My So Called Second Life

In Second Life everyone can see me beam!

Wonderful paintings on display at a virtual gallery

Four Yips paintings at the gallery

Four Yip's paintings at the gallery

Four Yips paintings at the gallery

Four Yip's paintings at the gallery

One of the websites that takes priority for having a button on my Firefox browser bar is New World Notes.  Here’s one of Wagner Au’s postings on artwork created by Four Yip.  Tonight, I went to visit the gallery where her work is on display.  It’s lovely, and I would recommend it.  The paintings are well done, and have character to the people/avatar’s that she has painted.

My favourites are the lady with the cigarette, and one that I think is of Torley Linden.  She’s even given him the pink/green eyeballs in Torley’s favourite colours.

If you want to take a look at the gallery, here’s the link.

You can also see her art work on her Flikr feed.


August 19, 2008 Posted by | Beautiful places to explore, Culture & Politics in SL | , , , | Leave a comment

The cave underneath Tesla – those crazy girls!

Giggle, I like the Tesla store, and Tesla Miles was the first person, if I remember rightly, that really got the sculpty hat and shoes thing going. Her business took off and she moved to her own sim, with her partner Lyanis Sin, and this seems to have given them a bit of freedom to play just for the fun of it.

There are more places to explore in their sim, that I’m not including in this post. There’s an underground railway station with wacky adverts and graffiti all over the place, courtesy of wotsisname – the guy who did the hobo sims. Then there’s the bizarre tunnel thingy that has you fly loop-dee-loop until you find things like a spot to sit and chat, with a horses head lying there for some reason! And a dance club at the top of a tower block, and and. Lots to explore.

The picture above is of the cave underneath the sim. The cave roof has been ruptured, maybe by the giant sculpty robots that stalk the streets outside, or maybe by the JETPLANE that is crashed in the lake, in said cave. Oh, and then there’s the pirate galleon, er….with a tree spirit hiding in one of it’s cabins. A tree spirit from the Japanese anime film Princess Mononoke (Mononoke Hime). The plane has a picnic rug and basket, for you to sit and chat, and the galleon has a burnt mattress with 62 sex poses. Crazy shit, and I like it!!

In the pictures above you see me standing on the shore, by some poison barrels, tainting the romanticism of the gorgeous prim light pouring in through the ceiling, onto the windlight rendered water. I love the cave texture also. The other picture has me and my friend Anna Zwiers, on board the galleon.

Here’s the SLURL to teleport to Tesla. You’ll have to find your own way down to the cave, and that’s part of the fun of SL – exploring:

April 6, 2008 Posted by | Beautiful places to explore, Curiousities and the Plain Bizarre | , , , , | Leave a comment

1001 Nights becomes the Kingdom of Sands

Me and my friend Anna Zwiers went to see the wonderful 1001 Nights sim a while back, and I’ve lost the photos of that now. Yesterday I went there with a new friend who I got chatting to in the Violet Welcome Area, and we found places that I haven’t yet seen there. This is really one of the most sumptuous builds that I have seen on SL. I need to take more photos, so I’ll be adding to the set on my Flikr account. The only thing is, that it’s a role play area, so at some point I guess they will be enforcing a distinction between those that are part of the ‘game’ and those that are just observers.

When it was 1001 Nights, you had to wear a labeller, declaring you as 1001 Nights – Observer. Otherwise, if you were female, you were likely to be trapped and sold in a slave market. I don’t care if the guy who wrote the Gorean novels was a professor of philosophy or whatever, as Hitler had a bunch of very intelligent academics try to make out that Jews were inferior, that the master race had a history which proved arians were the master race, etc. Nowadays just look at the food industry or blooming Colgate getting some academic to do a study that tells you that you should use Colgate mouthwash with Colgate toothpaste, because the competitors’ stuff is incompatible. Nuts to that – an intelligent sexist, chauvanistic pig is an intelligent ignorant person who chooses to paint his own reality onto the world and give it credence with his academic background.

I’m kind of curious to read about the psychology of the BDSM thing and master/slave relationships, but fundamentally it’s not my cup of tea.  All of that said, I have friends who do BDSM, and well, they’re free to do that. I just dissaprove of the opression of women, and the fact that the Gorean sims’ are based on roleplay doesn’t really change the fact that people are roleplaying the opression of women.

As I say, this is a beautiful build that has to be explored, as it’s really one of the best builds in Second Life. But as for the slave nonsense, I’ll just stay an observer and stay out of it. Smash the patriarchy, ra ra ra!

