Thursday, May 28, 2020


Here I am on Whimsy, Wearing Kunglers' (not Kungler's) Halime Necklace

I have quite a few outfits from a store called Kungler's. I did a search and jumped there-- I thought.

Wait a minute! Kungler's is-- or at least was-- a clothing store. Now it seemed to sell only jewelry. And nice jewelry, at that. I bought a couple of pieces.

Back at home, I realized the names of the stores were subtly different: Kungler's (clothing) vs Kunglers (jewelry) I inspected an old Kungler's outfit and then a necklace. Onyx Leshelle sold the Kungler's clothing. If that name is familiar, it's because Onyx is the main force behind Maitreya.

The Kunglers (no apostrophe) line of jewelry is made by AvaGardner Kungler. Different person. Mystery solved.

My new jewelry makes use of materials and looks great.

The store looks great, too.You can find it here.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

The House at the Old Firestorm Gateway

I'm glad I went back to the old build of Firestorm Social Island. Why? Because I not only took lots of great photos to share, I snagged the creator and name of the big blue house.

It's the Martinica, from Bahia Tiki. The FS folks made some modifications, taking out the front and rear doors and partitions between the rooms, adding a rear entry, and removing the fireplace and chimney, but otherwise it's the same house. It sells for $2450L.

Sweetie likes it, and so do I, and there's a chance we'll buy it for our own use. I'm unsure whether it will go on the ground or in the sky; if the latter, we'll need to find a nice  tropical landscape upon which to place it.

Here (below the fold) are a few photos of the house as it will look when purchased. Click on the images to view them in all their glory.

Working as a Volunteer for Firestorm: V. Last of the Photos of the Old FS Gateway

There are the last of my photos of the old Firestorm Social Island. Feel free to download and share them. Click on them for the best view.

Working as a Volunteer for Firestorm: IV. Still More Photos of the Old FS Gateway

Working as a Volunteer for Firestorm: III. More Photos of the Old FS Gateway


Working as a Volunteer for Firestorm: II. Redesign of the Gateway

Sitting in a Waterfall at the Original Firestorm Social Island

Gown by Ala Folie. Hair by Mystikal Cookie. Bracelets and Necklace by Me.

As it happened, I came on board the Firestorm team at a time of change. Less than a month after I became a volunteer, the team did a redesign of the Social Island. Little was left untouched.

We volunteers were encouraged to visit and comment upon the new design, and many of us did. It was more open than the original and featured an Experience gateway that shunts avatars to the different Firestorm regions. Some of the same content was present, but some, including the main house, were gone.Some of us liked it, some of us didn't.

The new region went live four or five days ago, and a lot of the regular visitors were shocked. I could understand. the region had been stable for years. The Gateway was the first experience or a very early experience for many of them, and some had set it for their home when new. It was familiar and safe, and suddenly, now, it was different.

I tried the old landmark today, and there was the old familiar gateway. I looked around one last time and teleported to the new gateway. I encountered some friends there; they were wanting to say goodbye to the old place. I told them I had been there, but believed that was because of my volunteer tag. I gave my friend Mimi the old landmark, and she was back in a minute or so, having been teleported to the new region within seconds of entering the old one.

The best I could do was promise those present I would go back and take photos and post them in my blog. That made people happy as one reason for their wanting to revisit was because they had never managed to take pictures.

I hope the 50+ photos that follow in this and upcoming posts will help to preserve the memory of the old place. The first twelve are below the line. Click the images to zoom them.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Working as a Volunteer for Firestorm: I. How It Happened

The Seven Firestorm Regions

The Firestorm viewer is insanely popular in Second Life. It offers rock stable performance and a host of handy features missing from Linden Lab's official Second Life viewer. I and most of my friends use Firestorm.

The Firestorm team operates a block of island regions. The team holds its meetings there, but the purpose of the grids is to provide welcoming space for new residents. Volunteers greet new folks by name, answer questions, provide suggestions, and direct them to locations on and off the Firestorm islands. The intent is to encourage retention-- to provide a service that results in a larger percentage of new folks remaining in Second Life.

I found the old welcome areas like Olive, Plum, Hanja, Murray, and Governor Linden's mansion anything but welcoming. Older residents hung out there to socialize, and many came just to rag on or misdirect new folks. Some older residence, including myself, would visit to assist the new people, but we were distinctly in the minority.

A while back---I'm not sure just when, but certainly earlier than 2016, Linden Lab began cooperative ventures with Second Life organizations to shunt new accounts to them. Areas like New London and the Firestorm appeared, with content designed for new folks-- and the Lindens send new accounts to them upon their exit from Orientation Island.

I'm not sure if the Lindens provided regions for free or at reduced cost to these new ventures, but I suspect so and certainly hope so. Firestorm's seven regions at today's tier would cost about $2500 USD just for tier. That's a considerable expense! Bravo to Linden Lab if they're giving the welcome areas a financial break!

The Original Firestorm Social Island From the Air

When, several months ago, I began spending more time in world, I took myself to some of the old welcome areas, and then to New London, and, finally, to Firestorm Social Island. After my absence many of my friends were gone. I had lost touch with many of those who remained. Even before my furlough from Second Life I had been spending almost all my time at Whimsy, building, scripting, tweaking. It was time to get out.

