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

A Drop of Vanity

Have you ever had a bad haircut?  I mean really bad?  Nothing that will work itself out in a week or with some styling tricks, but something that will require either an even more drastic haircut to fix, or 6 months until it’s back to where you started?  I just did.  Sucksalot.  I never thought I was this vain. I’m a pretty low maintenance kind of gal, my avatar actually owns way more shoes and makeup than I do. However, I gotta admit, staring at my hair, running my fingers through and having them come up short of where they should, I realized that I just may be.  Comfort food would have been my first go to, but I can’t really eat my way through the next six months, so retail therapy is required.

The fastest, most convenient, and cheapest form of retail therapy for me is Second Life, and this weekend did not disappoint.  Sales and Specials and Events oh my!  I’m drowning in happy, until I reach up to play with my hair that is… but, hands on the keyboard and I’ll make it through this just fine.

I was browsing The Dressing Room’s 4th Birthday event and then a notice came in, Spring Sn@tch Sale.  If you are reading this, and if it’s still Monday, stop now and head over to the Sn@tch Mainstore for 50% to 75% off everything except new releases through until Monday April 28th.  I’ll wait for you.

Drop of Vanity

Back?  Ok good.  Sn@tch has an interesting way to price things doesn’t it?  Sales aside, unlike other stores where you pick a color, and get all sizes when you buy, at Sn@tch you pick a size and get all colors.  See those pants up there, nice aren’t they?  Checkered or plaid aren’t usually my thing, but once I saw how my ass looked in the demo, I had to have them.  I got 8 colors in the pack for 135L.  Expect to be seeing me in them, a lot.

I’ve written about Sn@tch before, not just because of the deals, but it’s actually a fun place to hang out.  Shopping aside, if you are the kind of person who prefers to shop in world than the marketplace, this will hit all the high notes, from the VIP lounge to lucky boards, riot vendors to fishing.  That’s right, you can fish for an outfit, takes maybe a couple hours and you can catch all the pieces.  If you don’t, no problem, the Sn@tch group is a great resource to find people to trade with, or to call everyone down to flash mob the riot vendors.  Even just sitting in the store, there is always people around, you are bound to start up a conversation and help each other out by trading missing pieces.

There are other fun details, like a dressing room, a catwalk, even a photostudio, and if you wander the outside, the rest of the mall, you’ll see the theme carries on.  That’s where I took that picture above actually, out front of the store.  I can spend an entire online session at Sn@tch, no need to go anywhere else, chatting, music, prizes, what else could I need?  It’s also great place to tackle my embarrassingly out of control inventory, I can lounge on one of the couches while I wait for my letter to come up or keep an eye out on the riots.  That’s actually what I was doing, rummaging around my inventory picking out items to put together for this look, and what better inspiration than these messages behind me?

Don't Give a Damn

See the necklace I’m wearing, I got that today at Sn@tch too, when my letter came up on the lucky board.  Guess what it’s called?  Drops of Vanity.  Welcome back Serendipity, I’ve missed you.

Credits:

Shirt:  Bad News Crop Top :::Sn@tch::: Spring Sale
Pants:  Lulu Leggings :::Sn@tch::: Spring Sale
Neck Lace:  Drop of Vanity :::Sn@tch::: Lucky Board
Sn@tch Main Store  http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Snatch%20City/136/101/29
Skin:  Celestial glow milk -al vulo- available at The Dressing Room 4th Birthday
Poses Label Motion Love Set at The Dressing Room 4th Birthday
The Dressing Room 4th Birthday until May 9th http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Imogen/200/153/27
Hair:  Lory Mesh Hair Aquatic /Wasabi Pills/ former Arcade Gatcha Prize
Makeup:  Bleeding Eyes – Goth Black  ::Para Desings:: free gift
Face Piercings:  Fire In The Water Midnight – .HoD. – former hunt prize
Lashes:  Mesh Eye Lashes – Maitreya V.I.P. Group Gift (old gift)
Eyes:  Ellis-Lavender [LeLutka]
Slink Casual Hands and Mid-Height Bare Feet

