Archive for November, 2008

Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight!

Posted in Real Life, SecondLife® with tags , , on November 26, 2008 by ♥JellyBean♥

Ya know I read up today on natural defense mechanisms of different species of critters. Two particular oddites caught my eye… The first being the Hairy Frog or “Horror Frog”. Why are they so cool, you wonder, right? Well it actively breaks its own bones to produce claws that puncture their way out of the frog’s toe pads, probably when it is threatened. OOoo it’s like Wolverine but like only tote real and full of awesome.

The second being nine species of Bruneian ants, whose workers “are known to have hypertrophied mandibular glands and release their glandular contents suicidally from the head by rupturing the inter- segmental membrane of the gaster.” That means, in plain English, that they totally EXPLODE! Exploding ants will instinctively commit suicide when their colony is attacked, killing not only themselves but often their attackers as well.

Everyone has defense mechanisms, not only weird bugs and frogzoids. In Freud’s view, the human is driven towards tension reduction, in order to reduce feelings of anxiety. Sometimes people operate unconsciously, shut the world out, throw up walls, hide, and distort, transform, or falsify reality is some way etc etc. Do you know what yours is? In my case, I make myself hard to fight. Yup, how do you fight someone who loves a good fight? I don’t have neat tricks like the frog switchblades or exploding ant heads, but I have been trained over the years to be one hell of a verbal boxer. I’m not afraid to fight dirty if it gets to that point as some people (honestly I mean my ex) have pushed me to.

When you’re hurt, frightened or feeling threatened, how do you react? Really think about that. I would say I’m almost always 100% defensive but I’m getting better.

Lately the fact that I’ve openly admitted that I LOVE DRAMA has been a consistent topic of discussion from plurk to IM. I know I’m losing you here going from ‘defense’ to ‘I love drama’. I swear I never claimed to make sense. I apologize in advance, but it sorta goes along with this post. Just like how I feel that I am an exceptional verbal fighter because that is *my* defense mechanism… I also admit I love drama. The best fight is one where the other person has no chance in hell of winning. If you think you can hurt me by causing me drama, being dramatic, or fighting me, you’re sadly mistaken. It’s like fighting fire with fire… What if you’re fighting a fire-eater? You lose.

This post really has nothing to do with me loving drama, that’s a whole other post but isn’t timely at the moment. This post is asking you what you do in situations of anger, hurt, threat? How do you react and why? Are you offense, defense? The human condition is fascinating, so humor me.


Honestly Sometimes I Can’t Take It

Posted in Op/Ed with tags , , , , , on November 25, 2008 by hawksrock

I have a wide group of friends, acquaintances, and contacts in all of my worlds and endeavors.   They cross a wide range of classifications on any scale, but I do require one absolute trait to be present at all times.   This trait is honesty.   I can take tough feedback, I can accept that we all have flaws and make mistakes from time to time, but if you are the kind of person who tries to cover it up or deny things outright, then I absolutely refuse to have anything to do with you.    I do not equate full disclosure with a prerequisite for honesty, because I believe that we are entitled to our mistakes of the past, and to the extent that they do not impact our present, then they are best left alone.    We can debate what honesty means until we are blue in the face.   This is a discussion which I would love to have, and I will probably tackle this topic in a future post.   At this point though I want to address a particular type of dishonesty.

The whole online world of anonymity offers layers upon layers of deceit for the right type of individual.   There are a lot of assholes, but let me say that there is one in particular that is unusually dangerous.   He is the kind that doesn’t come into your life acting all bad ass and asshole-like from the beginning.   He is the kind that is witty, charming, funny, and preys upon your loneliness.    He will build you up, and pull you into a web of ever growing sympathy.    He will be there for you when things are bad, and offer you a shoulder to cry on.    He will relate to everything negative you have going on in your life.    He will play the part of a victim, and say that he too has been wronged in his life.

The thing you will not be aware of is that he is a complete and total sham.    He is hiding you from his SO, and will one day be found out.    He will then disappear from your life, but only to reappear a few months down the line in another identity with another woman, and the cycle begins anew.    In some cases, he will just kill one alt, to keep going with another which is already moving in on his next prey.   She will construct a fantasy world in which anyone who tries to point out any flaws will be shut out.   She doesn’t realize that she is not the first, nor the last, but she will at some point be another victim tossed to the curb.   A thrill of the moment, and then the moment is passed, or else busted by the truth.

