Thursday, September 30, 2010

whatever I've got, I've got no reason to guard

thrashing, turning in my sleep
towards a door I yearn to open
turning away because I'm yet unsure

Cohesion. It's coming, but it's coming slowly. This break was monumental, spun me from my moorings, sent me sinking to the deeps in uncharted element and space. I could have pulled a quick patch job and been back on my feet in two weeks, but I wouldn't have been stable for long.

It had to be now. Else I would have broken again, and at likely some less convenient time.

spattered ink on crumpled pages
painstakingly smoothed time and again
spattered ink like arterial spray across linen
vivid and disorganized

I could have done that, though. I could have pretended, I could have tossed it off, no worries, no observed pain. I have a phenomenal social face. It works wonders.

But these days I'm trying to play by someone else's rules, learning the reasons for them, incorporating them into my own, and--I genuinely think--becoming a better person in the process. Does that mean this work is easier?

No. In many ways it's harder, simply because I'm having to check myself, time and time again, from shortchanging my own heart and mind. That would be far worse than anything else that's gone wrong.

wanting and yet wanting not
fearing change and needing it
wanting far more than I've got
turning away, turning towards, turning away

The last thing I needed was another fault line. And do not mistake me--I was given the choice, and I made it freely, as it was given to me, free and without restrictions, placed with all seriousness of mind and heart into my outstretched hands.

Fast or slow. And I did not choose to speed the process.

fingers, palm, hand curving around the knob
warm, almost alive in my hand
from how many times I've taken this step forward
curved my free hand against the broken frame
and turning away to consider again

So it's taking the time it takes, and I am relearning myself as I gather each shard of the last self close, aligning it with the previous repair work to the structure. And I am observing the changes as they come in, fresh and dripping from that moment's realization of their existence.

I'm not always liking what I see.

simple decisions should never be this hard
I turn towards and turn again
half-spinning, falling through glitter and rust
night after night and day after day

I am needier now, far more insecure. I despise it in myself. I treat it as weakness until I pull my concentration clear of such self-deprecation. Of all the ways my personality could choose to reform, this is the aspect I understand least.

I am far warier, now, as well. I mistrust friends and enemies alike, associates and loves. I weigh everything for hidden meaning, seek out the razors in the silk; I've gone so far as to log in over the past several days to the grid, only to set myself immediately Busy and never lift another finger to type out an answer to anyone. I speak only when I force myself to socialize in any social grouping, local or grid-spanning.

This one I despise as well, but of the two, this one I believe will pass, given time.

when will I reach one less decision than I need?
when will I need one more decision than I have?

It's all about time, now. How I'm spending my time. What I'm getting done. How effective I am in my own life. I've given up on the business being a successful alternate revenue stream, but in a sense, that has freed my hand to practice what I want to do, what surfaces to the top level of the dream, so that I am creating what I want to see, not what I think will sell.

Once my head is fully integrated with that idea, I can start throwing out all unsuccessful designs and further clear my inventory.

until then I'm frozen in this indecision
in this moment of turning away
and turning towards

Still. Something has to make way in me. Needing approval, and mistrusting any offered praise or understanding is just as much a recipe for future implosion as any thing else.

(But then, I reflect--perhaps it's a perfect illustration of my own understanding. Perhaps I'm clingy and needy only with one, and wary and mistrusting with the other. Then, it must needs come down to, at some point, the minds and hearts of the gentles in question.

(But oh, I am tired of anxieties in the dark. And I grow weary and wearier still of judging motives. Some nights, I just want to exist, not to second-guess, not to keep pace with the challenger of all my actions.

(Isn't that enough, after all? Isn't that what love's supposed to be? The phrase goes: Home is where, when you go there, they have to take you in...but maybe that's part of the problem. I no longer trust home...)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

freedom spins you out of control 'til someone chokes you with a chain

[06:13 PM] Kaye Robbiani: a customer bought a box of textures, from my texture store, then sent me a notecard to complain that there was nothing in the box but pictures!
[06:13 PM] Thrice Skyward: A customer who actually read her instructions?
[06:13 PM] Thrice Skyward: Lol.
[06:14 PM] Hope Dreier: OMG
[06:14 PM] Kaye Robbiani: she would appreciate my prompt attention to the matter.
[06:14 PM] Damian Delacroix: That's classic. :)
[06:14 PM] Fatima Ur: LOL kaye, thats funny
[06:14 PM] Damian Delacroix: SLAge of this person?
[06:14 PM] Alix Stoanes chuckles. that "picture" of customer service paints a thousand words
[06:14 PM] Sphynx Soleil: what did xie think xie was getting?
[06:14 PM] Kaye Robbiani: 2 years! not a noobie
[06:14 PM] Damian Delacroix: WoW. x_x


Now, as amusing as this is, this speaks to a basic disconnect with building, SL instruction, and the caliber of people on SL these days.

[06:17 PM] Kaye Robbiani: it was wreath and floral textures, probably thought she was getting wreaths and bouquets

Likely, but still. There is a deep disconnect between the making of things, and the viewing of things, in Viewer 2. And sure, she was two years old, this clueless lass, but that's no guarantee that she spent those two years in SL. A great many people try SL for a while, get bored, wander off...months or even years later suddenly realizing they might still have an account, so they log back in to see if things have changed.

Still. This is dimmer than average.

[06:21 PM] Sphynx Soleil: if they're using viewer 2 they probably are shuffled away from "this is how you do things"

That's also true, too, but even so; even folks who can't spell and do nothing but shop know about building, whether or not they do it.

This just brings me back to the point of, it is relentlessly ill-conceived to allow people to log into SL and wander around with no instructions given whatsoever. SL has a high learning curve, even now; two years in, while I'd figured out the basics, I was just starting to learn building; four years in, I'm still struggling trying to figure out scripting.

This lass likely felt some smooth-talking Victorian had scampered with her coin, in return for nothing but pictures of the wreaths she wanted to purchase to decorate her home.

Puts me in mind of the old SLX offerings of "box kits" where people would literally sell plain, plywood created prims. And other people would buy them.

This was in a store named DeTHGRiP:

Donald the Duck,Disney,playground,weirdness,media,virtual Worlds,Second Life

I have no words. We move on, stunned by the mallet of circumstance.

