Monday, March 31, 2008

The Crystal Queendom

If you are looking for beautifully detailed ornate gowns, among the first places you should go is The Crystal Queendom. The dresses there are truly amazing, and though I can't do them justice, googling "The Crystal Queendom" will turn up a great many fine photos.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

So tell me again just what a useful purpose griefers serve?

From Wired, which ironically recently put up an article highly sympathetic to griefers:
Internet griefers descended on an epilepsy support message board last weekend and used JavaScript code and flashing computer animation to trigger migraine headaches and seizures in some users.
Details here.

In Praise of Pandora

I'm always amazed by Sometimes in a strange way, when it jumps the track and goes off on a tangent—though that's probably my fault, because I have one "station" with all my random eclectic suggestions in one place—but most often in a delightful way, when it finds something wonderful I'd never heard of before, like the songs of Scott Walker.

The tracks I've heard sound like a strange cross between David Sylvian and Jack Jones, and they appeal to the part of me that likes to wallow in melancholy.

Alas, for legal reasons, can't offer its services to those outside the US—at least not yet.

Come to think of it, that title is a bit misleading. I don't think I've ever mentioned my dear friend Pandora Barzane here, and it's overdue. She's a sweet and charming lady, and I'm very glad to have met her.

Friday, March 28, 2008


I was wandering through Italia 3 Torino, a lovely though unpopulated place, when I noticed someone's name hovering at about waist level. I did a double take. All that was there was a fairly generic barrel for trash. I zoomed in... and saw the eyes of the poor fellow in the barrel.

I suspect he was camping, and that creeps me out. Having campers sit idly on a bench? Ignoring the obnoxious nature of camping, I can sort of live with it. Having them animate street sweeping and the like? I suppose it's "local color" or adding verisimilitude. Live models in stores I can almost see as reasonable, though the pay is obscenely low. But sitting in a trash can? In the words of Jumba Jookiba in Lilo and Stitch, "That is low even for you!" How degrading!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

"...and when I do I'll give her my brand..."

Linden Lab has announced The Second Life Brand Center, with lots of rules about the use of LL trademarks and the tagline "Your world. Your imagination."

I'm slightly concerned. I made a point of asking whether the name of my blog was OK, and was assured it was. Is it still? I am not sure; they explicitly mention "foreign language equivalents" of Second Life as "not OK".

Also, it seems that they want to forbid any snowclone of the tagline. Can a cook-at-home pizza chain use "Your Oven. Your Pepperoni."? I don't know.

I guess we'll see what happens.

P.S. That title's from the Byrds' classic song "Chestnut Mare." I'm showing my age by quoting it, and fear that it may suggest Gor to those who haven't had the pleasure of hearing the song. So follow the link, please--you have some fine listening ahead of you.


Wow! Ninety-two visitors yesterday!

Google Analytics shows what happened. There was a massive spike in referrals from; rather than wandering around in the single digits and occasionally up to eleven or twelve, yesterday forty-one people came here via

I wonder what they were looking for? Searching is still mostly for "cheesy phrases" (who'd have thought that would be so common a search?).

In any case, it's a new peak. I'm happy to see it, and I hope all of you who came for pictures will stay for the text.

Monday, March 24, 2008

It's A Scaggs Life!: A Gentlemen's Duel

If you don't read Mordecai Scaggs's fine blog It's a Scaggs Life!, you should start, and the entry A Gentlemen's Duel is absolutely not to be missed. The machinima embedded therein is delightful and very steampunk... as is the blog as a whole.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Speaking of beautiful places...

I promised photos of WM Dragons Temple, and now I can honor my promise.

Perhaps I am doomed to post photos that don't give the full effect of things. In this case, you're missing the lightning, but even so, the dragon is magnificent.

The Birth of Whimsy

I've now been to Whimsy... and I am very impressed. Even in its early stages it is gorgeous. People wanting a striking and unique build in SL should contact Cheyenne and Sweetie.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Paging Nancy Archer...

The folks who run the SL Fashion Police blog put up photos they take or that are sent to them of avatars committing fashion faux pas. I would not at all be surprised to find myself featured there someday, but in any case, they turn up some, shall we say, amazing things, and I make a point of reading it.

I listen to the Going Broke with Daphne and Tamara podcast as well. They interview interesting people in the world of SL fashion, and even though I resist the temptation to shop at the places they describe, lest I in fact go broke, it's still a great podcast.

So imagine my surprise and delight when the two came together. The March 17th episode of the podcast featured TheDiva Rockin, who heads up the Fashion Police. It was enjoyable... and TheDiva mentioned that she'd post an entry with a "Mystery picture" that appears to show a woman somewhere around fifty feet tall at Diversity Hair. TheDiva tried to take a picture from the same POV of her standing where the purported Amazon stood, for scale.

So... some things about the image make it look fake; the woman's feet are not apparent, and it looks like her image has been stretched. Another theory, which I think likely, is that forced perspective was used.

[UPDATE: I have to laugh at myself for writing that; it's like the people who ask me "Are those real?" This is SL; nothing's real... but I think you know what I mean by "fake" here, i.e. that the image of the woman was inserted later, and not the result of the photograph of the shop.]

