Friday, 26 April 2013

For the Hoard! - April, Week One

For a while now, I've been thinking of blogging everything I buy (or otherwise obtain) in SL. I just didn't have the time to do that while I was participating in the 52 Weeks Colour Challenge, and then I got sick and took some time out. Now spring is here, I want to do something to keep my blog active, and clearly the lure of Shiny Things is too great to resist, as this month alone I have spent a whopping L$4,854 (more than twice my premium monthly stipend; I had some savings). OK in real terms this is only just over £15 but that's still quite a lot to spend on virtual goods which, if LL were dissolve tomorrow, I would never get back. 

And that's just this month. I may not be a huge spender on SL, but for someone who actively avoids window shopping, I seem to come across more things than I can ever buy. (Group notices are a big 'help' in this regard, even despite SL's tendency to eat half of them before they reach my inbox.) My shopping list never shrinks, and still has items on it from back in 2005 (probably no longer available or superseded by sculpt and mesh builds) yet every Tuesday I receive my money and go on a shopping spree for whatever has caught my recent fancy.

I am a little ashamed to admit that some of those things end up buried in my inventory, still packed up in boxes, though I will generally wear new outfits for at least a few days after purchase... never to see the light of day again, in most cases! The colour challenge was a great help in finding forgotten treasures, but largely limited to clothing and accessories. If I blog items as I find them, at least they will go on record to provide some kind of organisational assistance, as well as happy memories; and although I will never be a fashion blogger, my followers will have some chance of finding current items; a lot of the things I used in the colour challenge were old and no longer available.

So here we are: beginning my weekly shopping blog, all in the name of swelling the HOARD!* This month, I am working backwards to record everything, but in future I hope to produce a timely post each week, so that there should still be time to hit any sales or hunt events.

Week One, Beginning Tuesday 02 April

Windlight: Phototools Epi Vintage Light

~: Patchwork Piper :~

I had a lovely start to the month as I had been begging the designer at New Trails for a tree in a cosy knit sweater (yes really!) I had seen elsewhere but couldn't find in his store. I merely asked to purchase the tree, but he sent it to me as a gift! Thank you so much Vitrail <3 It made the perfect complementary prop for my new outfit. As I also installed the new Firestorm 4.4.0 viewer this month, I played about with the new Photoshoot settings and found this lovely sort of backlit sepia which isn't too great for clarity but I think makes a beautiful shot.

"Little Witch" mesh sweater-coat, Chaotic battlehorn and
lighted autumn oak with knitted veil (daww <3 )

I saw this baggy, recycled sweater coat from !gO! on Softpaw Sommer's blog and had to have it, thereby discovering a new store and completing most of this week's purchases. The coat is mesh, and fits really well, I didn't even have to put on my standard mesh shape; the only slight problem is that there is a bit of a gap at the collar, between the jacket and hood parts. The only way I could reduce this (and still not fix it entirely) was to stretch my torso length to 100%, which just looks silly on my shape, probably on most; however it's not too noticeable from most angles. The hood is really neat, because it flexes about a bit like hair when your body bends, so it looks soft and dangly.

Also this week I received a rather neat little battle horn from Pucca Firecaster Creations, I think as a subscriber gift (this store is where I got the Cecaelia tentacles for colour challenge 42 - Cosmic). You can sling it over your shoulder, or use the included gesture or chat command to play it, with animation and a spectacular sound effect. You couldn't really see the horn very well when worn, so I hung it from a tree branch and got out my Pan Pipes instead. I may be playing the pipes of peace right now, but I am ready to sound my horn for war if anyone dares disturb me!

"Little Witch" sweater hood. So pointy and witchy!

A close-up of my accessories, none of which were this week's purchases, but just to provide detail. The stag necklace was a recent gift from a designer friend, John Sheppard-McKay of John's Atlantean Treasures (Stargate Atlantis fans take note); he is the reason I came to SL in the first place, as we used to roleplay together and my character (now my alt) followed him here. The boots are from Battle Fairy and reasonably recent though I can't speak for their availability; the bag is eons old, and it looked as though the creator no longer runs a store but is just enjoying SL with his partner. And so he should!

~: Mad Hatted Gypsy :~

Gypsy Life in green with "It's Not Easy Being Green" top hat:
plays Kermit's iconic song from The Muppet Show!
While looking for the Little Witch sweater above, I couldn't resist a fatpack of gypsy dresses at a reduced price for 5 colours. I chose to showcase the two which complement my newest Mad Hattery purchases (I warn you now, there is likely to be at least one of these every month, because I LOVE her hats and she offers them at a 75% discount for the first week of sale, which is a ridiculous bargain). I could easily match a hat to each of the gypsy dresses, but time (and your patience) were pressing.

