Creating an affordable (arguably) good-looking avatar in SL is the frugal yin to my spending yang. The free TMP male mesh body remains my go-to base for these little exercises. As always, for a more elaborate review of this free body, I refer to one of my older posts.
I’ll just quickly repeat here that most clothes won’t work with this body, but if you are going to wear long sleeves, then you can use the hands separately. When you put on the complete body, you will be using what’s called an “alpha layer” to make the entire underlying “system body” invisible. If you are only going to use the hands, you will need to find yourself an alpha layer that covers just your system hands and wrists. Usually you will find this with a pair of gloves. There will be gap on your arm, but like I said: long sleeves!
Have fun putting it all together. There are some more interesting freebies at Egoisme en plenty of similarly priced one-colour hairstyles at Dura to chose from.
A previous post showed that my visit to Man Cave with the NX-Nardcotix mesh body was a bit of a bummer and ended in a bed which, come to think of it, was a happy ending after all. Determined to upon occasion champion one of the less popular mesh body’s in SL, I approached this round of The Mens Dept. with gritted teeth and a determination to come home with at least one new item of clothing. We’re now in the final week of the November round of TMD, so this was almost a last-minute power-shop, which is a speciality of mine in real life when it comes to grocery shopping. Of course there are a lot of clothes I could make work for this body, by extreme editing of my shape and making maximum use of the alpha hud, but the goal of this particular exercise was to find items for the NX-Nardcotix body which more or less respect my shape. I will spare you the disappointments and focus on the male fashion pieces I rather fancied.
I already had some winter wear items in my wardrobe from ::K:: and wasn’t at all surprised to find that they created another high quality tweed jacket complete with a warm sweater and shirt. A generous hud lets you choose from a range of colours for the knitwear and shirt, as well as a couple of button options. I am using the Signature version of this jacket and before I had blanked out the offending body parts with the alpha hud, it was very obvious that this jacket was not made for the NX-Nardcotix body, but all in all it’s a pretty pleasing fit.
Etham is one of the few brands that includes NX-Nardcotix versions in all of their latest creations. This jacket and hoodie combination is true to the sporty Etham style and fits the body quite well. Even if you only get one colour version, it still comes with several options for the hoodie. I was particularly pleased to see that these weren’t just plain colours but that there was also a nice camouflage pattern included in the hud and I appreciated the generous head space in the hood, allowing for a hairstyle of my choice… although a mohawk might prove a bit tricky.
Always uber stylish Gabriel came to TMD with a classic single-breasted coat, casually worn open to show a warm cardigan and t-shirt underneath. They brought along a pair of worn jeans, creating an overall slightly dishevelled but very comfortable look. As you can see, just like in the Alanis Morissette song, I’ve got one hand in my pocket. This means you need to blank out that hand. The slight problem with that where the NX-Nardcotix body is concerned, is that the fingernails are separate and even with the hands hidden, they are still visible. It is possible to tint or hide the fingernails via another tab in the body’s hud, but I was not able to hide them for one hand only, so the hand that remained visible with this coat had no finger nails. As you are always left with an indentation where the fingernails should be, from a distance it doesn’t look entirely strange, but it’s not ideal.
Of course you can wear the Gabriel jeans by themselves and I imagine they are made of perfectly distressed denim that feels super comfortable. Gabriel does not make NX-Nardcotix sized versions of their clothes, so I had to make do with the Signature version. To make the jeans fit I had to play around with my shape a bit, but for a very well-made item of clothing, I’m prepared to make a small compromise. Halfway happy is better than not happy at all.
Those of us who have popped on our Signature body lately, automatically got treated to yet another update. The Gianni body is now at version 4.4 and if you are nerdy enough to want to get into all the nitty gritty details of the update, you can take a look at the change log. The most notable change is the addition of auto alpha functionality for clothes and accessories. This means that if clothing creators care to pick up the auto alpha kit an work it into their new designs, we will be able to put on those clothes without ever touching the alpha hud, which sounds very easy-peasy. Meanwhile the current hud is already quite versatile. There used be a time that I craved the TMP body with a Signature-style hud. These days I think I’m just happy with the current version of the Gianni body as it is. Now I just keep my fingers crossed for those auto alpha clothes to hit the grid pretty soon.
One of the things I have come to enjoy doing with this blog is showing the possibilities of the free TMP mesh body in combination with the classic avatar head, a.k.a. system head. Partly because I realise that many people that are new to Second Life feel hesitant about spending money and others simply are on a tight entertainment budget. I understand that things become a bit scary when your cats start looking at your face with an unhealthy level of hunger in their eyes. At that point it’s probably wiser to go buy cat food rather than a mesh avatar. Another reason is that it makes me feel slightly mischievous, showing people how they can get more out of the free TMP body. Keep in mind that The Mesh Project hasn’t updated their body since they first launched the beta version about three years ago and it doesn’t look like they ever will update it. With the other choices we have today, I wouldn’t buy their L$ 5000 male mesh body, but I definitely do still think that the free body is a bit of cheap good-looking fun. For a more elaborate review of this free body, I refer to one of my older posts.