Why Minecraft speaks to people so powerfully. Or at the least, why such a simple game creates its own archetypal narrative structure. (And, for more intriguing Minecraft storytelling, try Towards Dawn...the tale of a miner who stopped mining.)

Or, put more simply, sometimes it's not about the great new thing--sometimes it's just about the story. In this light, if the PR department can figure this out in time (which will be difficult now that Catherine Linden left the Labs, though a case can be made that she was part of the problem in the first place), Second Life has one of the simplest storylines ever:

Live.

It doesn't get simpler than that.

Friday, September 24, 2010

untrained, you never shut up; needs keep you empty

me: Okay, back from fetching tea things
Gwynn: Mmmm tea
me: *grins*
me: We found some Mystery Tea today!
Unlabeled bags in a drawer
Gwynn: ........O.o I am afraid, yet intrigued.
me: We wrote Keemun on one--our best guess--and we think the other one is black currant
Gwynn: hehe
I threw away tea yesterday o.o
Two boxes
One was Yerba Mate CRAP
and the other was an "eggnog" tea
OHOH
I HAVE TO BREAK YOUR BRAIN
me: eggnog
tea
gah
And oh?
Gwynn: ok so you know I do the collectible/breedable pet thing right?
me: Yes...
Gwynn: THIS just wandered in as a WIP from a shop I frequent. http://i178.photobucket.com/albums/w246/8477777/archeron_swirly_WIPCHANGES.jpg
DASKLJDSLKAJFLKDFJSLFJDSLFKJDKSLAFJ
DSKL WHYYYYYYY?!?!?!?!?
EIGHT mother fucking WINGS
A DRAGON tail
FUCKING backwards FANGS
BOOTS ONNA MOTHER FUCKING HORSE
WHY DOES A HOVED ANIMAL NEED A FUCKING STAFF?!
Gwynn: kjdfalkdjsalkdjaskl
me: WHY do you bid on these things?!?!
Gwynn: It's not mine
I'm friends with the colorists
This is what one of them HAS to color/draw
Normal ponies are this: http://scienceismy.rampantobsession.com/Entropy/SOQTEMP/Darmison_ADULT02.png
I seriously think I felt braincells die
me: Daaaaamn


This had to be preserved. For...pony solidarity, or...something like that. Whoever wants that mutant thing? First of all, hates horses...even fantasy ones...but second of all, has not even a rudimentary understanding of basic anatomy...

Onward.

"In Tamagotchi versus Second Life, I'll go with Tamagotchi."

There's a brilliant point in this article, which might be getting lost in hype were it not for Minecraft catching on. There are those referring to it as the "Second Life killer", which I don't believe for a minute, but there is something to be said for the fact that the less impressive the graphics are, the more real actions in the space feel. Hence Farmville. Hence, when it comes down to it, checkers, the ultimate lo-fi game. Sketch out a board on the ground, find pebbles in two shades, you can play if you know the rules. Or Tablero--granted, there are fancy carved boards and artfully etched shot glass sets for Tablero, but really, when it comes down to it, you can do it on a picnic table with a chalked-out board, gathered cups or glasses, and whatever's on hand to drink--be that water, sports drinks, tea, beer, or hard spirits.

The point of play, this article says, is nothing to do with the games we choose to play. It's the connection between us, which is part of why we look for the next big thing (we bore easily), but also why some games catch on and hold on--like Farmville, like Second Life, like World of Warcraft, like Fallen London. We want adventure, but we're comfortable with habit. Give us a game that gives us both these things, and we sign up in droves. And, along the way, it allows us to see ourselves, and our interactions with others, in an entirely different light than our daily lives allow.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

you tell me your blue skies fade to grey, you tell me your passion's gone away

Can you be divorced (at least, on the SL scale) without ever being involved? Apparently, yes. Let that be a cautionary tale for the rest of us.

Who didn't see this coming? (Tip of the hat to Miss Kamenev, who noticed it first.)

"Well, Western civilization, what do you expect when you go barging in the front door of other nations’ homes haughtily telling them how to run their affairs?" He's got a point there. Sadly, the blog seems to have died, though the archives are still up.

I've been pondering this a bit lately--the concept of virtual monuments. Nikk Hewitt's Tribute Island has long since passed away, though I doubt I'm the only avatar who remembers it fondly. But today, news surfaced that the man behind Adric Antfarm has passed on. (I would second Mr. Habana's plea to get in touch with him if you have items of personal relevance--I only knew him in passing, so I'm not the one to ask, but spread the word.)

I suppose it all comes down to the individual, as with most things. There is nothing wrong in mourning deeply, there is nothing wrong in mourning lightly, after all. But I know that some people seem to believe "virtuality" is wholly divorced from "reality", and I believe the two are more intertwined than many might think. After all, our ability to dream, to envision, to plot and plan, to theorize--all of that is in the realm of the virtual, is it not? But that selfsame ability to theorize, to write down, to dream--poem or play, song or patent, even the perfect way to describe the antecedent charging fan on the X5-27A--all of that was invisible, intangible, until written down, scripted, acted, reenacted, copied, pasted, sent in, published...right?

So why do we think it's somehow less "real" if it's virtual? Because nothing virtual stays? That's definitely true, but the same can be said of stone monuments. Through weathering, storms, or simple human ignorance, reality is prone to the same issues as virtuality.

And what we do not see, we have a tendency to forget.

But then, part of that is how we're wired, isn't it? We cherish those around us because they become extended family; it is how our earliest communities worked. We fear those from farther away, because we do not know them; they are strange to us and therefore they are not us, and can be attacked, driven out, refused--because in the earliest tribes, the stranger at the gate deserved nothing.

In this sense, however--in the virtual realms--we are, all of us, strangers at someone's gate. And everyone we meet has that choice before them--accept, or refuse? Virtuality gives us more tools to embrace or deny, but they are no less enhancements of what we already know, how we already interact.

Or, put a slightly different way, while we can be more than we are online or on the grid, we are still what we are--and what we are never changes unless we decide to change.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

it's just that wild old wind that tears us all apart

Massively takes on a common assumption among resentful gamers, the phrase Free to play is pay to win. I--as they--take issue with this statement, but I'm trying to deconstruct it rationally.

