As promised, I'm kicking off my return to the SL blogosphere by joining in Strawberry Singh's Monday Meme Challenge.  This week's challenge is the Avatar Transformation Challenge.  The instructions are ridiculously easy:  Transform your avatar completely so that even your friends wouldn't recognize you. 

I've been out of SL for a few years.  My remaining friends would probably not be surprised to find that I'm still usually a redhead sporting a glam princess look. Now that mesh is Queen, my skirts don't swish (unless a designer offers that perfect combo of mesh and flexi), but I can still rock a good ballgown or medieval princess look.

Before I reveal my transformation, let me introduce you to Lysi 2015 Style:

Location: Alirium
Hair: Truth Delphine
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins March Group Gift (free to join for the next 13 days!)
Dress:  Junbug The Innocent-- Blush (Rare)--The Secret Affair (No Longer Available)

As an aside, since my return, I've turned over most of my Lindens to Junbug, especially 
their Gacha machines. *sigh*  If you're needing a common item from their most recent
Gachas (The Innocent, Midnight Fae, and Winter Cloak collections), send me a notecard 
in world, as I'm overrun with things I don't need.  I'm willing to give these away for free!

Now on to my transformation!

So yeah, when I transform I TRANSFORM, baby. Go big or go home!

Or I've lost my bloody mind, but we're having a blizzard, so now is as good a time as any.

I look like the Disco Duck, Fort Knox, and Cleopatra Jones had a baby.

Since I decided to go really retro, I dove into Lysi's Second Life Clothing Museum
*cough* aka my inventory.  Retro transformation begets retro clothing, natch? I'd LOVE 
to see this outfit transformed into mesh with materials. Wooh!

The majority of items used in the transformation may not be available.  
The skin is Uma from Rockberry.  The Studio 54 disco outfit, jewelry, and
tattoos are from aDivahowever it is no longer available for purchase 
(it's an oldie with system layers).  The shoes are ANE Old Gold Wrapped Heels 
from a past Arcade Gacha round.   The eyes were Ikon's February group gift. 

Currently (or possibly) available items:

The bodacious afro is No Tears, the current group gift from No Match (50L to join).

The equally bootyful shape is Curvy Soft from Ample Avi. It was a gift in the Peace
On Earth 7 hunt last year, but something similar may be available in store.

I'm rusty on both my blogging and SL photography skills, but I've got to start somewhere,

Stayin' Alive (in the snow),



So I return to SLife.

I'm not sure what course my blog will take now, but I like the idea of Strawberry Singh's meme challenges, so I may start there.

My SL time is somewhat limited because I'm using the BF's computer (mine is an ancient piece of crap, and my laptop can't handle SL), but I'm feeling the urge to communicate once more.

I've spent the better part of the last few weeks cleaning inventory, down to 44,000 from 57,000, so I consider that a success. My objects folder is still in dire need of help, but that's going to be more time consuming than moving/deleting folders. Ugh.

Since my last post in 2009, a lot has changed. My BF lives with me and keeps me sane part of the time and drives me insane the rest of the time. Love is funny.

A massive snowstorm is bearing down upon us, so as long as the power stays on and I can score some computer time, I will commence blogging.  In the meantime, here's an amusing photo of two of my pets.  The dog hates the cat, but when my back is turned, I catch them sleeping together.

Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together...mass hysteria.--Dr. Peter Vengkman in Ghostbusters.

Trying My Hand...

I've been pondering the idea of trying something semi-useful in SL.  My building skills are miniscule at best (I have spatial recognition problems).  At most, I can make a few simple structures and texturize them. 

While in the past I did make clothes and furniture for The Sims (the original version), I've found creating clothing for SL is MUCH more complicated.  I remember my frustration with creating a simple rug in TS. It took HOURS, so I'm not going the clothing route.

Skins..same story.

What I finally settled upon was giving myself a challenge. Any time I see a nice free skin offered on SL, I'll go snap it up and set to building a shape from scratch that would go with said skin. In lieu of any interesting new freebies, I might dive into my inventory and create a shape do go with it.

Let's be honest. We all see noobs and not-so-noobs running around in ghastly shapes and even ghastlier skins..mainly because many of them can't or don't want to spend Lindens on their appearance.  If this project of mine is successful, I would like to start offering the shapes for free or as a dollarbie.  Shape-making does require some time and concentration, but I'm not doing this to feed my Linden balance.   I'd especially like to get into shape-making for guys as I am tired of seeing men with pinheads and immense biceps.  Who decided THAT was attractive?

