Saturday, May 31, 2014

New Freebie from [PoP Shop]

To the surprise of many, I do sell and give away stuff I make in Second Life. Once in a while I have an in-world shop but you can always find my products on the Second Life Market place here. Partly out of boredom, a new free item was added today (get it here): The [PoP Shop] Builder Deck w/Pose Stand (& bonus Alignment Guide).

I took the classic builder grid we all know and love then messed with it.
It still works like the classic grid, but that noir scheme makes everything you build classier.
A 7 LI Alignment Guilde uses lasers to make your builds even cooler (yeah, man!).
A handy pose stand allows you to edit avatar attachments and follow the grid into the sky if you pop it up to some 2000m like lots of builders do these days. Gratuitous glowy effect included at no charge.

Friday, May 30, 2014

SL11B: Me

The pup is back! For most major events in Second Life my primary avatar is an accessorized Linden Animal Avatar Dog (still available in your basic Library > Clothing > Older Outfits). It is low lag, easily identifiable, and G-rated without question.

What I'm doing for Second Life's 11th Birthday (SL11B) isn't really super clear. I describe it as being Doc Gascoigne's "Girl Friday." One thing I've been promised is that I'll play Tour Pod Car Crash Dummy for hours on end sometime. Looking forward to it. And you can look forward to more posts from me about the celebration, provided I have time. Better yet, bookmark the event's official blog (here) and the Prim Perfect Web site (here) to be sure you are in the loop.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Unhappy Topless Tuesday

A long and difficult morning in Real Life followed by a fitful nap left me in a really uncreative mood for today's Topless Tuesday picture. After about a dozen shots that did not make me super happy I decided to hit Pixelmator with the last one to see if I could fix bad lighting, bad composition, and a bad pose. Here is what I finished with ...

The original (below) violates lots of rules of good photos, not the least of which is the brightness of objects that are NOT the subject drawing the eye away from the subject. At least I remembered to take off the modesty sea shells. With this composition and pose, though, it is hard to see she's even a mermaid at all.

The un-edited image from my first series of pix of the day.
This is one of the few times a face light might help. One with colors other than white so I'll probably make my own, as usual. I like the Windlight settings but I'd have to revamp the setting (at Cerridwen's Cauldron - SLurl) and work on the pose. Often I'll use an Animation Override (AO) and shoot live versus a modeling pose in a stand. My mermaid AO has so few variations in it's "stands" that I'll have to look into other options. At least the motion kept my Sirena Drip Jet-Orange hair flowing (it's very flex).

Lastly, the avatar is orange but the lighting in no way compliments her. Unless there is a means by which to show that is really her skin color folks might think that the lighting is just bad. All-in-all, a failed effort, I think, but at least I've learned from it. Maybe.

So after a nice supper, a bit more rest, and a tall glass of Mt. Dew (the Caffeine of Champions) I popped back in-world and made a custom face light set, scouted a better location at the same place, worked on the poses, and snapped another dozen shots. Turns out the first one was the best.

The first raw image of the second series.
The final edited shot and one I'm happy with showing.
A tighter cropping but including more of the tail fin to show this avatar is a mermaid and some intensive tweaks of exposure, contrast, color balance, and more (plus some retouching of flaws in the avatar itself) and this last picture is more of what I had in mind for today's Topless Tuesday picture.

Monday, May 26, 2014

20 (More) Questions

Navel Gazing in the Tub
It was quite amusing when I saw that for this week's blog challenge meme, Strawberry Singh mentions the almost-required ASL (Age Sex Location)-type question when you meet someone at a club in Real Life because I've thought about that for a few days now. Many places in Second Life are just Internet Chat Rooms with 3D avatars – people standing around spouting gibberish all the while Instant Messaging others one-on-one with the inevitable ASL after the now standard "Nice avatar bb" comment. I well and truly don't like that environment so I am generally not one for "clubbing" regardless of venue. Sadly, this means I missed many opportunities to hang out with a dear friend who is no longer with us.

My regrettable loss.