March 31, 2008 Posted by | Beautiful places to explore, Culture & Politics in SL | | 3 Comments

Cool new lighting effects at Neptune Lighting

Tories Canetti of Neptune Lighting

Check out the shadows & reflected light on the glasses & bottles

Glow around the downlighters, shadows and variable light

I’m not the first to find this place but here’s a couple of photos from a little bar that is showing off another approach to texturing with baked-in shadows and lighting in SL. The approach to baking-in shadows and lighting has generally been that you make a texture with a shadow based on the shape of a stool or such, or a beam of light that matches the size or pattern of a window; then you apply this texture to a prim that goes next to the object that casts the shadow or gives off that light. It just adds that bit more feeling of reality to the ambience of a place, as SL doesn’t cast shadows or beams of light in it’s own lighting system – yet.  Here, they build the lighting and shadows into the textures themselves.

I went to have a look yesterday, and the place is really nice. It’s basically intended to show off their approach, and to offer their services to other builders in SL. They basically export the build to an external programme, using it’s textures and then use procedural textures to recreate the textures with baked in lighting and shadows. I say basically, but it’s pretty darned advanced stuff!

I bumped into one of the creators, Tories Canetti – well I saw him on my radar about 90 metres away and shouted over to him – and he was nice enough to chat about it. Thanks to not copying and pasting the conversation straight away, and SL crashing, I didn’t keep the notes of this. He said that it wasn’t so hard, but was time consuming. They are working on a diner now to demonstrate this approach, and hopefully we’ll see some gleaming chrome there along the lines of one of my favourite album covers. If so, I’ll be there looking for the heart of Saturday night.

Here’s a couple of other blog references, and I heard about it on the New World Notes blog:

Jean-Ricard Broek

On New World Notes

And here’s the SLRUL, to teleport to the bar:

March 24, 2008 Posted by | Beautiful places to explore, texturing | | Leave a comment

Went for a stroll at Tableau and bumped into an SL hero (Cory Edo)

Talking to Corey Edo at her Trompe-l'œil shop in Tableau

Last night I was feeling a bit bored, so decided to mooch around the Tableau sim, and see if there was anything new in the shops there. I ended up wandering and spotted a lake, which looked wonderful in the moonlight of Windlight, and rezzed a freebie sail boat on it. I was thinking that I would take a photo of the my sail boat and the light reflecting on the water in the night, and then the sun came up. This was quickly followed by sailing into an area where I was not allowed, and the boat going in an endless loop, like you get with a bad region crossing. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! While this was going on I noticed the name of Cory Edo pop up on My Mysti Tool radar, and thought wow, I should go and say hi – when I can stop spinning! A good couple of minutes later, after trying to rezz prims and sitballs on the shore, and then trying to sit on them, I think I got out of it with a teleport.

Anyway, I flew over from where I teleported to -I’d already picked up a landmark to Cory’s Trompe L’Oeil store where she has her houses on display – and landed over by Cory. She said hi straight away, which was nice, as I feel a bit guilty in opening up a conversation with busy creators doing their thing. I’ve spoken to Julia Hathor of Creative Fantasy, and to Robin Sojourner/Robin Wood while she was rezzing a kingfisher by a stream at Livingtree. It’s nice in SL when you go to these places to admire the landscape, or check out the things for sale and the creator is happy to talk you. I had the same thing again last week when I bumped into Aley Arai at the Privateer Sim that she created.

I’ve noticed Cory’s name on various occasions in SL, and my blogroll lists her blog for the work she does with the Electric Sheep Company. An ambition I have in SL is to improve my texturing skills, and once one is looking up texturing in SL, Cory’s name starts to crop up. It’s one thing to build something, but when it comes down to it, the real depth to your creation is in the texture applied to it. Also, you can simply use fewer prims and make nicer windows and doors.

We had a little conversation, and I asked a few questions, but mostly I just wanted to compliment her on the work she does. Giggle, this might not have been the most diplomatic of questions but I asked Cory if she was still working for the Electric Sheep Company (there were some redundancies there recently) and she is. I said “phew” and she said “haha yeah big phew,” and that she’d just finished up on the I Am Legend sim to tie in with the film. I’m curious about how people get to do jobs like this, or just develop their skill to that level, even just as a hobby, so I asked Cory whether she went to art school or whether she’d just always liked to draw. Cory said that she’d “always drawn, done photoshop for about 8 years professionally in different jobs” and that SL was “by fair my favourite platform tho :-)”

I said that it was nice that people on SL weren’t too snobby, referring to my meeting Julia Hathor in Creative Fantasy (except I said Juliette Westerburg, clothing designer at Tres Blah, silly me) and Robin Wood. When I mentioned Robin Wood, she said “Oh man Robin is my hero. She’s done so much for SL texturing with her tutorials and information,” and I’ve got to agree with that, as I bookmarked Robin’s website a while back, and got her clothing templates from Livingtree.