My intention is to also offer MOD rights on these shapes, as a no mod shape is about as stupid as no mod hair (or sionChickens). 

(Tangent ahead:  Those things look like chickens like McNuggets taste like chicken.  Have I ever mentioned I HATE McDonald's?  Do they actually use food in their "food"?)

Anyway, there's a new freebie skin called Angie out at Aimesi, so this one is my first project.  I'm still tinkering with it and need in-world opinions, but I thought I'd post it here for feedback. 

I DID build this one from scratch, although it seems to be morphing into something similar to the shape I use for my own avatar.  LOL  I'll have to find a way to branch out and vary my aesthetics somewhat. I definitely want to try some larger shapes for those who like rounder figures. This shape is 5'11" and is fairly realistic. She's not a Glamazon nor a beanpole. 

Like I said, she still needs some tweaking.  I've already made some changes since taking these pictures (the arms have been made a bit more slender for one thing).

I was aiming for a more mature, cosmopolitan look to this shape. I know collagen-injected lips are all the fad in SL, but I prefer a more natural shape instead of the "HEY! She's been to the plastic surgeon!" look.  Call me an elitist prick. I'm used to it. *smirks*

Yes, those are Christmas lights hanging off my deck. -.-  Normally I am a stern advocate of waiting until after Thanksgiving for such things, but I live in the tropics and can wear bikinis in SL so I broke my own rule. If I lived in Costa Rica in RL, I'd be looking forward to the holidays.

F**k snow.

*sings "I'm dreaming of a white (sand) Christmas"*

Tangent ahead:  Who exactly decided that Christmas had to be white?  It didn't snow in Bethlehem for Pete's sake. It was the DESERT.  I find myself wanting to slap people who run around blathering that it's just not Christmas without snow.

Um...back in 2004, what would have been my LAST Christmas with my mother, it snowed alright. I was stuck in my house for days and she in hers.   She died the following March.  So I don't want to hear about the necessity for snow. kthanxbai

White Christmas my ass.  I'll take Jamaica or Bora Bora or Tahiti any day.

**returns from tangent**

I have no idea why the boat dock ate my foot. I thought docks were vegans.  Or maybe it's the tree's way of getting revenge for being cut down.

My video card was making the lighting get wonky on me, so the pics aren't as good as I would have liked. *sigh*

Any thoughts on this little project of mine? Should I go for it in the quest to assist the hapless noob?


They Don't Make 'Em Like They Used To...

At the risk of sounding like an old fart...well, hell, I am an old fart.

Callie Cline just Plurked this video, and I find myself compelled to blog it.

They just don't make music like they used to. They don't make dances like they used to either.

This is in the top 10 of my all-time favorites list, and it's one of the few songs out there that is guaranteed to make me want to dance.

I present to you Stevie Wonder and Superstition.

There's a couple at about 3:13-3:20 in the video (the woman is wearing a striped vest and shorts).  I WANT someone to put THOSE dance moves in SL.  kthanxbai.


Partially Pulling the Plug..aka Getting Real

Recent events keep piling on my already burdened brain.  I had decided that for "closure" I needed to see the guy I recently broke off a relationship with due to various reasons, so I visited him over the weekend.

After spending three days with him, I am now fully cognizant of the dangers of becoming TOO dependent on computers, computer games, and online friends.

First off, I pretty much unplugged the entire weekend: no Plurk, no SL, no Aion, and only a few minutes of Warcraft.  I found those few minutes rather ... uninspiring to say the least.

The grand conclusion: I did not miss being online.  In fact, it felt like breathing clean air for the first time after living in a smog-filled city.  Maybe I DID have more oxygen fight its way into my brain.

In sitting back at his place and watching HIM be unable or unwilling to stay away from his computer or TV or PS3 for longer than 15 minutes at a time while we were in his apartment, I can now see more clearly.  If he is not playing Warcraft, he is obsessively monitoring YouTube videos. In lieu of YouTube, he's looking at 4chan or he's clicking on the monstrous waste of time called "Stumble Upon."

If he's not on the computer (for example when out of sheer frustration, I commandeered his computer and logged into Warcraft just to force him to do something ELSE), he's either watching reruns of "House" or watching one of the "Saw" movies or playing Street Fighter or Grand Theft Auto on his PS3.

