Thursday, May 31, 2012

and I've tried and tried, but it's taking me so long

City of Heroes launched Issue 23 today, which is literally jam-packed with new content in all directions: new Incarnate trials, new VIP and Premium content, an entire new play zone, and a new Free player channel, which many of us--both free and paid players alike--have been begging for.

See, when free play was introduced in CoH, free players couldn't IM people, couldn't email people, couldn't join supergroups, and couldn't talk in any channel beyond Help. This, naturally, reduced the honest and sincere questions that Help channel gets from time to time to so much pink noise--most of it grating and unnecessary in Help.

Now, there's the new Looking for Group channel, which can be clicked on to open, or simply use "/lfg" to pop it up. While this will also result in a lot of unnecessary pink noise in LFG, it should lessen the yammering in Help. Which is all we really wanted.

Of more import, free players can now be invited to Supergroups! Originally, this ban--like the ban on IMs and emails--was to prevent gold spammers from further infesting the game. (As soon as the Free-to-Play option was announced, we, like all other big MMOs, got INUNDATED with gold spammers. Or, in the case of their version of coinage, influence and infamy spammers.) Since most spammers are not at ALL interested in advancing past level one, getting an invite by proving you're a human, not a leech should be ridiculously easy.

Australian game channel GINX has released their Final Fantasy Guide to Hair--which is funny, surreal, and occasionally baffling. If you ever played any iteration of Final Fantasy, take five minutes and watch it. It's well worth your time.

So, I'm now using Niran's Viewer, because I loathe it less than any other V3-structured viewer, and because I've been struggling for the past three days simply to connect with Cool-VL. (And, considering I'm not male, and Mr. Beauchamp ignores any bug report sent to him from the distaff gender, it's not worth my time to send in a bug report he won't pay attention to anyway. Better to simply abandon the viewer as a waste of time. Why yes, I am bitter about this, why do you ask?)

There are a lot of different settings on Niran's I don't understand yet, though I'm working through them. I've managed--with the help of a concerned friend (read, "concerned" as "why are you screaming at me?") to get things more or less in working condition for me. (And in this case, read "working" as "I've effectively rendered part of Niran's crippleware, because I hate V3 viewers that much".)

Thing is, I don't have another option. My system isn't advanced enough for Exodus (though said concerned friend is trying to convince me to give it a try again); I refuse to use Firestorm (that's not going to change, ever); and I'd rather spoon our my own eyes than use the official viewer. (Seriously, I'm not exaggerating when I say that. Lindens, if you're listening, yes, the hash you made of the SL official viewer is so loathesome to me, I'd rather blind myself and leave Second Life forever than continue to play. I'm not sugar-coating this at all--V3 is that bad.)

But--in said partially-argumentative conversation last night--I did discover part of why I hate V3 with such a fiery vengeance. (Well, beyond the layout, the reconfiguration points, the sidebar, the top bar, the way movement works, the way changing clothes works, the difficulty in USING THE DAMN VIEWER IN THE FIRST PLACE--)

*ahem*

What I discovered was that only two things really make it a pass-or-fail option for me: and half of that conclusion comes from toasts and chiclets.

Here's why: while this no doubt is different for users of Linux or Mac systems, in PC systems, the stop-all-programs/emergency/alert notifications come in on the lower right-hand corner. Which means I am instinctually trained to drop everything and put my attention to whatever's popping up, because it--on Windows--means there's something DIRE going on.

The decision by Studio 8020 to spend part of the seven figures Linden Lab paid them on pushing standard, everyday "you got a thing"/"you're talking to someone" notifications into the lower right-hand corner--that emergency/alert/attend to this NOW! corner--means that as soon as I log into ANY V3 viewer--including Niran's--I am immediately enraged. I'm not even kidding. It's not even zero to bitch, it's zero to STAB MOTHERFUCKERS NOW, and part of that is because things are flashing in the lower right-hand corner, and I can't get them to stop.
Because in my head, I know that things in the lower right-hand corner are not a system stop emergency, but I feel like I have to drop everything and attend to them anyway, and it absolutely infuriates me every time. This results in one of two things happening. Either:

  • a), I do drop everything, then close each and every toast and chiclet I can close, thus missing out on all that information, or
  • b) I don't drop everything, because I know it's not important, and then things sit there and build up and keep flashing until I storm away from Second Life in a huff.

Again, not kidding, not exaggerating. That's what happens. Every single damned time. And while there are other reasons I hate V2/V3 viewers (oh, so many other reasons), that's the main one. That is the single issue that, if fixed, would result in far less stress on me, on those around me (because anyone who IMs me during one of these anger management breaks either gets ignored or yelled at), and far more time spent in-world rather than doing anything other than Second Life.

The same friend (poor, long-suffering soul) told me that I could just ignore the toasts, because they'd go away after a while. I just counted, standing in my skybox, how long it takes those notifications to fade. Eight. Seconds. And after those eight seconds have passed, and the actual notifications leave? I STILL HAVE THE LITTLE ENVELOPE STARING AT ME. Which does not, I repeat, NOT go away. EVER.

Until I attend to it.

Which means that, less than thirty seconds in on Second Life, and already my hands are shaking, I want to throw things, and I'm pretty much done for the day. It's insane. How hard is it to NOT HAVE THAT GODDAMN SETTING?

And don't get me started on how difficult, cumbersome, over-complicated and insane it is to join groups! I just want to JOIN A GROUP! GIVE ME THE GODDAMN JOIN TEXT! DIIIIIE!

I'm...going to go lay down now, and maybe sew something to something else. I think you all get the point.

And I've now set myself up for months of this crap, because I can't use any other reasonable alternatives, and because Henri's a bigoted ASS. On occasion, I hate my life.

And this is not a "steampunk" outfit. What the hell is wrong with people??

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

I might be better off closing my eyes

Back to the Marketplace JIRA? Why yes, for one mention. From Hurley Daxter:
Add mine to the mix too. Except, the listing that I have that are 'messed up' aren't items that I have in my magic box, nor in the MP inventory. And to add the topper of the darn thing... I used to sell teen shapes... Well wouldn't you know there's an ADULT themed picture to go right along with the teen shape that I don't even sell any more, and doesn't exist in my inventory listings. Ugh.
So I looked her up. This is what I found:

(from the bizarre album; both shape listings clearly with the wrong picture)

Both the "Quirky Curve Shape" and the "Quirky Bitty Shape" are clearly listed with the wrong pictures. Even better? When clicked, they default to the main Marketplace log-in page, which means that that's a dead listing. Neither the owner of the picture, nor the owner of the listings (two separate people) can alter this particular listing now. That's what's so damaging about this particular code glitch. (Well, that and it's been going on for two years now.)

But that's not the worst example. This is:

(from the bizarre album; a pic advertising a starburst on the right, black pasties in
the center, and a strap-on on the left hand side. Lovely.)

This is where it gets potentially very damaging to Quirky Designs. The "Black Star Pasties" pic on the "Quirky DipLow Shape" is bad enough, because it's clearly not a product picture of that shape. But to have the RLV-enabled strap-on set attached to something called the "Quirky Teen7 Shape"...yeah. That is going to cause problems.

And we already know those problems are coming, if she's not already getting hate mail over this. Why? Because some of the junior Lindens, not clued in to the fact that this is a Linden-created problem in the first place, are sending dunning take-down notices to merchants who have the wrong pictures for their products. She can't take this listing down; she has no control over that listing! She cannot alter it, delete it, or affect it in any way.

Yet some of the Lindens are still criticizing merchants who have the wrong pictures on their listings, or the wrong listing information. They haven't been told that these merchants can't change these listings.

But this particular glitch goes farther in Hurley's case. There are a few makers of teen shapes on the grid--Danika Design is one, Romi Skins makes both teen and child skins to go over teen and child shapes--search "teen shapes" on the Marketplace, you'll see what I mean.

Making and selling teen shapes--and teen skins, for that matter--is not the problem. Cult of youth, remember? Nearly everyone on the grid defaults to young and pretty, at least for the first steps out. The desire to be young is a strong one in this culture, for many people. So catering to that market is understandable.

