Getting My Pixels Wet

I was scanning through my side bar yesterday and caught a post on Ziki’s blog about a new water and rain sim that opened up called H22O. I love water sims, their empty spaces leave so much to the imagination, perhaps more so than the items placed in them do. In touring you are left to wonder if the separate areas with trees, or wreckage, or ruins are part of a one continuous build concept, or vignettes onto themselves.  Chapters perhaps, parts of the same story. With very little to cast shadows, it challenges you to get creative with lighting and composition. This is the first thing at H22O that caught my eye. It’s haunting isn’t it? And yet, if you step outside the initial and obvious reaction, there is a sense of tranquility to it. Stillness.

A Little Rain Must Fall

A Little Rain Must Fall

Rain is an usual thing, all weather is actually. We sometimes attribute feelings, moods, to weather. Sunny days are happy, rainy days are sad, storms are frightening or chaotic. I suppose in truth they are, or can be, but who hasn’t experienced the exceptions, with rain in particular. I don’t know what spring is like in your part of the world, but here it’s dusty and dirty and brown. Dead. All the residue of snow piles, salt, sand, last year’s garbage, old leaves, stark branches, and things best not discussed in polite company are revealed when the snow melts. For all it’s damp and chill, it’s only the rain that can clean all that away, to bring color, and new life. Rain isn’t sad, it’s a promise.  It’s hope.

Life Saver

A Promise of Hope

Rain can be special in another unique way though, not just the cleansing of the old and encouraging the growth of the new, but it can be cozy, comforting even. It’s rainy days that encourage us to curl up with a book, a cup of tea, and let nature’s rhythm slow us down, pause, spend some time with ourselves in an honest way. If I were at home I’d slip into an old shirt, you know the kind. That one you borrowed one night from an old flame and forgot to return? The one your husband wore yesterday and left on the edge of the bed when he went to work?

I chose this shirt dress called Timm from coldLogic’s latest release for that very reason. I suppose it was probably meant to be a dress, but in my mind it was a shirt, not just any shirt, but that shirt. I don’t have anything like that in Second Life, I don’t mean shirts, I have those, I mean items belonging to others that can serve as mementos. The technicalities of permissions eh? Who knew they’d rob of us that so very human experience of holding something that belonged to someone else, to lift it to our faces and catch the scent memories, to run our fingers along the buttons and travel back to another time.

Angels Among Us

Talking To Angels

That doesn’t mean I don’t have fond memories of people I’ve been close to in Second Life, they are just triggered by different things. Instead of something I can hold, or touch, or own, they are often things I can visit. Places where memories were made. I didn’t realize when I started my visit to H22O that I’d encounter two of the most special to me, a lighthouse, and a piano, but there they were. No pictures I’m afraid, I just couldn’t. Oh I tried, believe me I tried, I wanted to with only the obsessiveness I can put into things, but I just couldn’t capture the right angles, the right lighting, the right mood. As I sat there feeling my frustrations growing, tense because I couldn’t get the perfect shot, I realized it’s because it’s not the right time. The rain is meant to wash those things away, blur them into the comfy haze of yesterday and clear the air for the new growth that is coming tomorrow. It doesn’t mean I don’t remember, I do, and can visit those memories on a moments notice any time I wish. It’s just that… maybe I don’t need to anymore?

It’s a good thing. It is. A new season, a new beginning, a time to look forward. I dug around in my inventory remembering an umbrella I got when Baffle closed, so no matter how much it rains, I’m ready.

I Came Prepared

I Came Prepared

Dress and Belt: Timm from coldLogic
Umbrella with poses from Baffle.
Hair: Genesis from TRUTH
Skin, appliers and Mesh Lashes: Ewa kinder former TDR item from Al Vulo
Eyes: Ellis-Lavender from [LeLutka]
Slink Avatar Enhancement Hands – Casual
Slink AvaEnhance Mid-Height Feet
H220 http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/KSA%20Atlantis/196/159/502

The Calm Before The Burn

Can you guess where I am?

Burn2 2013 Geometry

Where geometric shapes are found next to haunted mushroom forests?

Burn2 2013 Haunted Shrooms

Where artful guardians welcome the sunrise alongside stages with electronic music and light shows?

Burn2 2013 Sunrise

Where people from every walk of life and background gather to dance, drum and celebrate fire?

Burn2 2013 Temple

In Second Life, it’s called Burn2.  It not only embraces all the principals of the real life Burning Man Festival, but it brings it’s own unique twist.  Where else could you set up your tent next to an alien crash site?  Where else could you hop on a hot air balloon guided tour?  Where else could you stroll casually along, and as the music stream changes with each camp you meet what will become your future family.

