We Will Never Forget our Lily Frogs
And We Still Love our Petable Turtles
Shouting into the Wind -- Almost the end of the Petable Turtles.
Illicit Grief and Real Loss -- Now the frogs are in trouble as well. This hurts!
All I Want -- What do I want out of Second Life? Losing breedables, fully or partially means I really have to think about meaning.
Our Frogs are Really Going to Die! The end was almost upon us.
Dragoness Rage was Here -- There is no one to rescue and resurrect our Lily Frogs.
Eileen H. Kramer and Iyoba BatOni -- January 1, 2014
More Than One Way to Skin an Avie VI
All the Colors of Neema Silk
Well, we are just about finished selecting a skin. My One Who Thinks She Knows' package of fame and fortune materials arrived this evening, and she is excited to get to work on her endless quest. Meanwhile, we tried to research about what other people said about buying a skin, but the consumeristic crowd has moved on to fitted mesh. We've crossed the Uncanny Valley, and no, we're not out of ideas. The well has not run dry. Yes, this water pump on Clemson Teacher Education is an apt illustration.
And so it was kind of OK for us to blunder along in our own silly way of endless skin and outfit tests. We did the last of those tests Monday night. And yes, this is the first time I've seen a dunce cap in Second Life. No it does not give away free ones to wear. It is there, for laughs I suppose, in the Metacognition Schoolhouse on Clemson Teacher Education.
And we did NOT do most of our color tests, our last tests on, Clemson Teacher Education, though this is me in the Sandbox on Clemson Teacher Education that turned out NOT to be public. I can't picture myself getting that pissed off (The Rock,Scisors, and Paper gestures are great for expressing anger!) in Kyxe Mocha or even Jewell Mocha. I am emotional and like to express my disappointment.
I also am blessed with more than my fair share of Zwicky kisses. That is Geronimo, my white, Luna, Starter male making a hat out of himself. He goes well with Neema Silk. And I look good in purple in Neema Silk, and blue, and just about anything else, but I'm getting ahead of myself. Stop by and see my Zwickies any time at Stinky Stinky.
And now on with the fashion show. I guess that is what this is. I haven't done a fashion shoot in years. My One helped me dig through my inventory which is starting to return to reasonable size again...very slowly. Our job was mostly to try browns, tans, and kahkis. OK, on with the show....
On the left, I am in my Fan Sponge Spectacular and matching Crazy Curls hair in violet. Neema Silk not only handles purple well, but also feels good even when I'm ready to give the world the bird. In the center, I am wearing my Autumn Sunflowers dress, one of my few shirt-waists, and one of my first "modern" flexi-prim dresses. On the right, I am wearing the Patty Pan Squash dress. It is a different shade of brown, and the intricate design was one my One learned to make by reading The Book of GIMP, one of two books she read to write audition reviews so she could seek out fame and fortune.
In Neema Silk the Putty Root dress' subtle rose/puce all but glowed. The Gourds Again dress was a bit of a stretch. It is a very old dress, but even this kahki did not turn Neema Silk into boiled lobster, and the off the shoulder, Safflower ensemble looked subtle and elegant with Neema Silk. Then again, nearly any skin if it were the right color could carry gourds and/or flowers. Putty root is a parasitic flower like Indian Pipes. I doubt that Kyxe Mocha or even Jewel Mocha could handle rutabegas, but there I am looking bright and lovely in Neema Silk and rutabegas.
I guess it is my One Who Thinks She Knows and also holds the purse strings' time to put her money whre my mouth is. We have the skin money hanging on my One's "real life" office wall and ready to go. We did give the Beggar King some cash for his birthday. The cash goes back in the account though with some extra from us. Then we click Buy Now. Come on One, it's time to cross the Rubicon. Remember what the rabbi in "real life" said about the "nine inch stream?" And, no the Zwickies have their plutonium. the koLis don't eat, and we don't have any cattle. Let's go!
Iyoba BatOni -- June 30, 2015
More Than One Way to Skin an Avie V
Skin for a Moody Avie
No, that is not a typo or a misprint. Yes, my One Who Thinks She Knows can be both out of sorts and wretched. In fact, she usually is, but me I'm also very emotional. Otherwise I could not have a good heart to understand my One, and that is part of an avatar's job. That said, my One never has to think about her skin expressing her emotions. She has just one skin. She was born with it a long time ago. She can't get a new one no matter what she does. Me, I'm another matter altogether, and the real me has to show through the skin. That means I need a skin for proud moments like showing off this new Cork Screw Shell Club Dress.
Ans of course I need a skin that can come to work with me. Here I am trying out the big, empty desk in the mostly empty hospital on UNC Charlotte Nursing. I wore this skin all over the sim. More about that later. The pictures my One put up on Facebook are a lot prettier than what you will see here, but even Second Life is not pretty all the time.
And then of course, I want to take my skin dancing. I really enjoyed testing out the dance balls at a cafe on Primary. My One had just helped me make the Cork Screw Dress in the sandbox across the street. Neema Silk looked great with it, but then again, Neema looks good with everything.
There were no patient case files, no note card givers. You could wash at the sink and sit down. The only interactive devices were the sharps and biowaste containers that warned you NOT to touch them. Wait a minute, if I were a medical professional, wouldn't I have to touch the containers to put stuff in them. I mean you don't want scuzzy medical waste on the floor!
But then again UNC Charlotte Nursing has a lot of little mysteries. These posters in the art gallery are all supposed to illustrate Mid Range Nursing Theory. There are essays that explain them which is good because you can't really tell the relationship if you don't know the theory and maybe if you do. The posters are interesting art, but they have hung on these walls for three years, meaning the class that produced them was a one-off. The professor may be long gone.
