In their efforts to provide immersive and thrilling Second Life experiences, MadPea Productions regularly organise what they call exPEAditions. These are, as far as I have experienced them, mini hunts that are limited to one sim which the MadPea crew deems worthy of exploration. It is a nice way to discover a sim you might otherwise not have visited on your own accord and there’s the extra incentive of earning a MadPea achievement and a little prize at the end of a challenging hunt.
This time the exPEAdition took us to Glass Jars, a LEA (Linden Endowment for the Arts) sim and the brain child of Art Aloja. She has been an SL resident for over a decade now and well before she knew of its existence, she already took a keen interest in the concept of a virtual space. In her quest for finding this kind of space on the internet she has come across various cyberspaces that didn’t quite hit the spot, until she landed on Second Life. She realised that she wanted to use SL to view the world, both online and offline, through an artistic lens, but she had no idea that she would end up being the one creating the art.
Personally I interpreted Glass Jars as a sunken city that was at the same time futuristic and ancient. It was difficult tot tell whether I was on earth or on a planet in a distant galaxy. All together the result was eerie and quite stunning and even more amazing and inspiring if you know that Art Oluja started reading a blender tutorial only a week before she received the sim grant and was learning how to make mesh as she was building this underwater world. Three months later Glass Jars was officially open to the public.
MadPea used the many little corners and nooks of Glass Jars to hide 10 glass tear drops containing the lost childhood memories of a young woman who had tried to rid herself of recurring nightmares by turning to the dark arts. This story line tied in quite nicely with the artist’s original vision for this sim. She tried to place her emotions and memories in spaces she could locate in her mind. She was imagining our memories and emotions as on ocean of space and compartmentalising specific fears and memories, finding hiding places for secrets and keeping comforting thoughts somewhere safe.
I pointed out to Art that there was something very organic and almost erotic about some of the rocks. She admitted that the effect was not entirely unintended, as she wanted the rocks to have a vagueness to them, like dreams you can’t completely understand but which leave a lasting impression. The shapes provoke you, but you can’t really say why. Art has received a lot of different interesting responses to these rocks. Some people felt they were erotic, disturbing and alien-like, others saw them as twisted bodily organs they couldn’t quite describe. A blogger friend of hers (bakerbloch.com) described the area as the inner-ear valley. In the end it is up to every individual to make up their own mind about it, whether you are seeing an alien inner ear valley or an erotic warped nightmare.
The current round of LEA runs till June 30th and when the round is over a different group of artists will receive the grant, the sim will be wiped clean and become a fresh canvas for the next creative project. Then this ethereal underwater world will disappear and be but a memory which some people will store somewhere in one of the rooms in their own memory ocean.
Overall I got the impression that my fellow peas (members of the MadPea group) thoroughly enjoyed this sim and I’m chuffed with the diving helmet in Jules Verne style we received as a prize for completing the hunt.
Make sure to visit Glass Jars by Art Oluja before June 30th! If you like my little swimming trunks, they are available at the Noche store and don’t forget to head over to Mad City to find out about MadPea’s other games and events.
Apart from the eternal nomads among us, most people need a place to call home in “First Life”. As human beings often are creatures of habit, it is hardly surprising that many of us feel that same need in Second Life. There are several routes you can take to achieve this. There’s a thriving rental market in which you’re bound to find something to your liking, but you can also buy a piece of land and plunk a house down on it yourself. If that all seems just a little bit too intimidating to a beginner, you can take the quick and easy route by upgrading to a Premium Account (72 USD/Year) which gives you the right to choose a Linden Home free of charge and Linden Labs sweetens the deal by giving you a weekly stipend of 300 L$. That’s Linden Dollars, for those of you that aren’t really sure why they’re even reading this. That’s right, the “game” (it’s not a game!) has its own currency.
The upside of Linden Home areas is that the land is protected and the houses can’t be removed or altered, which offers a peaceful consistency. Of course there will always be those that rez something utterly hideous on top of the house (a Gothic tower!), though the covenant clearly states that the houses should remain in keeping with the local style. Sometimes when I start randomly roaming the realms of Second Life, I end up getting a headache from the extreme mess some people are making of it. On the other hand, I dare say that compared to the most beautiful sims in Second Life, the landscaping around the Linden Homes is very bland and stuck in its era. I haven’t been part of SL very long, but I do believe that Linden Homes and their grounds have not changed much since the concept was launched. The trees look sad, the outdoor furniture in the common areas is laughable and while the houses offer a number of built-in texture choices, I would much prefer if I could use my own textures where the interior is concerned. My biggest issue with these houses is that nothing can be removed, but the silver lining to that is that I have become a master of the cover-up.
