L’Homme Magazine’s latest issue already dates from February, so I thought I’d better do a mad-dash-group-gift-tour before the May issue comes out. The good thing about these gifts is that not all contributors remove them once a new issue of the magazines comes out. Some even keep offering their older gifts alongside the new one. Nevertheless, I still felt the urge to hurry up.
‘The Look Of The Owl’ tattoo from Altamura, shown here on the NX-Nardcotix David mesh body with Nivaro skin, is not the best tattoo I’ve ever seen in SL, but not the worst either. I don’t really use tattoos, so I’m always going to be a bit ‘meh’ about them. Sure you shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth, but nobody said anything about not looking a gift owl in the eyes.
This is the ‘Jasper’ hair from Bad Hair Day shown on the Signature Gianni head with Stray Dog ‘Owen’ skin. I’m so used to Stealthic hair, I find it hard to go back to any hairstyle with less realistic roots. I do like the idea of the two colour huds that come with this hairstyle, letting you choose the base and highlights independently.
‘Chained Deceit’ from [CX] made me wonder if there is a word for an earring that’s connected to a nose ring with a chain and apparently it’s simply called a nose chain. This isn’t really my style, but it’s well made and it was very nice of [CX] to include left and right versions in onyx, gold and silver. For this shot and the next three I switched over to the Dagon hairstyle from Tableau Vivant. I have less issues with the roots of this hair, as it’s a floppy combed forward style.
I’m all laced up with nowhere to go in this harness and briefs from Gabriel. If I’m not mistaken their Christmas gift was the same briefs in red and it sure is awfully nice of Gabriel to contribute to my ever growing SL underwear collection. You can wear these with the Aestehtic, Belleza and Signature mesh body.
This layered shirt from Bakaboo made me look quite bulky so I had to tone down my shape to avoid thigh-sized upper arms. I commend this creator for being daring and bold with their patterns. Compared to some of their other creations, this sweater is rather demure. Another positive is the long list of included sizes: Adam, Aesthetic, Belleza, David, Gianni, Slink, TMP and Fitmesh.
I was delighted to see that the Erwin skin from Stray Dog is one of the L’Homme Magazine gifts for this issue. Of course you still have to buy the matching No. 4 “Buttermilk” applier for your Signature or Belleza body, so it’s a gift that comes with some strings attached, though nobody forces you to buy anything. I always enjoy trying on a new face, especially when it looks this darn lovable on the Catwa Stanley head, even more so with the Reach hairstyle from Stealthic. I was in a modest mood today, so I thought I’d avoid the free willy extravaganza and wear the Classic Boxers from Noche which manage to be both wholesome and sexy at once. My eyes are from No Shirt Sherlock and as I’m still not a fan of the ears that come with mesh heads, I’m wearing my trusty Season 5 Steking mesh ears from Mandala.
That’s it for now beavers. There actually are a few more gifts which I haven’t shown yet, but you can find the complete list underneath the editor’s letter in L’Homme Magazine. The new issue will be out in May, so we don’t have to wait long for a fresh batch of goodies and lots of pages with interesting creative ideas and drool-worthy imagery.
The April round of the Men Jail event started about a week ago and as I had a bit of spare time and nothing better to do, I casually sauntered over there and walked into the place as if there were no locks or guards (there aren’t!) to see what’s on offer. I loosely counted 53 contributors of which only about 15 are showing clothing and that includes shoes and hats. The rest is tattoos, poses, hair, beards, accessories and whatever. Maybe this is what the Men Jail audience wants, but I certainly have heard some murmurings about the lack of clothing at the male events lately.
Rather than going on a focused shopping trip for one particular mesh body, I thought I’d make it a mixed bag of goods this time around. From 4BIDDEN we’re getting a new thong. The good news is that along with sizes for the Belleza Jake and Signature Gianni mesh body, this thong also comes in a size for the Signature Geralt body, which means you now have a alternative underwear option if you own this body. The bad news is that while I can see the nice idea behind this creation, I’m not a big fan of the execution. Simply put, the mesh looks rushed and unfinished in my opinion. The texturing is acceptable though and the bulge size very respectable. If you’re wearing this thong with Geralt, make sure your belly size is 0, because otherwise you’ll have a drafty gap between the pouch and your crotch. This might be the case with other bodies as well, but I haven’t tested it yet.
FCUK has this simple tank top with some casually folded dollar bills as a detail. I like the drape and folds of this piece, but again the finer details aren’t quite as sharp as I would like them to be. This tank top is only available for Signature Gianni, which is another letdown. I have given up on trying tank tops on bodies there weren’t made for, as they are too unforgiving.