Granted, he IS much younger than me, and I don't know many other guys in that age range, but do all males in their mid-twenties dedicate 99% of their awake, non-working time to computers and games?

He and I had a long talk a couple weeks ago about how he's distracted himself from the frustrations of a dead end job by spending a lot of time playing games.  He hates his job, yet instead of taking the time to find another job or look into career training, he spends hours upon hours playing WoW.  I bluntly asked him what he could have done in REAL LIFE with the time he's put into a game.

He had no answer for that question.

Life hasn't been kind to him in the familial relations department, nor has it been kind in regards to what was his life's ambition as a teenager: to join the Marines.  He was ruled ineligible due to a diagnosis in his medical records that he denies.

I don't know how to tell him, but after knowing him for over a year, and visiting him so often, I think that diagnosis was correct.

He is hiding from making all the nasty, difficult decisions that adult life requires.

He sacrifices his own personal time for his Warcraft guild because "they need him." These people who he does NOT know in RL "need" him, and they do not hesitate to beg for his help in raiding...with nary a thought to what his RL needs might be.

I reminded him that if he got hit by a bus or caught H1N1 and was hospitalized, these needy people would not be the ones who would show up at the hospital or help him in his time of need. 

He didn't have a response to that either.  He has so much trouble saying no to others that all he does is say no to HIMSELF.

I would like to think that since I have a well-established career (albeit a much-despised one), own my own home, and have generally squared away a lot of the typical concerns of his age group, that spending a sizable amount of time online is not necessarily a BAD thing. I've earned it, right?

But after watching him all weekend, I have the persistent thought niggling at the back of my brain that I may be doing my own version of hiding from RL.  I don't feel like I have an addiction, as I unplugged this past weekend without any difficulty.  If anything, I've been rather reluctant to even come back to blog or to Plurk.

I don't earn any money off SL.

Nothing I do in SL or WoW or Aion or Plurk really has any impact on real life.

If I wind up in a hospital (and with my health, that's always a possiblity), all my friends are hundreds and sometimes thousands of miles away and will never know because we're only "shallow" friends. We do not have each other's cell phone numbers because most of us are protecting our privacy (and rightfully so).  If my friends have something bad happen to them, again, I'll never know.

I can't offer to bring a bucket of chicken pad thai to someone on the other side of the planet or give them a REAL hug.

I guess cyberhugs are better than nothing, but they can't replace the real thing.

A pixel shoulder to cry on is not unwelcome, but it can't replace the real thing.

I'm struggling very hard right now with the knowledge that my online existence is ..shallow.  More than likely I will NEVER meet anyone from SL or WoW or Aion unless I somehow meet them in RL before we find out we're in these digital worlds.

Please don't misconstrue me. I appreciate my online friends, and I try to treat everyone like the real people they are.

But I feel like I'm losing time which I could spend finding RL friends my own backyard. For all the fun and companionship we can find online, it's always going to be lacking one important feature--physical contact.   The "Surrogates" movie has convinced me we are on the path to almost NO physical contact in the not-so-distant future.  Suffice it to say, I will be one of the scruffy weirdos living in the surrogate free zone, refusing to "plug in."  I will be the REAL me, not a perfectly primped, pixel princess.  If you can't know the REAL person you are interacting with, how can you truly ever claim to be that person's friend or LOVER.

It's a difficult question to ask ourselves, "How much time have I put into (fill in the blank) and what could I have done with that time had I spent it in RL?".

I could have finished my novel, taken my camera to innumerable locations and shot thousands of beautiful RL photographs, traveled around this country to see RL wonders and RL friends...

My conclusion is that I need to devote more time to my REAL life.  When I die, will I consider spending a whole month of my life (spread out over the course of a year, but it still wound up being 30 days of my life in hours) a good use of the precious time we've all been given.

Will I think all the hours I've spent fluffing up a gorgeous SL avatar and putting her in a beautiful beach house a good use of my precious time?

My hand is on the plug.


And Now For Something Less Deep...

Baiastice dropped a gorgeous group gift yesterday. I haven't seen anyone else blog it yet.

I love the combination of red and black.  I cannot carry off this look in RL unfortunately.

And for once the scarf didn't need to be resized AT ALL! Yay!  Neither did the skirt or the sculpty bow. Hooray for designers who don't model their dresses on stick figures!

