Half Alive

I’ve never really been a big fan of Halloween.  I don’t boycott it, I give out candy to the kids who come to the door, but it’s just never really been my thing.  I notice some of my neighbours already decorating, trees hung with spiderwebs, skeletons and gravestones on the grass, and I just kind of shrug and close the curtains.  Intellectually I comprehend the thrill of fear, but I just can’t get into it.  Not this year.

The best part of Halloween really is Second Life, and particularly all the themed creations out there that can be used as inspiration.  Take this skin for example, a group gift from Lumae called “Lady Death”.  The minute I saw it I knew it would break my blogging silence.

Half Alive

Fear is a strange thing, unique to each and every one of us.  You have one don’t you.  Is it spiders?  Ghosts?  Flying in a plane?  Commitment?   The fears we know are easy, we can for the most part go through our lives if not avoiding at least preparing to cope with them.  After all, they are as much a part of us as our hair or skin and we’ve had decades learning to manage them.

Unexpected fears are the worst though.  Imagine not knowing you were afraid of something until it’s right in front of your face.  Unavoidable.  Inescapable.  No amount of twisting or turning removes it from view, not even closing your eyes works.  It’s not a nightmare, it doesn’t go away when you wake up, but sleep doesn’t help much either even if you can manage a few hours.  With no prior experience to temper your initial reaction, with no learned or inborn coping mechanism, how would you handle it?

Some of you would do really well I’m sure, some people are just like that.  Grace, class and fortitude under any circumstance.  I’m not one of those people which was a really fabulous thing to learn about myself.  Now I know that if I ever find myself in a Zombie Apocalypse or the subject of an Alien Abduction, I probably won’t do as well as I always thought I would.  I’d cry apparently, then pout, then kick stuff, then eat, and eat some more, then yell at everyone I care about, then cry some more.  Sooner or later though my best quality would emerge, my hidden super power.  Sarcasm.  Hey, we all need a thing, at least I know mine now.

Where was I?  Oh yes, fear.  Wanna try something?  Let’s irradiate the human body and see if only the healthy cells survive.

Sounds legit.  I’m in.


If you think about it too much, which I’ve been known to do, it makes you wonder how many cells survive something like that. What percentage of the body is dead?

Regardless of circumstance or cause, there are countless people who find themselves feeling half dead every day all over the world.  It’s a pretty remarkable moment when you realize you are one of them, don’t worry, you won’t miss it if you are in the bathroom.  Actually, odds are it’ll happen to you while you are in a bathroom, but that’s another story.

The trick isn’t realizing you are half dead, it’s remembering that technically you are still half alive.  Now, if you want to dwell on one side of that equation for a while, please do.  I have.  Shamelessly and without regret.  There is no time limit, no rules, no standard you need to uphold.  There is nothing you have to prove to anyone, I promise.

One day though, the scale will tip.  You will find yourself in the half alive side.  I know that sounds corny but I need you to believe that, because I need to believe that.


Skin: “Evie : 2 – Cream / Lady Death”  Group Gift Lumae http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Kassar/34/33/1502

Panties: “RadPanties” from MetaTheodora (now Chariot)  https://marketplace.secondlife.com/p/MetaTheodora-RadPanties/5575501

Hair:  “Stone Cold Seduction”  Exile (previous Hair Fair Style)

Poses Del May  http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Terravia%20Island/217/66/24

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

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.

Tis The Season… For Good Intentions

I meant to get a post in before the holidays but it’s not looking like that is going to happen.  It was partially time, I think I’ve been online only once this week and that was to celebrate the Solstice with the Happy Clams, but mostly the problem was that I was drawing a blank trying to find the perfect Seasons Greetings type of post.  I’m not the biggest fan of wintery things, probably because I live with too much winter, and though I like Christmas I don’t tend to go all out in my decorations or costumes either.  The holidays for me are about loved ones, those who are there to support and laugh with us every day, and in many ways those who are not.

I tossed around the idea of writing a special message for each person I miss, and each person I’m grateful to have in my life, but the risk of leaving someone out worried me.  Then I decided at the very least I’d dress up in Holiday attire and visit one of the many Christmas locations on the grid right now to take pictures, but here I am on the 24th and as I sip my morning coffee and look over my to-do list it’s clear that isn’t going to happen.

I couldn’t just leave the blog with nothing to acknowledge the holidays so I decided that it’s close enough to the New Year that I could get a head start on one of those “a year in review” type of posts.  I had intended to do this in the fall when my blog turned one year old, but ….hmmm I’m sensing a pattern here.

Anyway, the holiday season always makes me nostalgic so I’m just going to show a collection of my favorite photoshoots from the last year. It’s a slideshow, so once you click play it *should* just go on it’s own. It seems to want to fight with me though, so I hope it works.

