Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Photo Mariko: Odds and Ends

Particle Show in Second Life
It's about time for another Photo Mariko. I was going through my Second Life picture archive looking for items for Jaysun's birthday post and saw a number of pictures from this year of people and places that I would like to share. There is no particular theme to this post, so I call it Odds and Ends. Let's begin with particle shows. Particle shows are the ultimate firework displays in Second Life. They entertain us with bursts of particles that take on mesmerizing shapes, colors, and lighting as they expand through space and eventually fade to be replaced by another fascinating burst. Particle shows are designed by particle artists like Tyrehl  Byk, perhaps the best known particle artist in Second Life. In the above picture, I'm enjoying the particle show at Cloud Chateau. The particle show is located in the building opposite the teleporter. After the show, take the teleporter to the Particle Laboratory and learn all about making particle effects like rain and snow and pyrotechnic explosions.

Cloud Chateau

Click on the pictures to enlarge them for better viewing.

The Giant at Liberty Cove.
Pictures of this humongous robotic giant rising out of the sea and threatening a quaint island village at Liberty Cove appear in countless blogs. So here I belatedly add my own contribution to the online collection. It was just a matter of finding an interesting angle, framing the scene, adding some windlight (the important ingredient), and shooting the picture. Photographic art that is as easy as instant coffee. I guess it's that easy if you have great subject matter. I recently went to Liberty Cove. The giant was gone, and the sim is completely barren. Hopefully this is just an interlude, and we'll see another burst of creativity at Liberty Cove.  

PT Beardmore rocking The Albatross
Who knew that PT Beardmore is such a musical talent? We all know him as a friendly, warm hearted guy who is so fun to be around, a real sweatheart. But, we never knew him to be a gifted singer and musican. That is until he entertained a group of us on the back deck of the Bumble Cafe with his voice and guitar, singing wonderful ballads. It was one of those magical moments. He said that it took a long time to get up the nerve to perform in Second Life. Too long in my opinion. PT's been in Second Life for ages. The picture captures him at The Albatross giving his first full performance. He gets better and better with each outing. Now, he packs the house at all the venues where he performs. Well, I can say that I knew him when. 

This is a nice picture of the lovely Ariel Wingtips watching the show at The Albatross. She is a cheese fairy. Her fairy wand is made of cheese, and she has a collection of cheese stuck to her antlers. I didn't know that fairies have antlers. Well, you learn something new everyday. But, maybe it's only cheese fairies that have antlers. They need a place to stick that cheese, after all, even if it's around their heads. Now, about those fairy boots ... I guess cheese fairies hang around dairy barns.

Hasta la vista, baby!
How's that for sexy? A sultry broad with a gun in a steamy exotic locale out for revenge. Ya just can't beat that for raising temperatures. And I know what people are thinking ...OMG, that's Mariko! Yes, I even surprised myself. Actually, I was at Opar experimenting with poses and photo angles for the closing scene of my story post, Anna's Many Murders - The Babysitter.

Anna's Many Murders - The Babysitter

I love iconic westerns like Stagecoach, Shane, and Cowboys and Aliens. So, I was really looking forward to the party being hosted at Bumble by Marly Peapod and Rocko Olifone, my favorite SL couple, as the party's theme was inspired from the aforementioned Cowboys and Aliens. It was a rousing fun event. I had a real blast mixing with cowhands, gunslingers, and beings from other worlds. It also gave me the opportunity to ride the open range on Nathan Hale, my conservative Republican horse. However, I was concerned with how Nathan would react to all these undocumented aliens at the party. But, Nathan was quite at ease. "Historically, American conservatives have been pro-immigration as we view people, and hence immigrants, as assets and not liabilities dependent on the state as does the other side of the political aisle," he explained. "But, we do insist on national sovereignty and the rule of law. First, secure the border. Then, we can find a solution to undocumented aliens in our country that is just, humane, and welcoming."  I pointed out to Nathan that our border with outer space is impossible to secure, and that these space aliens have come to conquer and enslave us. "Nathan, they want to take away our freedom." To which Nathan retorted, "Humph, that's just want we need isn't it. More damned progressives."  

I took this picture of Vitabella Dubrovna, fashion designer and co-owner of Vita's Boudoir, while she was in the midst of creating a magical garden in front of her shop. I like this picture because it looks much like a contemporary Japanese print.

Vita's Boudoir

I was estranged for a long while from my Second Life sister Dawson. But, the ice was broken with the help of Dawson's partner, Tomomi, and our sisterly relationship has warmed again. Tomomi is wonderful. Daws is the one in the middle of the picture. 