Boudoir Bunny

Sometimes people ask me why I don’t take pictures or blog anymore, ok, three times, but still I’ve been asked and it makes for a good lead in. I don’t really have an answer, it’s certainly something I love to do, so it wasn’t lost interest, I think it was at least partially lack of time. The original intent of this blog was to rediscover Second Life, to find new things to do, new places to see, meet new people, and work on my photography skills while I was at it. Now that I only manage to get into SL once every two to three weeks, I don’t get as many chances to explore anymore so I felt like I didn’t have much to share. If I wasn’t sticking to my original purpose, or could only update once a month, should I bother? After great deliberation, I’ve decided that I should bother. Who cares if I only take pictures once every two weeks? Or blog three days in a row then not again for a month? I don’t have sponsors or ads, no commitments, and it’s something I find relaxing so I’ll post now and again when the mood strikes me.

Being a four day weekend here I did have a bit of time to get online, mostly because I was inspired to pick up this Daffodil Bunny outfit that is currently a group gift at Boudoir. As has happened in the past, I was happy with the look I put together, but didn’t have a new place in mind that I wanted to take pictures. Normally I would have searched Easter, or bunnies, or checked out the new art installations to find the perfect location to suit it, but I realized that’s been part of my problem. You see, I had this strange rule in my head that every post has to feature a new item, in a new place, with a written post that somehow ties together both. Sometimes I’d visit a place, but have no new look to show or none that suited the location theme. Other times, like today, I’d have a new outfit but couldn’t think of a new place to showcase it in. In both of those cases, if I didn’t have something to write, I didn’t feel like there was a reason to take pictures. Whoever made that rule that all three boxes had to be checked in order to blog really should reconsider… oh wait, it was me, which means I can break the rule right? I hope so, because I did.

Sunny Bunny

I took the picture right outside the store at Boudoir. And why not? It’s a really fun place to visit, not only themed outfits for just about any event or holiday you can think of, pieces that really work well in photography, but furniture, landscaping and buildings too. There is the most adorable Alice in Wonderland furniture and pose set there I have my eye on, but I really don’t have anywhere to put it,  that doesn’t stop me from visiting it in the store though.

I like stores with an inworld presence, not just because I much prefer shopping in world to the marketplace, but I feel like they add something to Second Life. They are part of the community. I do realize that land prices makes going marketplace only attractive to some merchants, but I miss them, and it makes me sad that it seems to be a growing trend. Visiting a store you get an idea about the creator, their vision, the way they use and enjoy Second Life. It adds to my own immersion in a way too I suppose, going shopping, walking about a store, far more than marketplace ever will.

Bunny Tail

There will always be people like me who enjoy the shopping experience in Second Life for it’s own sake, but it’s not just the experience, it’s that the marketplace is incredibly frustrating to me. I hate it, I really do. I don’t know if it’s because I don’t use it enough and so I’m not good at it, but things are never where I expect them to be, I have all kinds of problems entering key words, and then changing categories only to have my keywords cleared out. There appears to be no policing on the key words either, and that annoys me,  I don’t like being conned into wasting my time.  I also wish I could mute or ignore a creator. If I’ve decided I never want to shop at store A, I don’t want store A’s listings showing up every time I search. If they ever make changes to the marketplace, I really hope that’s one of them. Another, which is not only frustrating to shoppers, but creators too, is the multiple listings for the same item if there are many colors. That’s a cute dress, but I don’t want to see 9 ads for the demo, the 7 colors you have, and the fat pack, just show me one and let me pick the color. Right now I can scroll three pages of listing and only really see 3 items, what a waste.

Anyway, shopping in world has it’s benefits, not only did I pick up this Bunny outfit as an in store group gift, but I discovered that Boudoir has gatchas. I did not know this. I decided to try my hand, once, to see what I would get. Score! Check out this adorable swing set, it comes with the trees and arch and everything.

Spring Swing

It’s really cute on my land, which has sat empty since I got a new neighbour who is fond of banlines and circa 2007 iron fences. I know, I know, I’ve heard all the arguments, but I’m a big believer in mainland and I do love living there, although I’ll be the first to admit the neighbours make all the difference. I’ve waited out others in the past, I may wait this one out, or try to sell, but until then I’m just going to reduce my draw distance and enjoy my swing.

