There aren’t enough quasi realistic urban experiences in Second Life™, if you ask me. And if you don’t ask me, I’ll tell you anyway. On the one hand it’s of course very liberating that your avatar and everything else in SL can be as far removed from reality as you want it to be, on the other hand I think it would be nice if there were more sims that give people a good virtual experience of certain real life cities. For example, I couldn’t find anything related to Stockholm at all. Feel free to let me know in the comments if you know of such a sim. In my search for Stockholm, I stumbled across Skrunda-3, the latest Second Life iteration of the abandoned Soviet military town known as Skrunda-1 in Latvia. It made me realise that SL does ghost towns and anything that feels somewhat dystopian rather well. I don’t know if that means many SL residents have a very bleak view of the future, or if they see the photogenetic beauty and romance in a ghost town.
For someone like me, who’s particularly good at aimless wandering, Skrunda-3 has a lot to offer. Crumbling industrial buildings to snoop around in, high constructions to climb for a better view of the place and an overal voyeuristic sense of looking into people’s (past) lives. I can’t make up my mind if there would be something slightly obscene about visiting the real life town. On the one hand there’s nothing wrong in taking an interest in fairly recent history, on the other hand it maybe is too recent to already look at the abandoned houses and poor little possessions as a tourist attraction. But apparently the real life version of this ghost town isn’t open to the public and in Second Life we can simply marvel at the effort and patience it will have taken to bring this sim together into one cohesive experience and appreciate the detail and craftsmanship of all the items.
For this episode of Shopping with David I made a quick last-minute trip to the current round of the Men Only Monthly event, which will end on November 15th, in the hope of finding something wearable for the NX-Nardcotix David mesh body. I was pleasantly surprised to see that pumpkins were dotted all over the place and while many of them were tricks, some actually were a nice treat.
One of the treats is the DDM tattoo by Clever Language. Nowadays some new tattoos no longer include an applier, because many people have switched over to using BOM layers. Sadly, this leaves David with less options for body decoration, because this particularly mesh body isn’t BOM ready (yet?). Luckily the Clever Language tattoo contained an Omega applier, so I could use it on David. Obviously the suger skull theme is a hint to Halloween, but I think it wouldn’t be too odd to use this tattoo all year round and the good thing about tattoos in Second Life™ is that removing them is completely painless. Well, for us anyway. Maybe our avatars do feel pain… Do you ever wonder what they do when we’re offline? No? Just me then.
I also bought the L&B Swear Morte bomber jacket at MOM. It comes in a range of Halloween themed prints and I went for that looks spooky but can still be worn past Halloween. The ones with pumpkins are slightly less versatile in my opinion, but a skull works any time of the year. Even Christmas… there are always some skeletons dropping out of closets on those Christmas family parties. The jacket has a built-in t-shirt with a number of texture choices and as you can see, you can also hide it The boots are also by L&B Swear and are one of the gifts at MOM (until tomorrow). For my jeans I went with the trusty Lewis Denims by Legal Insanity. Usually when I wear any pair of trousers by Legal Insanity with David, I use the Aesthetic (Enzo) size. In this case I’m using the Gianni size, because those can be tucked in the L&B Swear boots. It just meant I had to play a bit more with my shape to make the jeans fit.
I’ll better leave it at this, seeing how there’s only one day left for this round of MOM. Taking a look at the rest of the gifts at MOM now would be a bit of a tease, as there’s only a day left and most of you who will stumble across this blog post will have mist the opportunity to grab those gifts.
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Every year with the coming of daylight saving time I tend to feel a bit “off” for a week or so. I guess you could call it a mini jetlag. Add to this the shortening of days and the dropping of temperatures and for me this is the start of the big winter slow down. I fight this feeling to some extend, by for example trying to keep my step count up to the classic 10,000 steps a day. On weekends however, when I don’t have to head out to the office, there will be those days I’ll make myself a big pot of tomato soup, keep it warm on a candle-lit hot plate and just work my way to the bottom of the pot one mug at a time. I’ll be sitting on my couch, slurping the soup and dunking bread in it, while watching a random selection of shows on Netflix and never bothering with taking a shower or even getting dressed. How does one answer the question “did you have a nice weekend” after something like that?
