General blog/RSS update

Oooookay. I managed to finish all of this earlier than expected, due to certain circumstances not happening, and thus leaving me some time to get rid of the “chore”. Which actually allowed me to learn a lot in very little time about the whole WordPress interface, where to edit what, and various other nifty little things. If I die tonight, at least it’ll be a little less dumb than I was yesterday morning.

Things to know about this “new” blog:

  • The RSS feed to this blog has, evidently, changed. If still interested to add it to your favorite aggregator, please get rid of the atom.xml one, and update it to http://tanaquil.paradygma.com/wp-rss2.php. I’ve emailed the LiveJournal staff to update the tanaquil_sl syndicated account with the new RSS data, so this should be done very soon. Also, there’s a feed available for comments, too; it can be found here.
  • I have the possibility of allowing users to register to it. I haven’t activated it for the moment, but if I’m asked to (because someone likes to “have an account”, etc): yes, it can be done, and you’ll have your very own account at “my” blog.
  • When posting a comment, you’ll need to enter a name and an e-mail address. This is part of the basic anti-spam screening package, but let’s remain positive: these addresses can be anything, not necessarily your real address. There’s no mandatory checking of each address. As said, this is just for spam-busting purposes. The website URL, on the other hand, is totally optional.
  • Still in the spam list, be aware that if you enter 2 or more links in a comment, said comment won’t appear until I screen it. This is, once again, to avoid comments left by crappy spam-bots or ill-intentioned people. Anyway, I’ve never seen anyone post links in their comments on my blog, so probably it won’t annoy many of you.

I think this will be all for the moment. For those updating the feed, though, apologies in advance if it sends you the whole lot of “new” entries. It’ll only be a one-time bother, really.

Temporary mess…

To my readers, who by now are probably wondering why this place looks so, uhm, empty:

I’ve grown a tad bit tired of Blogger, so I’m turning this blog into a WordPress-type one in what you can call “the very near future” (read: this week-end). As I want to keep this URL though, for evident reasons of easiness, I had to “delete” the current blog in order to install the new one, as it relies on a database. I’ll thus be re-adding posts as well as comments, with the right timestamps, over the next two days, perhaps even less than that depending on the time I have. I’ve also kept a copy of the former entries, in case I botch a blog-editing roll along the way 😉

Sorry for the inconvenience. This blog will be fully back soon, even though you can expect much template-tweaking as well once this is done!

Icey dreams

What kind of idea had crossed my mind, when I signed up for entering the “Ice & Snow Sculptures” category of the Winter Expo! Once the first wave of “Yayh! Now I’m gonna build!” passed, I found myself there in Zermatt, looking at the little parcel I had just grabbed… and then arose the blank page anxiety syndrom: what the hell was I going to build there?!

Sure, I first placed the limits of my plot (as it’s under the ice, it was the best way for me to know where it was and not build on the neighbors’ land), however my problem wasn’t solved after that. Signing in for a plot was all nice and well, but if it wasn’t to build anything on it, then there was no point. Worst thing being that I actually wanted to build… I was just lacking the ideas.

Thus, I did what I tend to do when faced with said blank page – I switched to automated mode, and started to drop plywood prims on the ice, in order to toy with them a bit. Don’t ask me what crossed my mind as I was doing so, though, because the current result somewhat puzzles me. Nevertheless, I’m quite content with how my little “scene” turned out… for the moment, at the least.

Will I end up tearing it down and building something new in place of this? I don’t know yet. Time will tell, I guess.

And the pictures are out!

Some time ago, Hiro had asked me if I’d accept to work on a series of pictures for his new vendor, featuring his weapons and my Japanese clothes (well, mainly the hakama, for yukata and kimono wouldn’t fit, and male outfits of course look bizarre on me!). Even though I’ve been pretty busy IRL recently, and not doing SL activities as much as I’d have wanted, I must say that this was really a good dose of fun! A bit of a headache to take the screenshots of avatars in action, however this in itself was fun as well, and allowed a lot of chatting on top of it.

I’m not going to post the whole series of pictures here. There are 16 of them after all, that’d be too much, and they belong to Hiro now. They can of course be seen on his new vendor, at his house in Varney (188,200)… and I’ll really encourage anyone to go check his weapons anyway, because they’re really well-made. With customizable colors. And of high quality. Did I say they were well-made, yes?

Historical clothing

During this past week, I’ve released my first set of male clothing in my little Japanese style. It is a quite simple one (black and white, with red sash and collar), however, from the echoes I got so far, it made its buyers happy, so this keeps my spirits high about what I do. Here’s a fact I must admit… I had much, much fun in designing it, because it made me look up for some bit of information first, and this way I was able to learn a few interesting historical things. It reminded me of many good moments, a few years ago, and of countless hours spent on studying history. I had forgotten how good that felt, I think.