If you’ve followed my blog and project the last few years you may remember my first year at Burn2  where I met Gypsy and the Happy Clams and then when I   became a Lamplighter.  I can’t believe it’s been two years, in a way it’s an anniversary of sorts.  A benchmark in this blog, in my relationships, and in my Second Life.

The one thing I notice about both my first year at Burn2 and my second is that each came at time when I was often absent from SL or having a lull in my creative energy.  However, both year’s events were followed by a flurry of activity, new adventures, and friendships that have stood the test of time.  I have a great deal of faith the same will hold true again this year after getting a sneak peek at the build tonight.

It wasn’t just that chaotic perfection that is the hallmark of Burn2.  It wasn’t the fond memories, the chance to see new works and take new pictures.  It was when I walked up to the lamplighter’s camp.

Burn2 2013 Lamplighter Camp

I caught my breath when I saw it. My fingers tingled, my heart raced, I had that crazy expression that was half smile yet my vision was blurred from tears. My friends know how much Burn2 has meant to me over the years, that being a lamplighter has been the highlight of my Second Life, but truly it’s been of the most difficult thing to describe or write about.

How do you describe the wind?  How to you explain water?  How do you help someone understand sound when they can’t hear you, or write about a flavour they’ve never tasted?  I know what Burn2 means to me, but it won’t be that for you, it can’t be and I realized why tonight when I read the notecard at the Lamplighters camp.

We don’t require volunteers, or any structured commitments. Anyone who wishes to contribute time, talents, or resources is welcome to do so, but not required. All we ask for is simply this: when you are at one of our events, participate! Cheer us on, get a drum, dance with us, even walk with us in our processions. This is, after all, the true spirit of the Burn.

Yes!  That’s it.  That’s what Burn2 is, that’s why it’s different for every person, because it’s about participation.  Whether you come to try out some of the fun vehicles, or listen to your favorite DJ, or see some new art, YOU are as much part of the experience you will have as the camps and entertainers are.

In cooperation with the BURN2 core we set a schedule and route for our nightly lamplighting processions. As you know, Burning Man is not a spectator event. It’s about participation! And so, in Second Life too, all are welcome to join in with us in the processions. In a very real sense, we bring the Burning Man/BURN2 community together.

I wish I had thought to describe it that way.  Burn2 is not a spectator event, not at all.  You can come, walk around and see things, that’s of course welcome and encouraged, but to truly experience Burn2, to understand what I’m trying to convey, you can’t just watch, you have to talk to people, to try things, to dance… you have to Burn.

Following the procession, we assemble with all who care to participate; at The Temple, The Village, Center Camp or elsewhere, and spend the hours of darkness, dancing, drumming, socializing and celebrating fire and community.

We love to inspire the sense of community that the Burn brings, through our drumming, dancing and welcoming others to simply share in our joy of being and doing together – this is the very essence of the Burning Culture.

We invite you to join with us in our processions and drumming events, to celebrate the spirit and fire of Burning culture.

The lamplighters gather every night at 7 pm SLT at their camp http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Burning%20Man-%20Deep%20Hole/1/21/24 and the procession will drum and dance it’s way across the playa lighting lamps.  If you’ve never experienced this, and I don’t mean just watching, if you’ve never tried to dance or walk as a group in Second Life towards a common purpose,  laughing until your cheeks hurt, being part of community with this much joy, please do come.  You won’t find another experience like it.

How do I know?  Well, once again, I’ll defer to the excellent wording in the Lamplighters package.

There are no bystanders at BURN2 – Welcome Home!

More information about Burn2 can be found on their website http://www.burn2.org/

Be sure to check the calendar of events http://www.burn2.org/calendar

Colour Key

I planned to write a post about my new mesh hands and feet this week, in fact it’s all composed in my head, I just have to type it and log in to take a few pictures.  I suppose you could read it, if I had chairs in my brain, but I’m guessing that my words would be projected in reverse on the walls of my skull so that wouldn’t be much help.  My Saturday morning coffee in hand, I sat down to catch up on blogs and saw this post on Inara Pey’s blog and my original plan went out the window.

The Web

I’ve always been a huge fan of Rebeca Bashly’s work, but more than that she’s inspired me to do two previous blog posts about The Tower and The Inferno so I was confident this would be no exception.  This newest exhibit,  Colour Key, has a very vague description “It is all about human nature, breaking your spine to find answers that are under your nose.” and that was somehow freeing.  Without a clear idea of what the artist hoped I would think or feel or learn from her work, I let my mind and camera wander freely.

