Sunday, March 25, 2012

I have a RL too you know

I hardly logged in SL at all this weekend.  The weather is too nice to not be outside, so we have been out and about enjoying the city.

Have I mentioned before how much I love having a family?  It gets hectic sometimes (okay, most of the time) but we always have fun and there is always laughter.  The kids keep us entertained, always.

Seriously, if I could post a RLurl for you to tp over here, I would so do that because life is good up in my neck of the woods.  Never a dull moment.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A wilderness experience in Misty Mountains

I have some images today of a great destination to explore…however, I have been vacillating between expressing my opinion of the new Wildnerness Adventure areas that are accessible to Premium Members only, or not saying anything about it at all.

Okay, let’s just spit it out…I visited the new Wildnerness sims and I was not terribly impressed. I don’t know, it was alright but I didn’t find it to be anything spectacular or have that wow factor that makes me want to stay and explore a place. I’ve seen wilderness themed sims in SL that are far more impressive.  But it is a sign that Linden Lab is making efforts to improve, right?

 I did a quick tour of the Premium Member areas, and my initial impression was that it was alright but it wouldn’t really compel me to upgrade my SL membership to Premium. I had the thought that if these new Wilderness Adventure places were welcome areas for new residents instead, it would have a greater impact. Those were just my initial thoughts. 

FYI, I just renewed my Premium Membership last month, so I have no agenda to persuade anyone against it.  If you are already Premium, go check it out for yourself.  If you're not, I don't think these exclusive new regions are reason enough to upgrade. 

Anyway, speaking of wilderness...

Misty Mountains is a SL destination that I really enjoy and if you are looking for a different kind of wilderness experience, you should go check it out.  It is one of eleven sims in the Calas Galadhon Nature Parks.  It's been around for ages it seems, yet there are always new things being added and small changes made here and there. 

There are nature trails to explore, wildlife to be discovered and cozy spots to cuddle up with your special someone. 

The audio stream is lovely and relaxing, but I suggest turning it off or at least turning it down, and cranking up your ambient sounds.  It's evident that the creators of this sim have put a lot of care and effort into recreating the natural world in SL.  The nature sounds add depth to your experience here. 

There is ample opportunity for pretty screenshots.  I took a lot of pics and had a hard time on deciding which ones to use for this post.

I love bears...

Misty Mountains is a place that I like to visit from time to time.  I've been to Gulf of Lune, also a part of Calas Galadhon, however I have not explored the rest.  There are nine more nature parks to explore here and I expect that every single one of them is just as peaceful and beautiful as the Misty Mountains. 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The little Macbook that could and "Magic Frogs" by Romy Nayar

System issues continue to plague me.  Last time I thought it was because I had tinkered with the debug settings too much that was causing me to crash the second I hit 'snapshot'.  To solve that, I uninstalled and reinstalled the SL viewer.  If you are on my friends list, you can guess that this did not work.  I'm crashing with every snapshot.  Annoying, I know.  Sorry!
It's weird.  For general wandering around, exploring and even attending high traffic events, my Macbook has been holding up pretty good lately.  But taking high res pics is not working out.  I'll never understand the mysteries of modern day technology.  One day everything is working fine, and the next it seems nothing works.  I think this old machine of mine has a mind of it's own.
Anyway, I'm stubborn enough to keep on trying...

I received a group notice yesterday (MetaLES...O... inworld group) with news of a new art installation by Romy Nayar called "Magic Frogs".  It is currently on display at Anita's Artspace owned by Anita Witt.  It's not a huge installation like some of the others I have blogged recently, but it is charming and fabulous none the less.
When you arrive, click on the either the Magic Frogs poster or the frog.  You will be given a notecard with a story about the magical frogs.

I love art in SL that I can interact with and become a part of, and this build gives you plenty of opportunities to do that. 

If you are familiar with Romy's work, you will recognize her unique style that makes her work so memorable. 