If you find this blog because you’re looking for information on texturing, then Cory did a review of a book that I bought with some Christmas present money, and while we chatted I mentioned that I was going to read it. She said that the book is wonderful, and I figure if it helps her, then it will me, once I go back to basics and teach myself more image editing skills.

Here’s a link to an interview with Cory Edo, which funnily enough I was reading the morning before I met her

SLURL to Cory’s house store Trompe L’oeil

January 20, 2008 Posted by | Beautiful places to explore, People who shape SL, texturing | , , , , | Leave a comment

Wowed by the new Privateer Space sim

Me and Aley Arai

I was reading New World Notes the other day and found reference to the new space & sci-fi themed sim of Privateer Space. Having made a new year’s resolution to explore more places in SL, this seemed a good start, and I’m pretty bowled over by it. Not only that, I got to meet the playful designer of the whole thing, Aley Arai.

The whole sim seems to be developing at the moment, and I think that there may be teleports put in to take you between particular areas. Right now, I just explored and flew my spaceship through the phantom floor prim that looked like the stars in an endless sky: it’s just brim full of accidental finds and little quirks. This is so what I love about SL:when its at its best, it is a playground for the imagination. Aley Arai is clearly a pretty skilled texture artist and builder who’s been around a lot longer than her account was created. Whatever, she rocks and I don’t give a hoot as to just who is behind her. As busy as she is, she gave a few moments of her time to chat on Sunday morning, and she’s the petite, pigtailed girl in the space-suit chatting with me above. I bumped into her later on, in the depths of the sim, where there was a racetrack and some mining vehicles, as well as a moonlander. She promplty gave me a mining racer buggy and we both tore around the track for a good while. I’d just split my toe open coming out of my RL bathroom, and the laughs kind of took my mind off the pain, so double thanks there! I thanked her and said she was a fun person, and she said that she aimed to put the fun back into SL!

I’ve put a couple of photos in this blog, but I’ve got to say that this is an already huge and still developing sim, so there is loads more to find. Here’s a link to the set on my Flikr feed, with a bunch more. The sim has to be one of the biggest deployments of sculpties that I’ve seen. Robots, chairs, air tanks on the space suit, rocky cave ceilings and floors; tons of them. Where a lot of sci-fi sims would just rip textures from the likes of Quake or Half Life, I think that most of this is custom made. There are tunnels, levels, lifts, bizarre alien toilets and just little surprises around many a corner. The spaceships from Space 1999 tv series, robots begging for power in exchange for doing equations; supposed Linden Labs servers driven by hamsters on wheels! Look, go find. If you get frustrated and don’t find stuff, then maybe try again or ask someone else who’s there. Such depth and curiousity to the place.

I took my friends Anna Zwiers (Anna and me in the Hotel New California) and Siobhan Taylor (Sio’s photo) along for a good old browse, and it was cool to explore a bunch of the rooms, tunnels and just fly around in spaceships. Yay for a hug on the moon, and yay for a free space suit.

OK, did I get you convinced? Here’s the SLURL to the starting place:

January 14, 2008 Posted by | Beautiful places to explore, Curiousities and the Plain Bizarre | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Taking a new friend to Straylight


 Yay, I was on a treasure hunt the other weekend and logged back in to the store the following day. Glad I did, because I helped Sascha here find stuff and we made friends. This is us checking out the pretty Straylight sim. SL New Year’s Resolution: explore pretty places and try to find a new one each week.

January 12, 2008 Posted by | Beautiful places to explore, Friendship | , | Leave a comment

Boho Chick

Boho Chick

Accessories baby!

One of the stylistic pleasures in SL is getting to know your inventory and knowing various shops, so that one can mix and match clothes for an outfit. I got this skirt and top at Ivalde, which is a lovely clothes shop for girls generally but also specialises in vintage styles. I got this boho style skirt and in the absence of being able to find some nice flat Mary Jane shoes, zipped off to the best shoe shop in SL, Shiny Things. You want sandals, check the details baby, that’s Shiny Things for you.

Once at Shiny Things I also remembered that they do some nice jewelry, including some nice hippy/boho stuff, and so here we have the lovely bracelet set and the Jade necklace. This hair has to be one of my favourites – The Half Up, from ETD. And where do you go to get a picture by a lovely cottage? Creative Fantasies. The times I have been back there just to admire the trees and the detailing on Julia Hathor’s buildings. Me and my friend Anna actually met her there once and she was quite sweet and approachable. Again, one of the pleasures of SL is the friendliness and the way that the big business people of SL will actually give you the time of day.

May 11, 2007 Posted by | Beautiful places to explore, Clothes Shopping & Style | Leave a comment