At some point things will catch up with him, and the SO will give up on him, and he will be free to move beyond an alt status into something more with this flame of the moment.    She will be excited, until the pattern completes itself and she finds herself as the SO discovering alts down the road.  Once you have a pattern, most people do not break out of that pattern, until they realize they are wrong and take a serious hard look at themselves.

How are we as a virtual society ever going to combat this type of predator?   I think we have to speak up, and say our minds.   If our friend is willing to dump us because we care enough to broach the topic, then that is not a very solid friendship.   The fact is that we all know people or of people who are running multiple alts for the sole purpose of hiding activities which they would not want discovered by their SO.   If any of your friends, take up with this individual, then you are obliged to call it out.   Throw it out there, and if they don’t listen, then at the very least you don’t have to play the sympathy card on down the road when things turn out for the worse.   Maybe, just maybe, you will actually keep someone from getting hurt.

** If you are reading this and you think it applies to you, then it probably does but I will honestly say that I know many such instances of this type of thing and drew from multiple examples when thinking through it.

Shamefaced Apology

Posted in Love & War, SecondLife® with tags , , on November 25, 2008 by Catero

This is not the usual Rev post where I bitch and rant about something that “grinds my gears” in a Peter Griffin-esque fashion. Instead, its an apology to my former partner, Phoenix Chapman, who has summarily blocked/deleted me from every imaginable communications tool and has asked that I never contact her again.

As a flawed individual I fuck up regularly. And I royally fucked up and really hurt her feelings, and for that I truly am sorry. Sometimes one is aware of, but doesn’t fully realize what the consequences of one’s actions will be until the line is crossed and the impact of the fall-out is experienced first hand.

I keep re-reading the last message she sent me, seeing myself through her eyes and realizing what complete asshole I am.

For all it’s worth I apologize, Phoe.

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Soundtrack to sadness

..And I Thought I Knew You!

Posted in Op/Ed, SL® Fashion with tags , , on November 18, 2008 by Orchid

I am not organized. Everything I have purchased/made in my inventory isn’t categorized. I know its strange, but I have somehow memorized what things look like based on what they’re called. I’ve learned that’s just how my memory works. I may not recognize your face, but I’ll always remember your name. I can’t really explain it other than to chalk it up to a splendor of my genius (stop laughing.)

Not long ago I noticed that this method of memory has spilled over to more than just name/face and item/thing recognition. Its now come to the point that I ‘predict’ blogposts from fashion bloggers the exact same way. When I see something posted by .. oh I don’t know let’s just say Iris Seale .. I’ve already formed an image in my mind of what the item(s) will look like. Perhaps this isn’t such a bad thing, but I’ve realised something in all this: sometimes I get thrown for a fucking loop.

See, its just when I think I know someone and their sense of fashion when they decide to post about something off-the-wall. They throw random folders on themselves and make it look good and I’m not expecting that. Don’t be so spontaneous, fashion bloggers! Sometimes they will even purchase/wear outfits that are so far out of their norm that I don’t even recognize then anymore. Once upon a time everyone blogged about the SOS (same old shit) so you could just check a single fashion blog and see every release that designer put out that day/week/month. Not so these days – and I have to say its a little frustrating.

Some of you will say “Why are you complaining? Don’t you want some variety from the day to day? Are you a crybaby?” and the answer is: I don’t know (and yes) I mean, do I really want to spend double the time to see half the stuff that I’d honestly buy? No. I wouldn’t even have this problem in the first place if people would just stick to one look anyway! I mean it isn’t my fault that they (fashion bloggers in general) scour the grid to find designers that I’ve never heard of only to turn them into the Next Big Thing in a matter of twenty-four hours – which then makes me turn up my nose and be all “Pft yeah but everyone’s wearing that”.

Surely I can’t be the only clothes snob in SL. I highly doubt I am the only person who rarely changes clothes, never goes to clubs, and assumes that I know every single thing about every fast-posting fashion blogger known to the internet. I also sincerely doubt that I’m not the only person who gets just a little bit offended when I see a fashion blogger dressing up in a ‘fun outfit’ only to make a tiny frowny face when I see that their idea of ‘fun’ is my idea of ‘daily wear for endless days.’