I didn't find any timeline information for how long Magic Frogs will be available for viewing.  But the official opening was just yesterday, so I'm guessing it will be around for awhile - certainly long enough for you to get there and check it out for yourself. Have fun :)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Unfinished World of Cherry Manga and Artistide Despres

I received a group notice today with minimal information about a new art installation on LEA 22, a collaboration by Cherry Manga and Artistide Despres.  Actually, I received two stating that it opened today, March 13th and did not specify a closing date, and the other notecard stated that the installation was open for viewing for only two days until March 15th.  

Maybe I misunderstood, but in any case, you should head over to LEA 22 and check it out - it may or may not be only open until March 15th (if anyone knows, let me know).

From the notecard I received, I was directed to use Torley Linden's SUNRISE-Defenderz 1 setting, set water toGlassy, turn off the media stream and to turn up Sound Effects in Preferences to maximum.  

The build looks dark and gritty, however you will find elements of beauty throughout.

I have only three images today.  I was tinkering with my debug settings last week and ever since, I am crashing every time I hit 'snapshot'.  That'll teach me not to tinker with things too much.

From the notecard:

"The Unfinished World Of Cherry Manga and Artistide Despres

LEA 22 
Opening:  Tuesday 13 March at 1 PM SLT  (21:00h Paris)

Some time ago i invited Cherry to start a collaborated build, a sim based on 'Exquisite Corpse' that would suit our commun vision of the world. We both have an intense RL and had not so much time to meet, so we decided to build in alternance, by continuing each other's pieces on a complementary base.

Today i heard that we have 2 days left to finish, show and derezz...
That is fine !
SL is the place of environmental fluidity (if i may quote Georg Janick the founder of Caerleon Islands).
This world, as the world we are living in, will never look finished.


'/*Windlight Sky: " [TOR] SUNRISE - Defenderz 1"*/'
'/*Windlight Water Setting: "Glassy"*/'
Do not use the music stream or media!
Put 'Sound Effects' to the maximum volume!"

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Italo Calvino's "Invisible Cities" in Second Life

"Invisible Cities" by Italo Calvino was first published in 1972.  In the book, explorer Marco Polo describes to Emperor Kublai Khan, the cities he has visited in his explorations.  The Emperor does not believe everything but listens to the explorer's vivid and dreamy descriptions of the urban settings in his travels.  

In the Second Life installation of "Invisible Cities", thirteen artists have collaborated on the LEA 15 MetaLES...O sim to recreate four of the cities described in Calvino's book - Cherry Manga, Marcus Inkpen, Fuschia Nightfire, Romy Nayar, Ux Hax, Hypatia Pickens, Lanjran Choche, MORLITA QUAN, NicoleX Moonwall, Rebeca Bashly, Spiral Silverstar, Leona80 Mhia, and Nadiemekiere Adamcyk.
Ground level - Cherry Manga 

You will arrive on the sim at ground level, created by Cherry Manga, which contains all the "doors" or teleporters to each city.  There are four cities on four different levels, plus a fifth location - a larger than life version of Calvino's desk, pictured at the end of this post. 
Eudoxia - Marcus Inkpen 
Armilla - Romy Nayar and Ux Hax 
Isaura - Lanjran Choche and MORLITA QUAN 
Esmeralda - Rebeca Bashly 
When you arrive at Calvino's desk, you will find descriptions about each level in the books.  A nice touch, however I found it easier to read the text at the Invisible Cities website, direct link here.  There you will find more details about this collaborative project and links to five machinma videos about the project. 

Knowing nothing about Invisible Cities prior to my visit today (shame on me), I found this to be a really interesting exploration.  I have to admit that I did get a lost a few times when I could not find the teleporter to take me back to ground level.  That was a little disorienting, but I made it through all locations and it was well worth the bit of searching I had to do.  And what's an explorative journey without getting a little off track every now and then?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Some images from "The Dark Side" by Anley Piers and some thoughts on photography in Second Life

When I started this blog in 2009, one of my motivating factors was that I wanted to learn how to take nice images.  I often scrolled through shots on various blogs wishing that I had the eye and talent to make images that would inspire people to explore all that Second Life has to offer.  

