Thursday, January 31, 2008

"Put on your red dress, mama..."

In this case, you can skip the boxing gloves, despite the lyrics. The fight here is figurative.

February 1st is "National Wear Red Day" in the US, when we are urged to wear red in support of women's heart health.

Heart disease is the number one killer of American women, and I hope that we'll all remember that we are at risk and do what we can to reduce that risk.

For more information, check out the "The Heart Truth" web site.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep...

I don't get much time in SL during the week these days, but during a bout of insomnia I went through a couple of the landmarks I've accumulated, and found a place I wish I'd visited more often.

Straylight, at least in the spot I visited, is a gorgeous forest. I took to yawning quickly, thank goodness, so I didn't spend much time there, but I plan to go back for a longer visit and more exploration soon. Just to show you what it's like, a photo:

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Purple: Insufficient data, Captain...

I didn't spend too long in purple, so i can't say whether people treated me differently. I suspect that breasts trump skin color.

Speaking of Linux...

...and free software (free as in speech; alas, English doesn't have two words like the Spanish libre and gratis, so one has to perpetually explain what one means), if you bristle at the "Designed for [insert version of Windows here]" stickers on your hardware, grab the Free Software Sticker Book (volumes one and two) and replace them.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Once my computing wants were modest...

...and then I found Second Life.

I had barely switched from an MX400 card to MX4000, and that because nobody sold the older card any more. All I cared about was that the cute 3D screensavers ran decently: the toasters flew and the cattle bounced, and the pretty colored clouds floated and rotated. I wasn't a gamer.

(Proof SL isn't a game: I like it, and I'm not a gamer, so SL can't be a game, right?)

I wished I had a faster CPU when I used Gentoo Linux and recompiled KDE... but I switched to Ubuntu Linux, and Gentoo doesn't force you to compile everything if you don't want to anyway.

Then i got hooked on Second Life, which sucks down all the CPU cycles, RAM, and graphics hardware available, and then grumbles at you for not having more.

I upgraded to a 5500, then to the 7300 I currently run; I added RAM. Still not enough.

My upgrade plans are still just plans... I'm still limping along with Socket A and AGP. Even when I go through with them I won't be on the bleeding edge: I can't justify a four-core CPU (yet...) or spending the better part of a thousand dollars on two power-hungry SLI graphics cards. But the time is approaching, and darn it, Linden Lab, it's all your fault!

(OK, not entirely... even though Compiz makes the obscene resource hog Aero look pathetic while using vastly less resources, it still works better with better graphics.)

UPDATE: I didn't realize just how insane graphics card prices have gotten. Ignoring the $2300 cards better suited to render farms than gamers, you can spend $3000 for two SLI cards to give that ultimate (for now...) gaming experience.

Heron Sanctuary

If you hear someone blow off SL as being just about [insert name of thing the speaker dislikes here], point him or her at this article... and do read it yourself as well.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Bikini from Smashing Prims

As promised...

The usual caveats apply, especially that it doesn't come from the store like this. One very nice thing about the bikinis is that they come with a skin. You get the top with breasts in, I believe, all the colors of skins sold at Smashing Prims. There are several colors, and eventually I will probably get the whole set.

It is but a short step from bikinis to lingerie... please, Raven?

Sunday, January 20, 2008

I don't normally do anything political here, but...

...I commend to your attention, a collection of videos assembled by Reason magazine, a libertarian magazine that I hope you will check out as well.

Especially worth your viewing are the videos of the Drew Carey Project.

New items at Smashing Prims followup: Sweaters

As promised, more on the new items from Smashing Prims, this time the new sweaters. Once again, I am not doing them justice; not only do still photos not show the animation, the, um, customizing I do hides the lovely decoration at waist level.

As with the other prim breast clothing from Smashing Prims, it's available in several colors; here I wear the "gold".

I hope you'll check them out.

