Wednesday, July 30, 2008

to be reborn, not born again, erase my regret from the start

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We went to see Black Swan. The first thing that struck us was the vicious level of bright white glow. We were wincing in pain before we'd gotten three steps in.

The walls of the bright white room recommended that we wear "authorization devices" so that the security bots would not shoot on sight. I wore one, figuring my odds might be better; my companions did not choose to do so.

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I'd seen the bound angel before, in Port Seraphine; but it was just as impressive walking past it, deeper into the exhibit.

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Walking up to where the exhibits began was somewhat odd. Skulls littered the blackened stone path, and at the crest of it was a shining pendulum, swinging back and forth.

Miss Neome, in some tiny form or other, walked right under it, and told me she'd walked right through it. I didn't listen to my instincts, so walked right into the edge of the blade. It sliced through my shoulder as blood spurted, staining the path behind me.

Miss Fawkes, in statuesque form, also thought the blade could not harm her, and it nearly sheared her head off. For all that she was mobile stone, blood sprayed from her wound as well.

We resolved to be more careful.

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This was the first piece that really took my breath away. This is what sculpts should be, I kept--and keep!--thinking: not sharp, just beauifully molded, elegance of design and ease of use combined. She was gorgeous.

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Then, with a touch, she came to life, and I was awestruck, completely awestruck. Colors ripple over her, stream from her hair, the very air seems to warm--it's just the most astounding effect.

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This was the second piece that just astounded me. The angel, the woman of stone who comes to life, the ballerina yet to come--these were all VERY large pieces.

This one? The couple embracing, standing in the center of the bay? Dwarfed all of them.

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And the alabaster ballerina, eternally frozen in a single moment. She was also just gorgeous to look at.

In fact, really, the only disappointment about this exhibit? Was the fashions at the end. Here was an opportunity to really go places, break new ground, let imaginations run wild--what are the limits of possibility, what can we do with fashion, with fabric, with what we can create with hearts and hands?

And, with very few exceptions, everyone took the staid, the boring, the easy way out. Tired retreads or things that just happened to have feather textures, or good outfits, pretty outfits, that were only an inch or so away from what that designer does on a daily basis. It was very disappointing.

We turned a corner, then, and discovered where newbs go when they're away.

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Dozens of them, maybe hundreds, it was hard to tell.

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I flew down--carefully!--through the spires, touching down when I had to, nearly always to some unexpected effect--until I reached the center inverted pyramid. I touched down on it--and security zapped me, and sent me home.

Gracious! And I *had* their little don't-shoot 'authorization device'!

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And then we went to Planet Mongo. Which is, if you were ever a fan of Flash Gordon, a stunning recreation of Ming the Merciless' domain, on its own.

[21:46] Emilly Orr: Mm, we having problems again?
[21:46] Emilly Orr: Hasn't hit the sim I'm in
[21:46] Emilly Orr: Yet
[21:46] Lerochelle Destiny: [21:42] Second Life: There is a hardware issue which is affecting some resident's ability to login. Some residents inworld may not appear in search, or may appear to be offline. Affected residents may also experience problems rezzing items or making transactions. To be safe, we recommend all residents refrain from rezzing no copy items or making transactions until the all clear is given. Some groups may also experience issues related to group abilities. Ops is at work correcting the problem. Please monitor the Second Life Grid Status Report, http://tinyurl.com/5e2opk, for further information.
[21:47] Ivyana Szondi: oh damn
[21:47] Emilly Orr: So basically, SL is borked again, and you've noticed it becoming more and more borked for the past two days, but we can't ignore it anymore, so now we're trying desperately to patch whatever broke on Monday, hang in there
[21:48] Ivyana Szondi: LOL


Pretty much. One last thing--the Retrology sim comprises a whole double-cartload of stores and boutiques with one linking ideal: vintage is more fun. The 'vintage' they mean is generally from 1920-1960, but still, it's a pleasant stroll, a good build, and currently they're celebrating their one-year anniversary as a sim, so many of the merchants are handing out anniversary gifts, of clothing and what-not. It's nicely done.

