Friday, February 29, 2008

Happy UnBirthday to ME!

Today is February 29th. That means that I am officially eight in RL! Yeay! Happy birthday to me! *doing a happy birthday dance*

Okay... not really. I always hated my birthday. It was a pain in the tooshy to deal with inviting a bunch of kids who didn't always show. I never dug the slumber parties really, not unless my friends were there. Given they were boys back then, and that I was in elementary school, the likelihood of boys being at a girls slumber party was about as good as finding Earnest Borgnine modeling a swimsuit on the cover of Sports Illustrated.

So I simply decided that if I had to have a birthday, it would be on February 29th. I'd reap the benefits of youth as I aged. I'd enjoy the novelty of birthday attention since it only came around once every four years. And I would only have to put up (once every four years) with people making me wear the funny hat at the restaurant while the wait staff and every other person who couldn't sing to save the life of their firstborn sang Las Mañanitas or the birthday song in Chinese (you gotta stick with it to hear it done right).

Pull my earlobes, stick that yogurt on my head, and hook me up with that birthday pie, baby!

So... now... let's discuss my prezzies.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Skin Discoveries

After writing that last little rant (I'm still feeling really bad about it...), I stumbled into Ana Lutetia's blog and discovered the following:

Just think of the freebies!!! Woooot-Swoooon-Woooot!

Uhem... *composing myself and wondering when I cared so much about fashion at all*

Enjoy! ;)

Sensibilities and well... Shopping

I have a confession. And I feel really bad about this...

I don't like (dislike, can't stand, find annoying, consider them boring, get irritated with) self impressed people who run around ooing and ahhhing over something just because they want to kiss up to a designer or some other personality from whom they want, or feel they deserve, attention.

In fact, when people gush over me (RL), I immediately step back, try to be polite, and find a reason to move on. In SL, I'm not gushed upon too often (although it does occasionally happen) but find it just as irritating when others do it. I think perhaps that's why I drag my feet when I'm invited to a fashion opening. You mean you want me to join a group of people who do this constantly? Why don't I just put my arm into a wood chipper. It would be a positive alternative.

But, because I enjoy spending time with friends, I agreed. Minnu Model Skins opened Cachet a few days ago. The open was a little bumpy - models were late, lag, the display of clothing in one dimension I cannot imagine helped sales (thus why the models seemingly arriving late was an issue)... but honestly, every event has these little challenges. (In fairness, I wasn't watching the time so perhaps I was early and the models were not late at all.)

Overall, the Cachet line is quite lovely. I'd like to see the designer work to stiffen things that are meant to be stiffened, and soften things that are meant to be softened. I'd also like to see the folks who helped her launch not be so obvious when speaking in chat suggesting "I think I'll bring my friends. This is so wonderful!!!" in hopes of inspiring people to do just that. The "I've never seen a store fill up so quickly on their first day!" was also unbelievably annoying. These ladies have been around SL for years and EVERY major open floods, especially Minnu. Honestly, do you wish to insult our sensibilities? Or perhaps just the designers. pft

Swing by if you have a moment. The designs are certainly couture or at least as couture as one can be in SL. (Perhaps "high fashion" would be more appropriate.) There are a few items I'm considering adding to my collection, but you know me, I'm a jeans and cute top kind of girl. ;)

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Girlfriend's Got Style!

I'm so incredibly, unbelievably excited!!!! *doing a happy dance* Can you believe it?!?!

Ooo er... um... You don't know!

So you must! When I plopped into SL, I met this totally chic chick who was nearly crusty (old school SL, been around a while, etc). We bonded over mutual dislike of boring people, a lust for freebies, and a very strange mutual appreciation for an 80s movie called Real Genius. In my newbie-ness, she invited me to plug into this group called Hey Girlfriend, established by super boss girlfriend Catty Loon. I dragged my not-yet-sculpty heals explaining how I really wasn't interested in a group with more trashy people, celebrating the size of their new parts and sharing how spanking each other at abc-club was soooo much fun. You know, because it isn't. Over time she convinced me to give it a try and introduced me to the boss girlfriends and the chic girlfriends and all the other girlfriends throughout SL. We bonded over bad boyfriend stories, freebies, shoes, and Oh-My-Gosh-Did-You-See-That-New-Release?

Our little group now boasts nearly 500 very active, successful, bright, talented and empathetic girlfriends. Unlike other groups, we relish the opportunity to chit chat and be girls! Those of you who know me know how unlikely I am to enjoy the girlie thing... But these gals are top notch so consider my niche found. ;)

So why do I share all of this? CAUSE CATTY LOON FINALLY BROKE DOWN and launched the Hey Girlfriend! Blog along with Yvette Quijote, Reghan Straaf and other girlfriends! Check out the blog (you'll notice a pic of yours truly) and leave a comment. Also, let me know if you'd like an invite to the group. I'm going for the recruiting star this month.

By the way, doncha think it's about time for the Hey Girlfriend slumber party?

*looking mischievous* PILLOW FIGHT! *bonking Yvette and Catty on the head*

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Insanity, Art, and No Damage Zones

It shouldn't surprise anyone that I love art. My RL step mother is a professional artist. Several of my friends are highly artistic (including painters, sculptors, musicians, and even a graffiti artist). My RL mom and grandmother are (was) so creative that when I brought home can tops with a glittered letter depicting my name, they shook their heads and ordered DNA tests be done to make sure I was of their stock. (They opted to blame my father forgetting he was a talented pianist, another talent that passed over me.)

This means that I haven't a single artistic bone in my little body. But I LOVE art and have so much appreciation for creativity. Perhaps that's a reason I enjoy the Cetus Gallery District as much as I do. 70 plus artists in one spot can keep me pretty occupied in SL.

For a change of scenery, I visited Luctesa to see Virtual Starry Night, home to the permanent exhibition of Vincent Van Gogh's master pieces in high resolution. Having never particularly appreciated Van Gogh (perhaps because he was highly emotional and lacked confidence in life and talent), I was somewhat, well, ok, I was bored out of my mind in order to make this stop.

Fans of his would probably like to chase me around the SIM with an open razor (HA HA I believe it is a no damage zone!). This is a blessing should any of them face his fate. However, those who end up doing so, I hear rumour of a mental hospital in SL... Of course, it all ended quite badly (the blood and gore and all) but at least you'd have a roof over your head. I'd also recommend avoiding all handguns and other weapons that shoot projectiles at high speeds with great force.

Van Gogh's work, impressionist, full of colour utilizing wide brushstrokes, is dramatic. Having seen a few of his works in (RL) person, the embodiment of his talent is never fully appreciated unless in full composition and collection. At Virtual Starry Night, you will see so much more - brilliant, bright, optimistic, sometimes insane art depicting hope, form, style, fear, and beauty.

While wandering through several of the gallery rooms (but not all) hosting about 70 pieces of his work, I found myself captivated with his piece entitled Almond Blossoms. Now way to know for sure, but I suspect this piece, reportedly painted in 1890 (oil on canvas), was likely inspired by Japanese prints which he supposedly acquired a few years prior in 1885. Someone described the work as "ominous, yet strangely beautiful in its nostalgia." I saw nothing of the sort but instead, a beautiful reflection of the ordering of the mind. Van Gogh uses the deep blue against the branches and flowers as a means to define the space he saw, to organize it, to find peace in it, to relish the calm it likely brought him. Or, perhaps not. I have no way of knowing.

Fans can stop by Luctesa and visit the collection whenever they choose. Follow the arrows through the gallery and click the "i" for information on each painting. For a guided tour, I am told to contact
Liza Gibbs who "is around most of the time". It's eerie. But worth your trip. :)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Stuff, the SL Plague, and more Stuff

I always think I am going to run out of things to blog about here... I mean, you can only babble on with nothing of substance to say for so long before you become ordinary. But today, I had so many things to mention that I didn't know where to start. None of them are worthy particularly of their own posting (okay, maybe the kudos section), so I figured I would stick them all in one spot and call it a day.