Purchase of my Maitreya Lara body provided some impetus for getting away from Whimsy. One reason for my low level of activity had to do with the Lindens breaking all my old school shoes. I was ambivalent about mesh bodies until Bakes on Mesh was announced. That proved a deal maker for me. Suddenly I was back in world and focused, for the first time in a long while, on something other than Whimsy.

It helped that Whimsy had been rolling along for some years with hardly a hiccup. It still looked and ran great, and every script I wrote back in 2009 was still running merrily along, doing whatever silly or absurd things I had designed it to do. So Whimsy would be fine while I looked into some avatar modification.

I liked Firestorm Social Island from the get-go. It was attractive, and there was a good mix of new and old folks. Best of all, no one hassled the newbies. When volunteers were absent, and sometimes when they were present, non-helpers, including myself, would chip in to assist.

Two important things happened from my visits. Well, make that three. First, I was having a good time. Second, I was making friends with some of the regulars. And three, Dorrie Bellman suggested I file an application to become an assistant. Dorrie is HR Manager for the Firestorm Gateway.

I thought about Dorrie's suggestion for a few days, and then filled out the form. After filling out a second form. two meetings with Dorrie in voice, and a two-hour group meeting to learn about procedures and tools, I became an assistant. A few weeks later I became a full-fledged assistant.

Helping others comes natural for me. That's what I did in real life, after all. I'm quite good at not letting others get me riled, which is handy when dealing with griefers or people who are just unpleasant, I'm good at banter, and I type 100 words per minute. Best of all, I know, from my long tenure in Second Life, the answer to many questions that routinely pop up, and when I don't know something, I generally know what to do to figure it out.

My time commitment is a very reasonable two hours a week. I wear the Firestorm Helper tag when going to the regions, check in via group chat when I arrive, and check out when I leave. I don't yet have the ability to rez objects or the HUD that will give me the ability to relocate people who refuse to follow Firestorm's fairly liberal rules. but that will happen in time.

Even a two hour weekly commitment is significant in Second Life, but I doubt it will be a problem for me. I can come and go as I please, just so long as I exceed two hours. That suits me just fine. I'm enjoying myself.

Next: II. Redesign of the Gateway

Map Manipulation

Quite a few regions in the older areas of the mainland display text or images on the world map. I'm not certain just how that happens.

Here's a snapshot of the map around Natoma, home of the ancient and well-known and awesome Ivory Tower of Prims. Check out the Mad Magazine Spy v. Spy cartoon on Natoma itself!

When Whimsy was new I put various textures on 256 x 256 meter prims and set them at various heights. I would wait a couple of days, and then pull up the map. None ever affected the map.

I'm not sure if there's a trick involved or whether, perhaps, the ability to manipulate the map in this way has been removed by the Lindens. I've no idea who I could talk to who would be able to tell me.

I do know I'm going to Natoma later today. I'll fly up to 4100 meters and fall all the way to the ground with mouselook on and invisibles highlighted. Perhaps before I go splat at 20 meters I will have solved the mystery.

Looking for a B

Last night Sweetie and I were chasing Stay at Home Club freebies (more about Stay at Home Club in my next post!).

One store had the row of magic chairs pictured above. When we walked past, two were set to S, for Sweetie. I'm unsure, what with her spy connections and all, whether Sweetie arranged it beforehand or whether the shop owner was just trying to bribe her. I don't know; maybe both. She promptly sat in them and got free outfits. One of the chairs she sat in shuffled and came up with C, and I sat in the chair and got a free outfit.

After a while another C came up and I got my second outfit. The chair then shuffled up a question mark, which means anyone can sit and win-- so I sat and got a third outfit.

The woman to my left had a first name that started with B. She was standing in the same spot when we arrived, and was still there when we left the store--and we were there for a while. I kept checking the chairs, and not a single B showed up. I hope she eventually got an outfit.

For those who might not have encountered magic chairs, they randomly generate letters or numbers and announce them in chat and in text on the chair. If the first letter of your first name (or, for people born after 2010, only name), matches, you can sit in the chair and get a price.

I wonder if the B woman understood the rules. I feel a little bad about sitting in the chair with the question mark, but I'm not losing sleep over it.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Green Screen

Over at the Firestorm regions, a cute little teddy named Vin is taking photos of the many assistants who help newcomers.

While Vin was taking my photo in front of this green screen, I of course took a few photos myself.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Attack Monkey

The other day, as I was writing a post about wildlife, it occurred to me that other than humans, there are no primates on either Whimsy or Kaboom.

I looked in my inventory for the coconut-throwing monkeys Dodgeguy Woodward gave me back in 2007, but they didn't show up. They would be very old school on the land now, so I went shopping at the SL Marketplace. I found something called Attack Monkey and bought it for 50 or so Lindens.

I'm not sure of the species, but the attack monkey looks like the New World capuchins, the proverbial organ grinder monkeys. Capuchins are seen frequently in television and in movies.