The skin you see on the body is one of its 30 built-in skin tones (No. 10) and for the system head I have used Ares by Akeruka. This system skin is a gift you can get by joining the Akeruka group, which costs L$ 150 at the moment. You will have to search for it in the Akeruka store, as the large poster for this gift is somewhat tucked away in a corner. For some the group joining fee may feel a bit hefty, but keep in mind that in the past half year, two new Akeruka male mesh heads have been offered as group gifts during the first two weeks after their release. Don’t forget to wear the TMP neck fader in the correct skin tone to create a nicely blended neckline.
The hairstyle is Itsuki by Argrace in almond tone. You can get a pack of 5 medium brown tones of this hairstyle for L$ 250.
For those moments that you just want to (and can!) hang out somewhere in your undies, you can go with the boxers that come for free with the body or splash out on a pair of Noche swim trunks for L$ 199. Total price for this look: L$ 599.
We have yet again reached the point where sadly I have to admit that except for underwear from various brands and all items from TMP’s own pricey clothing line, you cannot simply put clothes on this body without the skin poking through at all ends. But if you are wearing long sleeves, you can make good use of the mesh hands. Simply remove the body, the feet and the alpha layer, leaving on only the mesh hands; then use the alpha layer of a pair of gloves to hide your system hands. The seam on your underarm will be awful, but this will be hidden by the sleeves. You are now ready to put on some clothes, like the Tartan Denim Jacket from Fe Style. This is a previous hunt item and you can now buy it for L$ 10, just look for it at the reception desk. You can go a bit tartan crazy and combine the jacket with a pair of trousers that’s currently part of a group gift at Giz Seorn. The joining fee for this group is just L$ 50. This ensemble goes particularly well with a pair of boat shoes. For L$ 99 you can get a pair in 12 different colours from Roc, which is fabulous value for money. Total price for this look: L$ 559.
That’s my bit of penny pinching for today, but I might continue this “Easy on the budget and the eyes” series and I think it might be interesting to revisit the idea of the TMP body as “underwear model”. But now I want PIZZA!
Man Cave has moved and the new digs seem roomier and grungier than before, complete with a diligently deployed decor of dust and debris. The place tries hard to make the manliest of men feel right at home and to make some of us act more butch than we really are. I decided to concentrate on the NX-Nardcotix “David” mesh body on this visit, to see if anything new had been made that included a version for this specific body or if I could get away with wearing a fitmesh or Signature version. Long story short: Nothing fitted! Luckily Man Cave isn’t just about attire but usually has a couple of pieces of furniture to create your very own – at the risk of sounding obvious – man cave.
Kraftwork is showcasing a Murphy bed with a distinctively masculine industrial vibe. The gauche fronts of the cabinets invite you to fill the shelves with clothes and all your bits and bobs and you can even leave a door open to show off just how laid back you are, because nothing says more that a man is living here than the obvious inability to close doors. There are built-in lights that help to create a secluded alcove feeling and there is a pair of boxing gloves resting on a door handle, to let people know that nobody’s gonna mess with you… And the patina on the leather of those gloves is just to die for! You can choose from 4 images for the wall texture or leave it blank. Of course, should you find your self in a situation where you need more party room, the bed easily flips up and becomes one with the cabinets. The PG version is just L$ 199, the adult version a very affordable L$ 399 and the animations are LGBT friendly.
Murphy beds are named after William Lawrence Murphy. The urban legend goes that he was smitten with an opera singer, but living in a one-room apartment in San Francisco. In those days the very idea of a woman entering a man’s bedroom was rather frowned upon. Murphy’s invention converted his bedroom into a reception room in just a matter of seconds. Earlier fold-up beds had existed, but Murphy was the one to introduce and patent the counterbalanced design. Ah, the things we do for love!
The bed is shown in the Old Toy Factory skybox by Never Totally Dead, which I got as prize last year in MadPea’s Hunt for Santa. I’m wondering if they have something in stall for us for the holiday season this year.
Some people approach a gacha vendor with a sense of purpose and won’t leave it alone till they have that much coveted rare item. Personally I just occasionally give one of those friendly fruit machines a casual spin and I don’t pay much attention to what comes out. Those are my little surprises for later, when I have a quiet moment to unpack it all. Spending too much time at a gacha machine reminds me of a deep dark past with compulsive gambling and I prefer to keep that monster locked away. The Gacha Garden however, is a sweet little sim made for wandering around at, taking a look at what’s new in this Life we call Second and grabbing a bunch of gifts.