Hair is Wendy by Truth (yes, again. I can't take this hair off for some reason).
Skin is Daydream in Pewter by Cupcakes.
Earrings by Yak & Yeti (Last I heard this store was gone from SL).
Sim belongs to the friend who calls me Swishy Skirts and is not open to the public yet (It really should be. There are great ops all over the place for goth/vamp photos).

So LOTD. I love it when group gifties make for a LOTD so I don't have to spend 6 hours trying to put an outfit together. XD


The Gap Effect (Part 3)

After recent events in both my RL and SL, my mind keeps insisting on pondering the gaps so many of us seem to need filled.  On a purely rational level, I understand that we should NEVER look to others to fill whatever "incompleteness" we may hold within ourselves as it is only through doing the hard work OURSELVES that we can truly feel complete.

No drug can make us whole.
No spending spree can make us whole (with apologies to Truth and all the other fabulous designers in SL).
No one person can make us (as individuals) whole.

We often go into new relationships with starshine and rainbows in our eyes, shouting to the world, "I've found the one who completes me!"  Everything is perfect and delightful in those first few days of newfound love. 

The gaps are still there though. They've just been patched temporarily with endorphins, but we don't realize that.  We now belong to that elite group, "the coupled." 

We share ourselves openly, sometimes perhaps too openly.  We take our newly beloved at face value and accept everything they share as truth. 

When the endorphins slowly subside to normal levels, we still look at that person lovingly perhaps but also with a more realistic eye.  Habits that were adorable in those first flushed, heart-pounding days suddenly aren't so adorable.

We're human. We get grouchy.  We leave the toilet seat up (or you guys do anyway).  Some days we don't find each other's jokes funny.  We accidentally delete parts of our prefabs while taking off our pants. 

We start finding out that everything about our newly beloved is not quite what it seems.

I know there are couples inworld who have withstood the test of time and some who have made the transition to RL relationships successfully,  but in SL, fairy tale endings are rare.

Some want to rush the transition from SL to RL, even when the parties involved have clearly admitted to being married. 

Having never been married, I cannot confess to having the slightest understanding of what kind of gaps must exist in a RL marriage for a person to seek out a SL marriage.   What makes a person give up on finding RL solutions to RL problems in a RL marriage?  What makes a person STAY in a bad marriage and then seek a SL partnership to fill in his or her gaps?

Coming from parents who SHOULD have divorced if they'd had an ounce of sense (people who stay together "for the kids" are just kidding themselves), I can see no reason why anyone should deny themselves the opportunity for RL happiness.   SL happiness, while it can be fulfilling in its own limited way, is no substitute for RL happiness.

It will never permanently fill the gaps we so desperately seek to fill.

Eventually the little annoyances go from "Who deleted the 'no copy' artwork hanging in the living room?" to "Why isn't my partner online tonight?" to "I have to leave SL permanently due to RL reasons" to "I'm going to post all your personal information on my blog just to show the world what type of person you are."

Thank goodness these things haven't happened to me, but I have friends who have gone through all of these scenarios.  I have had girlfriends leave SL because they could no longer deal with emotions from the digital world when they had even more pressing problems in RL.

Instead of filling our gaps, these SL relationships often open up even larger holes than previously existed.  Seemingly normal people become obsessed with thoughts of revenge until it consumes them even in RL.

Much like everyone else, I came to SL thinking it could fill some of my own gaps, but I've learned a few hard lessons in the past 18 months.  I can't look to anyone outside of myself, RL or SL, to make me a whole person. I cannot allow SL feelings to overrule RL common sense.  Even though the person controlling the other avatar IS a real person, I can never truly know with whom or what I'm dealing.  There are malicious types out there who take pleasure in exploiting the needs of others. 

Much like in RL, true love takes time to develop.  All the starshine and rainbows are meaningless if they do not transition eventually to respect and true commitment.  In this fast food world, we now want drive-through love, and if what we find in the bag varies even slightly from our preconceived notions about what the bag should contain, we storm back to the counter and demand an immediate replacement.   It must be perfect immediately, or we cannot keep it.

Rinse & Repeat.

And yet we continue to wonder why we still feel the same emptiness.

Our greatest pretenses are built up not to hide the evil and the ugly in us, but our emptiness. The hardest thing to hide is something that is not there.

Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)