Gypsy Life in turquoise with "Blue Morning Glory" top hat:
surrounded by a circling cloud of animated butterflies.

~: Put Giraffes In The Air! :~

Giraffes of SL, I greet you - I come in peace!
(Shot through UFO cockpit bubble.)

I have a bit of a thing for giraffes, even though they are herbivores; they are just so unusual and weird-cute. I don't go looking for them (heck, I don't even go looking for dragons; I don't want to die in a debtors' prison!) but if they cross my path, I am likely to pounce. !gO! was selling this awesome giraffe hoodie vest at only L$33, probably because it's sculpted and she's switching (like so many designers) to mesh. OK so the bottom of the garment is a bit bell-like and solid, but it doesn't look too bad and has very cute ruffles on the back; the arm warmers and hoodie are just delightful, and the hood can be worn up or down via a simple command. The vest comes with a pocketful of grass to munch on and a thoughtfully-wiggling mouth attachment (pssst; giraffes eat leaves, but I'll let it slide ;) I don't really have too many giraffe themed things (do I?) so I thought I would showcase them all with the top. And, well... maybe things got a teensy bit out of hand (hoof?) Just a little bit.

It's... a... flying... giraffalien! *Sits down in surprise*
Skulprit Hovercar, Giraffes from D-lab

Put [Giraffes] In The Air by Baracuda - yeah so the song doesn't say 'giraffes' but it's a common pun, and I have a SL song gesture with reworded chat lyrics. I defy ANYONE not to twitch just a little bit to this music. Watch out for the dancing nun! Anyway, I put my flying D-lab giraffe in the air, and put myself up in my Skulprit giraffe patterned UFO. This was one of the designs from a gatcha machine at last year's Unhinged event, one of the rare occasions I don't much mind what pops out and took a gamble, but I was pretty tickled at getting a giraffe pattern!

Getting to know the natives. Omnomnom!
Cutie booties by Duh! D-lab giraffe is a seating pose prop.

Giraffe-tastic! It's PARTY TIME!
Rocking, flying and sitting giraffes from D-lab; all are animated, and the seated giraffe is actually a pose prop, you click to sit near him on the ground in a variety of poses while he raises and lowers his neck. The tall, naturalistic giraffe is a freebie from the early days of sculpting, full-perm and animated (well he sort of turns a bit). The tiny plushie my D-lab 'raffe is holding is a full-perm sculpt map gift from Diesel Magic. Just look at his cute little beady eyes ^.^ ... Why is he looking at me like that? Omg he never stops staring ... OK now I'm a bit scared. (I had one out at my castle and kept moving it around, and Sam Winchester was convinced it was possessed.) 

Adorable Duh! Giraffe booties were replaced in the final image with comfy giraffe slippers from a Barbie's Boutique pajama set - ancient purchase, no idea if she still sells them - and I'm wearing knitted giraffe hat from Inspired, way back in 2007 (she was retiring the animal hats just as Rudh and I bought them at the time, and now doesn't even have a store). I think this pretty much wraps up my giraffe collection. And this post! My goodness that was a marathon and not even the longest post I have to make for this month...

~: Item Credits :~

This week's monty haul: 
!gO! "Little Witch" baggy jumper in yellow, "Gypsy Life" dress fatpack and "Giraffe" vest;
New Trails Lighted Late Autumn Oak with knitted veil (possibly not available as gifted not sold);
Mad Hattery top hats "It's Not Easy Being Green" and "Blue Morning Glory".

Other items:
~: Patchwork Piper :~
GlamDammit! Brocade Tiger Leather Patch Pants
Battle Fairy Nana's Ankle Boots (Quilted)
Curved Horns 3 by Gnash Graves (free!)
Boudoir Faun Flute from 'Let's Have Some Fawn' forest fairy avatar
Silk & Satyr Dragon Shaman's Belt Pouch by ThomasD Felisimo (no longer selling)
HPMD Little Bird (perching on a tree root)
ChaosLotus plastic beads (not visible, but just to remind me, they match the top!)

I am not going to blog my standard avatar every time: information for these things (in this post, the hair, skin and eyes for the patchwork and giraffe outfits, and my L&E armbands) is all contained in my post for colour challenge 21 - Lemon Chiffon.