If I started with this one, it’s for a reason though: it seemed a good model to try my hand at male clothing, which I never had done yet, and also at something different than the usual kimono. Funnily enough, the outfit itself was actually of Chinese inspiration – I took example from a real outfit that was used during the Asuka era, and at that time it was indeed much inspired from Chinese clothing. I’m not sure about this yet, but given its style, I think it’s actually a Court type of clothing. I have no idea if the main color I used marks a high or low ranking though, and this bothers me a bit, but in all honesty, I think that most users in Second Life will probably not mind this little detail.

I plan on working on a female model from the Jomon era next, although, if I want to really stay in the historical fashion, I’ll have to craft a white only model (dyeing processes were bad at that time, so clothes were mostly white). The cut seems simple, but the sash can be lots of fun to work on, and I’m looking forward to it. I’ve also taken upon myself to add a little historical note to these outfits, not to play the know-it-all, but mainly because I have the feeling that most people (just like myself before I looked up to discover how these clothing models were exactly made!) will think of “Japanese clothing” as “simple kimono”, while in fact it can be extremely vast, depending on the era. I have wet dreams of crafting a junihito kimono (twelve layers of clothing!), but this seems pretty hard to do, unfortunately, so this will be for when I have more experience only, and more desire to play with prims. It sure looks so nice… I wonder if one day I’ll have enough skill to make one?

Invitations to insanity… errr, building fun

A few more full days behind me. After the nightmare that was the servers move and the rollback that ensued, I went back on my search for a few new little places to expose my clothes in. I ended up in the Waterfall Mall and at Aurora’s in Varney, which are both nice places with plenty of light. This is going to be all for the moment though, as I don’t intend to spend hours and hours everyday running after dozens of vendor machines to update it all.

Of course, being who I am, I also took this as an opportunity to go shopping a bit. It’s not because I make my own clothes that I can’t enjoy what others are doing. I’ll also encourage any potential readers of this post to go have a look at Fey Brightwillow’s shop in Tehama, as not only are her designs very nice and well-done, but she’s also a kind and pleasant person to talk with.

Then, my other big chunk of activity was the building of my own little house. My neighbours having been left with the sight of a ground and two miserable walls for more than one week already, I gathered my building tools, a few of the textures kindly handed to me by Hiro and Snakekiss (yes I promise I’ll change them, but so far they looked nice and I needed something done!), and set myself to work. The result isn’t the greatest thing in SL, but for someone who had never touched any building tools before and who sucks at 3D generally speaking due to a slightly flawed perception, I think it’s not too bad. The prims limitation will slowly become a problem though… I’ve filled about a half of my land “only” so far, but that’s because I’m keeping room for a little garden, too. It’d look too narrow without one anyway.

Last but not least, I’ve also considered using part of said house to present my works too. I doubt I need a huge house for myself alone, I don’t intend on throwing parties in it, and I don’t intend on blowing real cash on bigger land plots, also. I’ll see how things turn out regarding this, but all in all it may not be a bad idea.

More clothing fun…

I went in world early this morning, before the scheduled downtime, with a few other clothes projects in mind, not necessarily Japanese-inspired this time. I know myself, I can be a very versatile person, and there are moments when I truly need to do “something else”, in order to be able to go back more easily and with more inspiration and efficiency to my primary domain of activity, so to say. And thus, I took back two suits I had started creating some time ago already, and improved them a bit.

It’s of course a very different kind of fashion. More classical maybe, closer to the “casual” type of clothing one can find in various shops in Second Life… I would have worked on these clothes for myself anyway – when a shirt or dress idea springs to mind, I don’t ask myself too many questions, I craft it, period – so it’s not like I was forcing myself into something I didn’t feel like doing. I’m not sure of where exactly I’ll be going with that. I don’t intend it to be “my” speciality, nor a very high-quality type of clothing; actually, I’m even very tempted to simply make it an affordable, entry-game line of clothes, for those who like nice and simple outfits.

Even though I didn’t have too much time for it, I looked for a few more places to sell my little things. I had been thinking of Centre Ville, which is a nice market, and I could find there a free spot for a little display. Then, incidentally – because it was one of the sims still available this morning, in fact! – I stumbled upon the Ebisu Galleria and Events Center, which also offer stalls to rent, and for a very affordable price. This will be all for the moment, I think, but it gives me even more to look forward to. I like this feeling! And I liked working offline on the display for my first ets of non-Japanese clothing.

I found a name for my oriental line of clothes too – “Aozora” (which means “blue sky”, is easy to remember, and can be written with a nice kanji I like). I may use it for all my clothes need, maybe, I’m not sure yet – it’s just that it’d make things easier for me to sort, one “unique” shop with two lines maybe. I’ll see. It’s still very new, thus it may still change a lot.