First of all, the SL Plague is going around.... again.

This poor soul logged on to find that her entire body had been eaten by the plague... leaving nothing but a black hole. After reverting to the test female shape and having no success, she called out for help, and 6-7 mentors later, discovered that the plague targets people who run two monitors.

Of course, this little case came about just after perhaps the worst griefer attack I have seen in SL. A newer resident of our world had just took up roots with her husband in a cute cottage. She was upstairs changing and all of a sudden, a stranger was in her home, asking her if she would like a TP downstairs.

From that point forward, it was pure heck for the gal. Luckily, she had the Hey Girlfriends gal pals to step up. And once she had them, she had a host of mentors available at her fingertips. Unfortunately, our typical tools didn't work. The gal hovered over us like something out of a bad 70's horror movie. And after three launches, two of them dropping me six feet under, I called in the big wigs.

It's always neat to see "them" work. They sneak in underground... are on rooftops... cam in from three SIMs over... kind of like how the US Navy SEALS take a beach. You never know they are there until it's too late. Eventually they contained the gal griefer. But in the process, a Girlfriend gal pal's boy was banned. Why? BECAUSE THE GRIEFER SCRIPTED EVERYTHING TO TAKE ON THE NAME OF THE ATTACKER'S TARGET. I'd call her a witch but honestly, I was too impressed with her creativity. These details are still being worked out and we keep our fingers crossed for a fair and reasonable Linden review of the situation and swift return of our friend to SL.

Sadly, it left a sour taste in the mouth of the renter as she had had a stalker there not a week before. (Yes, I know I know - you are all wondering about security - the landlord hadn't provided any nor the ability to ban. Slum SL Landlord. lol) Since, she seems to have bounced back but with caution.

Speaking of Hey Girlfriends, Catty Loon finally threw in the towel and is kicking off a new Hey Girlfriend blog coming soon. In it we all get to speak on important topics that require no words and giggle at each other when we walk out of the SL bathroom with tp on our shoes. What are girlfriends for, huh? ;)

On other horizons... Someone I met in a completely different medium did a google on me and pointed out that I should google myself. Much to my delight I discovered I had a mention on They were so kind as to suggest that you swing by the H&R Block party for some free tax advice and that while there, talk to Hope or to (are you sitting down?) me.

Let it be known that I am not an accountant. In fact, I know so little about taxes that I have a CPA and a tax attorney help me each year. When it comes to such things I am a total and complete dingbat. The only tax advice I give is 1) make sure you do them, 2) get professional help and 3) don't forget to mail them cause bad things happen when you don't like weird guys in cheap black suits showing up at your door in black cars with black windows. By the way, to make your accountant like you at least a little, hand them spreadsheets. They seem to make them smile which during tax season is a very very very good thing.

I also discovered via the googling that this little blog endeavour of mine was query worthy at Technorati currently tracks "112.8 million blogs and over 250 million pieces of tagged social media". Does that mean I made it to the big time? If so, who in their right mind would waste the time? lol

Honestly, I was flattered. Three hits, two of them from the Ribbons Learns to Swim friend Wrath Paine vs. Second Life (all one has to do for Wrath is write him a poll - he's addicted) and one of Misty is Foreverlost (misplaced the map again!). A big THANK YOU to Misty for the blog roll spot under "Misc Crap". One of these days I look forward to meeting her.

This discovery of course led DJ Tarsis to google his baby the Tarsis reports to me that out of 40,000 podcasts on Podcast Alley, we're ranked 3,000. That's actually not bad given the competition. Of course, when one sorts by genre, we're happy to report that darnit, people like us! Search for 80s, alterantive, 90s and we're probably number one. Yeay us!