A&Y are showing a terrific pair of what they call cyber pants. The detailing on these is exquisite and the texturing is spot on. If you’re looking for a pair of matching boots and/or top, I recommend visiting the A&Y main store. These pants come with full length and a knee length version and work with the Signature Gianni and Belleza Jake mesh body.
I’m not a big fan of R2A, but the hooded vest they have at Men Jail now is acceptable and supports a generous range of mesh bodies (Adam, Aesthetic, Altamura Dante, Belleza Jake, NX David, Signature Gianni, Slink and TMP). I’m always happy to find something new that works perfectly with the NX-Nardcotix David mesh body, even more so when it allows me to show some skin. This vest works well with the NX-Nardcotix cargo pants and automatically comes with a 10-texture hud.
As much as I like tinkering with smaller houses like the Second Life version of the Farnsworth House or a simple guest cottage, I do enjoy getting stuck in with a bigger project. My only rule is: just let me do my thing. Real life is full of “do this, do that” and for me, Second Life has to be mostly about what I want to do.
I furnished and decorated the downstairs of the two-bedroom Roost New Port House for a friend who pretty much gave me carte blanche and no particular deadline.
Though I had nothing to do with the decor on the second floor, one of my favourite features of this house is the balcony leading from the upstairs bedroom that overlooks the living room. I can imagine stepping out on that balcony in the morning and hopefully smelling the coffee, which will have been made by whoever got up earlier (yes, Second Life is a fantasy world).
Whereas some of my other projects had a rather distinct style, and involved more research, this particular house lends itself well for my personal eclectic mix of mid century modernism and almost antique pieces with a general feeling of coziness. With the high-vaulted ceiling the N4RS fireplace gives the room a touch of grandness, while the Fancy Decor desk tones the formality down a notch. When it comes to artwork I tend to replace whatever is in the frame by something I little more personal, because it does get boring to see the same paintings everywhere you go. Now I’m just going take a nap by the fireplace and continue this house tour at a later date.
To be continued…
Over a month ago Signature launched a new male mesh body and head named Geralt. I played around just a little bit with the demo and could see its potential, so I went straight ahead and yanked the fully functioning version into my inventory by means of the usual exchange of money and goods. Wouldn’t it be great if real life worked like that? Imagine buying food and it magically appearing in your fridge. Then again, the world is already coping with an obesity epidemic, so indulging the human tendency towards laziness probably wouldn’t be the best idea, but I digress. I didn’t waste any time and started the creation of a first look for this new body and head right away. Since then I let it sit a little in my inventory, wearing it every now and again, exposing it in both the decent and indecent sense till the time was right to create another look.
I really wish that all those creators that do these wonderful skins for the Catwa head would tweak them and do whatever it takes to make them work for the Signature heads. Stray Dog has an ever expanding range of skins but very few of those can be used on a Signature head. Fortunately I do like their “Roman” skin on the Geralt head. For the body I tried an older version of their applier first and then remembered that I hadn’t snatched up the newest one yet. Some redeliveries and unboxings later I was pleasantly surprised with how well the Stray Dog applier for the Gianni body works with Geralt. The body hair and tan line are built-in options and the face skin can be applied either with or without freckles, while the beard is a standard option for the Geralt mesh head.
New look for Signature Geralt with Stray Dog “Roman” skin and previous look with standard skin and extra freckle applier.
Here’s another one of those “Billy took David to…” stories. We’re way past the halfway point for this round of Men Only Monthly, but it’s still kinda sorta almost relevant, right? Visiting these events at the start is like wading through a river of thick custard anyway, or maybe it’s more like wobbly jello. Anyway, I snatched up a couple of items to do that exercise I like the refer to as “something old, something new, nothing borrowed and maybe something blue” with the NX-Nardcotix David mesh body. Pickings were somewhat slim this time, but the lack of support for this mesh body isn’t the only factor. If you ignore poses, tattoos, hair, jewelry, shapes and skins, your left with not that much new menswear. Let’s focus on what I did find rather than on what didn’t work. It’s called seeing the glass half full.
Invictus is showing a nice pair of shorts at MOM which you can wear with or without a shirt wrapped around your waist and a baseball cap clipped to your belt. I’m wearing the standard SL size here and it’s not a bad fit. It could be a bit more snug in the bum area, but that’s made up for by the excellent texturing and details. The NX-Nardcotix sandals were an obvious choice to wear with these shorts and to add to that feeling of escapism, their backpack brings a nice finishing touch to the look. You can find both these items at their main store.
