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Archive for November, 2008

Open Letter to Friends

Dear Friendlies,

As most of you know, I’ve been invited to take part in a big-time gallery in SL *makes happy noises*. I also have a number of paying clients I’m taking pictures for right now, on top of working on my next picture for the Gallery of Light. All up I need to be producing a lot of pictures each day for the next two weeks and something’s got to give. Unfortunately the “something” is my time to socialise. Things will go back to normal-ish soon enough I suspect, but for the next 2 weeks I wanted to pre-apologize for not being around or as conscious as much as I usually am. If I don’t reply as quickly as I usually do to your IMs in SL or msn or Skype, please don’t take it personally, k?

And while I’m at it, a quick huge thank you to Prad, specifically for saying all the right things today to keep me on track for my current photography commitments. It amazes me that someone who has so much constantly going on in his own life, continues to make time to help me realise my own dreams.

Right, that’s it. Wish me luck, I’m gonna need it!

Love,

Lands.

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We AreAn SL friend of mine recently decided to take on the vampire look. She’s not sucking anyone’s blood with green spam or whatever, but she has the skin, the clothing, the eyes, etc. I’ve never been into role-play in SL, it’s not why I go there, I’ve often felt somewhat uncomfortable around child avies and nekos (for whatever reason). But the vampire thing I get. I feel zero discomfort around her, in fact I find it kinda alluring. No I’m not gonna sex her, I just like the vibe. And because this is so out of the ordinary of how I feel around people who play “other-than-human”, I thought it best I reflect on why.

As long as I can remember I have loved vampire myths, legends, lore. No other “magical” creature has so captured my imagination. I set a very high standard for what I think is worthy of using the vampire in it’s work – I (and yes I know this sounds weird) feel righteous and annoyed when movies or TV or art or RL little girls use it without thought or care. It has a sort of sacredness for me that must have been ingrained in my at a young age somehow, for me to have that level of intensity about it.

When a movie does it right – The Lost Boys, An Interview with a Vampire, Bram Stoker’s Dracula – it becomes a cult object for me. Put a vampire in a movie and I will watch it. Unfortunately most movies with or about vampires are utter crap, still I go back for more in the hope someone will give the concept the care and depth it deserves.

I’ve been on the fringes of the Goths who try to live it – people who cut themselves and sucked the blood, girls who entered blood sisterhood with each other, etc. But I never took part and never wanted to. I’m not silly enough to think there are real vampires out there, and yes I know some people give it a RL bend by saying it’s about the spirituality and more than the (in)ability to turn into a bat, but I just can’t take that seriously. Sorry. In fact, that sort of treatment of it also “offends” the purity of my notion of vampirism. Hell, I guess I’m a snob in this regard.

All this vampire stuff has leaked into my pictures of course. The one attached to this post is one I did today, deeply inspired by The Lost Boys. I have plans to continue the vampiric theme in my pics for a little bit, particularly if Bailey continues to stay in her current form because that way I have the perfect vampire on hand, ready to go. Neato. It’s kinda nice to feel passionate about something now and then, and I’m glad to be reliving this particular passion via SL right now.

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I don’t watch the news much; the two main times I’d get a meaningful exposure to it would be 6pm when my son’s having his dinner (and I refuse to let him watch the news, especially these days) or having a bath, and 10:30pm when I’m often in bed or getting ready for bed. Tonight, I got to watch the news, and as usual I wish I hadn’t.

I used to follow the news very closely, read it in the newspaper every day and watch each news cast. I can’t do it anymore, and not just because of my mummy duties. I can’t do it because ever since I had my son, every story about a child being abducted, killed or hurt makes my stomach churn and make me want to be sick. It doesn’t take an awful lot to make me cry and those stories as good as guarantee it.

I also can’t do it because if I followed every news cast about terror (such as today’s on Mumbai) I would be a scared and reclusive creature, I’d start living my life differently and worry for my family constantly. I remember the attacks in London that many years ago – my sister was over there at the time. Waiting anxiously for the email that finally got through. Since then she went on to get married and have twins, weird to think what might not have been. Someone who was working for me at the time was best friends with the one person from my country who did die in the London attacks. Her worry, followed by intense grief, shocked us all. I doubt she was ever the same after that. I had to talk to her about suicidal thoughts during work hours – I did my best and I think I helped but I was not properly equipped to play that role.

