30 May 2010

Deadly Danielle

A couple days ago there was a post on New World Notes called How Do You Want Second Life Fashion Blogs to Improve? With such complaints as "little explanation why the highlighted fashion is high quality or original," I thought maybe I should dip my toe in the waters, as I usually post about places, there being so many good fashion blogs out there already. Cutea Benelli of Grim Bros. released this gorgeous skin-shape combination, Deadly Danielle, which is one of the most lovingly made creations I've seen. Blemishes, scars, burns, bruises and scrapes are treated with the utmost care. Although you can't see Deadly Danielle's ears in this photo (I'm wearing colorful curlers by June Trenkins), skin tones are a perfect match, and the skin shows virtually no seams. With Emerald's enhanced breast physics turned on, Danielle's shape makes quite a statement as she saunters along, especially if she's running or engaged in any kind of strenuous activity.

What I'm wearing:
Grim Bros.: Deadly Danielle shape and skin
Grim Bros.: desertsand grampas tank shirt
Grim Bros.: jeans green and blood
June Trenkins: Curlers / Lockenwickler :D multicolored
Wednesday Grimm: Cigarette (not shown in either photo, but she looks great with it)

(And yes, I'm just poking fun at all of us...but Deadly Danielle gets lots of heads turning and is loads of laughs!) ;)

28 May 2010

The Abyss

The Abyss is a hauntingly beautiful sim: desolate, remote and atmospheric. It's in part a commercial establishment, the creative outlet for Khai Sinister's lovely skins, hair, clothing and accessories. But beyond the shop areas and the walkways lies an amazing city, and it's completely untouchable, at once representing something we can see but can never really experience. You can view it from the walkways and the windows, camming and zooming, but you can't walk or fly there: it's elusive and forbidden. (I found myself thinking of Invisible Cities by the brilliant Italian novelist Italo Calvino.) But I so want to visit it! ... to walk among those wild buildings, breathe the air out there ... so somehow for me it evokes a feeling of yearning, and I really can't think of a similar place in Second Life, literally a place I can see but cannot touch. (And what fun you can have with Windlight here!) Thanks, Khai, and thanks to Jamie Holmer at INDI Designs for listing this on her Beautiful Places in Second Life list.

Retropolis and the Last Voyage of "La Gata"

It's truly impossible to capture this place in a photograph, because everything is moving. When you arrive at the Last Voyage of "La Gata" you'll find yourself in a driving rainstorm, with howling winds whipping around you—and you're on the deck of "La Gata," a creaking hulk of a ship that seems on the verge of disintegration. As you're tossed this way and that—literally, and I hope you're not prone to seasickness—you can virtually hear the old girl starting to come apart, as wood and rope struggle against the forces of nature. It's really quite an amazing experience! The worst thing facing the little ship isn't actually the rain...it's "the beast," a leviathan that rises from the deep and whose tentacles encircle the hull, about to swallow the ship at any moment. (The presence of the beast you can turn on and off by clicking on the lantern.) But not all is dark and serious here...bring a friend and sit down at the arm wrestling table, or, if solo, swing on the mast, walk a tightrope, or hang in the cage. Now, say goodbye to Nell the Parrot, and walk to the bow of the ship. Open the door, and click to teleport to your next destination...

The doomed ship and the Retropolis Adventure Sim as a whole (of which the ship is a part) are the brilliant creations of Tricia Farella, who modestly says, "Welcome to my workspace and lab. Home to my various experiments. Please feel free to look around. hope you enjoy your visit..:)" With a lovely use of Curio Obscura's Anywhere Doors, you'll find yourself jumping from one part of Retropolis to another—but sometimes having to solve a puzzle along the way. Above is one of your next stops, a fantastic mushroom swamp or forest populated by dragonfly-like creatures and slowly moving plants. (This space one reaches after first exploring the caves below.)

At the top of a high tower you might encounter one of the three gryphons that stand guard...

...before finding your way down to a massive and mysterious chamber, through which, thanks to a brilliant use of a shadow megaprim, you can't see. To get to the other side of this space, which is your eventual goal, you'll have to walk across the floor. But the floor isn't your friend, as it's a maze—only some of those large stone can be traversed; the others give way and sink into the ground, taking you with them, and you have to begin anew. But eventually you will get there, to the other side, and, after answering a riddle, you'll open another door...