Perhaps I need to get back into the Second Life social scene, getting past the too often annoying banter, pointless gesturbators, mindless programmed dance moves, and the personal IMs that I equate with someone texting me without permission. So let me plunge into these 20 Personal Questions (which, like previous such challenges, I'm doing without having read anyone's – not even Strawberry's – responses) like I'm being hit on at a disco.

Meme instructions: Answer the following 20 personal questions about your Second Life. Don’t forget to share a link to your post in the comments!

01: When and how did you discover Second Life?
About nine years ago an off-the-wall shrink thought she could use Second Life to help me overcome some phobias and work on social skills that said phobias kept me from developing. I landed on the Teen Grid and mostly holed up on one sim, flying around and looking at stuff only when others weren't around.

02: Did you know about virtual worlds before or was this your first experience with them?
I had read about virtual worlds – my father was a big Sci-Fi nut who collected pulp magazines – but hadn't tried one. We had free AOL accounts while I was growing up so I lurked in chatrooms picturing in my mind the endless scrolling lines of gibberish as them as real places.

03: Has Second Life met your expectations?
Having had no expectations, yes!

04: If you could teleport back to the first ten minutes of your avatar’s slife, what would you tell yourself?
"TAKE THE BLUE PILL!!" Oh? After I logged in? Kinda late to change pills at that point. Right. I'd tell myself to relax, go with the flow, and meet people. Learn to build sooner and really make an effort to script. Lastly, "Keep your frakin' Inventory organized from the start!!"

05: How long did it take you to master avatar flying and driving vehicles in world?
Has anyone really mastered driving vehicles? Some vehicles are better than others and I do well with most that have hulls or wings, but not those with wheels (an aunt told me "If it has testicles or tires, it will be trouble). Let's call it a work in progress. Flying just my avatar is something I relish and think I'm pretty good at. Two of my alts never take off their wings.

06: Do you have a mystery alt?
Who doesn't? I share two with my Real Life brother, a male and a female. We both contribute funds to upkeep and feel free to form them in any fashion we wish regardless of the other driver, but they are loners and will not engage in close relationships. We think of these as our "getaway" characters.

07: Is your SL avatar a reflection of you, or someone you wished you could be?
My primary character, Uccie (Uccello Poultry), is closer to my RL self than my other characters but each is such a part of me that they frequently show up on my blog, like the entry from May 9, 2014. No matter who I am at the time, each character is inconstant in both appearance and behavior, adhering tenuously at times to a basic form and function. Best is example is Uccie – I'm a redhead iRL and while my meatspace body is getting thicker as I get older Uccie's blonde-haired cyberspace body is still as perky as an 18-year old.

08: Is there an individual you met in SL that inspired you in your RL? How?
Yes, several. Threshin and Ever and Angela and Parker and Marianne and Alx and Katta and ... Holy Carp, there are so many. Each has pushed me and pulled me in different ways at different times such that I'm not the same person I was eight years ago when I first hit The Grid. I should have learned when Parker passed away in Real Life that I need to tell these people how much they mean to me but but that nugget of wisdom passed me. Now Ever is gone and I never explicitly told her. Talk about an inspiration.

09: Do you feel it is easier to create stronger bonds/relationships with people you meet inworld as opposed to the real world?
Yes, though I don't get out of the house iRL. Back in the day when my phobias kept me in the house that would have been true, too, but once circumstances are such that I am not home 24/7 I feel I could do fairly well in starting and building relationships. The ready free-form nature of Second Life characters (I keep using that term, don't I?)* can easily lead one to be disingenuous.

10: Did you ever imagine or believe people could fall in love with someone they never met before Second Life?
Yes. Anything is possible, right? The Amish have a saying: "Kissin' don't last but cookin' do," meaning that what matters most the caring, emotional aspect of a relationship. Perfect example? Damien Fate and Wahsu Zebrastripe. They met in SL, fell in love, married in Real Life, and produced Baby Linden (read about it here).

11: How has your perspective of dating changed (or not) since you started playing second life?
No, not really. Then again, my SL relationship with Angela is pretty open and I don't date in Real Life.