So let's take Runes of Magic as an example, since it's what I used to play when I don't play SL. Runes of Magic is very much typical of the breed--free to play, free to download, free to wander through the world, cash shop for mini-transactions.

* Mounts:

Can you buy mounts (horses, ferrets, snow berhu, tigers, whatever) through the cash shop? Yes. Are there other ways to get them? Also yes. Will riding from place to place improve time spent in the game? Definitely. Is it game-altering; for example, will owning a mount be the difference between one level and another? No.

* Weapons:

Can you buy weaponry through the cash shop? Yes, but none of them are very good, and certainly few of them are game-changing.

* Equipment:

Can you buy armor? Absolutely. Are there other ways to get armor? Yes, but it requires tons of gold for the good stuph. Can you buy gold? No. Can you buy diamonds and turn those diamonds into gold? That answer's interesting. It used to be: yes. So anyone with a trust fund and a yen to succeed could have the Best Armor EVAR and outclass those around them.

Then Korean and Chinese data-farmers got involved in the game. Over the year that they've been joining, and trying to woo people into trying their services, the Runes staff has gone from intolerant, to impolite, to lethal. At this point:
* use a gold-for-cash service external to the game, your account is banned. No appeal.
* use a gold-for-cash service to buy things on the Auction house, your account is banned. No appeal.
* use a diamonds-for-gold exchange service to buy things on the Auction house, your account is banned. No appeal.
* Buy diamonds for use in the game with a credit card: you cannot use those to buy items in the Auction house. No exceptions.
* Get diamonds through answering consumer surveys: you cannot use those to buy items in the Auction house. No exceptions.
* Get diamonds through purchase of an authorized diamond card: you can use those to buy items in the Auction house, BUT you cannot sell diamonds on the Auction house.
* Offer up diamonds, gold or unlocked clean rune stones for sale in world chat, and if you are noticed, your account is banned. No appeal.
* Buy diamonds, gold, or unlocked clean rune stones offered for sale in world chat, while it's not automatic, if someone's paying attention, your account is banned. No appeal.
So, for the most part, there's not a lot of buying-in taking place, now. There are people who have the best armor and the best weapons, and some of them are doing it illegally, and by and large there's so many accounts in Runes, the mods don't notice. These people are in the minority, though. Most people who have the really spiffy armor sets worked their asses off to get them.

It does become--as so many MMOs do--a money game for higher levels, which is another reason I'm not as highly involved, these days. If you have the gold to throw at the Auction house for clean rune stones, and the gold to buy good equipment with the stats you want to combine with those rune stones, you can get some incredible armor out of it. And frankly, without that incredible armor, you're pretty much toast against some of the higher-level bosses.

Still, even with that, you can manage a good many fights just by going on all the quests, going on all the daily quests, and leveling up that way, enhancing the armor you're given along the way. It's slower, sure; but it can be done.

I hold the invitation in my hand

(Update: There's a better explanation of what's actually going on with LLKDU on the Imprudence blog.)

No KDU for you! Now, this is significant because--as a matter of course--the KDU file acquisition system is faster for texture loading. But that was the main thing that sunk Emerald--beyond the DDoS attack, beyond the griefer associations, beyond Gemini/CDS and Copybot complaints, they ripped off the KDU file structuring from the Labs.

Now the Labs are making it plain this won't be happening anymore.

There is early news that the OpenJPG system Kirsten uses is faster than regular OpenJPG loading files; it's still not as fast as KDU, but it's faster than the standard. Download Kirsten's (if you can run it) and check out if the texture loading makes it more worthwhile for you.

Welcome to Hair Fair 2010, sim 1 of 4! Please enjoy exploring this Hair Fair sim, all builds are phantom to ease the lag.

So, finally was able to drag myself through Hair Fair, but this drop-down raised a few questions. Does making builds phantom really ease lag? How? Don't they still get downloaded by the client like anything else?

Currently--though I haven't voted for it--I am tentatively in favor of this JIRA request passing. But I still hold back, a bit, because--even though things are explained logically, dispassionately, and feature graphical mock-ups--there's still more than enough wiggle room for the Lindens to screw it up.

Letters were being called for the Caverna Obscura store chairs

[07:23 PM] 1veta Baccarin: B & J.
[07:23 PM] Trishy Bookmite: ---------
[07:23 PM] Trishy Bookmite: i will keep all comments to myself on that one
[07:24 PM] 1veta Baccarin: =^.^=
[07:25 PM] 1veta Baccarin: Got to love a business jet.
[07:28 PM] Trishy Bookmite: lol
[07:28 PM] soft Pawpad: why is it called blow


Not that this needed an answer, but it has to do with the shape of the lips, Miss Pawpad. As if one were, per se, about to blow something out...or whistle. Or give an extremely exaggerated kiss.

WE MOVE ON.

Who's next to go Free to Play? MMORPG has a list.

And yes, this was mostly just a links-and-oddity post. I'm still not over Hair Fair yet. And I never managed to make it to EMO-tions and get their Crystal hair offering, so I haz a sad.

But it is a small sad, and soon, I will be up to my ears in haunted houses. Along with figuring out how to haunt TWO parcels (the third doesn't count, it has year-round fog already).

I'm thinking--if I can get the building done in time--of actually putting up a haunt myself. I had fun the year I did that in Rivula...

(And no, I don't have anything planned for This Year's Hunt. I'm running out of time for that, too.)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

with green eyes and blonde hair, she wasn't wearing underwear

Apparently, there's a new way to view comics online--with the whole of the internet available to comment on them. Some of the comment placement dots are more than a little...iffy...too, if you ask me.

Is it a good idea? I do not know. Is it funny? On several occasions. Maybe that's the point.

With little time to the end of things (Hair Fair closes at midnight tonight), I now present to you, LALA Moon, and what may be the lamest demo box ever. You'll see what I mean.

Hair Fair,hair,Wigs for Kids,Second Life

La Perm in Black. (See? Not only is there a HUGE demo box attached over the top of this hair--you can see that on the larger image--but there's also a weirdly tilted semi-halo over the actual hair. Someone is really, really paranoid that people are going to wear this and not realize it's a demo. Or something.)

Hair Fair,hair,Wigs for Kids,Second Life

Maine Coon (yes, they named a hair Maine Coon) in Ash Beige. At least they only had the demo rings as rings around bits of the hair...

Hair Fair,hair,Wigs for Kids,Second Life

This was a strange demo anyway. The front of the hair does not seem to go with the back of the hair, at all.

Photobucket

Persian in Classic Olive. And back to the tilted demo halo.

[08:05 PM] Emilly Orr: Very true. And 'Classic Olive'? I must know.
[08:06 PM] Emilly Orr: This is Olive?
[08:06 PM] Sphynx Soleil: sorta vaguely
[08:06 PM] Emilly Orr: This is BLONDE


More to the point, olive or not, this is the strangest hair texture I've ever seen in Second Life. And that says something.

Photobucket

Ragdoll in Ash Red, and, while I profoundly disagree that there's any red in this, it's a reasonably pretty doll/child style, or even for young wards in vintage environments. It doesn't move, but it doesn't have to; the braids are short enough they don't clip through the shoulders; all in all, this one's well done.

Photobucket

This is Ryusei in Classic Emerald; short, choppy, messy, but not too bad. It's not emerald, it's closer to a teal, but for all of that, it's attractive enough.

Photobucket

And finally, Ryusei in Blond Flaxen, with Ryusei Flexi Parts in Blond Flaxen.

[08:12 PM] Sphynx Soleil: ok, ready for the next one
[08:13 PM] Emilly Orr: This is another of those 'extra hair' things
[08:13 PM] Sphynx Soleil: as in, you just added a piece and not a whole new style?
[08:14 PM] Emilly Orr: well, wore it in the color the parts demo was in

For all of me, I've seen this alone, and I've seen this with the additional 'parts' piece, and...it doesn't add that much, so I'm confused.

They are found in Hair Fair 1.

Friday, September 17, 2010

forty seven dead beats living in the back street

So, lacking the ability to work on upcoming designs, or even log in some evenings, it's reduced a lot of what I'm able to do in and around SL. I've been going through the What the Fug blog's Flickr group, and I have determined several things.

1. Fetish is fun, but don't overdo it. Seriously, unless dancing at a latex club or wandering some back corner of Zindra, the time to be full-on latex with the blow-up doll lips is never going to be when shopping for hair, or non-fetishy shoes, or...I mean, seriously, if I'm in latex head to toe, how am I even trying on demos??

2. Roleplay clothing is fine--in roleplay sims. I'm not saying it shouldn't be made--gracious, several designers would weep bitter tears if they had to stop making what keeps them in business. People buy clothing for rp because it comes in handy, and sometimes, you just can't have too many torn damsel-in-distress layers to put on!

How'ver, if you're wearing your "I just got attacked by a biker gang, oh how will I get home with my virtue intact?" best while perusing Danish modern furniture, something's more than a little off.

3. Learn proportions, and use them properly. Like as not, most people--including the ones in that photograph--really have no clue what the sliders mean. Please, for the love of all you hold holy--for the love of all I hold holy--learn what they mean! The grid has more than enough seven-foot booberific wannabe Amazons with spray-on tans littering the lesbian zones; don't add to the saturation.

4. Going back to fetish for a moment...while yes, I realize, SL is fully virtual, so you can wear every little tacky thing your heart desires because it's your world and you can so do that...don't. Like prim boobs, for instance. If you're going to wear them, there are ways to wear them well (I know, I have a friend who nearly lives in prim boobs. She shops at Ravishing Racks nigh-religiously, and she ensures that the skin on the boobs matches the skin on the rest of her). That girl? Didn't even have them adjusted properly, let alone tinted to match her skintone (mentioned in the comments: from the side she looked as if she was sprouting a second, larger pair of breasts from her first pair).

5. Don't shop naked. Just don't. It's never a good idea.

6. Pursuant to the above, if you simply must be naked in a public setting, don't wear a male skin. Especially if you're wearing breasts that big. In a lesbian club.

7. This may be covering already-covered territory, but it must be said--if a lady (*coughs*) can't see over her breasts, they are too large. Ditto if her pants end at mid-hip.

8. I'm beginning to think any variation of cut-offs should just be abolished. Especially when worn with tramp-stamp tattoos.

9. Child avatars--must I mention this?--should be dressed as goddamn children. Can we please at least agree on that point?

What that means, in realistic terms: no fishnets, no nipple tape, no heavy makeup, no black leather, no face/body piercings, no tattoos--unless your life's ambition is to reproduce in avatar form a Thai prostitution ring. (Though, if that's your life's ambition...that rather defaults to roleplay clothes, and what not to wear outside rp zones, doesn't it?)

10. This might go back to the don't-shop-naked one, but seriously--even in the club environment--is it ever a good idea to dribble semen? The sad thing is, that's not the only time I've seen that--I saw a rather overenhanced lass with a rigid attachment that...leaked...in Gritty Kitty, while we were running CSR two years back. Why some people feel compelled to expose their privates, not in private...mystifies me.

11. This again, goes back to the tragedies of jeans, on occasion, and I know this pic is eighteen months old, but the problem is, there are still people making side-hip jeans. And they still look just as ridiculous. Don't do it.

12. There's so much wrong with this picture, but I want to focus on sliders again for a minute. Even if you're trying for Playboy proportions, it's proportionate; I know sliders are hard to figure out, I know that, but it's a visual--you slide one category up, you can see your avatar change. This is not rocket science.

13. Again, this neon nightmare is from 2009, but it points up a good rule: shading is important. Especially in the post-sculpt world, shading, shadowing, fabric draping--we need to learn these things and we need to understand them and we need to ditch the outfits that don't have them--unless they are so completely stunning, that the lack of texturing really doesn't matter (and honestly, the only thing I own that I think qualifies from 2008 and back is a black velvet sheath dress with mesh inserts--because the shading? Would likely also be black....).

