Maybe it’s writer’s block, but I couldn’t think of anything Second Life™ related to write about, so I thought I’d start up another subseries in this blog, dedicated to day-to-day real life stuff. Maybe you couldn’t care less, but at least it’ll be an outlet for myself.
Let’s start with the good old chestnut and the most reliable talking topic of them all: the weather! Winter has been a boomerang affair in Stockholm. By that I mean that snow has been coming and going and just when I thought we’d seen the last of the white stuff for this winter and I had pretty much thrown the very idea of snow to the furthest resesses of my mind, I opened the curtains the other day to a full blanked of the fresh pristine looking fluffy stuff. What was I thinking anyway? Of course winter wasn’t going to be over yet, Silly Billy. So in stead of seeing me wandering around in town working om my step count, you’re more likely to find me at home, being very unproductive and hanging out in my t-shirt and pants or at most a pair of sweatpants when I have to take the trash out or maybe have to head down to the laundry room. There is just something about snow that puts me in slow motion mode.
Let’s talk TV now. I recently finally finished the Battlestar Galactica series from 2004-2009 and it gave me a sense of achievement, mixed with mild abandonment issues and anticlimactic disappointment… I should watch it again some time. If you’re a Second Life™ clothing creator, I urge you to take a look at the uniform the actors were wearing to play a game of “Pyramid” in the 70’s version of Battlestar Galactica. Luckily/sadly they left that behind when they rebooted the series.
I’m also watching The Masked Singer on VTM, a Belgian tv-channel catering for the Dutch-speaking area of the country. There are no English subtitles, but you can always appreciate the performances and costumes and skip the bla bla in between. I may have mentioned once or twice on this blog that I’m a Belgian living in Sweden. I usually don’t care much for Belgian TV, but I happily make an exception for The Masked Singer. There’s something special about watching a deer sing a Justin Bieber song.
Let’s talk work. Do we have to? OK, it’s not too bad. Back in October I started going to the office again, because there was pressure from higher management to do so. Apparently some CEO’s are so set in their ways, they can’t believe that some people will be just as productive when working from home. To be honest though, I’m enjoying being at the office more than I thought I would. I’m not particularly close with any of my colleagues, but that doesn’t stop me from having the occasional chat. It’s also great to be sitting at an actual desk in an actual desk chair instead of at my kitchen table on a chair that isn’t really suited for the job. What’s less great is that about 1.5 to 2 hours of my day is waisted on travelling to and from work. I’d rather spent that time in bed, sleeping.
So that’s me, just getting through life one day at a time. Sometimes it feels more like surviving than living, but I cling on to the many tiny moments of beauty that come my way and I hope that as long as I have my sense of humor, I’ll be ok.
Right! After all the christmassy stuf, unpacking a tower of gifts and some frustrating Second Life™ neck seam gazing, I now have to take a break from winter, even if it’s just a virtual escape. A return to my series on (obscenely) short shorts was exactly what the doctor ordered. Actually, I have heard that in the past people in Sweden sometimes got prescribed a holiday in a sunny place to help them get over depression. This might be a myth though. I remember that some years ago a limited group of people were offered the opportunity to work 6-hour days without loss of fulltime salary and before I knew it, the international press was writing about this as if the whole of Sweden was on this particular band wagon. I had to explain to somewhat jealous friends in my home country (Belgium) that, no actually, I am still working 8 hours a day AT LEAST thank you very much! Anyhooo, I digress. Shorts! I’ve got new shorts. And damn they are short!
The Highcut Shorts by Noche come with straps you can leave off if you like. At the back they’re almost a thong and the side slit is the kind of detail I really appreciate in SL. The shorts come in a variety of bulge sizes and have been rigged for Belleza Jake, Legacy and Athletic. That last one is kinda unique for Noche, as they usually don’t support the Athletic body (some people may refer to it as “Legacy Athletic”). I thought I’d use this as an occasion to give the Athletic body another outing, as it seems to be gathering dus in my inventory most of the time. It’s definitely nice to see this body has something new and skimpy to wear. And on that positive note, I’ll keep this blog post nice and short too… Although compared to the writing on many other SL blog posts, this was already a short story.
As vaguely promised in my two previous blog posts in which I looked at combinations of Catwa mesh heads with the Signature Gianni mesh body, I shall be turning my critical eye towards a Gianni-Lelutka combo.
Again the neck seam looks okay from certain angles and in certain WindLight™, but often you’ll be able to spot it quite clearly. Second Life vlogger Novato has an interesting “tutorial” showing several bodies with a Lelutka head and in her example with Gianni there magically is no neck seam, but as far as I can see she’s not doing anything special there, so I’m assuming it’s just a case of luck with the WindLight and also, she’s only showing what it looks like from the front, while it usually is the back of the neck that has the most issues. Shine/glossiness have been turned down on both the body and head to make sure that this wasn’t what was causing the issue and obviously I am using a head and body skin by the same maker. Deuh, what am I, a noob? I don’t think the result is much better than with the Catwa head, but personally I do prefer this look over the two I created with the Catwa heads. There’s something about the angles of the Lelutka Connor mesh head that makes it go particularly well with Gianni in my opinion.
Hopefully Signature will address this issue in a next update sooner rather than later, as it would be sad to see a brand that has put so much effort in developing their product fall by the wayside. Right, now it’s time for me to pack away the Christmas decorations… But there’s a little distraction. You can find out on Patreon what it is.
In my previous post I combined an older Catwa mesh head (Victor) with the Signature Gianni mesh body, because someone made a comment on one of my posts that this combination is a “total disaster” because of the unsightly neck seam. While I agree that we’ve got better options these days that give us an invisible neck seam, I thought “total disaster” was putting it a bit strongly. Today I’m repeating the exercise with the Catwa HD Pro George mesh head, which to date is the only male head they have in their HD Pro line.
For some reason I’m noticing the neck seam more today, especially from a certain distance and on the back of the neck when the mesh head is casting a shadow. I went back to the previous combo (Catwa Victor & Gianni) and noticed the same thing. It’s the kind of issue that some people are trying to solve by telling you to change your WindLight™, because sure enough, in some WindLights and from some angles you can hardly see the neck seam at all. I’m still not calling this a total disaster, but it definitely leaves a lot of room for improvement. The Gianni body includes two version: one with a “default neck” and another one with an “SL neck” and it doesn’t appear to make any difference which one I use, the result is the same.
I guess anyone with a preference for the Signature Gianni body and Catwa mesh heads is going to either have to live with the (sometimes very) visible neck seam or move on to something else. At Catwa I saw a neck blender tattoo by Izzie and I tested it, but whatever difference it made was negligible. I haven’t been using this body an awful lot lately, but the commitment the creator has shown to keep it up to date and the professionalism of the Signature website is highly commendable. I think I’ll try a combination with a Lelutka head and maybe one with an Akeruka head too and pay close attention to the neck seam. To be continued…
A while ago someone left the following comment on a blog post: “I think the Gianni body and the Catwa head are a total disaster as the head tone can never quite match the body skin tone and you always have an unsightly visible neck seam.” It was a somewhat random comment, as the blog post did not mention either a Catwa head or the Signature Gianni body, but I can certainly sympathise with the frustration over an unsightly visible neck seam. We have become slightly more spoiled lately, with BOM skins for Lelutka EvoX heads that blend into the body, but is de Gianni-Catwa combo really a total disaster? Let’s take a look.
For the look I’m pulling out of my hat today, we’ll be looking at the Catwa Victor head, the Signature Gianni body (obviously) and the Evan skin for Catwa heads by Birth with their matching skin for Signature. I won’t say I had to look long and hard to find the neck seam, but I looked at it in many WindLights™ and moved the sun around a bit (oh how powerful we are in SL!) and there were many instances at which I could hardly detect the neck seam at all. As mentioned before, skins for newer heads go further down the neck, even into the chest a little bit and are blurred out at the bottom so they easily blend in with most body skins, when the skin tones more or less match up. Older skins are cut off at the neck, so understandably this makes matching up the body skin much trickier. There probably are some situation in which the seam becomes quite obvious. Would we call this a total disaster though? Of course, I have no idea which skin the commenter was using, what their graphics settings were or which WindLight™ they were in, but I definitely have had way worse neck seams than this.
Maybe I’ll do a look with the newer Catwa HD Pro George mesh head and the Gianni body at another time, but to be honest, it’s not my favourite head. Catwa seemed to be really at the top of the game, but when it comes to male mesh heads, they’ve been left in the dust by Lelutka. You could see that as an opinion, or you could look at what other bloggers and non-blogging residents are using and realise it’s probably true. For now though, I’ll be taking it easy for the rest of the evening.