12: How has your perspective of employment changed (or not) since you started playing Second Life?
Not employed in either world. Well, iRL I live with my step-mother as her home care aide, drawing no salary. So I work, just not in the traditional sense.

13: Name three things in both your lives that overlap each other significantly.
For one, my Real Life fashion sense has expanded since living in Second Life. I've gone from wearing the most nondescript outfits possible so people don't notice me to wearing brightly colored Crocs and hospital scrubs and even shorts and tank tops. Not all at once. I'm not that fashion-impaired.

For another, my musical tastes have grown in both worlds thanks to the DJs I know in-world.

A third? Can't really think of one. Sorry. There might be one.

14: If you could live your life more immersively in a virtual world, would you? (Kind of like the Matrix.)
Yes. What comes to mind is actually being able to speak iSL ... being able to Sign at my computer and have my avatar speak as if I wasn't a Mute iRL.

15: How do you think behavior changes for people if they’re inworld vs in real world? Why do you think that is?
Anonymity in-world means that people's natural tendencies can be magnified – a troll is a troll; a griefer is a griefer – or they can explore various aspects of themselves. It is easy to think "oh, that's a guy playing a woman," but it may be true for reasons that belie your first impression. There are a number of gay men and women that use avatars to explore their feelings or trans-gender individuals that acclimate to their choice via Second Life. Think about Furries. Holy Carp! Think of the children!!

16: How has second life consumerism changed your perception of spending habits, the value of money, the need to be “bleeding edge” with fashion?
It is not uncommon for me to make bad shopping decisions in either world. Search my blog for the word "closet" and you'll see I don't really understand fashion, but Second Life is helping me learn about it.

17: Do you think virtual worlds like SL drive and redefine human interaction or do they narrow and limit it?
Any limits one finds in Second Life are user-imposed. Well, there are certain software/hardware-imposed limits, but generally speaking, SL is a wide-open frontier. People have dragged Real Life conventions with them ... shopping malls, discos, lecture halls, homes, etc.. The Na'vi role play regions that popped up after the movie Avatar hit theaters? Still totally derivative. People say they want something different but they seldom strive for it.

18: If technology progressed tomorrow to allow you to send emotions to people the way you’d send text or voice messages, would it enrich your SL experience or infringe on it?
That certainly sounds dangerous and that makes it very attractive. I'd say that ability would enrich the experience, but with the caveat that it could be abused and misused. Some people can't handle drinking, others can't handle gambling, and I bet there are some that would have a lot of trouble with emotional transference (more than is possible now) such as you suggest.

19: Name three skills you attribute to having learned or honed in Second Life alone.
My writing has the added dimension of better dialogue and character depth.

Editing images and graphics electronically was a little-developed skill of mine before SL.

Um .... a third? Why do you always insist on a third?

20: If your grand kids googled your Second Life Avatar’s name, would they be intrigued, disgusted, proud, or something else?
This is why Uccello will always be a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma, stuffed inside an avatar. She's the Turducken of virtual personalities.

About ASL ... that is how this 26-year old woman living in New England speaks in Real Life.

#  #  #

* In virtual spaces characters are the combination of avatar (appearance) and the personality they manifest (behavior). One could assert the same applies to meatspace as well. When I'm in my one nice dress with grown-up shoes I'm probably at a funeral or a wedding so my behavior reflects the circumstance. When I'm in hospital scrubs and wearing my neko ears and tail ... you get the idea. If you are going to a Goth club, you don't dress like like Snow White, right?

Friday, May 23, 2014

What's In My Closet? Why Do I Bother?

Try as I might, I just can't see myself as the glamorous sort. Slap on some makeup, a fancy dress, style my hair, add some jewelry, and ... dunno. To tell the truth, I don't think I can carry it off. In Real Life I wear (not all at once) hospital scrubs, shorts, t-shirts, hooodies, jeans, Crocs, or anything I can find so I'll be comfy and nondescript. In Second Life, I have a cage dress, heels, and dark makeup with bleached blonde hair.


I'm totally convinced that this combo would look much better on anyone but me. A nagging thought of redemption tugs at me, though ... "What if I wore outfits like this in appropriate places?!?" Hanging out in Bay City or a nice forest in a cage dress? Probably not places one is likely to see this sort of outfit. Maybe I need to get out more.