14. Lastly, a comment about attachments--and I'm not specifically talking about those attachments: they, also, must be in proportion to everything else. If your ears are bigger than your head? They're too big. If your tail is longer and wider than your leg, unless you're Godzilla, shrink that thing. About the only one on the grid making avatar attachments that are oversized and stylish is Vendom. If you're not wearing her stuph, size it down.

So, what have I learned tonight? People have crazy ideas in their heads about what's appropriate--or even realistic--regarding shapes and skins. A lot of the adults behind child avatars have crazy ideas about what makes up an accurate child. People have insane ideas regarding what's appropriate to be seen in in public.

But are we surprised? Seriously? Because this is Second Life, right? Where the id hangs out and every broken concept in the minds of kith and kind explodes into vivid and realistic color, shape and form.

One should feel grateful, I suppose, that it's not worse, I suppose...

when you're buried in disguise, by the dark glass on your eyes

haunting,creepy,Hallows,Samhain
"She herself is a haunted house. She does not possess herself; her ancestors sometimes come and peer out of the windows of her eyes and that is very frightening."
--from
The Lady of the Haunted House, by Angela Carter
Autumnal winds reach out from the coming season of bonfire and masks. I have walked through spring's deceptions and summer's calumny, and now face the change to the season of offerings, to the dead and the not-dead, and pledging to speak to those who have passed from autumn's glory past, to autumn's crisp return.

We are fragile creatures, ever. We will some day die, fade, be replaced. We are none of us eternal. Never.

That's not the point.

I am still slowly, so slowly, rebuilding my matrix. There have been changes; these are generally expected, for change always comes with rebuilding. I am more wary, now, and less prone to laughter, more prone to flinching away. Even my intimates have noticed. I am not the person I was.

What I have left to discover is if I can understand and accept the person I am becoming.


I ponder again, unasked, unbidden. I have stranded out silk enough to cobweb skyscrapers; I have threaded enough to sew quilts to cover bridges spanning the widest crevasse; doled out enough rope to string hammocks and swings between all the pinnacled towers of modernity. All for that one.

Victorian,photography,child,skull,Samhain,creepy,Hallows

I have tried not to enshrine any new behavior, to observe only and move on, for I know foundation is more important than façade. It must be. And it must be solid and steadfast, laid slow, built upon slow. No rushing this time. This is not a patch job, this is pouring a new base, and smoothing it flat.

Second chances become third chances, and fourth, and fifth. Enough to fill the Laurentian Abyss, and more. And yet, there is always the push. The angle. The search for that loophole in every restriction. I grow weary waiting for each coming attempt.

This much I know: I am the biggest obstacle in my path. And if I am to learn, to grow, to invent and create, I must involve myself in what I do, work from the heart and not the mind. Both are needed; but again, I must do the deep work and do it with my heart open. It is hard, the skin is still so tender, I can be easily hurt--but perhaps that's part of the process, too.

I am very nearly at the point where I must simply ask: what is the correct option? If there is too much restriction, what would encourage comfort? If there are too many rules, then what would encourage good behavior?

haunted,Samhain,Hallows,creepy,alien,girl

I see endings ahead but that is the way of the bone season. This is decay and must, this is mold and unraveling. This is the collapse into the slow, steady chill, when the heart stops and the flesh sleeps. Before refuge is found, once more, this is that moment where one knows refuge is needed, and begins the search. This is the moment when all things that are not necessary are scraped away, burnt away, frozen away. Skin flays, muscles shrivel, organs rot.

Bones remain.

This is the collapse of the organic, into component parts, so that after life stops--or subdues--life can continue elsewhere, in the smaller creatures that each carry a bit of warmth away from those who fell. This is the moment of wood and ash, crackling flames, the sweetness of the final harvest. This is the place before the embracing stillness of winter; the moment before the deep freeze sets in.


Can I even ask these questions? Or will asking be the pin pulled from the machinations of the inevitable? Will anything prevent disaster, at this point?

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This is fall, called so for more than one reason, and it is the time to step from safe spaces and see if there are any horrors left in the dark.

Because, willing or no, autumn comes. Willing or no, I must face them.

Because it's time.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

oh say, can you see my eyes? if you can, then my hair's too short

Follow the tragic history of five of the shortest-lived MMOs, with an update for the latest--APB.

There are other meanings for wau! I had no idea. So this actually means when I'm impressed by something, I'm saying "Kite!"? Weird.

Now, more Hair Fair stuph.

First. this from the official Hair Fair blog--it's not active SLUrls (for that you have to go here) but between the top-down map pics and the SLUrls, you should be able to find anything you need at Hair Fair quickly and easily.

Second, I covered Gwendolyn Cassini Designs, and she was pointed to the blog:
[10:31] Gwendolyn Cassini: Hey there Emilly, I just found your blog post about my Hair Fair hairs. Thank you so much for posting them. And doing a great job in posing in the demo's :) Let me send you a bloggers pack of my hair fair hairs :D"
So I logged into world a tad bit earlier than planned. Back to the white box we go!

So this is Abigail in Autumn:

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As you can see, out of the box it was nearly perfect.

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I adjusted all of five prims, all over the ears (two on one side, three on the other). It modifies easily (and yes, this was by Edit, not scripting).

Abigail clocks in at 105 prims; not low-lag hair, but reasonable enough.

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Here's Beatrice in Granny Grey (I can't help it; I LIKE grey hair!). I adjusted four prims--two in Edit, over the ears (one on each side), one side of the headband, and I expanded and drew forward one of the ringlets on the right. And that is ALL I did.

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The side where I moved the ringlet--that one ringlet might need to come forward a bit more, but for a quick-fire adjustment, it's not bad and absolutely wearable.

Purchases of Beatrice donate half of all received funds to Wigs for Kids. The hair itself clocks in at 65; significantly less primmy and (as I said in the first entry) easily worn in more vintage/ancient sims.

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This is Cadence in Burgundy (and yes, I know; from this angle my shoulder's eating my dress. Hush), and I tried Black and Platinum before this to verify--Cadence does move (and now that I'm thinking about it, Beatrice might as well).

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At this point, Cadence is unadjusted. Note, out of the box (for my head), there's a little ear bleedover.

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And here's after adjusting five prims by a small amount. Ear perfectly exposed, neck bared slightly, no visible hair oddity.