**UPDATE**: There is now a follow-up blog post available on this topic.
The holiday season round of Man Cave is the usual veritable treasure trove of gifts, making it the perfect subject for another episode of Partridge in a Pear Tree. I’ve counted over 90 of them and though it was a chore to unpack them all, it definitely wasn’t a bore. You’ve got until January 11th to grab them all, but let’s jump right into the thick of it with a first snapshot.
In this shot both avatars are wearing the Phillipe skin by Vendetta for Lelutka EvoX mesh heads. Of course a BOM layer is included and this blends into any body skin (make sure you wear it on top of the body skin), or you can head over to the Vendetta store and purchase their matching body skin (skin tone #4). Our chap on the left is wearing the Toy Pants by Tiller and Gutchi Old School V2 Casual sneakers. Both items come with a pretty generous hud, which make these rather awesome gifts. As we’re in a lockerroom situation here, I thought it logical for him to be carrying the Cordewa Gym Bag, but how the hell does he fit everything in that? He’s wearing two tattoos, cause he’s like really bad ass yeah, you know wa I meen? His arms are more or less covered with the Crave tattoo by Speakeasy and on his chest he has the Vida Loca tattoo by Corazon. He’s got one Judy earring in from Andore and is sporting the Logan knit cap by Vango. You can just about catch a glimpse of the Nexus hairbase underneath that wooly hat and I’ve given him the Gloom Tim eyebrows (with a slash) and Eon freckles by Not Found to add a bit of extra character to that pretty face. The other mostly undressed dude is wearing the Casual Boxers by Kalback and he’s inked up with the Forme tattoo by Dappa. His hairbase is KAZ by Volkstone and is a great example of how some people are going with detailed hairbases for a short hair look instead of using mesh hair. Everything else in this shot has nothing to do with the Man Cave gifts. I just felt like setting the scene. Ignore the naked guy under the N4RS shower. Ha! Made ya look! Everything is shown on the Legacy mesh body and Lelutka Logan mesh head.
If you’re in the market for some shorts, then the Man Cave gifts have got you (partially) covered. From left to right you’re seeing the Invictus cotton shorts with a classic fleur de lys pattern, in the middle we have the Duk Seul Shorts which come with a hud for the bit of underwear that’s sticking out and on the right we have the itty bitty tiny Medinna shorts by Totally Wicket. The cheeky chap on the left is wearing the Tumb tattoo by Fewness and another little tattoo on his face by Badwolf (with that brand name, they must be Doctor Who fans, surely). The mister in the middle is trying to look too cool for school with the Landry Candy Cane Glasses by Deep Static. FYI: the avatar on the left in this shot uses the Belleza Jake body and Lelutka Logan mesh head with the Stray Dog Marc skin. This skin is still a gift at Stray Dog at the time that I’m posting this. His hair is Hysteria by Stealthic. Not free or anything, just thought I’d mention it in case you were wondering.
For lounging around the house and/or cuddly wuddly time, you’ll find that the Eustace pajamas by Enraged and the Striker briefs by Matova are just the trick.
Now, let’s return to decency and a style that is more in keeping with the season to finish of this blog post, because there definitely are some gifts that combine nicely to make complete outfits. The Cold Ash Nicholas sweater pairs nicely with the Sido pants by Imagine Moda and the simple clean-cut Donato pants by VUK are a great match with the Jordan plaid shirt by KLOV, which includes a hud with some textures for the t-shirt that goes with it.
Aaaaand it’s a wrap! Obviously this is just a small-ish percentage of the gifts at Man Cave, so if you haven’t done so yet, head over there now and grab them all while you still can. The bussies time has passed now, so the lag shouldn’t be too bad. By the way, have you found yourself in stores in real life shortly before Christmas, thinking: “gawd, can you believe the lag at this sim?”
We have now reached the confusing in-between days of the holiday season. Many people are having some time off, but aren’t exactly sure what to do with it. Those that are working between Christmas and New Year’s eve might be working on a little project that needed to be taken care off, but are lacking the sense of urgency to really get going. This is also my approach to my long list of outfits that could do with an update. Noche just released and updated version of their Fur Vest (at Equal10 until January 5th) which I previously got with a prescription box (named Swagbag) many Second Life™ moons ago. I believe I actually meant to mention it to the creator that it’s a shame this vest was only available in a size suitable for the old TMP Deluxe body. He must have read my mind. Careful deary, it’s awfully smutty up there. Anyhoo, an updated item is always a good kick-off to update a whole look.