The grown up Zyx can get away with it. It is her nature.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Photobombing Topless Tuesday

This is likely the only time you'll see my brother in the Topless Tuesday in SL Flickr group.
With Towel Day nearly upon us and Strawberry Singh's "Photobomb" blog challenge I thought I'd hit a trifecta for Topless Tuesday. This year I finally made a towel for men to wear on Towel Day so I arranged to have my brother (CC Columbo in SL) pose in a shower for a surprise photobombing while I was topless. Simple, right? No. I was going to skip this week's blog challenge due to a lack of creativity. Totally clueless as to where this idea came from, but I'm tickled pink about it and I hope you are, too.

Of course, I made towels for women, too, but wearing one would have defeated the purpose of this exercise. You can get either the men's or the women's (or both ... I mean, I have both so why not you?) towel FREE on my Marketplace store. Past year towels are still available and sell well, but I don't know why.

Happy Topless Tuesday and have a Happy Towel Day on the 15th! DON'T PANIC!!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Bay City Party May 18th!

From a press release:


Celebrating Bay City's Sixth Anniversary in Second Life®

BAY CITY, SL (17 May, 2014) - This Sunday, the 18th of May, 2014, Bay City celebrates its sixth anniversary as part of the Second Life Grid™.

The celebration will start at noon SLT/PDT, with a parade lineup at the bandshell in Bay City - Harwich (SLurl). The parade will make its way down Route 66 beginning at 12:30 p.m. SLT/PDT, concluding at the Bay City Fairgrounds in the North Channel region (SLurl).

A live concert will kick off at 1:30 p.m. SLT/PDT at the Fairgrounds, featuring Christov Kohnke, Ultraviolet Alter, and Winston Ackland, and including GoSpeed Racer of KONA Stream providing music leading into the event.

All Residents of the Second Life grid are encouraged to participate.Posters, banners, parade float bases, and other goods are available at the Bay City Community Center, in the Daley Bay region, for those who wish to be a part of the parade, and able viewing area is provided. The music event is also open to all who desire to attend.

The event is dedicated to recently passed Bay City Resident Ever Dreamscape, who had helped arrange this and many other Bay City events since she came to Bay City in 2011. Bay City is a mainland community, developed by Linden Lab™ and home to the Bay City Alliance. The Bay City Alliance was founded in 2008 to promote the Bay City regions of Second Life™ and provide a venue for Bay City Residents and other interested parties to socialize and network. It is now the largest Bay city group, and home to most Residents of Bay City.

For more information, contact: Marianne McCann (

# # #

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Ever Dreamscape, Ever With Us

Ever Dreamscape
Portrait by her close friend, Benjamin Wahl

A simple post by Marianne McCann to the My Second Life microblog was the first I heard: Ever Dreamscape passed away. Within moments I logged into Our World to find people starting to gather at a makeshift memorial at the Bay City Community Center (SLurl). Likely no one kept track of the numbers, but quite a few people dropped in, shared stories about Ever, and wondered what Second Life will be without this true friend.

Those who knew Ever just a little and those who knew her quite well grew closer, something that often happened in her presence, a true community cheerleader and organizer to the end and then some.

This picture is from an Espresso Yourself Night at The Pen in Bay City (SLurl), right as she was opening herself like I've never heard before. Everyone there was deeply touched by her "Hero's Journey" (read it here) making it quite the memorable night.

Various memorial plans are in the works as well as efforts to preserve her properties in Bay City. More importantly, our community is reaching out to her Real Life son, also a Bay City resident, to offer comfort and possibly assistance. An unofficial commitment has been made by The Lab to provide a memorial space in Bay City so future residents will know her impact.

Topless Tuesday Beachy

My total lack of creativity brought me to yet another beach for this Topless Tuesday, the north end of Las Arenas Rosadas (SLurl) in this instance. No scripts there so each time I wanted to make a change with something I had to teleport out and then back. In the end, I think the shot works. Perhaps a bit over saturated, but that seems to be the trend in SL photos of late. What do you think?