But what made it an "attack" monkey? It just sat there, unmoving. It didn't seem to be animated in any way.

Until, that is, I noticed an invisible prim that was shaped like a rug attached to it. Having a feeling, I walked toward the monkey. Suddenly it was screeching and bouncing all around me.

It was an attack monkey indeed!

See if you can locate it on Whimsy Kaboom!

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Kaboom! Fireworks Show Over Whimsy Kaboom

Yesterday we had a fireworks show on Whimsy. Like the last show, some years ago, we built a platform on the western shore of Whimsy and set off fireworks over the ocean, on Whimsy Kaboom. The show went off without a hitch, and the fireworks were gorgeous. Waves of light reflected from the ground and onlooking avatars as shells exploded, and the sounds of the rockets and explosions seemed to come from everywhere.

Look for more shows on Whimsy. I post them in Events and send messages to the Whimsy Events group, which is free to join.

Click the Images to View Them Full-Size

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Whimsy Wildlife: Part I. Kaboom

When I came to Second Life animals were rudimentary. Made of prims, they were often blocky and usually stationary. Most animals that moved made slow circles around a central point. Circling birds, y'all. Circling fish.

SL's animals continue to evolve (Darwin would be proud). They became sculpts, and now most are mesh. A few are animesh. Scripts, and as a result, behavior, are far more complex and less predicable.

Whimsy still features a few circling birds and fish, just for old time's sake, but it's chock-full of complex animal life in the air, on the land, and under the sea. The photo above shows the underside of Kaikou Splash's great whale shark as it hovers above an underwater research station on Kaboom.

Kaboom has a pod of humpbacks--maybe eight by now, and it's fascinating to watch and listen to their vocalizations. They, too, were made by Kaikou Splash--as was Kaboom's rideable giant skate.

I like to watch the whales from the Kaboom's sea deck and below the sea, but they're particularly striking from above. This shot features three whales, a squid, an octopus, an assortment of unidentifiable wildlife, and, center right, just past the humpback, me. I didn't back far enough out of the shot. I love to pan across the region, looking straight down, and one of these days I'm going to make a video showing that.

Monday, April 27, 2020


Fireworks Above the Dance Pavilion High Above Whimsy

So, a couple of months ago, after five years mostly away from Second Life, I became active again.

I was behind on a lot of things, and it's taken me a while to get up to speed. It was, thankfully, like riding a bike. You just climb on again. After some practice, I'm writing scripts without problem these days (well, there's an occasional problem, as there's still a lot about scripting that I don't understand), but mostly things work right off the bat, bar a misplaced semicolon or two. I've gotten my settings in Firestorm mostly worked out, and I added a mesh body and have learned more or less how to use it. I can safely say, at least for now, I'm ba-ack!

Whimsy fared well while I was away. I had to come in world a couple of times to track down and reset Kitto Flora's little train, and again to find and fix the glass robot hand that dispenses tickets to the cinema at the robot sanatorium, but otherwise, everything was still working. It felt good to see complex scripts I wrote seven or eight years ago and running all the while still chugging along.

Most of my script problems had to do with movement. Occasionally, perhaps, Second Life wobbles, or there's a rounding error, or the sim resets mid-movement, and teleport signs and objects that move back and forth get a bit out of position. I solved that problem by setting home twice after each movement. Once was all that was needed theoretically, but not actually.  Before I added the second command the teleport board at the Whimsy entrance would eventually become misaligned, but it's been perfectly aligned for years now.

I picked up a free Genus head when the company was giving them away prior to going out of business, but haven't put it on yet. I'm in no hurry. I rather like the head I have--but there will come a day when I'll put it on and lose a couple of weeks trying to figure it out and get the look I want.

My plan was to document this no-doubt-boring-to-anyone-who-wasn't-me business, but I got behind, and frankly, I'm glad, for I wasn't looking forward to it. So now I'm looking forward rather than backward. That's the plan, at least.

Several unexpected things have happened since my return. One, I'm now an official helper on the Firestorm islands. My job is to greet new residents, assist them, and reduce their confusion so perhaps they'll log back in a second time and maybe even stay in Second Life.

The job requirements weren't much of a stretch, as that's exactly what I've been doing for more than ten years now. I would from time to time make my rounds of the old Welcome areas and help new people. That was especially needed, as most were in fact Unwelcome areas, with groups of older residents gathering to socialize and ignore or belittle or even grief new folks. I couldn't stop the bad behavior, but I could at least reassure new folks and direct them to places like New Citizens, Inc. that WOULD make them welcome. Some of those new folks became friends and remain friends to these days.

I'll be quick to say this isn't altruism on my part. It's entirely selfish. I want as many people as possible to stay in Second Life so it will stay around. I would hate for the grid to just disappear some day, like Habitat, Blue Mars, High Fidelity, and so many other virtual worlds!

At the Sunday Night Dance at My Friend Elysienne's Raven's Mark Club. DJ Annie is Now a Friend

One consequence of hanging out at Firestorm Social Island was I met people. Spending all my time on Whimsy building or scripting isn't a great way to make social connections, but the Firestorm islands turned out to be a great for that. I now have new friends as well as other old-timers like myself, and we gather weekly for dances--how fortuitous in this day of social distancing!

