Fabulous Freebies IV

Mesh head creators Akeruka are celebrating an anniversary with the release of a female and male mesh head as a temporary group gift for one week only. You have until 22 June, 12 AM SLT to pick it up, after that the heads will be available for purchase at the normal price for Akeruka’s New Generation heads, which is L$2,999. The fee for joining the group is L$ 150.

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Here I’m wearing the male mesh head “Aron” with its original Akeruka skin, combined with the TMP mesh body for which you will find body appliers in the package as well as Omega and Slink appliers. I’ve made some changes to the shape that was included, but haven’t spent much time yet trying to personalise the look. The hud includes some extras like the freckles and eye makeup you can see in the picture. You will also find the option to hide your ears,  which I have done here to wear my usual Mandala mesh ears. Don’t forget to try out some different brow shapes. There is one included in the package, but a different brow shape can make a very noticeable difference.

Akeruka_Aron_wrong_shapeI always enjoy adding a new head without putting on the included shape first. So far the result of that little exercise hasn’t failed to crack me up yet and we all need a good laugh from time to time! Don’t panic if you’re a bit new to mesh heads and this is the kind of thing you are seeing when you first put on the head. Simply wear the accompanying shape and things will look much better. Naturally this will affect your overall body shape, so you will have to adjust this to get back to the preferred look for your body. It’s a good idea to have those setting stored somewhere in a spreadsheet or on a note card.

There are no animations included in the package, so if you want to be able to pull some funny faces, you will have to splash out on the animation hud Akeruka created for this head (L$2,499), or shop around for a facial AO. I noticed that while I was wearing my altered shape, the talking animation that reacts to voice was deforming my mouth. This effect was far less noticeable when I was wearing the default shape for the head. Typing also had no averse impact on the talking animation and my pretty little mouth looked normal just yap-yap-yapping away.

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CREDITS
Mesh head: “Aron” by Akeruka
Mesh Body: TMP Deluxe
Hair: “Haunting” by Stealthic
Ears: “Steking” ears, season 5 by Mandala
Eyes: “Green” by Vermeer (packages include mesh and system eyes)

Fabulous Freebies III

We’re entering the gay pride season and you can count on it that people will be throwing rainbow stuff at you whether you want it or not. I headed over to 4BIDDEN to pick up the pair of swim trunks they’re momentarily offering as a group gift, slipped into them relatively kerfuffle free and draped myself over a pool mattress to catch some rays and show of my rainbowness in all its glory.

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Mesh body and head: Signature
Skin: L’etrê (no longer available)
Pool mattress float by N4RS

A Signature Look

Previously I have briefly discussed my beginnings as a standard avi and my rapid progression to a mesh body and eventually a mesh head. We all know that only fools rush in, so naturally I first tried several bodies and could see the merits and downsides in all of them. I picked the one which appealed to me the most at that point and was quite happy with the TMP Deluxe body for a while. Recently there have been quite some developments in the offer of male mesh bodies and partly to keep my Flickr page looking fresh but also because I was feeling whimsical, I treated myself to some shiny new toys. Enter on scene: the Signature Gianni bento mesh body and head.

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On the left you can see the body and head worn with the shape that comes with it. The applied skin is one of 12 skin tones you will find in the styling hud for this head. There are also four beard options and eyebrow styles. You can mix and match and play with the shape till you achieve something that looks quite different from the box version without having to buy any extras. On the right you can see my result of working on the shape and using an Omega skin applier from Stray Dog which had been sitting in my inventory for a while. The original ears have been hidden in favour of a pair of separate mesh ears by Mandala. Not only do these look sharper, they also allowed me to make the ears stick out a little to add character to my avatar.

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As you can see from these pictures, dramatically different shapes can be created with this body. Again, on the left you are seeing Signature’s original shape and on the right the result  of having  loads of fun with the shape sliders.

