Saturday, December 1, 2007

And I would build that dome in air

Why does much of Second Life remind me of Coleridge? Perhaps it's the dream-like quality, the thought that it all transpired in my head, and one day I'll wake up and find that it's disappeared into a wave of sun-struck sand like a mirage.

Somebody had fun (Quinlan Quimby perhaps) when they built the Tree of Second Life main store on Firefly.

Whenever I go somewhere in Second Life I ask myself, "what kind of story does this place tell?"

In this particular case, my brain spun a wild tale about a gigantic little kid who disassembled a model boat kit and from its parts built a tree-house-candyshop thingie. Then the kid decided she wanted to be just like Alexander McQueen when she grew up, and threw in a little clothing store at the top.

I love it here. I could spend hours staring at the faded wood textures and oversized sweets. Something about the doll colors and proportions (and the playfulness of the entire build) inspires me to bust out the Anatomically-Disproportionate-Plastic-Doll-Pink. And okay, I have a secret love for the color pink that hasn't gone away with age, although people tend to look at me funny if I dress like my two year old IRL.

To be perfectly honest, this entire post was simply a justification to show off Tree of Second Life's Cobbler Boots. (Well. Not really.)

***Hair: /artilleri/ sabrina *pink blonde*, (artilleri, 87, 118, 26).
***Skin: /artilleri/ lily (porcelain) *candy*, (artilleri, 87, 118, 26).
***Scarf: Blowpop BP* crochet scarf 2, (Fuzzy, 226, 168, 33)
***Tattoo: minajunk Butterfly Tattoo (free store giveaway), (Koreshan, 123, 162, 23)
***Corset: from the Tree of Second Life *High Tea* dress set, (Firefly, 164, 214, 21)
***Jacket: ~silentsparrow~ signature jacket in hyablue, (silent sparrow, 176, 138, 729)
***Skirt and pants: ~silentsparrow~ Audrey skirt and pants, from the set, (silent sparrow, 176, 138, 729)
***Bangle: Bonita's Jewelry, Pink & White Shine Bead & Bangles 4, (Malra, 47, 46, 61)
***Boots: Tree of Second Life *Cobbler* Boots in Jawbreaker, (Firefly, 164, 214, 21)

Friday, November 30, 2007

Technical note

Random photo: I'm on the pirate ship in Intempesta Nox in a Nicky Rees dress and an Illusions veil & horns.

To the people who have been kind enough to comment on this blog:

How the heck do I reply to people? This element of blogger seems severely limiting; looks like I can see people's comments, but unless they provide email, there's no way for me to reply directly to a particular comment. How annoying, blogger!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

An islet, a rock, a reef

The monster became an islet, a rock, a reef; but a reef that was shifting, vague, and slippery.

A bunny named Kandace Commons lives in the Vernian Sea, Babbage's fourth sim. She runs a steam-powered light house, one that she built herself. It towers high above the underwater domain. Her house is a glorious build, full of ladders and gears and lookouts and other things that make my heart...hop.

Kandace is wearing Bare Rose's Charade frock, (Bare Rose, 143, 27, 30).

Said the bunny: "I had a friend who is a math wizard help me with some of the math algorithms for the connecting rod. It's scripted so that I can give it any speed to run the engine, and it figures out all the positions and rotations itself, rather than using a puppeteering system. The lights look fabulous in Windlight, because they actually glow."

Good places in Second Life seem to be not just well-made, but atmospheric too, so that you can see a story as well as the thing. Standing up on the lighthouse felt lonely and adventuresome all at once, looking out over the sea like a pulp explorer.

My journey left me with this question: Do snow bunnies dream of steam-powered blowtorches?

Strangely enough I had bunnies on my mind when I went home.

The bunny was a skating party gift from hyasynth. Neato, eh? The fine potbellied stove is from Balderdash.