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Adventures in Mesh Bodies, Part IX: Conclusion

I Wonder if Ashenford Knows What Happens to Avatars When They Reach VERY High Atltitudes

I won't say I'm completely comfortable with my Maitreya Lara mesh body, but I can say I have more or less figured things out.

I've gone through all of my outfits and fixed the broken shoes and made Bakes on Mesh versions of most of them. With BOM I can wear legacy outfits and use the olive-toned skin I've preferred since 2006. I look just the same, with a few exceptions. On the positive side, my joints are less misshappen, my hands and feet look much better, I have nice nails, and my hands move with Bento. Finally, rings move with my fingers! The hands and feet are a big deal.

On the negative side, the neck junction between the Lara body and my system body presents a few problems. I've not yet managed to get a match between the tones, but that's my laziness. It can be done; I've just not figured it out. On a more serious note, the 0 setting for the neck won't stay put. Every once in a while there's a gap between the two. Resetting to 0 fixes the problem, but it eventually reappears. I plan to ask the Lara help group about that.

The last problem is the nipples. When I'm using BOM, the three-dimensional shape of the nipples show on every outfit. There's a fix for that, but I'm still struggling. The one time I was able to hide the outline of my nipples there was some kind of texture glitch on my breasts. Unacceptable.

Just yesterday I found out from my friend Ashenford that there's another problem. It seems mesh heads don't function quite right at high altitudes. We went to 4000 meters and he showed me slight tremors in his lips and eyes, like incipient early-onset avatar Parkinson Syndrome. He has read up on the issue, which seems to have to do with rendering computations and too few decimal points. Apparently prims don't always line up correctly at high, either. I've built extensively at 4000 meters with no problem, so I can live with that. The tremors? Maybe not so much.

So anyway, I'm pulling the plug on this series about my adventures and misadventures with Lara. Lara has become, if not a trusted friend, at least a friendly acquaintance with a few unfortunate characteristics. At least she doesn't drink too much or invite her deadbeat drummer boyfriend over.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Long Distance View of Whimsy Kaboom and the Volcano Pele

Another dramatic view. This one shows the western half of Whimsy, with Whimsy Kaboom Beyond.

Click the image for a larger view.

Inside the Volcano Pele, Whimsy

Here's a view from inside the Volcano Pele. We like dramatic vistas at Whimsy, and this one certainly qualifies!

Monday, March 23, 2020

View from Whimsy Kaboom

I love this view. I often stand on the sea decks on Whimsy Kaboom and face east. I watch the whales cavorting in the bay and listen to the sounds. Peaceful. 

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Party at Ravensbrook Castle

In this time of social isolation, it's nice to be with people, even if in a virtual way.

I was invited to a very nice party at Ravensbrook Castle. We danced and laughed and danced some more. I knew most of the folks there, and got to know them better.

The DJs were Koviachi Banoo and, making his debut, Ashenford. The host, and the creator of this film, is Uncle Hamdi.

Thanks for a great time!

Accidental Camming Fly-By

Second Life is a neverending surpirse. You never know what you'll come across.

Here, I was out exploring what seemed to be a public area. Suddenly, my camera was here.

I've not idea why the owner of this house had three identical bondage photos on the wall. I don't want to know. I only hope the blonde woman was a willing subject.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

St. Patrick's Day 2020

In this time of social distancing, Second Life is wonder for socializing. Here I am closing down an Irish bar after hours of dancing and listening to music and chatting. Everyone but me and the prim bartender had sense enough to go home.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Castration Anxiety

Men shudder when seeing this outfit even on a sales sign!

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Adventures in Mesh Heads, Part VIII: Fixing the BOM Fingernail and Toenail Issue

This Image is From Virtual Bloke's Blogpost Get Baked. It Shows the Nail Problem and the Cure Beautifully.
Bloke Went to a Lot of Trouble to Make This, and I Admire Him For it. I Hope Me Won't Mind My Use of it.

Click HERE to Read Get Baked

I remarked earlier about the visibility of the system finger and toe nails when using Bakes on Mesh with the Lara body. The system nails are mostly covered by Lara's mesh nails, but show around the edges, making the hands and feet unsightly.

I was talking with a helper at Firestorm Social about this and he gave me a link to this helpful post from the Virtual Bloke blog:

I was happy to see a discussion of the BOM nail issue, and happier yet when Bloke pointed out an inexpensive--$50 L--system glove that fixes the problem:

There's also a sock for toenails:

The sock and glove are white and you'll need to tint them to match your skin. They work perfectly.

To tint, go to Appearance and select Edit and then Outfit. Find the glove or sock in the menu that pops up and click the wrench icon. Click Color and, if you know the color of your skin, enter the vectors in either the RGB or HSU squares.

If you don't know the numbers (I didn't), you can click around the colored square until you get a match.

I saved a picture of my nude system body to my hard drive, loaded it into the free graphics program GIMP, and used the eyedropper tool to get the needed numbers.