I'm calling it a night. Many thanks, kudos, and candies to those who are helping make this gig a success. I cannot thank you enough for your encouragement, notes of ideas, and the occassional thrown shoe.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

I sunk your battleship!

One of things that's interesting about doing what I do in SL is the fascinating things that pop up. You now, like when someone pops out of a cake and you throw your glass of champaign in the air and scream.

Much to my delight, I was invited to take a tour of the not yet open Titanic.

No, not THE Titanic. The new Titanic. Like, a modern version with a kick butt pool, ballroom and the conservatory - to drool for. The kitchen produces scrumptious foods, the dining areas are available for custom, and the exercise room is complete with athletic poseballs. I didn't want to be rude to my hostess by taking snapshots right and left but I did click this one off - the bow of the ship created especially for weddings and other ceremonies, right off the ballroom. You have nearly guaranteed privacy when at sea, and among the finest of interiors I have seen in SL. AND just to make it really nifty- a fabulous teleport system on board to make it easy to move from area to area freely. (Just for kicks, check out the master bedroom below!)

The Titanic will be available for private conferences, meetings, weddings, and other special events. Arrangements may be made for individual leasing. For more information, please contact me privately.

Oh, and no icebergs this time around.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Un-Kissable on Valentine's Day

It was Valentine's Day. And the Lindens created a cutsie little island called Isle of View complete with kissing booths so you could kiss a Linden or kiss a mentor for the day of love.

Even on Isle of View, as is signed up kissing booth mentor, I DIDN'T GET KISSED. LMAO

This has become one of those things where normally you wouldn't care at all, but its becoming "a thing". Why do I suddenly feel like I am back in grade school?!?!?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Taxing Taxes Parties

There is very little in this world so reliable as taxes (except perhaps death). It's so reliable in fact, that it adds stress to the average household, months of worry, and a lot of white out. Shoe boxes of receipts, file folders stuffed with notes, planners covered in post-its... your friendly neighborhood CPA shakes her head, starts a new pot of coffee and prepares for another all nighter.

Those who are married to CPAs know what this is like. Sometime after March, you discover that you are not sleeping with a smelly, ugly, moldy monster but that there is a spouse under there somewhere, usually found after a series of bio-hazerd showers and several weeks of therapy.

Perhaps this is why I am so pleased to be the bringer of help. Well, not really. I just bring the news of help.

H&R Block hosts Tuesday night don't-blow-your-brains-out-over-taxes parties in the H&R Block Island sim. They've hired one of SL's top DJs to spin (trust me he's good). While you dance your tooshy off, you can ask nice questions about deductions, schedules, forms and when it is absolutely necessary to give your cat a bath.

I popped over there Tuesday and found "Hope". Great name I think because this woman is a little like me, but an accountant. She sits up at night and instead of having a life, reads IRS manuals (I read philosophy and theology literature). She's a walking library of all things tax. She's a delight, direct, clear, and doesn't speak to you like you are a 5 year old but still keeps it simple enough that you can figure out what the heck she is talking about.

If you are from Boston, by the way, don't forget to offer her some tea. No real reason - just that she might like it.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Cackers, Onion Rings and The Law

Tarasia Ashbourne. Remember that name. *getting out a notepad and paper cause she'll forget it soon if she doesn't*

Tarasia Ashbourne is a go getter. When she sees something, she goes for it. I just hope she stays away from my onion rings, cause you know, no one touches my onion rings. Ever.

You're dying to know aren't you? Well, I think it's the combination of beer batter flavored with onion and the salt and the crispiness with the softer center. It's like, the hot crispy on my tongue followed quickly with the salt which brings the burst of flavor, then the soft center squirting all that tasty flavor onto my tongue... my mouth is literally drooling as I type this... Add to that the cool soothing texture from dipping it in cold ranch... Oh. My. Gosh.

Oh. You didn't mean the onion rings...