Tomorrow in SL my international friends will very likely be talking about Mumbai, and I will sit quietly and wait as usual for that conversation to end, before I can get back into the main reason I log into SL everyday – to relax and forget the real world. It’s not that I don’t care, it’s because I care too much. It’s because I feel the pain and grief and I can’t pretend I don’t. So if I don’t get involved when you talk about death, murder, destruction and torture, try not to take it the wrong way: My heart is a fragile thing, I’m just trying to keep it safe.

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I don’t have a “male companion” in SL – a boyfriend, or partner, or sex buddy or whatever. And that’s not an invitation; I don’t want one. But it’s annoying to a high degree when I want to find out what a set of pose balls do, and in particular take a couple shot, and there’s no one to call on. I know what you’re going to say – ask a male friend or ask a female friend with a male alt. Neither solution really solves my problems.

The male friend solution is never easy. A fair few men take it the wrong way when you ask them to pose with you, they think it’s your shy way of saying “boy I sure would like to shag ya”. If you can find someone who won’t take it the wrong way, the next challenge is making sure they don’t have a partner who would take it the wrong way instead. If you’ve managed to overcome these two hurdles, there’s one left that far too many men fall into – the “he hasn’t spent anytime working on the appearance of his avatar” issue. That’s not a problem if I just want to randomly try pose balls for the hell of it, but if the pose ball is any good I want to take a picture of it and at that point he is (sorry) useless to me. I find it very frustrating that so few men seem to really put any effort into their SL appearance – come on boys, if you won’t do it for youself, at least do it for the girlies!

Which brings me to the problem with asking female friends to log out of SL and log their male avies in, or pull out a male they might have handy in their inventory. First off, most women don’t have male avatars or male alts anyway. Cause hello, who would choose to be a man..? If you can find a woman with a male avatar, the next issue is inevitable in my experience – they haven’t put the money or time into developing their male avie so it’s just as bad as the male friends example above who also haven’t bothered.

I used to have the perfect model for this situation. Not only did he have a nice male avie, he also had a nice female avie, and even better, was able to log them both in at the same time. This was perfection from my point of view – especially if I wanted to take pictures of rather naughty pose balls and didn’t feel like taking part – just get him and him to jump on for me! Unfortunately he got very busy with his various business projects taking off, and my photographic excursions (which he used to enjoy helping me out with) take up more time than he has spare.

So nights like tonight I wander from place to place and get inspiration hitting me with a mallet and me having to reluctantly shoo it away because there’s no one to help me out. Twice tonight I stared longingly at couple pose balls placed in perfect locations: I hopped on one then the other, feeling foolish and hoping no one would come by to see my lonely patheticness, as I tried to figure out what they look like in action; scanning my friends list and knowing already no one meets my criteria set out above – a good looking male avie who won’t take it the wrong way or have a girlfriend chasing me with a mallet bigger than the one inspiration was thunking me with. Both times I just ended up thinking the thoughts I’ve written down here, so I figured I’d just log out instead and come write them down.

If I can’t do my art, at least I can do my writing about why I can’t do it.

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After reading Kimber’s very loving and touching post about me on her blog (I plan to return the honour sweetheart); reading Bailey’s Thanksgiving post on her own blog; and recently deciding to temporarily drop my friends pick in my profile, I’ve decided to write a public “yay” for Bailey Longcloth.

Bailey was one of the most important people in my SL life before I ever fully appreciated it – she was a manager at Three Lions (RIP) and is one of the owners of Crown and Pearl. It took me far too long to step up and get to know her properly – I thought she wouldn’t be interested it getting to know me! It took an argument involving someone else before we finally talked openly and freely with each other, and I think mutually realised how similar we really are: Our sense of humour, the way we see the world and how we should express ourselves in it, and the people we hold dearest.

She gives so much to SL, the latest gift is The Gallery of Light: When galleries across SL are closing down or considering closing down because of the open sims disaster, she opened up one instead. And not just any gallery – one that openly invited and accepted new-comers to the art scene. It can take quite a bit to break into the SL art world because it is understandably flooded with talent, and things like taking part in her gallery is a great way to get some exposure and to even feel like your art is being appreciated and enjoyed.