~: Gypsy Life :~
Al Vulo - Natalie - amidala bronze skin (group gift)
Curious Kitties Hair (tinted) from Wet Hat - White (old purchase, may not be available)
JAT Silver Stag necklace
free green and blue eyes

~: Giraffes :~
Barbie's Boutique giraffe pajama pants & slippers (old purchase, may not be available)
Inspired knitted giraffe hat by Maegen Parvenu (2007; retired)
Duh! Giraffe booties
Culprit Furniture "Skulprit" hovercar bought at Unhinged Event (map is playing up for lm)
D-lab rocking [chair] giraffe and flying/sitting plushies
Diesel Magic full-perms plushie giraffe sculpt maps (free!)
Tall sculpted giraffe by MathieuBC Noel (free, full-perm)

Pictures taken at Enlightenment/TRP360 Quad Sandbox using Phototools Dream Book Light 04 (foggy trees) & Epi Vintage Light windlight sky settings.

*(Note: World of Warcraft players in the somewhat more 'monstrous' faction, such as my partner Nadir, frequently shout 'For the Horde!' as they fight. I have just started my own WoW account, but ironically in the Alliance faction - simply because I wanted to play a werewolf, and they are on the side of the humans they were made from. I can't shout 'For the Horde!' but I can make my own draconic pun. SL is not all about the shiny, but for me, and especially now time and RL cause me to drift apart from my friends, it is the arch-factor of my continued SLexistance.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

My SL Pet Peeves

Rudh alerted me to this meme started by Strawberry Singh and I thought it offered the perfect opportunity to rant about things (well, one thing in particular) and get them off my chest so I can stop alluding to them every time I post! I can instead link key words back to this post with a *cue rant postscript :D

Pet peeves... we all have them, whether we acknowledge them publicly or gripe privately to our friends or just grit our teeth, sigh, roll our eyes and forge on despite the apparent will of the world to spite us. I know that people ranting on blogs is probably a pet peeve of many, so I try not to do it - this being an officially sanctioned post FOR ranting, if you don't want to read you are advised and welcome to back away now! Because when I get started, as my best friends will attest, boy can I rant. I put it down to the dragon in me. People should be glad I can only rant and not really toast them with fiery wrath }B=8)

So, to the list - five peeves, to keep things rolling, though to be honest I would find it hard to up the list to ten - I'm mostly a pretty laid back person. And you can stop sniggering :P Also, I decided to keep to peeves people could actually do something about, rather than those system bugs we all hate but are stuck with at the mercy of coding and computer power.


- Those little gumball slot machines where you pay a low price to get a random prize, objectively worth much more than you paid, but only if you like the item. Or don't have to make repeated attempts to complete a collectable set >.<

I'm sorry Allegory, I <3 you but you are killing me here D:
There's a reason your gatchas are skulls, right?

Short version: Gatchas. Are. Evil.

Long version:

I hate, loathe and despise gatchas because they are a form of gambling in disguise, invented to get people to spend more money - by trying either to complete a collectable set, or to get that one colour which matches their wardrobe/decor. RL gumball machines contain cheap toys and sweets where it really doesn't much matter what you get, but gatchas in SL often contain very select items. If you really don't care what pops out, and are content to walk away with one or two random shinies, then gatchas are a cute, fun novelty that save money. 

But do you really think designers want to sell their work at such low prices out of altruism? Gatchas are actually more profitable than the standard vendors; attracted by the idea of a bargain, people tend to keep paying and paying, until they have put in more than they would have considered outright. I'm not making this up; the psychological research is overwhelming, and just sit back and consider your own - or your friends' - use of gatchas if you still don't believe me.

LL allows the use of gatchas because if you win a prize every time, it isn't technically gambling. But technically, if you don't like the prize then you may as well have lost your money. As for swapping with friends, you'd have to have a friendslist devoted to playing the gatchas for that to work out. Maybe there are groups; I know there are many gatcha yard sales which pop up around each event. Just goes to show how many people don't want the items they've just purchased, doesn't it!

So just don't use gatchas, you might say. Well, my problem is when my favourite designers  make something that I absolutely must have, and put it in a gatcha. Worse, a *collectable set* gatcha. And then instead of paying full retail price to get what I want, which I would be very happy to do, I am forced to go through this frustrating and pocket draining process that taints the enjoyment of the item by the time I manage to acquire it. (Rudh spent well over L$1000 on the pictured gatcha, and never even won a rare, though I did pay her for one set of duplicates as I loved them so much.)

