Friday, October 29, 2010

Extreme Costume Makeover

The experiment seems to be working.  It's not so difficult to make prim hair the way I want it, and without lagging a sim.    Also since part of my costume relies on an alpha prim, I cannot afford to have it clash with alpha hair.

I'll be sequestered in my TARDIS tonight to complete the hair and work meticulously with appearance sliders.  You can't peek till Show n Tell. 

Well, I *might* wear it in the bleachers at Giant Snail Races if I'm not in either televised race (was in both last week, although I was caught with my magnetic containment field set to noncollision on camera while standing THROUGH a chair).

Update:  I *found* the hair.  Wow never expected that.  I'll save my hair-in-progress for future tinkering.

Anatomy is easy.  VERY easy.  The features are coming out well on the face with the exception of those pinhole pupil eyes and the lack of surface definition.

There seems to be a problem.  The eyebrows won't show.  I can tint the lip color but facial hair of any sort won't change. So if you set a skin color and generate an SL skin, the other features are hidden under the layer?  Well that's no good, is it?!  I've learned from my gestures that default skin - if it is at all possible to use - animates the eyebrows.

If anybody has suggestions for SL brow and sideburn features to show through, let me know?  Thanks much!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

What should I be for Halloween?

For Second Life I mean.  In Toontown, Count Fishy will be a skeleton, Kertruffle a bee, with Quackerella and Lucky Toesies as supertoons.  On Sunday the new black cat will get vampire and supertoon suits courtesy of Kertruffle, who has 3 tasks to hand in.

It's an existential dilemma. 

I want it to be twisted because just about anything I come up with will have been predictible to somebody.

On my first Saturday in SL back in 2008, I spent a couple of hours underwater somewhere (I know exactly where actually), editing my appearance until I looked perfect (yes, for what I am this is perfect.  If you don't know what I am then pity you.  I'm not even human).

I believe this time around would require skin work.  I am very organic with that sort of thing, having made a skeleton and other textures for Avatar Studio creations during my VRML years by printing out templates and working on vellum.  Somehow I don't think that technique will work this time.

My friends know what I think of available skins for men:  boring junk.  Think you're cool that you need a shave?  You're a dime-a-dozen Ken doll, pacing around like a caged tiger like the next Ken doll.  You're COMMON! You're DULL!

I won't be dull.  You're dull enough for both of us.  Bring those muscles out some more and you can look ridiculous for both of us as well.

Last night I scoped out the Library.  I grabbed a probable base avatar with full-perm prim hair.  This is going to be interesting. 

There's a range of eyes in the library but I don't like any of them. Their pupils are pinpoints and the sparkles unnatural.  I wonder how hard it is to make those?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Burn2 Ends: Time to wander the dirt road.

So I hear the Lamplighters finally made it up to the temple during a USA night time - to dance on the its ashes on the final day.  I'm sure they're very proud of themselves for throwing away their duty to the community and keeping to themselves for most of Burn2.  It's not why I sought them out.  I really thought such an established group would have upheld its practices at least long enough for me to have been a part of it.

I think in the end though it turned out better.  People got together and just did it.  People got to appreciate the beauty of the temple. People got into the spirit of fire and bringing up the sun.

Having been unable to get close enough last year even to cam in,  it was great to observe The Man burn from just across a sim line.  When Bordello netsplit, I readied myself and crossed over the moment it returned, knowing people would have crashed or logged off in confusion. The Lampies as a group were nowhere in evidence for that 4am SLT burning.  A random number of us - only one other in Lamplighter robes - did the percussive honors with a scratch artist.  Interesting that there is a group of RL burners with shirts displaying photos of themselves at the actual Burning Man festival.  Two of them performed with us.

With Burn2 officially over, I'll have the liberty of lag-free exploration of whatever wasn't burned down.  I reckon there's quite a bit. 

How was this?  As I expected, Burn2 was much much better than Burning Man.  The spirit and feel of the RL one was there. The coziness and randomness of individual styles set one beside the other.  With the exception of #lampiefail and the lag/fill caused by the central tent, it really was perfect.  If only there were resources to create that buffer between the tent and everyone else.