Will You Carry My Key

I got lost in Colour Key, quite literally.  It’s huge, a tall building with scaffolding and you can easily wander into dead ends.  The trick is to look for the keys that you can click on to teleport to the next part.  At first I wondered why I was having such a hard time navigating around, and then I quickly stopped being concerned about it.  A few dead ends, followed by a few full circles, and you end up looking at this work in a new way, or at least I did.  How often do we find ourselves repeating the same steps, or stuck in a box with no exit?  It’s only when you look at it differently that you can see the way forward.

Reflective

I allowed myself a fair bit of creative liberties here, with  windlight, color and framing the pictures.  I always feel a bit guilty about that, uncertain if my job is to capture the work as the artist meant it to be seen, or to try to present what she invoked in me.  I’m hoping these do a combination of both, but I encourage you to visit Colour Key for yourself to see what it says to you.

This last one has the eerily sensuality that I often find in Rebeca Bashly’s work.  Whether it’s my own fascination with the stories of Succubi or projecting something else that’s going on with me right now, I knew exactly what these ladies were saying.

Kiss me.

Kiss Me

You can find Colour Key here http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/LEA6/58/37/373

Pangloss

One of the first things I noticed when returning to Second Life was that some of the mainland parcels around my home had changed hands. They seem to have put a lot of effort into their plots so I’m not complaining but there were uneven land boundaries between us now. It shouldn’t bug me, but it does, so I set about trying to smooth the transition between their land and mine. Smooth wasn’t doing what I hoped it would, so then I tried to flatten my land, but it still didn’t look right. I decided that I needed to raise the whole parcel and then work it down to match but I’m far too impatient for this one square at a time nonsense, so I pushed all the sliders to the max and started to bulldoze. This is when I learned ( confirmed?) that I don’t know what I’m doing.

As I stood there wondering if there is some sort of 911 emergency terraforming group I could call it became obvious that half of my objects and plants were now buried underground. It seemed logical to me that I’d should move them all first, then fix the land. No problem right? Just go to your land window and return all your objects. Brilliant, easy, one click and… oh my damn, what did I just do?

Well, at least I had the foresight to name my blog appropriately. Not that I was ever the most technically savvy of SL users, but over the last 6 months I apparently forgot all that I ever knew and am now truly renoobed. The solution, clearly, was to ignore the whole problem and go exploring. Procrastination, what would I do without you?

float

My exploring often starts in Flickr and from there to blogs and this was no exception. There are a lot of gorgeous photos out there, many of you got so good while I was gone, but everything is Halloween and fall themed which didn’t match my mood. I stumbled on one of the pinkest of the pink photos I’ve ever seen by Caitlin Tobias which led me to her blog post.

Now this is interesting, Honour wrote a thought provoking post about this place as well.  That’s enough for me, off to Pangloss I went.

The color of music

I do fiddle with my pictures a bit in postprocessing, but the vast majority of what you are seeing here was done in Second Life. I did experiment with windlights, but Pangloss really is this pink.

I’m using Firestorm lately, although Catznip is still by far the best performing viewer for me, especially in crowded places, but the phototools in Firestorm intrigue me. As you can see, I’m teaching myself about depth of field and focal length.

Night Flower

As a large scale landscape, Pangloss is not just surreal, it’s magical, but I found myself captivated by the tiny details. I want to call them minutia, but that word has negative connotations and these details hidden around Pangloss are far, far from inconsequential. They are what kept me there and taking photographs for hours.

Unfortunate really, I like the word, it feels good in my mouth and deserves a better reputation than it has. If I ever make another roleplay character I’m going to name her Minutia. Although, I do like the play on words of separating a word to make a name, like Mala Justed, or Caris Matic…  See?  This is why I get nothing done.

Orb

One of the most striking features you’ll see if you go to Pangloss, well, other than the flying whale, are these turtles. They are suspended high above the pinkness with ladders to climb up to them. Being the clicker that I am, I had to go up there and much to my surprise, there is a couch atop one of the turtles.

Pangloss

Now that’s strange. Why would anyone put a couch on a flying turtle? We established in the past that I haven’t met a couch or chair that I didn’t want to sit on, and this was no exception. It occurred to me as I essentially sat on top of the world and let my camera roam around that this was no accident, no whim of silliness, it was one of those moments of creative genius. This is Second Life, where the more important question really is why wouldn’t you put a couch on a flying turtle.

Maybe that’s what I should do with my parcel. Forget the terraforming, forget that clump of no copy objects stuck together in my lost and found, I’ve got a magic couch to find.

Pangloss http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Banana%20Island/116/107/30

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.  http://romynayar.blogspot.ca/

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:  http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/MetaLES/245/212/23

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.

http://singleframestories.wordpress.com/2013/03/23/challenge-gallery-32-vanilla/

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.

Credits:

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
http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/nostos%20deer/131/119/32