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When you are working on your shape it’s important to look at your body from different angles after every change you make, before moving on to the next slider. What looks good in full frontal view, can look very odd from the side, but whatever you do, never forget to check out the rear view! 😉

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Make a copy of the original shape before you start working on it, so you always have something to return to in case you feel you’ve “meshed up”. Have a look around for an interesting skin to make your avatar look more unique. The head and body are both Omega ready, so you can easily use any Omega applier. I have to admit that I’m rather chuffed with my cheeky chappy, but who knows what other looks I’ll come up with next.

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Quasi Boho Chic Retreat

A while ago I was asked by a friend to decorate a small guesthouse which he keeps available for one of his friends who tends to occasionally disappear from SL for a while and then pop up again. There wasn’t a particular briefing apart from that this time around I would be creating something for a girl.

Quasi Boho Chic Retreat 1 blog

The look that I was going for was not overly girly yet clearly feminine. The first piece I wanted to get into place was the bed. In my mind it needed to radiate warmth and nonchalance, so I went for an unmade bed with a thick duvet. A simple set of frames over the bed is ready to be filled with memories and on the nightstand a diary, a cup of tea and a vase of tulips offer clear evidence that someone is living here.

Quasi Boho Chic Retreat 2 blog

As this is a weekend retreat, obviously the girl was going to need a place to hang her clothes, like a little red dress that works for most party occasions and something in luxurious faux fur for when it’s starting to get a bit nippy. Of course there had to be shoes as well. When you feel bad and like to treat yourself, clothes never look any good… food just makes you fatter… shoes always fit. (yes I quoted a “chick flick”, live with it!)

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She also needed a place to do some creative work and play her keyboard. A modern functional worktable was thoughtfully positioned by the window offering inspirational views, which makes it an ideal place to sit and stare while her mind is processing ideas.

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The furniture placement in the living room leaves a clear passage to the double doors leading to the deck. Using the same flooring both inside and out, creates the feeling that the deck is an extension of the living room. The inviting sofa and chair make this a nice place for entertaining, while the casually thrown down pillow and stack of books on the floor make clear that this is also a place to get away from reality and perhaps even people.

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The wallpaper and ceiling textures I created for this place evoke memories of sunsets you only manage to experience when you’re away from daily life. For those days that a warm colour scheme isn’t enough, a fireplace was installed to make this a year round retreat.

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Some credits: Studio Guesthouse {Kinkardine Concepts} ● Stockholm Bed {Bazar} ● TA Majestic Clothing Rack {Tartessos Arts} ● Bright Headed Mannequin {Nomad} ● Velvet Lounge Chair {Soy} ● Dellinger Desk + Stool {Pilot} ● Anna Sofa + Chair {Lisp Bazaar} ● Mid Century Fireplace {Lisp Bazaar} ● Flutterby Deer Fauxidermy {Half Deer} ● Toronto-Living room bookshelf {Bazar} ● Pile of Books {Floorplan}

Total Land Impact of house, interior, outdoor potted plants and deckchairs: 117.

Quasi Boho Chic Retreat 7 blog

One Head. Three Faces.

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Personalisation is a funny thing. When something you truly need only comes in white, you will take it. If that same product has a ridiculous number of customisation options, many people will feel inclined to cough up a lot more cash than they initially intended to spend and that is saying nothing about how much longer it will take them to make up their bloody mind. If you stop and think for a minute you will realise that the plain old white one would have worked just fine. When it comes to Second Life however, it is very easy to understand why our avis become a personal thing, as they are a digital representation of ourselves. For some people that means that they want their avi to resemble their true physical form. Others may go down the furry route or become a vampire. Many of us just want our avi to look good, but you will rarely meet anyone in SL who wants to look exactly like everybody else.

Before I switched to mesh heads, I enjoyed the higher level of individuality that could be achieved with the classic head, a.k.a system head, a.k.a. SL head, a.k.a. just call it whatever you want! I quickly started using a mesh body, but combined it with a system head. The neck tattoo solution to blend the mesh body skin with the system skin worked very well to achieve an inconspicuous seam.