But who cares that I don’t have any interesting tales to tell. I don’t live my life to entertain others, well apart from when I’m trying to be witty in this blog or during team meetings of course. I guess that a life time of being somewhat of an oddball has made me mostly immune to fomo. I’ll just hang out in my cozy fuzzy sweater and underpants, living MY best life and caring f*ck all about what I’m going to tell the people at work on Monday. That’s my philosophy.
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Last year Noche released a hospital gown round this time of year. You could wear it clean or blood splattered, which made it suitable as an easy somewhat naughty Halloween costume. This year Noche has released a set of scrubs to compliment that hospital gown and again you can chose between looking fresh or gruesomely bloody. I guess this means you can now go to any Halloween party with your beau in perfectly matched costumes.
These medical outfits made me curious about hospitals in Second Life™ so I did what any researcher with a lack of self-respect would do and googled it. I haven’t been in SL long enough to be able to give you a first person account of what is was like “back in the day”, but from what I can tell there’s been a period in which SL was heading in a more serious direction, with brands, corporations and institutions (including medical ones) showing an interest in having a presence in this virtual reality. These days, I’m not so sure if that is still the case.
The world famous Mayo Clinic has a presence in Second Life and while their island is charming in an outdated kind of way and they have a seemingly functional conference center, it doesn’t really feel like a hospital environment. Also, it looks like the last time they had a conference was in June 2020. This place could do with some better building skills and a more generous budget. The Google search on “Second Life hospital” came up with just comes up with lots of outdated articles on the topic, which leads me to believe that whatever serious projects were started up, they have since been (partly) abandoned. I would welcome being proven wrong, so feel free comment on this blog post with an example of a functional medical educational sim in SL.
So what about less serious medical roleplaying in Second Life? Surely there must be more options for that kind of thing? I think there are, but I wasn’t that deeply invested in this investigation to take a real deep dive into it. Instead, I just went with the first thing I found, which was the Eden Valley Medical Center, who claim to be “specializing in Women and Children and now Plastic Surgery.” That peaked my interest. Plastic surgery in SL, isn’t that just messing about with the sliders or simply putting on another mesh head? Surely I AM a cosmetic surgeon in SL? As for having children in Second Life, if that is anything like a Tamagotchi, the little buggers will be dead on day two if you left them with me. Of course, just because it’s not really my thing it doesn’t mean I can’t half-heartedly check it out. It really helped that Eden Valley Medical Center is proper swanky. This place has a lot of posh waiting areas. Really, there seem to be more waiting areas / lounges than any other type of space at this sim. Thankfully for those that come here with a virtual bun in their equally virtual oven, there also are some pretty professional looking examination rooms. Sadly, I was not able to determine how far along my partner was, but I think it was just a bad case of trapped wind anyway. So to sum it up, from an aesthetics point of view my visit to this sim was an altogether rather pleasant one and it was interesting to see that a non-professional medical sim looked much better than what the good people of the Mayo Clinic have thrown together.
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There is something about underwear items with a bit of metal detailing that makes me want to put it on a fairy. The new Adrian chain thong by Noche is just such an item and worn with the also new Adrian chain harness it maks a very striking sexy fairy outfit, for those fairies who like to show a bit of skin… Well, lots of skin.
Finian’s Foraois was just the place to let my fairy flag fly. It’s mystically misty and magically moody. The forest is home to fairies, centaurs, and much abundant wildlife, not to be confused with abandoned wildlife, which is what I call myself on a bad day.
Wandering around in the castle made me feel ever so slightly naughty, as if I wasn’t quite supposed to be there and I realy liked it. It’s rather maze-Iike, which makes it very suitable for a good old snoop. I’m told there’s also a tavern here somewhere, but it’s always good to keep something for another visit. Having recently returned to work and the actual office instead of the home office after a couple of weeks off, I’m trying to take the same approach to my work load. It’s always good to leave some for the next day, right? Or the next week for that matter!
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All hallows eve will soon(ish) be upon us and the Second Life™ spookiness is in full swing. It was rather inevitable that this month’s blog post with the NX-Nardcotix David mesh body was going to be Halloween themed.
I revived last year’s creepy yet kinda cute pumpkin head look for David and sent him on a date with Mr. Bonesie. The Pumpkin Head can be purchased at Birth and is part of the L$60 Happy Weekend this coming… ahum… weekend (cue the dowager countess: “what is a weekend?”).
The “Bonesie” skull is currently a group gift at Birth and the bloody axe is also a gift from Birth at the Shop N Hop Halloween event. Mr. Bonesie is wearing a waistcoat, shirt, gloves and trousers all by Contraption. They haven’t got a huge range of menswear at Contraption, but every piece they have is a well executed classic garment from the… Victorian era? You don’t even need a mesh body or head with this look, just an alpha that covers your system body.
Meanwhile Mr. Pumpkin Head is nicely filling out the L&B Swear Havoc Leather pants; quite nicely indeed (use the Signature size and play with your shape to make them fit). If you want to take a closer look at the items in that outfit, you can go back to last year’s blog post, it’s still fresh. I did switch things up with the tattoo this year and David is wearing Ancient Soul by IDTTY. I had a quick look around at their store and couldn’t find this specific tattoo, but frak me sideways and call it a Tuesday, they have a lot of tattoos! Enough to break out in a sweat. Seriously, don’t go there if you have an issue with making choices. You’ll be a puddle!
A favourite fantasy look of mine is that of a angel who has newly fallen to earth and just grabbed an old coat he found somewhere to wrap around him. The coat is an old gacha item from Gabriel. As you know, all gachas have now been retired, but you can still find second-hand gacha items on Marketplace. Simply search for “wrap around coat” and you may get lucky. I’m just happy that I can wrap the TMP size of this item round David without glitching through it. Only my left leg goes through a bit during walking, but why walk when you can fly. With some downsizing and shifting the family jewels, I could probably make David more or less anatomically correct under that makeshift skirt. I chose to wear the NX-Nardcotix Darrel briefs and Mecatl sandels.
If you don’t particularly want to wear a costume but do like the idea of wearing something in keeping with the Halloween theme, I may have found just the thing on Marketplace. It’s a layered long-sleeved t-shirt named “Til Death“, with a romantic skeleton print. It’s only L$99, includes a bunch of colour options and comes in David’s own size. I’d forgotten that my Troy shape has a slightly redunkulous caboose. In this case it makes the shirt stand out too much in the back for my liking, but it’s an issue you’ll notice with other shirts and bodies too. I guess I’ll have to suck some of the fat out of his buttocks and inject it somewhere else or gift it to one of the Kardashians.
I didn’t have to think long about the trousers I wanted to wear with this shirt. I kept it simple and pulled the NX-Nardcotix Finlay Cargos out of the wardrobe. The beanie is a nice finishing touch for this urban outfit and I think you can still find that one for free at Kalback at the moment (October 2021) as a gift for the L’Homme Magazine group (free to join).
Some more credits
Every now and again I scroll down my long list of outfits and look at one of the older ones to see what I can do to update it. This is the concept of my Clearing Out the Wardrobe series.
Today I’m updating an outfit that used the old TMP Deluxe mesh body and head. As a replacement I’m using the Classic Meshbody and Lelutka Guy mesh head as shown in my latest budget friendly blog post. While the shape of the old TMP body of course could already be altered, there wasn’t much you could do with their mesh heads in those pre-bento days. Hasn’t Second Life™ become much more fun now that we can shape and mold mesh heads to our heart’s content?
I rather liked the Huntsman jacket by Cold Ash back in its day. I’m sure someone could make a more sophisticated version of this now, but I haven’t found one and I really wanted to stick with that lumberjack vibe, so I recycled it and simply chose another texture. At L$299 for a pack that includes three colours for the jacket and shirt, it’s not a bad deal. I don’t know how well this jacket would behave with any other body, but it includes a TMP size so it works reasonably well with the Classic Meshbody. If anyone knows of a newer, better executed version of this kind of jacket, please let me know in the comments.
Those trousers were really outdated! The Holloway ripped jeans by Cold Ash are a huge improvement and while the previous sneakers weren’t too bad, the Deadwool Chase sneakers remain a winner in the shoe department as far as I’m concerned, even if they are not the newest thing out there. Last but not least the Stealthic Psycho hair with beanie is a great upgrade from what I was previously using as well. Check out my previous blog post “For a Little Less – Episode 7” for all the details on the head, body and Birth skin, including some tips on where to get freebies. The colourful atmospheric autumnal sim I’ve used for this photoshoot is Nelipot.
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It’s been a long time since I’ve last done a blog post focusing on getting the most avatar bang for my Linden buck. In episode 6 I showed a free mesh head by Logo, but sadly that was a temporary offer. In episode 7 I went for a genuan bargain hunt, featuring a group gift mesh head by Alantori, which is still available today. For this episode I’m kicking things of with something for those of you who want to elevate their appearance beyond the standard Second Life™ avatar, but still feel a bit squeamish about pumping cash into this virtual world.
I headed over to [DNA/BROX] to check out their range of full mesh avatars and skins that are all just L$1 each and I purchased the Brox mesh avatar and No. 9 skin. The body doesn’t come with an alpha hud, instead you get a folder with wearable alpha layers which will hide parts of your body to help you with wearing mesh clothing. Alternatively, if the item of clothing you’re trying to wear includes its own alpha layer, you may want to use that instead. I made a quick visit to Fitch to pick up a free pack of applier clothing so I could give our chap a pair of boxers to “protect his modesty”. Everything is free at Fitch and while I was there I grabbed a lot of stuff. I’ve put together this and that from said free stuff (a skin, eyes, beard, hair base, overalls, sneakers), wacked on the free group gift hair from Modulus and played with the shape for a bit. You can see the result of that exercise in the middle and on the right of the collage above. Not too bad for an almost freebie, right? So in summation, I wouldn’t want to pay much for this avatar but it is worth the L$1. To be clear, while I did also pay the extra L$1 for the skin, you can definitely find yourself some free skins to use with this body, though the fingers and toes probably will look gnarly… less gnarly than those on the system body though. If you REALLY don’t want to put ANY money into Second Life, there’s an interesting page on How to Earn Linden Dollars you may want to check out. I’d strongly urge you not to go begging for that L$1.
For the second look we’re going with a larger budget. We’re starting off with the free Classic Meshbody. I say free, but you do need L$1 to grab it and I’m not sure if this is one of those cases were the money is immediately refunded while the items is being delivered. To this body we add the Lelutka Guy mesh head. This is one of the two older male mesh heads you’ll find a little bit tucked away in a corner at the Lelutka store. While of course Lelutka’s newer Evo X mesh heads offer a much better (invisible) neck seam with certain mesh bodies and plenty of extra bells and whistles, the Guy mesh head is currently lower priced at L$2,700, (Evo X heads are L$3,990). Wear LeLutka.Alpha.Head&Body.BOM that comes with the head to hide the system eyes otherwise it’ll look like an eyelid lift gone wrong.
Birth has some nice skins that look good on the older Lelutka mesh heads, especially Guy. The Ripley skin I’m using here is L$650 and includes a hairbase and several beard options. Birth’s skin for the Legacy Meshbody is L$450 and can be used successfully with the Classic Meshbody. Obviously you’ll need to use the BOM skin, as there is no applier that works with the Classic Meshbody. You will have to live with a visible neck seam, depending on the Windlight™ you’re using. The good news is that from some angles and in some windlights it’s hardly visible at all.
The eyes I’m using are by Avi-Glam and are a personal favourite of mine. They’re called Solstice eyes, cost L$350 and include an applier you can use on the mesh eyes that come with the Lelutka head. It’s worth joining the Avi-Glam group, as the joining fee is only L$10 and you’ll get a bunch of nice free eyes for that, as well as a 10% discount on every purchase. This means you already earn that joining fee back if you purchase the Solstice eyes (group discount price is L$315).
My hair is Knox by Exile and it’s a special two-toned free version until further notice, related to the Stay At Home SL campaign. I’ve made the Trevor shape for this specific head and body combo and priced it at L$99, instead of my more usual L$199. This brings the total for this look to L$4,225. You can of course swap out the eyes for one of the free group gifts at Avi-glam, then spend L$199 on the Metallic thong at Noche and still have a bit of spare cash left over.
For look No. 3 we’re sticking with the Classic Meshbody and Lelutka Guy head and are zipping over to Stray Dog where you’ll find a bewildering range of skins. Many of them are for Catwa, Lelutka Evo and Evo X mesh heads. To make sure you get a skin that works the best with the Lelutka Guy mesh head, you need to look for skins that show the old Lelutka compatible logo. There is some information on the vendor for each skin that tells you if it was specifically made for Lelutka Guy. Alternatively you can always demo a skin that was made for Lelutka Evo heads and see what it looks like. That’s the general rule in SL anyway: demo as if your life depends on it baby! I can tell you though that any skin that’s been made for Evo X heads will not work.
I am using Stray Dog’s Jeffrey skin for Lelutka Guy, which is L$590. I’m really digging the more mature look and the optional beard that’s included. Even when you’re using a BOM skin, you can still use an applier on top of that as well, like for example one of the standard freckle options you’ll find in the HUD of the Lelutka head. Stray Dog’s skin for the Legacy Meshbody is L$499, is suitable for the Classic Meshbody and comes with options like freckles, body hair and tan lines. The same remark I made earlier about the neck seam visibility holds true for this Stray Dog skin as well. Take it or leave it or upgrade to a more expensive avatar. For the eyes I went with one of the Avi-Glam group gifts this time, more specifically the Mellow eyes. These eyes include an applier for Lelutka Evo eyes, which doesn’t work on this head. Luckily they also include mesh eyes, so you can use these instead of the eyes that come with the head and move them into place till you get the best fit. The shape is the same as I used for the previous look, priced at L$99. This brings the total for this look to L$3,899.
The Essential Jockstrap by Noche is L$299 and is one of the few older underwear items still left that work with the Classic Meshbody. This goes back to the days when this body was known as TMP (hence the title of one of the sub series in my blog: “What’s Eating TMP?”).
Right, before I love ya and leave ya, I’ll send you on your way with some outfit ideas.
A few years ago Kauna retired from their clothing designing activities in SL, but left behind a wealth of goodies to pick up for free. I’m wearing the Novus Suit, Monk Strap Shoes and Safety Glasses all from the Kauna collection. The suit includes a TMP size and is fitmesh, which means you can adjust your shape and the suit will adjust with it. I felt it made my avatar look chunkier in the middle than when he’s naked, so I reduced the love handles and saddle bags. Make sure you click Save As and not Save when you do this kind of shape editing, so you don’t use the shape that looks good naked… If only someone had given me that advise in real life!
Gabriel have areas at their main store for older items that have been discounted to L$1 or L$50. Look for items with the symbol for either The Mesh Project or The Mesh Project Classic Body. Once you’ve unpacked the box, you need to look for anything that has TMP in the name. Even at these bargain prices you can still get a demo first, in case you want to try on something that doesn’t seem to have the TMP size. I thought the Buckle Strap Pants (includes a pair of boots) and Leather Short Hoodie made a particularly striking combo at L$1 each. It’s an especially good outfit for showing off some ink. Tattoos are rather easy to snatch up for free in Second Life™.
It’s a bit early for the group gift Christmas sweatpants by Ascend, but the holiday season will be there before we know it. There’s a L$25 joining fee for the group, but the sweatpants are worth it and after all this I needed something to crash down with.