How'ver--

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Really...really not the place for a typo of this magnitude.

Besides...if it's really a 'blowing alley' dress...it should be at least a little more low-cut.

*ducks and scurries off*

Monday, July 28, 2008

one of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you

Today? I want to talk fashion.

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Specifically, shoes. Specifically, the designer Damen Gorilla, of Adam & Eve fame. The shoes (and boots, he has boots now) I spend the bulk of my shoe-clad time in, on the grid.

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These are Damen's "Rapture", in Virgin (an ideal wedding white). They have a very subtle, soft shimmer. Bling should never be blinding, and thankfully, Damen understands this. We're so glad he does.

They retail for L$300 and come in six pale pastel tones, currently.

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These are the "Miranda" slingbacks, in Crimson. I admit, I've spent most of the last week in one shade or another of these pumps. They retail for L$290 each color, or the whole multipack of twelve can be acquired for L$1160, which is not a bad savings on the per-pair price.

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These are "Miranda" again, this time in Calypso, a lovely tone that goes well with blue, green and teal outfits, to pick out different tones in each. Very adaptable shoes.

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The "Beatrix" boots--seen here in Meadow--are charmingly designed, start to finish, very vintage, and have the virtue of not looking like any other Victorian/Edwardian boot design on the grid! They retail for L$300 and come in nine other shades. (I chose Meadow because it goes perfectly with Silent Sparrow's "Nymphet" dress in Lolly, I got some months back.)

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"Reflections" half-boot in Berry. I love these. If they weren't stiletto heels, I'd be wearing them more often around Caledon. Hells, some floor-brushing gowns? I wear 'em anyway.

Each of the ten shades is bright and glittery and shimmery without the need for bling. Sharp stiletto heels in black adorn each one. They also retail for L$300 a pair--that's generally the range most of Damen's shoes fall into. (The boots, being more work, are slightly higher.)

(By the way, if you like the look of the Reflections line, but don't want the shimmer? Meander your way over to "Bien Fait", a triple-buckled half boot in twelve shades. Again, you save more if you get the multipack for L$2400, but they retail individually for L$300.)

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Now, for Caledon-appropriate pumps (which did exist, though most were spool-heels or slides, like the "Flora" line, retailing for L$150 a pair), one simply cannot go wrong with "Bronte". Subtly shaded brocade vamps adorned with an intricate lace detail, they retail for L$175 a pair, or a multipack of all twelve pairs for L$933. And might I mention, while we're here, that--as much as I adore Lassitude and Ennui's boots--I can get all twelve of the Bronte line of pumps, for only slightly more than one pair of L&E boots? That just stuns me, it really does.

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Another shot of the "Miranda" pumps, these in the soft "Babay Blue", which makes me giggle.

(Though I should make a note, simply because it amuses me--this picture was auto-killed upon arrival on PhotoBucket. I don't quite understand how it violates their "no nudity" rule, but I am quite entertained.)

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You should definitely check out Adam & Eve. It's worth a trip, whether one's from the mainland or from Caledon.

And keep up the good work, Damen. We'll be watching. And waiting.

Like the slavering shoe addicts we are. :)

Friday, July 25, 2008

now, this is a song to celebrate the conscious liberation of the female state...

Thought it was time and more than time for a change, on these pages, but I'm still not entirely sure on the bleeding-red poppies background.

On the other hand, I have corrected the setting that prevented links from being underlined...so Edward, if you can stand the red, you should be able to see the links now. :)

So let me gush a bit on Clockwerk Klicker-Klack, our store mascot...who's now a wearable!

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Clockwerk Klicker-Klack was a capable store and lab assistant, for those times when I had to sleep. (Shush...I do so sleep.) You can read the full story on the store blog, but in the meantime, we are now sharing the mascot version with anyone who so desires one, because--Clockwerk is the first in the line of Iron Tinies we'll be bringing out!