And whoever built the Nursing Resource Center on UNC Charlotte Nursing, has also vanished. The project sits unfinished with half the landmark givers empty, and all but one of the rest dispensing dead links. The first rule of bushwhacking is keep at it. Bushwhacking can be a long lonely slog. I know that Kyxe Mocha with its poised and pretty little smile is the wrong emotion for a late night bushwhacking run. Jewell Mocha is somewhat better as is Neema.
And my One Who Thinks She Knows finally gave up her fear of color prejudice. We hung out in the AkiSoro Cafe on Akiba and listend to the talk of business, which was quite pleasant. My One also adjusted the blue gamma on Maggie Mae's monitor. And last night we went to visit the Beggar King. He has a museum and a throne room, and a gold bed. He also has an army of alties, that are all sort of him. The one thing he doesn't have is a floor or a railing. I like to walk around....
...And sooner or later I fell off and found myself in a store that was a labyrinth of iron gates. The gates were for sale, so there was nothing sinister. Of course when I tried to fly up to my friend's glass-floored platform, I couldn't stop moving. I sailed over two or three sims. That's me. I'm sure Kyxe Mocha couldn't handle a malfunction like this. Maybe Jewell Mocha could, but Neema Silk, the skin I had on, came through with flying colors, if you'll pardon the cliché.
Of course the true test of any skin is how it works in moments of emotional adversity. Rubber banding happens. A drunk and stupid pose on a bar stool happens. The hang glider hangs upside down and underwater, and the mechanical bull is full of.... But bushwhacking presents special dangers, especially in hospitals. I can feel my One who has never been under the knife or stayed overnight in those dread places in "real life," freeze up with fear, whenver we explore one in Second Life. Checking hospital equipment to see if it really works is part of seeing how far along a hospital build has come. I tried out several tables and beds in the hospital on UNC Charlotte Nursing, and then I tried this table in Labor and Delivery. My One says this is called the lithotomy position. I call my gesture stick out the tongue. I'm not sure either Jewell Mocha or Kyxe Mocha could handle my disgust and embarassment half as well as Neema Silk. I think the delivery table at UNC Charlotte Nursing has delivered a winner.
Of course my One Who Thinks She Knows wants to run several technical tests on all the skins. Mostly these are hair and tan and brown clothes tests. After that we make sure the skin I want is in the package I buy. We replenish the account and purchase the skin, probably through Marketplace. I'm back to bushwhacking and blogging which feels good, and I have yet to ditch Never B Solo, though I know I should. I think Neema Silk is an ideal skin for cutting my ties with that group and its enterprise.
Iyoba BatOni with help from Eileen H. Kramer (The One Who Thinks She Knows) -- June 29, 2015
More than One Way to Skin an avie IV
Poets, Artists, and Fools
OK, I will admit it. Both my One Who Thinks She Knows and I fall into the last category mentioned in the title. We're fools. We're fools for seeking out places we are unwelcome. We are fools for making this skin business drag on forever. We are fools for being so demanding, but before we really made fools of ourselves, we went to work, and I wore my Jewell Mocha Natural Plucked Shaggy demo skin from Four Seasons Designs to work, and our first stop was Universidad de Sevilla to check out the unfinished library and the lovely museum.
The library now features two dead links, a wonderful piece of plywood there for no reason, and ban lines. The museum at Universidad de Sevilla though, is a gem. It has three floors and everything from photos of ancient sculptures, to traditional paintings, to contemporary works. Don't try this at home or work on a gamma challenged monitor. My One unsharp masked it so the variations would show up. Inworld it looks like a mistake until the very subtle texture resolves.
Then it was on to Universidade de Aveiro, and when we landed we did not recognize the place. Nothing was where it should have been according to the Explore Second Life Spread Sheet, and that was just fantastic! The new architecture was not the latest and the greatest, but it was low lag and built to last. These tubes with textured glass reminded my One Who Thinks She Knows of Slinky toys, but they are also a classic example of thinking outside the box.
And there were photographs and easy-to-load poster presentations, about Portuguese and Brazilian culture, places to see, and things to eat. This photo of the mighty Amazon took my breath away. We have Brazilian friends in Second Life, but we seldom think that they live in a country with the mightiest river on earth.
And this skin puts all the skins I am trying to shame. This photo is also a cut above most of the Second Life photography out there. Someone found the subject and posed him. Aside from that, his skin looks so real it makes me feel artificial even in the more natural and rich, chocolate Jewell Mocha.
And this poem outside the Moviemento on Universidade de Aveiro nearly brought my One Who Thinks She Knows to tears. She could only translate the title into English but she said that Palveras Interditas means "Forbidden Conversation." Clicking on the book brought up a Youtube of the poet, Eugenio de Andrade reading his own work. The emotion in his voice had my One nearly crying. She wished she knew what the words meant, but she said she didn't have to know. Here is a translation.
So you are wondering when are we going to discuss skin. Well, living in skin teaches you about it. That is the best thing I can say, and almost the only thing I need to say. It's both simple and complicated, but both my One and I liked Jewell Mocha better than Kyxe Mocha because it has less make up, and lovely, unusual, lavender undertones. It is dainty but not too delicate. It felt good in the workaday life.
And no, you won't see any pictures of me dancing in Jewell Mocha on this blog entry, but I did get to dance. My One, never content to give up a stupid idea, had a new way to find prejudiced a-- holes. "We'll look for some conformist types. I bet a lot of them are prejudiced." I wondered how we were going to find a den of conformity, but my One had it all figured out. The Destination Guide listed a club called the Radio Lounge. That's where we went. It was not a bad sort of place, though every female wore the same pale, Caucasian skin and long straight hair. My One also noticed that their taste in clothes was very conservative, white, black, grey, or oatmeal colored shirts or blouses, often cropped, and blue jeans, black pants, or bare legs on the bottom. The men were more creative. One wore armor. Another had moose horns on his head, and there was also a skeleton and a minotaur in a pink tutu with a roll of toilet paper in his hands. Half the club talked in voice right over the music, which turned out to be a radio. I kept wondering what everybody thought of me with my rich chocolate skin and olive green dress with purple eyed peas on it, and my dark magenta hair. At least I cared about color in a wear-it-everyday way.