In the beginning my pictures were terrible and I had no idea what I was doing.  But I kept trying and slowly I improved.  

Today, I feel pretty confident in saying that I think I achieved that goal.  I'm not boasting.  Those who know me know that I rarely give myself the credit I deserve, so saying something like that is a big deal for me.  After a lifetime of doubt and insecurity about my creativity, I found something that I enjoy doing and I think I'm fairly good at taking a decent shot.  There's lots of room for improvement and I am always learning new things about photography in Second Life.  And what I have learned in SL, I carry over into the atomic world too.

Which brings me to my point...

I've been involved in some discussion, in Second Life and in my daily life, about what constitutes "photography".  What is and what isn't "real" photography, just screenshots from a virtual world or jazzed up iPhone pics from daily life?  It seems that anyone can be a photographer these days doesn't it?  Just point and click.  No talent necessary.

Well, I happen to disagree with that.  I spent a lot of time just pointing and clicking and not putting any thought into what I was trying to capture.  To me, a photo that the taker has put some creative effort into, looks and feels a whole lot different than a random point and click pic.

You know, I never called myself a photographer or any of my images here artwork.  I still don't really know what qualifies as Art, what it is and where the line is drawn.  The only thing I know for sure is that Art is subjective and what I might consider to be artistic, could be just vandalism to someone else or just screenshots I take with my computer or mobile device.  Everyone is entitled to their own opinion.  That's fine and I can live with that.  

What I cannot live with is when my time, effort and creative expression are dismissed as something cutesy, a little hobby to keep me busy that has no real purpose other than to give me something to fill my time with.  I do not like being condascended too and I have no problem saying so.  But I rarely win these types of discussions because it's a waste of time trying to argue with closed minded individuals.  I say what I have to say and go on my way and keep on doing what I'm doing.  I trust that there are people out there who appreciate my efforts.  And there are some people who do and have expressed that to me, so thank you. 

You can't please everyone right?  Whether it's taking pictures, sharing your opinion with the world on your blog, or whichever way you choose to express yourself - there will always be critics to cut you down, because that's just what they do.  I don't let that stop me.  I do what I do here because it makes me feel good, plain and simple. 

So that was the long way of expressing how I feel about the critics, but really my thoughts are best summarized in two short words:  Fuck 'em!

I didn't intend for my little rant to distract from the my visit to "The Dark Side" that is currently on display on MetaLES.  If you are familiar with Mysterious Wave, you will easily recognize the fine and detailed work of Anley Piers.  I really enjoy installations such as this one - dark and melancholy yet beautiful. 

Beautiful creations in Second Life such as The Dark Side make it a real pleasure to take photos to share here with you all. 

Direct link here to visit The Dark Side by Anley Piers currently being displayed at MetaLES...O.  It's beautiful.  Enjoy. 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

"Le Cactus" by Maya Paris

Weeks ago I visited Le Cactus by Maya Paris and have been meaning to blog it ever since.  My screenshots got lost in the jumbled pile of files that are piling up on my desktop.  I finally cleaned up today and found them.

Le Cactus is a fun, interactive exhibited celebrating the talents of Josephine Baker, who left her home of St. Louis, Missouri and found fame as a legendary singer, dancer and actress in France.  

When you arrive at the landing point, there are several free avatars you can pick up, all original and fun creations by Maya.  You can mix and match the pieces if you want, or just wear the invisible layer to make your avatar disappear.   

You can click on almost everything here, so if you are like me and are "click happy", you'll love exploring and interacting with the exhibit.

Check out Maya's blog for more information and some helpful tips that will ensure you enjoy this experience to it's fullest.

Direct link here to visit Le Cactus by Maya Paris

Also, check out this fun machinima of Le Cactus by Lori Landay/L1Aura Loire: