Archive for July, 2008

Broken-hearted

So today (actually, now yesterday) was my birthday. I didn’t want much. My husband had already given me this beautiful laptop. It was a work day, that was fine. All I wanted was to do what I had to do in my every-day life and then stay up late and celebrate in SL. I logged on at 10 and that was the last thing that worked. From that point on I couldnt rez properly, I couldn’t tp, my chats froze. I logged in and out and in and out and in…. Over a dozen times. Literally. After the first 30 minutes I never rezzed as anything other than a cloud. I could IM to my friends – nearly all were on. And I couldn’t get anywhere. I locked and crashed repeatedly. Poor Michele – what a wonderful friend. She listened to me as I literally cried and wept. I tried on both machines: new one with the 1.20 client, old one with the 1.19 client. I could not get logged on. I’m still crying. At this point I want to power down and never open the machines again. I’m so discouraged and disappointed. It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to, and I want to and I am.

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Beauty

Another in my series of Why? Why do we do this, Why do we say that, Why do we make the choices we make………

The other day in SL a friend said to me that I was “smart and beautiful”. I accepted the “smart” part – you can fool some of the people some of the time…. 🙂 – but “beautiful” gave me pause. My intelligence is what it is, regardless of the medium. Intelligence, or lack thereof, tends to be revealed by communication, whether written or oral. But what does beautiful mean in a virtual world?

For the sake of discussion, let’s start with the premise that my avatar is beautiful. So what does it mean to tell me that I’m beautiful?

Does it mean that you think I look like my avatar? Probably not.

Does it mean that you think I did a good job creating my avatar’s looks? Maybe. But people change their looks/avatars regularly. And I didn’t even “choose” that look – someone gave me a skin. If you look at the before and after pics within my earlier entries, you can see that the skin reshaped my face, mouth, eyes. Not to mention the makeup. So I didn’t do anything. I am not my creation. I can’t even take credit for the design.

Does it mean that you think I have a good eye for creating beautiful things? Maybe. There are countless combinations of features for avatars. I do have control in what I select. So the compliment isn’t on my features, but on my creative talent. Or in this case, someone else’s creative talent. Maybe the compliment is on creative eye.

I’m sure there are many other ways to interpret the question. I know that I have frequently told others in SL that they were beautiful. I’ve written that here in this blog. When I said that, I usually meant that they had a created a beautiful avatar, so I suppose I meant either the 2nd or 3rd interpretation. Typically I’ve said that to non-human avatars. My friend S has 2 dynamite shapes – big white wolf and big black wolf. Both are beautiful images. F has the most stupendous set of wings – stupendous in look and in sheer size. She has obviously tweaked her appearance and she too is beautiful.

I have met many beautiful avatars. But I tend to save “beautiful” for the non-humanoid or modified human shapes. Somehow it doesn’t usually occur to me to tell a human avatar that they are beautiful. I compliment the outfit, the overall appearance. But I walk around in jeans and a top, barefoot. There is nothing “beautiful” about my outfit. I haven’t modified my basic human form. So “beautiful”, from someone who isn’t “hitting” on me, simply surprises me.

Perhaps my reaction means that I am still somewhat detached from SL – that I see avatars as “things” and not as people. I certainly don’t feel that way when chatting. I am very much aware of the reality and “person-ness” then. I wonder what will change my outlook. Will I “see” the avatars more when I can animate myself more? Will I “see” the avatars more when I know more people in SL? When, if ever, do you cross the line from seeing “animated characters” to seeing “people”? It is obvious to me from reading other blogs that many people have crossed that line, so I know it is a possibility. And not a bad possibility.

Writing these words also made me think about RL. Why do we compliment someone in RL and tell them they are beautiful, meaning their physical appearance? So much of that is not an option. That, however, is a far deeper topic than I’m up to discussing at this point. 🙂 But if anyone else wants to tackle it – I’d be delighted to hear what you have to say.

Makeover!

Finally – I have some time to write about skins and SL makeovers! (Unfortunately I have time because our network is down for repairs, supposedly only for an hour. But I have things to do and I forgot (whine, whine) that the network was scheduled to be down. I’d just hit SEND when – wham – no connectivity. Bummer…..

First – to all my new and very very dear SL friends – do NOT take this the wrong way!!!! Try to remember when you were new and green and fresh off the farm! I positively LOVE that you are all helping me with makeovers and tweaking my appearance and all the other delicious and fun things you are teaching me. Please please don’t stop!!!