But here the dreaded spectre of "ageplay" surfaces again. If what you're selling is a teen shape--even if you're designing it to fit standards of eighteen to nineteen, not thirteen or younger--then the last thing you want to do is connect that shape with a sexual device.

Yet, this is exactly what's happened. And who's going to get complaints from people who see that and freak out? Not the Lindens.

It remains completely baffling to me that this hasn't been solved yet. Two years of problems since converting over XStreet--which worked--to SL Marketplace--which has never worked right, and this is pretty much the icing on the cake--or the last shovel of dirt on the grave, depending. Businesses are going out of business left and right; many are converting over to Marketplace shops only, not knowing what tragically poor shape the Marketplace is in. And for every claim from CommerceTeam Linden that it's being fixed, everything's fine, this will resolve soon--we're still here.

So when will this be fixed, Lindens? Because as of now, you're not doing anything for your reputation every time word comes down that this patch is deployed and everything's all better now. Because it's not better. And it's still getting worse.

angels lie to keep control

[20:47] Lxxxxxxx Nxxxxxxxx: Does anyone happen to know the rules on Adfarming?
[20:48] Lxxxxxxx Nxxxxxxxx: Some jerk just put up a six story bilboard right next to my house in the way of my build
[20:49] Mxxxx Dxxxxxx: you want to check on the covenant of your property; if you own it or check with your land agent with the estate if its that sort of arrangement
[20:49] Lxxxxxxx Nxxxxxxxx: It's mainland no covenant


It always surprises me that mainland has no covenent provisions. Of course it has covenant provisions; it's Linden-owned land! It's governed by the Community Standards and the Terms of Service provisions. But, since none of that is written down under About Land, the assumption is that there's zero covenant provisions.

[20:51] Lxxxxxxx Nxxxxxxxx: Adfarming is when someone buys a small plot of land and just puts up huge signs blocking things
[20:52] Bxxxxx Hxxxxxxx fails to see the purpose of billboards in SL


Me too.

[20:52] Uxxxxxx Cxxxxxx: Ad farms were a real problem... people used them to manipulate people into buying land at very high prices. LL banned the practice.

Unfortunately, that doesn't mean people stopped doing this; just that they'll do it until they get caught, essentially.

[21:08] Exxx Jxxx: Yeah next to my parcel I have a land seller. He listed his land as "Great for boats," but it is essentially landlocked. My land is the only way he could have access to the ocean. He rezzed a spite wall up.
[21:10] Bxxxxx Hxxxxxxx: LOL
[21:10] Mxxx Hxxxxxxxx: what a nice neighbor, yuck :(
[21:11] αмвÿßяαŁ [axxxxxxx Txxxxx]: try paying rent on 1/4 sim a month in advance and then the owner sells the land, new owner returns your stuff to lost n found and bans you from the land...and never gives a refund...
[21:11] αмвÿßяαŁ [axxxxxxx Txxxxx]: sells the land three days later
[21:12] Exxx Jxxx: That's why I buy mainland.


That would be why I would buy land in a stable estate, but these days, is anything a stable estate? Possibly Caledon. Some of the other steamland sims. Other than those, though...? We pretty much all take our chances.

[21:13] Rxxxxx Bxxxxxxxx: we rented land where the owner was insistant that everything look and feel like a bayou. then one day she allowed another renter to put up a giant, huge penis because it was art.
[21:13] Mxxx Hxxxxxxxx: Wow. Just wow.
[21:14] Rxxxxx Bxxxxxxxx: if i remember correctly it was also a fountain


The mind reels.

This next bit's because I'm tying up some hunts, and suddenly realizing, I'm running out of month to do them! So we all know what we're talking about, this is directly referring to the Macabre Hunt which ends on the 31st.

From the blog entry for hunt participants:
* Must stay within the Theme that is presented. Meaning, you can't just make any old silly dark thing last minute and call it good. How silly and boring. This Year's Hunt theme is: Dead in Wonderland The Theme in detail: Morbid Version of Alice in wonderland!!! THough a FEW Rules.: DO NOT USE DISNEY OR TIMBURTON'S OR AMERICAN MCGEE'S LIKENESS TO ANY THING> THIS ALSO INCLUDE THE MANGA: ALICE IN THE KINGDOM OF HEARTS! You must use your own inspiration. The Hunt Organizer os an AVID Alice in Wonderland Fan and WILL know if you use such likeness.. In using Copyrighted things, You will be banned from +The Macabre Hunt+ Forever more.
Now, that's directly taken from the blog itself, spelling errors, grammar oddity and all. But here's my question...Is Sparklie Silks going to be banned from the next hunt?

Because their "Macabre gifty" contains four paintings. These are two of them:

(from the media album)

The one on the right was from the American McGee's Alice re-release for consoles; this is just one of many articles written at the time using it. I can't find the one on the left for a direct link, but as I know it directly comes from American McGee's "Alice" game, too, it's just as much in violation.

There are two others in the gift box:

(from the media album)

The one on the left is an image of Alice Margatroid from the Touhou Project anime; it's specifically from this site, and is amusingly rated "SFW". Clicking that will give you a larger, substantially unblurred image, which is topless; I suppose if "NSFW" is only counted as a nude lower body, that could work...Maybe...At any rate, it's just as much in violation because it's a character from a popular dōjin game series.

And, of course, the one on the right is the Cheshire Cat from American McGee's "Alice" game, again.

But it doesn't get better from here. These are the sides of the paintings:

(from the media album)

What's worse? They're no modify. So not only do I have four paintings using copyrighted materials specifically mentioned in the hunt as something they did not want to see...but the sides just repeat the alpha frame texture.

(from the media album)

The bottoms do too; all the sides have this glitch. So--four paintings which cannot be modified; containing copyright-infringing art from two different games...for a hunt featuring darker-themed stores when they make silks in the first place.

Yeah. That's just fabulous.

Monday, May 28, 2012

down through the fields and their frozen rows

Friend of mine tipped me to this offering on the Marketplace. You have to be signed in and Adult-rated to see it, but I'll do my best to capture why I've been giggling over this.

(from the bizarre album)

This is Havenbot's sole offering. It's not available now; one can only assume the "limited quantity" of this item...to wit, this one guy...sold.

And this is properly filed under the "services" category; I'll give them that. But, in this instance, it's the side text that's collapsing me.
Use It Now
This item will be delivered directly to you or a friend in Second Life, unpacked and ready to use. No land or sandbox required.
Personally, I'd think that would be false advertising. You will not be delivered the slave, unpacked (hee) and ready to use (HEE), no land or sandbox required (BWAHAHAHAHA). Instead, you'll just receive the slave's Second Life name, so you'll have to IM them yourself.

How would that conversation go? "Um, hi, I just bought you on the Marketplace." Well, actually, that's probably a good starting place. I mean, one would assume from the product text that this individual knows why they're for sale...
Restrictions are stated in the notecard.
This is also good to know. But it might have been better to go over those on the listing--after all, I'd assume under "Adult services", Adult-rated description is allowed...And seriously, what if you plunk down your ten grand and the slave won't do something you really, really want them to do? What then?

The other standard thing in the sidebar also collapsed me:
Permissions: Copy Modify Transfer
User Licensed
See product details for permissions info
BWAHAHAHAHA....Save that there are no permissions listed in the product info. Also, the 'standard' permissions in the sidebar get odd when applied to people. "No copy"--well, sure, you're only getting the one. "No modify"...so, can't cut the hair, brand or burn, remove limbs, that's on the obvious side. What about flogging? Or bruising? Would a bruise count as a modification?

And the "no transfer" on the end is also amusing--so, after your five hours are up, you can't transfer the slave to someone else. Because hey, that just wouldn't be fair.

So what else is in the "Services" category? Well, things like this:

(from the bizarre album)

For which they want L$2,100, only you're not supposed to buy it. Then why is it on the Marketplace? What the hell?