Then my One Who Thinks She Knows started up a very old inner monologue. "These women look like the bridesmaids at my little brother's wedding. They all remind me of my little brother...so conservative and why IS THIS ALL THEY WANT! I mean in Second Life you can have an orange shirt, or a purple shirt, or green hair. Why not use it to do something a little exciting?" No, I did not tell my One to shut up. She got her commupence because she asked that I be a model citizen and tip the DJ. I soon found out all the tip jars were inactive. The club goers were dancing to a radio stream. No DJ, and of course so were we.
Of course I have since read my One Who Thinks She Knows the riot act. I explained that if we endlessly showed up at the Radio Lounge until people got tired of looking at us, someone might say something, but would we just be entrapping fools, and wouldn't that make us a pair of jerks. Somehow I think this has partially sunken in, and no this is not the Radio Club, and I am not wearing Jewell Mocha in this picture. I am wearing Kyxe Mocha. It's an older picture of me with a canon that won't fire me anywhere on KSA Friend Forever KSA. This sim has had a makeover, and boy does it look good.
As for my One, she still wants to hunt from prejudiced a--holes. "If we can just get the time zones right. We'll use Google Translate and then we'll know for sure." I'm not sure what we'll know. I think my One has her own issues to work out. I think she also likes all the fun I am having working and playing demo skins. She's also due to start seeking fame and fortune again. Ever hear of prolonging the agony.
Iyoba BatOni with help from Eileen H. Kramer -- June 28, 2015
More than One Way to Skin an avie III
The Hunt for Disharmony
"OK, explained my One. It's fairly simple to test the social effects of skin melanin. We just have to find some racist a--holes and let you walk around them." Now, you may ask how you find racist a--holes on demand. My One Who Thinks She Knows had it all figured out.
Both of us remembered a certain tea house in the sky above Gambier, the name of which was a racial epithet. And my One has heard of Japanese collecting lawn jockeys. Also, you almost never see a skin of color in a Japanese store. You get the idea. The only problem is that Japan is thirteen hours ahead of the US East Coast. That means we can only find Japanese, prejudiced, you know whats very late at night or early in the morning.
There were avatarot gathered on Akiba though not in our old haunt. I think the old Arare Sorority used to stand where the Akisoro Cafe is now. We teleported in, waited to rezz and didi-bopped into this piece of confection. The store upstairs sells anime-based avatarim and accessories. Downstairs avatarot in kawaii and lacey costumes chit-chat among the candy-themed decor. There was just one problem. When I said "hello" I was told: "I speak only Japanese,&quo; not even "Hi."
Of course, I am not a shrinking violet who takes "no" for an answer. Out came my translator which did not work. Most free translators in Second Life are dead. We walked around and considered our options, took some pictures, and left. Next time we'll be ready with Google Translate and fast, American fingers. To be fair, my One and I both think we received a huge dose of xenophobia rather than racism. We could have been dressed in perfect anime gear or kawaii clothes and the minute we put our English foot in our American mouth....
My One Who Thinks She Knows had another idea on Wednesday. We could try some Arab sims. Most foreigners have a bias toward fair skin. We'd head over to Italy Land where there is always parchisi played for low stakes and even camping. We got on our group tag, clicked the landmark and....
Apparently Italy was out of business and there was no way out of this shaft filled with poison water. I could see my health slipping away. In Second Life if you can't pay your rent...
We had other Arab sims to try. We tried Royal Q8. It's got amazing monumental architecture and there were several gentlemen, a level below me. I all but ran down the stairs, pausing only for a photo op for this blog. Downstairs four men played parchisi. They were busy with the game which was played more aggressively than the ones they remember on Italy Land. If the men talked it was through instant message. They were busy with eachother and the game. I was just passing through.
It was pretty clear by now, that finding prejudiced a--holes was going to be a bit harder than we thought. She suggested we go to work, until she could think of a way to get her hair-brained scheme back off the ground. We went to Cibola, a Spanish and Portuguese language instruction sim owned by the University of Arizona. It was next on the Explore Second Life Spread Sheet. The sim is starting to age. It's four years old, and some of it is under never-to-be-finshed construction. Have you read any blue prints lately.
Of course the reason any one should come to Cibola is La Palacio de Belles Artes which has secret rooms in the basement, a balcony, Art Deco architecture, photos of its "real life" counterpart, and the murals on the second floor. There is art, and then there is really art.
I even got to drive the bus on Cibola. This happened quite by accident. The bus passed by. I clicked on it, hoping I could catch a ride and actually end up on a seat instead of on the roof or with a rude message that I wasn't the owner. Instead, there I was behind the wheel. I rode the bus three quarters of the way around the sim. It doesn't go far. It doesn't go fast, but it was an unexpected treat.
And I have a special emotional attchment to Cibola. Here (see the picture) in the Cafe Tacuba, I took one of my selfies for a Never B Solo profile. I wore a red dress too. I thought about that as I posed for this picture.
I also thought about Nivea, Shoshannah, Hannah, and the rest of my almost-adoptive family. I thought about the Kyxe Mocha skin that I had worn all day. I knew now that I could make it a bit less sophisticated with bright colors. I could work in it. I am still not sure I always want that glamorous little smile, and none of our skins have graphic problems. My One wants more trials and a real trial with prejudiced a--holes. Knowing my One we will find them.
