Are You Watching?

The first thing that came to mind when I read that this week’s Single Frame Story challenge was “Watch” was steampunk.  Steampunk always makes me think of grandfather clocks, pocket watches, and time pieces of all sorts.  I briefly toyed with the idea of putting together a clockwork doll, because I’ve always wanted to do one, but then my mind drifted toward the idea of interpreting the word watch less in the sense of a time piece and more in the sense of a verb.  To watch, watching, an audience and the clockwork doll concept turned into a marionette.  What’s the point of being a puppet master if no one watched your doll dance?

Sometimes when an idea comes together it really feels almost audible.  If I were a cartoon a lightbulb would appear over my head with some ping type sound.  Although I could have tried to put together a marionette look for my avatar, I knew the perfect scene was already created and waiting for me to photograph it at Tims Dream.  I chose not to add a phrase to my story this week and just let the image stand on it’s own.

Are You Watching?

Tims Dream has been in Second Life for a while now and I’ve visited a few times planning to write about it, but I could never seem to capture the eeriness of this build.  As you walk through the mountain tunnels, following the gatekeepers with the arrows you are taken through the stages of a child’s nightmare.
Tims Dream Begins

I’ll admit, some of it is a bit confusing, and some threatens to teeter over the edge of the kind of creepy I like and borders a bit into disturbing, but I’m one who believes that art is supposed to do that.  To make you think, to make you feel, to experience new ideas and perspectives.  Tim’s Dream most certainly does all of that.

Tims Dream Ends

You can see some of the machinima that have been created at Tims Dream by going to Romy Nayar’s blog.

As for the original image and challenge itself?  I think Abney Park is a good match for the feel of the relationship between a steampunk marionette and the audience who watches her.

Herr Drosselmeyer’s Doll
There she is on the stage
Spinning as she sprawls
Thank God the curtains fall
Her spring is sprung
And dances done
Spinning as she sprawls
Thank God the curtains fall

In the morning, he twists the key quite hard
And ticking, she’s brought to boil
“Relevée, my sweet, on point, en garde!”
Her innards twang as they uncoil

Herr Doktor’s fingertips trace by
On craquelature from every fall
The daylight made to race right by
With paint and paste and stitch and awl

“Patient, patient, bumblebee,
Soon your audience admire
A shapely arabesque or three
I’ll wind you up, you’ll never tire.”

You can visit Tims Dream here:

See more of this week’s Single Frame Stories for Watch Here:

Vanilla Dreams

As often seems to happen when I’m taking pictures of a location or outfit, the Single Frame Story prompt emerges from the maze of my mind.  Who knows if this week’s prompt Vanilla played a part in the look or location I chose for my last post, or if taking those pictures reminded me of this week’s challenge, but the two merged so perfectly the reason seemed irrelevant.  I would do both.

My first thought when I read the word Vanilla last week was to do a fetish shot.  I’m sure that’s hardly a surprise to those that know me best.  Then I started to think about the flavour of vanilla; the places we expect it, and particularly the ones we don’t.

Tears for example; they are salty, but what if they were a myriad of ice cream flavours?  Would we cry more? Would country fair stalls sell shot glass sized tear drinks for a dollar?  Would trendy cafes have bottles on the wall and which flavour add in would I chose for my coffee?  Joy?  Disappointment?  Grief?  Would I be tempted to lick the tears off your cheek to see if your flavour was different than mine?

That train of thought was coming dangerously close to the tunnels in my brain where I don’t normally let you guys ride, so I pulled the switch and went down a different track.

Vanilla Dreams

Next time I dream, I’m going to take a moment to taste the rain.

You can see the variety of creations Vanilla inspired in others at this week’s Single Frame Story challenge.

I’m quite certain no one will think of Vanilla as boring ever again.

I know the song I’ve chosen for this post is predictable, but sometimes if it works, it works.


Dress: “reynolds.june” NEW from coldLogic
Pears: “stacked pearls necklace rose” from lassitude & ennui FREE at Free*Style Shop
Skin: “Amberly – Artic – Candy 03 BL” available at Collabor88 from Glam Affair
Hair: “Hollana w/Roots – Barbie from Truth
Shoes: “Ivory Cygnette” from Schadenfreude
Eyes: “Ellis-Lavender” from [LeLutka]
Poses: part of the Vogue-ish set by POISE available soon at Pose Fair
Location Nostos Deer

A ColdLogic Spring at Nostos Deer

One of the more interesting things about being part of a global community like Second Life is listening to the talk of time zones and seasons.  Who hasn’t had that experience of saying good night just as another is saying good morning?  It’s much the same with seasons.  For some it’s currently spring, and though technically my calendar would concur, there is more snow outside my window today than most get over the entire winter.