Black Swan

A friend invited me to a sim he said was amazing. I teleported... and found myself hundreds of meters in the air, in what seemed to be a sim-sized skybox inspired by the intro to The Twilight Zone. I kept hearing Rod Serling in my head along with the eerie sounds that actually played, and kept trying to find the "path" the title bar alluded to.

All right, I thought, I'll look for the edges... and eventually found myself falling. The scene in which I found myself had strange, small stretches of what appeared to be volcanic rock newly emerged from the sea, a giant skeleton mostly buried in a lava pit. A path of sorts connected the regions...

...and enormous statues dominated the landscape.

Black Swan is a Rezzable product; Dusan Writer has a very good article about it.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Who's afraid of the big bad JIRA?

Nobody should be; reports of its difficulty are, to borrow from Mark Twain, greatly exaggerated. (Enough so that I sometimes wonder why that exaggeration occurs.)

Torley Linden shows just how easy it is in a new tutorial. I urge you to check it out; after you do, you'll wonder just what all the brouhaha was about.

Friday, January 18, 2008

On the cover of Roll--er, Life is a cute site that lets you put your photos on mock covers of a variety of magazines. To do it right, perhaps I should've done it in black and white, but I still like the result.

New items at Smashing Prims

I've not been keeping up, it seems. Smashing Prims now offers a sweater and bikini that I will be very interested in indeed. More news as I can get it...

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Is it not that easy being purple?

I read a blog entry over on Mean Girls Guide to SL in which Orchid commented on how differently people behaved when she wore a (really quite lovely!) purple skin. I have experience with being different in SL... but I have to wonder whether I too will get a different reaction when purple, so I think I'll try it for a while, just to see what happens.

UPDATE: What do you think?

Monday, January 14, 2008

Thank you again...

This has not been a joyful time in RL for me... and once again, thank you to all the dear friends in SL who have expressed their sympathy and support. So... Cheyenne, Foxbean, Pandora, Susyn, Aphrodite, and everyone whose names aren't coming to mind at the moment but who are no less appreciated, thank you.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

What's it worth?

According to this, here's the answer for my blog:

My blog is worth $10,726.26.
How much is your blog worth?

Alas, I expect it's like property taxes: if you ask the county whether they'll buy your place for the assessment price, for some reason they turn you down.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008


I did it. Here's an admittedly non-representative sample of the clothing on sale at the Dragonfly Designs store in one of the Gossip Girl sims:

Here, OTOH, is how I was dressed when I was asked to change my appearance in the interests of "PG":

The sim was empty this time around, so I could have gotten away with a shot of me standing next to the display, but I acted in accordance with the requests of those who run the sims. The photo was taken at Forsaken. (You can see that the snow has gone, as civilized snow does after falling and being pretty for a short time.)

I have no quarrel with Dragonfly Designs (save for their really bad font choice...); I am liable to buy clothing from them--though certainly not the outfit in the picture!

Monday, January 07, 2008

Modesty revisited

I guess it's still nagging at me. Perhaps I should go back incognito and take pictures of the low-cut tops and shorts that were for sale in the store where I was asked to change my appearance in the interest of being "PG" to show alongside a photo of me clothed as I was.

(I note in passing that one standard way to hide the "figure flaw" of a large bust, wearing a jacket and leaving it unbuttoned so the vertical lines distract the eye, can't be done in SL because of the way clothing is painted on the avatar.)

Again, the sim owners have the right to run things as they will... but they should expect to be called on hypocrisy. In RL, would they tell a potential customer to only come back after getting plastic surgery? How about an SL resident who is trying to match her RL appearance, but can't with stock avatar settings? (That's what induced Snakekiss Noir to create Prop 125 under the old Feature Proposal system, which is now VWR-1258. Please consider voting for it if you haven't already done so.)