***Hair: /artilleri/ dayna v2 in fire red, (artilleri, 87, 118, 26)
***Skin: Tete a Pied Paon in Almond, free group giveaway, (Nouveau, 196, 149, 22)
***Necklace: Schadenfraude's free Halloween giveaway charm necklace, (La Reina, 182, 182, 24)
***Shirt and gloves: ~silentsparrow~ from the Morning Glory set, (silent sparrow, 176, 138, 729)
***Corset, prim skirt, puff shoulders and lace cuffs: ~silentsparrow~ from the brand new Paon set (blogged over here!) (silent sparrow, 176, 138, 729)
***Socks: -corduroy- striped socks in sea, (LicoLico, 158, 33, 21)
***Shoes: Lassitude & Ennui Elizabeth button-up ankle boots in raindrop, (Nouveau, 65, 63, 30)

Come with me while the moon is on the sea

/artilleri/ has a gorgeous sim, sun washed and sand strewn. It's like a scene from an Elvis movie like Blue Hawaii. There is a tiki bar, a bowling alley, a neat retro playground, and an abandoned drive in. The retro clothing store just recently had an excellent sale!

My boy avatar poked me and said that as long as I'm taking pictures, he'd like to go hang out by some of those fine vintage cars.

I don't give enough love to my boy avatar in this journal, partly because I always fear people will judge me for it. Why did I create a boy avatar? Mostly because I like the idea that in Second Life, you can engage in creative identity play. What would it be like for people to treat me as though I'm male? I'll blog more about this at some point; there are definitely differences, right up until they click on my profile that states frankly that I'm female.

One friend said, "You know, people aren't going to like you if you keep up the gender switching."

"Why?" I asked blankly. "I never lie that my RL self is female."

"I've been hurt before by gender swappers," he said.

I treat Second Life like an immersive game, not one in which I'd try to hurt someone by subterfuge. I guess that's the difficulty of living in a magical land in which everything shifts and nothing is "real." Perhaps Second Life reveals that the foundations of love and attraction are a duplicity that we play upon ourselves. Whether or not we fully buy into it depends upon how often the other person meets the expectations of our own construction of them.

Back to my boy avatar. Yes, he's gothic and effete, and that's definitely lipstick on him. A girl's perception of a lovely boy is a lot different than a boy's perception of one. This is evident in the way that some (not all) men build avatars. "Whoa, I can pump my muscles up to 100%?" I, on the other hand, prefer my boy avatar to look like a girl. Wonder what that says about me?

***Hair: Calico Creations Jack in midnight, (Calico Kitty, 124, 70, 35)
***Skin: Whispers of Night :: Deathly M [Blood Dawn Slayer], (Temenos, 151, 173, 47).
***Tattoo: /artilleri/ old school tattoo, (artilleri, 87, 118, 26).
***Shirt: /artilleri/ mens classic shirts - mid panel green, (artilleri, 87, 118, 26).
***Cuff: ~silentsparrow~ Bloody Murder cuff, free group giveaway, (silent sparrow, 176, 138, 729)
***Pants: /artilleri/ cargo pants *khaki*, (artilleri, 87, 118, 26).
***Shoes: Shiny Things Tritones in black velvet, (Shiny Falls, 157, 129, 55).

"Real" males in SL have much less makeup and much more facial hair.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

All dressed up and nowhere to go

Sometimes I feel kind of pointless in Second Life. I walk around and stare at things and photograph the prettiness, all the while listening to other people speak in community chats about this and that. I'm only really part of one, the Independent State of Caledon chat, but that one is enough. I've gotten to know people through the chatroom that runs at the bottom of my screen, and then when we meet avatar to avatar at gatherings, I can put faces to the Victorian-ish personalities.

It's funny to think about personality in Second Life. The game is deceptive, extremely deceptive. It has most of the trappings of reality (but none of the physical sensations), and therefore there's a surreal sense to it. You meet people and get to know two "thems," or even many thems. You get to know the person as they present themselves through their avatar, and then, slowly, get to know the details of their real lives as they share them with you. How real is real, I often wonder.

I've gotten to know people in Second Life well enough that a few have shared details of their online existence with me. I can never tell when someone is roleplaying or not. When a lady curtseys and discusses her garden, I go along with it, curtsey back and discuss mine. When a gentleman talks about his sick child, I realize that it's probably a RL remark, and respond sympathetically. I wonder about relationships in this space. Do you roleplay it entirely? Do you mingle roleplay with RL? Negotiating the layers must be complicated, to say the least.

The layers and layers of fiction and "reality" are sometimes confusing, especially for a Victorian avatar like myself. Someone invited me to become a debutante in my Victorian land. This means that my 34 year old, married, matronly RL self could've lived out the fantasy of a debutante ball, something meant for an unwed girl of sixteen or seventeen. After all, you are what you look like, and nobody's avatar looks much older than 25 unless you try really, really hard to make yourself look older. I thought about it. I did.