I must add, in fairness, that every designer I have asked has been very gracious to me, either in personally swapping an unwanted item or in allowing me to pay full price and skip the gamble. But I don't like to make a habit of doing that; it feels a bit as though I'm bucking the system. They made a gatcha, they want people to use it, and if I continually pester designers for special treatment they are going to become annoyed. That line is especially not going to fly with a collectable set, which is designed specifically for the gatcha system.

Sometimes I feel like I'm the only person in SL who feels this way. It would be lovely to find out I'm not - we should form an anti-gatcha group and stand around at the Arcade in a picket line :)

Well, there. I tried to keep this as short as possible, but as my close friends know, it's best just not to get me started on the subject... I won't write nearly so much on the rest of the list, I promise!

2. Hunt locations which don't seem to get the spirit of hunting.

A topical hunt. I haven't done this one,
but at least one designer in EVERY hunt will offend.
Don't get me wrong, I love hunts; especially the ones with really clever clues that keep me wracking my brains for an hour, but when I finally find the thing, my admiration for the genius of the hiding spot makes it all worthwhile. I have been in stores where you wouldn't think they could hide a postage stamp, but still manage *multiple* clued hiding places.

Then you get those mammoth stores that cover almost an entire sim, and the clue is simply a product name. There is no cleverness in this; you have to walk around the whole store looking at every single vendor* to find the one which holds the prize. As a form of advertising, it beats even the forced ads at the side of websites. A store which can't be bothered thinking of a decent clue, but wants to make me browse through its entire stock, just puts me off both doing the hunt and ever visiting again. Even worse are the ones which don't give you a clue at all and hide the thing in some remote corner, so that you are forced to examine every pixel of the store. Do you really think that making me spend hours of my time in a frustrating search will encourage me to buy your products?? The stores I remember and return to are the ones which take the time, not only to make a decent prize, but to hide it somewhere interesting with a good clue to work out. Even if it is hard. Hunts should be fun, not boring.

*Yes, you can use area search, but in most hunts that is considered cheating. It also doesn't work if the vendor isn't named for the item, and the only place the name occurs is in the ad texture.

3. Skirts with no demos.

Beautiful in stasis. My AO would make it look like a church bell,
ringing as I walked.

For some reason, I keep coming across designers who supply a demo for a mesh outfit, but only for the top. Everyone always used to supply demos for prim skirts; why has that gone out the window with mesh? Just because you can hide your legs and hips with an alpha and don't have to worry about fit doesn't mean there aren't other considerations. For me, there are in fact more factors in choosing a skirt than a top. I want to know how it looks in ratio to my height, whether my shoes will show under the hem as I walk; and above all, how it moves. I don't buy sculpted skirts, because I don't get clothes for modelling, I get them to move around in. I walk, dance, jump and sit in a variety of poses all over the place. Ever since LL introduced flexiprims, making a solid block that waggles on your hips as though you'd stepped into a bell seems to be severely retrograde. Mesh, admittedly, moves a little better than that - it at least follows your body rather than the attachment point. But it can still do odd things at the hemline or when stretched, and I want my clothes to stand up to me doing the can-can! The other day, I saw this beautiful dress, fairly costly at over L$600, with the label 'contains mesh' and a demo which only featured the top. There was no indication what the skirt was made of and when I asked the designer, she admitted it was part sculpted, but didn't even offer a store model to show me. I decided not to risk my money.

4. Blots on the landscape.

My tree-house in 2012, before the castle.
Is next door planning a garage sale?

I can't resist a song link here.

"Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes made of ticky-tacky,
Little boxes, little boxes,
Little boxes, all the same."

- Little Boxes, by Malvina Reynolds

Malvina might have preferred suburban development to my peeve. SL is pretty 'down' with diversity, and during my first two years of residence my mainland neighbour ran a down-and-out styled ghetto complete with trashed trailers, graffiti, discarded junk and burning trash cans. I didn't mind; it was well built and interesting, and showed creative style. I can live next to pretty much anything, from the mundane to the exotic; what I *don't* like is hulking great plain boxes with no contextual surroundings. They ruin the view, and have only slightly higher status than a flashing, spinning ad board.