Speed boating with my sister Dawson

Measuring up against Miss Virtual World.
I was at a dance club with Jaysun when in walked Serene Faith, Miss Virtual World 2011, with a fellow model. I have been planning a blog post on the trend toward gigantism among women in Second Life. There's some really tall giant women walking this virtual world. I largely attribute this trend to the fashion industry where the minimum height for runway models is seven feet tall. Now, I'm over six feet tall in SL; but, I'm feeling more and more petite inworld. As one girl explained to me, 'If you can be fashion model height, why not?' I've been collecting pictures where I stand next to these giantesses. But this was a choice opportunity. It's not everyday when you get to measure your self against Miss Virtual World. I wish that I was wearing a sexier outfit.

A friendly evening at Johnny's Pub
One of my favorite hang-out places is Johnny's Pub. I'm sitting on the bar with my friend Moni. Johnny is standing beside us. The hottest babes on the grid flock to Johnny's Pub to hang out with Johnny. So, if you are hot, come and join us.

Johnny's Pub

Chisaki Soyinka
Next up are portraits of two of my best amigos inworld. Chisaki Soyinka is my friend from Japan. It's a good day in Second Life when I receive a welcoming  'Konnichi wa' from her. Chi is always ready to join me at a live performance or join me in exploring an interesting build. Although sweet and petite, she comes prepared to face danger. This girl has a formidable arsenal of big guns in her inventory. 

Stevie Underby
What a lovely picture of my friend Stevie Underby. Quite a number of people have remarked that the two of us look much like twin sisters. Perhaps not exactly twins; but, we are the hottest duo of asian avatars in this virtual world.

Dressed in kimonos.  Stevie in red and me in white and blue.
Hanami is the Japanese tradition of viewing cherry blossoms. Each spring, when the cherry blossoms are at their peak, groups of friends stroll  the public parks throughout Japan and picnic under the blooming trees. But at night, illuminated by lanterns and moonlight, the clouds of white blossoms become magical - magical in Second Life as in real life. Their magic draw Stevie and me to a virtual japanese village to enjoy an evening hanami. Of course, we also enjoy the opportunity to dress in our kimonos.

Stevie and I were exploring the New Japan Garden Project. It seemed to me to be a largely western garden set in traditional Japan. But it is very nicely designed and well worth a visit. Here the two explorers are taking a break and sitting in the passenger seats of a colorful pedicab.

New Japan Garden Project

This is the full view of the pedicab. Who would ever expect to find an asian pedicab inworld? One of the delights of exploring Second Life is coming upon objects such as this. And, when we do, we are made even more aware that all we see around us in Second Life is the sum of the creative efforts from thousands of individuals who have given a virtual reality to the visions in their minds' eyes.

 Hmmmm ... I got somewhat carried away at the close of the previous section. Please disregard that stilted prose.

Wearing Mesh in Second Life
I just saw a female acquaintance walking about with her head as bald as billiard ball and staring into a black box floating in front of her face. Another acquaintance looked as if he was drawn and quartered.  And his severed and separated body parts were bloated into grotesque shapes. Both are disturbing images. Was I going mad?  Nope, these acquaintances were wearing mesh; mesh hair and mesh clothing, respectively. I thought that people who walk with windlight are self-absorbed as windlight is view side only and their appearance to the majority not using windlight can look very different from how these people see themselves in their personal windlight settings. They can look creepy and decrepit to us, especially if they are not wearing a facelight. Well, what about people wearing mesh clothing and hair? To the 98% of us who are not using mesh enabled viewers, they look like these two. Surely, they must know how they look to us and so must be self-absorbed. Why not use a mesh enabled viewer? There are issues with the new viewers that are well known. Moreover, the use of mesh in building objects and in the design of clothing has not been adopted as extensively as expected, so far. And, until mesh is made deformable, I have no interest in mesh clothing as one must change the size and shape of one's avatar to fit the clothing. Isn't that ridiculous? Obviously, it should be the other way around. I don't want to take on the shape of my clothes. I want my clothes to accent my own curves.

Walking with windlight - Windlight is not avatar friendly

Enough editorializing. Last weekend, Jaysun hosted a little gathering to mark the closing of the fall season. From left to right, thats Jaysun, Lulubelle, me, and Maurice Messme. Such little get-togethers are always so pleasant.

Going Primative on the Serengeti,
 Maurice Messme's exciting recreation of the African plain at Cap Estel
No, I can't end this post with such a picture as this ....

... but, this one will do.

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