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Naturally I soon noticed that mesh heads were blessed with enviably smooth porcelain features whereas my little old system head looked a bit choppy at certain angles and in certain windlights. But the downside of a mesh head was that, while of course different skins could be applied to it, the underlying structure could hardly be altered at all. This finally changed when Linden Labs introduced the new “bento” skeleton, adding many facial bones to the structure. This meant that mesh heads could now be rigged in such a way that they would respond to the sliders in your shape editor. One of the first bento enabled male mesh heads to hit the market, was “Mike” by Akeruka.

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For a long time I struggled to fade out the very recognisable features of Mike and bring something more individual to the front. Wherever I spotted this mesh head in other blogs or Flickr images, it was always with the original skin. Any other skins I tried, somehow made the liner of the eye sockets pop out and often the face looked mildly or severely pissed off at everything… That’s one way of looking at life, I suppose. By regularly coming back to this head to tweak the shape and looking out for skins and other solutions I eventually came up with these three quite different looks.

1 head 3 faces

For each of these looks I’m wearing a shape I created myself and the TMP deluxe mesh body. On the left I’m wearing the original Akeruka skin in a pale tone with a Deadwool beard. The dark somewhat longer hairstyle and green eyes help to create a pale sexy Irishman. If we’re going to talk about nationalities then I guess the one in the middle would be, a blue-eyed tanned Italian. For this look I found a skin at  The Skinnery. I was amazed at how different it makes the face look and how there’s almost no trace left of Mike. Finally for the third look I was casually browsing through my inventory and came across something with an Asian flair to it from Essences. Once you’ve applied a skin from any creator you can still use features from the Akeruka hud to add eyeliner, pigment spots, freckles and facial hair. I thought I’d try to create a fourth one, but my avi got a bit angry with me and commanded me to unplug myself from virtual life and go get some fresh air. I tried with a “why so serious?” but he was having none of that. These questionable existential multiple personality moments are troublesome!

angry billy

 

RFL Destination Hope Hunt

RFL-logo

The American Cancer Society runs a fundraising organisation named Relay For Life. Each year, more than 5,000 RFL events take place in over twenty countries and as it turns out, in Second Life as well. ‘The Inspired Dreamwalkers’ present the RFL Destination Hope Hunt. The proceeds of this grid-wide hunt will be donated entirely to RFL and the American Cancer Society. This hunt works with a passport hud and the goal is to grab the 10 L$ hunt item and also get your passport stamped at each travel destination by touching the kiosk while wearing the hud. Fill your whole passport with stamps and you win a special Prize. Head over to the starting point, get your hud and start hunting!

This is a mixed hunt and while I did visit every stop to get my stamp, I did not collect every item, cause frankly my dear I haven’t got the bosoms to fill out those frocks. Here’s what I salvaged from this hunt:

This “King” tattoo from Savage. The package also included a “Queen” version. There was no generic Omega applier but individual appliers for Belleza, Maitreya, Signature and Slink. I guess someone will find use for this.

Savage King Tattoo

From Keke I got this sweet  2-piece set of potted aquilegia. Land impact for set: 1. These can’t be separated but I think it looks better as a pair anyway.

Keke aquilegia

Mulloy injects some silliness into this hunt with this floating flamingo (land impact 2), which was the actual hunt item but a little extra gift nearby.

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I’m very pleased with these gloves by Razor. The leather texture is crisp while the metal embellishments lift the design to a higher level without being overly fussy. Versions for TMP, Aesthetic, Belleza, Maitreya and Slink are included, some of those in both male and female versions. If you are wearing these with the male TMP body, remember that you can change the hand positions via the styling hud. If you hands are in the wrong position, your fingers will cut through the gloves. Also, I’m going to assume that these will not work with bento hands.

Razor Alloy Gloves

The prize for completing the hunt is a set by Mulloy consisting of a side table, a vase with flowers, a passport and a framed picture reflecting the “Destination Hope” theme of the hunt. The image in the frame is not on a separate face, so replacing it isn’t really an option. When the four pieces of this set are linked, the land impact comes down to 3. I noticed that the flowers are separate from the vase, so you can easily reuse these in any old pickle jar you have laying around.

