Monthly Archives: May 2012

I’ve been having some photo editing fun

I can’t believe that after two years of editing my SL photos in PhotoShop Elements that I only just discovered the ‘liquify’ tool the other night!  I’m a total dud and way behind the times, but I mostly take landscape shots and I don’t think there is a need to use the liquify feature for scenery.  

But this feature totally rocks for shots of your avatar to fix some odd twists and corners on your shape and skin.  So I thought what better way to try it out then on a nude shot.  So I got NEKKID!  I took a lot of shots, but then I got shy and put my shorts back on…and then I was still shy so I changed to a hair that would cover up my pixel bosoms….and well, not exactly nude anymore.  But I still was able to use liquify to fix my hands and some other sharp edges.  It took some time to get familiar with it, but it’s pretty easy after that!

Another cool photo editing tool I have been playing around with is PicMonkey.  If you are familiar with Picnik, which shut down earlier this year, PicMonkey is a very similar online photo editing site, only better!  At the moment, it’s totally free and there is no registration required.  Just upload your shots and start playing around with the features.  It has some great tools for fixing your photos.  I was even able to erase some of the grass sticking through the bench in my picture.

Now, if I can just get over my ridiculous shyness of nudity so I can take some classy nude shots…it’s a freakin’ avatar FFS!

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"Dreaming Machine" by Yooma Mayo

I first heard of Yooma Mayo when I visited the Art Screamer LEA sim to view Under the Sky which I blogged here. This time, a new installation entitled “Dreaming Machine” is being hosted on the LEA15 sim.

Yooma, apparently, likes large insects and other such creatures on a very large scale!

Once again, this is a huge build and you should fly up and cam around so you can get a full view of the enormity of the installation.

I quite liked the region windlight settings, so this time I didn’t even bother playing around with windlight.  It looks great as is.

I took a ton of pictures, but I only chose three to share because I think you should go see this for yourself.  So for now, you get just a little taste of what you will find on the sim.

Despite the fact that I have been logging into SL more than usual in these last couple of weeks, I haven’t been exploring or taking pictures.  And I haven’t blogged since last week, mostly due to being extremely busy at work and feeling exhausted at night.

Working on these images tonight reminds me of how much I love to explore and create images to share here with you all.  I have to remind myself that when I am feeling tired and stressed out about work, I can find an outlet and some relief in doing something creative in Second Life.  That is far more enjoyable than loafing on my sofa trying not to think about stress.
  
I feel a lot better having just visited Dreaming Machine and making these images, and I hope you might find some peace there too when you visit. 🙂


My SLife needs a new computer

I haven’t been taking as much pictures for blogging lately.  My Macbook has once again slowed down considerably which makes picture taking in SL kind of a painful process.  I’m still okay for general exploring and wandering around the grid, but when I turn up my graphics settings and hit ‘snapshot’, my screen goes black and crashes nine out of ten times.  I’ve taken to logging in with my alt for exploring places to blog so that my constant crashing and relogging doesn’t annoy everyone on my friends list.  

I keep trying to put off that inevitable time that we all reach in our SLives – the time to invest in a new computer.  My Macbook is a 2008 model and still an excellent machine for everything else, so I really don’t want to part with it.  If I do a get a new laptop, it probably will not be until later this year, unless some miracle happens and I win the lottery or something (crosses fingers).

So for now, I’m taking it in for a memory upgrade.  It’s really the only improvement I can make since you can’t exchange graphics cards on Mac computers.  Also, next week we’re getting a faster internet connection at home so that should make some kind of a difference in SL performance too. 

In the mean time, I’ll be browsing the Apple store on my lunch hours and drooling over all the new Macbooks that I can’t afford right now.  

Damn, Second Life is an expensive hobby isn’t it?

A view of my home in Piper Point

Addicted to RL, yet again…

Victoria Day weekend in May marks the start of the summer season here in Canada.  The long weekend also marks my sons’ birthday.  He turned six last Thursday, but we celebrated yesterday at Canada’s Wonderland.  


The first ride we got on was called the Xtreme Skyflyer, which is a bungee jump/skydiving simulation.  We dropped from about eight storeys down to the ground and then swung back and forth about six feet off the ground.  I was disappointed when we watched the video because my husbands iphone was slow and it missed the initial drop.  Also the quality is not great so I decided not to post it.  But it was fun! 


Leviathan is the new big roller coaster this year.  That first drop you see in this photo is on a 80 degree angle.  It’s basically straight down.  It was FUCKING scary, and I LOVED it!

For about a second I thought of posting our ride photo, the one where we’re screaming with our mouths wide open and the high speed winds are blowing our cheeks from side to side.  But I changed my mind.  That is just too embarrassing, as even I have my limits of what I will post here.  Besides, do you really want to see a close up pic of my tonsils?  No, I didn’t think so.