Iyoba BatOni -- June 26, 2015
More than One Way to Skin an avie II
Demos in the Wild
We had three finalist skins: Jewel Mocha natural, bald, and shaggy (from Four Seasons Designs); Kyxe Mocha without eybrows and bald; and Neema Silk (from Angel Rock). The skins each had up and down sides. They seemed to agree with most of my wardrobe, including hair, and sort of look like me. They all cost about the same, and the differences in price were too trivial to matter.
My One Who Thinks She Knows came up with a way to solve this very "First World problem." First, a skin is more than just pixels. Along with my clothes, shape, and hair, it's a statement about who I am. It reveals as much as it conceals. That is why this decision is taking this long. My One said: "We know how your skins work mechanically. They all work. We know that they all cost between $5.00 and $6.00. What we don't know is how it feels for you to wear them, both while working and out in public. Our next step needs to be live trials." This means people would laugh at me for wearing a demo. Actually no one cared that I wore a demo. The no one caring part still has my One worried, but I'll get to that.
We started out with Jewell Mocha. I wore it with the Wishful Pickle Gown, which is borderline yellow/chartreuse, and various shades of brown hair. We went exploring Cape Able and staged a few accidental house invasions. We just didn't know they were private homes. And then we went dancing at Club SQUTE where nobody bothered me. My One thinks everyone is busy looking at themselves and their friends or shouting into the air. One of our friends' was a DJ, and I felt like a princess in my wash dress and bare feet. I'm not sure you can feel my smile in the photo. It's there though.
Then we tried Kyxe Mocha. We started out in Sandbox ABC where my One Who Thinks She Knows helped me make a new dress. We had forgotten how much yellow there was in its spring green background. The Green Goddess Gown and mossy hair made me feel like a totally, sophisticated lady. This was fine for exploring Cape Able but not so great for dancing at Energy. Again, nobody bothered me, but I felt overdressed somehow. I am always a lady at some level, but I am short and dumpy. I avoid makeup. I wear lots of colors. I have a paunch. I'm not huge on top. I also can be too sophisticated. It makes it hard to laugh. I take myself way too seriously, and more importantly, my One is often wretched. She and I both need to laugh or at least have that good feeling that comes with pushing the envelope.
And Neema Silk pushes the envelope. It is the darkest of our three skin finalists and the only one with big soft cheeks, and bags under the eyes that my One has on her own face in "real life." Of course we got to make clothes and try the T-bar and human cannon on College Life. And no, you can't really see the Toad Lily Gown I'm wearing in the human cannon in the picture, but you can see my skin!
Monday night, I went to work at CVL wearing both Neema and the Toad Lily Gown. Nivea cautioned me via chat not to "go to dark" with skin tones. My One worried. She still worries, and I can't really follow what she is worried about except that she fears racism from real life might be lurking inworld. It turned out Nivea had a different fear. Features on darker skins are hard to make out. My One said that was a gamma problem (brightness in a range where human eyes can see contrast), and strangely enough Neema Silk is gamma corrected. Maggie Mae, one of our computers has a monitor that makes things dark. Even with a black background and a dark monitor, you can still see all my features with Neema. That picture is of me dancing at the Caribbean Dance Club on aHead. Again, Neema stays well defined against a black background.
And Neema makes me feel "open for business" which is a really good thing. I used to be a "secretary" for my landlord a few years ago, and I like looking business like. I wear enough crazy clothes and I'm short enough, this sort of look comes in handy.
And do I like Neema Silk best? Sometimes I do. My One says that Kyxe Mocha (Nivea's favorite) may have looked too sophisticated due to a restrained hair style and being among avies in silly costumes at Energy. As for Jewel Mocha, it's one of a kind with its lavender tones. Seeing how all three skins look with this outfit probably will give a clue of how well they cover my range of moods and really match my personality. Yes, that's an experimental, reversed panel pent skirt and a very assertive May Fly print we built in the RCSE Staff Sandbox on RCSE this afternoon.
More troublingly, my One wants to take me into parts of Second Life where people may not understand about "real life" Milano Cookies or only consider pale skin beautiful or civilized or not want dark skinned neighbors. This does not mean Texas Antiquities. That is where our own memories scaird us. My One wants to court disaster with other avie-One pairs. She knows just how and where to do it, but there are time zone issues. I don't know if we can pull it off, but my One is really going to have me try...or so she thinks. We still have three skins in a dead heat. How much heat can we take?
Iyoba BatOni with help from Eileen H. Kramer -- June 24, 2015
More than One Way to Skin an Avie I
The Language of Skin
Like it or not and as a last act of good faith, Iyoba and I had to buy a store bought skin. At first this was just a pile of confusion because demos were hit or miss. Then we figured out what we needed and got organized. Iyoba has the vital questions on her side of the blog. They make buying a skin look like buying a sweater or dress. They break Iyoba up into clothing, body parts, face parts.... They make my skin crawl, while at the same time I admire my questions efficiency. You can see the chart and questions here.
The chart contains pitures, and as you notice, most of them are fairly dark, African American skins. Iyoba has been African American for about five years, maybe longer. I've gotten used to it. It feels right. I would not have to defend Iyoba being "tall, blonde, and slender." I remember a friend's mother-in-law/mother telling me that that is what she would do if she had an avie. I replied that the practice was quite common. Her implication was that she would be "cheating." Iyoba is African American for a lot of reasons. I had an African American roommate in college and an African American supervisor on my previous job. When I ride the MARTA buses, especially at night, the faces that surround me are brown. The students I help at work are often from assorted, African countries. I can recognize names in various African languages, especially Ahmaric. When I was an active Democratic Committee woman in Muscogee County, our meetings could have been the United Nations. The joke was that when it came to politics I was a Milano Cookie, vanilla on the outside and chocolate on the inside.