In other Marketplace news: well, it's still broken. Though they say they're working on it. But that's not what I really wanted to bring up. I wanted to bring up this: namely, that for the low, low price of L$1.26 per prim, you can park a huge I-LOVE-YOU thing--in silver and red, natch--to park on your beloved's land.

It even has a cape. What a fancy, fancy declaration of cheap love.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

make the same mistake, I'll be here awake

Couple baffling things for today.

First, I'd been hearing about people receiving a blackjack HUD for something over the past couple of days, and asking around if anyone else had received something like this. I hadn't--then--and said as much--and life went on.

Today, I got this:
[18:04] Object: VGA - http://www.slvga.com has sent you item(s)/notecard(s) named: VGA Multiplayer Blackjack v2.1 (1 Week Trial), VGA Multiplayer Blackjack v2 Trial Info (www.slvga.com).


These items will not be resent to you again as they are limited to 1 per SL user account. If you would like to unsubcscribe from future VGA Product Trials and Promotions go to: http://www.slvga.com/unsubscribe.php
Now, I have a couple issues with this.

First, near as I can figure, whomever's behind VGA is doing this completely blind--just finding names at random and mailing them this object.

Second, I didn't want it in the first place:
[18:05] You decline 'VGA Multiplayer Blackjack v2 Trial Info (www.slvga.com)' from Object (http://slurl.com/secondlife/Fairview/224/44/15).
[18:05] You decline 'VGA Multiplayer Blackjack v2.1 (1 Week Trial)' from Object (http://slurl.com/secondlife/Fairview/224/44/15).
Third, how do I go to the website to unsubscribe from the future offers I don't want if I don't know who's behind the website, and I don't trust some sparkly idiot who thought massively cold-calling the entirety of Second Life was a good business strategy?

Bah.

In other annoying news...there's a tiff currently between Curio (you can't go there at present), and Hush Skins. I should state up front, I have a bias. Based on what I know of the designer behind Curio, I'd be hard-pressed to believe, especially considering how new Hush is on the market, that Curio's the one violating Hush.

The problem, though...

[17:30] Cxxxxxx Nxxxxx: Does anyone know the story on Curio?
[17:30] Sxxx Cxxxx: no, sorry
[17:31] Rxxxx Kxxxxx: there was an accusation that Curio copybotted Hush. As I understand it, Curio has to stop selling things until the DMCA issue is resolved to LL's satisfaction
[17:32] Cxxxxxx Nxxxxx: wow
[17:32] Rxxxx Kxxxxx: it doesn't mean they did. It just means there's something going on
[17:32] Rxxxx Kxxxxx: hopefully it gets resolved soon.
[17:33] Nxxxxx Txxxxxxx: It's pretty confusing since that isn't how DMCA usually works unless curio didn't contest it. Since curio hasn't made any announcement and hush only said the one announcement its such a mystery.


...is basically that we have so little information. What's going on? We still don't know. Though this comment from SL Universe has me worried--has Gala Phoenix been banned? Is it temporary, or permanent? Why? What's really going on?

Because the farther I read in the SL Universe posting, the more confused I get. (And my apologies to this commenter--while you say you've seen the court documents, and I have no specific reason to assume you're lying about doing so, then why can't they be found by anyone else? Why did the Hush blog take down the post mentioning Curio's alleged copyright infringement? If she's actually received a court injunction, then you'd think there would be some validating information circling by now; at the very least, an archived copy of the court documents filed as a public record.)

And, as far as I've been able to find, at least--there's just not. While I finally located a cached copy of Hush's original blog post, it raises more questions than it answers, frankly.

Essentially I am tending to agree with Miss Fate and others--if there really is provable copyright infringement going on, it may well be on the part of Hush. Not Curio, but at present, we just don't know who's at fault, and what's going on.

Miss Shichiroji put up a great post containing a video link (NSFW due to nudity, and on Flickr, which means you'll have to be signed in to see it) that takes on the skin differences side by side, with explanations. As I've stated, we still don't know what's going on, but empirically, it looks fishy.

But ultimately, it all comes down to--we just don't know what's going on. Hopefully, more information will be coming, but right now? It looks odd on all sides.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

don't you worry your pretty little mind

As with all JIRA postings, please please please remember to WATCH, not VOTE, on this one, because this would be a really good feature for future viewers of Second Life to enable.

Plus, it would allow people to auto-archive their transaction histories without having to remember to drop by their SL history once per month, and, by making it an opt-in automatic bit of code, those who don't merchant wouldn't have to bother with it, and those who wanted the archiving service could opt in.

Other news. I tossed this link up to some friends, because linguistically, it's a lot of fun, but as one of them had an odd time accessing it in the first place, I figured I'd just pull out my favorites here.

Toska (Russian)

Vladmir Nabokov provides a description of the word, which is otherwise untranslatable to English:
"No single word in English renders all the shades of toska. At its deepest and most painful, it is a sensation of great spiritual anguish, often without any specific cause. At less morbid levels it is a dull ache of the soul, a longing with nothing to long for, a sick pining, a vague restlessness, mental throes, yearning. In particular cases it may be the desire for somebody of something specific, nostalgia, love-sickness. At the lowest level it grades into ennui, boredom."
Litost (Czechoslovakian)

The closest we can come to a semi-accurate translation into English, though it vastly understates the subtle nature of the word: Litost invokes the state of tormented anguish created by the sudden, startling comprehension of one's own spiritual misery.

Tartle (Scots Gaelic)

This is a fun word that should catch on for wider use, because it's pervasive in just about all cultures these days. A tartle is that hesitation or pause in introducing someone to someone else, because of the sudden realization you've forgotten their name.

Cafuné (Brazilian Portuguese)

This describes the act of tenderly running one's fingers through someone's hair. English actually uses an entire phrase for this one word.

Ya’aburnee (Arabic)

Pronounced "yah-AH-born-nay", the literal meaning is "You bury me", but that rather misses the point. It's the generally unstated, but yearned-for hope that they will die before the beloved, because it would be so difficult to live on if the beloved died first.

Ilunga (Tshiluba)

This is a multifaceted word that expresses three different mental states--and according to the BBC news, it's the single hardest word to translate on the planet because of it. It references an individual who is ready to forgive any transgression once, to tolerate any transgression twice, but who will never tolerate that transgression a third time. This is another one we have an entire phrase for, rather than one single word.

Tingo (Pascuense, an Easter Island language)

Fascinating word: this refers to the act of taking objects one desires from a friend by slowly and gradually borrowing all of them until they are in one's own possession. Yeah, there's nothing quite like that in English.

Saudade (Portuguese)

This word refers to the longing for someone, or something one loves, which is vital to the heart and yet lost. The Portuguese song Lágrima is an excellent example of the folk-music "Fado", which reflects this loss and longing.

L’appel du vide (French)

Okay, this is a phrase, technically, but it's a three word phrase that literally translates to "the call of the void", which becomes a five-word phrase, and both refer to that sudden, nonsensical, and instinctive urge to jump from high places.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

and every touch and all the nights I wanna be beside you

More scenes from a hunt. The next two are from stops on the Latex Station hunt, going from now until June 13th.

(from the scavenging album)

Tasteful decor, spacious and elegant build, and whispering statue hostesses? Sure. Why not? (Though admittedly, you'd have to time your arrival for when one of the statue greeters is present...)

(from the scavenging album)

And, at the House of the Rising Sun, the world's most paranoid panda. Yes, he really moved like that. Plus, he has a couple of bending over/leg kicking moves that I didn't include, because it made him seem both paranoid and twitchy.

And now for something completely different. Random wandering on Tumblr brought me to an entry by Flamboyant Skin (NSFW; tastefully so, but genitalia is seen) that turns out to be a shopfront in SL. Before you go, I should warn you that they're on Adult land. (Again, nothing too outré, but genitalia is on view in some of the vendor pics.)

(from the shopping album; full-length shot of the "Ariel" skin in Porcelain from Flamboyant)

Now, granted, I am a female. And this place designs for effeminate bish boys, for the most part. I'm not using their shape--which is slightly curved but generally within femboi proportions--because I like my own shape, for the most part.