But….. and I’m literally smiling a big smile as I type this….. very few people in RL would say to me what I’ve heard the last 4 weeks. LOL – let me restate that – I HOPE that very few people would say (or want to say) to me what I’ve heard.

If you are reading this, then you probably saw the pictures I uploaded of myself in SL. (By the way – have you noticed that I’ve stopped drawing a distinction between “me” and Ahuva?? I have come across some very interesting discussions on self and avatar on other blogs, notably Botgirl Questi’s blog and Sohprosyne Stenvaag’s blog, specifically this one. Check them out.) If you saw my pictures and blog, you know that I thought I looked pretty darn good!!! Hot, even. You may have figured out that my RL appearance is not the same as my SL appearance. More than that about the differences I’m not prepared to say. It’s fun to change appearance. Especially to change appearance so easily!

I feel good about how I look. So WHY does everyone feel compelled to offer to make me over, change my hair, change my skin, change my clothes, change my walk?? LOL. Sometimes I feel like a Barbie doll. 🙂 People give me clothes, objects and animation overrides so fast I can barely get them into inventory!!!! People are always saying – Oh you should talk to X, X is great at make-overs. LOL. Um, what was so WRONG about my appearance??? Besides no eyelashes. My favorite was my male friend who pointed out that my eyebrows were WAY too large. Well hey, maybe I LIKE bushy eyebrows!!!!

Okay, I DON’T like how my eyebrows look. Looked. But to tell me that??? Can you imagine if he’d said that to me in RL? I don’t think so. 🙂 That would strain our relationship for sure. But in SL I simply smile and say “yes, I agree”.

Having said that I thought I looked pretty good and I liked how I look, I have to confess that I think I look even better now! I DO like the skin tones and the makeup and the eyelashes (no, I CAN’T let that drop) and all that goes with it. Changing skins is as simple as changing clothes. I stood there with C & D Monday night as C gave me skin after skin. They have fantastic names – Gluttony, Pride, Greed, Lust. LOL. I asked if there were any named Chastity, Hope or Innocence. The closest we came was Humility. Quite honestly – Gluttony looks WAY better than Humility! So I’m wearing Gluttony. LOL. As I modeled each skin in turn, D pointed out the similarities. That’s when C said “Pride is just Lust with different makeup”. That is – the skin color and all were the same, but the eye shadow and rouge and lipstick had changed. But I’m still sure that somewhere in that comment is a great philosophical blog. I’m mulling it over – don’t be surprised one day to find it here (probably the next time the network is down for an hour).

One other observation that fascinates me. And it hearkens back to my earlier comments about choices people make in SL and how those choices reveal so much about our RL selves (if both the observed and observer could interpret correctly). Someone went past me today. The avatar was shaped like many people I see in RL. There is no way that I would want to look like that if I didn’t have to look like that. It merely proves that beauty IS in the eye of the beholder. And I’ve seen numerous avatars with humanoid shapes that look too much like RL shapes that I would think need, hmmm, work. (yeah, yeah, I’m being judgmental again. Strike work and write what I mean – need improvement.) So I am intrigued by what that says about them and what it all says about me. Because there’s no question that my reaction to such avatars is revealing tons about myself, but I’m not sure what. Or maybe I’m not sure “why”. 🙂

’m still extremely nervous about changing my appearance. Way back in the beginning I blogged about changing my appearance and getting it wrong and being gray and beige and black – all at once. And I’m still confused about my hair and why it disappears and I have to re-wear it. Some of it may be due to my connectivity issues (hey – if YOU’RE sick of hearing about it, think how *I* feel!!!) and some may be because I messed up my appearance during my first few days.

But I want to get myself into some private spot and swap skins and hair til I’ve tried on all the items in my inventory. I want to figure out if skins change the shape of my face as well as color & makeup. (hmmm – I have a friend with a nice beach house that I like to call home. LOL. Maybe I could go there to change. With only a cat to witness……). I want to try on all my outfits. I want to find a pair of jeans that actually meets the bottom of my shirt! I want to find the beautiful necklace C gave me that seems to have vanished from my inventory (can’t trust the inventory anymore – that’s one of the bad connectivity symptoms). I want to take pics of myself in Greed and Pride. I want to change my hair. In other words – I want to play!

And now I know why everyone in SL is always offering to help me with a make-over – because it’s so much fun!

The Evolution of Feet

#1 - au natural

#1 - au natural

Went out dancing last night.  That required finding a pair of party shoes.