Take for example the questionable fireplace. There are some products available on Marketplace to help you improve this contraption, but in my experience these all turn out to be rather like putting cheap and nasty lipstick on a pig.
I opted to block it up with a wall and then turned that corner into a small library with bookcases from World Of Wood. All of the available built-in textures for the floors felt outdated to me, so I sacrificed yet another prim to cover it up and used a nice cherry wood texture on it, adding immediate warmth and class to the room. Privacy settings prevent anyone from seeing what I’m up to, so adding blinds to the windows may seem like a bit of an extravagance, but I think they increase the feeling of privacy and add another layer of realism.
The next eyesore up for debate is the spotrail that comes with the house. It is clunky and outdated and casting a rather unfriendly light and stuck on there with superglue.
Luckily the wall behind this design headache, turned out to be the ideal support for a new fireplace, effectively creating a cozy niche for a desk from LAQ Decor and cornering off an area for my art studio from Bazar. The fireplace is the “Palm View Fireplace Wall” from Roost, retextured and incased in a wall with a neoclassical male nude by Jacques Louis David instead of a a tv, cause I’m classy… Oh look, he’s warming his butt.
On the other side of the room there is a low window that looks out onto a square patch underneath the floating loft.
With a more luxurious prim allowance, I would have turned that patch into a nice water feature or perhaps some kind of rock garden with mysteriously glowing lights but as prims are at a pitiful premium, I thought it wiser to block up the whole area with a prim. I used the top of this prim to match the floor on the lower level of the house, while the side that functions as an indoor wall is textured to match the existing walls. On the outside I used vertical siding wood which looks better than the original brown trim around the roof, but doesn’t stand out too much. It goes without saying that the sad thing that tried to look like a flight of stairs had to be covered up with something much smarter too.
With floor to ceiling windows on three sides, the loft felt too exposed to my liking. I kept the window that offers the nicest view and blocked up the other two with walls. This gave me much more choice for placing the furniture as well. Sure, there are people that would put a wardrobe against a window, but in my opinion those are clinically insane.
I will not pretend I spend a lot of time outside at Beaverbrook. Yes, I named the place. Go ahead, roll your eyes. Possibly it was slightly ridiculous to spruce up the patio, but I do feel that by planting a simple cherry blossom tree and covering up the ugly bushes with nicer ones, I’m helping to make the neighborhood look more inviting.
In conclusion, Linden Homes do not represent the best housing Second Life has to offer, but with some love and attention, you can make something homely and cosy out of them and they are very easy to own. You just pay your premium account and that’s it. Whenever you get bored of a particular house, you can abandon it and pick a new one. Keep in mind that while you do get to chose from a range of styles and specific builds, you do not get to choose the neighborhood. You can abandon land up to 5 times within 24 hours, so it is possible you will be house hunting for some days before you find the one that’s just right for you. Eventually you may want to upgrade to something with more personality on a nicely landscaped sim, but as a starter house a Linden Home really isn’t all that bad. I don’t fully understand why so many people seem to be using it as a glorified sandbox with a sex bed in it… I won’t even attempt to explain that one to you none-SL residents, assuming any of you have stuck with me till the end.
You have until the end of April to find 50 items at 50 different locations and we call this Men Only Hunt, edition 9. I have attacked this hunt like some crazy ass maniac and finished it all in one day but I should caution you by saying that you may want to pace yourself. I feel like I will never be the same again… dramatic pause… You can find the practical information about the hunt on the organizer’s official site.
For this post the images have been processed as little as possible to give you an honest impression of the items, but enough dillydallying! Here’s the third and final installment of my blog trilogy on this epic fashion hunt for the gents in SL.
Loulou & Co on number 37 in the hud donated this cardigan to MOH9. I had some trouble making it fit on the TMP body, mostly around the neck and shoulders, as is often the case with the TMP bod. The texturing is more or less o.k. and the cardigan is worn open without a shirt so it’s rather sexy and handy to flash your hipster tattoos but I’m leaning more towards “meh” than “wow”.
