Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Ferguson

I Don't Know Whether to Weep or Burn the World Down

I don't know whether to weep or to burn the world down.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Gacha Thoughts

Gateway Grasses

I first ran into gacha on Japanese language sims as a fun diversion. Usually costs weren't more than 30$L, and it was fun variations on a single theme - a bunch of popsicles, or a bunch of flowers - with one or two rares that were mildly harder to get but which were only slightly more interesting than the regulars. I would go to these gacha festivals with friends, each of us spending Linden wildly and giving away our extras with blithe indifference. It would end with everyone wearing what they had won and taking goofy pictures, giggling the whole while.

At some point, gacha left the Japanese language sims and moved into more general sims, and with that the tenor of the gacha changed. The prices increased - now it is not unusual to see gacha for 75$L or even 100$L - and the uniformality of the prizes dropped. Rares became not only harder to get, but critical pieces to outfits or desirable display cases, and after about a year the ultra-rare made it's inevitable appearance. Commons became accessories and add-ons to the valuable rare main pieces, and people began putting thousands of linden into a single gacha machine to try to get a desired item. The side-effect of more and more difficult to attain rares then kicked in, leaving people with incomplete outfits or accessory sets.

Caught Up

With the rise in costs, the rise of the secondary market came; people had spent so much that they wanted to recoup their losses by selling the commons and any extra or unwanted rares they might have. Prices went up again - some rares going for 500$L to 1000$L. The culture of giving away, of sharing, died before it ever had a chance in this new market.  From the creators' perspective, it was hard to see other people making more off of selling their items than the creator made; from the perspective of the consumer, having fifty accessories and one main outfit - the entirety costing more than simply purchasing an outfit or fatpack might - left them feeling used and disgruntled. Discontent rose on both sides, bolstered by the reluctance of individuals in Second Life to talk about anything negative or render any critique except anonymously.

Personally, I've put in place several rules. I never pay for a gacha where there's an outfit unless one version of all of the pieces is a common - it's simply not worth it to me. I consciously only expect to get commons, so if the only things available that I like are rares, I don't pay in at all. And most of the time, I stop playing as soon as I get a double common, which usually is between three and five plays, sometimes more. The exceptions are places where otherwise I'd be inclined to purchase a fatpack - in which case I keep going a while longer and then hit the yard sales. I give away my extras to people I think will like them, or consolidate them on an alt for spreading among my many alts. Now and then, if I end up with double rares, I will try to trade them for other rares of the same set - I've had some luck with this and met some lovely people. Overall, though, I'm increasingly reluctant to play into gacha even while I admire the gorgeous creations being funneled through them. It's a conundrum, to be sure!

Through the Doorway

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Genre: Apocalyptic Sunday

Image Description: Figure in a tan duster with gold wings looking down into a town.

I have become, by way of accident, a tertiary fan of various works. I couldn't read more than the first half of A Game of Thrones, and have little to no interest in the television show, but I adore retellings of it - mostly about the quirky women who run the world - and the items inspired by it. Likewise, my love for apocalyptic matters is largely second or third removed, and often in the form of something I can wear.

Enter Genre.

The apocalypse is an often dark and gritty place, but sartorial glory can be found even there, and Genre is bringing that this time around.

First my hairstyle from Adoness is a rooster-comb of hair over a shaved base with patterns shorn in the length.I'm using the white hairbase tinted a soft gold and despite it not being my usual style at all, I rather like the effect; it feels a bit like I'm dragging out the Androgyny genre with my manliest look yet!

Image Description: Close up of a woman's face over a gas mask; she has spiky hair, shaved on one side.

When I saw the clothing available for this round of Genre, I was powerfully reminded of the anime and manga series Trigun, and it's goofy main character Vash the Stampede - a humanoid natural disaster. Vash is one of those interesting, multifaceted characters who strides across stories and into the hearts and imaginations of those who encounter him. My trench coat might not be crimson, nor bullet-scarred, but it is a lovely offering from 14 FL OZ, fit to hold off the stinging sand in any post-apocalyptic wasteland and to impress even my enemies. It comes with a tank top, a pair of shorts and boots I'm not showing, but which are similarly well made. I love the design of this - the wide V at the top with the answering V to show off lets, boots, and whatever might be used as prosthesis in the hereafter. I'm wearing the jacket entirely without an invisible layer, though one is included, and I'd imagine it would work well over mesh as well as over the textured top and jeans I'm wearing in this picture - that makes it wonderfully useful in terms of outwear wear for a variety of looks - even ones out of the desert! Speaking of prosthetics, I simply couldn't resist the lure of a do-it-yourself stick leg made up of a bat and several extraneous weapons - or used to hold those weapons? - attached around the edges. This Death Row Designs special comes with a boot for the off leg, which I'm wearing here as well. It comes in two pieces and is modifiable, which means there's a lot of room for making it larger or smaller as needed. I find it incredibly charming - quirky and fun and dangerous.

