim Delicatessen the pictures and machinimas of the derivative work will be displayed at VBKOE, Vienna, giving us a glimpse of the new creative flux, beyond the concepts of author and work of art, happening online.

Meta-Body: Bird

I’m always fascinated by the choices people make for their avatars and I really enjoyed trying on looks that I never would have chosen for myself despite the wide variety of characters and outfits I put together.  I was even lucky enough to find this Indigo Avatar which although is not exactly the right shade for the Astronaut Blue color challenge, comes close enough that I don’t have to forfeit for the week.

Meta-Body: Indigo

Meta-Body has been open since Semptember 30th so I have no idea how much longer it’s going to be around.  I do recommend stopping by for a visit and seeing how you feel wearing a body that’s outside your normal comfort zone.  As always with these wonderfully free contributions to the SL community, I do want to remind you that there is a tip jar and I’m sure the creators would appreciate it.

The theme song this week is once again brought to you by Riot who chose it simply off the name of the color challenge without having seen my pictures.  I think it turned out to be a pretty good match.

All Avatars available for Free at Meta Body
http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Porto/141/101/703

Poses by Del May