My finger and toe nails are now flawless in BOM.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Adventures in Mesh Heads, Part VII: Residual Problems

This Isn't the Greatest Second Life Photo Ever Taken, But My Readers Will Clearly See the Bulge in My Clothing. This Happens Only When I'm Using Bakes on Mesh with the Lara Body.

I was hoping my friend Elysienne would figure out the Lara mesh body before I did so I wouldn't have to go to the trouble of figuring it out myself. We bought our bodies on almost the same day. But darn it, I'm home all day and have more time to piddle about in Second Life, and so Elys has been no help at all.

Kind person that I am, I'm IMing her regularly, generally while she's away, and telling her what I've learned. Meanwhile, she's errr, head and shoulders ahead of me when it comes to mesh heads. Darn it!

I seem to have things mostly figured out with Lara, but I do have two residual problems.

First, I can't manage to match the skin on the Lara body with my system skin.

On the Laura HUD here's a common sense-looking skin color grid that allows changes of  Hue, Saturation, and Luminance, but for someone familiar with pretty much the same grid in the Edit menu, moving the pointers doesn't make the changes one would expect. I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong.

The second problem has to do with nipples. I just noticed it. When wearing clothed baked on mesh, the part of my outfit that covers the nipples shapes itself over the nipples. The nipples don't stick through the clothing, which happens sometimes with mesh; they just make the clothing bulge as it conforms to the shape of the nipples. Now that I've noticed, they're embarrassingly obvious.

I've had no luck with either problem on my own, so I'll reach out for help on one of the Maitreya groups.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Adventures in Mesh Bodies, Part VI: Shoe Rehab

With the BOM mystery solved, I've been busy working through all my old outfits. Every single one has broken shoes, thanks to the Linden's errr, derendering of Invisiprims. I fix the shoes, make sure I'm wearing my Mystitool and Mystitool Implant, change accessories and hair (if I feel like it), and, if the outfit moves me, I make a Bakes on Mesh version for my Lara body.

Fixing the old shoes involves finding or making an alpha that covers just the part of the foot that needs to be hidden. Too little, and flesh pokes through your shoes here and there. Too much, and parts of your foot are invisible, making holes in your avatar.

You can make alphas, but it's hit and miss to get them just right, and it can get expensive at $10L per upload. In the past you could go to the beta grid and upload for free until you got things right, but according to someone I just spoke to, nowadays that requires some sort of special dispensation from the Lindens.

I've been running into the miss part of hit and miss in my attempts to make alphas--in other words, I can't quite nail them-- but I've been able to rehab about three-quarters of my large collection of vintage shoes by in some cases using alphas that came with other shoes and in other cases the free alphas distributed by Imnotgoing Sideways. By trying different alphas, I've been able to make most of my Imelda Marcos-sized shoe inventory workable again.

You can pick up Imnotgoing Sideways' alphas at this SLURL:

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Seeing Double

The most amusing default avatar--to me, at least, is the 70s dude. He comes complete with a mini boom box and the most 70sish shirt and hairdo imaginable.

When you're in an area with a large influx of new residents, 70s dude is fairly common. Inevitably, you'll see two or three together, like this. It's just funny. Admit it.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Adventures in Mesh Bodies, Part V: Initial Success with Bakes on Mesh

My First BOM Outfit. Wearing Aoharu BT's Cablesknit Dress with System Layers Showing. Success!

Through trial and error, I've finally grown comfortable with making outfits with the Lara mesh body. I'm using the included Save Stick, which sets the HUD properly for each outfit, preventing parts of my body being invisible when it should be showing, and vice-versa. Even the foot position is being maintained when I re-wear the outfit.

I finally worked my way through all my mesh clothing, winding up with perhaps thirty-five outfits, of which probably twenty-five are ready for prime time. In a few I stick through in places or show my nipples, requiring me to add a bra, resulting in too many straps showing--but basically, making outfits should be all good from here on out.

Having made all the outfits possible without going on a shopping spree, I found and purchased a skin for Lara. It applied easily. I chose a shade as close as possible to the system skin of my head, but couldn't quite figure out how to work the color selector. Xubi said she will help me this weekend. She knows, she said, an app that will tell me the exact color of my skin, which will help me make an exact match.

I'm not yet competent with adding clothing to the three layers (tattoo, underwear, clothing), but have managed to do so successfully a couple of times. I have more fooling around to do with that.

But success!!! at more or less figuring out BOM!

Night before last, I bought a dress from Coeur de Couture that included both mesh and system components. I was just unable to get the system layers to show. Finally, I sent a notecard to ZiLight, the creator, and she was kind enough to refer me to a YouTube video on Lara 5.0. The narrator had a heavy accent and an astonishingly wide butt and talked somewhat about her poosy, but did an earnest if confusing walk-through of Lara 5.0. Along the way I realized I needed to remove the Lara full-body alpha in order to use Bakes on Mesh.

Here's the URL:

I tried it with a vintage Cableknit dress from Aoharu BT. The system layers (pants, jacket, shirt, ) immediately appeared--and so, it would seem, did my system skin. I've always like that skin, and was happy to see it again.

Note the White Areas Around My Nails. WTF? IDK.