I am keeping an eye out for the woman in the picture. If she has a real giantess avatar, I'd love to talk with her. If not, I'd still love to talk with her. Either way we share an interest. If you read this, ma'am, I hope you'll do me the honor of emailing me.

(Do note that the coordinates TheDiva gives in the entry will take you to a private home that has restricted entry; perhaps DH moved recently?)

In the meantime, I thought I'd take a few forced perspective pictures in the store myself...

In Search of... Tattoo

(No, Leonard Nimoy is not narrating this, and I won't make any reference to Hervé Villechaize. OK, any more references.)

I am the last person who would have a tattoo or piercing--in RL. In SL, on the other hand, a tattoo isn't a lifetime commitment; it's just a piece of clothing that is transparent everywhere but where the tattoo is. And, in SL, I have dresses like this one.

And so I want a very particular kind of tattoo: a vine with flowers running the full length of the outer leg.

There are a lot of tattoo vendors in SL, but I'm still looking. Who knows? This might be the thing that finally drives me to doing something more than cropping with GIMP; there's a really nice vine "pen"...

Monday, March 17, 2008

SL versus games

SL isn't a game, part aleph-null:

SL permits what's called RMT (real money transfers, I think it stands for). SL isn't a game; buying L$ isn't looked at as being like putting cork in your bat, taking steroids, or riding a Harley in the Tour de France. Not everyone is the SL equivalent of Martha Stewart, any more than people in RL build their own cars or have their own chip fabs, clean rooms, surface mount, and wave solder technology in the garage so they can build their own computers in a nontrivial sense. Specialization benefits everyone; see Adam Smith for details.

In games, it's different; the technical term for doing such things is "cheating", and the people who run games have every right to ban it and eject those who cheat. Simple as that.

Am I missing something?

"Hello, I must be going..."

Looking at Google Analytics, I'm struck by the number of entries that show one visit, average duration 00:00:00. I kid about the long average times being people who get distracted by a long phone call and then look at the screen and go somewhere else... but surely the zero-time visits are automated. I wonder how many web crawlers there are out there and what they do.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Aloha, Pele

I couldn't make it to the "Aloha, Pele" party... but I had to come see Pele once more, so late last night I signed on and asked for home.

I set the sky to midnight. I don't remember the sky being so brilliantly starry... is it Windlight, or is it that the graphics card I'm stuck with for a while displays the sky less subtly, and thus in a way more strikingly? I have no idea, but the effect was dramatic. I looked around and flew to the temple. Would that I had a maile lei or `ohelo branches to give to Madame Pele, but all I could do is say "Aloha" and express my hope to see her manifest on Cheyenne's new island.

By then I was starting to lose my composure, and I had a lot to do today, so I called it an evening.

It's been glorious, and I am sure that with Cheyenne and Sweetie's talents, what is to come will be even more so.

Friday, March 14, 2008

What, me flirt?

I don't think of myself as a flirt at all, but according to a web questionnaire...

You Are Seductive Flirt

Smoldering hot, you don't really flirt. You seduce.

For you, flirting is just foreplay.

You don't flirt unless it's going somewhere.

You have one goal in mind when you flirt... And you usually get it!

Monday, March 10, 2008

It's back!

Whee! I can search my inventory again without crashing!

....just in time to go back to work. Darn.

UPDATE: Alas, that was short-lived. I hope things improve.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Good thing I like green...

...and good thing one doesn't sweat or get dirty in SL. (Sorry, Captain Beefheart; your classic "Dirty Blue Gene" doesn't apply. In SL, old women don't sweat, and young girls don't glisten... unless you buy "clothes" to make you glisten.)

Any attempt to search my inventory is a sure crash with the new Release Candidate, so I'll be in the green sweater dress for a while.

Sigh... I have new outfits to try on! (Good heavens... did I just type that?) Maybe I'm being shallow... OK, I am being shallow... but there's a rush to wearing new clothing, and SL makes that rush dangerously easy to indulge in.

P.S. Double sigh. I probably should have said "get one's clothing soiled." My fate is to ever be the comedic straight woman.

Friday, March 07, 2008

I'll get there...

Windlight is making its way towards being a part of the official SL client. I had to grab the new Release Candidate, which includes Windlight.

Now, if only I didn't have to look at my inventory... any search of the inventory either times out or takes the client down. Pretty frustrating.

Help! Which graphics card?

OK... I have hopes that I will be upgrading soon. It's obvious that I'll make the move to a nice dual core processor, sneaking up on twice the clock rate of the Socket A processor of my current computer, and a lovely SATA II hard drive (not quite hard core enough to consider RAID... yet) and plenty of DDR2 RAM.

The question I have, though, is what graphics card to get--where the sweet spot is for price/performance. I really wish that work were far enough along on Open Source 3D-capable ATI device drivers that I could make the switch, but for the time being at least it's got to be nVidia. The only 3D-intensive thing I do is run the SL client, though perhaps that will change if I have sufficient graphics capability to turn all the knobs up on Compiz Fusion. (I hasten to add that Compiz Fusion can do amazing things with far more modest requirements than the bloated obscenity that is Aero.)