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This is so cool. Mr. Allen has been slaving away for more than two months, testing and primming out an entire line of Iron Tinies. Clockwerk (and his female compatriot, the bookish and studious writer of the lab, Penny Featherwright) are now available in Penzance at the store.

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We're planning on a line of 'accessory' packs--like the Godzilla tail, if enough people want it--for all the tinies, but most especially for Clockwerk, who seems to favor dressing up. (I'm pushing Mr. Allen to make a firefighter's hat!) Anyone can purchase the packs to add to the Iron Tinies, though some will (like the alternate for Penny's hair) be specific for certain ones. It should be grand fun.

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In the meantime, a lot of existing Tiny attire--like this yukata and samurai sword from Tiny Tama--works wonderfully with them. So go look 'em over!

And there will be others coming out soon--I know of at least six, and four more planned, so trust me--there should be one for anyone who wants one. Huzzah for Iron Tinies!

*peers at background again*

Maybe I'll import out the poppy-square and tone it down, somewhat. On the other hand, can't say it's not appropriate some days...

*peers again and shrugs*

[Insert from the Editrix: I've pulled it out and darkened the tones, so it *should* be easier on the eyes, now, at least.]

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

and it's plain to see, the evil inside of me is on the rise

And then, we went to Benthen Manor. Boy, is there a lot of green in this place. An amazing tonnage of bright acid green--letters, and arrows, and fog, and announcement text...Lots of green. Lots and lots and lots.

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You thought I was kidding? LOTS OF GREEN.

The basic layout is simple and familiar; in fact, I'm almost positive we went through this exact same build last October...somewhere. May not have been the same people, but nevertheless.

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Seeing my name on the headstone as we walked up to the door was kind of a shock. It even has my rez date. Creepy.

Also, there are sedate little 'for sale' boxes throughout the house and the grounds, I thought that was a nice touch. Ability to buy things, without the 'store' aspect being shoved in our faces. Neat.

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It was rather a shock for Fawkes, too, to see his name and rez date appear, after I walked by. We were being sent an ominous message...

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"LET ME GO" written in blood on the wall of the house. Nice touch, but the practical side of me had to wonder: if one is bleeding enough to be able to write "LET ME GO" on a wall...I think it's a safe conclusion that one, in fact, will not be released at that point.

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Facing down the ghost in the stairwell, absolutely useless (against ghosts, anyway) nailed plank firmly in my grasp. On the plus side, the owners of the property have seen fit to provide such planks, and yes, later on?

We did need them.

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Appreciating the web, and the spider in it, and trying to ignore the hissing of the haunts behind me--but it was a very cool spider, and it was a very cool web, for that matter.

Also, the pictures on the wall behind the web? Fade in and out.

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Clockwerk, armed and dangerous. The nailed plank was bigger than he was! Still and all, capable iron fighter at my side--he took out more of the zombies than I did!

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Pausing for a moment to catch my breath on the couch. I was overjoyed the zombies hadn't come in the house, but the hissing of the ghosts, the repeated low calls to "Get...OUUUUT..." were more than a tad unnerving.

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And then zombies came at my face.

All in all, if you remove the zombies from the equation, Bentham Manor is a polite diversion, an amusing use of a short span of time.

Add in the zombies, however, and things get just the merest bit tense and breathless. The nailed plank you hold becomes your only defense, and--

AAAAH! HEADCRAB ZOMBIES! RUUUUUN!

Monday, July 21, 2008

just look at the world around you, right here on the ocean floor

The Dark Victorians informed me of an interesting photo HUD for in-world photographers like me, who don't tend towards a ton of off-the-grid processing. AM Radio is selling it exclusively at the Dark Victorians' Emporium, and it retails for L$400. (All proceeds from which, btw, go to pay the tier on Far Away, which in turn is sponsored by Heifer International Charity, which is a very cool international group dedicated to sustainable agriculture and livestock training, in order to end world hunger, and raise the standard of living for everyone.

(Worthy goals, indeed.)