I couldn't get my Lara shoes to work properly, but the dress called for my vintage Maitreya dune boots, which attached perfectly after I hid my Lara feet. My hands look a little hinky, with a white area around my nails, but hopefully I'll figure that out.

I still have a lot to learn about this mesh body, but I was say I've graduated from Notive, Grade Zero to Amateur.


Friday, February 28, 2020

Adventures in Mesh Bodies, Part IV: Lara, meet Cheyenne. Chey, Lara.

Here I am Wearing Lara 5.0 and a Beautiful Mesh Outfit by SF. It's Called Josephine, in Bronzed
Here the Lara 5.0 HUD Shows. Note the Alpha Areas. Lara is Invisible There So I Don't Poke Through the Dress
Here's What the Outfit Looks Like When Alpha Isn't Set. Not Pretty!

This is What Happens When my Animation Overrider Changes My Stand. I Stick Out Again

And so I took the plunge and bought Maitreya's Lara 4.1. I had no idea Lara 5.0 would soon be released and would undo every one of the outfits I was about to make, so I went to work.

My Body Parts Poke Through my Clothing

It was slow going. My shape is fairly muscular and pokes out of mesh clothing in odd places. I used the large size (and XL on the rare occasions when on was available), and I STILL poked through my couture, even after I compromised my dignity by dialing down my breast size and muscles.

I discovered the Lara HUD gave me considerable latitude in making the offending parts of my body invisible. When my arms showed through the sleeves of garments, I set them to alpha. Ditto other body parts, depending upon the outfit--upper legs, lower legs, pelvis, chest, breasts, back, nipples, areolae.... Eventually all visible boo-boos would be taken care of.

There were more problems, however. Whenever my AO shifted my position, entirely new parts of my body would protrude and have to be zapped. And sometimes, even when I had done all I couild do with Alpha, my legs would poke out of my dresses and skirts when I moved, sticking through the virtual cloth. I worked hard to control that, but aside from carefully testing all my stand and sit poses and replacing them with mesh-friendly ones, I had no idea how to control the problem. I still don't.

Perhaps if I were compliant and meekly wore the Maitreya shape, all would be good upon the land, but fuck that. I have no intention of being one more skinny-legged Second Life woman. I LIKE my shape and I have already compromised it enough.

HUD Problems

When I finished my first outfit, I was confronted with another problem. How could I preserve the HUD settings? As things stood, the next time I wore the outfit I would have to spend 15 minutes setting the alpha to ensure my body parts stayed inside my clothing.

I resolved this by putting a copy of the Lara 4.1 body, the hands and feet, and the HUD in the folder of the folders of the clothing I wore. Soon I had twenty outfits, twenty copies of Lara, twenty copies of her hands and feet, and twenty HUDS. Problem solved--for about a week.

Then I discovered there was a script that, when put inside a prim, would remember the Lara HUD settings and transmit them. I deleted the twenty outfits and began to make them again.

Then Lara 5.0 was released. Apparently it had been long awaited, but it broke all the outfits I had created. Happily, though, the hands and feet were now integrated and I no longer had to worry about accidentally detaching them.

Thanking my lucky stars that 5.0 came when it did, I deleted my mesh outfits once again and started to build them again.

This time I think it will work.Things aren't 100%, though. I haven't solved the problem of protruding legs whenever I change my stance, and sometimes my foot shape isn't imported correctly from the save stick. But more or less, things seem to be working.

I'm keeping copies of the save stick that came with Lara 5.0 in a folder of their own. When I make an outfit I create a new save stick with the name of that outfit. It's a bit of a pain, as the save stick cannot be renamed without dragging it onto the ground, but it seems to work. I am now able to preserve the HUD settings without having dozens of copies of the body and HUD. When and if a new version of Lara is released, my outfits SHOULD be preserved. I hope so.

Next: In Search of a Skin for Lara

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Adventures in Mesh Bodies, Part III: Don't Let This Happen to You!

I've come to realize that no matter how carefully you dress your mesh body, you sometimes arrive before your outfit. Often it's laid out horizontally behind you, which you could easily see if Truth Hair had normal floors and not, for some unknown reason, flat black ones.

So yeah, even when I zoom in it's difficult to see. You'll just have to trust me that her outfit is hanging in space behind her.

Part of this poor woman's body has been alphaed so it doesn't poke through her outfit, but clearly her  chest hasn't. I can't speak for you, but I certainly don't want my breasts arriving before the sweater that should be covering them.

So yeah, maybe this mesh body business is not all it's supposed to be. 

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Adventures in Mesh Bodies, Part II: ADD, Don't Wear, Dammit!

Chey Once Again Manages to Detach Her Mesh Body

Okay, so call me a big dummy.

(GREEK CHORUS: "You big dummy!")

Back in the day, Avatar bodies had only a limited number of attachment points, and only one object could be attached to each. And so, we Second Life citizens would just click WEAR when we were dressing ourselves.

Now, of course, there are far more attachment points, and each can handle multiple attachments. If you have something attached to a point and attach something else using WEAR, the first object gets knocked off. If, however, you choose ADD, you can pile on the objects. And so, it's usually better to ADD than to WEAR, which, it occurs to me, is a statement few outside Second Life would even begin to understand.