So, what do you use, and how do you like it? Can you run the sliders for the Windlight client up against the wall and still get a good frame rate? I know that the upper bound for me on price will be something under $200, since the widely-acclaimed 9600GT cards are going for that and I'm sure it will run SL beautifully, but something less may do well enough for significant savings. Let me know what you've found.

P.S. I am a little undecided about CPU still--there's a 2.8 GHz Athlon 64 X2 with 512K L2 cache per core, and then there's a 2.6 GHz Athlon 64 X2 with 1M L2 cache per core. Is locality of reference enough that the added cache beats 200 MHz difference in clock rate?

P.P.S. Should I take the plunge and go for PCI Express 2.0? I'd have to to get the full advantage of the 9600GT.

I'm sorry, Ireland

I read somewhere that a woman, ashamed of how she'd treated Rory Dall O'Cathain, apologized, and in response he composed "Tabhair Dom Do Lámh".

In a little over a week it will be Saint Patrick's Day... and I want to apologize to every single Irishman and Irishwoman for my countrymen.

In the United States, Saint Patrick's Day seems to be mainly an excuse for idiots to drink themselves stupid on beer dyed green. The Chicago River is dyed green, too... which really means it's just a different shade of green than usual. (I like the usual green better.)

I will conduct my usual reserved protest; I won't go to any parades or drinking establishments, but I will spend the day listening to U2, the Chieftains, Clannad, Van Morrison, Dervish, Susan McKeown and all the other Irish music I can gather together, and see about finding some images from the Book of Kells to put on my computer as wallpaper. (Ah.. here we go!)

(And rest in peace, Derek Bell, wherever you are. Your music and your humor will not be forgotten.)

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Lip Gloss and Laptops

If you don't listen to the Lip Gloss and Laptops podcast, you should at least check out the current episode for a couple of reasons:
  • The "Reality Check" section, which discusses this post on Miss 604's Vancouver Blog. Miss 604, a Canadian blogger and podcaster, discusses a very critical comment she got on a photo that accompanied a blog entry, and talks about the double standard that others have mentioned in comments here, and in the sequence of posts about my experience in the "Gossip Girl" sims.
  • The closing song, Jonathan Coulton's "A Laptop Like You." Long ago, the classic magazine Creative Computing ran a cartoon in which, for the first few panels, a guy watches the scene from 2001 in which HAL 9000 is deactivated; as HAL haltingly sings "Daisy Bell" (honest, that's the title), he bursts into tears, two other guys walk by and one says "You can always tell the CS majors." Coulton's wonderfully clever love song to a Mac laptop reminded me of that; I was teary-eyed during the last verse.
Once you've heard one episode, I think you'll become a regular listener; Airdrie and Kerry Anne discuss cosmetics, beauty products in general, and other things as the urge strikes them. They're a delight to listen to.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Monday, March 03, 2008

Ready for Spring

Smashing Prims has wonderful new dresses for spring... and I am very ready for spring to get here! The design of the top may limit the extent to which I can edit the associated prim breasts, but having a spring dress designed to work with prim breasts will be a joy. Pictures to come.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Comic relief

I was reminded of this song while reading a blog entry by an SL pontificator. I have heard it a few times; it's by a comic/singer-songwriter who appears from time to time on the Bob and Tom Show, but whose name, alas, I don't remember.
It's all about me,
It's all about me,
I've got a lot of stories to tell,
And they're all about me.
I am the guy next to you on the plane
With a big mouth and a pea-sized brain,
Talking with glee,
All about me.

You're trying to read,
But you won't succeed,
By the end of this flight you'll be able to write
A whole book about me.
I just bought a brand-new Lamborghini
To compensate for my small self-esteemie!
Oh yeah, me, me me me me, it's all about moi.

My friends' telephones
Are broken, that's all,
Or improperly installed—that's why they don't
Return my calls.
I've got a girl now who's perfect for me,
Because she doesn't have caller ID!
We talk about me, all about me—and the first minute is free.

You want to change lanes,
I don't even see,
Got my phone on my ear adjusting my mirror
So I can see me.
It is so strange with an ego this vast
That my head will still fit up my... hat,
Why can't you see it's just astronomy?
The world revolves around me!

WM Dragons Temple... oh, my!

My current graphics capabilities don't permit me to do places in SL justice, so I must try to get things across purely with text.

I happened to get an announcement that brought me to the WM Dragons Temple sim. It is a beautiful and wondrous place, topped by the opulent and gorgeously detailed Dragon's Temple, all teal and gold brickwork with dragons on the walls reminiscent of pictures I've seen of Babylonian or Sumerian relief figures. At the top there is a variety of clothing for sale, including some amazing gowns, and some SF-oriented clothing... but by far the best are the "dragon's eggs", eggs on stands very reminiscent of Faberge eggs, but very different because no Faberge egg ever gave birth to cute little dragons that fly around!

Photos to come when I can do them up as the place deserves. Do not miss it.