I came to the Emporium to track down the HUD, but was absolutely enchanted with two other offerings: all of Mary Poppin's props (hat, carpetbag, umbrella and her token absinthe bottle) for 600 Lindens, as well as the ability to pick up two dresses, the hair, and a reasonable approximation of the skin...and even better (though spendier), a living, breathing Nightmare to ride. (They charge the modest sum of L$2400 for the upkeep and training of said dread beast.)

Coming to Tanglewoods, of course, one will be dropped off at the central transport point. Just face northwest, and look for the bats.

After traipsing through the lovely horrors at the Dark Victorians' Emporium, I went back briefly to the Carnival of Doom. Nearly within moments of walking in past the ticket booth, a stray falling Ferris tram fell on my head. Of course I died, and went to the waiting room, and after trying to access the other rooms--and being sent back to wait--I gave up, and turned on the music stream.

EASY LISTENING! Hell is not only a waiting room, but it's a waiting room playing Musak versions of "O Danny Boy" and...BARRY MANILOW!

AAAAAAAH!

Anyway, so there we were, on this hunt.

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The Pirate Kitties store in Silva is having a treasure hunt--but that's where things got odd. First, to get to the hunt, you dive beneath the surface of the small pool to the left of the store entrance, and begin exploring the undersea tunnels that snake under the entire sim.

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Miss Neome shifted into a hermit crab, Miss Midnight became a cuttlefish, and Mr. Allen popped Clockwerk into a preservation bubble to jet about. I was feeling rebellious, so I went for the pirate bikini and gills.

My only difficulty was that the other shoe wouldn't attach, so I got the joy of wandering around in two different shoes. Amusingly enough, the Devoted shoes from Solange can be worn with Damen Gorilla's shoe base for his C'mere line of shoes. (Tomorrow's entry, I do believe, shall cover the new shoes recently acquired from Adam & Eve and Damen, in particular.)

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We know they have four silver coins--small, partially glowed grey rounds that are surprisingly easy to hide; and we've found all four. We suspect they have four jewels--which are smaller and even more easy to hide, and we've only found three (the diamond, the very tiny emerald, and the ruby). We have no idea if they have four treasure chests, as we've only found two--and they're very large treasure chests that click open to be 'bought'.

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It's a surprisingly cute build, even with the whole, mysterious-underground-passages angle. Everything is sunken ships, and cargo crates and barrels, and knotted-rope hammocks, and places to sit and relax in the cool water. And drifting sealife, along with sea flora, to complement everything.

(Note presence of sea monkey in the lower left corner of the above shot, f'rinstance.)

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But we're finding ourselves surprisingly stymied by how many items there are to find; whether we've found all the chests, for example, or whether there are two more remaining. That, and understanding the layout of the many twisty-windy passages underneath the sim that all look the same.

Still and all, though, it's surprisingly pretty, and very peaceful, and at the least, it'll go into the landmark list of 'fun places to spend time'...and that list, frankly? Never has enough things on it.

So if nothing else, I'm happy to have found a new place to wander. And who knows--if nothing else, I could flip on fins, and see how fast I can swim through the tunnels!

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Sunday, July 20, 2008

you can do a lot in a lifetime, if you don't burn out too fast

It's not how fast you can go
The force goes into the flow
If you pick up the beat
You can forget about the heat


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There will always be communication, I've grown inured to that. Despite everything, despite how far I go, how far he goes, we know how to read each other. We are not lovers, but perhaps we're friends.

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How long will that remain, though, when even the shadow of his passing disperses? And was it always him, or was there ever affection for the one who carried him?

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Malignant and benign, passion's fire over heart's dismay, proof that even demigods can make mistakes.

More than just survival
More than just a flash
More than just a dotted line
More than just a dash


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The once-friended daughter walks paths I cannot even comprehend. I do not know most of what happened aboard the fleet of ships that I was asked to help support. Frozen in place, frozen in shape, when I was asked, I admit it now: I was afraid to make things worse, afraid to be asked to help, once aboard, and be even less useful than I was during those breathless, frozen weeks.