There a number of tattoos to be found on this hunt and as those are much (much!) easier to apply and remove in Second Life than in real (painful) life, it’s great fun to take them out for a spin. Why not try the Gojun Tattoo sleeves by Facade at No. 12 (Omega, Signature, Slink, TMP and classic)…
Or the Fullmoon sleeves by Endless Pain at No. 10 (Omega, Signature, Slink, TMP and classic)…
Why not go the full monty with this Flawless Time tattoo by Taox at No. 4 (Adam, Omega, Signature, Slink, TMP, NO classic tattoo layer for this one).
There’s also a fair amount of facial hair in this hunt, like these slashed eyebrows by VYC at No. 2 in the hud (TMP, Catwa, Omega and classic)…
And this Craig Facial Hair by Volkstone, No. 35 in the hud (Omega applier only).
Razor (No. 23) is giving us this baseball shirt which never is going to be an ideal fit for the TMP body, unless I make it really skinny. Ironically, I have seen the Aesthetic version of this shirt on someone with that particular mesh body and it looked fine (in pictures at least). On me it looks good from the front, but my neck and shoulders keep eating into it.
Noche (No. 27) is pushing the envelope a bit with this crop top for the somewhat more daring fashionistas among us. Both the texturing and mesh are nicely detailed and getting this top to fit did mean I had slim down my shape a bit, but overall it wasn’t too much of a kerfuffle. Keep in mind that this item has been made for the TMP and Signature bodies and you will not be able to wear it with a classic body. Now doesn’t all that fancy Noche underwear make you want to switch over to mesh?
Hop on a plane and get yourself on a beach, cause White City (No. 11) is giving us this Hawaii tank top, which magically fitted on my TMP body without any modification. On the other hand: this is so not me.
Back in a more urban setting you could be wearing this simple grey t-shirt by Etham (No.21), who’s clothing usually fits relatively easily on a TMP body but often is a bit too wide at the bottom for my liking. In this case I find it acceptable, though the grey is a bit dull.
Spring has arrived in real life for many people, but on those nippy mornings, a leather jacket can still be just the thing you need. Enter the Dandy Jacket by AR2 (No. 44). It’s another one of those “can’t use my arms” contraptions, but it does look good. It reminds me of Eurovision 2016.
On to eye wear with this pair of Carravalli Glasses by Mulloy (No.49). What I like most about them is that they prove highly effective in illustrating just how unimpressed I am with these. Okay, perhaps I’m being a bit harsh, but they seem so flat in-world. On the positive side, they do photograph well.
With some delay No! (No.9) has placed a little mustache in their store after all and it contains this simple pair of black sunglasses which in my opinion are better (though very different) than the ones above but still a bit “meh”. (yes yes, I admit, “meh” is a thing with me) NO! Didn’t have a prize out yet at the beginning of the hunt and they haven’t updated the hunt organizer on the fact they have one out now, so the link in the hud still doesn’t work. Here’s the slurl. And my hint: all this running around sure keeps you in shape.
For some bling have a look around at Obscure (No.40) and find this Moonlight necklace, which is the actual MOH9 prize and not the WOH prize shown in the previous post.
Those of you that enjoy the occasional extreme hat day, will perhaps be impressed with the hat we’re getting from Stray Dog (No. 36). We’re used to seeing some pretty interesting skins from this house, I guess the wide brim on this hat will help to protect a milky white freckled nose from the scorching sun.
After all that camming and looking for moustaches, this fresh pair of mesh eyes by Mesange (No.25) will be just what the doctor ordered.
Finally I made my way over to It’s A New Dawn to show off this cowboy hat from Stone’s Works (No. 45) and to unwind after all this unpacking, sorting and trying on new items.
The 9th edition of Men Only Hunt (MOH9) runs throughout the month of April. I have hunted down sneaky little hiding mustaches in 48 shops and I’m working my way through unpacking and trying them. Doesn’t that sound like a wonderful way to keep yourself out of trouble? Concerning the practical information about MOH9, I’ll do the wise thing and point you to the organizer’s official site.
For this post the images have been processed as little as possible to give you an honest impression of the items. So now without any further ado…
At No.17 in the MOH9 hud you’ll find 7 Deadly S[k]ins and their gift is this “Jaxx” skin Omega applier, used here on the Akeruka “Mike” mesh head and combined with the TMP body using the matching applier, which you can purchase separately at 7DS. So far I haven’t found any appliers for the Akeruka head that work equally well as the original skin. In my opinion, 7DS makes their male faces look too serious. “I’ll be like: dude crack a smile already.” This skin also doesn’t quite work around the eyes, but the shading on the nose and cheekbones is pleasing. Of course if your mesh head doesn’t take Omega skins or you’re not using mesh at all, than this gift is useless.