Tarasia is hopping mad about property rights in SL. She seems to figure that if you put all that work into an item, well, darnit, you should earn the income from that item. You know, instead of some snot nosed 20 year old cracker who can hack code for his own financial benefit.

So she started to hit just about everyone up saying something like, "Hey you! Over there! Come here. Now. We're fixing this. Go." And I've noticed, she won't let you "go" until you spill your ideas. (Okay okay, she's actually a very nice, bright, well thought out and determined person. I just like my image of her better. LOL)

Anyway, she's on the warpath. This girl is serious. She's toying with an organization that will work together as a public service to help resolve disputes in SL when it comes to design infringement. Wanna know why? Cause Linden Labs ain't gonna do it.

The FashCon Café sent out a press release regarding their new blog. It seems Marni created the blog as a means to comment on those designers and shops who are on the up and up (i.e., only sells creations by the owner which are clearly original and not copied in some form). Near the end, she asks that those who want to participate send her a notecard. My guess is that she's trying to keep it positive - celebrating those who play nice rather than trashing those who don't. It's free and it's a tasty way to promote yourself and play fair.

By the way, I understand that when she released this blog in group, those in the chat went ballistic. Why? I have no idea. Fear perhaps that in a libertarian society, policing would become the norm. That's up to the participants in my mind. Your vote counts so be careful with whom you associate.

Tarasia did put me on to a few organizations in SL that piqued my interest. They are Union of Designers Against Theft, Sellers’ Guild, Merchant Theft Protection Group, and Copyright Hunters. She had a chance to speak with the Merchant Theft Protection Group and digs their program finding them successful at their intended purpose, having resolved several cases of theft over the last year or two (or maybe three). There are others in world too.

I'm off to go find a snack.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

A little surf

When I first entered SL, on those days that really stunk I would surf. Kind of like in RL when I was on vacation. And stressed out from it. (Don't laugh - you know you've been there!)

People who don't get SL are thinking right about now, "How could you possibly have stress? You're an avatar! In a stupid game!" I think they don't realize that some of us consider it a medium for our product. So it isn't just "a game". It's business.

Today was one of those SL stress days. Add to that the fact that I got a little flirty with a friend and would benefit from a nice cool dip, I ran over to Bora Bora and jumped on a board. After a few tricks (and multiple unsuccessful attempts to catch an image in mid flip), I dumped the board and went for a swim.

Nifty thing, I found my old life guard tower. So I shimmied up the broken ladder and laid down for a nap. Needless to say, I feel much better and far more at one with the pixels.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

A Nekkid Protester and a Rip Off

I received a note from a lovely woman in my SL Profiles account, sharing her feelings about the skin rip off from a couple of days ago. Bless her heart - she opted to protest.

At Linden Village.

In the nude!

For those of you playing catch up, it was discovered that someone chose to copy and sell knock off skins from some of the best designers in SL. This caused a lot of hoopla and generally made everyone very unhappy.

The discussion popped up among some fashionistas the other day - okay, an expression of outrage popped up - everyone wants the Lindens TO DO SOMETHING.

One good friend pointed out that the reality is there is nothing they can really do. The Lindens are not the security force for business in SL. There IS NO security force in SL. I'm highly tempted to suggest we create a government, complete with elections etc. But somehow, as fascinating and engaging as it would be, I think it would ruin SL. (Thank you Duckyfresh Wantanabe for your nomination as VP many many months ago.)

Okay so here's what the legal heads tell me. Designers in SL come from all over the world. Each designer is ultimately responsible to his or her own Real Life government. Those government's laws are all different and as such, expecting the Lindens to enforce them all is, well, a silly expectation. (However, if they chose to embrace such a thing, they can hire me to coordinate the attorneys - Ill lock them all in a SIM with a camera and watch the feeding frenzy with glee.)

One may argue that they are subject to the laws of the US given that Linden Labs is based in California and they technically do their business there.