All that said, I don't think I would want to be African American in "real life." African American hair is often dry and brittle. There's what we used to call "fly dressing" when I was in college, and I try to think about clothes as little as possible day-to-day. And besides, I have my own, somewhat crazy, Ashkenazi, Jewish culture that I don't want to abandon. That said, familiarity breeds a kind of admiration and makes some choices possible and good, so Iyoba is African American. I am not sure if she is Jewish. She shares my memories. In Second Life what would never work in "real life" comes easily.
Still, all three of our skin finalists from the Skin I'm In chart, are all significantly darker. Shoshanna asked me why I liked dark pigment. I said it went well with the clothes. Actually, it really isn't something I think about beyond this. Lips, eyes, breasts, and pubes take center stage along with clothing. Still, I think of Shoshanna's questions. I am not so naive to know that Second Life won't perceive me differently when Iyoba goes out in public a shade or two darker, even if I see her own face, the one that feels like my face in dreams shining through a shade deeper but very much there.
Anyway before we go further, let's see those skin finallists.
This is Jewell Mocha, plucked, natural, and shaggy. It has the best pubes and fine, natural lips. It has pigmenting in between the other skins. It has grey/silver/lavender highlights.
This is Jewel Mocha, plucked, natural, and shaggy on the other computer which tends to show images as darker. I thought it made Iyoba look a bit serious.
This is Kyxe Mocha and it is on Computer N. It is the lightest skin tones. It has mascara but without eyebrows, I like the balance and contrast. I don't have a picture of Kyxe on the computer I call Maggie Mae.
And this is Angel Rock Silk Neema Open Cleaveage MO. I tried a lot of different hair and clothes with the skin. Neema handles everything really well. It is stunning with jewel tones. While it is the darkest of the skins and has the fullest lips, the eyes, have no makeup, epicanthean folds, bags, and the cheeks puff. I call all this realism at its best. Iyoba is forty-three. She's a good deal younger than I am in real life, but she is not a teenager. There is something very fascinating about a Neema face.
And yes, I see Iyoba's face, a face I can almost recognize as my own in all these darker shades. The next step though is social. I can se how a skin looks from the outside, and so too can Iyoba. But how does it feel to be in this skin during normal Second Life. How does it feel to explore in this skin, to dance in it, to wpend time among others in it, to live in it. A skin is more than a $5.00 bunch of pixels. It is an idenitity or the symbol of that identity. Belaboring a skin choice, is thus way more than a First World Problem.
As of this morning, Iyoba and I have alredy begun stage two of the skin tests. We have been to clubs until Maggie Mae crashed. We have walked around. I even made Iyoba a new dress that she wore over he Kyxe Mocha skin. I guess this means another blog entry. I'm sure others have been here before. I'm not sure how they felt at this stage of the game.
Eileen H. Kramer -- June 21, 2015
My rezz date is May 14, 2008. That makes me incredibly old for an avie, and I am also old in terms of my apparent age, forty-three. Most avies are in their teens and twenties, and only rezzed less than two years ago. With all this, I've never had a store bought skin. My One Who Thinks She Knows made me a skin. It was far from perfect, but the color was my color. It had no makeup. It looked good with my clothes. It did what we wanted it to do. In terms of it being a good build, it lasted well over six months. We weren't really tired of it, and that meant it passed with flying colors.
That said, Nivea wanted me to have a store bought skin. My One, in an effort to make what became a failed adoption work, said she would shop, and she acted in good faith. We acquired a batch of demos. There was more ethnic skin (Being an African American avie I am "ethnic.") around than we thought. Most of it was also just plain wrong. While my nose stayed broad and flat, the skins had too much makeup. Often the lips were too full as well. I have a broad, thin mouth, a sweet but mature face, and that is me. That is the important part of me. A skin that did not let me be me, was a bad fit.
Meanwhile, Shoshanna locked in the process by giving my One and me 1000L ($4.00). My One insists that the conversion rates show tha tmoney is not the issue. Being me is and also being able to discuss why a skin works nad doesn't work is. We went back to Marketplace to get more demos. We had about fifteen. We had a bloated inventory, but at least we knew what we needed to do. We needed a way to list what was important and see what skins filled my needs.
At this pint, Shoshanna wanted to "help." Seeing Shoshanna's taste and mindset, my One said she was fine and worknig on it and did not want to get me Slink hands or feet. I finally did get to look at the Slink web site and read between the lines. Since I like my default hands and feet (They work well if you make them good and big. Large hands and feet symbolize strength without aggression.) Slink was not necesary and would have added another layer of complexity to something that an avie and One should be able to manage without constant trips to the stores and reliance on vendors. Are we getting philosphical.
Anyway, the adoption failed, but the demos remained. Here is where everything got difficult. Skin sellers to NOT market their products deceptively. There is just more to a skin than you would think. A skin changes depending on how the avie wears it. Skin ads on Marketplace and in stores typically show avatarot (They are nearly always female) nearly nude and heavily made up. The skin would look completely different if they showed that same avie in a Peter Pan collar wash dress and with conservative hair. The skin, by the way, might still look terrific. The ads that show come-hither avatarot make it hard to decide how a skin will look on me.
Also to try skins, you have to see yourself naked from head to toe. You have to find things out like: "Do the breasts make you look like you are 'smuggling watermellons across the border,' Do my lips look like I'm recovering from bee stings, can I sit down without worrying about irritating my private parts, though one can always wear a good pair of panties to protect them. Different skins make buttocks, arms, and legs appear different. All skins come with salt sellers. My One Who Thinks She Knows thinks salt sellars (collar bones) are ugly. Hers are prominent in "real life" and she wanted mine not to show. I don't get that choice.
Then you have to try the skin with clothes. Does the skin clash with most of a wardrobe that you and your One Who Thinks She Knows have created? Can you wear the skin with most of your hair? This left us with a lot of questions, but my super-organized One could list the questions and make a chart. We asked.
