It’s been a long, hard winter, but it’s giving way to spring! (Pay no attention to the winter storm behind the curtain.)
The next round of The Arcade in Second Life is coming, and I’m going to be in it again, with a set I’m calling “Warm Home.” Because even though spring is coming, where I live, in Michigan, the next few weeks are going to be wet and windy. It’s the kind of weather that chills you to the bone, and makes a Warm Home a haven.
If you’d like to see, I have sneak peeks up on Flickr. The potholders that are the Featured Image for this post are also from the set.
Making the 11 objects for this round, most of which are interactive in some way, pretty much sucked up every minute of my time for the last six weeks or so.
But now that it’s over, I’m looking ahead to other things I would like to do.
To begin with, I’m going to get some more things up over on my store at Zazzle. Today, I put Cat Dancing there!
I’m thinking of changing my career, here in my sixty-second year of life, and becoming a writer.
I’ve written for many years. I have a couple of non-fiction books in print, and I’ve worked as an editor and tech-editor on several software books. I’ve even written for a software manual! Not to mention a bunch of articles in gaming magazines, decades ago.
But I’m talking now about writing fiction. I started late last week, and I’ve already gotten a 2500 word short story done, and I’m writing one 300 word exercise piece a day. The thing is, I’m not sure how to get them out there.
Would you like me to post them here, on my blog?
Let me know in the comments. (If I don’t hear from anyone except spammers, I’ll assume no one actually reads this blog, and I won’t bother. So if you are reading this, and you want to see more, please do comment!)
The Tannenbaum Holiday Market Event is a really remarkable shopping and gacha event for SL residents. It’s being hosted by some of the same people who do The Arcade, and has a lot of the same vendors; more than 100 creators, all told.
There’s a gacha full of machines that are selling ornaments for your Holiday tree at L$25 a pull. Botanical has a really amazing Christmas Tree there; the best I’ve ever seen in SL.
I have things there too, of course, or I wouldn’t have been working to get ready for it! Two new releases, and lots of older ones!
The first new one is a box of ornaments.
Really, it’s all about the box. Marianne McCann wanted it. But when I was working on it, I decided it would be a bit disappointing to have the box, but not be able to hang any of the ornaments.
So I went ahead and put the same ornaments, but with hooks for hanging, inside the box.
You might recognize the ornament that’s not in the box as the one I made for the Texture Tutorials. It is, indeed. That’s what made Mari say she really needed to have them, in a box. 😀
The second thing I made just for this is a row of Christmas Cards, all ready to display.
It’s really a very simple piece; just seven Christmas cards, with vintage designs. Except the Chickadee on the end, which I made. I didn’t make all of them, because I didn’t want them to look like they were all made by the same person.
There are only 11 this round, because I’m putting a gift in the Season of Giving, too, and needed to make 2 new things for The Tannenbaum Market. (More about both of those later. This post got too long.)
But nearly all of them do something, or at least are set up to be easily customizable.
The biggest piece is the Music Box. It’s pretty much a reconstruction of a Capital Cuff Music Box, Style A, made by F.G. Otto & Sons in Jersey City, NJ in the 1890s. I changed a few things, like the design on the cuff, and simplified it here and there. And I added a design on the top, which the original was lacking.
I’d actually done the design before I found the music box, and was so taken with it that I just had to recreate it. But I didn’t want to pass up this design, which took hours and hours to make. (I did it in Adobe Illustrator. Those are all vectors!) So I decided to combine them!
The music box lid opens, of course, and the crank turns and makes a cranking noise. When you touch the base, the box plays one of the tunes from a real one, which the people at The Regina Music Box Center kindly gave me permission to include. (You can hear the tune at that page, too.) If you happen to know the name of the tune, please tell me in the comments!
As it plays, cuff rotates, animated textures make the gears inside appear to turn, and the fan fly spins so fast it disappears. Well, it does in the real one. In this one, it just disappears.
Finally, there’s a picture inside the lid. It’s one of the original lithographs that came with the box, but you can put any picture you like there, to make it truly yours. Since people might be leery of changing something about a Rare item, the owner of the box can get the original picture back at any time, by just touching it. (All the rest is set so anyone in the group the music box is set to can work it.)
So, that’s one of the two Rares in this set, and took more time to make than any of the rest, as you can probably guess. It clocks in at 3 LI, but you can reduce that if you want by removing the crank.
The other rare is the trunk. Once again, it opens, and creaks a bit when it does, but it doesn’t do anything else, really. There’s a lot of texture work in it, though!
The inside is lined in Newspaper, because that’s the way the trunk in my RL Granny’s attic was.