Click to embiggen the image or visit it and more pix in the Topless Tuesday in SL Flickr group.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Alien Conspiracy Continues

Sunrise at a mysterious monument in Luna Point, SL.
Luna Point, SL (SLurl) - Another wreck of an alien space craft was discovered today in Luna Point, SL near a mysterious monument and local sea life has been affected. Reporter Uccie Poultry used a submarine from The Report's fleet to investigate.

Regular readers of this blog should be familiar with The Poultry Report's pointless obsession on-going investigation of aliens from other (virtual?) worlds visiting Second Life and the conspiracy of the Linden Department of Public Works (LDPW) to co-opt alien technology for unknown and possibly nefarious purposes. If you aren't aware of this extensive coverage, click here to catch up with the rest of us.

The downed spacecraft, pictured above through the front port of the submarine, bears a striking resemblance to the spacecraft at a no-longer-secret LDPW space launch facility in Mare Secundus (SLurl) and another wreck in Gaigano (SLurl).

As seen in the following images, the presence of the alien technology is affecting the local wildlife (as mentioned earlier, if you had really been paying attention).

Cubes are sprouting tentacles and losing their natural plywoody coloration
Octopi and other creatures are taking on un-natural hues and behaviors. 
Beware the cave. Approach only when the inhabitants are asleep (you can tell by the eyes).
Continuing efforts to elicit comments from Governor Linden and Michael Linden (King Mole at the LDPW) will ... er ... continue.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Why Have Just One?

Jo Yardley started a meme on her blog.

See? I have four lives (at least). From top left and moving clockwise: Uccie (Uccello Poultry) Galway, my "adult" character; Xandah Resident, my world explorer; Zyx Resident, the quiet and enigmatic pixy; Zyx Flux, a child avatar and gardener pixy.

But wait! There's more!! Each character is also a polymorph. Uccie is often a dragon, a bird, a furry cat, or any of a couple hundred other avatars or skins. Xandah has a cute furry cow avatar and sometimes romps about as a tiny elephant. Zyx Resident seldom changes except for her skin. She has a lovely deep, deep blue skin that appears nearly black but also has a "human" option. Zyx Flux sometimes sports a tiny form such as a bunny or a kitten and is also a very colorful petite-sized pixy.

So why have just one life when you can lead another, and another, and (dare I say it?) another? It wasn't a lack of a Real Life that brought me to Second Life. Rather, Our World lets me have many lives filled with adventure, travel, creativity, and more that I just can't manage to have in Real Life at the moment.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Topless Tuesday Gallery

Crap Mariner has long been a supporter of Topless Tuesday in Second Life and he's gone so far as to create a gallery of his works. So not only can you catch TTiSL on the SL Profile feed (check the Trending tab on Tuesdays) and on Flickr, but now you can visit an honest-to-goodness art exhibition (SLurl).

Monday, May 5, 2014

The Hue & Cry of Color

This week's blog meme challenge from Strawberry Singh, "Color Meme," seemed easy at first.  How hard could it be to follow do as she requests?

Meme instructions: Blog a picture of your favorite color or a variety of colors that you like. Don’t forget to leave a link to your post in the comments and share your picture in the Blog Memes Flickr Group.

But when you like rainbows, how do you pick a color or a variety of them? My first thought was to take a picture of me in my rainbow bikini. Too obvious. Or in one of my other rainbow outfits. Still obvious. Then I remembered a dream from last night that was so real. I was my dusky blue pixy Zyx but the setting was Real Life. O M Goodness that was fun! Flying while looking pretty fly, turning heads but holding off inappropriate advances with a deathly stare, and generally reveling in my blue pixiness.

So into Second Life I bounded as soon as I could to take a picture. Out came my favorite silks, touched up my ear shading, and stopped cold when it came to a background. Discarding Zyx's usually haunts I took her to The Faerie Court at the Fantasy Faire (Slurl) where I could get some color in the background. Working with my Animation Override for live poses, fighting the lag that Advanced Lighting gives, and timing it all to work with the shifting colors of Elico Ember's marvelous build, my shooting ratio hit 10:1 so I gave up and picked the one above.