Even worse than these fugly boxes are skyboxes, of almost any description, even the pretty ones, below 250m. They ruin the view even more, because you can at least look over a box on the ground, but a skybox sited directly between you and the beauty of the coastal sunset is real estate 'game over'. They also throw enormous shadows, if you are using this graphics feature, totally blotting out shadow detail on your own parcel at specific times of day. I moved from the pictured sim in the end because they asked me to take down a turret on my castle but did nothing about infringing skyboxes or other litter in the surrounding airspace, even after I had pointed it out. Twice.

Not quite as bad as the above, but still pretty wince-inducing, are those cardboard cut-out flat texture walls that people throw up in some vain illusion of privacy. HELLO people, this is SL, if I wanted to look into your parcel I only have to zoom the camera past your walls; and if you want to block the view of my property and throw up a fake mountain vista around your house, at least have the decency to texture it transparent on my side so I'm not looking at what is, when it comes down to it, another box. I have been known, when neighbours make use of these things, to throw up a similar wall around my own parcel. Textured bright dayglo pink, with high glow. See how they like it.

5. Full-bright on no-mod items.

Spot the item with in-built spotlight...
I love my log and it was free but the creator made a texturing oops!

I have never been a fan of full-bright, even before the amazing lighting the atmospheric shaders give us nowadays. When ambient lighting was limited, it could be helpful to have full-bright on very small items, such as jewellery, or on pictures, to ensure they could always be seen. It was still annoying to have no choice, if the item was no-mod. Now we have a wonderful array of lighting presets, with glowing sunsets in a rainbow of colours, day shading to night as gracefully as on a tropical island, and shadows to add to the atmosphere. Full-bright on objects in this kind of setting is as harsh and unnatural as a face-light; it looks as though the item is glowing, lit from within like a lamp though it doesn't actually give out light. If you want to see something clearly, set your time to midday; otherwise, graduated lighting creates some very pleasant and realistic effects. Jewellery at one particular point of sunset is particularly gorgeous I have found, jewel textures and shine flashing like fire for a few moments before the creeping darkness claims their detail, as it should. Full-bright robs the viewer of this phenomenon.

I can add prim shadows to this category too, I think. Prim shadows were great before real environmental shadows came in, and probably still good for those whose computers can't handle system shadow. Unfortunately, when yours can, and you enjoy using them, a fake prim silhouette which you can't even mod off just gets in the way; as well as adding to the prim count on your parcel! No blame to designers who created items before the in-world lighting system came into play; but I have seen things created this way afterwards, which is unnecessary and annoying.

So there is my list of top 5 peeves in SL! All but one of them are to do with designers, hehe. I just realised that this entire meme reminds me of a TV programme here in the UK, called Room 101, in which celebrity contestants are invited to air their own grievances with life and have them symbolically consigned to oblivion. If only the solution were so simple!

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

SL DisneyBound - Week 4: Snow White

No I am not taking up another challenge - but I saw this one on Rudh's blog and had to post, because I already have the photos! Why? Well, back when I did the Sn@tch horror event around Halloween (and thinking about that... I died, as does everyone, at the end of the story; and that was when I got sick IRL, dun dun DUUUUUN..!) one of the prizes was a Snow White costume. I couldn't think what link Snow White had with Halloween or a haunted asylum for sleep disorders and it seemed a very random prize, but I was so  hyped on putting together outfits to blog that I worked on this too. Then I put it away and forgot about it, because it didn't seem appropriate to blog at the time and really, when was I ever going to have the opportunity to blog about Snow White? Et voila, this challenge comes along! Knew I wasn't completely wasting my time *g*

I look a bit like the Wicked Stepmother in the second pic, holding an apple with that sly look in my eye... Suspect the apple poisoning wasn't all it appeared on the surface, maybe there is some kind of possession or spirit transference going on and the happy prince did not wake up Snow White at all, but has unwittingly married the witch!

This was my first attempt at putting a photographic background to an SL shot, since I took the pictures in Rudh's photostudio against a blank wall. I think I did pretty well :-) I did wonder about saving the post for some kind of Canadian celebration, because of the maple leaves, but I don't really know or take part in any. Not the most suitable background for spring, but I love the colours of beech woods in autumn - yes, the real leaves are beech, the pose prop is maple, you use what you've got ;) and Rudh left her pose prop out so I did.

