Saturday, 28 January 2017

189: Necklace for Niramyth from Sternwood Treasures

I can't remember what prompted it -- perhaps my usual pleasure in possibly finding a gift for my husband Alex Thaub -- but I ended up looking on Marketplace for a necklace that was made for the larger-bodied Niramyth Aesthetic mesh body. I'm happy to say I found one; in fact I bought three necklaces from a company called Sternwood Treasures, designed by Jack Sherwood. (The company name links to the Marketplace store; they [edited later] have an in-world presence here.)
   One of the things that attracts me to particular products or designers in Second Life is whether they are conducting their business in a way that suits people who inhabit Second Life. Sometimes it can be a tiny nice way of giving your customers a gift, or a pleasant experience; sometimes it can be an entire large-scale marketing programme that's designed to imprint the name of, say, a skin designer across the SL blogosphere. This is one of the times when I had a tiny nice experience.
  When I bought the necklaces on Marketplace, one went to Alex's inventory and the other two went to mine (hey, who said this was fair? LOL). When I arrived in SL a few hours later, yes, the necklaces were waiting, but so was a note from Jack Sherwood. He said, essentially, "I saw you bought something, thanks for that, and I'd be grateful if you left me a review on Marketplace." Fair enough, but not something that happens often, where a designer wants feedback without trying to influence what it is.
  Unpacking the items was the second half of my nice experience. When I'd taken the contents into my inventory -- the container deleted itself. Now, okay, this for me was the answer to prayers. My inventory is littered with empty containers that I haven't dared to delete at the time because I wasn't sure which one is which. Honestly, I think this should be the new standard in SL; containers should be required to delete themselves. (Although I must say occasionally someone packs their stuff in a cute object that I'd actually keep around, but the principle is a good one.)
  So finally I tried the necklaces on. I suppose it's reasonable to expect that they would fit my Niramyth Aesthetic body ... but things like this in Second Life don't always work the way they're advertised, do they?  In this case, though, look at the pictures. The chain falls exactly where it should fall. I admit it took a few minutes to get it into place, it was quite a fiddly fitting process to get it exactly into place, but once I did it was nailed.
  The workmanship is great. Check out the side view of the gold chain on Alex's chest. I zoomed in as close as I could to show you the level of fine detail -- you can see where every link has been put in place individually, it seems. And the design is great also. I was looking for something masculine, naturally, but also something that's on a little bit larger scale, because the body that will be wearing it is on a larger scale. The design is very street, but that's a good thing; this kerb-chain style is very popular in real life right now, mostly in steel and turned out by machines. The dog tags turned out to be my favourite, mostly because of the rude saying written on them in tiny letters (the designer offers the chance to have your own engraving on them and I think I may, but if you care to leave them you will be quietly amused).
  All things considered, this is the kind of business I like to support in Second Life; someone who is offering great design and thinking about what suits the customer in the process.
  Added 24 hours later: I didn't search carefully enough, there is an in-world store found here and I wasn't aware of it when I mounted this post. I've corrected the first paragraph for your convenience and provided a SLURL.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

188: The trailer is a tight squeeze

As sometimes happens, this photo shoot was prompted by my Facebook group, "Snap... Do It!", which sets a list of about 15 photo challenges every couple of weeks. My inspiration tonight was a challenge called "Subject going off frame", coupled with our recent purchase of an Airstream trailer to go with our new "Route 66" skybox.  I'll add a couple of the others I've been taking recently on the Route 66 set.
  I added one of Alex with a bathing suit to the FB group but you guys can see the full monty, as it were.  Not quite X, but a reasonable R I think.  Perhaps I'll leave out the full frontals this time (actually, we didn't do any).

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

187: The new diner

First we bought an old gas station on Route 66, then we bought an old diner to go on it. Now, I love to cook in real life, so it was quite a pleasure to get the right outfit together and serve the meatloaf to Alex Thaub. Then he said he wanted to try the buns, and we both started to laugh. Sometimes you can take the scenario too far. ;-)

Monday, 16 January 2017

186: Route 66 photo shoot (Deadwool)