Now the Noche Fur Vest has been rigged for the Legacy and Jake mesh bodies and if you treat yourself to the fatpack, you’ll get a whopping 41 textures. Even for the inside of the vest, of which you’ll just catch a glimpse every now and again, there are six texture options. I’ve always liked the idea of a jacket in a stylishly sombre fabric contrasted with a bold fashion statement for the lining.
Sadly the Bondage Strap Pants by Gild I was wearing with the old outfit have not been updated, so I went for the next best thing with a bit of strap-action at Gild. The “Crotch Trousers” (awkward name!) aren’t exactly a very recent item, but they come in the Belleza size and the boots are included, so at least I didn’t have to go look for footwear.
The old TMP Deluxe mesh body and head have been swapped out with the Belleza Jake mesh body and Lelutka Logan mesh head. As much as I loved the wildness of the Aeros hair I was using for the old look, I feel it simply doesn’t cut the mustard anymore so I opted for the more realistic Reach hair by Stealthic and made it a little taller than I usually do, just to recapture some of that drama. The skin I used is a new one by Birth, called Rai. I could have popped a beard on this, but I wanted to go for a very fresh-faced look this time around. I’m sure he’ll grow a beard eventually. I love the piercing blue eyes I recently got from Avi-Glam. They’re called Borealis eyes and include an applier for Lelutka mesh eyes, among other options. These eyes are a discounted item for Pride At Home at the moment.
I’ve made a shape for the Lelutka Logan mesh head and Legacy mesh body. You can find my“Frank” shape in my Marketplace store. Though it was made for Legacy, I used it with the Belleza Jake body for this blog post, because the Gild trousers didn’t include a Legacy size. While shapes for these two bodies aren’t entirely interchangeable, I think it doesn’t look too shabby on Jake.
Finally I felt the outfit needed some zhuzhing up, so I added the Hunter Pendant by Marked, the Cole Wristband by Tori Torricelli (group gift, joining fee is L$50) and the Ring Bracelet by Cerberus Crossing [CX] (group gift, joining fee is L$50).
Hunts used to take up quite a lot of my time in Second Life™, but I have lost my passion for them somewhere along the way. Christmas is a good time for it though. There are a couple of good ones, like for example the Snowbound Hunt (ends on December 27th). The prizes sadly aren’t free in this hunt, but the maximum you’ll pay for one is L$25, so you can look at it as a bargain hunt. However, apart from just a few items for male avatars and some home decor, this hunt is very much skewed towards female avatars. Apparently there’s a total of over 500 prizes, so you’ll definitely will want to use some sort of system if you don’t want to end up paying many tiny amounts that add up to rather a lot of money for a truck load of stuff you don’t need.
There’s a row of stands for each contributor to the hunt, showing the prizes and the specific ornament you need to be looking for if you want that creator’s items. Some people call this cheating, but I totally used Area Search for this hunt! Like, to-tal-ly! Playing it “fair” and having a long look around at a store in a hunt with free prizes is all good and well, but if you’re going to make me pay for the prizes, I will make it myself a little bit easier, thank you very much with a cherry on top. The great thing is that if you do an area search on the brand name, the search results will show you exactly what each item is, because the names and numbers correspond with what’s on each creator’s poster. In short, there’s no risk you’ll accidentally buy a pair of women’s nickers. When it comes to aimlessly wandering around though, the Snowbound Hunt sim definitely is a very nice seasonal creation to spend some time in, even if you’re not much of a hunter.
The items I snatched up are:
Other items (not from the hunt) used are:
Some Christmases ago in a magical land far, far away… eeehm in Second Life™, Noche released Santa’s Helper Collection.
This is a naughty elf outfit consisting of particularly short tunic-type top with the typically elf like pointed collar with bells, a pair of striped stockings and a thong, just like every Santa’s little helper should be wearing. Both the top and thong come with huds that let you lift and shift some fabric, should you feel in the mood to be a particularly naughty elf… Just remember that “he sees you when you’re sleeping.
If you’re looking for a Santa outfit to go with that (dirty) little fantasy, I suggest you go check out Tylie, they have just the thing. Santa’s hat (and hair) in this image is a VIP gift at Argrace. There’s no joining fee for their update group, but you need to have purchased at least one item from Argrace to get to VIP status.