With next year's theme announced as Rite of Passage, I have a head start in pondering a build.  Or two.  When Snurky won the lottery this year I couldn't imagine having her do my style of build.  I wonder if they'll take requests for placement?  This year was ideal with Marianne, Molly, me, and their friends all as neighbors and not sharing a region with the events tent.  Be nice to do it again - and STILL be in it.

I'll add Burn2 shots to this post this evening.  Other Burn2 pictures can be found on Flickr.

Now for the rest of 7seas' Fall Fishing Festival.  They party till LL pick up the regions, which means I've got some relaxing by the water ahead of me this week for both avatars.  We all want that galleon, don't we?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Day Off Work to Work

Day off from work yesterday for "F" things: flu shot and preparing for the 7Seas Fall Fishing Festival.  The FFF started up this morning.  This Saturday evening is the Childs Play fundraiser, when all 7Seas vendor sales go to the cause.  So take time out from whatever you're doing and buy bait n fish.  In fact, come to the FFF where some of the best custom catches are in one place. (Or to Livingtree where they have a contest starting every Saturday at 6:35pm SLT and offer coupons for Robin Sojourner's shops to the top 3 winners)

When I get home I'll set landmark givers in Cartoon World, The Starship Diner, and send a message via the subscribe-o-mat.

I'll also set the TARDIS landing point for public use :)

Tonight I'll break from the festival for temple drumming.  Don't know if we'll get another chance if last year is any indication.  They'll be burning The Man on Saturday and Sunday in Bordello, so Rabbit Hole might be equally full.  Well it WILL be.  Perhaps on Sunday while I watch Sherlock on PBS I'll loiter inworld.

If it weren't for agent and lag limitations, this 6-region arrangement would have been perfect for Burning Man.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Lighting the Night with Fire & Snails

Yesterday there wasn't even a notice for an evening procession.  No dots on the map over the village.  You know where the rest of us went :)

Tindallia Soothsayer wore her Burning Snail again, which is a breathtaking build.  See her race with it in last Sunday's Giant Snail Races. After so much work it's great she can get more use out of it. Yesterday was her 5th rezzday too. 

There was a big party again in Bordello so we stayed predominantly in Rabbit Hole. People were passing around congas.  It was enough of a turnout that I derezzed my sneakers.

I think tonight I'll do the cowbell.  It was the first thing I played at my first temple dance last year.

Earlier this week DMom2k gave me copy/trans robes she originally made in 2008.  I might put down givee boxes for them during tonight's ceremony.  This way no one has to ask.

It's really a shame what happened to the Lamplighters this year.  You can say it's because of one man, and that's what I keep hearing, but the group in general is following blindly from the looks of it.  Was so psyched for the whole procession thing too.  Their stubborn immobility just brings out the best in people in its wake.  It's proven time and again that tags and status mean nothing.  As long as there's someone at the temple to light up the night sky and welcome the sun, that's what matters.  That's the point.  Take away the temple and what do you have?  Well, the Lamplighters have public baths.  Very fiery.

If they took me off Lampies' access I'd have little to lose personally.  It would be tougher to get more percussions to hand out in the temple, and I don't think those implications would be looked on favorably if they're not already being scrutinized for the nocopy settings on their gifts.

I've got a lot of pictures still to upload to Flickr.  Flickr and AVG don't like eachother very much.  It's always an ordeal when it's more than one image at a time.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Now We're Cookin'!

Last night was a lot of fun.

I hadn't realized so many people felt the same way about the temple ceremony as I did.  Someone said: "Now it finally feels like Burn2," and that's what it's about!

No one can take the nontangible away, but to get enough random people together to save an event is hard to come by.  Enough of us wanted this.  Thanks to all who made it happen!  As long as the official Lamplighters remain sequestered in their bathhouse, we'll rule the night in the north.

We learned something though: need to remain on the Burning Man - Bordello side of the temple so that any non-lampies and non-campers can use the stuff.  Seems for some reason they've set Burning Man - Rabbit Hole to no scripts.  While campers and Lampies can play there, the sounds are not shared by the other region.

Got all sorts of things passed on to me since yesterday's post.  Among them were sets of robes from 2008 which are copy/trans, so anyone who wants just let me know.  Someone mentioned they had tiny robes as well to offer.  I'll try to grab more percussions as a few went out last night.  Wish I knew where I could get more cowbells?