Cadence clocks in at 168 prims; on the higher side, but it's also perfect for doll skins/looks, and who doesn't go high-prim for doll attachments? All those lace and ruffles, after all...

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Dakota in Goldilocks. (Do not ask me why I'm staring at my bangs. I do not know.) Dakota alphas terribly against the all-glow all-the-time skybox. But around this time I tracked down the Colour Picker HUD, also included in the review pack. The HUD handily changes the color of any attachments on the hair--in Dakota's case, it changed the barrette to an amazing variety of colors. From there you could pull it into Edit, make it shine, make it glow--whatever. Very nice touch.

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This is Dakota in Blue Wash, with a slightly different angle. If one is careful, this would barely alpha at all, and I'm still bemused by the gradations in length. It's flexi hair, it does move, and beautifully. It also clocks in at 98 prims, which is again in the reasonable-for-detailed-hair range.

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Ella in Aubergine was next. Straight out of the box, no adjustments. The bouffant-like bang frill is...odd, but the rest is a charming relaxed bun.

Ella is only 40 prims. Very nearly Hair Fair hair. :)

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And then there's the unisex shaved-side pony, Zahari. I think I wore the copper demo in the first run, but I really like that shade. So here it is (maybe again). I also wondered about something...

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Now, I'm not saying anyone needs to do this, but here is future hair! Metallic strands (to cover the robotic brain between maintenance sessions), and power-reading bang strand and back ponytail, fiber-optically lined as a) external light source b) indication of system health c) heat venting system.

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You pick. :)

(And yes, I made a back-up copy of this hair.)

Zahari is 28 prims. 28 prims is very nearly negative hair, and I mean that in good ways--28 prims is lower than some skirts, some cloaks, most shoes. And it still looks this good. I'm impressed.

Additional comment from Miss Cassini:
I also put in my husbands latest free version of the well known *SRU* Resizer scripts. This one will only use 2 scripts in the root prim instead of in all prims. So that will safe you from lots of lag :)
Now that is very smart. That way, with only two scripts in one prim, there's no distinct need to strip the resizing options out and hope and pray you don't develop a yen for an avatar with a vastly bigger (or smaller) head. This could be a very good thing indeed.

And she doesn't script her hair and then send it out--these are mod/copy versions, no trans, but if you unpack the SRU scripting box, you will GET no-mod scripts that make the hair no-mod once they're installed, BUT will allow you to resize the hair--and, as she said, with only two scripts in the root prim to do it! This is a very good thing.

Thank you, Miss Cassini! I hope I did the non-demo versions justice.

And, because I'm trying to get in the habit:

Skin: Heartsick Illusion in Platinum (from the Platinum hunt).
Eyes: Miasnow Eyes, Soul Window set, in Rainbow (think the set of seven are still in her MM at her main store).
Dress: SD Vestige Dress in Sun, a lovely autumnal shade (not free).

Monday, September 13, 2010

and the sign said long haired freaky people need not apply

"Everything's amazing, and nobody's happy". He's so right. He said that back when Conan O'Brien had the show before he had the show he was fired from, but it's no less true now than it was then.

I even have a virtual equivalency--right now, at any hour that I'm awake, I can double-tap a little icon and have my computer process me into a completely digitized world. Where I can do anything. Where any of us can do anything.

And we bitch about lag and problems in group chat.

We can talk to people three thousand MILES from us, as if they were sitting next to our chairs!

We just don't get it. We're surprisingly spoiled as a culture.

[06:17 PM] Emilly Orr: Oh, you're kidding me
[06:17 PM] Sphynx Soleil laughs
[06:17 PM] Sphynx Soleil: as if the GIANT BOX OF DOOM wasn't enough of a clue...

[06:17 PM] Emilly Orr: Do we really need to be able to see the demo box from SPACE?


Up next, Gwendolyn Cassini Creations:

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This is Abigail in Charcoal. Standard (by now) messy updo, but Gwendolyn Cassini's strength is in the details, like the addition of the warrior braid down one side.

(Well, that, and she's a dab hand at Disney hair. But we move on.)

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She also does asymetry nicely, as you can see by the other side of Abigail.

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And Beatrice in Wine, which, if it's truly wine, is a blush Zinfandel at best. Possibly a pink champagne. But again, nicely done, interesting, and could fulfill an updo need, along with a vintage hair need (ish, but you could likely get away from this Roman to Victorian...in a different shade).

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And Cadence in Pink. This is a fun, fun shade, and the hair's also a fun style; I like the feel of the ringlets, and even though they're frozen in place, they look like they should move. Perfect for anything from perky sidekick to ditzy secretary to precise doll.

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>Dakota in Sunshine. Eh, it doesn't do tons for me, but the shine is impressive as hell.

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And Zahari (unisex) in Charcoal. Miss Cassini doesn't make many mens' styles, and even fewer styles with shaved sides. But this looks good.

They can be found in Hair Fair 3.

in the streets of San Francisco, gentle people with flowers in their hair

[***WARNING*** Comments on this post are being monitored, and not by me. If you are a member of the ADA Texture group on InWorldz--whatever name it's going by this second--then you may be evicted from the group due to Adaarye Shikami's noting of your name as commenter here. If you feel the urge to say something anyway, I would recommend you post anonymously. I will remove my restrictions on anonymous posting after I update this and the current post.]

So, I was exposed to the concept of sticky gum as a fetish over on Nic Buxom's blog, and I pored over some other mentions to try to get an idea of the attraction...but this one? Looks like a horror movie.

(And no, surprisingly--nothing is NSFW. Everyone's fully clothed. Just...stuck.)

The comments to this JIRA entry are fascinating. Pro-polyamory, anti-polyamory, anti-MARRIAGE, pro-technical schemas for listing, anti-technical constraints...I voted for it, but wau, I'm honestly not sure, based on the comments, what would win out for implementation, so I'm not sure I would ever use such a system.

Reflecting back on an old post from July, I am mindful of Miss Shikami's likely still dead-set-against the 'freebie disease' and sales groups. And I am thinking over this, once more.