Now let’s look at the free Logan mesh head from Lelutka , while you can still grab it. You’ll find it at the temporary sims they’ve created just for this head, so the main store doesn’t get overwhelmed: Lelutka Gift Sim 1 – Lelutka Gift Sim 2 – Lelutka Gifts Sim 3. I’m not sure whether you have till Christmas Eve or Christmas day to pick up this head for free, but I’m sure you’ll be sad to find out you’ve missed it. I’m using it here with three other gifts from the 12 Days of Christmas action: the Brett skin in peach tone by Clef De Peau, de body skin for Legacy by Velour (including a neck fix to match the Clef De Peau skin) and the Avi-Glam Nice Eyes. (the hair is Reach by Stealthic and not a freebie)
Last but not least I wanted to mention a lovely Christmas version of the Kouyou sweater by Deadwool. It currently is a very welcome group gift a their main store (L$10 group joining fee). This sweater pairs nicely with Deadwool’s Kojima jeans. This is promising to be another tricky Christmas for a lot of people, with restrictions, a steadily growing number of infections with this funky new variant of our little Covid friend and a whole lot of loneliness for those forced into isolation. Nothing is stopping you from putting on your silly old comfy Christmas sweater though.
If you can do with some virtual company, maybe you can check out British comedian Sarah Millican on Twitter. She keeps a conversation going on Christmas day with the hashtag #joinin. Also remember that there’s nothing wrong with being alone for Christmas if that is what you like or that’s how things turn out and you don’t really mind it. Whenever someone tells me they think it’s aaaaaawful that I’m all by myself for Christmas, I promptly remind them that they don’t seem to care a rat’s furry ass that I’m alone most of the rest of the year too. That usually shuts them up. Oh I sure do I like to decorate the holiday season with awkward silences and painfully polite smiles. Right, now where did I leave that sweater?! Ho ho ho b*tches!
Images shot at Snowdrops
As mentioned in my previous blog post, I find the venue for the Second Life™ Shop & Hop Events a little bit bewildering. I could easily get lost in it without ever knowing if I have seen it all. One way to lower my fomo is to approach this event in sections. Thankfully SL has a page with separate landmarks for each section. Basically, each section is a sim and you can wander from sim to sim without using these landmarks of course, but that’s what trips me up. For me it was easier to make a tour of each sim and then hop to the next one on the list, to make sure I hadn’t missed anything. This event will run until January 2nd, so we have a bit of time to take it nice and easy.
I found the Swear Lapointe Bastchild booth this time around on the Tinseled sim and treated myself to fatpacks of their Watchdog Jeans and Pilot Roll Sleeve shirt. For me there is just something so damn sexy about a simple, well executed, realistic looking outfit in SL. Rolled up sleeves are not exactly suitable for winterwonderland situations, but you can always make an outfit with the jeans and a coat and then when you pop in a cozy café, you can switch to the shirt, to add a bit of realisme to your SL experience. There’s also a free version of the shirt available with a seasonal pattern.
Once I was on a roll, I was zipping through the Shop & Hop event like nobody’s business, picking up gifts left and right, but also taking a moment to enjoy all the festive decorations. After all, if one is invited for Christmas dinner, one would be amiss not to compliment ones hostess with the mostest on her fabulous centerpieces. But back to the gifts now.
Here you see the Frozen Backdrop by Irresistible, Winterstump with lamp and animated rabbit by W&Co., Santa Paws Lil Reindeer by Backbone and Neatly Folded Blankets by Half-Deer. The black hoodie I’m wearing is also S&H gift by AB, but to be honest I’m not familiar with the brand and can’t remember what their booth looked like. The hoodie came in handy for something logical the wear in this snowy backdrop though.
Credits (for anything not mentioned yet above)
Right, and now I’m to my sofa to watch and episode of An American Aristocrat’s Guide to Great Estates. I’ve always loved grand houses and castles, ever since I was a wee lad. I even spent some holidays in a somewhat dilapidated castle in Belgium in my youth. It was one of those youth holiday camp situations. I never went for the other kids. For me it was always all about the castle. Even back then I liked to touch doors and walls and imagine all the lives they had witnessed. I hope I’ll be wandering around in some great British estate in my dreams tonight.