I've never understood the relationship that SL clothing designers have with SL fashion bloggers. Somehow it's gone off the rails, at least as near as I can tell. (I've never worked at it.) It's like customers competing to see who can design the best advertisements to sell the most product FOR FREE ... in order to keep the job you do for free, you have to learn Photoshop and a bunch of other computer programs on your own dime. You obligate yourself to produce blog posts on a grueling schedule and constantly have to buy props and poses and filters and whatnot. Hours and hours and HOURS every week on Facebook and Flickr and all kinds of social media platforms. Writing copy and making notes on the SLURL for where the eyelashes came from.  If you're really, really lucky, you'll get an arrangement with a good designer for a bunch of free clothes and stuff that would cost you approximately what it might cost to get yourself a six-pack of beer or a good hamburger to buy for yourself. And yet there are thousands of fashion bloggers who are prepared to work the equivalent of a full-time job to promote a virtual blouse or pair of Capris that only brings in pocket change per copy to the designer and bugger-all to the blogger.
  Don't get me wrong, there are fashion bloggers out there who do amazing work. Astonishingly beautiful images with meaning and power that are well worth looking at, even if I'm never going to buy a pair of virtual Capri pants. You know who they are, the ones at the top; I think they must do it for the love of exercising their creative skills, because it's sure not paying off financially. I've never heard of anyone promoting themselves this kind of job in real life based on a Second Life portfolio, but I suppose it could happen. In the meantime it must be a hellish job to monetize even the most marketable blog stats; 99% of your advertisers will automatically come from SL, and that means you're always self-referential.
  In the past, I've grumbled about how it works, mostly because there seems to be a lot of bullying involved lower down in the hierarchy of blogging and I find it unpleasant. Perhaps I've mellowed. If the people who are doing this blog are having fun and there of their own free will, who am I to argue? So I don't want to change anyone's mind about how fashion blogging should work. I do want to give it a try, though, it looks like fun.
  So here's my fashion blogging manifesto and we'll see if anyone likes the idea. (1) I buy all the items myself, so I can say anything I want to. That being said, I don't see much point in talking about stuff I don't like. (2) It takes me more than a couple of pictures to tell a story in the way that I want (in the same way that you've already realized that I talk too much LOL). (3) I don't feel compelled to do it a lot. (4) Please, do not offer to give me clothes or suggest that I do a piece on your clothes or anything like that. If this works, it will only work because I want to talk about you without prompting.
  The inspiration for the shoot was that my husband Alex Thaub, retired international supermodel, and I bought a skybox from Bartlett & Nielsen that looks like the last gas station on Route 66, because we both liked the design. It sort of called out for a photo shoot, and we thought it called for business suits, and in both our wardrobes that means Deadwool (helmed by Masa Plympton). I can't remember the last time I was as impressed with a designer's work as I was when I got their Dandy business suit; simply put it looked like a real suit that a real person would wear, and it was wrinkled where it would be if a real person was wearing it. All their stuff is at a similar high level of quality and they are the kind of clothes that you find yourself wearing in all kinds of situations. Highly recommended; needless to say, I've never spoken to Masa Plympton about it, so this is my fan letter. ;-)

Alex is wearing:
Skin: David, from Redgrave
Goatee: Aeros
Suit: Deadwool
Shoes: Mesh wingtips from Phunk

Rusty (with glasses) is wearing:
Skin: Cruz, from Redgrave
Beard: Holt Beard from MUSCHI
Hair: NO_CRY from no.match (with an undercut hairbase from Deadwool)
Suit: The Dandy, from Deadwool
Shoes: Klaus, from Deadwool

Monday, 2 January 2017

185: Photo Challenge -- "Mornings"

Alex and I have been having a lot of fun with the photo challenges presented as part of a Facebook group called Snap... Do it!  They present a list of topics, we get inspired and go and start taking photographs to illustrate the theme.
  Last night the moderators published a new list and of course inspiration came thick and fast. I'll be posting my pictures grouped by theme, rather than everything I did in an
evening. We actually worked on a couple of themes last night but this one was the most fun for me, because I enjoy taking chances with not looking good LOL. As usual, I try to use the minimum of poses and get as much mileage as I can out of my AO (the large picture at the top of this post was from my "face emotion" app, which apparently comes with hand positions; I was trying to show myself yawning). One of the most interesting parts for me is to try to find props and/or locations that illustrate the theme.
Subtlety is important! Lighting, composition, concept ... I'm learning more about how to take pictures all the time, and the thematic challenges help. If you're interested, and you're on Facebook, you can apply to join Snap... Do it! and have some fun.
  Hope you enjoy the pictures!