That’s it for now but maybe I’ll do another episode in the not so far future with the Lelutka Andrea mesh head, showing different skins and a couple of outfits again. Cheerio-ho-ho-ho. Damn it! The Christmas sweatpants got to me.
The latest edition of L’Homme Magazine, arguably SL’s most popular quarterly male fashion magazine, was published in August (2021). Personally I like to leave it until we’re into the second month of the quarter before I start looking for the gifts that come with each edition of the magazine. Quite often not all creators who are kindly donating a gift, have put it out yet on the day the magazine is published. Even though we’re rapidly approaching the end of September, some creators still seem to have no gift available. Oh well, no use crying over spilled milk, especially when the milk wasn’t there to be spilled yet. Let’s look at some of the gifts I could find.
I’m also using this as an opportunity to continue the Belleza Jake mesh body and Lelutke Skyler mesh head tutorial. From Vendetta we’re getting the Milan Skin for Lelutka Evo X mesh heads. Remember to switch to Evo X in the HUD for your Lelutka head if after putting on the skin your face is all over the place.
Typically you will not get a body skin for Belleza Jake or any other mesh body with this kind of gift. You can either purchase it separately from Vendetta or you can use Belleza’s own body skin. Keep in mind that the face skin needs to go on top of the body skin, otherwise you’ll get a very bad neck seam. Either you put on the body skin first and then add the face skin or if you’re already wearing these the wrong way round, you can edit your outfit (click on the button with the wrench) and when you hover over an item in the list, you’ll see an arrow that lets you move it up a position. I think that with some skins it doesn’t matter much in which order you wear the layers, but with this Vendetta skin it definitely does.
Right, now it’s time to start embellishing! The hair base can be found in the Unpack – HAIRBASES – lel EvoX BOM (m) folder and the freckles are in the Unpack – ADDONS – lel EvoX BOM folder. I’m also wearing the HD beard that comes with the head. And now for some more L’Homme Magazine group gifts:
The backdrop I’ve used here is a group gift from Minimal and it reminded me I should mention that L’Homme Magazine isn’t “just” about fashion, it usually has some smashing interior design editorial pages too, so it’s no surprise that there are also gifts for in and around your virtual home. Sometimes there may even be a (tiny) home.
Varonis has gifted a cute little cabin and while I’d be hard pressed to turn this into a proper home, it has potential as a romantic hideaway somewhere in a wooded area… Spontaneously bursts into song: the loooove shack is a little place where we can get together… Right! Moving along! The cabin has a wood burning stove to make it nice and toasty and there are several furniture creators in Second Life™ with a lovely back catalogue of group gifts that will be helpful to create a cozy space.
The L’Homme Magazine group gift from Zerkalo is a small stack of books with a whiskey tumbler and cigar. While you’re there you can also pick up Zerkalo’s own group gifts, like the chaise longue and basket with blanket. There’s no joining fee for the Zerkalo group at the time of publication. I also rezzed a rug, side table and some artwork, all gifts from Fancy Decor. There you’ll pay L$ 250 to join the group but the Fancy Decor gifts are plentiful and more than worth it. Meanwhile the shirt I’m wearing is the L’Homme gift from Gabriel and the boxers are a group gift from Kalback. The charming onesie worn by my equally charming buddy is an oldie but a goodie from Noche and also just happens to be a group gift. Finally, the sleeping corgi is yet another group gift from Jian. It will probably please you to learn that there’s no group joining fee for Kalback, Noche and Jian.
The cabin has a small loft, but you can’t really get up there by climbing the ladder, unless you have a very short avatar. Varonis kindly included some pillows with sitting animations with the cabin, so you can rez these on the loft to give you something to click on and take a seat as a way to get up there, away from the world and its worries. It’s a good place for a couple of ice cold brewskies and we just happen to get a bucket full of them from 8f8 Creations.
That’s it from me for now as far as the L’Homme Magazine group gifts are concerned. There are more of them and maybe some will pop up in another blog, but now it’s time for me to go get the laundry out of the drier and probably spend way too much time on trying to match up gray socks in correct pairs.