Aitui has this for them very typically layered, slightly crumpled jacket, shirt and t-shirt at MOM. Several versions are available and I went for one with a touch of sunny yellow because that colour always cheers me up.
I continued my yellow streak… Oh that sounds wrong! What I mean is that I sought out that touch of sunshine again with this set from MG Men. Surprisingly I could jump straight into those trousers without adjusting my (naked) shape, which means you can easily wear them shirtless and as you can see they also work quite well with the NX-Nardcotix tank top.
FE Style probably has been around in SL for quite a while and I think I saw something new from them recently that wasn’t rigged to any specific mesh body or even fitmesh, just plain old standard sizing. Either that, or I missed something. I think people will stand for that kind of thing less and less so I was excited to see that the shirt they have at MOM now actually includes an NX size. Usually I avoid buying the version that is shown on the poster, but in this case it was my favorite one by far. You can easily combine this shirt with NX-Nardcotix cargo pants without any glitching and it probably will work with most of your jeans and trousers.
Instead of taking the NX-Nardcotix David mesh body to one of the monthly fashion events to get him dressed, I thought I’d spent the day hanging out at home in sweatpants and underwear. Trying to pull off that shirtless look with a pair of sweatpants that wasn’t specifically rigged for the mesh body you are using, is not for the faint of heart. You will have to modify your shape and there will be some gaps and many sweatpants just won’t fit at all. In short: it’s sweaty business. The numbers you’ll be working with the most are your belly, saddle bags, leg muscle and butt size and it will always be a combination of adding a little here and reducing a little there and of course making use of your alpha hud.
First up are MGmen‘s latest pair of sweatpants currently available at TMD till the end of March and presumably at their main store shortly after. These sweatpants are part of a set with a jacket, a t-shirt and a bionic arm. I am wearing the pants made for Signature Gianni and to make them work my belly size is set to 19, with leg muscle at 60, butt size at 40 and saddle bags at 50. Thought I’d throw in the numbers for once, to help you out a little.
Lavarock haven’t really been on my radar much, but these sweatpants sure were a loud and clear beep. They actually come in a Nardcotix size and fit like a dream. I love the slanted pulled down look to show off the marvelous ass-ets of this body. There’s no need to mention any of my shape numbers with this one, as it will easily fit most shapes. If it looks like I can’t make up my mind about what to wear, it’s because these sweats are just so darn comfortable I don’t want to get dressed.
Ascend doesn’t specifically cater to the Nardcotix people, so with this flashy pair of sweatpants of theirs, I’m back to remodeling my shape to make them fit without busting the seams or breaking the elasticated waistband. I’m using the TMP size with my leg muscle at 77, butt size also at 77, saddle bags at 30, love handles at 25 and belly size at 18. The detail on these sweatpants is top notch and I love the colour combination of the ones with the print that I’m wearing here.
The Blankline joggerpants were, if I chose to accept it, my next challenge. I went for the camouflage pattern as Blankline also has army boots that go perfectly with these sweatpants. So far I have been wearing my sweatpants shirtless, but since I was wearing shoes I thought I’d better put on a shirt and get some fresh air. The NX-Nardcotix tank top is the ideal choice for this outfit. Naturally as this tank was made for the body, it is a perfect fit and leaves a bit of sexy bare midriff. Belly size is set to 14, leg muscle is at 72, with butt size at 70 and saddle bags at 30. If you find your hips are starting to look a bit too wide, you can take a look at the setting for hip width and see if you can decrease it without messing up the sweatpants again. Alternatively you can broaden your shoulders a little to even things out or you can take advise from The Nanny: “the bigger the hair the smaller the hips.”
I recently picked up the “Thom pants” from Complex at TMD, where these sweatpants will be available till the end of March and after that they should be at the Complex main store. These sweatpants are a bit smarter looking than most and even appear to have a sharp crease and I particularly like the orange drawstrings on this gray/brown version. I am wearing the Gianni size here with my belly at 16, leg muscle at 48, butt size at 38 and saddle bags at 20.
The texturing of Dufaux’s sweatpants is exquisite and I simply had to go for the fatpack because I love the option of the gold stripes. I was thrilled to see that the Gianni size works quite nicely with David. My belly size is at 18, leg muscle at 86, butt size at 54 and saddle bags at 36. From all the sweatpants I’ve tried on so far, this one has the most pronounced… eeehm… fruit basket.