When I first put on my Lara mesh body and began to make outfits, I would forget and hit WEAR. The results would be the disappearance of a hand, or my feet, or my entire body. Happily, I was usually (but not always) out of the view of others.

The Lara 5.0 body was released a week or so after I bought V. 4.1. This decreased the rate of my involuntary amputations, as the hands and feet, which must be individually worn in 4.1, are incorporated into 5.0.

I'm getting better at ADDING rather than WEARING, but occasionally I'll try to remove a bracelet or a pair of shoes and accidentally select the Lara body and detach it. When that happens, it's always a dammit moment.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Adventures in Mesh Bodies: Part I

I'm not a luddite. Really, I'm not. I'm just dilatory.

Being mostly out of the world for the past few years made it easy for me to avoid the issue of mesh, and especially mesh bodies and heads. But I'm hanging out in Second Life more again, and it's getting just stupid to not look seriously at a mesh avatar.

My system avatar has been great for 13 years, but let's be honest, system avatars bend in strange places, and the hands and ears and especially the feet are a mess.

The original avatar bone system didn't have a sufficient number of attachment points, which limited avatar motion and attachments. Now, thanks to Project Bento, there are many more bones and joints. This allows, among other things, sophisticated hand motions, but requires rigged mesh hands. These hands (and feet) typically come with mesh bodies, but can be worn separately.

Mesh bodies overlay the system shape, with the system avatar rendered invisible with alpha mask. Prim attachments are still visible, but system the system avatar and clothing like blouses and skirts don't show. The illustration above shows system icons for underpants, pants, shirt, and jacket. There are also icons for hair, socks, shoes, and, I believe, undershirt. Even when worn, none of these are visible when the mesh body is worn. Prim attachments, however, do, so hooray, at least, for that! The Amazed outfit, by the way, was a freebie, one of the first, if not THE first, outfit I picked up when I first logged onto Second Life.

I might never have gone for a mesh body, but the Lindens' devaluation of invisiprims wrecked my extensive collection of prim and sculpted shoes. My feet show in unattractive ways through most of my outfits. Only the outfits with boots are spared. This is no way to live, and so, mesh body.

I asked friends for recommendations, and it seemed Maitereya's Lara was the most popular body. Maitreya is a brand with longevity and I always liked their products, so after checking out the Lara demo I took myself to Maitreya the other night and bought the mesh body for $2750 L.

Sunday, February 16, 2020


Wanted: Philip Rosedale

Have you seen this man? If so, please immediately notify the author of this blog.

Help stop Philip Rosedale before he starts ANOTHER virtual world.

The first world he created needs his support!

Saturday, February 15, 2020


Old-School Sylfie's Shoes with Invisiprims. These Special Primitives Hid the Avatar Foot, Allowing Use of High Heels,  But Were Sometimes Not Entirely Invisible. 
They No Longer Work, and That Breaks Shoes That Use Them.

Sweetie: WTAF!?

Me: Nice use of the interrobang, there.

Sweetie: It is my favorite punctuation mark.

 Me: Mysterious and unusual, just like you.

Sweetie: (Blushes attractively)

Me: So, what does WTAF mean?

Sweetie: What. The. Actual. Fuck.

Me: To what or whom are you referring?

Sweetie: My shoes! They're broken!

Me: (Nods.) Yeah. All the old school shoes are broken.

Sweetie: WHAT???

Me: (Aside to readers: Sweetie hasn't been in world for a while now. She doesn't realize how much things have changed). Wow! Don't get to see the triple question mark much these days. Nice one!

Sweetie: You're telling me all my shoes are broken?

Me: Yeah. Except for the boots. Some of your boots should still work.

Sweetie: All my Sylfie's shoes?

Me: (Nods) Broken.

Sweetie: All two hundred pair?

Me: (Nods) Broken.

Sweetie: All my Maitreya shoes?

Me: (Nods) Broken.

Sweetie: This is unacceptable. Who's responsible?

Me: The Lindens. They broke them.

Sweetie: Broke them? But why?

Me: It had something to do with the rendering pipeline. I'm not sure just what a rendering pipeline is, so please don't push me on this.

Sweetie: I have Philip's private number. You can bet he's going to hear from me.

Me: Sweetie, Philip Rosedale has been gone from Second Life and Linden Lab for a long time now. Someone else is in charge now.

Sweetie: Who?

Me: Ebbe Altberg.

Sweetie: That's an avatar name. An avatar is in charge of the corporation now? About time!

Me: No, hon, that's his real name.

Sweetie: But what about Philip? Did he go off to create a better virtual world of something?

Me: As a matter of fact...

Sweetie: What's it called?

Me: High Fidelity. It's supposed to be a next generation virtual world.

Sweetie: Let's go there. Now. Maybe the shoes will work.

Me: (Shaking head). Sorry, we can't. Philip is taking High Fidelity corporate.

Sweetie: That makes no sense. Isn't it already a corporation?

Me: Yes, of course. What I mean is he's marketing High Fidelity only to corporate users.