On top of her generous nature she is also a sweet person, perhaps too sweet. I’ve watched people use her and take advantage of her, and her forgive them for it and not confront them in the way they deserve. I’ve done my best to support her during those times and try to help right the wrongs, and encourage her to act on that deep well of strength I see in her. She’s a fascinating and multi-layered person, and the more I find out about her the more I like 🙂

So next time you’re hanging at Crown, or living on the land you rent from her, or viewing her gallery, or looking at her own creations of art which I know will eventually take their place among the great SL art-works, maybe consider flicking her a quick thank you. Because your SL wouldn’t be as great as it is, without this lovely woman being part of it.

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BreakableFor me, art is an outlet – all those emotions and frustrations that I can’t or refuse to put into words, come out in my pictures. So it makes sense that after an emotionally draining day that left me feeling lost and unsure of a few things, that I ended up going on a personal art spree. I took and processed many pictures while listening to two songs in particular – over and over (I’ll add their lyrics below). And after all this art, and all this music, I felt much better and ready for the next day.

Art doesn’t judge my emotions, it doesn’t try to understand me, it just is, and it takes everything I put into it without hesitation or regret. I’ve always felt the need to create artistically – acting, music, art, and at this point in my life my SL art is performing that function for me. I am very grateful for it, and so want to just briefly thank two people for it: Prad, as ever, the most important and inspirational influence in my SL life; and Kimber, who reminded me what my art could do for me. Thank you.

Burn” by The Cure ❤

“Don’t look don’t look”
the shadows breathe
Whispering me away from you
“Don’t wake at night to watch her sleep
You know that you will always lose
This trembling
Adored
Tousled bird mad girl… ”
But every night I burn
But every night I call your name
Every night I burn
Every night I fall again

“Oh don’t talk of love”
the shadows purr
Murmuring me away from you
“Don’t talk of worlds that never were
The end is all that’s ever true
There’s nothing you can ever say
Nothing you can ever do… ”
Still every night I burn
Every night I scream your name
Every night I burn
Every night the dream’s the same
Every night I burn
Waiting for my only friend
Every night I burn
Waiting for the world to end

“Just paint your face”
the shadows smile
Slipping me away from you
“Oh it doesn’t matter how you hide
Find you if we’re wanting to
So slide back down and close your eyes
Sleep a while
You must be tired… ”
But every night I burn
Every night I call your name
Every night I burn
Every night I fall again
Every night I burn
Scream the animal scream
Every night I burn
Dream the crow black dream

And “Breakable” by Fisher.

Do you always have to tell him everything
On your mind?
You know that too much honesty can be
So unkind
And every time you throw him to the floor
Why are you surprised to see he’s breakable?
You always try to find what’s holding him
Away from you
But do you ever see your anger standing there
Right between you?
And every time you throw him to the wall
Why are you surprised to see he’s breakable?
Tell the world that he’s breaking your heart
Go tell the world nothing’s ever your fault
Go tell them all
And every time you throw him to the floor
Why are you surprised to see he’s breakable?
And every time you push him to the wall
Why are you surprised to see he’s breakable?

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Is it just me or has SL got a lot more spammy lately? In the space of 24 hours I got hit with this offline IM from someone I’ve never met:

[2:13] Zilver DeCuir: Hi! Sorry if im bothering you, but my friend is having a sale on skins, would you mind if i sendt you a notecard with some info?

To which I repled “Yes I do mind”. And this conversation in-world:

[22:54]  cc Beverly: hi
[22:54]  cc Beverly: can i please have some money
[22:55]  Landsend Korobase: why would I give you money?
[22:55]  cc Beverly: bc
[22:55]  Landsend Korobase: That’s the best you can come up with?
[22:56]  Landsend Korobase: you have absolutely no skills..?

They didn’t reply, no doubt trying for the next sucker. Let me add, that second “girl” was an August account, not a noobie.

I can’t remember the last time I got this sort of unsolicited garbage – I’ve been hit with these sort of things only from people I wrongly added to my friends list, not from complete strangers like that. Then suddenly two in one day. Is it just me..?

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