Yes, I’m a crybaby and I admitted it. I get an overwhelming urge to activate a temper tantrum animation every time I see an outfit I like being called “something totally different”. When will stuff that I like become something totally normal? At least then I wouldn’t have a problem finding it (‘it’ being stuff I like.) I’m just going to start Opposite Day(s). Any day that I see a fashion blogger/designer who posts/makes ‘something totally different’ that will be a day that I romp around the grid in a normal skin, normal colored hair, and normal clothes. Today is the first day of Opposite Day.

Opposite Day 1

Details in the desc on Flikr

What Not To Wear

Posted in Guides, Op/Ed, SL® Fashion with tags , , on November 13, 2008 by Iris Seale

So, yesterday I did a post on Shopping Cart Disco about how unattractive ego can be. The designer I was talking about, Vanilla Sola, put up a blog post to ask me, basically, ‘What the hell, bitch?

And Mrs Iris Seale if you got any complains about our design please mention the name of the dress and the problem

Well, it seems I’ve been appropriately “Missus’d” (even though the lady is old enough to be my freaking mom), so I guess I’ll have to do as she asks. For those of our readers who are not vengeful, young and full of spunk, take this as a guide to what a fashion blogger looks for when they consider items for review. Who knows, maybe it’ll help you out when you’re shopping.

I didn’t buy anything from Black Moon, so I’ll be using the ad shots from Vanilla’s blog. As most of us know, getting a sale will rely heavily on your ad. Here is one of Black Moon’s latest releases, Canzone.

When I look at an ad, I look not only at the outfit, but also how it looks with the designer’s selected lighting, skin and hair. Since it’s an ad, I’m assuming that the designer has gone all out to show me exactly how great the outfit can be. The lighting here fails miserably. A lighting setup that lights you evenly is fairly easy to make; the six-light version being the most used. You want to set up lighting so it showcases the details in your outfit. The light reflecting off the prims seems to be a yellow-orange in color, so I’m going to assume that this shot was taken in Windlight settings at sunset. While this light is generally most flattering to your avatar, this is one of the worst times to take photos for an ad in natural light. The light reflects off your avatar and changes most of the colors of your clothes. It can also wipe away delicate details like wrinkles. In this case most of the light is falling on the avatar’s chest, it seems, with little to no light on the dress and face where light belongs.

The skin is also a very poor choice. It looks like something from 2006 and the makeup is far too harsh. Look for something with better detailing (like a collarbone) that upholds the standards you want to project as a brand. The hair is far too light for the skin and distracts the eye from the entire rest of the ad. Now I’m looking at her hair, not her dress. When you choose your skin and hair for an ad, think of them as the canvas for the outfit. You want to capture the spirit of what you’re selling, but not overpower your product.

Now let’s talk about the dress. Interesting. A good concept, but poorly executed. There is no visible shading at all on these textures. In fact, there’s no texture on these textures. Yes, I understand that half your dress is black and therefore cannot be shaded, but using a dark grey would give the impression of black and be able to be shaded. Satin, what I’m assuming a dress like this would be made of, is highly reflective. Fabric wrinkles and forms to our bodies, so a fabric texture should reflect that. Look for realistic shading when you’re out shopping. The white half of the dress looks like the tile on my bathroom floor, if my bathroom floor had no depth.

Clothes are made from fabric. It goes to reason, that a fabric texture should look like fabric. There are many, many ways to achieve a realistic fabric texture, most of which can be found in online tutorials for SL. The tutorials will show you the basics until you develop your own style.

The dress has a white halo. This is caused by the alpha layer (what makes only the clothes appear and not the entire template) not being exactly met by the texture and creates an outline of white pixels. This can be solved by using the Solidify B plugin from Flaming Pear. It makes an alpha layer for you and floods the space with color matching the texture.

The use of the system-skirt with no backup is also a bad idea. Many shoppers (myself included) will not wear a system-skirt if it was lined with cocaine and diamonds. A designer should ideally offer a backup prim version of the skirt, as well.

The prims at the bottom are a good idea. I love mermaid dresses! The problem with these prims are that they don’t take the alpha-glitch into consideration. It’s impossible to get the full effect of a nice, full mermaid skirt with the back prims showing through the front ones. While there’s no cure for the alpha-glitch, there are a lot of workarounds. One popular way is to apply a clear texture to all faces of the prim and then apply your skirt texture to only the face you want showing. It doesn’t cure it completely, but it does cut it down. And is that plywood I see on the sides of those prims? Tsk, tsk, tsk.