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This was an easy hunt and I appreciated that I didn’t have to purchase each of the 40 hunt items to be able to collect the final prize, because a lot of them were oriented towards female avatars. All I had to do in those cases was click the kiosk to collect my stamp and merrily go on my way.
Happy hunting games to all and may the odds be ever in your favour.

Fabulous Freebies II

Gabriel have recently released their latest gift for members of the L’Homme Magazine readers group. Becoming a member of this group is free and browsing through this digital publication is a visual joy as well as a good way to keep tabs on what’s new in the world of male SL fashion and lifestyle.

Gabriel jacket homme magazine blog

Maroon Asymmetric Jacket: free L’Homme Magazine gift at Gabriel , includes versions for Slink, TMP and Signature mesh bodies
Gray Zips n Pockets Jeans by Jz for men, includes versions for Slink, TMP, Adam, and Aesthetic mesh bodies as well as standard sizing ones.
Mesh body and skin by TMP
Hair by lock&tuft

exPEAdition @ Anduril

Very bright was that sword when it was made whole again; the light of the sun shone redly in it, and the light of the moon shone cold, and its edge was hard and keen. And Aragorn gave it a new name and called it Andúril, Flame of the West.
J.R.R. Tolkien

MadPea likes to keep its group, now counting 15.000 members, busy in between new games by organising exPEAditions. The format is a simple hunt build around a little story with a cute gift at the end, if you manage to find the 10 items you need to gather. This time the exPEAdition was hosted by Anduril.

Anduril - The stories you could tell - blog

Anduril is a fascinating mix of nature and urban jungle. Part forlorn and lost in time, part seemingly inhabited, as if some people stumbled upon a lost city and started living there, slowly building a new existence around the remnants of what could have been a thriving society once.

Anduril - Testing The Water - blogThere are plenty of spots perfect for quiet contemplation or meditation. Some areas feel quite ordinary others seem to be from a page in a fairy tale book, till you turn a corner and end up in a place with a past so dark it is plagued by eternal rains, chilling you to the bone. The darkness makes you want to run away, yet the secrets pull you in deeper.

PEATie I dont think were in Kansas anymore blog

In this crazy varied landscape with a million and one little things to discover, MadPea had me looking for the parts of a little robot that sadly had fallen, scattering its pieces all over the place. Once I had found all the pieces and a handy screwdriver as well as a book with the self-explanatory title “Robots for Dummies”, I was finally able to put him back together again and we became the best of friends.

Anduril - stare into fire blog

Now go become friends with MadPea by joining the group (it’s free!) and keep yourself in the loop of what’s happening.

Atypical A-frame

About a month ago I published a post about my Meadowbrook Linden Home. This is a type of home you can chose, if you open a Second Life Premium account and use the 512 sqm of mainland you are entitled to within this scheme by taking a Linden Home. There are three more types of homes and several particular styles within these types to chose from.  If you are more into fairies, elves and wizards, you could go for an Elderglen dwelling. For those that like the look and feel of colourful Japanese gardens, there is Sahreta Osumai. And finally, the type of home we will be looking at now, can be found in the Tahoe district.

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It took some serious real estate hunting to find this rustic cabin retreat with open space on two sides. This A-frame house is right on the corner of a Tahoe lot and in the distance I can see some Elderglen and Meadowbrook houses, which makes this one of the more interesting Linden Home areas to explore. All the A-frame houses come as one big open space and just as with my Meadowbrook house, I was greeted by an underwhelming fireplace and texture choices that left much to be desired.

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After browsing through the various standard textures that can be applied to this house via the access panel located at the front door, I eventually settled on a neutral cream stucco with wooden beams, which seemed a natural choice for a mountain cabin. I immediately started covering the flat beams with wood-textured prims to create a more realistic 3D effect and threw down another prim to cover the shabby floor with a nice high quality parquet. With those basics out off the way, I could start focusing on the living room, which I created on the side of the house offering the nicest views. As I was going to cover up the fireplace on the other side, I installed a new one to add both a focal point and a bit of  warmth to the living room.