Item Credits

Snow White dress, hairbow and apple ~ Fierce Designs

Slippers ~ Crazy Pastry Designs ~ Valentine's Ballet Flats

Hair (as black as ebony) ~ GurlyWood ~ 'Banana Clipped' from 2006! Store still going as GuRL 6 but SL isn't letting me pull up the lm from her profile (Kennedy Six)

Skin (as white as snow) ~ {Frick} ~ Snowflake Fairy in ghost

Lips (as red as blood) ~ Chaos, Panic, Disorder ~ lipstick tattoo from Lady Nosferatu skin

Eyes ~ Amacci ~ Winter Image

Necklace ~ Sentou Yousei ~ Forbidden Fruit

Bird ~ HPMD ~ Little Birds, sky blue (adorable singing, animated sculpts, mod/copy, available in all colours of the rainbow)

'Into the Wind' maple leaf pose set by *MP* - I pulled the name off item edit properties as Rudh wasn't around to ask, but it isn't very helpful. I think this demonstrates that stores could advertise better by putting their FULL name into item descriptions, since I often buy things I've seen around and about in-world. If you want it, ask me and I will ask Rudh to find out!

Monday, 8 April 2013

Fledge joins the Fashionistas!

** Boudoir Immersive - Event running until April 13th **

I logged on Saturday morning to get some rare quiet time, as the Bean was still asleep, and was just in time to get a group notice for the opening of Boudoir Immersive - a dual world art project by sisters Vitabela Dubrovna and Precious Restless, the creators behind fashion studio Boudoir. They have created a set of gowns both in SL and RL, and while photographs of the RL models wearing their creations are displayed at the SL gallery, monitors in the RL gallery will show SL avatars as they attend the exhibit, making it a dual-world experience. Moreso, one feels, for the RL crowd, as they get to ogle our avatars - we don't get to see them and it's a shame they couldn't set up a media link the other way, though I suppose in general SL avatars are far more interesting to look at! The dresses are (I think) available to purchase in SL; full sized copies were rezzed around the walls to complete the display.

White butterfly dress, virtual and real.
RL model photo by Mladen Saric.
Attendees received a gift of a pretty veil with butterflies to match this dress.
Pink butterfly dress with ants. RL model photo by Mladen Saric.
Dresses were not displayed next to photo-boards so I made my own composites.
As you know, I'm not a fashion blogger, and although I love pretty clothes, I'm not at all bothered by how fashionable they are; what's important to me is whether something looks good and unusual, not whether everyone is wearing it this month. I also like to wear things that I wouldn't normally get to wear in RL, because why use the limitless possibilities of a virtual, imaginative world to look the same as you do in life? SL for me is a fabulous dressing up box full of designer clothes and accessories that fit perfectly and are easily affordable. RL... is not. 

This, incidentally, is why I spend most of my time not being a dragon. I love my trueform but it cannot wear clothes. I could wear an anthro-dragon, but then I would still have to eschew skins, hair and makeup (and possibly shoes). Usually I settle for horns and a tail (which I am wearing here but you can't see it for the dress) with exotic skins and eyes.

I love the designs of Boudoir; they are beautiful and feminine and exquisitely made, but also unique, exotic and eccentric. They were asking for people to come to the opening of the project so that there would be plenty of people on the monitors, and I was happy to oblige; I put on one of my Boudoir gowns and hairstyles for the occasion, getting dressed in record time, and brought a friend I hadn't seen in months (years?) but happened to catch online.

Boudoir gown 'Narcissus Lake'.
The bottom of the gown has an animated texture, like water,
and the insects spin slowly around the skirt of flowers.
Dragonfly hair from CHH3 (also Boudoir) and jewellery from Tekeli-li.
My mousey friend, Nikola Gynoid, very pretty in a gold cocktail dress
and mesh oyster necklace free from Modern Elegance.
The exhibit was (sensibly) very sparsely decorated with just a few photo boards and the hanging dresses. Even so, with a good number of people already there as I arrived promptly at opening time, my computer was stretched to perform. I very rarely suffer from the common bane of SL, movement lag; but my graphics take a while to respond in crowded environments and for several minutes I felt as though I were walking through an empty exhibit full of featureless grey people. I had to drop my graphics to basic, my view distance to 64m and lower the number of non-imposter avatars before everything rezzed. 

Incidentally this is a good tip for anyone experiencing lag at an event, especially the crowded market fairs; if you are there to go shopping and not interested in what your fellow shoppers look like, turn them all into low-res pixellated cartoons. You will free up memory to deal with vendor textures and will still see enough of people not to bump into them, and to know if the person you're talking to is male, female or a slavering monster with their eye on your jugular - or lower. If you want to know what someone looks like in detail, they will rez fully once you focus your camera on their avatar.