Illi at No.33 is giving us sturdy yet stylish “Brad Work Boots” in light blue and have thrown in a swanky hipster bag to complete the look. The package contained versions for the Adam, Aesthetic, Signature, Slink and TMP mesh bodies. Sadly again it doesn’t look like these will work with a standard body.
The rather hard to find mustache at FE Style (No. 6) contains this very well made tartan “Wagner Flat Cap” which was easy to fit and should work on most heads when leaving off your hair. It’s combined here with the “Starboy hoody”, from American Bazaar (No. 1). Weirdly the TMP version for that hoody didn’t work well for me, but the fitmesh version was being less troublesome.
MOH9 takes you to plenty of places where the prize is a set of poses. I will not be showing all of these in this blog, but I’m sure they will proof useful in the future. In the pictures below I’m using a couple of poses you will get from Grafica at No. 31.
Head over to Bad Unicorn at No. 48 and find the mustache for this “Fucking Unicorn” Cap. It’s simple but effective.
If you just can’t get enough of hats, you should run over to Elysium at No. 20 and find the mustache for this beret which comes in 3 versions. Just go into edit mode to stretch it till it fits your big old head.
Are you looking for bling, sir? Make your way to the very spooky Obscure store at No. 40 and find this “Hope” necklace. The joke is, that this item is actually from the Women Only Hunt. You will find a mustache at this shop as well if you search a little harder. Personally I don’t scare away easily from trying stuff that is made for women. I find it laughable how some men will turn into a quivering bowl of jelly in real life if they enter a store where the male and female range aren’t very clearly separated. Oh no, what if that jacket that looks good on them actually was made with women in mind? The horror! GROW UP!
Let’s get some kick-ass ink at Identity (No. 47). This hot pair of “Bleeding Heart” tattoo sleeves comes in TMP and Omega applier versions as well as a good old classic avatar tattoo layer.
If you feel like dusting off those old ZZ-top records than this ZZ-beard from Labyrinth at No. 29 should help you to get into the mood. The darn thing had no resizing script and couldn’t be edited, but this isn’t my thing at all so I wasn’t really bothered. Still, maybe there will be a fancy dress party at some point where it will come in handy.
Back to jewelry with this cool Diablo septum ring by Rebellion (No. 14). You will most probably have to go into edit mode and drag it into place. Note that the colour hud also contains the resizing script.
The minute and hour hands are slightly to bright on this hipsta watch by PBM Enterprises (No. 19).
From Gabriel at No. 18 in the list, we get this elegant, sexy open hoodie with just a whiff of the hipster about it. I wonder which bodies this works with, because none of the three versions included made that clear and they all seemed to work on my TMP body and look the same. My wardrobe already contains several pieces by Gabriel, so it didn’t took me long to put together a simple all black outfit with this hoodie. For a bigger, better, bolder picture head over to my Flickr page.
Get tough and rough with this barbed wire armband from Legal Insanity (No. 22) which comes in gold, silver and black.
You too can be one of those hipsters that wear stuff ironically by donning this top with a “hipster deer” print from Ducknipple at No.46. One of my friends asked me why I was wearing a Christmas sweater so I had to kindly but firmly correct him: no dear, I’m being all hipstaaaah. Some people just don’t get it.
Le Poppycock at No. 16 will set you up with a number of “Stay Fly” poses, including the props like the crate and paper plane. Just add them to your outfit and you can use them anywhere to take that perfect snapshot for sprucing up your profile.
Make sure to check out my previous and next post on MOH9 to see more items
To be continued…
The Men Only Hunt started its 9th edition on 1 April and that was no joke. In my case it meant I had missed 8 previous editions and had some serious catching up to do. My Sunday can be summed up as 50 shops, 50 hints and 50 little black mustaches that needed finding. Meanwhile I have started unpacking the loot and I’ve set myself the task to blog as many of the items as I possibly can. Basically it’s going to be a bit of a trip and I might go a bit trippy, so as far as all the practical information goes I’ll do the wise thing and point you to the organizer’s official site.
For this post the images have been processed as little as possible to give you an honest impression of the items.