Between them on the key is the Owl Cookie Jar. When you touch it, it gives you a choice of cookies. Pick one, give permission to attach, and it flies into your hand. You eat it for a bit, and then it vanishes. Because, you know, can’t keep your cookie and eat it too!
Granny also had a simple brass candlestick in her attic, so that’s here, as well. It’s a working candle, of course, with a shadow that moves and a flame that flickers when it’s lit. There’s a script to tint the candle and the bobache (that glass ring around the base) but since it’s mod, you can also tint it any color you can imagine. The candle itself is a dripless hexagonal candle. You can set it to act as a Local Light or not, and to light automatically, or not.
The Fairy Door doesn’t do much except look really cute. But it’s in two pieces so you can adjust the light leak so it works properly wherever you put it.
The Propeller Beanie has a prop that spins in the SL Wind. (Marianne McCann is the person who wrote that very clever script.) If you don’t want it spinning, touch the middle of the propeller to stop it. You can also tint the prop whatever color you want!
The Retro Rocket is a picture frame, that’ll hold 3 pictures of your friends and family, taking a trip into Space!
The Vintage Coffee Cups let you choose the kind of coffee you want to display, or you can empty them, if you prefer. They’ll steam when they’re full, but not when they’re empty. You get two separate cups, so you can use ’em together or apart.
The Coffee Pot comes with the tray, but once again, it’s really two separate pieces. When you (or anyone else) touch the pot, you can get a cup of coffee to drink. Touch your cup to get the same coffee choices as the display cups. You can also have a separate saucer to hold in your left hand, if you want. These are temp attach pieces, which never go into your inventory at all. You’ll hold them for a while, slowly sipping your coffee, and then they’ll vanish.
The final pieces of the set are the Sugar and Creamer. You can empty the Creamer, or fill it, with a touch. All of it is set up to fit nicely on the tray, if you want to serve coffee to your guests!
Finally, for some reason, Granny had a corn dolly! She doesn’t really do anything but stand there and look cheerful; but you can tint her skin, hair, dress, kerchief and apron all separately, so you can really personalize her!
The Arcade opens at midnight on November 30, and runs until midnight December 31. If you’re a resident of SL, and you decide to go play the machines, have fun, and good luck!
Its Monday. The day I spend “blind for tax purposes”. I’m extremely myopic, and have worn contact lenses for more than 40 years. I’d like to wear them for the rest of my life, so one day a week I let my eyes rest, and go without them.
My glasses are heavy and uncomfortable, and don’t come anywhere near correcting my vision, so mostly I just walk around my house with my eyeballs all nekkid. Which means anything I can’t do on my phone, (which I can hold the necessary two inches from my eyes,) I simply can’t do.
So I take the day off.
Which is the only thing that keeps me from working seven days a week, since I’m self employed.
Next week, I start to work intensively on the things I’m making for the Arcade, which will open December first.
But today is the day between, when I rest, and read, and study, and do a lot of thinking.
Mostly, I’ve been thinking about how to become … I’m not sure what to call it. Someone filled with kindness, compassion, joy, passion, curiosity, humor, common sense, intelligence, wisdom, perspective, and patience, all laced through with love and honesty.
I’ve been working at this for most of my life, really. I think a lot of us have, but that might be “the usual error.” (The one where you think other people are more like you than they really are.
Right now, I’m doing a lot of thinking and reading about body acceptance, and about bias in general. About how people treat other people, and about intersectionality. (More than one thing that causes people to be marginalized in this society. Like being both black and trans, or being both poor and gay, or being three or four or even more things all at once, like a fat lesbian trans-woman of color, and how they all add up to make life more and more difficult, even when none of them are anything anyone has any control over.)
When I’ve thought about it enough, I’ll probably write something here about it.
Anyway, that’s the kind of thing I’m doing on this gorgeous October day. What are you doing?
As you may know, my friend Vince Frost, known in Second Life® as Lumiere Noire, died last month. As a way to deal with my grief, and a memorial to Lumi, I’ve been working to update the Texture Tutorial.
The Texture Tutorial is a build on my sim, Livingtree, in Second Life. I first built it back in the early days, when textures were far less complex than they are now, to help people who were coming from other places and platforms and starting to build in SL™.
SL has always had its own idiosyncratic way of doing everything; so it was necessary even for people who were familiar with 3D texturing to find out how the platform handled it. It was even more necessary for people who had no background in 3D texturing at all.
I’ve updated it once before, and kind of updated it again a few times (mostly by mentioning on the Notecards it gave out that this or that had been changed, and the notecard was out-of-date.) But now I’m starting all over again, and rewriting everything. When it’s done, people will be able to visit and find out how to optimize images for SL, what all the fields and things on the Texture Tab are for, what you need to know about normal maps, specular maps, and UV maps in general, animating textures for SL and putting textures on the SL avatar.