(from the shopping album; closer shot of the "Ariel" skin in Porcelain from Flamboyant)

But I absolutely fell in love with the feminine-without-makeup look of this particular skin. And--apparently as with all their skins--they include masculine (read: masculine femme), androgynous, and tilting-towards-girlish skin styles. All their skins also come with a tattoo cleavage layer (which I'm wearing in these shots).

(from the shopping album; an even closer shot of the "Ariel" skin in Porcelain from Flamboyant)

As long-term readers know, unless I mention that I'm using Windlight or glow effects (or posting something on the lyrical side of look-how-pretty-this-sim-is), I tend not to use added photographic effects. What you see here is me standing in world, no bells, no whistles.

(from the shopping album; full-face shot of the "Ariel" skin in Porcelain from Flamboyant)

Granted, I am going to have to muck about with slider settings to accentuate this skin; but imagine what it would be on a more androgynous soul. Also, I keep hearing on occasion from acquaintances, of their search for bishy, effeminate skins on the grid, and their despondence when nothing's quite right.

Flamboyant Skins just might be quite right for those individuals.

(from the shopping album; a side view of the "Ariel" skin in Porcelain from Flamboyant)

The "Ariel" skin also has the advantage of coming in the widest color range--most of the other skins go from Light or Fair to a deep Tan or Cocoa; "Ariel" goes from Porcelain (what I'm wearing) all the way to a Drow-tone "Noir", and some fantasy tones in between.

If you're interested in femmy, androgynous skins on the grid, with decent detail and cleavage options you can wear (or choose to avoid); I'd highly recommend checking them out this week. Because this week their skins are on sale.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

seems like there's always someone who disapproves

Speaking of ageplay...Don't mistake me when I bring this up; I'm not saying Miss Kit does bad work. She actually does really good work, and she's targeting a very specific market on SL. Hells, the shading and texturing on the "Schoolbus Cutie" is truly excellent, all things considered.

But...that's part of the problem. The model as depicted in the "Call Me" outfit might be...might be...eighteen. She's very short, but some girls are; it happens. I'll even grant that she might be close to her teenage years, but juuust old enough to pose like that. Fine. Cult of youth, remember. It works.

But then looking at the "After School" outfit...that model's shorter. And the face looks...if I'm being generous...sixteen. Possibly younger. The model as seen in the "Walk Me Home" package is...again, if I'm generous...fifteen.

Which drops us off again at the "Detention Cutie" set.

Is it just me? Because that model, as depicted, doesn't even look fourteen. I mean, yes, I know Hentai High exists on the grid, but even they maintain that the roleplay features eighteen-year-olds (or older)...though by that definition, that's a "high school" for kids who were held back a few years...

But I think my point stands. If your main business is catering to that cheerleader/high school fetish, more power to you. That's ageplay, but I don't think it's damaging ageplay. That's fairly harmless fantasy; go have fun.

But when your main business caters to teen prostitutes and teen runaways, in addition to the varying versions of very short school uniforms, with a side of eerily accurate underage skins...Are you crossing that line? And I have no high horse to stand on here, just so we're absolutely clear about my motivations bringing this up: if I had the money, right now, even having looked at the rest of her product line...I would buy her Lilly skin and shape in a heartbeat. One. Single. Heartbeat. And that really looks no older than most of what I've been bringing up! And to go that one step farther--because I've been on this ongoing goal to match at least the height of me, RL, I'd likely try to wear it as given, with the shape in the box, or see if I could fit it to one of my existing shapes--in which case, she'd be either as tall as that generally A-cup shape clocks in at, or in the vicinity of 5'5" (because I'm 5'5" on the other side of the screen).

Okay. Change of topic. Back to City of Heroes:
KNOWN ISSUE: Panther Travel Power!
Panther Stealth Power
We have discovered an issue where changing your active build while the Panther Travel power is active will cause a crash which can result in your character becoming inaccessible. We are actively working on a fix for this issue and will provide an update regarding the status ASAP. For now, we highly suggested that players do NOT change their active build while the Panther Travel power is active.
And translated for those who don't play in City of Heroes:

  • There's a new travel power which melts your hero or villain form into a sleek black panther, who is auto-stealthed when they run off.
  • This makes you reasonably undetectable to enemies; in other words, when you run by they will not, in general, attack you within an inch of your life.
  • A lot of people think the combination of cool-looking travel power + stealth is an unbeatable combination.
  • A LOT of people have bought this travel power because of that combination.
  • There is a provision, when you make characters to play in City of Heroes, that when you level up you can save your "build"--that is to say, that version of that character with those powers and abilities at the time you saved it--for use later (for instance, say you wanted an electrical epic power set, but after playing with it for a while, you wanted to go healing, but you just weren't sure you wanted to convert straight over. Saving the build of that character with electrical powers, then going back and starting a new "build" of that character as someone who had epic healing, say, gives you the chance to see if that's the better choice for you).
  • The Panther travel power--all travel powers, as it happens--is a toggle-on ability. Translation: click the button for that power once, it's on until you click the button again to shut it down.
  • If you have the Panther travel power active--that is, if the button's been pressed to set the power "on", even if you're standing still at the time--and you change your active build, the bug has been crashing the entire game.
  • When you return from the crash, and click that character to finish your build work, you'll be told that character cannot be played.

Yeah, that strikes me as a pretty severe bug. Here's to them fixing that soon.

Monday, May 21, 2012

tied bows in her hair, dressed as she thought you'd like

This may be the weirdest Watchmen tie-in I've ever discovered. Somewhere right now, Alan Moore is screaming.

[23:24] Nxxxx Rxxx: Okay. The wretched kraken vanished on me when I tried to get it back across the sim line. It could be anywhere now. So if anyone sees a lost purple air kraken, please feel free to send it home. Or let me know so I can come catch it.

Will do.

Two days later:

[16:14] Jxxxx Jxxxxx: Someone tell Nxxxx Rxxx her giant purple Kraken is flying around on the loose again

Apparently it wanders.

[16:34] Pxxxxxxxxx Exxxxxx: FYI - Do Not click any URLs in groups that take you to to outside websites unless you are absolutely sure of them. The latest trick like this that can steal your lindens claims to be for a new SL viewer. It is not legitimate & will probably try to steal your account. Only download stuff from official, safe websites.
[16:34] Emilly Orr rolls her eyes
[16:35] Axxxxxx Kxxxxx: Just had this come through in several of my groups, if you see this, don't click it, it's not safe.
[16:35] Mxxxx Fxxxxxxxxxx: copy past outside URLs to your browser
[16:35] Axxxxxx Kxxxxx: [16:28:40] Bxxxxxx Pxxxxxxxx: New Viewer for Second Life by Linden Lab ufficial certificate, the best ever published. [URL redacted, but they managed to spell both "Second Life" and "download" wrong]
[16:35] Mxxxx Fxxxxxxxxxx: dang
[16:35] Mxxxx Fxxxxxxxxxx: don't Click that anyone!!!!!!
[16:35] Emilly Orr gives up and lets hysteria take over.


Here's my thing. While I have--and do--post warnings on the blog, this one's old. Like, two months old. And it was an old trick then. Now? One group freaks out, by the end of the day "everyone" is talking about this, so group after group after group fall prey. The "virus", in this case, is the "OMG this is terrible it happened to a friend" notifications in every damn group you have.

Generally, when anything hits this point, I usually mention it, but at this point, it's just freaking out over nothing. Yes, some folks who didn't think things through had bad things happen to them. This is sad to hear. But not everyone's going to fall victim to this, and with just a little common sense--like, f'rinstance, not downloading Second Life official browsers anywhere BUT the Second Life official site--a great many of these little dodges can be handily avoided. At this point, everything's already happened, and the bulk of the hysteria is just that--because it happened once, thinking that it's going to continue to happen, and is, in fact, an ongoing problem of insane dramatic proportions.

All the screaming in the world won't change that.

There's a fashion blogger who's come up with a very innovative take on the Avengers. Here's her versions of Captain America, Iron Man, Hawkeye, Black Widow, Thor, the Hulk, Nick Fury, and Loki. What, no Agent Coulson?