Yesterday I was in a gypsy kind of mood. I walked alone through Caledon Cartaigh and found a snowy pavilion under the moonlight. I stopped to stare around. This is something I do often in Second Life -- stop and stare and take a photo or two of someone else's tree or house or pink gorilla. This pavilion was painted with a snowy scene. Beyond the see-through walls, there was a "real" snowy scene with crystal trees and snow-covered pines. Layers of images, one "represented," one meant to be "real," but both ultimately represented.

Then I felt pointless and logged off to play in the real world, and by that I mean on the web.

My avatar froze her butt off!

***Horns: Illusions ram's horns from the designer's box of free stuff, (Carnivale, 208, 87, 33)
***Hair: Calico Creations Reba in Midnight, (Calico Kitty, 124, 70, 35)
***Skin: Blowpop Mellie2 - Cream (cranberry fizz/richbronze gloss) - Free group giveaway, (Fuzzy, 226, 168, 33)
***Necklace: Magika's Pearl Bead Necklace, (Gormthoog, 184, 55, 26)
***Sleeve and back tattoo: AITUI TATTOO Horioshi full upper body tattoo, (Aitui, 155, 191, 27)
***Shirt, gloves and stockings: ~silentsparrow~ from the Serendipity Dress Suite, (silent sparrow, 176, 138, 729)
***Skirt and belt: Cake Autumn in Paris outfit skirt and belt, (FNKY Cake 129, 76, 26)
***Shoes: Shiny Things Ruffled Boots in coffee, (Shiny Falls, 224, 148, 38)

Monday, November 26, 2007

How cold my toes (tiddly-pom)

My neighbor across the river, Elric Anatine, has a well-developed sense of humor.

Our entire little inlet is now decked out for the cold season, and I feel the cold air waft out from the monitor whenever I stop by my garden. One of Saiyge's pot-bellied stoves sits in the Grecian ruins, but it's never quite warm enough.

Thank goodness I have /artilleri/'s free Kats coat!

Something I've discovered: if your outfit covers every inch of you except for your face, it's quite possible to wear Tete a Pied's sample skins (the word 'Demo' shows up if you remove any of your clothes, however). It's a nice free way to change out your makeup if you don't want to invest the L.

***Hat: Katz hat from the Katz set, Kru's Boutique - Usagi Kingdom, (Missauke, 179, 205, 92).
***Hair: /artilleri/ Myst in black, (artilleri, 87, 118, 26).
***Earrings: Illusions butterfly set in copper, (Carnivale, 208, 87, 33)
***Skin: Tete a Pied Celeste in Almond (demo skin), (Nouveau, 196, 149, 22)
***Scarf: /artilleri/ funky scarf in polkadot knit, (artilleri, 87, 118, 26).
***Coat: /artilleri/ Kats coat freebie from the skull hunt, (artilleri, 87, 118, 26).
***Gloves: ~silentsparrow~ Mille feuille gloves from the suite, (silent sparrow, 176, 138, 729)
***Socks: -corduroy- xia's dotty leggings in black, (LicoLico, 158, 33, 21)
***Shoes: Shiny Things vintage pumps in black, (Shiny Falls, 224, 148, 38)

Sunday, November 25, 2007

I can backwards skate in Second Life

hyasynth in her Piaf frock and Calico's Lolita hair (not yet released)

Tonight, hyasynth Tiramisu hosted a skating party on the frozen-over lake at silent sparrow. She DJed (and drank :D ) while a crowd of her friends skated about on our Skoopfs.

I tend to photograph myself a lot because I go on lonely jaunts around the world, but tonight there was a lot of nice people-watching.

Cornelia Rothschild, the mechanical dollie. She has a wind-up device that keeps her going.

ZenMondo Wormser in hyasynth's Mille Feuille Redux frock coat

(I've forgotten her name) in hyasynth's Marzipan

My old neighbor Kandace the cute fluffy bunny in Ingenue's Baby It's Cold Outside coat

All tuckered out from skating in bits of hy's Delerium.

hyasynth gave us some extremely cute freebies at the party. This is a holly-colored take on the Mille Feuille jacket and shirt, along with a green and black scarf. Yeah yeah I should probably tell you the rest of what I'm wearing, but I think the photos are fun all by themselves.