#2 - shoe base

#2 - shoe base

Shoes!

Shoes!

This is how you get shoes to fit properly in SL.

You wear a shoe base that shapes your foot to the shoe.  If the shoe doesn’t fit, shape your foot!

The Weekend Begins

Last night was a mixture of pain and pleasure.  That WAS going to be my entry heading, but I FINALLY seem to be rid of the creepo (see Blogger’s Remorse below if you don’t know which creepo and want to find out) and I don’t want to risk picking up another one.

Anyway…. the pain centered around connectivity, as usual.  I had a terrible time rezzing.  I could see by the statistics display that I was suffering severe packet loss.  There are many things I wouldn’t mind losing, but packets aren’t among them!  Packet.  Sounds like I’m going to take part in an illicit trade, doesn’t it?  Heh, heh, want this packet?  I had to logon numerous times before I could actually be in SL and not crash.  I  upgraded to the latest client version, thinking what did I have to lose?  Nothing was working all that well for me anyway.  Not exactly the intrepid trend-setter.  More like the resigned battered user.   🙂

I finally rezzed in the proper clothes, with my hair, in the right spot, with my inventory working.  Strolled over to the boardwalk benches.  I do see some of the most interesting avatars.  I was chatting with a pirate.  Yes, full pirate regalia.  I tried to take his picture but didn’t get the camera close enough.  There were some little non-humanoids as well.  Notice that they had their own seats, apparently.  Don’t ask me – I simply take the pictures.

Ultimately it settled down to 3 of us:  me, F and L.  F is, I think, an official helper.  In any case I learned (or relearned) some interesting things.  Everyone was a little slow last night.  Apparently there was a class going on nearby.  The more AVs in  sim (location), the slower it gets for everyone.  We also talked about shoes and how to make them fit SL feet.  F gave me a pair of sandals to wear.  And they fit!  So of course, being the ingrate that I am I whined “But they’re not RED”.   🙂  Lucky for me, F thought this was funny and she recreated them in red (I couldn’t because she had given them to me but had left them set at “no modify”, which meant I could use them, but not change them).  So there I was with attractive red sandals that fit!  L got into the act and gave me some more shoes.  Then she gave me a lovely black party outfit.  Of course I tried it on.  But then the red sandals simply did NOT go.  So I tried to change shoes.

It was at this point that either the SL asset server started having difficulty, or I was dropping packets left and right, or the sim was overloaded.  (Doesn’t it sound as if I might actually have a CLUE about what I’m saying?????)   I got one shoe off, but not the other.  LOL.  So elegant, but I looked like Cinderella.  Except with one red sandal, as opposed to a glass slipper.  More folks joined us and conversation flowed.  I tried repeatedly to remove that stupid shoe.  (Oh that’s going to be another blog some day – how “stupid” has been outlawed as a “bad” word.  I used the word in the office the other day when someone’s child was there.  Her eyes got big and round, and 2 parents of young children reprimanded me.  I said “I said the idea was stupid, I didn’t say the person was stupid”.  Sheesh.  And it wasn’t even on a “real” topic – we were standing around joking.  Lighten up folks.  As I said, I’ll save that rant for another day.)  Anyway, finally I decided to ignore my inventory display and pretend that the shoe really HAD come off.  So i put on a different shoe and it worked!  I looked quite elegant, I must say!  What do you think?  I found my “missing” necklace.  Too bad I’ve got my hand behind me so that you can’t see my bracelet.  I’m not very cooperative when it comes to photos, apparently.

Just about that time another friend came online and mentioned that there was a concert going on.  I figured this was my chance to see how RL shows worked in SL.  And I was certainly dressed to impress.  🙂 So I tp’d over.  I could hear the music – it was very enjoyable.  A good artist.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t rez the venue.  I could get some of the people.  Others remained amorphous white clouds.  Which I have to say IS better than the “ruthed” avatars of the prior version.  (Okay – a note to the non-SL folk – “ruthed” is when you haven’t rezzed properly and your avatar is all gray.  No, I don’t know the derivation of the term.  Go google it yourself. )  Not only couldn’t I get the room to rez, I couldn’t stop the typing motion.  Somone told me how to turn it off, but it didn’t work.  Which led me to suspect that I was only partially there in SL – that my connectivity was out of whack again.  I logged in and out perhaps 5 times but could never get it to rez properly.  Which was a shame, because I was really enjoying the music, and would have liked the complete experience.