And back into the dollplay zone...one last time.

(from the dolly album; model Penelope Tree, 1967.)

Today: Dolls and ageplay.

Now, trust me, what I mean is not what the Lindens mean when they freak out and start banning any mention of ageplay, anywhere. No one is advocating sex with toddlers. It's like detractors of same-sex marriage screaming that if that's legalized, next folks will want to marry goats and turtles, and frankly, that's never going to happen either.

But it also must be stated that there's a large component of doll culture centered on the Cult of Youth, so we need a definition of terms.

Ageplay as I'm using it here--as I've always used it on this blog--is really just another form of roleplay. Any time a husband dresses in his high school football uniform for his wife; his wife dresses up as a cheerleader for him: that's ageplay. If you're pretending to be an eighteen-year-old high school senior? That's ageplay. If you're pretending to be a young collegiate something, and you're long out of college? That's ageplay, too.

In the BDSM community, approaching this from another angle, there's a style of dominance and submission called D/lg, or Daddy/little girl. Having been on Tumblr as long as I have, there's a very vocal contingent of "littles" there--and occasionally, vocal "Daddy" doms--that continually gets hit with what many of us consider to be 'standard' questions. Asked of anyone else, these questions would be horribly offensive, and yet, people reading along on D/lg sites seem to always go to these places when they're curious.

So, just as a brief overview:
Q. Is he really her dad?
A. Never. This is a style of age-based roleplay. There are no actual familial relationships in this dynamic. She may be portraying a precocious teenager, but in real life, she's actually in her twenties, her thirties, or older. (In one case on Tumblr, both the "little girl" and her dominant are eighteen in real life, and attending their last year of high school together.)
Q. Isn't this incest?
A. No. How can it be if the participants are not related?
Q. Doesn't this lead to worse things, like pedophilia and murder?
A. This is the one that really makes my brain fall out. There is no sexual practice, barring actual pedophilia, that will lead to pedophilia if both partners are adults. This is a style of play.
Perceive it thusly: most people in the D/lg community are either women who are choosing, openly, to give up certain of their responsibilities in order to embrace feeling this young again. And--as with most BDSM, dominance/submission choices, this isn't about sex as much as it's about behavior. Maybe growing up she didn't have a strong father figure in her life, or bad things happened with the father who was in her life. Maybe nothing at all happened, and she simply likes flouncing around in babydoll dresses and pigtails. She's not recasting her father as her sexual partner; she's playing a game of control with her sexual partner, that happens to use these terms.

It's the same thing with the dominants involved. They get to "parent"--in a relational sense--their sexual partner. They get to be a powerful figure in their submissive's life, something that goes beyond basic terms into the core of sexual and developmental identity. As with any BDSM play, this can get very extreme, but for the most part, the main form of play is not exotic pain toys and obedience, it's celebrating with their little--cuddling with her on his lap, for instance, or helping her with 'bathtime', or even going shopping and finding her a special cuddle toy or outfit for her. By accepting this form of roleplay, the dominant steps out of the stern authoritarian role to embrace a somewhat softer version, which works out for them both.

Plus, there's the amusement of conversations that end with "Because Daddy said so", and dealing with the inevitable cute pout.

So why am I bringing this up at all? We're not talking about BDSM specifically, right? We're talking about dolls. Well, because while that's true, that this entire series has been focused on dolls and dollplay, a large part of dollplay in general tends towards ageplay. And again, not in the "OMG they want sex with seven-year-olds" sense.

Of all the forms of dolls on the grid--and there's a lot of different types--more than three-quarters of them, when making choices of attire, think ruffles, lace, Mary Jane shoes; think hair that's up in pigtails or ponytails or braids--and the players making those choices inside the doll skin are doing so because, in this sense, it's just another form of ageplay.

(from the dolly album; dress designed by Kelly Love.)

From Gothic Lolita romper sets to flavored lip gloss, dolly eyes to leg warmers and dolly shoes, it's all about looking younger than we may be. Or at least presenting a younger image; things like the Candy Doll leave no doubt they're designed for a very adult audience, but even there, there's that tilt-shift towards ruffles and bows.

On the Marketplace, there are suggestive pacifiers and flirty neko dolls; there are tables specifically designed for inanimate partners and hypnosis systems designed for dolls. There are flirty little summer dresses for fashion dolls, school uniforms and gym shorts and sneakers for playing dress-up...it's much like Lolita stylings in Japan--if you can see a little girl in the outfit? Chances are you can wear it as a doll.

What you do with it from there is up to you.

(from the dolly album; originally from Catsmob.com.)

So. Fast forward a couple years (because seriously, that's when I started this series, originally--the first entry, even, clocked in in 2009, I believe, before I re-saved an edited version in 2010). Had I actually written this--before the breakup, before the doll went into storage, before therapy, before I realized I'm still deeply uncomfortable in the doll's skin--this likely would have been a much fluffier series. And I'm not, so much, trying to drag anyone (kicking, screaming or otherwise) into celebrating bondage, or roleplay, or even ageplay in any meaningful way. (I do admit to trying to paint "ageplay" in a more favorable light, because it's pretty much globally pervasive; it's not automatically abusive, evil or disturbing if we understand how the term is used...mainly because so much of our interaction, be it from advertising, magazines, photo shoots, virtual worlds, games, movies, music, or art, with virtually any media drags in ageplay of some kind, eventually.)

At this point, what started as a series of explanations about various facets of the doll community evolved on me, into a series of essays on what attracts us to the doll. Because I won't lie--if I find cute doll skins in world, I generally still buy them. I packed away everything doll-related I owned in 2010, and then unpacked everything again in 2011. On rare occasion, I will put on a doll skin, or something I consider mainly a doll outfit--and generally speaking, I end up not leaving the house, simply because I am in the doll's skin.

To say I'm conflicted is to vastly mistake the scope of what's been going on.

But--and this is from as objective a position as I can maintain, currently--I still think there's a lot of misunderstandings about dolls, especially on SL. There are purely PG child dolls, and there are rubber dolls; there are fetish dolls who are "doll" only in that they're called by that name. There are dolls that have been "transformed" in one of several different ways--dolls that are forced into immobility, into removal of sight or hearing, into an object, into a thing--and dolls that are treasured keepsakes, with frills and lace and cute little pink shoes. The possibilities are pretty much endless, and endlessly changing.

What I think anyone still reading along should take from this? Mainly, that because the connection to youth is there, it's not at all uncommon for dolls to be five feet or under. I realize in these highly charged times, in some sims that's an automatic bouncing, and just speaking for myself (and my occasionally far shorter fae form, let alone the current crop of Petites), I still resent that. But I also understand it. To some estate owners, that automatic short-avatars-not-allowed stance, they think protects them.

It doesn't. But no one ever said self-delusion wasn't possible. Or popular.

And I think, long out of being a doll more or less full-time, I can also say that dolls on SL--and really, dolls anywhere--are far more diverse than people comprehend. And that that isn't a bad thing.

But I really think this is my last word on the topic, unless something major explodes. I'm no longer a doll, most of the time; I don't tend to hang out with other dolls, these days; and...yeah, as I said, I've got issues where dolls are concerned. I'm working through them as fast as I can. Recovery always takes a truly annoying amount of time.

But if I've given anyone food for thought; if I've generated any even intellectual interest in dolls and doll roleplay (adult or not)...well, then it was worth coming back to ground I lost long ago. And at the very least, that ties up my saved drafts, so that works too.

watch your step with flex, and get a hole in your side

We were going to write an awesome notecard, buuuut someone beat us to the announcement. =P It's been a fantastic ride, and we ♥ the deviants — it's just time to move on to other things. But hey - CLEARANCE SALE. =D Everything in the store is marked down to 50L, so make sure to grab whatever you want before it's gone. :) We'll be here for 3-4 weeks still. Thanks SO much for supporting us and being awesome for so long. You made SL rock. :)

So, this entry is going to be entirely concerned with WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED?!? Because I have no idea. NOOOO idea. First I heard of this was tonight, and the first thing I did is pull up their website, which is now GONE by the way. And there's a rumor from chat that they're handing off sponsorship of the Twisted Hunt?