Image Description: Closeup of a peg leg made out of a baseball bat with a variety of saw blades and an axe connected to it.

With all of this flash and style showing up in my clothes and person, I needed truly over-the-top accessories. My eyes are decorated with two different effects - firstly a simple shadow from #adored which tints around the eyes, and then a facial tattoo lining under the eyes, from NOX. The latter has a lovely feathery effect over my cheeks. The combination is striking but subtle, and a little bit of color in an otherwise brown and tan presentation - a hope of things to come. A similar tint is in the gas mask from :{MV}:, though that is largely black. I like that it's little hints of hope hidden amongst an otherwise unremarkable look - that seems to fit well into both the post apocalyptic genre, and the western genres I'm referencing here. I finished the whole look off with a gold and black flask from Squishy Fluff, which seemed necessary since the end of the world would drive one to drink! It's editable, which is nice since I was able to resize the band to fit around my trench-coated arm. The final touch of verisimilitude were these dirty nails from A:S:S with a variety of hues to match anyone's skins. One can wash one's hands, but somehow a little cruft always seems to lurk beneath the nails!

Image Description: Bust shot of a woman wearing a gas mask in front of an adobe style building.

Friday, November 21, 2014

21 Shoe - November

21 Shoe - November

I have dreamed of getting this picture taken in time for ages. 21 Shoe is a single day event, which means it's nearly impossible to blog right away - especially since the 21st is usually a working day! Today I rushed home and splurged entirely too much Linden on a cornucopia of amazing shoes, and then tipped them all over my platform for a fun picture. All of these shoes are unique to this event and won't be sold again.

On the farthest left is a pair of angled and artistic wedges from [sYs]. The wedge part is cut out in levels, and it comes with a variety of options in red, straw, black, and gold. Tucked behind them are a variable pair from Hopscotch. The purple boots with the cutout back and toe are simply lovely, and the cage metal shoe is a fun addition to a growing pile of cage shoes in my inventory - I love the chunky heel. Tucked behind them are a pair of matching style shoes from Ingenue in unique shades of lipstick and teal; the bows on the toes are particularly nice, being of the flat and solid sort. Up front in the center are a pair of houndstooth shoes from Sax Shepherd Designs, one in a heel and the other a flat. Like most of his designs, they are color change via a HUD, this time in black and white and black and red options.

In the true center are amazing shoes from Lassitude & Ennui. I'm wearing a pink variety of her Obsession sandals, a recent release that are now set up to fit both a standard mesh body and a SLink body. Next to them is a white and pink version of her Nevermore heels, which really make me crave that in a wide variety of pale shades for when I'm feeling angelic. To the right and in front is a truly disparate set of shoes from Bliensen + MaiTai - a strappy red set of heels, and a cute cherry and houndstooth themed sandal pump. Finally, tucked in the back in all their glory, are a pair of red, white, and black shoes from Miamai. I love the pattern and texture on both of these shoes; it makes them fun and adds to the unique shape of each.

There are only a few hours left to this wonderful event, so make sure to swing by the stores and pick up the ones which tickle your fancy!


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A Well Rounded Education

Image Description: Woman in a red dress with a white blouse running along a pink brick path.

Junbug is taking part in Do it in a Dress (her donations page is here), an Australian campaign to finance girls going to school in Sierra Leone. One hundred percent of the proceeds for her schoolgirl dresses are going to the cause - and already over $700 has been raised, sending two girls to school. We have until the 7th of December, and I'm sure we can reach three, maybe even funding for four girls! If you end up taking pictures in her lovely gowns, feel free to drop them by the Flickr Group she made for the campaign! They are gorgeous gowns and a wonderful opportunity.

Image Description: Woman in a red dress with a white blouse standing against the gray wall of an auditorium.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Last Minute

Image Description: A woman in profile wearing a blue dress, facing a TARDIS, with a tilted Washington Monument in the background.