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I was in a somewhat ambitious mood when I started decorating this house and decided that this time around I would install a kitchen. Blocking up the fireplace with a rustic polished concrete wall and creating a second and third floor, left me with a nice corner for the “Plantation” kitchen by Apple Fall, with space for a cute little wood burning stove by Lisp Bazaar and a vintage fridge by Dutchie. To be honest, I added a few more details which I usually haven’t out on display, just to make the picture look more interesting. I was down to my last prim after that! Oy vey, my nerves!

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What you see in these pictures is by no means the result of a first attempt to create levels in this house. I have tried putting the staircase in the middle with a cute niche underneath it for a desk, but then I still had to come up with something else to cover that dismal fireplace.

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The solution I went for in the end, gave me two extra levels instead of just one, with a corner big enough for a bathroom with a shower, washing basin and toilet, effectively pushing the realistic functionality of the house even further.

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Go up a second flight of stairs and you enter the bedroom via a spacious dressing area, with a wardrobe system provided by Bazar and an oversized beanbag by Dysfunctionality, ideal for sitting down an putting on my socks with a bit of dignity or for just sitting there and staring at my wardrobe full of “nothing to wear”.

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Last but not least there’s the one thing that most people manage to rez in their Second Life home: the bed. This is where the magic happens… Unless you’re too busy decorating homes, shopping, playing games, styling your avatar, chatting and discovering sims to leave much time for that kind of magic. But as you can see, some beds can help you create the illusion of working on your blog inworld as well as in real life, so either way it’s not entirely useless.

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I hope this has given you some ideas of what you can do with your Linden Home, or even any kind of home you occupy in Second Life. Just try something, what’s the worst that can happen? It’s not like real life where, if you don’t like the paint you’ve just put on the wall, you have to learn to live with it for a while because paint is bloody expensive. Just have fun!

 

 

Men Only Monthly – May / June 2017

Arguably there is no shortage of commercial events in Second Life. I say arguably, because I suspect there are some avid SL shopaholics out there suffering from a constant craving for new pixels. They’re the ones trying to get into an event the moment it opens, wearing a full body alpha in an attempt to minimise lag and running around like a deranged ghost repeatedly muttering “must-find-new-outfit”. Or perhaps they’re more like zombies. That makes me think that people that have one of those mesh heads with a brain in it better watch out! But I’m getting sidetracked here. I meant to write about a monthly event I regularly visit.

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Men Only Monthly is, as the name indicates, a monthly event that allows designers to showcase their latest pieces dedicated to male avatars. This stimulates the SL economy and gives the designers a deadline to work to. I could go into a lengthy dissertation about how deadlines push productivity but hamper creativity and how this means that you will not necessarily always see the best work at these events. Being one of those weirdos who usually see both sides of the coin, I could equally passionately argue that plenty of people perform at their best under a certain amount of pressure. In any case it means that between the 20th of the current month and the 15th of the next month, the somewhat lazier convenience shopper has a place to go to where around 45 new items can be purchased and they can come out of the experience totally swankified and ready for a brand new SL experience… Till the next round comes along.

This month I was charmed by a rugged looking pair of overalls by Gild, with a Jack Daniels whiskey flask as a very well executed detail. It proofs that men can wear something “off the shoulder” too and be sexy and it’s just a little bit cheeky, if you know what I mean.

Gild overalls

Something else that managed to catch my eye, was the hairstyle “Haunting” by Stealthic. I hadn’t heard of this brand before and that’s probably because they only have two male hairstyles at their shop. I really appreciate the realistic looking hair roots and the fact that this hairstyle comes with its own little styling hud containing four alternatives.

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After trying on numerous items of clothing and discarding them for one reason or another or mentally classifying them in the “maybe for later” folder, I  Eventually  was able to break free from the shopping daze and sprinted out of the MOM hall wearing a pare of scandalously skimpy running shorts by Noche and I kept on running like the wind blows all the way to the beach… Oy vey, that salty air always gives me such frizz.

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