Since July, I have:
  • joined three new subscribe-o-matics and one new in-world group, and bought things at all four new stores, because I liked their sales items;
  • spent L$500 on a full-sale object at one of them, because I was in the store anyway looking for the sale item;
  • spent almost L$400 on items I didn't especially need, because a maker I like was having a sale, and I like to encourage sales;
  • spent over L$3000 on textures at a texture house because I'd stopped in to check over their half-off wall, and didn't find what I wanted there.
But sure, Miss Shikami. You keep right on thinking sales don't work. Obviously, they don't--for you.

Next up, *Filigreemotion* and ~Fadeless~ (they don't seem to have a main store):

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We start with Christine in Brick (Black-Tipped). This is a thoroughly messy, razor-cut braid look, and one of the few sculpted hairstyles I think I'd ever wear, because beyond the texturing (which is phenomenal), even being a still life it looks as if it's moving.

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This is Holly in Blonde (Red-Tipped). Not as pleased with this one (though the braided coronet is a nice touch); note the clipping through the avatar as to why.

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This is Jessica in Soil. Uh...yeah, we'll just move on.

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And the short choppy Senna in Wine rounds things off.

The first two (definitely the first one) have potential; the second two are unimpressive. So...B- for effort?

They can be found on Hair Fair 3.

I'm only holding your hand so I can look at your bangs

Wonderful news! Well, for other people.

The Fab Free blog has just put up an entire list of all the people participating in Hair Fair, and direct SLUrls to their locations in Tent City. There are also four posts listed at the bottom that cover all the Hair Fair hair gifts this year.

So why is this a sort-of good news thing? Because that means I'm still plodding through posting on my own. I may well give up--Hair Fair does end at some point, after all--but we'll see how it goes.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled internetting.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

like your shoes, love your hair

[***WARNING*** Comments on this post are being monitored, and not by me. If you are a member of the ADA Texture group on InWorldz--whatever name it's going by this second--then you may be evicted from the group due to Adaarye Shikami's noting of your name as commenter here. If you feel the urge to say something anyway, I would recommend you post anonymously. I will remove my restrictions on anonymous posting after I update this and the current post.]

From the Soulless Productions group notice:
"Okay, so with SL being fucked lately, it has been nearly impossible to make any new shit. Between the crashing, not being able to upload, and the damn lag we don't have many releases atm."
Ordinarily, I do try to temper the cursing on this blog--not because I don't particularly curse, m'self (though I'm getting better), but because this is a blog--it conceivably has eyes from many cultures and many temperaments. (I do run the odd NSFW item, but I do try to warn folks, and after all, it is my concept of NSFW in the first place.)

That having been said, how'ver, this just seemed a perfect capsule description of Life in SL This Week: crashing is up, partial logins (where one logs in, but doesn't get full access to Lindens, group notices, or group chat, or cannot change skin/outfit/hair/eyes until 'shape has fully loaded'--most of you have had this happen) are up, lag is excessive, chat lag is even more noticeable, and we now have several reports of rubberbanding for builders (when you build something, and move it, and it moves back to the starting location, or you build something, and suddenly it moves several feet to several hundred meters away).

It's turning out to be a grinding September.

And Mr. Telling mentions an (all things considered) unsurprising change related to the July rant on ADA Textures mentioned only yesterday. He quotes their in-world (in InWorldz) group charter:
We no longer sell textures and sculpts .. sorry! We can't afford to sell them as low as some expect us to as we'd have many from other worlds coming here, buying them on the cheap, and returning to the other worlds to upload them. We have to charge a consistent USD value =(. Sorry!
What we are doing is selling the things we make with our collection CHEAP=) Dirt CHEAP! So the silver lining is, if you saw it over there, and you want it over here, chances are you can get it already built & for a song YAY
Fascinating. (And formatting and spacing exactly as given.) So let me get this straight:
  • ADA stopped allowing people to alter their fabric textures while at the same time stopping their sales of fabric textures.
  • ADA moved to InWorldz to set up a shop there, because they tired of people buying things in SL and importing them into InWorldz to build with.
  • ADA then stopped selling textures and sculpts in InWorldz, and only sold premade items--for fire-sale prices.
Do I have it right? A + B = going out of business soon?

Contrast this with Twisted Thorn Textures:
  • Nighty Goodspeed works for TRU.
  • She decides she wants her own store.
  • With the profits from that store, she buys her own sim.
  • She starts hosting half-off Fridays; people turn out in DROVES to buy textures (both full-price and sale-price).
  • She hosts a new event--which gradually becomes the nearly-weekly Courtyard Gift Exchange--where people who use her textures build things and offer them free for group members. People show up in droves. Some of these people start businesses, thus adding to SL's economy and diversity. Some others buy their own sims for those businesses to operate from, thus strengthening SL's infrastructure.
  • Other texture artists join her, and a second sim is added for furniture textures and premade furniture items (and amazing ones, at that).
  • A sculpt artist (who owns her own set of sims) and a sound artist (who makes textures herself) join her, and she makes room for them, and several others, making those two sims pretty much, for many purposes, one-stop shopping for everything but scripts.
  • She gathers the several artists together while they ponder rewriting their Terms of Service to allow what they can allow, to be used in InWorldz and other virtual worlds. Rather than react with fear and derision, she's doing what she can to embrace new virtual spaces.
Embrace your customers, get them involved, find out what they like and market to that, and you've got a winning solution. And that doesn't mean you can't create things that are tailored to your design aesthetic.

But of course, obviously other texture houses are doing the wrong thing and ADA's got the right answer. Pardon my unladylike snickercackling at that concept.

From Sanura Snowpaw, who's quite overwhelmed:
WOW
Wear Gray is being featured on the Second Life Destinations
http://secondlife.com/destination/wear-gray-day

It was also posted on the main Second Life facebook page.
http://www.facebook.com/secondlife

Our current totals are L$212,407

Thank you all, Sanura
She encourages you all to attend Wear Gray if you can. In addition to the vendors on the donated sim, she's got a L$20 hunt for skins, outfits, and items--each L$20 purchase gets you the hunt item, and drops 100% of the hunt price into Wear Gray's coffers, which, at the end of things, are entirely turned over to the American Brain Tumor Association.