Or one may argue that they are responsible to the laws where the server sits that hosts their shop which, physically is where they do their business.

Or, some suggest that SL is it's own universe and has absolutely no regulation. (Thank you Libertarians and cyber-geeks.)

Regardless of your choice, the Linden's hands seem tied with the exception of the possibility of them perhaps saying, "Hey, we frown on this behavior and feel it is not part of our intended purpose for SL. These folks are not team players and are not SLers in our mind. Shame on you for ruining the experience for everyone."

As for the designers... As much as this stings to say, copy-cats are the best form of flattery. I suppose in a way you know you've made it when your designs show up as knock offs on the street. No, the stitching isn't the same. No the patterns do not line up just right. But the less economically gifted will say, "Who cares? I look like I am wearing an XYZ." Reality is, they aren't. And most never will.

Yes, I realize that there is a difference in SL as computer technology being what it is, one can simply break a code thingee and poof! An EXACT duplicate.

That said, here is the best advice I have seen regarding such matters.

Threaten them.


If you have a legitimate claim to your work, send a cease and desist order. Let them know you are on to them and inform them that they must stop. This has been effective in the past - in fact, just this past year. Most people run with their tail between their legs when you sound serious and professional. (We did this with one person in the summer of 2007.)

Next, if you haven't already done so, file an abuse report with SL. Notify the land owner of the impersonator's shop POLITELY that he or she "may have a problem" (even if you know it IS a problem). Enlist him or her as your ally to work for a "positive resolution" - think of it as a courtesy - he or she probably considers the rental his or hers business and doesn't want to be blind sided.

Then, notify the fashion community, starting with the owner of Fashion Consolidated (and the other major fashion groups), then the owners of the Fashion agencies. The key to this is being professional, not getting upset, and having a clear resolution in mind.

Eventually, ashes ashes, "we all fall down". The thing dies and your brand is not only protected, but your professionalism through the whole episode increased your positive reputation. By the way, there are agencies out there than can help you manage these things. For more information, let me know. It's great to be a freelancer these days!

As for the folks who ripped off the designer skins - you suck.

Monday, February 4, 2008

A Game of Cat and Mouse and Alien...

After a significant personal change of time management (to be announced soon) I headed over to the Blarney Stone in Dublin to hang out, chat, and maybe do a little mentoring as a newbie station is nearby. I was delighted to meet several new folks (thanks E - keep your bones together will you?) and enjoyed a pint, calming my nerves.

How this happened I am not sure, but by the end of the night I was talked into doing some moving making for a fellow who is working on a travel book project in SL. Modeling really, but none the less. What WAS in that pint?

You'll have to read the book to understand why I am here. The Greenies SIM was created from the perspective of miniature aliens that landed in a home. You walk through the house, nearly lost given your perspective is not adjusted to being three to four inches tall. You'll stumble upon little green aliens here and there - some sitting, some being mischievous. I care not to give away all the surprises, but I wanted to share a little cat and mouse.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

SL Rants

This is just wrong.

Like a Natural Woman

I'm sorry, but breasts that bounce like that in a dress or top (or should I say those without the proper foundations) are not natural looking in any shape, way, or form. Perhaps if you opted to go without such garments... On that point, I object for those who do so in public.

And by the way, since I am ranting, do you have any idea how un-lady-like it is to walk while swinging your arms? Finding a decent AO that doesn't do so seems nearly impossible. Just because I am an avatar for the moment does not mean I wish to throw all appropriate behavior out the window!

Which brings me to my last rant slash worthy-of-a-mention. It took me nearly five months to find decent shoes in SL that were not stripper platforms. I have to ask the question why?. You would think that entering into SL you would find all the nifty places first rather than the trashy ones. Yet it never seems that way. In fact, I found a self proclaimed "master" preying on newbie girls/women at a newbie spot last week. While people should know better, most don't. As such, the behavior of some reflects quite poorly on SL and the rest of us overall.