A Trip to Gossip Girl's NYC

I don't know why, but I still read the Second Life Herald from time to time. When I saw an article about sims that try to replicate Upper East Side NYC connected to a TV series I'd never heard of, called Gossip Girl, I was idly curious, and went to take a look. (The article mentioned something about some kind of HUD for reading and spreading gossip about residents; that set my teeth on edge, but I saw no evidence of it in my short exploration.)

It seemed nice enough, though one spot that had a facade that proved just to be a door in front of a wall (sort of like the old parody ad about "Great Book Spines of the Western World") was a little disappointing. Eventually I came across a couple of people.

One asked me what I was thinking. I told her I'd read about the sims in the SL Herald and thought I'd come take a look. The other asked if I could wear something "a bit more PG".

"More PG than a sweater?" I asked, having on a turtleneck sweater and jeans. I went on my way, not wanting to interrupt the conversation.

Eventually I came upon a clothing store. The clothing was OK, but the signs used a truly wretched all-caps font suggestive of the Victorian era (how is it that a time with such lovely clothing and architecture could have been the utter cesspool of typography that it was.... the worst around until the "grunge" typography of the late 20th century. Even if one doesn't share my opinion of the type of that era, it was totally wrong for the clothing they were selling).

UPDATE: The font is called "Algerian".

Shortly someone approached and told me that this was a PG sim, and asked that I remove prim body parts. I thanked her for letting me know, and teleported home.

Consulting turned up that the series is based on a (cheesy sounding, but that's just me, perhaps) series of books for teens.

It's their sim, and they can set the rules. I don't object to that, but I wonder whether they could do such a thing in RL.

UPDATE: Actually, more vile than cheesy, judging by Naomi Wolf's article in the NY Times about the Gossip Girl books and similar series targeting teenage girls.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

You have to run as fast as you can to stay in one place

Darn that RL... always getting in the way.

Tonight, as you're probably sick of hearing, are the Iowa caucuses. That's where I'll be. I wish my precinct could meet in the Lost Gardens of Apollo.

Have fun for me, everyone.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

2008 Wishes Addendum: Bring Rasputina to Caledon

I have one wish of a not particularly technical nature...

Rasputina is a wonderful, hard-rocking group mainly consisting of cellists, with a Victorian style and marvelously skewed point of view. Their original work and their covers are both phenomenal. I personally think they would fit wonderfully in the surroundings of Caledon, and I dearly hope that someday they will perform there.

Please, Guvnah? [bats eyelashes]

UPDATE: I emailed one of the addresses suggested for booking inquiries. Since I myself could in no way afford to book them, it may all come to naught, but we'll see.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Smashing Prims in action...

Wildefire Waldecott has a review of Smashing Prims's prim breasts and dresses with prim breasts that includes a very nice and sensual video showing the animations in action. It's worth a look... especially because, unlike my photos, she shows them as they come from the store. Prim breasts aren't just for those with my inclinations--they provide features that stock avatar breasts don't, and don't suffer from the blockiness of the polygon-stingy SL avatar shape.

Shall I compare thee to a winter's day?

Interrogator In the first line of your sonnet which reads 'Shall I compare thee to a summer's day', would not 'a spring day' do as well or better?

Computer It wouldn't scan.

Interrogator How about 'a winter's day'? That would scan all right.

Yes, but nobody wants to be compared to a winter's day.

Interrogator Would you say Mr. Pickwick reminded you of Christmas?

Computer In a way.

Interrogator Yet Christmas is a winter's day, and I do not think Mr Pickwick would mind the comparison.

Computer I don't think you're serious. By a winter's day one means a typical winter's day, rather than a special one like Christmas.

We've had our special winter's day... so now I'm in cabin fever, "WHEN THE [EXPLETIVE] IS SPRING COMING?!" mode. I don't think I could live any further north than Iowa. Fortunately, there's SL, so at minimal cost I can at least feel a little like spring is here, if only in my head...

Thank goodness for Windlight, thank goodness for Apollo, and thank goodness for SL.

P.S. Sigh... antialiasing is my friend. Sorry about that.