Yeah, I'm back on I have no idea. Marketplace glitching? Sim lag? Tired of being the premier cybergoth repository? Your guess is as good as mine, because I know nothing more than I've linked here.

More news when I get it...if I get it. I'll let you know.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

cold cold nights under chrome and glass

So, now's time for the other side of the Lolita dollplay coin--and that would be:

(from the dolly album; original photo found on the Lolita Fashion website)

Collection. Collectors are an interesting breed--while there are lesbian adherents, and I'm sure, statistically, there must be female collectors of male dolls out there, for the most part, this is a male collector/female doll demographic. The difference between dollification/objectification and collection isn't as simple as collected dolls wear frillier dresses, because that's not always the case.

But just in-world alone, there are men who own dolly strippers, there are doctors who own doll patients; there are men who own dolly "daughters", and those who marry their dolls (or who keep them as mistresses in the closet). It's a varied roleplay field.

There are some similarities.

(from the dolly album; playing dolly dress-up with Rinmaru Games' flash doll game.
There's also a Sweet/Gothic dress-up game, which leads to
a good six other games depending on what options you pick.)
  • Playing Dress-Up
Is this something most men want to do? Depending on inclination, and I'm sure one likely factors in the desires of the doll in question to be dressed up. But dressing up the dollies--or undressing them--is a major focus of play. Think dolls that come with their own accessories, but this over this.
  • Posing
Whether simply aligning limbs or tying into place; on marionette strings or simple leashed hands or feet with wisps of silk, posting must be acknowledged as a focus, too. This also is variable--is the doll mobile on their own? Do they need to be posed with strings or wires, ropes or pulleys, or will they hold poses once given? Are they naturally limp, passive, and (generally) unresponsive? Is that a detraction or a benefit?
Look more closely, you'll find this theme repeating throughout art and media. There are robotic marionettes, vintage marionettes, dolls tied by ribbons, robot girls, silicon love dolls (NSFW)...They've been seen in public service announcements, television shows, even films (some more successful than others).
The allure of the doll is persistent, and very nearly universal. In childhood, they're toys, and they're found in all cultures. As we age, some of us still want to play with dolls--or be them. We've had coin-operated companions and plaintive doll laments, electronica tributes to plastic girls and Japanese pop renditions to gynoids alike. It's a wide field, and a very wide interest, which is why it keeps popping up.
  • Escorting (and no, that doesn't mean what you think it does)
This is when dollplay expands to the external world, and, as far as I know, is pretty much unique to rubberdolls and Lolita dolls, though it can be seen in other groups. Simply: taking the doll out. For this, costume is important, and while all dollplay carries some aspect of agalmatophilia, this requires the doll to be mobile. (Not all dolls are.)
This can range from simply going to a dance with other enthusiasts (RL or in a virtual space), all the way to very elegant, very formal High Teas. The point to this is to show off, essentially--how polite the doll is, how well-behaved, how well-dressed, how pampered. These gatherings are places for the owner to show off the possession--and any compliments on its behavior, of course, go to the owner, not the doll.
Obviously there's more to all of these categories, and others besides; but those are big. And I'm not saying they shouldn't be; for men and women alike, passivity can also equal innocence, which is a very big draw to a very large number of individuals.

And unfortunately, this one's getting long, so the rest I might have left to say will go into one more entry. (Oh, and one last thing: if you ever wanted the doll look at home, YouTube is probably your best bet for tutorials. Of those, this is the best one for gothic and Lolita dolls.)

(And, if you want a slightly sweeter doll-like look...well, you can watch this but trust me, she's on the unnerving side.)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

take me away to a better place, far from anyone

How Toy Story 2 almost didn't happen. (AKA, thank the universe for backups!)

[11:39] Beer Battered Chicken [Ixxxxxxxx Cxxxxxxx]: [11:38] Second Life: Chicken Fettucini (Ixxxxxxxx Cxxxxxxx) is now known as Beer Battered Chicken.

I have no words.

And I'll just, uh, leave this here.

So, back on the doll thing--and I think I'm expanding things slightly. Instead of just going over goth and Lolita retailers on the grid (and if that's what you want, you can check out this entry for RL stores for Loli fashions, or this entry for in-world options), I'm trying to narrow in on dollplay as an entire concept.

So, when we're talking about gothic or Lolita fashions, and talking about dolls, we need to define our terms.

Never let me lose the marvel
of your statue-like eyes, or the accent
the solitary rose of your breath
places on my cheek at night.

I am afraid of being, on this shore,
a branchless trunk, and what I most regret
is having no flower, pulp, or clay
for the worm of my despair.

If you are my hidden treasure,
if you are my cross, my dampened pain,
if I am a dog, and you alone my master,

never let me lose what I have gained,
and adorn the branches of your river
with leaves of my estranged Autumn.

~Federico García Lorca, "Sonnet of the Sweet Complaint"


(from the dolly album; photographer Marianne Williams [halfasecond])

So what is it about dolls that fascinates us so? So far, it seems like there are two strong, divergent strands of thought: dollification (objectification) and collection (indulgent domination). The threads do interweave, and they also touch on some other areas, but those are the two main concepts involved. In this entry, we're going to concentrate on:

Dollification. From the profile of a user named "Rubbamaster" on Rubberpals:
Are you willing to surrender completely to the control of another, knowing they will keep you safe from harm?


Do you wish to be encapsulated in skin-tight latex, transformed into a rubber covered doll, fantastically re-shaped into a parody of humanity, your shape, movement and bodily functions controlled for life?


Once you see yourself in the full length mirror, totally depersonalised, a gleaming black doll with mirrored eyes, the reflection copying every movement you make, no human features visible, as you realise that the image is your true form, will you sink so far into your new persona that you will not want to return to the 'real' world?
Put simply, depersonalization.

There are many reasons why one may want to be treated as an object (in positive or negative ways); it could be a stress release for that person, or they may simply understand no other form of being dominated but complete subjugation. While this is far easier to understand in the rubber or latex communities, it also has a place (albeit with several different varieties) in the doll communities. To wit: the Broken Doll.

(from the dolly album; part of Neil Creek's "Broken Doll Celina" series. All Rights Reserved.)

On the grid it's pretty easy to be a broken plaything just for fun. But for those engaging in this for reasons of depersonalization or objectification, there are several different ways to go. By far the largest group in this category are those interested in reconstruction: for instance, building a partner from the ground up, or altering someone with the end goal of utter transformation.

While, again, this is easier to understand in stronger fetish communities, in terms of dollplay it's important to be able to ask questions, and to receive honest answers. Much of this can verge on--or stroll right into--extreme edge-play, and as such must be given weight and importance by all partners.

Some questions which might be good to ask:
  • Was the doll broken before being found?
  • Was the doll broken under a partner's control (past or present)?
  • Is it a goal for the doll to start out broken and then "heal", however that works out in terms of joint play?
  • Is it a goal for the doll to start off slightly broken, and move into a more extreme broken state?
  • Is the doll capable of tears?
  • Can the doll bleed, or bruise?
  • Is it a breaking of the exterior shell, or interior mind, or both?
That last one's pretty much vital; the answer to that can change all the other questions.

(from the dolly album; part of Neil Creek's "Broken Doll Celina" series. All Rights Reserved.)

Some Broken Dolls are crazy; they don't get better, or they only get worse. All of them show signs of damage somewhere--everything from bits of shattered porcelain down to exposed gears in one direction, and scars, wounds, and bruises in the other. In this sense Second Life is pretty much ideal--want porcelain cracks on your skin? There are both tattoo layers and actual skins for that. Want to move like a broken doll? There's a couple makers who offer "doll" or "robot" AOs (I'd heartily recommend Creative Insanity; they do fantastic AO sets for virtually any RP setting).