The first item I unpacked was No. 15 on the list, “Chris Hair” by Cheeky. I definitely have seen worse and if you’re new to SL and want to get rid of that noobie hair then this might suit you just fine. I’m a bit on the fence about it myself. The front isn’t too bad but the back is too prim and proper for my taste. You could call it helmet hair and not be far from the truth. On the positive side, the colour hud that comes with it does offer you a nice range of shades.
Next in my inventory were the “Anthony Bracelets” by !NFINITY; No. 34 on the list. The bracelets come in black and brown with gold or silver for either your left or right wrist. The braided leather texturing is quite detailed and I can see myself wearing these bracelets from time to time.
After that I opened “Hipster Style” by Come Soon; No. 32. Preferably you will want to open this in a big open area because it is a large scene, of an urban setting and a bike with a pose that has you checking your phone. I haven’t put much time and effort into taking this picture, but the scene definitely has potential, though my foot was sinking into the road… Oh well, it’s all in the cropping, right?
No. 8 on the list comes from Breath and they are giving us a a pair of, what they call, harness pants. The black denim texturing is open to improvement and the harness seems to be added as an afterthought. The rigging of the TMP version left much to be desired, which urged me to cover up the top part under a long sweater.
Up next I rather liked this finely textured woven “Love Bracelet” by Native Urban, No. 50. I would have preferred this without the branding though.
No. 3 took me to Body Mod where I picked up this “Matthew Hipsta Beard”. It is an Omega applier so I used it on my Akeruka “Mike” mesh head but it doesn’t seem to work out all too well on that. It’s rather like I fell asleep and someone painted me a mustache.
I was pleasantly surprised with the easy fit of the “Go Hard” baseball cap you pick up at 7MAD;RAVENS, which is number 7. Making one of these caps fit can be rather a kerfuffle. On top of that it is nicely textured and if I would be particularly partial to wearing caps, this one would definitely spend more time on my head.
Birth at No. 30 on the list gives us this outdated vest and shirt combo. The velour texturing of the vest isn’t too bad and the buttons are kinda cute from a distance, but overall I was so underwhelmed I couldn’t even be bothered to put on pants. It’s a shame, because I do rather like Birth skins. It’s were I got my first skin I really fancied.
Don’t forget to alpha out your arms and pop off your hands for putting on this “acid washed jacket” by Avi Glam, No. 24. This I will definitely be wearing more, if and when I feel I don’t need the use of my hands or arms.
To be continued…
It is difficult to believe that Second Life has been around for nearly 14 years and yet I only discovered it less than a year ago. I stumbled into this virtual world whilst wandering around in the internet’s seedy underbelly, not sure what to expect. To begin with, it took me ages to get out of a large building devised as a training arena for teaching you how to move in Second Life. Obviously there was a short cut. Obviously, I hadn’t noticed.
Some people would argue that being nostalgic over something that happened less than a year ago and not even in the tangible, physical, very real world, is ludicrous. I would count myself as one of those people, yet whenever I see a new arrival in Second Life walking around -stumbling, bumbling, tumbling- using the redhead classic avatar “Wyatt”, I can’t help but feel a certain amount of the fuzzy-wuzzies.
Of course, as you can tell, I soon moved on from my humble beginnings. Someone kind enough to spend some time with a noob, showed me the way to various mesh body options and I eventually settled on one of those to cover up that raggedy old “system body”. I respect that longtime Second Life residents have grown attached to their avatar and value this sentiment higher than a need for change or updating. It’s all new to me, so logically I go for what’s current. Another reason for the quick switch to a mesh body is that much of my professional life consists of laying out catalogue pages for rather unexciting products. It was to be expected that my longing for graphic design to look as good as it possibly can, was going to manifest itself even more clearly in a virtual world. Getting from Wyatt to Billy has been a bit of climb, but well worth it. I have now reached a point at which I want to start sharing my virtual life with those of you I haven’t met yet “in world” and even those that are yet to take their first wobbly steps in Second Life.
Hope to see you around
“Anastasia Beaverhausen… Anastasia as in Russian royalty; Beaverhausen as in… where the beaver live.” Karen Walker
Styling credits for Billy
Mesh body, head and skin by TMP
Eyes by Icon
Shape: my own
Hair and hat by Bade
Eyewear by Haysuriza
Sweater by Noche
Skinny trousers by Gild