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This is what happens when one removes change from a changeling: she loses all ability to do anything but focus upon what she cannot do. Perhaps in time, I would have adjusted; perhaps in time, I would have discovered other abilities. I did not have that time when asked. I wasn't able to step back and realize that even my same pair of hands might have been of aid.

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I didn't realize a lot of things. Some I'm paying for now; some new mistakes now are mine to keep; some new blessings are mine to treasure. It goes both ways, good and bad, healing and damaging, and sometimes, both sides are the same.

It's a test of ultimate will
The heartbreak climb uphill
Got to pick up the pace
If you want to stay in the race


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So now I run in place, waiting for a break in the crowd ahead. It will come; I have faith; but in the meantime, I keep moving. I keep running. One step ahead of dissolution, two steps towards redemption, on the path and headed true.

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Or so it seems, at least. Self-doubt is the least of my worries, but I could be wrong. I could be making mistakes right and left, irrecoverable ones, but I go where I'm called, do what I think I must, and get through each week, each hour, each day, in limbo or on the grid, and slowly, slowly, set down the pattern of my life.

More than blind ambition
More than simple greed
More than a finish line
Must feed this burning need
In the long run...


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There's oddity, I admit that. Sometimes I feel blind, as if I'm trying to inch my way out of the dark. Sometimes I feel I'll go mad if I don't get a cheat sheet--all the answers in advance, so I won't have to search for them anymore.

That's not the way life works, though. Any life. I do know that.

From first to last
The peak is never passed
Something always fires the light that gets in your eyes
One moment's high, and glory rolls on by
Like a streak of lightning
That flashes and fades in the summer sky


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Maybe it's a problem of too many choices. Maybe it's a problem of unrestricted options. I know friends who would tell me, everything would be simpler with simple changes. Have one, not some. Have some, not all. Hearts, they've told me, they're only made to love one at a time.

But I know that's not so. I know I can love platonically and romantically, I know I can love more than one. I know it's true, I know it's my truth. It's a truth that is the heart and core of everything I believe.

Your meters may overload
You can rest at the side of the road
You can miss a stride
But nobody gets a free ride


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And everything I believe is not wrong. Everything that has formed me, each experience, every good thing, every bad thing, that has gone into forming my bones, my blood, my heart, my soul--I cannot believe I have made wrong choices at every turn.

No one could. No one ever could.

More than high performance
More than just a spark
More than just the bottom line
Or a lucky shot in the dark
In the long run...


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It's not the first time I've said this. Why don't I hear it each time? It's not the first time I've come to this place. This place is very familiar. So why, I ask, brow furrowed, face worried...why do I keep asking this question over and over again?

Am I expecting the answers to change?

You can do a lot in a lifetime
If you don't burn out too fast
You can make the most of the distance
First you need endurance
First you've got to last...


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For those who have asked, the Kurotsubaki hunt for the dark circus outfit is still going on, but it ends on the 21st, in the afternoon. Find six apples hidden--all next to some variation of a little circus staffer-doll--here. Enjoy the off-key music, the slot-for-prizes machine, and Kurotsubaki's version of rides while you're there.

And the Carnival of Doom, part of the Rezzable collection of curious sims, is preparing to shut down. Open since before the advent of Havok4, many of the rides broke when the new physics engines came online. But enough remains active, and the atmosphere's so uniquely bizarre, there's still enjoyable things to do.

Don't eat the corn dogs. Do check out the freak show. Don't get hit by the falling Ferris trams. Try not to die. Unless that's the point, in which case--there are lots of ways to get injured, in the Carnival of Doom. It closes August 1st.

[Insert from the Editrix: I am WRONG in this! As the one named RaR says in comments, the scripting issues are being fixed, and it is NOT going away!

[Yay!]


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Otherwise, I'm ready. I see the track, I've been in preparations for this, it seems, at least half my life. Two years on the grid and counting, more than enough time to get the point.

I get the point. Let's go. Let's run this race. I'm ready to see what lies ahead.

(Lyrics are taken from Rush's Marathon.)