You can see our chart on Gogle Drive. We are currently down to three finalists. All are a bit darker (a lot darker perhaps depending on your monitor) than my current skin. This happened because melanin hides makeup and some of the darker skins had great eyebrows, lips, and character lines. Darker colors also have fewer red tones so look better with warmer greens and golds. This is all mechanical and reductivist reasoning that my One does not expect the world to believe. As a Caucasian One with an African American Avie, my One has to handle the skin tone question a lot differently than I do. I leave that to her.
Iyoba Bat Oni -- June 21, 2015
Only the Shadchan was Happy
What became of this blog? It went silent. It went silent because our experiment with Never B Solo is more or less over. First, if you are looking for heroes or villains in this story, there aren't any. There arent' even any jerks. What happened was that my One Who Thinks She Knows got sucked into the adoption process dragging me along behind her. Over the last eighteen months we put up panel after panel and revised our profile many, many times. This spring my One had an idea of including words on our profile picture, not my name of course. Never B Solo strictly forbids this because it would mean an informal arrangement and if you arrange an adoption on your own, well, the why should you pay panel rent at an adoption agency.
Suffice it to say that my One Who Thinks She Know's experiment worked, and it worked beyond either of our wildest dreams. We had a trial with an adult child, Nivea. Not only did we have a trial with Nivea, a trial that lasted a whole week, but we had a successful adoption that included not only Nivea, but her two teenage daughters, a son-in-law, a husband, a grand child, a baby and a prim baby. That was about seven people in all, a tremendous family of choice.
A week is not very long, and soon we were learning about each other. The last thing that this family in their big prefab house wanted was to go bushwhacking, exploring educational sites. The first thing they wanted for me was to have a store bought skin. My One said: "not all at once, and she started shopping." We had a lot to learn about skins. I still don't have one, but my inventory was full of demos.
Then one of the daughters, Shoshanna, gave me money for a skin and wanted to help me buy it. She also wanted me to have slink hands and feet. My One thinks now that these are mesh and just way too complicated. At the time, she thought I would have to cut off my system feet, something we both think is DISGUSTING! I have big hands and feet. I like having them. I like walking around barefoot in Second Life because just like you can jump over fences inworld, you also don't have to worry about broken glass.
Also Shoshanna's taste and my taste (and my One's) are different. My One said this reminded her of her father wanting his girlfriend to pick out her wardrobe. She said "NO!" This is a boundary issue. Boundaries are big for my One. They ought to be big in any family with adult children or parents.
Then came the animals. Nivea, and probably most of her family, and my One Who Thinks She Knows (and of course I) am familiar with the Bible including these verses from Leviticus. Of course my One always believed that the verses were a prohibition against bush meat, something primitive people would probably otherwise prize, and certainly creatures that are inedible are still pretty, interesting, and good. No one in his right mind would consider small, inedible animals an "abomination" just because they are inedible.
There is, however, another way of looking at these verses, and you don't have to be Orthodox Jewish or totally a Bible-thumping Christian to construe that the small, wild creatures are disgusting if they are not dogs, horses, or humans. This attitude is so antithetical to what my One and I believe in our hearts, souls, and bone I can't even describe how opposite we are. On our land inworld we have a mason bee hotel, two bee hives, five koLis (like beetles), and eight zwickies. When Nivea asked if Bishara, one of our very social and sweet zwickies was harmless, we should have both seen the red flag fly high. Zwickies are beautiful! My first reaction when I saw one was "Wow!"
Anyway, my One can tell the rest of the story, but yesterday Nivea et famille asked to go their separate ways. There are no dissolution papers when an adoption fails. Nivea insisted her family was not "bad." They aren't. My One says we were not together long enough for her to be jerked around. That is NOT forgiveness. It is fact. She gets to keep the money. We don't let the Beggar King have it. I am going to get a skin. We are going to quit the Never B Solo group and delete the landmark from inventory, but there is no rush to do that. This last is an empty symbolic gesture, because we can always find our way back.
My inventory is bloated. This blog went silent due to privacy concerns that are still somewhat in effect. It is my One who has the most regrets. I don't understand all of it, but as a creature with a much longer history, only some of which I share as memories, she hurts. She is angry. And no Nivea et famille, it was not your fault. There is still plenty of blame to go around though. That, however, is my One Who Thinks She Knows department.
Iyoba BatOni June 17, 2015
This blog went silent for two weeks because we went as far as we could go with Never B Solo. We had a trial with Nivea and her family of choice. The trial became an adoption. The adoption lasted a week and dissolved. Nivea et famille consists of Nivea, her husband, two groan (sic) daughters, two young daughters, one of them prim (made from prims. Welcome to the uncanny valley), a son-in-law.
They had a huge prefab house. They wanted to buy Iyoba a new skin. I agreed to this and started shopping. This meant a lot of investment, that still does not feel quite right. Buying a skin deserves a whole blog post of its own.
And yes, there were boundary issues. Shoshanna, one of Nivea's daughters, gave me 1000L (about $4.00) for a skin for Iyoba. Since there is no way to sequester the money in SL (It all sits in one pot), I found myself unable to give any money to Dirty Harry, the Beggar King. No, he does not know how much Iyoba and I have. He always assumes we are loaded. In reality, with the exception of my premium membership stipend, money comes inworld to get spent to pay rent and feed the zwickies. It's that basic.
I knew skins started with demos. I did not even know what to look for in a skin. I've got some ideas now, but breaking Iyoba's look into twenty different features is a weird experience. Also Shoshanna as generous as she is, is not a good person to judge Iyoba's look since her tastes are exactly opposite of Iyoba's and mine.
And yes, I'd rather be exploring educational sites or making dresses. A part of me just needs to drown my sorrows in graphics, often flowers, fruits, vegetables, and yes animals.