Broken Dolls are abandoned toys; they can be bitter, they can be needy, they can yearn to be better than they are, they can shrink away from any contact. "Broken" is not chosen as a term lightly; most of the personalities behind the broken dolls on the grid are fairly fractured themselves. I'm not saying roleplay = therapy; but I am saying that who we choose to roleplay expresses very deep things about who we are as minds behind the screen.

There can be audible whirring of gears, or gasps of pain when tender parts are touched. They can be mute, they can talk, though what they say may not always make sense. They can be mindless, or reactive; sobbing or dazed or drugged; locked inside their broken shells, or trying to repair themselves by what they find nearby.

In fact, the "beauty" (if I can say that) of the Broken Doll is that they're so very adaptable. Steampunk setting? No problem. Futuristic? We have that covered. Puppet show? Sure. Ballerina, punk princess, Edwardian destroyed doll...it all works. (And don't take my use of pronouns to indicate there can't be male Broken Dolls; there can, absolutely, I just have more experience with their female counterparts.) Anything from bandaged patients to circus performers to doll amputations to women sewn into place--there are some very dark experiences waiting for those who want to be broken, to be sure, though there can be joys as well. It all depends on what form of play you want.

Next up: Doll collectors. And then I'll do what I can to run down stores.

Monday, May 14, 2012

hot ashes for trees? hot air for a cool breeze?

First off, this is not on the list of things I planned to write about for the next entry. Not even close. But today has been the absolute, utter day from hell where tech issues are concerned, and considering it's not my computer anyway, now I'm nervous and jumpy. So you get some culinary history.

We're going to be discussing Herbes de Provence, sometimes called Provençal herbs. First off, while many people consider this herb blend to be on the rarefied side, that's not how it started out. This is explained by the name. These aren't meant to be upper-crust, supercilious herbs, who are never seen on food that's served on "common" tables. Oh, no--part of what makes Herbes de Provence so special is that this was a down-home blend, a peasant addition. All the herbs found in traditional recipes for this mix grow in the hills of southern France in the summer, when it's traditionally gathered and sun-dried.

The beauty of this is, if you have respect for herbs and aging, this blend works just spiffy as a dried mix, and frankly, I think that's how most of us understand it anyway.

Now, there's a lot that goes into this mix, but it's also variable, which means every cook can put their own spin on what they use. And that's fine--this is an evolving blend. Find something you like? Fine, use it. Build on the basics. Make it your own. And I guarantee, you'll be happy with the results.

I'm going to go into recipes later on, but for right now, this is all you need to know on the list of ingredients:
  • bay leaf (whole or crumbled, but whole is generally better)
  • thyme (any variety, lemon thyme is fun)
  • fennel
  • rosemary
  • chervil
  • oregano
  • summer savory (what Penzey's offers is likely winter savory, but it'll do in a pinch; see the note after the recipes)
  • tarragon
  • mint
  • marjoram
  • orange zest is sometimes included (making your own is easier, or go to Penzey's again)
  • lavender is sometimes included (though it was more added as visitors to southern France brought their own ideas of what constitutes the "perfect blend"; also, while Penzey's carries it, it's not cheap. You can probably find better deals on your own)
Part of the fun of Herbes de Provence is that it's pretty much good in a lot of different ways. Mix it with olive oil and brush it over chicken, fish, roasts, or vegetables to enhance the flavors. Or add it to a pizza or a pasta sauce to enrich the end product. Sprinkle it over cooking eggs, roasts, whole chickens or turkeys, or lamb kebabs. Mix it with melted butter and brush it over the inside of turkeys, chickens or game fowl. You can rub the herb mix dry over meats before roasting; you can even toss a couple pinches into the coals just before grilling meat or vegetables.

For fun with searing: rub your meat of choice (most recommendations go for beef, lamb, or veal, but really, anything will do--if you want to get really creative, you can try it with tofu, tempeh or seitan) with olive oil, season well with ground salt and pepper, then press the herbs directly onto the meat. Sear each side in a very hot skillet on both sides, then remove and finish roasting in a 300 degree oven until cooked to your desired doneness.

Rosemary's Herbes de Provence Blend

3 Tablespoons dried marjoram
3 Tablespoons dried thyme
3 Tablespoons dried savory
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds

Combine all herbs in small bowl; mix well, and spoon into a tightly-lidded, preferably opaque, jar. Store in a cool, dark place for four to six months. (After that, throw out what you have and get new herbs; while you can still use dried herbs past the six-month mark, they will start to show their age and lose flavor.

Basic Herbes de Provence

5 tablespoons dried thyme
3 tablespoons dried savory
2 tablespoon dried marjoram
5 tablespoons dried rosemary
1 ½ tablespoons dried lavender flowers

Same thing as the above: Combine all herbs in small bowl; mix well, and spoon into a tightly-lidded, preferably opaque, jar. Store in a cool, dark place for four to six months.

Sally's Four-Herb Provence Blend

1 Tablespoon chopped tarragon
1 Tablespoon chopped chervil
1 Tablespoon chopped chives
1 Tablespoon chopped parsley

Mix all herbs well in small bowl; crush lightly with the back of a spoon, before spooning the mix into a tightly-lidded jar. Store in a cool, dark place for four to six months.

Miriam's Sage and Lavender Provence Blend

3 tablespoons oregano leaves
3 tablespoons thyme leaves
1 teaspoon basil leaves
1 teaspoon sage leaf
3 tablespoons savory
2 tablespoons lavender flowers
1 teaspoon rosemary

Combine all herbs in small bowl; mix well, and spoon into a tightly-lidded, preferably opaque, jar. Store in a cool, dark place for four to six months.

Della's Busy Little Herb Blend

(No, I don't know how some of these got their names.)

1 tablespoon thyme
1 tablespoon chervil
1 tablespoon rosemary
1 tablespoon summer savory
1 teaspoon lavender
1 teaspoon tarragon
1 teaspoon marjoram
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon mint
2 powdered or chopped bay leaves

Mix all herbs well in small bowl before spooning the mix into a tightly-lidded jar. Store in a cool, dark place for four to six months.

The Herb Gardener's Herbes de Provence

2 1/2 tablespoons dried thyme
2 1/2 tablespoons dried rosemary
1 1/2 tablespoons dried savory
1 tablespoon dried marjoram
2 teaspoons dried lavender

In a spice grinder or mortar and pestle, combine all herbs and grind until desired consistency. Store in a jar at room temperature; this spice mix will stay good for six months, but will decrease in flavor with time.

Now, a note on savory, as the above recipe just asks for "savory", not specifying summer or winter. Summer savory is an annual plant, and is a little lighter and sweeter than its companion plant, winter savory, which is stronger and somewhat richer--and also, a perennial. Think summer savory for chicken and fish and winter for beef and lamb, if that helps you understand the difference.

Finally, the one which has the most "out there" herbs I could find, but even this one would be great to use:

Elisabet's Provençal Herbs

1 tablespoon dried basil leaves
1 tablespoon dried marjoram leaves
1 tablespoon dried summer savory leaves
1 tablespoon dried thyme leaves
2 teaspoons dried orange zest, powdered
1 powdered or ground bay leaf
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 teaspoons dried lavender
1/8 teaspoon white pepper

Again, in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle, combine everything and grind until fine (or until your preferred consistency is reached). Store in an amber or brown glass bottle with a tight-fitting lid, out of full sunlight. Good for six months.

So...now you have your Provençal blend...what do you do with it? How about fougasse, which is one of the originators behind the everywhere-at-this-point foccacia bread, but trust me--this version has much more flavor.

Or you could try rustic potatoes with herbes de Provence; that recipe uses purple, red and Yukon Gold potatoes, but you could substitute practically any potato and it would be good.

And if you want to try something really different, try these orange butter cookies with the mix. They definitely sound stellar; I think they're going on the list for the holidays when we get there.

Enjoy!

can you tell a green field from a cold steel rail?

I'll just leave this here.

Soooo much to mention today. Let's start with the fact that until this morning, I had no idea electric harps existed. There's more information on their website, or check out what's on their YouTube channel. They're good.

