Tuesday, January 31, 2012

"Not Everything is Plain Black & White" by Fuchsia Nightfire

I have never been disappointed by an installation at Per4mance MetaLES, and the current installation featured at this sim definitely lives up to the MetaLES reputation of supporting and displaying amazing work my women artists and creators of Second Life. 

The current installation, Not Everything is Plain Black & White" by Fuchsia Nightfire, is open for your viewing pleasure until February 20th.  You still have lots of time to go and experience this inspiring, black and white but not at all plain build. 

I really  enjoy virtual world art that I can interact with and become a part of, so when I tp'd into the landing spot, I was delighted to find that the artist has provided free skin and clothing that you can wear to become one with the exhibit.  I chose the black silhouette outfit just because I have a special fondness for the colour black, and I love silhouettes.

The landscape is minimal, but that doesn't mean there is less here to enjoy.  Less is more they say, and I agree that is certainly the case here.

I didn't take too many screenshots this time because I don't want to spoil the experience for you.  Go and see it for yourself and bring someone along with you.  You might find some quiet little places to dance or relax with your special someone.


Saturday, January 28, 2012

A system clean up and SL Bloggers is alive!

I decided yesterday that I am going to blog more often, for no particular reason.  So let's get started...

I mentioned here yesterday that we (this really means my husband/computer geek on demand) did a tune up on my machine.  The diagnosis - 1428 issues affecting system performance.  Situation critical.  Oh lord.  It's cleaned up and my SLife is running smoother.  It's not an astronomical difference, but it's enough to get me out and exploring more again.  Goodbye Farmville.  

Anyway, I'm happy about that.  

Another thing I'm happy about this morning is that the SL Bloggers inworld group is alive again!  By the time I came along and started blogging the group wasn't all that active anymore, but from what I heard of the glory days of the SL blogging community, it was a fun group.  I'm looking forward to seeing what might come of this.

Girl Wonder, Tymmerie Thorne is organizing things and she has even started setting up a clubhouse.  Love!

If you're an active blogger about SL and are not already in the group, look it up inworld and you can request to join. 

So that's great news! 

In other news, I'm looking around at different blogging platforms, checking out theme layouts and making room on my blog for the logo above.  And now that I'm over the shock of Picnik closing, I'm gonna look around for some other online photo editing tools.  More on that later. 

Enjoy your day :)

Comfortable habits are hard to break

I think I was in denial for a long time.  It is a habit I never thought I would pick up.  But tonight I decided to take control of it because it has taken over my SLife...

Yes, skyplatforming is a hard habit to break, but damn, I'm gonna do it.  As much as I love it up there where it's safe and I can more my camera around freely, it's no place to spend your SLife so I decided to quit tonight, cold turkey.  

It was kind of scary to leave my safe place, but I ventured out into the mountain in Edloe to the Listening Room to hear Marx spin some tunes.  And hey, it wasn't so bad after all.  Look at that, not one grey avatar in the room and everything rezzed:

I didn't have to point my camera to the floor so I could type, and I could even move my camera around pretty smoothly to take some pictures.   There were a few moments that my screen froze and I thought I was going to crash, but I made it through and had fun!

You know how it is, there is always that one robot that has had a little too much to drink, stumbling around the dance floor, but that didn't cramp my style.  I had a good time and got to hear some cool tunes.  

Happy night.

Seriously, I got a 'tune up' on my Macbook which seems to have made somewhat of a difference in SL performance.  It could also be the new update to the SL viewer too.  I still don't like the viewer set up, but for better performance, I could get used to it. 

Whatever it is, I hope it lasts because I miss having fun in SL. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

A visit to Loin des equilibres, and then just like that, the Picnik is over

I haven’t been taking as much pictures in SL as I usually do.  That is mostly to do with my system issues and me despising the windlight set up in the official SL viewer (the only viewer I can use at the moment).  But his week I finally got around to exploring and taking some screenshots to share here…

I had a lovely time exploring Loin des equilibres, a minimalist, black and white sim, displaying the work of Cherry Manga (Mysterious Wave).  Taking pictures was not so bad and I started to feel that 'zone' I get into when looking fo photo opportunities. 

My usual routine is to get my screenshots then park my av somewhere in the sim and post process my photos at Picnik.  So, I was pretty surprised when I went over to to edit my images and found out that it is closing and the last day was April 19th.  That totally bummed me out.  

When you go to Picnik you get a message saying that “Picnik is moving its easy yet powerful photo editing tools to Google+”. Okay, fine, so it’s not completely disappearing. But, what if I don’t want to use Google+?  I joined it awhile ago and I was pretty creeped out by how much information they had collected about me and the friend suggestions, and family members…I mean how the hell does Google know who I know and further, who I may be related to? I think I kept it for a couple of days before deactivating it. I haven’t gone back to check, but I’m sure it still has my info there since ‘deactivating’ has quite a different meaning from ‘deleting’ something.  Not to mention the notices I periodically get asking me for my cell number to secure my account.  Not falling for that one.