When I get home this evening I'll prep some shots and upload to Flickr :)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

SL's Lamplighters: beginning of the end of an era?

Last year the highlight of my Burning Life experience was dancing with the Lamplighters.  They'd play percussions in their campsite, then lead a run through the main events tent and the legs of the Man, past roadside campsites, away from the lag of the lower, more densely populated regions, all the way to the crystal temple.  There participants could generate their own lag with anyone who wished to participate.

The lamplighters offered percussions and firefans freely to those who asked, as was the spirit of Burning Man and one of its most solemn principles.

They inspired me to join them this time around.  No clashing of schedules this time.  I'd run to the temple each night and dance in flames to bring out the sun.

Things haven't been the same with them this year.

When Snurky and I visited their village before Burn2 opened, it was an interesting educational experience, with different campsites within their village which doubled as an exhibit; you used these items to try out different percussions.  I noticed that there were no boxes of robes or percussions out for people to take.  I figured they just hadn't packed everything out yet.

As it turns out, time and resources did not permit Snurky to make her build.  As soon as I knew this I let them know and someone else got to use the parcel.  No big deal.  There was still the Lamplighters.

Snurky and I had our percussions from last year.  We were sent the Lamplighter robes - those with flame trim, which set them apart from the all-white civilian robes. 

The conditions last night didn't surprise me.  The rules of physics were different witbout SL in charge of the festival and at liberty to commit a frivolous number of sims to the continent - thereby allowing a sim buffer between venues and the rest of it.  Burning Man privately host this year and have been prone to fees, just as any nonprofit org coming to make a presence in Second Life.  Donations, lotteries, and rentals went toward estate fees.  Only 6 regions comprise everything.  Consider the same number of people could attend and be expected to fill into the limited space.  This means everyone situated in regions sharing the main stage (2/3 of the minicontinent) are prone to encounter a full region at any time during the festivities.  This included the Lamplighters' village.

How it was handled by those in charge of the Lamplighters was surprising and a bit of a disappointment when the time came for their procession last night.

With the majority of the sim's populace at the central tent and a small number of group tagged lampers, it was decided unilaterally by one avatar that they would remain sequestered within their home region and drum at the baths.  Because he couldn't bear the thought of them teleporting out of the region, he didn't serve to free up room for the entertainment tent nor use that beautiful crystalline temple - where there was room for Playa residents and wandersby (which I happened to be last year).

Close-minded and separatist, I thought.  Certainly not a service to the community.

This is the event denizens care about and want to be a part of.  The Lamplighter ceremony is what bridges Burn2 with Burning Man.  Sometimes you have to step back and assess the situation objectively:  Does one uphold the integrity of the ceremony by stubbornly refusing to teleport past four full regions,  or does one do so by holding the ceremony where it doesn't compete with a major event?  Let's face it: the temples have always been situated remotely so that discovery and spontaneous participation was welcome if not expected.  It was a true expression of community.  The ceremony generates its own numbers for lag.  Therefore teleporting WAS the only right action in this scenario.  This is Second Life. It has its own physics just as much as the average adult humanoid here is 6-1/2 to 7 feet tall.
When I got to the temple, some were waiting around expecting the Lamplighters.  I put on some robage and took a lantern and walked along the roads of Bordello.  The lights from the myriad of creations were stunning against the dusky sky.  I made my way back to the temple, where I brought out firefans and a conga I had from last year.  A handful gathered around while I drummed. 

A newbie came over and expressed interest in joining in.  I found out then that the conga was not copiable.  If I wanted to give her my conga, I could not play with her.

I did anyway and brb'd to get Snurky to send me something - a set of bongos, a new item she picked up while touring the village.

Back at the temple I was lucky to still have rez access to place the bongo stand down.  How odd that this year the Lampies offered percussions not only uncopiable but requiring group access to use.  For some reason the congas wouldn't work for the newbie.  Maybe they only work for those with group access?  Wouldn't that be odd?  Is that possible?
 The small party hung out until sunrise.  Two wonderful artists I met at BL9 happened in and danced to the rhythm (cool - the conga could play more than one tempo simultaneously).  They said their goodbyes in the morning light and continued exploring the playa.  I derezzed the bongos and called it a night.