The show ended about 10:30.  And I couldn’t leave.  My tp wasn’t working.  Everytime I tried to tp back to the beach, it failed.  Finally I logged out.  I changed my preferences so that instead of rezzing in my “last location” I’d rez in my home location.  (My home location is actually very funny, but that will have to wait.)  So I logged in to home and still couldn’t rez.  Isn’t this boring??  Just think how not fun it is for me doing this.  It’s times like this that I believe in all the conspiracy advocates.  Somewhere out there is a conspiracy determined to keep me from having fun.  🙂   I don’t know WHY there should be such a conspiracy, but there you go – who can understand fanatics anyway?  🙂   Ultimately I managed to get myself back to the beach in the proper clothes.  It was time for the party, but I’d had it by then.  The last thing I wanted was anymore arguing with the world.  I plopped myself in “my chair” and logged out.

The bad news is that it looks like I’m going to have to talk to the cable company about these connectivity issues.  I tried all the other tests folks suggested to me and suffered packet loss each test.  The other option is to move into my office where I have a T1 connection.  🙂  And you all wondered why I’ve been putting in so many hours at work lately!!!!!   LOL

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Morning Rant

I HATE computers!  Let me restate that:  i really HATE computers!!!  I am sitting here at home with THREE laptops on the table in front of me. NONE of them will do 100% of what I want.  And to top it off, I tried to remote desktop into my office to get some early morning work done. I am locked out of my account!!!!!  Now when I finally get in to the office I’m going to have to figure out how to get that fixed and my usual technical support is out this week!!!  I HATE computers and everything to do with them!!!  I was a liberal arts major – ancient history!!  HOW did I end up in a job where I do support for computers, surrounded by developers and others who think computers are “cool”?  HOW did I end up where I want to pursue a hobby that not only takes place on a computer but requires networks and communications and filters???

I may owe MSC an apology.  I think I was blaming it for problems that my ISP was causing.  (Oh what a surprise THAT is – I also hate and despise my cable company!!!  and that started BEFORE my internet connection.)  Thanks to Dale who sent me some debugging info from SL.  It appears that I am suffering packet loss.  LOL.  I ask you – packet loss??  Do you think Livy and Tacitus had to worry about packet loss???  Apparently to fix packet loss you need to deal with your internet service provider (ISP – see – I know I have readers who have no more clue about this stuff than I).  That’s my cable company.  You can’t even reach a human being at that place!!!!  I’m trying to figure out if I can dump this on my husband.  You know – whine and complain and sigh until he agrees to call them and tell them to FIX IT.   🙂   Or do I have to let him off the hook since he already bought me this gorgeous new laptop?   🙂    I have NO intention of returning this beauty, even if the issues were all due to dropped packets.  The resolution on this is phenomenal.  Just gorgeous.

So that’s what’s ahead of me today….. grrrrr.  Hoping that when I finally get to work I can get THAT machine unlocked.  Hoping that my coworkers can interpret all the tracing and debugging I did last night and they can tell me what it is exactly I need to see to the cable company.  Hoping I can get software off MSC and move it to the new beauty.

And I still need to tell you why Pride is just Lust with different makeup!

My SL Photo Album

Well, it’s not much of a photo album yet. I’m still pressed for time but I did want to share 2 photos with you. The first is the kind of thing you really only see in SL or some other Virtual World.

Personally, I’m very glad to see these signs go up. I was getting very tired of shoo’ing away those pesky vampires. It was getting so you couldn’t take a simple stroll down the boardwalk without being accosted by someone offering to leave bite marks in your neck. Next thing you know someone will be offering to wash your windshield. (Okay, you probably have to have been in NYC before the Rudy Giuliani days to get that reference. 🙂 )

Monday night I went sailing with a friend and ended up making 2 new friends. One was trying to solve my computer’s technical problems, the other decided to solve MY problems. 🙂 I’d already had someone point out to me that my eyebrows were simply TOO big. LOL. And I’ve already moaned about my eyelashes (or lack thereof). So C took me in hand and remade me. That has to be a blog in and of itself – I learned about skins and such. Not to mention C’s comment “Pride is just Lust with different makeup”. You KNOW there’s got to be a blog in that somewhere!!! But the end note of that evening is that not only did C remake me, she also took my photo. So my SL profile has been updated, eyelashes and all. Okay Dale – I will do my best to come up with some text for the profile as well. In the meantime, the “new” Ahuva:


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