Yes, blue is a favorite right now, but give me a few minutes. That will change.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Why Are You Human in Second Life?

Weighing on my mind of late is the question of how we represent ourselves in Second Life, particularly as I re-read Greg Bear's novel Eon for the umpteenth time. A central thread drawn through out that story almost asks "What is a human?" but not quite. Except for a few assumptions by select characters, the novel takes as given that humans are not necessarily what we might consider them. In other words, one need not look "human" to be human.

Key to this concept is that humans have evolved in our future. Neomorphs (humans without human form; "The neomorph— vaguely fish-shaped, limbless—regarded Olmy with a crystalline fox face and picted casual greetings, but no ID."1) and homorophs (essentially human much like your Real Life appearance or mine; "She was a homorph with elaborations designed to heighten both sexual and leadership traits."2) are introduced with as little explanation as necessary and then treated no differently than the more pure, primitive ancestral forms. Being non-human in appearance is as natural as being human in appearance and Bear makes it clear that such is a choice in the book's future society.

What's on the inside is what counts?
The choice is yours in Second Life, too. So why do you appear to be human? Assuming that you are, of course. That many of us have a variety of avatars from animal to cartoon character to golly-knows-what is obvious. But most residents seem to stay with the current concept of a human form for most of their virtual existence despite changes for special occasions or such. With the difficulty of creating virtual clones of ourselves or the desire to make ourselves how we would like to appear in Real Life, most everyone is human.

Why? Why stick with your Real Life gender? Why are most people in Second Life caucasian?

Why, why, why? I'm not being very productive here. Probably because I don't have answers, at least not for anyone but me and that is rather iffy. Being human is what we are comfortable with, I suppose. Being caucasian or blonde or female is familiar to us. But I really doubt that these conventions make us who we are inside. Uccie is a blonde in Second Life after years of being a redhead in both worlds. She is female, like me iRL, as are most of my alts probably because that is what I know best. But she's the only one consistently caucasian for some reason.

Among my other characters, Zyx Flux is now black (sometimes reverting to her original blue) and she's a pre-teen child avatar. Oh, and she's not exactly human. As a pixy she's humanoid. Her big "sister" Zyx Resident is still blue, albeit a darker shade than with which she was created. And when she's black she's obsidian, not a Real Life human shade. My pixies are part of me – a child-like, nature-loving explorer and a confident, aloof loner that lurks and watches – that is often hard to express as Uccello.

Xandah is from India as you may have read elsewhere on this blog. Not really. I was born in Ireland and raised in America, but Xandah the character in Second Life is from India. Through her I've learned a fair bit about the culture of the world's most populous democracy.

My brother and I share log-ins for a few characters: a furry female, a robot, and an all-male caucasian Average Joe. Using these "secret" alts and my known characters I am often reminded of the quote I keep in Uccello's Profile:

"Perhaps it is impossible to wear an identity without becoming what you pretend to be." O.S. Card

When I'm not being Uccie, I don't feel much like Uccie, though I'm still me ... sort of.

Sometimes when my wife spends time with one of my non-Uccello characters she remarks that she still loves the typist regardless of the virtual form. She sees that I retain my nature and my humanity because when I'm with her I am Uccie regardless of form. With other forms that is not so clear. If you see me when I'm a German Shepherd wearing a hat and bunny slippers my I am different. No, that word is not good enough, but it will do for now.

If I could could make such changes iRL as I do iSL, would the same be true? I'd trade my current physical form to look like the elder Zyx in a heartbeat. Of course, that would simply bring up the debate about becoming the person that others see us being.3 It never ends, does it?

Bear, Greg (2014-04-01). Eon (Eon, 2) (Kindle Locations 4952-4953). Open Road Media. Kindle Edition.

Bear, Greg (2014-04-01). Eon (Eon, 2) (Kindle Locations 5072-5073). Open Road Media. Kindle Edition.

3 Conger, Cristen. "How accurate is our mental image of ourselves?" 05 November 2008. 04 May 2014.