Hey look!  Lag happens in RL too!  Waiting in line for two hours, kind of lag.  It sucked.  It was hot.  People tried to butt in front of us.  We almost gave up and said “to hell with it!”.  But we stuck it out and it was totally worth the three minute and twenty eight second thrill ride.  I think.

The line ups were long, it was a little hot, and my feet are aching from walking around and standing in line all day, but that didn’t stop us from having fun. 


That’s my daughter and my mom jumping and being silly for the camera.  If you knew my mom, you would see that this picture is so her.  And, in case you ever wondered where I get my adventourous spirit from, it comes from my mom.  Totally.  

I’ll be back to blogging SL relevant stuff this week.  I promise. 🙂

My Secret Life as a Second Life Blogger

Last week I attended a dinner party hosted by two new friends.  It was fabulous!  We had tasty lychee fruit appetizers accompanied with Prosecco sparkling wine, my personal favourite, along with many other deliciously, decadent foods.  Wine, good food, interesting conversation with the city skyline at night as a backdrop.  Does city life get any better than this?


My new friend has been a food blogger for many years and often hosts dinner parties and “foodie” get togethers for blog fodder.  Naturally, there were some of her other blogger friends  in attendance.  At one point, they got into a fun discussion about blogging, making friends online, and all kinds of other funny things that would only be interesting to other bloggers and internet geeks alike.  It was quite entertaining and I was eager to jump into conversation with my own thoughts on blogging and making connections…but, what did I do instead?  I didn’t say a thing, and I could kick myself for it now.


Why, you ask?  Because if I was to identify myself as a fellow blogger, the next step would be “What do you blog about?” which of course would inevitably lead to the dreaded question “Second…what?”.  And that is usually followed by confused facial expressions and awkward silence.


[insert crickets sound here]


Maybe I’m just being neurotic, but I’ve been down that road before and I would rather avoid the weirdness of having to explain Second Life to anyone who doesn’t know, and further why I blog about it.  This is particularly unappealing after having just finished off our third bottle of wine and I’m feeling a little tipsy.

It’s not that my SLife is a big secret.  I’ve shared here before about how and why I am transparent about my SL activities with my immediate family and the people in my life that matter.  They know I have this blog which they aren’t all that interested in anyways, and honestly, that’s fine by me.  But disclosing that outside my close knit circle is not something I feel totally comfortable with.


Is it just me or is there still a stigma attached to Second Life?  Like, we must all be deeply troubled and unhappy in our real lives to resort to socializing in a pretend virtual world on the internet.  Is that what the mass population still generally thinks? And why do I even care what they think?


The truth is, I am not unhappy in my real life.  I have my challenges, but overall I have a busy and fulfilling life, and a happy family.  Life is good, so I’m not really sure why I feel insecure about being more open about this blog, which I have invested so much of my time and creative energy into.


Ah well, this really isn’t that big of a deal.  It’s not like I attend a lot of dinner parties or am hanging out with pro bloggers every weekend.  It was just something that popped up and it kind of surprised me, that’s all. 


Besides, I’ve been outed before about SL, to good friends, and even though I kept it myself that time, I ended up having the last laugh on that one.


Still, even after three plus years of being around Second Life, you would think it should get easier explaining it to others.  Does it?

Neva River by Wendy Xeno

I’m behind on my SL blog reading.  So, when a friend dropped me a landmark for a new sim to visit, I thought I was all ahead of the crowd to blog about it.  Wrong.  You may have seen the photos all over your blog reader already, but that’s because it really is a very nice place to visit.  

Neva River is designed by Wendy Xeno, whose work you will recognize from HuMaNoiD and  Hazardous, which I blogged before.  I used the region windlight settings for these pics, which casts a beautifully warm, and peaceful atmosphere on the sim.  Please go see it for yourself.  It’s lovely.
  

Staying Afloat

I took this photo the other night when I was trying out the hot tub/pool in my new prefab house.  I’ve been trying to think up some clever words and a metaphor to go along with the image – floating through life, staying afloat…belly up? But no inspirational words are rising up to the surface.

I think a photo using a ‘treading water’ animation would better reflect my mood as of late.  I get mild relief knowing that this extremely busy time in my rl work has a foreseeable end in sight.

Someone mentioned to me today that I always seem so calm under pressure.  What they don’t know is that underneath the calm, I am treading very carefully so as to not sink under the weight of it all.

It’s okay though, I’m used to it.  This busy time won’t last forever and once I get these two big projects at work completed, I can look forward to a quiet summer in the office.  I’m pretty sure I can keep myself afloat until then.