I wish you all a wonderful holiday season, however you celebrate.  In the mad rush of shopping, eating, and travelling I want to ask you all to take some time to reach out to someone, anyone.  It could be a loved one you haven’t seen in a while, it could be that person who is there every day and has become so comfortable you sometimes forget to hug, or maybe it’s a stranger who’s day might be a little brighter for that moment you take for them.

Thank you all for being part of this last year and see you in 2013!

Wicked Ride

Let’s just get this out of the way off the top.  I’m not happy with these pictures.  They’ve been sitting on my desktop for days as I purse my lips and glare at them.  It’s not just the graphics problems, which I’ll get to in a bit, but this set didn’t turn out how I imagined it would.  Sometimes I wish I was a magician and could pull a chain of handkerchiefs out of my ear, and on them would be the images I see in my head.

Last week DJ Mabb played some Melody Gardot during her set at Unhinged and I’ve been on a smoky blues jazzy kick ever since.  I was deep in that headspace when I saw the new release from ColdLogic  included this amazing mesh pencil skirt.  Love, love pencil skirts but I’ve never been able to make them work for me until now.  This one fit like a glove.  A concept was slowly taking shape when I read that this Luna’s color challenge this week was Cotton Candy  and I immediately remembered my favorite pink boots from Gos that I can never have enough opportunities to wear.  With Melody streaming in my ear, feeling good in my skirt and boots I set about framing the perfect smoky sultry shot.  Some thirty pictures later…

My Picture Is Borked

Not bad.  It probably doesn’t do the skirt as much justice as I really should, and it would be a hard sell to say this shot screams cotton candy pink, but over all the vibe is really close to what I was going for.  Wait a second.  What the heck is that on the back wall?  Those green swirly lines.  You see them?  I didn’t see them when I was taking it, they only appeared on the picture.  When I tried to lighten up this shot a bit so you could see the skirt better, the green swirls just leapt off the screen so I went back to the original coloring but I know they are there and it’s bugging me to no end.

Annoyed, but undaunted, I chose another from the dozens I had saved.  This time brighter and a different angle.  I’m on the fence about the composition and expanse of empty space on this one.  It’s either brilliant or really, really bad.  People make composition sound so easy “Oh, just divide your image into thirds”.  Pfft.  In fact, pfft two times.  That’s like telling someone driving  is easy, just put your foot on the gas.

Worrisome Heart

Originally I was planning to fill this skybox with plants, artwork and accessories I’d picked up from the Unhinged Gatcha Fair but when I rezzed it empty I liked how it felt.  It worked for this set.  When I showed the test shot to a friend we had this great conversation where he asked me if she was coming or going.  I love that, I love creating pictures that make people think.  I love the fact that even I don’t know what she’s doing.  It could be her first night in a new apartment; her stuff hasn’t arrived yet, so she builds a fire, pours a glass of wine and wraps her arms around herself as she makes plans for her new life. Then again, maybe she’s leaving.   Maybe the movers have just left and she is taking one last look around her empty space, savouring the last of the memories before heading out the door.

The door.  What the heck is going on with the door?  What are those lines?!  Grrr.

I really don’t know what’s going on with my graphics.  I hope my card isn’t dying, I hope it’s something I’m doing wrong because then there is a chance I can fix it.

So I sat on these images for a few days trying to decide what to do.  Retake the whole set and hope the problem is resolved?  Trash them?  Believe me, I trash hundreds of pictures a week so it shouldn’t be that hard, but something was keeping me from doing it.  I uploaded them to Flickr but wasn’t sure if I’d blog them or not but in the end you can see I have.

They aren’t perfect.  They aren’t what I was imagining and hoping they would be.  What is though?  I’m certainly not.  I realized that if I stopped focusing on the faults, stopped being so hard on myself, and let the sounds of Melody Gardot take me to another time, another place, a world where this woman’s story was just unfolding then maybe, just maybe it would be a Wicked Ride.

Mesh Pencil Skirt: “Bradley Smoke” NEW from coldLogic
Boots: “Desire Bootie Baby Pink” previous hunt gift from [Gos]
Hair: “Jade w/Roots – oasis” from >TRUTH<
Top: “Vamp Corset Top White” from Sn@tch
Skin: “Isla Medium Peach” from *League*
Location: “Stockholm Skybox Unfurnished” from Barnesworth Anubis

One For The Guys

Do you know what most of the men in my life have in common?  No you pervs, not that, well… maybe… but if they did I wouldn’t blog about it.