The last two haven’t changed much. But the rest has changed a lot. When I first did the Texture Tutorial, we had no normal or specular maps at all. SL still has its very own way of doing things, too, which need to be explained. For instance, who would think to look for the specular value map in the alpha channel of the normal map? That’s… yeah…
Meantime, while I’m working on that, a lot of things have been happening in First Life as well. Mostly things about the health of my extended family.
My niece has been going through a really rough spot, health wise. She’s only 26, but she started in June by passing kidney stones, went into a series of illnesses, and wound up unable to sit or stand without feeling faint, and going into tachycardia. Even when lying perfectly still, her heart was going more than 140 beats a minute. Eventually, she spent a couple of weeks in the hospital, being given every test known to medicine, before they diagnosed her with POTS (Postural Tachycardia Syndrome).
Besides being really worrying, this has caused a huge financial burden for her and her husband. We have helped as much as we can, but at the moment that’s not much (reasons below.) She has set up a GoFundMe page, and if anyone reading this could help, it would be hugely appreciated.
The reason we can’t help much is that my husband Michael and I have spent most of the last month having medical tests of our own.
I’ve been struggling for a while, and finally gave up, and told the doctor. He sent me to a Sleep Specialist, and I’ve now been diagnosed with mild to moderate sleep apnea. With any luck, we’ll be able to treat it soon.
Michael went with me, for his own test, at the same time. The sleep doctor took one look at him, and begged him to go to a cardiologist. So, after a whole battery of tests, from a Haltor monitor, through stress tests, EKG, echo-cardiogram, and finally a left heart catheterization, he has been diagnosed with mild heart disease, and some restriction in the arteries. He’s on a couple of drugs, and a change in diet (less fat and salt) and his heartbeat is now perfectly regular. The doctors say he’s good for another 20 years, at least.
We are in our sixties. I guess we shouldn’t be so surprised. But we didn’t expect all the medical stuff.
So, that’s why I’ve been neglecting this blog. At the moment, I also have an infection, and have been running a fever around 100° F for the last few weeks. But I’m getting the upper hand (I think) and should be back to normal soon.
As promised, here’s the image with all the things I have in the Arcade this round!
I did all the mesh for these, and about half the textures. Marianne McCann did the other half, as well as the scripting and animation in the Pinwheels.
The pinwheel animation lets you hold them, and wave them back and forth. They also spin or stop spinning when you touch them. So you can stick them in the ground, or anywhere else you like, and have them spin as well.
There are three different puzzles, with photographs by Mari on them. The box is a separate object, and the top slides open and closed with a touch. So you can close it and put it on a shelf if you like, or you can slide the lid forward so you can see it better while assembling the puzzle.
There’s also an empty white puzzle texture, full perm, so if you have extra puzzles and you want to modify one, you can put your own image on the puzzle. (There’s a top without a title, too, so you can put it there as well.) Instructions for all that are included, if you need them.
Mari did the covers for one pile of comics, and I did the other. Once again, if you have extra piles, you can replace the cover on the top with the cover of your favorite comic book or magazine.
The clay is really based on white, so you can tint it any color you like.
If you want a white kitty, or a purple and pink snake, or anything else at all, you can have it!
The top of the jar of clay is tintable too, so you can have piles of them, and pretend that you have all the colors of the rainbow!
The jacks are tintable too, because I always liked the colored jacks, when I was a kid.
In fact, the only prize in the machine you can’t do anything with is the bag of dice; but those are so much fun, I don’t think that’ll be a problem. 😀
Today’s Sneak Peek from The Arcade in Second Life® – A jigsaw puzzle, with a photograph of Archie by Marianne McCann.
There’s more to this one than you can see here, but you’ll have to wait until the image with the entire contents of the of the gacha machine is released to see the box with a cover that can open and close.. I mean, the rest of it! Yeah!
There are materials in this one, too. It has both Shine and Normals, so it looks very realistic, just like a puzzle in First Life!
In Second Life® we have a thing called gacha machines. You might be familiar with them in First Life (or Real Life, if you prefer.) Like the real ones, you put money into the virtual machines in SL™ and get a random prize. Like the real ones, some of the prizes are common, and some are rare. Like the real ones, for many the goal is to complete a set, so there’s a fair amount of trading your duplicate prizes for ones you need.
Second Life® is a virtual reality platform. I logged in there for the first time on September 16, 2004. At the time, it was a far cry from what it is now. Everything “in world” (as we say) was built using basic building blocks called primitives.