Alone today, trader tomorrow

While taking a little break from moving prims in my garden this morning, my e-mail box chimed out as I was getting an offline IM from Snakekiss, to whom I had asked about a stall in the market yesterday night. Thus I came back online to chat with her bit about all of this, and it all turned out like a very busy end-of-morning and afternoon.

Not only did she give me a stall to sell my clothes on, but she was as kind as to explain me step by step how to pack them into prims, set a price on them, apply a texture on one side of a prim only, set permissions, and various other little tidbits of good advice, including giving me nice textures to use as prints for my works, and hair sticks to work with (with these, my little bun of black hair looks so much better than before). It turns out that indeed, nobody else makes kimono and other similar Japanese clothing in Second Life, save for a few people who have either stopped now or left a long time ago, and thus this is all pretty unique. It added more excitement to the already existing fun of working on something I like, and if things go well, it may evolve in a really nice way.

Of course I couldn’t stop on such a road, and I had this urge to go back in during the afternoon to try and set up a vendor. For this one I used Hiro’s script (which is excellent, really, and I’ll highly recommend it), and will try to use the version with arrows later on or tomorrow, to display several colors of the same model without cluttering the stall with the same images. It was a nice surprise to see that, not even two minutes after I had installed my first panel, another player had already bought one. Who said that there wasn’t any market with these articles, really! I’ve put up geta and tabi as well, for people to not go walking bare-footed in their shiny new yukata.

I’m glad I had this done today. I still lack a name and a logo for my creations, but this will have to come in time, as I’m certainly not going to slap some lame name just for the sake of it, or on the contrary, wait weeks until inspiration strikes. I’m too excited by this to wait anyway!

Making things evolve

Allright, I made a few calculations, and I gave up… I took a Premium account. I really wanted to try my hand at building a house of my own, even if it meant making dozens of attempts for that, and thus I went on a little quest for a small plot of land that I could call “home”. After many journeys through many sims to examine more closely the parcels on the list (of course I can’t afford a big plot, so it had to be one of 512 m²), I finally settled down in Kafiri (88,240), just behind a very nice and big house. Actually, I met its owner, Sophos Casanova, not very long after. We talked a bit and exchanged cards; he builds houses for a living in SL, it seems, but I must admit that buying a house isn’t on my list of priorities right now – I know myself, and I want to do it with my own hands, so to say.

Earlier on, I also hit the sandbox in Cordova for a bit of prims fun, and got to make the obi for my yukata. It turned out better than expected, after a few battles with the rotation tool to get everything aligned as I wanted, and some texture fun to make it look like the front part itself. Someday I’ll really need to send a nice word to Lumiere Noir for his excellent tutorials, as they helped me a lot when it came to the tools and to linking prims. I doubt it’d have been as funny to make if I had had to figure it out all by myself from the start.

I’ll try to get in the Red Dragon market, if I can. It looks like my current project of Japanese clothing has gone better than I thought, at least given what Hiro said about my yukata, and so it may indeed be worth it. With the new obi, it looks even better in my opinion, and I also want to apply different colors to it, to give a bit of variety. Next on the list… I haven’t decided yet, perhaps a male version of the yukata – I think skirts can be worn by male avatars too – or a hakama. I really dig out this oriental theme, so finding ideas shouldn’t be a problem anyway.

Yukata in progress, and a bit of chatting

So that’s it, here’s the current shape and color of my “Purple yukata with flowers”. I used a slightly modified silk texture on this one – satin just wasn’t cutting it in my opinion – and all in all, things have turned pretty well for such a costume. However the worst part of it has been, and still is, the obi itself. It just doesn’t look right this way, and I fear I may have to use prims to properly render it. It’s not like I hadn’t foreseen it though.

This is going to make things a bit harder, but I’ll probably survive. In the meantime, here is what I’ve been able to craft. Not sure if it’s good or not, and I’m indeed aware that the obi lacks the essential knot in the back. I had tried to make it in prims completely, but looks like using this method for the knot only will be what works best…

Other nice moment of the day, I had a pleasant little chat with Hiro Pendragon and Fey Brightwillow tonight. Hiro was kind enough to show me his house and garden – a lovely place for whoever appreciates the beauty of Japanese architecture and culture as a whole – and introduce me to his friend Fey, who is a clothier and gave me quite a few useful advice, among other sharing of experiences and idle chatting. Not only did I spend a very good moment, but he also offered me a torii to put in my (future) garden, and tipped me into checking the Red Dragon Street Market in Tehama, where I can probably try to get a little shop once I manage to work more on my clothes.

Actually… that’s very likely what I’m going to do tomorrow. It sounds like too nice a place to not go check it.