Avatar UlupuhVisitor wearing the same dress displayed on the wall behind.
Ulupuh is the name of the RL gallery hosting the exhibit; one has to wonder if this was
Vitabela or Precious in disguise on a newly created alt!
In fact it was such a select display that there was plenty of time for crowd watching once I had viewed the exhibits, and I always love nosing around at other avatars, seeing what they are wearing and what fun toys they are playing with. Ctrl-3 is your friend for finding out who made an item without bothering people by asking, as it brings up an edit window on their stuff; unfortunately it doesn't seem to work on rigged mesh (stuff like hair, clothes and shoes which are fitted to the avatar skeleton so they size and move automatically) but will work on unrigged mesh attachments such as pets and accessories. 

I saw several interesting avatars at this event, and also spotted Alia Baroque and Elizabeth Tinsley of Fallen Gods - whose fantasy skins are to die for, but are not in my previously mentioned 'easily affordable' bracket. Elizabeth seemed to be co-hosting the event, from the way she thanked us all for coming. Elizabeth was sitting next to Sonya Marmurek, who I recognised from last year's colour challenge, but for some reason Sonya's outfit never rezzed for me which is a shame as it was clearly mesh (she had on an alpha mask and was mostly invisible) and doubtless lovely. Or perhaps she was doing it on purpose to help reduce lag. I didn't like to ask!

Petra Messioptra, Vitabela's listed SL partner, looking fabulous in feathers -
quite possibly a custom outfit. Damien Calvin behind/right.

Machinima/ShoDo artiste NicoleX Moonwall with luv Woodrunner,
performing synchronised twin ballet.

Aki Shichiroji of Wilds of Organica, in a work-in-progress avatar
to be released at the forthcoming Fantasy Faire.
(Fantasy gamers will know this as a Peryton. The creature was originally `created by
Jorge Luis Borges in his Book of Imaginary Beings.)
So there it is! My first, and quite probably last, fashion event post. I enjoyed myself at the opening but it has taken three days to finish this blog post, what with the Bean being off school for Easter vacation and warbling constantly in my ear even when not requiring my specific attention (85% of the time). He has a friend from next door who comes over to play and then I have two of them, and what with this and the fibro my brain is cheese. I wish I could take the time to keep up with other blogs and maintain a mutually supportive reader list the way Rudh does, but the fact is I can barely manage to write my own blog let alone browse my followers', so alas I am doomed to write largely within and for a vacuum. At least I'll have some kind of testimony in years to come to what I've been doing with my annual subscription to LL.

Oh yes - Item Credits for what I am wearing!

Dress ~ Boudoir ~ Narcissus Lake
Hair ~ Boudoir ~ Dragonfly (hunt prize, no longer available)
Jewellery ~ Tekeli-li ~ Piscene necklace and earrings;
and Lassitude & Ennui solar/lunar bracelets
Skin by Ferryn Miriam
Gold makeup ~ KOSH ~ metallic eyeshadow/sweet lips
Horns adapted from Isle of Wyrms Shadow Dragon
Eyes ~ aN ~ Pop Star Cat Eyes Sunny Yellow

** Boudoir Immersive - event running until April 13th **

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Is it a Fledge or is it a Rudh?

It suddenly occurs to me this would have been a great April Fool post - oh well, was a bit shattered until now to be doing anything. I have been recovering since hosting a birthday party for my 5 year old before Easter, and made the unwise decision to spring clean in honour of the event (and other mums visiting my humble home!) I reminded myself exactly WHY I don't do a lot of the heavier housework, as my fibromyalgia reared its head in ugly revenge; still, we have a lovely shiny house now and hopefully if I am careful I can stay a bit more on top of things from now on.

Back at the beginning of March I visited the SL Fashion Week market after seeing something I liked on Rudh's blog (see, designers? This blogging business really does work!) In fact the item I wanted was no longer at Fashion Week (I hunted it down later in-store) but there weren't too many stalls so I browsed around and found a few things I liked - which is why I really shouldn't be allowed out into commercial areas! - and teamed them with some items I got at the Unhinged Charity Event a few months ago (I meant to blog at the time but..). 

Rudh, in complete contrast to me, is a huge gatcha fan and frequents the Arcade, an event I avoid like the plague. She often sends me her duplicates when they are Fledgesome, and recently she sent me a hairstyle which I quite liked, but just didn't go with any of my usual skins. So I tried it with a human skin and - gasp! - not only was I looking scarily human (something that almost never happens and then only for blogging purposes) but also, I think, scarily like Rudh! So I decided to make a Rudh-a-like post for her birthday in honour of my blogger celebrity little SLister! But she was packing frantically for her trip to Disneyland and when she got back she went into hospital, so the post was a bit delayed, but finally here it is.