I wanted to take one of Vanilla’s dresses and see what I could do with it in under a minute, so I used this ad:

My goal was to apply the things I’ve been discussing in this post to this ad. I gave myself 60 seconds to do that. It’s still not amazing, but I think it’s an improvement. Right click-View Image for full-size:

It takes less than one minute to shade and add texture to your work, so why not try it?


Who is James Schwarz?

Posted in SecondLife® with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 12, 2008 by ♥JellyBean♥

Good question. I may have an answer for you… James Schwarz is an avatar with an amazing artistic eye and bright ideas (also a blogger). I first heard of James on Plurk (I cannot remmy who plurked it first) and how he had an amazing photostream on Flickr. Instantly I went there and found this lil gem:

100 Avatars – One pic! Amazing! I am lucky to get two avatars in the same sim to rezz (one being me) let alone a bunch. Well he approached it with a photo-shopped eye and the end result is just absolutely amazing. If you get a chance to check out some of his “art”, it is just Wowness!

Obviously I was instantly drawn to his art and subscribed to his Flickr feed on my Bloglines. I was so excited to see the Headshot Series pouring in on my reader.

He described this series…

This series is all about the faces of our avatars and how they look, how we adorn them with personal touches, our eyes, noses, lips, facial structure and shit. I like doing headshots because they’re easy in a sense that there’s not much conceptualization involved, once you have your initial vision or mental prototype the rest will…actually that’s it.

Of course this was my chance to IM him inworld and ask to participate, right? Well I was nervous. Mayhaps he’s only doing shots of his friends? They all look so unique and great, how will I fit in? Yes, believe it or not, I was suffering from the color of shy. True story. I finally built up my courage and followed the instructions on his blog:

I don’t charge zilch for this (although tips are welcome & appreciated lol), anyone can IM me and we can arrange something out with regards to time of shooting ; I’m usually on from 12 PM to 4 PM SLT. I suggest keeping things it as minimal as possible, you can wear some jewelry (no bling pls or gtfo) but nothing too WTF-ish as to not distract the focus from your face. You can take them on from my flickr and upload them to yours just link it back on the description, you can also upload them in-world for whatever purposes, oh what the hell do whatever you want with them.

I was extremely “SQUEEEEE” when last Friday I was off work in RL and able to be inworld within his schedule. I love looking at all the new uploads on this series because no two avatars are the same. It’s like virtual Cabbage Patch Kids. Everyone is always bitching about SecondLife, Lindens, and virtual life… it’s refreshing to stop and admire the artistic, like smelling the pixelated flowers.

My end result:

And I didn’t even have to get naked! Hey, thanks James… Keep creating and I’ll keep watching. You are one talented guy! ❤


To Shit or Not To Shit Rainbows

Posted in Op/Ed, SecondLife®, SL® Fashion with tags , , , on November 11, 2008 by Catero

Recently, an anonymous SLsecret postcard called into question the character of Second Life™ fashion bloggers, asking:

Why does every freaking fashion blog have to constantly poop rainbows? Can’t we be unhappy sometimes?

The short answer: no. “We” can’t. You can. But not in a fashion blog post. Take your gripes to a more appropriate forum. Like Craig’s List.

How could one possibly be unhappy while being courted by the community’s best and brightest design talent to showcase their latest creations? C’mon.

Fashion blogging by its very nature is a labour of love. One writes about what appeals to them. People aren’t likely to put forth the (quality) effort to invest so much time and resources into something they are not positive and passionate about. Considering the flipside to mainstream fashion blogging – like the ill-fated and hate-filled Brutal Honesty blog – I’d take shitting rainbows to shitting … well … shit any day – literally and figuratively. Shit gets messy, and you have to wipe it. Rainbows would probably float out in a candy-scented trail, leaving no unsightly residue. Not to mention that the power of positive thinking is good for your mind, body, and soul.

Let’s not kibosh this fecal-free trend. I much prefer it to sucking the hopes and dreams out of your fellow man, like some Supernaturalesque crocotta, leaving behind a trail of empty, soulless carcasses.

Keep in mind, there are plenty of people who poop rainbows, not just SL fashionists with blogging know-how – followers of the Ba’hai faith, GLBT rights activists suffering from chronic flatulence, and Sarah Palin supporters are amongst the most common rainblowing factions.

The critical postcard has resulted in a movement of pro-prismatic poopers. The charming Kesseret Steeplechase of KessKreations has made a graphic tee for proponents of this particular interest group.

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Photo Credit (right): Courtesy of Shopping Cart Disco’s SLsecret week #13.