The whole animal business did take Iyoba and me by surprise. It started on Facebook when I created my own "menagerie" animal pictures to flip like baseball cards. I included a duck billed platypus because that is the coolest of the mammals. I mean what could be cooler than a mammal that lays eggs. I remember wanting to see one and my mother saying that the Bronx Zoo had one but it was usually sick. Actually by the time I asked, they no longer had one but that is another story.
Anyway, Nivea's daughter, Nechama got scaird at my picture of a platypus. This was a what-the-#%&@! moment. That was how I learned that Nivea et famille don't like insects, amphibians, reptiles, small rodents, and cats. I have two cats and a red eared slider in real life. Iyoba has two cockroach themed dresses and more beetle themed dresses and three snake themed dresses inworld. I remember my mother admiring and feeling sorry for the frogs used for fishing bait when I was a child vacationing Maine. You never know where you will tear it.
And no, I won't cut off Iyoba's hands for feet for slink. She has big hands and feet to make her strong and tough because she is small. She needs a wide thin mouth, not much makeup. She has a sweet face. She doesn't dress threateningly. She doesn't have to. Others are free to do what they like, but I expect them to let me do the same. Animals though are another matter. How can you go to a zoo, own pets, design clothing, decorate a space if you don't share the same view about animals? How can you have the same political or religious ideals, if you don't treasure all of God's creatures? How can you want to take care of an environment if it is full of disgusting creeping things?
If Nivea or Shoshanna were telling their version of the story, I would probably be blamed for upsetting Shoshanna over boundary issues about skins and perhaps scaring Nechama and Nivea. All I know is that Facebook where we mostly communicated went quiet on Monday. Whatever happened, happened behind closed doors. By Tuesday afternoon it was over.
I proceeded to wonder about my judgement. Nivea et famille was the first private group that is not professionally related that I have attempted to join since 2003. The last group like that was Brainstorms (Sorry assholes, you don't get a link!). Brainstorms took five months to kick me out with a whole parody of due process. Nivea et famille took a week. That is not long enough to truely jerk Iyoba or me around. No, they are not bad people. Yes, we were a bad fit. True, you don't pick your parents or your children. And if you don't want to take in a stranger and make them part of your family, you don't advertise a profile at an adoption agency that accepts all comers, just as Brainstorms should not have accepted any one off the streets who could write a coherent email. If you want a private club, have one, but don't waste my time and yours pretending it is something else and then switch back. That said, Nivea et famillle made quick work of it and let me down easy.
And no, Never B Solo, is nothing like real life adoption. It is more like a dating service or a shidduch (dating wtih an eye towards marriage), managed by a match maker or shadchan. The adoption process is flawed, at least for the children and parents. Perhaps a counselor who interviews and matches family of choice seekers with others that they seek would be a good way to go, though labor intensive. Failing that, a club that charges for membership (Someone has to pay the rent) and lets potential kids (including adult kids) and parents or other relatives get to know each other on the dance floor or the T-Bar or by the hang gliders and pedal boats might work. Trials can drag on forever. Friendships can form. All arrangements are informal. Does that sound like real life? It sounds better.
But that's not Iyoba's or my life. I've lost two weeks I will never get back and will lose more to sorting out a skin for Iyoba. My inventory is bloated though not as bloated as it was before I worked to help Iyoba pare it down. I have more demos than I know what to do with. Buying a skin is soaking most of my inworld time which is scarce because I am working on a book review. Nivea et famille also probably wasted two weeks, found me difficult, got grossed out, found Iyoba and me strange, but that is no consolation. There will be others using Never B Solo long after Iyoba and I are long gone. Each parent pays 100L for a panel for three weeks. The wall holds thirty panels, and is usually more than half full. At 20 panels in a month that is 4.5 weeks, that is 150L per month * 20 which is 3000L (Or about $12.00), enough to rent a 4096 square meter plot. Add in the rent from stores, and Never B Solo walks away with a profit. That's a better business model than most. Unfortunately, Nivea, her family, Iyoba and I all got the business and now have to tie up the loose ends and get on with our lives.
Eileen H. Kramer -- June 17, 2015
A Fantasy in Prims and Textures
"Are you a griefer?" asked a friend whose name I have been told to hide to protect the guilty. Actually, I was not wholly innocent Sunday night because I asked. "How's CATE?" and for me that is a loaded question. True, my tone of voice did not carry over text chat, but CATE has been the target of more than its fair share of snark on this blog, especially since it inherited "The Monstrosity" from the now, defunct sim CAVE. Snark and bad press, however, are for more sophisticated than griefing, and it does appear that CATE has had its share of troubles. It no longer is a public sandbox, and here I am squished into the wall at the edge of the sim, due to banlines that block semi-useful PowerPoints from the public.
And the reason you want to read PowerPoints on CATE is that it is an educational sim, funded by a grant of in-service training for Oregon teachers. PowerPoints are good for training any time 24/7. So too are books, but these books are just for decoration. CATE may have an educational grant to pay the tier, but its real reason for being is a fantasy of power and perfection.
Perfection on CATE means new items, the latest in Mesh prefabs, and sculptures, including this replica of a tank in a skybox that is a classroom/gathering place five to eight hundred meters above ground level. Power on CATE is banlines, locked PowerPoints, and last but not least lots of stone walls. In fact, Cate's stone walls reach all the way to the edge of the sim, and keep avatarim from falling into the nonexistent sea.
And CATE has two castles. One (not shown) is Japanese and lovely. It even has two beds in the basement. The castle at ground level though, is a true thing of beauty. It is a modern, Art Deco structure, complete with storm windows and a skylight. The Alice Project is supposed to be there. It definitely is an improvement on The Monstrosity, but then again anything would be. The castle though is just wonderful except for one thing....
The castle is barren and unfinished. Funiture at least can offer a place to sit. PowerPoints can have content. Note card givers, give notes. The Alice Project castle, while truely beautiful, is also extremely useless. And the money for it (It's just too nice to be a freebie) might have come from the grant that funds CATE.