Guess who, sissypoo!
 *Muah!* Thank you for your continued vigilance for Fledge shinies, and happy birthday and happy recovery! <3

I am always amazed by the difference skin and hair can make to your shape. Rudh's shape is store bought and no-mod, whereas I made mine myself from scratch, so there is no reason we should look remotely similar; but somehow, at least to me, this look really says 'Rudh'. If she were standing next to me, of course, you would see a huge height difference as I am a short-arse by SL standards, and I don't have her curves.

Posing with some giant mushies

Close-up for jewellery & boots
(left tinted glove layer on from a previous skin, whoops!)

Trying to be artistic
Shot taken underwater for the blurred effect of the Japanese maples overhead. I had to work on my knees; if you think they look bad now, you should have seen them in the raw shot! I swear they never look this bad in-world, what is it about SL photography and joints? I really must get to grips with Gimp because Fireworks is great for basic editing but doesn't have too many special effect tools and I'm sure I could do a better (and easier) job on the knees with a more advanced program. I also keep meaning to run a comparison between the in-world camera and Print-Screen. I have suspicions.

Item Credits (note: all prim items are mesh, because I think it's awesome, and anybody who still can't see mesh is either badly in need of a computer upgrade or being foolishly obstinate; the former have my fullest sympathy.)

Location: A friend's parcel. I went to show her my new look (it's always fun scaring my friends when I turn human!) and she had these beautiful Japanese maples which matched my dress, so that was that. 

Lighting: Nam's Optimal Skin & Prim (very good for faces. Not so much for knees.)

TRUTH hair "video games" - lightbrown with orchids (gatcha find, from Rudh)

Remarkable Oblivion "PinnAcle" headband in onyx (from SL Fashion Week)

Skin II Skin - Sakura Specials - "Emily" in peach (by Amelie Carlucci, but I can't find a current store)

Lapointe natural green eyes (free coloured set)

Izzie's glitter nails (from Zombie Popcorn hunt)

LIV-Glam Spring 2013 "Fabia" fur-trimmed outfit (from SL Fashion Week)

Lasaki "Crazy Love" cameo necklace (gatcha find, from Rudh) - her store is closed but she still sells items at Sn@tch City and the SL marketplace.

.Olive. & [Okkbye] "Refreshed" Bear Trap bracelets Two Tones (gunmetal with copper, gold and silver) - this is the item I wanted from SL Fashion Week but was no longer on sale there. Thanks to Rudh I found a new store with lots of delightful, quirky jewellery and made several purchases!

SAKIDE Cranium Rings in silver and black (from Unhinged event)

Lassitude & Ennui "Sugarskull" boots in black (from Unhinged event

L&E is the oldest of my favourite stores. Their designs have been peerless since the early days of SL, before we had all these newfangled flexis and sculpts and mesh (yes, I am that old! ;) and you will see my treasured L&E armbands in most of my pictures - not this, because I was being Rudh not Fledge. The Unhinged was a gatcha event, but for an extremely worthy cause, which is why I paid a visit. I really, really loathe gatchas and usually avoid them on principle. When I really badly want something, as with these boots, I ask the designer if I might pay full retail price and get the item I want instead of gambling for it. I have rarely been turned down, and although some might consider it cheating, I consider that gatchas are only fair if you truly don't care what random prize pops out and are content to walk away with one. (I will refrain from continuing; the subject will inevitably become a rant.)

Fashion doesn't work that way unless you wear the entire rainbow, which I don't. As this was a charity event, Jackal Ennui very graciously trusted me to pay the collection box the full retail price, so I don't consider that anybody missed out; and although they are not the rare design, I think these boots are the best of the bunch, because they are the only set with multicoloured embroidery. Kinu Mayako of Sakide also very graciously let me bypass the gatcha system, as did a couple of other designers at the event. I think everybody came out a winner, because they made a happy customer and the event got more money; if they'd refused I just wouldn't have bought anything, as it was I think I spent around a grand. I did take a shot at a couple of gatchas, where I wasn't so concerned with the result; but "prize every time!" only works when you actually like all the prizes. Some of the Unhinged items were limited edition but not all, so I don't know if either the boots or rings are still available but you could always ask the designers.