I really had no idea that Picnik was owned by Google, and as it seems will soon own the rest of the free world (am I allowed to say that here?). 

Yes, I am aware of the irony in complaining about this when this blog has been hosted here at Blogger for over two years, owned by Google. I have two gmail accounts as well. I thought about moving this blog and emails to another platform, but honestly, I like Blogger and Gmail and I’m happy with my blog set up. I don’t feel like starting all over again some place else. But now the thought is there in my head again…

Anyways, this is kind of annoying because I am a paying customer at Picnik and I have loved the service from the beginning. It really is “Fast, Easy, and Fun”. Remember that?  It's good that we are getting refunds and advanced notice, but still...

I haven’t used PhotoShop in ages because I do minimal post processing to my shots anyways, and everything I need is available at Picnik. And if you do more than minimal photo edits, you can do a lot more with the tools also. Closing down such a popular service that a lot of people pay for just seems like a stupid business move to me and an underhanded way of forcing users to move over to Google+.

But, whatever. I’m miffed about this but it’s not like Picnik is the only online photo editing tool out there. It's a minor inconvenience, but for me, the decision is pretty easy – I’ll just take my business elsewhere…and maybe my blog too. 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Shiny, Glowy, Bling Bling

Although it doesn't feel like I am finished with it, I brought my statue/figures/art project thingie down to ground level on my parcel.  I think it was a good idea to move it from that skyplatform.  I was feeling stuck with it, but viewing it now with scenery around makes it look a lot better.

Yes, it's very shiny and glowy, and kind of blingy.  I almost always use the 'grey moon' windlight setting when roaming around SL.  In that light, the figures looked a lot darker...until last night when I changed to the region default settings, and WOW!  It's got a helluva shiny glow going on!

Oh well, it's a work in progress I suppose.  Crap gave me a nice rust texture that I'm going to try on the figures tonight.  We'll see how that turns out. 

When I started out, it was with the earth and beating heart and I wasn't sure where I was going with that.  What you see above is where that lead me.  I call it "A Delicate Balance".

You're welcome to come by my home and check it out.  I'm at work right now and don't have a SLurl.  My parcel is located on the south end of Piper Point.  You know what to do.

Happy Monday :))

Monday, January 16, 2012

Rant alert! It's like molasses in January...

It feels like I am slowly losing interest in Second Life.  Could it be so?  I’m kind of hoping I am just going through a lull and I will find a spark again.

Next month marks three years in SL for me.  I once thought I would never get tired of this place, but here we are and that’s exactly how I am feeling. 

There is one major thing that is contributing to my disenchantment... 

At three years old, my Macbook, I think is getting old.  The official SL viewer runs the best for me, but I don’t like it, and it is still not great.  I would much rather be on Firestorm.  Unfortunately, Firestorm runs like molasses in January on my Macbook.  It’s still a good machine and fills the rest of my computer needs, but for SL, it’s falling behind and a new computer is not in my budget at the moment.  Perhaps if I was really involved in stuff in SL, or a business owner or something, I would splurge on a new one, but for me, right now, it’s not worth it.

Taking screenshots and making images to share here - a huge part of my activity in SL, is getting longer and more frustrating.  I can’t use those cool features like depth of field or shadows without something else messing up my shot.  For example, I turn on shadows and all the alpha textures disappear. I keep hoping that these things get fixed on the newest updates, but usually when something gets fixed, something else breaks.  It’s Linden Law.

Even walking around on my parcel, which is usually lag free, is a pain in the ass.  I end up spending most of my time on my sky platform and chatting from there.  I could do the same thing with Skype, Gtalk, or Facebook without the chat delays which make my best jokes(which are really lame anyways) fall flat, victims of bad timing due to the chat lag monster.  I hate to waste a good smart ass comment.

When I really want to go somewhere, like a live music event for example, I set my graphics to the lowest of the low and point my camera to the floor so I don't crash and I can at least hear the music.  

I’m trying to remember if three years ago SL performance was this bad for me.  If it was, I can’t imagine sticking around for this long on something that is essentially broken.  Perhaps now that I have been around for awhile, my standards are higher?  But I have a two thousand dollar machine, I expect stuff to work on it, and really everything else I do online works just fine – except for SL.

I have tried many times in the last couple of weeks to explore and do some photos to share here, but my patience is low for dealing with lag and taking pictures with windlight in a viewer that makes you click a hundred times to change settings.  Okay, it’s not a hundred times but it’s a lot more than on my viewer of choice.