Outfit: Corset, chest flowers, headpiece with ears – “Daffodil Bunny” – In Store Group gift from Boudoir
“Spring Swing” Gatcha Prize from Boudoir
http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Boudoir/123/215/22
Hair: “Genesis” – Truth Hair
Skin: “Celestial china red fairy” – Al Vulo – available at The Dressing Room
Shoes: “Flirt Cross Strap Mules” – Sax Shepherd Designs
Lips: “Hypershine Lipcolor Raspberry Wine” – Previous group gift from Mock Cosmetics
Manicure and Pedicure: (.vix) – Bright Solids
Eyes: Ellis-Lavender [LeLutka]
Lashes: Previous Group Gift from Maitreya
Slink Casual Hands and Slink Mid height Feet

Now With More Spine

You know the expression ‘Wearing your heart on your sleeve”?  People say that to me a lot and I’m never quite sure what they mean.  To be clear, before anyone links me the urban dictionary, I know what the expression means, but I don’t always know their intent.  Is it a compliment?  A caution?  An insult?

I suppose it doesn’t much matter, because it is true, although as I’ve mentioned here in this blog before I prefer to call myself an emotional exhibitionist.  Sounds a bit sexier don’t you think?  I am an external processor, I think aloud.  I get from A to B by talking or writing it out.  I process feelings and thoughts by looking at them outside of my own head.  I know sometimes it causes people undue amounts of concern when they find themselves witness to it, but it’s really not necessary.  Chances are if I’m talking about something that upset me, or that I’m going through, I am actually perfectly fine.  It’s only when I get quiet that should be remotely noteworthy. 

Which brings me the long way round to my point, this blog has gone quiet for several months.

Been Down This Road Before

The short version of why I haven’t blogged is because I haven’t really been in Second Life since April.  There were a handful of quickie log ins to make a payment, or answer something critical, but that’s about it.  I knew that my spare time and online footprint would be drastically reduced over the summer months due to a few changes at home and work, and some medical situations with my family in my first world life, but I’ll confess, there were a few nights here and there that I could have logged in.   I most certainly could have benefited from the distraction, and having a bit of fun, but just the thought of it knotted my stomach so I didn’t.

You see, there was an unresolved issue that I didn’t want to face, the same unresolved issue that has made me question what to do with this blog. 

Is That All You've Got?

You may recall, or if you skip down a few posts you’ll see, an SL friend of mine Mabb Dilweg passed away suddenly in March.  Her death touched many people, even those who never had the opportunity to meet her in SL.  In a moment of shared grief, in an attempt to feel less helpless, a fundraiser was put together to fly her partner Shane Fairlock to her home.  We knew he wouldn’t make it in time for the funeral, but hoped that the trip would still give him closure.  The fear of never being able to say goodbye is one that I think most people who form online and long distance friendships can relate to.

In April it became apparent that the fundraiser would fall short of it’s goal.   I know that quite a few people, both privately and publically in the SLU forum, began to ask questions about what would happen to the money and suspicions even began to be voiced.  At the time he assured me that he was holding out hope that he could still put together enough from other sources, that he just needed a little more time, but in the event he couldn’t make the trip we discussed other options for the money that was raised including giving it to her family or donating to the zoo that Mabb loved to bring her grandchildren to.

That didn’t happen.  Six months later, he either is still holding it or he spent it.  Will it forward it on one day?  Perhaps.  Stranger things have happened.

There is a lot I could say here, but I don’t know how necessary that is.  If you are at all curious what Shane’s version of the story is, it would probably be best to ask him.  I could give my version, but it differs dramatically from the various accounts he’s given Mabb’s other friends so I don’t even know what the truth is anymore.

I do know this, as weeks turned to months, without even the courtesy to update all those who loved her, and who donated, the silence became the elephant in the room.  So much so that the very idea of logging in and seeing Shane on my friend’s list, knowing I had to either confront him or ignore it as if nothing happened, seemed like more stress than I needed or wanted.  I needed an outlet, an escape, but due in large part to this situation Second Life was no longer that for me.