What they really have in common is a lack of interest in shopping, or at least it seems so compared to me.  Don’t get me wrong, they have great avatars and good taste, but they just don’t seem to enjoy or spend as much time shopping as much as I do.  Perhaps it’s because there seems to be so many more options for women than men, perhaps it’s the frustration of using search or marketplace, whatever it is many of my male friends end up contacting me when they need something.  Sometimes it’s because they are changing RP genres and have to put together a new wardrobe, it’s often something simple like “Pancake, I need shoes, where should I go?”, other times it’s just an urge they get out of the blue for an update to their look.  I don’t mind helping them, but other than a few staple landmarks or store names, male fashion is not something I’m that familiar with so I decided to do a bit of research. 

Research, for me, involves blogs.  I suspect some of my friends look at blogs and see a style that doesn’t necessarily match their own and think it won’t be helpful. I’m not suggesting anyone go out and put together avatars exactly like any of the ones shown on blogs, I know I don’t.  However, blogs are a great source to browse and when a certain item jumps out at you as well made or interesting it gives you a starting point to go to that store or search them on the marketplace.  Even if you aren’t into reading blogs, it’s surely easier than typing “shoes” and taking your chances.  Here are a few that stood out to me and seem to be updated fairly regularly.

The aptly named Uncomplicated Guy http://uncomplicatedguy.wordpress.com/ leans more towards the fashion blogging style I’m familiar with.  Simple poses and backgrounds photographed with the idea of showcasing the clothing.  The new items are marked as such, everything is credited and includes SLurls. I think if someone was looking for a quick idea of stores to visit this blog would deliver.

I’m pretty sure that Catharis http://www.carthalis.com/ is going to be a big hit with a certain group of my friends.  There is a great diversity here that includes skins and clothing that could easily translate into a variety of roleplay genres, plus some posts on furnishings and fun accessories. 

On a personal level, I enjoyed Irregular Guy  http://irregularguy.wordpress.com/  It looks like the blog was on a break for a while, but he seems to be back.  I love the way he can mix and match and includes accessories that really customize or personalize the looks, something I am not that good at myself .  With limited options in Second Life, it takes a bit of effort to personalize a look or make it unique and this blog shows ways that adding a few different accessories can do that.

Another option is Just Mens http://justmens.wordpress.com/. Once again, that straight forward format of picture, credits, and slurs that I think those who are shopping with purpose and aren’t generally blog readers will find useful.

I have actually been reading Chance Raynier’s blog http://chanceraynier.wordpress.com/ for a while now.  You see, I like to read and enjoy blogs that are a bit chatty.  I’m amused by the stories he tells and the bit of personal touch he adds to the posts.  Chance’s blog is more than a fashion blog, you’ll read about events, places to visit, but he does a good job of showing clothing and furnishings in SL so it’s worth peeking at for shopping ideas.

I had to chuckle at the name of Nerd Finds http://nerdfinds.blogspot.ca/ and investigated it purely for the title, but these looks and photographs were well worth the visit.  This blogger includes both the simple fashion shots and a mix of on location pictures with a variety of lighting. 

For those on a budget, and I know I always am, you can easily update your look by adding a freebie to the mix.  Don’t worry, I’m not talking about your circa 2007 biab freebies, these are group gifts, hunt items, and sales events.  I only know of two blogs dedicated to male freebies http://ffform.blogspot.ca/ and http://topsecretfinds.blogspot.ca/ but FabFree also has male bloggers http://fabfree.wordpress.com/ and it’s worth having a glance now and again to see what gem you can incorporate into your wardrobe.

Last, but most certainly not least, is The Slipsters http://slipsters.wordpress.com/

This is a new to me blog and I spent a fair bit of time going through all the back posts.  This blog isn’t just about fashion, not to me anyway, I’m enthralled with the images themselves.  In my last post I talked about photographers who have a recognizable style to their images, this definitely is one of them.  I’m guessing postprocessing is involved, as I’ve never seen SL look like this, but I don’t have the skills to figure out how it’s done.  I have this urge to contact the blogger and ask him to photograph me.  I’m so curious to see how he would see me or make me look. I’m guessing it would be vastly different than the way I see myself on screen or the way I photograph myself, but then I’d be able to pick his brain and find out how he achieved those differences.

I haven’t yet figured out a way to contact him without coming across a bit strange.  “Hi, you don’t know me, but I stalked your entire blog and was wondering if you’d take my picture then tell me your tricks?”  Probably needs a bit of polishing, but I’ll let you know how it turns out if I decide to do it.

I’m sure I’ve missed some great blogs about male fashion, but this should be a solid start for anyone on a shopping mission.  Don’t worry guys, you can still contact me if you want some company shopping, just know that I’ll be coming back to this post to research where we’re going to go.