It’s not just the weather that varies for those who are experiencing spring; it’s the vision or feel of the season that is unique to each of us.  For some spring is tulips and bunnies and all things green.  For me, spring is a muted inconsistent thing.  One brave tree might have the greenish hint of new life as it begins to leaf out while the one next to it is by all appearances dead, its skeletal branches a reminder that winter has not yet left the building.

Vanilla Skies

As you walk in a clearing the sun is warm on your face, tempting you to remove your jacket, tricking you into wearing summer shoes but when you turn a corner there are the patches of snow lingering in the shade daring you to walk through them into seasons past.

Nostos Deer captures that look of spring perfectly to me.  The patches of snow merging with grass not yet quite fully green; the bravest of buds appearing on trees next to the remains of those who have not yet announced their intentions.  The only part of spring missing from the scene is a dress, no, THE dress.  You see spring was announced in our family when my mother bought me a new dress for Easter mass.  I can’t really feel or see spring without one, but thanks to the new release from coldLogic I am prepared to announce the arrival of spring.

Vanilla Spring

The poses in these shots are by Mojo Skytower of Poise and will be available at the upcoming Pose Fair.  You can read more about Pose Fair on their blog.

I used this same outfit and location for my Single Frame Story entry this week, but I’m going to split that into another post as this one already feels a bit long.  Stay tuned!


Dress: “reynolds.june” NEW from coldLogic
Pears: “stacked pearls necklace rose” from lassitude & ennui FREE at Free*Style Shop
Skin: “Amberly – Artic – Candy 03 BL” available at Collabor88 from Glam Affair
Hair: “Hollana w/Roots – Barbie from Truth
Shoes: “Ivory Cygnette” from Schadenfreude
Eyes: “Ellis-Lavender” from [LeLutka]
Poses: part of the Vogue-ish set by POISE available soon at Pose Fair
Location Nostos Deer

Happy Mood Hunting

It’s been an unusually difficult and stressful few weeks recently for me, both online and off. It’s rare and unfortunate when that’s the case in both venues because I can’t use one to escape the other. Frying pan or fire? Not the most tempting of choices.

I opted for door number three, a distraction from my regular virtual life and so I started attending the Virtual Artist Alliance’s Photohunts again. I’ve only been to two so far, but I was reminded how much I enjoyed them.

Beneath the Surface

Last week’s theme was Soft and we were given a landmark for Happy Mood. It’s been a while since I’d been there, but what a pleasant rediscovery it was. I was so preoccupied with exploring every hidden corner and sitting on every swing and stump I could find that I forgot to take any pictures until the hour was half over. The picture above and below are some of the many shots I ended up saving to my desktop; they didn’t represent the theme very well so I didn’t enter them, but I’m really pleased with the surreal and abstract nature Happy Mood inspired in me.


In the end it was this bunny that said soft to me. Perhaps a bit cliché but I couldn’t help myself. Something about the way he is peeking around the corner of books just made me smile.


The Virtual Artist Alliance hosts two Photohunts each week. The Wednesday night event is at 6pm SLT which is the one I have been trying to attend when I’m able, but there is another on Monday mornings at 11:30 am. If you haven’t been to one before, they are very easy to get involved in. Just show up at the Virtual Artists gallery about 10 minutes before the start time and ask the host to register your name on the board.

Once everyone is gathered we are given a landmark and usually a theme and one hour to take pictures and submit our best, unedited, to the contest board. Then we vote. There are prizes for first, second and third, the amount of the prize comes from donations. For me though, it’s not about the prize, in fact last week I had to log out before I even heard who won. I find it an excellent way to explore the grid, meet new people, and challenge myself to take pictures I might not normally take.


Virtual Artist Alliance Gallery

Happy Mood is also a business, much of what you see there is for sale and I picked up some grasses and plants to decorate my beach parcel so I can keep some of that feeling with me at all times.

Here’s my song this week, I had it on constant repeat while taking the pictures. Maybe that explains how colorful they are but I must confess, that big white tree at Happy Mood was speaking to me much in the way it’s described starting at about 3:50 to 4:30.

In Memory of Mabb Dilweg

A couple of days ago I learned that the typist behind the SL avatar known as Mabb Dilweg had passed away suddenly.  This news hit me far harder than I ever imagined it could.

I’ve known people from SL who passed away before, but for some reason this one really hit home.  It most certainly can be credited to Mabb’s bigger than life personality, her compassion, her charm, her warmth, the way she could bring joy to any situation, her infectious laughter but in truth I think it was the story of her and her partner Shane Fairlock that really made this an additional tragedy for me.