If they do the same thing tonight, so will I.

I'll come prepared though, with as many transferable items I feel I'll need to keep a tradition and help anyone inspired to join in.  I tried to find those all-white robes. There were none to be found.

Look for me at 10:15pm eastern time / 7:15 pm SLT in Bordello if so-and-so dictates the same decision.  Certainly no one will ban us for banging the drum where it was meant to occur :)

UPDATE: The mystery of the nonworking conga is solved.  In a way it was about group access.  See, the half of the temple in Rabbit Hole region is noscripts.  Once we all migrated over to the Bordello side, everybody tonight could play together.

Friday, October 15, 2010

A Tentative Farewell to BlueGin Yifu

I've learned something from 15+ years in cyberculture: most of the people who "died" haven't at all.  Not in our understanding of the word at least.  They've left the online world, changed their persona without telling anyone, or staged it for attention. Several have attended their own memorial service to find out what people thought of them or get off on seeing friends sad for them.

Occasionally someone on the other side of a monitor truly passes away.  Their family member or spouse logs into their avatar, blog, or Facebook to give enough details: respectful but validating.

Most of us didn't know the RL BlueGin Yifu.  It is my way to respect the integrity of a persona: a person is whom they are with their ideals intact when they come online.  In some ways you see their true selves here.  The most I knew about her offline was what state she lived in and that it was in my timezone.

So BG has always been BG to me.

It's a funny name.  "BlueGin Yifu" sounds like a drink: "I'll have a Blue Gin Yifu - with a twist."  Her name was so catchy that the moles made it into a drink for the Hau Koda terminal lounge.  BG immortalized for posterity, a part of Bay City mythos, and deservedly so.

BlueGin was not someone who started the Bay City Alliance or was the first to make a community group for Bay City.  She had very special - very rare - qualities which combined her passion for Bay City with a calm and patience which served to channel the Alliance's dynamic energies - Marianne, Alx, Alisha, myself, and so many more - during events or projects in such a way that the direction of the group or our projects never veered off course.  As passionate WE all are for Bay City, I don't think any of us could qualify to replace BG in such a role as objectively as she had.

I know she was under the weather last month, but was not aware of to what degree or in what way. For all I know the cause was flu complications or could even have been cancer.  Or maybe a non-medical occurrence like an accident.

We were friends on Facebook.  She made a smartly designed eating establishment for CafĂ© World, but last month phased out her games.  It seems that the loss will linger there, as she will appear on my list with an unfinished catering task several times a day and indefinitely.  It is not possible to be removed from someone's catering team. 

Through all this pondering, I have to say this: I haven't yet seen the validation.  Her Facebook is untouched.  BG the human might still be alive somewhere for all we know.  If someone has news, I hope they'll share it with me, as well as schedule any memorial services in SL at a time I can attend.

Monday, October 4, 2010

October on the Grid

It's a busy time in SL this month for me.


- TMA's annual sukkah building contest. Working on that one.
- TARDIS expo where we design boxes and consoles.  Still up in the air what to make for that as I get only one shot and have about fifteen ideas in my head.
- FFF has become 7Seas' autumn equivalent of a Fishiversary.  I plan to have a spot.
- Snurky has Burning Man.  I'm taking off this friday to create inworld after having prepared textures.
- Snurky needs to make herself an apron. All the good ones in the Marketplace have blood on them.
- Design a Port-a-Potty for Burning Man. Maybe one each from me and Snurky?
- Prepare Snurky's freebie pack for Burning Man.
- I really need to put up Halloween decorations in the diner.
- I really need to do something albeit minimal for the extra land east of the gallery.
- Doesn't Bay City have an Art Deco festival coming up?  I should complete my gallery for that; I've a nice mural thingie planned for the corner window.
- There's the usual challenge to decorate my snail for a theme at the races.
- Still planning out additional rooms for the TARDIS. I want to wait for the Series 5 DVD to come out in November and see if the added content will include other rooms.  They promise added mini-adventures taking place between episodes.
- I havent forgetten the comic...

I am also going to work on a portrait for an SL friend.  When I had my regeneration party I announced a contest and only one person got it :)

What am I missing?  I'm almost sure I'm missing something...