The “George” sweatpants from Etham are an easy option. They don’t include a Nardcotix size, but by using the TMP size I didn’t have to adjust my shape at all, the alpha hud did all of the work this time. They’re the perfect comfortable no fuss solution and don’t worry if the pink threatens your masculinity, it comes in plenty of colours.
A while ago the Mossu “boner” sweatpants were all the rage. Way too many guys were running around with a tent. These sweatpants do come with a version that looks a bit more like you’re going commando and there is also an auto boner version included, which apparently gives you a stiffy as soon as your partner get near, just like in real life… right? I got these to fit with my belly size at 22, leg muscle at at 80, hip width at 30, butt size at 57 and saddle bags at 47.
Sadly there aren’t a lot of underwear options for this mesh body. You can go for something unrigged and then stretch, pull and squeeze the darn thing till it almost fits, but the result is never going to be as pleasing as the sight of a pair of perfectly rigged tighty whities hugging your cheeks. Thankfully NX-Nardcotix came to the rescue by designing a gorgeously simple and beautifully executed set consisting of a pair of briefs and a tank top. If you go for the fatpack, you get 11 solid colours and 5 patterns. 16 pairs of underpants is just about enough to get you from one laundry day to the next without having to let things hang loose.
An update of the Exmachina Davide full bento avatar automatically landed in my inventory yesterday. I allowed the box to acclimatize for a bit before unpacking it. This time around 4 different versions of the body are included in the box: one with and one without a head and both of those again but in a 64 bit version, whatever that means. I tried the headless body first with a Catwa and Akeruka head but they didn’t really fit, so I put on the 64 bit version with its own head.
The previous version started glitching and having a problem that I vaguely remember as “stack heap collision errors” (that might not be the correct term). Basically whenever I logged in wearing the body, I would experience this error and a whole arm would be in a different skin than the rest of the body. The same would happen after every TP and on top of that issue applying omega skins had become a big no no. I have been playing around with skins on this new version for a bit and so far there don’t seem to be any of these issues. The Ivar skin from 7 Deadly S[k]ins is a particular favorite of mine on this body and especially on the face. The nipples don’t line up well and there are strange shadows on the lips, but apart from that the boyish freckled charm works very nicely. Applying the hair base and extra body hair was a bit of a kerfuffle, but after playing with some options in the hud (shell masking and tattoo layer tinting) I finally got it. The hud has been made a lot more compact, which is a good thing, though it has made some of the text very small, but there is a resize button so you can enlarge it till your weary eyes can read the fine print. There are also a couple of facial animations now and you can finally blink, which is a good thing, because if you can’t close your eyes, your eyeballs will pop out whenever you sneeze. That’s why Cher is afraid of pepper mills these days. One more face lift on that one and she’ll have a beard, but I digress. The Exmachina full avatar is 3940 L$, which does make it a more affordable option than for example a head and body from Signature (7000 L$) or the combination of a Belleza body with a Catwa head (7990 L$).
All of a sudden, there it was: a new mesh body and head from Signature and I hadn’t even heard anything on the grapevine about it. Meanwhile SL residents started muttering among themselves and it is clear that people don’t see the immediate need for yet another mesh body and are worried that this will slow down continuous improvements of the existing Signature Gianni body and head. I took a look at the demo version before finally biting the 7.000 L$ bullet to start dabbling for ernest with Signature Geralt, because I do like a challenge and always appreciate something different.
The first impression I got from this body, is that it clearly is a product from the Signature stud farm, but Geralt has a less robust look than Gianni. His pectorals are smaller with very perky nipples that look like you could cut glass with them. You can moan about “rocket areolas”, or you can accept that it’s not about being better or worse but being different. Ask yourself what would be the use of there being more than one mesh body on the grid, if we are all going to aim for the same idea of what constitutes perfection? Try to imagine how boring Second Life would be if one particular definition of perfection would be our only choice? I better stop myself from going off into a proper lecture and point out that Geralt’s butt can be made significantly bigger than Gianni’s, to the level of dragging something along with you that will always arrive five minutes later at a party. Much like Sir Mix-A-Lot I like big butts and I cannot lie, but I tend to not lean towards the extremes, so I’m keeping that butt slider at a modest 45.