So what's been happening with the Marketplace JIRA? Not good things. First, we have the first Marketplace-connected store closure I've heard of (there may have been others, but I can only be in so many groups at once):
Hello all.
I have made the decition of closing the shop up. I am having a 50% rebate sale starting now and will end to be announced, probably a week, maybe a bit less so I have time to pull inventory in.
I will try to rent and open a small shop sometime after summer vacation, but can't warranty it. The marketplace messed up a lot of my listings, so not everything is in there, sorry.
You know the rule, purchase, notecard, send and get back your rebate.
Thank you all and for now, Happy SL!
matika
Now, she admits she may be back, and she admits she's likely maintaining a presence on the Marketplace--but I remain convinced that a large part of this closure is due to the Marketplace fiasco. Speaking of which, it's stopped getting comments because it's all fixed now, right?
This is the 3rd week and no resolution had been made! is anyone going to address this or fix this? it's causing my store to go into 3 pages, 9 of which items that aren't even mine! All of these listings in the provided photo's are the names of items I no longer sell, and they have someone else's photo's attached to them? please remove these from my store. thanks!


Items are being listed on the second page of my marketplace store with names of items that I no longer sell with other vendor's photo's attached to them.


When you click on the item it goes straight to the marketplace home page so there is no possibility of editing the item. The items being listed with other vendor's photo's, are not even sold on my marketplace store anymore. I have even deleted those items from my marketplace magic box, and they are still showing up with other vendor's photo's.
That was Stasey Oller on the second of May.

Okay, but that was early May, things are fine now, right?

Slate McLeod, May 3rd:
Friggin joke...come on Lindens pull your finger out ! My store is borked as well and I'm losing sales hand over foot. This is REAL money we are losing !!!
WADE1 Jya on May 4th:
Yikes! I am surprised there is so many now. Scary thing is here when I first noticed this issue there was only 4 affected items, then there was 6, & now this. So marketplace data is continuing to corrupt more everyday.


I am shocked Linden Lab does not have appropriate database normalization measures in place.


Makes me worry that all our data (financial info, L$ balances, SL inventory, etc) could be managed in this same dangerous way.
Sweet Valentine on the 6th:
this issue is like a worm going through our shops every day more and more bad corrupt listings....What are you guys doing to our listings?????
Barziban Castaignede on the 7th:
I am amazed that nothing has been done to fix this issue. My store on Marketplace is still corrupted after what I think is nearly 2 months now. I have taken everything off line to avoid any serious cock-ups with people buying the wrong things and so have lost sales. But still no resolution and no notifications of any developments. I am completely shocked at Linden Labs inability to sort this out and reluctance to let us know what is going on. Looks like we have been forgotten and might as well pack up and leave SL....
solcar Amat, also on the 7th:
I am starting to feel exactly the same as Barziban. I would like to add more items to my shop, change or re-edite others but I don't dare to do anything till this problem is solved. I also feel we are being forgotten, whereas a communication of what has gone wrong, what are they doing to mend it and an apology would at least make me feel I am not talking to an empty wall. Crisis is crisis, they might be short of people working on this issue, but what I feel is a lack of interest for the trouble they are causing.
Then Sassy Romano stepped in:
Barziban, Solcar and others, LL has provided updates but not here. Just as Support says "add to the JIRA" (pointless, since they already know of all of the issues, just adding "me too" doesn't add anything, the updates are provided elsewhere.

Specifically, you need to follow this thread http://community.secondlife.com/t5/Merchants/Marketplace-and-Direct-Delivery-Update/m-p/1462915/message-uid/1462915#U1462915
So I went and read through it. These are the pertinent points:
[UPDATE: April 26, 2012] We are continuing to work on outstanding Marketplace issues.

The most significant issue that has been addressed over the past week was slowness on the Marketplace website, which occurred intermittently between April 18 and April 21. Page loads should be much faster now.
NO. The most significant issue was not slowness on the Marketplace website. The most significant issue is STILL the total borked NATURE of the Marketplace, start to finish. I really don't think anyone cares how slow it is, IF the RIGHT ITEMS are being delivered to the RIGHT PEOPLE, and the product pictures match the listings...and the makers. THAT'S the big issue.
Here is the status on additional JIRAs:
  • (WEB-4587/WEB-4601) Search results, best-selling lists and related items showing up on other merchants items or images. Current status: other merchants’ listings should not be appearing in store search results, best-selling lists, related items, etc. Other merchants’ images may still appear on your listings, but this is less likely to occur as we work on a solution.
  • (WEB-4676) ANS for SLM does not populate the Location field with internal ID. Current status: this is in progress and will be deployed soon.
  • (WEB-4696) Deleted listings appearing in search results for consumers and in Merchant Admin. Current status: we are working on resolving this issue.
  • (WEB-4441) Orders stuck in Being Delivered Current status: the orders stuck here due to unicode problems was addressed, and we continue to investigate remaining orders stuck in this state.
  • (WEB-4567) Bulk delete failing. Current status: the work-around on this is to delete each item. We continue to work on resolving this.
  • (WEB-4574) Direct Delivery products are re-delivered to purchaser instead of recipient. Current status: we are working on resolving this.
We continue to work on the other Marketplace JIRAs and will provide additional updates as soon as possible.
So, first things first--that is the latest update from CommerceTeam Linden, who's now right up there with Pink Linden and Frontier Linden for absolute and utter fucking worthlessness. What have they done since the END OF APRILLE? Have they done ANYTHING, in fact??

Lokii Violet from the 12th of May:
This has been ongoing for several weeks now. The absolute cluster%$@! of other merchants' names and products in my store are cleared - NOW instead I've removed some items I no longer carry in-world and they're repeatedly ghosting with the product name and another merchant's photo of their product. This has gone on for too long now and I'm sick and tired of filing tickets to be told to go to this Jira, or that jira, or be redirected to yet another Jira listing to find a day later they close it as a "duplicate" with no answers as to when this is going to be repaired.

Please stop with the run around on this and just remove the unaffiliated ghosted item picture listings and be done with it. Something like this should have been thoroughly tested before being pushed live and is in no short sum of words royally screwing with merchants' reputations and service records with the community.
That's two days ago as of this writing. This entire issue was first filed March 28th, 2012. The Lindens themselves have admitted that the latest borking builds on a database issue that existed since 2010. So more than two years of this, and it's no longer just the 14xxxx cluster affected. There are confirmed reports of twisted, inerrant data in the 12xxxx sector, the 15xxxx sector, and scattered reports from the 16xxxx sector. At this point, there may well be other affected sectors in the database

But let's just assume--for fun--that 25% of the items in each borked cluster are fine, or are repeat listings (unintentional or deliberate). Even allowing that margin for error, that's still 75,000 items per cluster. Times four. That's 300,000 borked listings, and that's if those per-cluster numbers aren't higher, and if there aren't more borked clusters.

The population of Cardiff, Wales, hovers around 340,000 currently. Fukushima, Japan, which was very hard hit by the tsunami, and later, the partial meltdown of their power plants, recorded a population of 290,064 in May of 2011. These aren't New York-sized cities, to be sure, but 300,000 is still a lot of people.

Or let's bring this back to things again, not people. This is what 300,000 bouncing balls look like. This is not a small number.

From Zachary Puddlegum, also on the 12th:
Hello still broken not fixed what is taking so LONG?
I can NOT edit items that not in my manage invetory to fix this.


why can't you just remove this ghost images and fix my store front so i can get back to selling? been way over a month now.
Tiffy Vella on the 13th:
Another corrupted image, and link, and I'm still a magic box user. Clicking this takes the customer out of my store. Not happy, Jan.
And finally, WADE1 Jya, comment left today:
Know why they don't comment on this?

It's because 'data corruption'-- which Lindens do admit this is – is the software equivalent to what a building collapsing is for an architect. It is total system failure, biggest screw up possible. Structure must be razed & rebuilt from ground up – or abandoned.

That's why the silence.

Lindens, please please do correct me if I'm wrong?
I'd love to know that, too. But the Lindens don't communicate, after all. Apparently ever.