One good thing is that I started building something, which seemed to be the only logical thing to do while hanging out on an empty sky platform.  This project excited me for a little while, until I hit a snag with that.  By the way, if anyone has any time and patience to give me a few tips on texturing sculpted prims, I would really appreciate that.  Some constructive feedback is welcome.  Does it suck, does it have potential?  Something, anything.  I’ll even post the SLurl here if you feel like coming to look...


It is January, the middle of winter here in Canada.  Even though it has been a mild winter, I still feel kind of sluggish and slow, so maybe my frustrations are at a peak. Winter is coming to an end on my pixel home in the Five Islands this week, so hey, that gives me a little project to keep busy - if my laptop can handle it.

Anyway, enough complaining.

Now that I got that off my chest, maybe I will find a solution to this annoying problem. Until then, if you’re wondering why I’m not logging on very much or for very long these days, it’s because I’m over on Facebook playing Farmville.  Yeah, I know, it’s a stupid, time wasting, mindless game, but hey, IT WORKS which is a helluva a lot more than I can say for my experience in Second Life these days.

Peace out.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Personal Favourite Blog Posts, 2011

One of the bonuses of keeping a blog is that it is an easy resource to refer to when you want to take stalk of your life, or in this case, your SLife.  Looking through my archives, 2011 was a memorable one with the usual highs and lows, and unexpected surprises here and there.  In the end, it turned out all good. 

So, since I was already perusing through my archives, I thought I would make a short list of some of my personal fave posts from the year.  Again like my list from 2010, some of these posts got a lot of page views, others not so much:

Those greyed out names on my friends list

Why a 365 Photography Project?

Turning off my internal censor

What's the point?

Embracing my Contradictions

The end of my 365 Project, but it's really a beginning

Meeroos for Sale, for Pets or Meat:  A Bedtime Story

Goodbye Meeroos.  Born and raised in captivity and now it's time for you to go

It's kind of hard to pin point what kind of things I learned from SL in 2011, there's a lot.  One thing that pops up is that sometimes it's good in life to expect the unexpected, roll with it, and don't hold yourself to your past.  Things change and so do we.  Sometimes we have to let go of something good to make room for something greater, and that's okay.  It's called your personal evolution.

One thing for sure, in the times I felt confused and bewildered in this virtual world, blogging helped me bring things all back into focus and see clearly.  

I'm looking forward to seeing what 2012 has in store for me, and of course, blogging more from Second Life.  

Cheers :))

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Online friendships and real world meetings

With the onset of this new year, and my 3rd rez day just around the corner, I’ve been thinking a lot about my experience in SL so far. I can’t believe it will be three years next month. That’s crazy. In SL years, that’s like forever! Almost.

I have a huge SL friends list. Actually, I’ve taken to calling it my ‘contacts’ list, because honestly, how many of those names on my list are actually friends? Like people I talk to on a regular basis? That list is a lot smaller. In fact, I can probably count on one hand the friends from SL who I have daily interactions with.

Even smaller is the list of friends I regularly spend my time with when I’m in SL. Can you call two people a list? Probably not. Okay, maybe there is a few more than that.

Anyway, what I’m getting at is I have a small circle of friends who I feel really comfortable with and who I feel ‘know’ me and ‘get’ me. I have never met any of those friends out in the real world and to be honest, I never really thought about it too much, until recently. Maybe it’s just the natural evolution of making friends online, but it's been on my mind and I wonder what it would be like to meet those friends in the ‘real’ world.

I’m not a stranger to meeting people from online. In 2002, I met my friend M, in an international online parenting forum. We discovered that we lived close to each other and decided to meet face to face for a playdate with our babies. We hit it off right away, started our own online mothering group, and the rest is history. We are still friends to this day.

In SL, there are many, many miles between me and my loved ones. The likelihood of there ever being an opportunity for us to meet face to face is pretty low. I often wonder what it would be like to give those friends a 'real' hug, and say “hi, nice to see you”. Thinking about that possibility makes me feel like a bit of a nervous wreck.  Don’t know what that is about it, but it’s there and I can’t deny it.

While I doubt that a meeting like that will ever take place, stranger and more unexpected things have occurred in my life, so who knows what could happen. I leave that to the Universe, the powers that be, or whatever it is you want to call it. If circumstances lead to a face to face meeting and ‘real’ warm hugs and greetings…well, that would be pretty damn cool.

For now though, I count my blessings and enjoy the friendships I have made in this virtual world, and reap the benefits they bring to me in my Life.

It’s feels good to be loved.

p.s - if you're wondering what the photo is, it's a building project I have been working on.  when I feel like it's ready, I'll blog it.