Two brief notes on sales.

Firstly, Has Been's six year anniversary is almost over, so you just have a fraction of a moment to get all of her fantastic inventory ON SALE. Run! Run! Run!

Secondly, !bang is having a sale for all group members (sorry, the group is currently closed). I was able to fill out my inventory, picking up a bunch of poses I missed!

Both of these events end today, the 15th, so there isn't a moment to waste!

Image Description: Close up of a woman in a blue dress with dramatic rainbow eyeshadow, standing in front of a blue police box.

Thinking a lot about envy and greed today, about how we decide who and what is important, and about how we value and don't value ourselves. Very little of it is fit for public consumption. I'm really valuing some friends I have, though - one of whom chatted with me for a while and left me feeling much more cheerful, and the other of which gave me a TARDIS so I might have more time to accomplish things.

Now and then I wonder what kind of person I am. I suppose one way to judge that is on the quality of my friends.

Image Description: Woman in a blue dress hopping down a stone bridge toward a TARDIS.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Hateful

Image Description: Woman in a short dress standing in front of a bright moon.

I'm feeling full of hate today. It's not a specific hate, with names and lists and vague fantasies of unlikely meteor crashes, but more of a general aura of hate, like a hate hamster ball I'm rolling around in, knocking into everything. Like wrath cookies sandwiched together with a sweet disdain buttercream and rolled carefully in "you all suck" chocolate chips. I could analyze it, picking apart the sandwich and identifying the origin of each piece in exhausting detail, but I hate everything too much. Instead I'm going to glower at you all vaguely from the shadows, basking in loathing.

Image Description: Woman with an expression of contempt, her hands up over her eyes.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Bare Face Challenge

Bare Face Challenge

I was challenged by Berry to do the SL Bare Face Challenge on Flickr - and it seemed like a lot of fun! It was started by Genkai Tesla as a fun way to show people without lashes, cosmetics, etc... and without photoshopping afterwards. I used my sim's default lighting, just to make it fun, and tool a longer picture of my platform in case people were curious - I'm always curious about other peoples' platforms! Ironically, this outfit was what finally tipped me over the edge to buying the SLink body - both the dress and the shoes fit it better than the SL basic mesh body, and so I caved. My one sadness is that my Folly Rainbow Sheen isn't a tattoo on the body.... yet. I've worn it without taking it off for months now.

Whoever wants to do this can! If you're inspired by me, I'd love it if you shared in the comments!


Me and My Platform

Go Mine Shaft!! Hunt Guide

CHARACTER: Aaliyah

On Hakoniwa there is a new mine shaft hunt/game for everyone to play.  It is a whole lot of fun, with easy to get prizes and an engaging storyline; I really had a ball. The post below the cut is incredibly long and organized with How to Skill Up first, then Stand Alone Quests and finally the Main Plotline. I struggled with how to organize this, and this was the closest I could come to a sensible way to do so. I hope it isn't too confusing!


Monday, November 10, 2014

Dream in Red

Image Description: Woman in a long gown standing in front of a large, red head.

I was last at The Sea of Cubic Dreams a few months ago when it was in shades of black and blue - but for the horror of Halloween they redid the sim in shades of red, with some added items of terror - at least for trees! I'd been updating my LEA Information for the blog, and the outfit I'd put on matched the feeling of the sim perfectly. Of course, no plan is seamless; in this case I had two of the best wrinkles show up! My friend Katat0nik, who doesn't get out as much as she should, happened to come by while I was there, and we spent a pleasurable half hour or so figuring out how to sit on cubes, and then knocking each other through the sky - frequently loosing our avatars and giggling like loons! At the same time, the person who pointed her in the direction of my sim contacted me, and we had a lovely chat while I went flying through the sky, trying for an attractive angle.

Image Description: Woman standing on a cube in front of many other floating cubes.

The way it works is - while you're sitting, you can move the cubs near yourself to knock into you and your friends - I really recommend trying it on and trying to take pictures. It was fun with two of us, but I bet with a half dozen or dozen it would be a total blast! I uploaded several directly to Flickr before Kat left me alone and bereft to finish my photoshoot. I think the pictures turned out well, and are an interesting contrast to my previous visit. Let me know if you're going, and we can play together!

Image Description: Woman in a formal gown standing on a cube which is tipping over, leaving her diagonally lying with her head in the bottom right corner.