And this classroom also on CATE exemplifies beauty for its own sake, nostalgia, and really not much else. I'm not sure what this classroom is supposed to mean. I've seen the Chinese bookshelf on other sims. I've seen most of the other books. The skeleton was also purchased somewhere as are the periodic table and DNA decals.
The truth be told though, this classroom is both USELESS and OUTDATED! It teaches science without an aquarium full of live creatures (There is one bonsai plant. See above), a sink, or a bunsen burner. And where are the fume hoods? Those desks are not lab benches! The books, hundreds of them, are just a texture that is decorative, and the desks.... They are stuck in rows and look too heavy to move for group activities. There are no standing desks either, and no computers! Perhaps this room feeds nostalgia for high school or college classrooms way back when, a time when teachers' own learning got serious and before they got burnt out in grad school. Of course the classroom is just an empty lecture space. At the risk of being worse than a griefer, my friend has forgotten that sims hold a limited number of avatarim. Two or three lectures going at once, is going to max out the sim. Twenty-five avatarim in this high detail classroom is going to make for fierce lag.
What my friend who called me a griefer by accident (self fullfiling prophesy) forgets is that a build needs to serve its intended purpose, and last six months. If you're still happy with it after six months and it actually does something besides look good, pat yourself on the back. Otherwise, put the thing back in inventory.
Now I do have something against houses. Plants, can just sit there. I love to sit in a garden or walk through it, but houses are just empty space with a stool or bench in them for sitting. A shack provides the same four walls and a roof. A fancy prefab is just a waste of prims. Other avatarim feel differently. This shop near Loving Heart (Now defunct) Adoption Agency is a house or supposed to look like one. It says "I am cute and inviting and modern." It is also a prefab that one sees everywhere.It was also supposed to generate enough sales to pay enough rent to help those owning Loving Heart to make enough money to keep the big piece of land that supported the agency's build.
And here is the rest of the mall, formerly at Loving Heart. Yes, my One Who Thinks She Knows loves schadenfreude and had me take this picture in that spirit, but she also said it was a "no brainer" This mall looked like so many others. It was cute adn comforting and.... if you already guessed it you are right. It went belly up in no time. Fantasies without solid purpose behind them fail.
Most malls in Second Life just don't survive, even if they are the latest and greatest in mesh prefab, but this picture (the lavender prefabs) is not just another failed or soon-to-vanish mall. This is Gallery Row on Iowa, a sim run by the University of Northern Iowa. Except for a "freebie store" a few blocks away, nobody is going to sell you anything here, and this "edu mall" is fuller than most.
And what sort of stores/teachers/grant recipients etc... would want a store in an educational mall? Artists seems to be the answer. Art galleries are kind of the no-brainer of educational venues, but they work. It is fun to look at art, which I think beats the pants off furniture. And yes, that's a photo of artist, Amy Cheng at work. It graces her rented gallery.
And this kinetic sculpture hangs in Active Interiors, a different gallery space on Iowa. It is for sale, but looks are always free.
Of course one might be able to use prefabs as actual teaching tools. I'm not sure about the farmhouse on Iowa. Neither is my One Who Thinks She Knows. The clothes line (which always seems to have longjohns on it, even in Second Life's perpetual summer), wash tub, pump over the sink, and of course this lovely structure (which by the way is not interactive) all mean this house exists outside of living memory, but there are few lights inside, no where to wash hands after going, and no well for drawing water. My One thinks the Persian carpets on the floor are too fancy for rural Iowa, and the house too plainly decorated. She also thinks the braided rug in the kitchen doesn't belong. If people have enough for Persian rugs, they would have a tiled kitchen. But that we have these thoughts means that at least Iowa's builders are starting in the right direction.
As for CATE, do it wrong, leave it empty to accumulate dust, buy and reshuffle prefabs, furniture, and decorations funded by grant money, and... I guess my answer to my friend should have been yes. Those who write the truth or the truth that they can see on their blogs are indeed griefers or perhaps something worse.
Iyoba BatOni with help from Eileen H. Kramer -- June 2, 2015
Eileen and Iyoba's Do It Better 2014 Roster
Name of Place
Why it Qualifies
|TOV Korea||Ride the Witch Coaster. "Shop" in Korean stores. Visit a Korean museum and memorial.|
|The Grand Canyon||So much to do in a great setting. Climb ropes, rapell, canoe, or just relax. Who knew the great outdoors could be this great, and Mt. Everest is right next door (no kidding!)|
|The Adventure of Ruin||Indiana Jones meets a Japanese, Second Life, orientation course, but somehow it all works and it is gorgeous, scarey, and simply great fun.|
|Plusia Ars Island||Music, sculpture, architecture, furniture, and romance, all on one island. Give newbies what they want...and more.|
|Hokkaido Japan||Where retail and entertainment meet art and stay just inches clear of kitsch. Fly it. Ride it. Walk it. Puzzle it. Enjoy this authentic introduction to a different culture on an island that welcomes visitors.|
|SL Israel||Israel's "official presence" in Second Life. Learn about Middle Eastern and Jewish culture and religion while visiting, museums, the sea shore, the souk, and two synagogues.|
High above the Drill Factory is a fantasy realm where it is always steel, grey night.
You can ride the carousels, walk under crystal trees, shop, or just explore the puzzles at the bottom of the moon.
This sim vanished in January, 2015.
|Momo Pet Land||One sweet, peach, of a classic, Japanese amusement park. There is an onsen, an art museum, pig races, a haunted house and more.|
|Africa Live||Celebrate African music, culture, and textiles in a club and shopping mall. Learn about African ecology on a beach next to a mangrove forest. Swim, wind surf, or ride a flying machine.|