For my first look I stuck with one of the lighter tones of the standard skin that comes with the body and head, adding a scattering of freckles from Avenge to go for that über ginger appearance. The Geralt head comes with its own eyes, but I am not a fan of those at all. They look hard and lifeless and one friend of mine described it as a very disconcerting Stepfords Wives’ stare. Fortunately you can easily hide these eyes and wear a nice pair of mesh eyes from another creator. I do like the built-in and tintable hairbase, eyebrow and beard options and these made it very easy to complete a striking ginger look. The shape is of course the result of a lot of playing with the sliders and it is nice to see that just by doing that and not adding all that much else, the end result looks quite different from the Signature promotion images.
In therms of clothing, much of what you may have in your closet for the Signature Gianni body will NOT work. Forget about using your existing underwear or wearing the Deadwool Broberry jeans to give just an example. On the bright side, Signature did release a clothing range especially for this body and it’s also a good sign that I already saw some adverts for clothing that included a Signature Geralt size, like the sweatpants and sweater from Complex currently on sale at TMD. Last but not least I was happy to see that the Peak suit from Deadwool is a nice fit, as long as you wear it wit socks and shoes. The alpha cuts are in the right place to be able to wear this suit without the shirt and if you do wear the shirt, there don’t seem to be any issues with the neck.
I have been playing with other skin tones and skins from other creators and will be showing some of those looks in follow-up blog posts, so keep you eyes peeled (but preferably not in that scary Stepford Wives way).
*VOICE-OVER* Previously in What’s Eating TMP: Billy found himself surprised and puzzled at the sudden change in direction from TMP. First he was dismayed at the removal of the free body and then pleasantly surprised though somewhat alarmed at the sudden drop in price for a Deluxe body and head from 5000 to 500 L$. His bewilderment continued as he saw all the boutique clothing being thrown at people for free (and he got everything!). It didn’t come much of a surprise anymore after that however, when the skin price went down 50 % as well. What will he be looking at next?
Right, let’s stop referring to myself in the third person now, Second Life is disorienting enough as it is. I wanted to show a combination of an up-to-date bento mesh head with the TMP body as an alternative to getting a rigid non-bento TMP mesh head. Give the Aron head from Akeruka a try. It automatically comes with a set of both Omega and TMP body appliers so you can easily use the head’s default skin and match your body to it. As in so many cases when you start combining a mesh head from one maker with the body from another, you will notice a neck seam. Usually this will be most prominent at the back and depending on the windlight you are using, it can range from hardly noticeable to very obvious. For this example I stepped away from the standard Akeruka skin and applied one from 7 Deadly S(k)ins to increase the individuality of this look. 7DS is one of the few places that have Omega appliers which will work with this head as well as the matching appliers for the TMP body. The price tag is around 2500 for the head, which comes without animations. You can purchase an animation hud for it separately which brings the total price to a little over 5000. Of course once you decide to move on from the TMP body to another one, you will be able to keep using this head.
Let’s continue this TMP story while I’m on a roll. If you haven’t read any of my previous posts on the subject yet, I should probably repeat that they aree having a big sale. I haven’t seen any official adverts for it and not even a group announcement has been sent out. Now one of SL’s most well known bloggers, Strawberry Singh, has picked up on it as well. She asked the “LifeHelp” person (#DeadHelp) at TMP whether this was a temporary sale or if this price change is going to be permanent and she was told that as far as they knew, the sale was temporary. It must be such a rewarding thing to be part of TMP’s LifeHelp team, especially if you enjoy passing on wishy washy information.
This brings me to the other misinformation being spread in SL about the TMP body. People seem to think that nobody is making any clothes for it anymore. Actually, some people go as far as to say that nobody made any clothes for it ever. I imagine them being high placed members of the Alternative Facts Club. In all fairness, I should say that support from creators for the TMP body has been fluctuating and nice underwear brands such as Noche and Dufaux have stopped rigging their saucy little numbers for the TMP derrière. Admittedly, in the past there have been times where much to my chagrin I couldn’t make a nice tank top, a t-shirt or a pair of shorts work for this body. However, looking at a recent blog post about Men Only Monthly, the tops from A&D, Etham and Aitui which I purchased at this event all came with a version rigged for the TMP body. The Deadwool Broberry jeans I’m wearing them with are hugging my peaches perfectly and shoes aren’t an issue with most mesh bodies most of the time anyway.
I went back to Men Only Monthly for a second sweep and found myself a nice pair of sweatpants from BrunStyle, perfect for lazy Sunday mornings.
From the Invictus booth I got a denim shirt and pair of shorts, perfect for those early evening strolls along the beach when the sun starts dipping under the horizon and the breeze makes it a bit too cold for just a pair of swim trunks. And with that, I’m walking off into the sunset.