The Bigger Person

I’m angry.  Not about the money I donated,  I’m angry at myself because in my own need to channel my grief, to do something constructive, I projected my fear of losing people I care about onto this situation and I overinvested emotionally.  I know better, or at least I should.  I’m angry that I let my reluctance to confront him and address this issue keep me from Second Life at a time when I probably needed that outlet most.  I’m angry that I let my uncertainty about how to proceed with this blog, not knowing if I should address this issue or not, keep me from taking pictures and writing.  I dreaded having to talk this out with people, I felt guilty, I was embarassed, so I withdrew from many of my friends rather than risk the topic coming up.

Not anymore.  I finally, with the help and heavy prodding of some friends, logged into Second Life, said my piece to Shane, then deleted him.  It’s done, I’m taking my Second Life back. 

I still have a lot of thinking to do,  I need to examine what part I played in this and find a way to prevent it from happening again.  It’s not the first time a friend let me down, not the first time I misplaced trust, not the first time I got hurt, not the first time I dreaded the idea of confronting a person or situation.  People are so quick to say “don’t let it change you” and I appreciate both the sentiment, and the good hearted place it comes from, but I do think a few changes are in order.  People warn me against becoming bitter, urge me not to build up walls, but from where I sit those both seem like viable options.

I don’t know where my Second Life will take me now and it’s possible that I will continue to wear my heart on my sleeve on this adventure,  but I know one thing for sure… this time I’m packing a little more spine.

I'm Back

Outfit : MetaTheodora Star of Venus Ballgown, Gloves, and Nipple Covers (head piece not shown)
FEET!!!!! Slink Female Feet (AvEnhance) M – Mid (a blog post dedicated entirely to my new feet is in the works)
Below eye piercing: .:ellabella:. Helene’s Tears – silver
Above eye piercing: – .HoD. – Fire In The Water Prt. 1 – Midnight
Skin: -Belleza- Ellie Gacha 5 (old Arcade Item)
Hair: Wasabi Pills Lory Mesh Hair Aquatic (old Arcade item)
Make up: -Belleza- Eyeliner 1
Collar: Hello Spacegirl – Ilia Collar (long) M (black)
Eyes: [LeLutka]-Ellis-Lavender/M
Lashes: Maitreya V.I.P. Group Gift  Mesh EyeLashes (old group gift)

Mesh spine attachment is part of the [StG] Neuropuppet RLV Slave Unit on the marketplace.

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.

http://hottiecooterati.com/events/pose-fair-2013/

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!

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

The Edge of Hazardous in ColdLogic

The notecard and blog post for the latest ColdLogic release was titled “Bad Girls in Great Cardigans”.    I had to smile, that sounded like a perfect inspiration for a blog post.  I love the combination of the pink cardigan with the black and grey dress but even better news is that there is a cardigan only version included so you can wear it with other separates. That’s like getting two outfits in one!

Pink Goes Bad

We all know how dangerous bad girls can be, so a trip to the Hazardous sim that I read about on Ziki’s blog seemed in order.  As you can see from her pictures it’s a lovely build with wild grasses and abandoned buildings but I was inspired to do this whole set with night time lighting to keep with my bad girl concept.

Hazardous

As I jumped (ok, I fell) off the edge of the build I found several little scenes set up in the water.  You know where I’m going with this right?  Edge was the prompt for this week’s Single Frame Story.  I keep telling you guys, these posts create themselves.  I’m just the typist.

The Edge of Madness

Lana del Rey’s Out of Luck, one of my favorite bad girl songs, played no small part in this set as I had it on repeat while doing the pictures.

Credits:
Dress and Cardigan Combo:  “lutz.bubblegum” NEW from coldLogic
Hair:  “Shine -Colour 08” from [e]likatira
Skin:  “Amberly -Artic Valentine 01” by Glam Affair  (available at The Dressing Room Fusion)
Eye Makeup:  “Thalassa purple – Blue” from PMD (Pin Me Down)
“Hypershine Lipcolor Raspberry Wine” group gift from [mock]
Bracelet:  “One Moment Black Onyx” Bracelet gift from RookHold (RH Designs)
Earrings:  “{Cherry} Mia Nugget Earrings noir dots” available at L’accessoires
Shoes:   “Baby T’s Plain Black” from [PM] Pixel Mode
Mesh Lashes by Al Vulo
Eyes:  Ellis-Lavender from [LeLutka]
Poses:  Del May
Location:  Hazardous
http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Misali/165/163/195