Only a couple of weeks ago Mabb shared this with us:

The other night, Shane and I were being all gooey and lovey-dovey because our anniversary was coming up, and well, we were being geeky-lovey-dovey and saying thank you to Tesla, and Turing, and Bill Gates and of course, Al Gore who invented the internet because well, otherwise we’d never have met!

Then it struck me. Seriously. The ONLY person to thank is Philip. If Philip hadn’t dreamed up SL, convinced people to fund it and used connections and whatever to get it hyped up all over the press, we’d never have known about SL… and well, the amazing, serendipitous set of circumstances that led to my friend throwing a 3-day old n00b at me while I was DJing three years ago today, would never have happened.

So. Thank you Philip. You made it possible for me to meet the most wonderful man I have ever known.

-Mabb Dilweg 02-22-2013

It was Shane who shared the news of her passing with us, he had been on Skype with her when it happened.  I’m tearing up even writing that.  My heart is breaking for him.

This really brought home to me that the feelings and bonds we form shouldn’t be diminished or limited because they are “online”.  In this case, and many others, the venue isn’t a limiting factor, the distance however is.  Not only for those who are in those relationships, but for those of us who wish to lend our support during these times.

I felt helpless and useless while talking with Shane that night.  There are no words to comfort someone at a time like that, in any world, but at least in person I would be able to hug, or hold hands, or cook, or make phone calls for him, or … well something, anything.

Out of the blue he said to me “Panks, can you do me one favor”.  Of course my answer was an immediate “Anything”.  Then he asked me to go photograph their home in SL.  He didn’t feel that he could return there, that it would be too hard, but he asked if I could take pictures so that later he could remember and celebrate how they lived, how they loved.

It was the least I could do, but it was something, so I did my best to capture it all for him.  In looking at the pictures I feel it isn’t enough, worry that I missed something.    When we look at our own homes in SL each little thing has a memory.  The significance of a picture on the wall, the times we sat on a certain piece of furniture, the reason behind displaying a certain accessory.


I have my own memories of Mabb, the way we first connected over our shared love of Melody Gardot.  It had become a bit of a thing between us, we’d sometimes make a nod to Melody knowing only the other would get it.  One of her last posts on a forum we both belong to was in fact exactly that.  She recently got a new computer and was really enjoying taking pictures and sharing them.

And I ADORE this dress… hopefully the angles show off the fact that it has a sweet transparent layer

Also – for Pancake – rockin’ my Melody Gardot look

-Mabb Dilweg 03-03-2013

Over the last few days I’ve seen a community come together to share it’s memories of Mabb, in support of Shane and her friends and family and it warms my heart.  I know she’d be pleased, that if circumstances were any different she’d be the first one there with hugs.  I’ve also noticed many who didn’t know her personally feel the weight of this loss.  For some, that’s an uncomfortable feeling, as if they are intruding or somehow shouldn’t be grieving.  I can relate to that feeling, it’s one I’ve had a twinge over the last few days.  There are so many who knew Mabb better or for longer than I did, who know her offline or outside of SL, who am I to be this upset?  I remind myself though that it’s not about who is more entitled to be hurting, it’s yet again a testament to the type of woman she was that her loss is felt amongst so many across the world.  If I have learned one thing about pain or loss over the years, it’s that pain is a burden that is lighter when shared with many hands.

Shane, reluctantly and with more than a few prods, has agreed to accept assistance during this time.  He made this request

i want to go to australia to say my goodbyes with our dear friend Mayden, who is like a sister to us. i want to be able to sit on the grass where she lay and feel the world she lived in, touch the things she touched and hug the ones we love. play with her grandsons who adored her and excitedly talked to me on skype when they visited, hug the wonderful women who she brought into this world and their families who loved her so much. kiss the hand of the mother who brought brought mabb into this world and thank her for my chance to experience one of the worlds most precious gems. for mayden to be able to share in those moments with me, that we may support one another in a hard time where not many would or could understand the intense love that people can have over so great a distance. our love was like a story book story. and to her request for me to carry on i want to in person say “as you wish”

-Shane Fairlock 03/08/2013

Fundraising has begun to help Shane with travel expenses so that he can say his goodbyes in person.  You can get his paypal information in the thread linked above.

There is also a yardsale here where you can put items out for sale or shop with 100% of proceeds going to this cause.

You can also contribute directly to the SL avatar banking account set up for this


For someone who apparently has the gift of the gab, who loves to talk more than just about anything in the world, I’m finding I’m at a loss for words here.  I type and I type and I type, but it’s still not right, and no where close to enough.

My heartfelt condolences go out to Shane, Mabb’s family, daughters, grandchildren and all her friends around the world.

Mabb, you are already so very missed.