Sweetie: Unbelievable. He sold us out!

Me: He says that's the way for virtual reality to move forward, but basically, yes. He sold us out.

Sweetie: How about good old Ebbe? He won't sell us out, will he?

Me: I'm afraid Linden Lab has developed an entirely new virtual world.

Sweetie: The bastard! What's it called?

Me: I keep forgetting. Thinking... thinking... It's such a forgettable name... Sansar!

Sweetie: Will my shoes work there?

Me: I doubt it. I think it's primarily a platform to manipulate you into you into buying new shoes.

Sweetie: Not happening. How about Open Sim worlds?

Me: It might come to that--but our shoes wouldn't go with us.

Sweetie: Wah! So what are we to do?

Me: (Cues ominous music) There's only one other option.

Sweetie: Stay in world?

Me: Yes. Stay in world.

Sweetie: But that will mean... that will mean...

Me: Yes. Mesh.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Goats and Stuff at Firestorm Island

When the Lindens decided newbie me was sufficiently trained to walk, they sent me to the mainland. I arrived in the midst of blooming, buzzing confusion of Ahern, one of the old-school Second-Life welcome areas. It could just have easily been Hanja, Violet, Waterhead, Plum, Nova Albion, Moose Beach, or one of the many others, but it was Ahern, and my home was set there.

Ahern abutted three other regions, and the welcome pavilions were on the sims corners, so it could be a crowded place--and it was chaotic beyond belief. New chums were constantly rezzing, looking bewildered, and disappearing, some, and probably most, never to return. People who had been around for a while would hand out and torment the new and vulnerable. There was no end of rude gestures, verbal abuse, bizarre avatars, spur-of-the-moment friendship requests, and nudity. It was polyglot bedlam, no place to get dumped on your very first day in world.

I thought then and I think now the Lindens were shooting themselves in the foot, for who knows how many tens or hundreds of thousands of avatars were scared away by the very places that had been designed to nurture them.

"I tried Second Life today." 
"How did you like it?" 
"I didn't. It was loud and chaotic and crowded and ugly. I got called all sorts of names and all I was doing was standing there." 
I came into world in 2006, when Second Life was being heralded in the press as the future of everything. I'm sure the Welcome Areas played a prime role in putting an end to that speculation. So, too, did Second Life, itself, or at least the mainland, with its profusion of full-bright, badly textured objects, cows and cars floating upside-down in the air, and general emptiness.

My second life truly began when I weaned myself from Ahern, but I confess a strange fondness for the place, bizarre as it was. I confess to making the rounds every few years to Ahern and the other welcome areas, just to see if they're still there and to help new and confused residents. The welcome area all seem to still be here with the same prims and the same spaces. They're mostly empty, but people still hang out in them still in small numbers.

For some years now most new residents find themselves in monitored, privately-owned welcome area like New London or Caledon or New Citizens--which is a good thing. There seem to be a lot fewer new folks these days, and it's good to know there's less of a chance they'll be scared off by batshit crazy vampires and domestic drama and giant penis bikes. Monitors do a good job of keeping things under control, and new people are far more likely to get assistance.

Today I took myself to Firestorm Social Island, a nice place.

There were a dozen or so people present, mostly new folks. The monitor (who I won't mention by name because I didn't ask his permission) greeted those arriving and offered suggestions to several avatars asking for help. After a while he rezzed a prim and stretched it out and sat on it. There being room, I sat on it, too.

There wasn't a lot of conversation. Two avatars were talking in French about Second Life being a place with a lot of bodily males controlling female avatars. It seemed to bother them, which I suspect amused the monitor, whose profile identified him as gender fluid. The rest of the conversations consisted of "I'm confused!" and me getting hit on by an avatar called Yogi, who insisted via semi-literate IM that I teleport to him.

"You'll like it," he said repeatedly. 
"Men have entirely too high an opinion of themselves," I replied, feeling entirely for a moment like Laura Wilder in one of the Little House books.

I had been been working for several days on an exasperating scripting problem and was in need of interacting with others. And not Yogi.

Then the monitor, who had refashioned the beam on which we were sitting into a pair of couches, rezzed a goat.

Just what I needed! A prop!

I started making comments about the goat. "Make the goat stop eating my hair!" Then I noticed there was a bottle of Guinness near the goat and accused Lester of being drunk. Yes, I named the goat Lester.

Cheyenne Palisades: Drunken goats can be a menace.
Cheyenne Palisades: Give me a prop and I'll run with it
IM Yogi: you like dance and more fun
IM Yogi: cute
The Monitor: This makes sense right?
Cheyenne Palisades: Very little makes sense. Once you understand that, you're all good. :)
Cheyenne Palisades: "I was just in Second Life." "What did you see there." "A drunken goat." "Oh."
IM Cheyenne Palisades: Thanks, Yogi, but people usually offer friendship only after they get to know someone.
IM Yogi: im tp you
IM Cheyenne Palisades: Thanks, but I'm happy right here making fun of the goat.
IM Yogi: come na
IM Yogi): you enjoy

It wasn't much, but it brightened my day--and, I hope, the monitor's.