...leading to a small room containing a bed, bookshelves, a desk and other objects. Here is a substantial puzzle, and you'll need to take your time. Put on the HUD (there's a sign on the wall) and search the room for the clues you'll need to find to get through the next door. Cam around very carefully, checking surfaces and under things. Eventually you'll unlock it! I'll save the rest for your imagination—there's plenty more to see in Retropolis!

And my outfit, shown best right above (click to zoom in), is the absolutely mad "Vanitas" avatar from alpha.tribe, which has more parts and pieces than I'm wearing, and even comes with its own AO and sets of poses! Quite a fabulous creation.

By the way, you can even purchase the Retropolis "Rocking Junk Boat" on XStreet here. And thanks to my friend Crow DeVinna, who had Retropolis listed in her picks.

18 May 2010


A couple days ago my human had brunch with a friend, and after the second or third mimosa mentioned to him that I make money in Second Life. (Yes, there I am, above, at Babele Fashion's main store.) He's a business entrepreneur and a sharp guy, and just then he looked like he was going to choke on his omlette. "You make money in Second Life!?" he said, looking at me incredulously. I could see his brain was scrambling hard and fast trying to make sense of this improbability, because on the one hand his fuzzy memory equated Second Life with something from a BusinessWeek article from 2007 and Monopoly play money ... but on the other hand I had clearly and simply stated that I was really making money, real money, and he could tell I wasn't kidding around. I explained to him how people buy stuff in Second Life, how there's a real economy, how Linden Dollars are a convertible currency, how I just transferred some more money to PayPal and dumped it in my bank account, and so on. "It's kind of like the Wild West," I said. "If you ever want to check the place out, let me know." I could see the wheels in his head already turning.

And then just now I was reading Wagner James Au's New World Notes (with which I have a love-hate relationship but read every day), and many of his posts have to do with marketing: with the recruitment and retention of various constituencies, with demographic studies, with SWOT analyses, even if he doesn't use those terms. Often I disagree with his reasoning, but I do I agree with his goal: Second Life, let's face it, needs to grow. It's an absolutely incredible place—amazing!—but those of us who are residents are probably not its best evangelists. And, the big question: Why is that? Why aren't we, the users of Second Life, out there pounding the pavement? We have the potential to be SL's most important communicators, salespeople and representatives in real life. Perhaps my perception is skewed: maybe most Second Life residents are indeed chatting it up on the other side, but I'd be surprised. I suspect, rather, that for many of us this place is some sort of secret hideaway—notwithstanding Wagner's assertion that those people who "connect" their real life and Second Life identities are more likely to be retained in Second Life, an argument which I find dubious—I suspect that on some level we're reluctant to admit our devotion to the place. How can Linden Lab gain the enthusiasm of its patrons and market base sufficiently that we, the residents and users of Second Life, would earnestly help market the platform? That is, after all, what Apple managed to do with brilliance.

It's all part of the brand experience. Now, back to the shop.

17 May 2010

Abbey Island

I always enjoy stopping by Abbey Island & The New Abbey Island Dance & Sex Resort. (How can you resist, with a name like that?) Like the nearby sim of Innsmouth, you'll see the handiwork of owners Darmin Darkes and BaileyMarie Princess throughout, ranging from the incredible build of the Abbey—recently renovated—to the striking landscaping. As you arrive, you'll find yourself at the southern edge of the sim, bordering Deviant, which is also well worth a look. Before you head up the walk to the Abbey, make sure to turn up your draw distance, and also make sure your RenderVolumeLODFactor is turned up (which it should be anyway—read the worthy blog post from Bax Coen there), because there are lots of sculpties that can otherwise refuse to rez. You'll arrive at the charming mall area, and be sure to turn right and buy something from my Babele Fashion shop (haha!) and visit BaileyMarie's DP Fashions and Darmin's A2 Design shops, along with all the other merchants (yes, we help support the sim!). If you hunt around a little, you'll discover where you can get your official Abbey Island Waffle and Creepy Sock Mousie.

Walk up the steps to The Abbey, an amazing structure that hosts the club, where you can often find and hang out with an eclectic group of people and occasionally find some live music as well. There are games to play here (at least I think they're all playable!)—chess, puzzle games, cribbage, U-Know, Clued Up!, mahjong, as well as some art exhibitions. But cam below the floor and you will discover several levels of spaces available for more devious activity! Everywhere, though, you'll be captivated by the incredible detail—from the subterranean waterway to way up in the attic! Dotting the island around the Abbey are a beach (where part of a crashed plane has been transformed into a bar), cottages, waterfalls and some gorgeous foliage. To the east is the sim Paradiso, and then further east the glorious sim of Innsmouth.