Next up, Darker Side, but two brief notes before that. First, I have found a way to lower my productivity! (I'm so good at that.) The pic runs I'm having to download on the main keys because they're too big for the netbook's drive. (*coughs*)

Second, everyone remembers the sea of green, right? The Emerald takeover of the grid? I'm noticing just over the past few days it's becoming a sea of purple for all the new Imprudence users...

Wonder what colors Phoenix and Emergence have picked to identify under?

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But anyway, back to Hair Far. This is Entwined in Blonde, a sculpted, messy updo. No movement; no interest; moving on.

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[05:52 PM] Emilly Orr: Whoa
[05:53 PM] Emilly Orr: More sculpted tentacle hair
[05:53 PM] Sphynx Soleil: Snakes! Why'd it have to be snakes! oh wait, wrong movie... :)


This is Flow, in brown. And does it. The problem is, it flows like a glacier, frozen, immobile, and clips through the entire avatar doing it. This isn't even good photo hair.

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This is Victory in Auburn and...have we learned nothing, yet? All-sculpted hair is BORING unless it's a particular type of style that would be completely immobile on the head. And sure, I suppose a 1940's retro do would be that hairstyle, but...we've seen this already, long before now. Move on.

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And finally, Weave in Black. I seem not to have the larger of the full-length images uploaded (no idea what happened), but here, have a side shot:

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The length is nice, don't get me wrong. And I am not against braids, even though they don't move--made well, they work.

This is not made well. Worse, it looks disturbingly organic from the side, like the braid is unsubtly swelling somehow, and about to give birth to angry hair young.

This is the definition of DO NOT WANT.

They can be found in Hair Fair 4.

Eyes: Miriel Standard eyes in Platinum (no longer available)
Skin: Deviant Kitties Voodoo 08 in Monochrome
Outfit: Draconic Kiss Lolita Black Pearl (top); Skye Qi Vintage Emporium's "Anytime" Black Skirt, Floor-length (go here to see if she still has it, it's been INVALUABLE at times!)

Thanks, Sphynx, for all your help!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

stepping out of the grey day she came, her red hair falling like the sky

I was trying to track down lyrics from the B-52s, when I ran across this on a lyrics site:
"SORRY. OUR MUSIC DISCUSSION AND DISCOVERY COMMUNITY FORUM SECTIONS ARE BY FEDERAL COURT ORDER NOT ACCESSIBLE TO GENERAL PUBLIC CURRENTLY."
Seriously, people. How bad have things gotten for music, and the protection of same, when lyrics sites are given cease-and-desist letters? Come ON, now.

Unless it's something more drastic...

But we move on, to Discord Designs. It should come as no surprise, considering how often I'm seen in her hair, that I'm a fan of Kallisti Burns' styles. These are no exception.

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This is Ariadne, braids only option, in Berry. She'd mentioned she had some new braid sculpts a while back. Not sure if these are them but the styles are new, and wonderful. Trust me, you won't care that they don't move; again, they look like they could, plus, with this type of tight braiding even RL hair doesn't move.

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Ariadne, braids only, in Electric Blue. A little bit of asymmetry to the style.

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Ariadne, hair and braids, in Amphibian, showing you how it looks, braiding from the roots up.

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And Ariadne, hair and braids, in Eggplant.

From here we move on to dreads, and likely a male style, seeing as it's named "Don".

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This is Don in Amethyst. What I love about these is they really look like dreads. Dreads have a very unique texture--they take more work than you think to put together, and while they're low-care afterwards, they do need to be maintained to look good.

These? Look like that. They look good, and they look real.

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Don in Romaine. I can't believe she named a color after a lettuce leaf, but wau, I wouldn't know what else to call it.

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And because that was an odd shade, Don in Warm Brown, just to show you that it looks as good in hair-colored hair.

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The last two designs are both razor-cut bobs, very edgy, very lovely. This is Jeela in Light Blonde...

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And Jeela in Pillarbox Red, a really wonderful shade of blood auburn.

This is a style--especially in the red!--that Miss Neome would be at home in. It's very nearly her hairstyle now, save there's less chop in back. And there's this lovely swallowtail effect, almost, on the back of the head--I had pictures of it but I was rushing, so I don't think I kept them in putting this up.

Still. Very well played, Miss Burns. These are wonderful.

Discord Designs is on Hair Fair 4.

Jesse with the long hair hangin' down

Ah, Analog Dog, how I love and loathe thee...

Don't get me wrong, I practically live in Maddy and Milli some days. But some of their stuph alphas in the extreme now, and just looks unflattering. It's a case by case basis whether they're my beloved, or I want them to die on fire covered in irritated scorpions.

[06:50 PM] Sphynx Soleil: oh wau... flexi demo box!
[06:51 PM] Emilly Orr: Weiiiird

I'm kind of using that as an intro to my photographer for the next dozen-plus entries, Sphynx Soliel. Because taking intensive pics on the netbook is the definition of no fun.

I swear, if I ever get into making hair, I am soooo cribbing that and making my demo sign flexi.

(Actually, that's not so much idea-stealing--my product boxes used to be flexi. Boxes. That were flexi. It was like staring at a Yule gift made of Jell-O.)

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This is BAM! in Cocoa. She's either making it in much brighter colors, somewhere, or she's been watching waaaay too much Emeril.

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[06:52 PM] Emilly Orr: This is just...mental

And then...Bliss. This is Bliss in copper, and...I'm weirdly tempted to get this one. I could do nothing in it but hang out underwater or upside-down in trees, but...it's just too damned strange not to own.

This is it from the front, and...

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...this is Bliss from the back. Where it is just as strange.

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And then we hit Seraphena. For some reason, this year is HUGE on two-part hair. (No, I have no idea why.) This was another one.

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This is Seraphena (with the Sera Shoulder addition) in Mahogany, from the back.

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And then things start getting odd. This is a shot from the side...

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And a shot of the chin-clipping. I'd say this is a great pic hair, still photography hair, but it doesn't handle movement at ALL. Still, it doesn't--even when clipping through the chin--clip through the shoulder, which is actually good.

Don't move, and you'll look posh. Move, and you look wonky. There's a lesson in that...

They can be found on Hair Fair 4.