This is not the kind of event you should go to if you are a manly man who only likes manly things or if you are a lady (enter Emily Howard: “I’m a laaaady!”) who doesn’t hold with all that fluffy nonsense. Case in point: I was already about halfway through when I spotted the first menswear items. The Gacha Garden is more a mix of whimsical collectables, imaginative women’s apparel and accessories with just a sprinkling of furniture, home decoration items and the occasional odd one out, like Speakeasy with their tattoos and poses.
Be careful with that music box from Infinity, that tune is hypnotic! I mentioned this in a group chat, stating that I have never played Final Fantasy and wasn’t familiar with the music. Someone else replied that hey hadn’t even heard of Final Fantasy and when they were told it’s a game that’s been around for a long time they said: “Oh, so like Mario Bros. Not cool and trendy clearly.” This made me sigh audibly, and mumble to myself: “The last time the word “trendy” was acceptable was around 1997, but you do you boo boo.”
Some people are so narrow minded about what constitutes beauty, I fear that if we left it up to them, Second Life would soon become very bland indeed. I was having this fleeting thought after I got shortly pulled into a chat group conversation. Someone was wondering where they would be able to get their hands on a freebie head applier. It reminded me of the skin Stray Dog donated to L’Homme Magazine as a group gift back in August, so I quipped in with my two cents, telling them that they needed to keep an eye out for group gifts and mentioning the Stray Dog skin as an example, illustrating this with a link to the above picture. Their reaction to that was:
“Jaja. Bruh. Anyway, it doesn’t mean anything to me because that skin looks like an Alien.”
Oy vey! I guess beggars can be choosers after all. Rather than flying of the handle and overly defending the look of my avatar however, I explained that this somewhat more extreme look was not merely caused by the skin, but was the result of my experimentation with pushing the boundaries of the Catwa Stanley head.
I recently revisited and slightly tweaked that look to use in a blog post about the latest Men Only Hunt and personally I still enjoyed the soulful quirkiness of it. Of course I will have to take that “bruh’s” valuable nugget of wisdom in my stride by creating a more “normal” looking alternative. After all, I tend to take these things as a challenge and if left alone it could turn into a killer bee in my dainty bonnet. On the other hand, I do feel I should take that Alien remark as a compliment.
The answer to that questions: Well then you get The Jerky Turkey Hunt of course! One with 53 stops no less. I should point out that I often start writing a post about a hunt before I haven even found one item, so at this point I’m still hopeful I will find plenty of delectable goodies that will work for me, but I’m also realistic enough to know that as this is a mixed hunt, there will most probably be items I can’t… eeehm… fill out. For a full list of hints and locations for this hunt, which runs until 30th November, head over to Evil Bunny Productions website. Oh and perhaps you will want to know that this is a 1l$, meaning that each orange feather will cost you 1 L$. Here goes!
Conclusion: Too many creators ignore their male customers in this hunt. I don’t mind if someone chooses not to create anything for male avatars, but it does piss me off just a little bit when a creator who does cater for both genders (and everything in between) neglects male avatars by offering a dress as a hunt prize.
Gizza was one of the first stores I got to know as a newbie, because it was a veritable treasure trove for group gifts. Many of those seemed high quality to my then still young virtual eyes, but some of them I still use occasionally now, as they are far from hopelessly outdated. The brand has been around for 9 years and it’s creator has decided to tackle a rebranding exercise, going forward under her own name, Giz Seorn. The store has been extensively refurbished, resulting in a warmer more earthy look and much of the old stock has been removed, to make way for new creations which soon shall be filling the empty spaces, I hope. To the dismay of today’s newbies that are told by unwitting well-meaning residents they should visit Gizza to pick up all those lovely freebies, I’m afraid I have to say that those too are gone with the wind. On the up side, you can join the new Giz Seorn group for just L$ 50 and get two very nice, tight fitting t-shirts and trousers which will work with the Adam, Aesthetic, Belleza, Signature, Slink and TMP mesh bodies as well as the classic avatar.
When I moved from not so sunny Belgium to somewhat colder Sweden, I noticed that people here are more invested in the idea of using their gardens, patios and balconies later in the season, aided by various types of outdoor heating. Slowly but surely the typical Swedish indoor cosiness has found its way to what you could call outdoor living spaces. Garden furniture has become more lush and patio heaters have been popping up everywhere, including Stockholm city where a semi-covered and heated terrace has become quite the crowd pleaser for some bars and restaurants. While I spend much of my time in Second Life at seasonal sims, I like to pretend that the climate in my virtual life is somewhat milder than what reality is serving me at this time of the year, allowing my avi to spend time outdoors in a shirtless “outfit” without freezing my tits off.
I created a cosy cuddle corner with the outdoor fireplace, chaise and basket with some extra blankets all from Shutter Field, a furniture store that constantly makes the thoughtful choice to offer a “Male/Male” version of both their PG and Adult items, making it one of the places you certainly must check out if you’re a man in the market for furniture and just happen to be attracted to other men. Who knows, maybe you’ll run into your future ex husband while you’re choosing a new bed.