Kitty Wanders: The Apothecary

Apothecary_001.pngMy soul needed some soothing today, so I took a trip to THE APOTHECARY, for some ‘medicine’. By medicine I mean the kind of tranquil, mindful exploring that you can only conduct in Second Life in a sim as beautiful as this.

One of the things I’ve always loved about Second Life is the willingness of creators to share beautifully designed and decorated sims with others. Oftentimes I’ll just log in and sit in my skybox, I find a strange peace in doing that (and I know that I’m not the only one who does!)  but I also love to wander and explore.

Apothecary_003.pngI love beautifully decorated homes and spaces in particular, and some people just have the knack for creating them. Harlow Heslop certainly does; she’s been the proprietress of many a loved establishment over the years and The Apothecary contrasts her trademark stylings of soft furnishings and artfully placed knick-knacks against an inviting, natural landscape where you can roam, dance and explore.  I highly suggest that you visit, either alone or with friends, and enjoy the relaxing vibe that this glorious environment delivers.Apothecary_005.png

 

To Orb Or Not To Orb, That Is The Question…

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And it’s a question that I’ve never had to ask myself, until now.
In all my years of being a Second Life resident (almost 8 years now, eeep!), I’ve never been especially harassed by trespassers at my various abodes. Sure, a few times I’ve rezzed into my home-space and found someone enjoying my furniture and epic decorating skills (obviously!), but it’s never troubled me enough to want to inflict ban lines (urgh) on my neighbours, or invest in a security device. The prompt for this change of opinion occurred two nights ago. I logged in at my new residence, a beautiful Brownstone that I recently took ownership of in the delightful Sunshine Mist community. I had coveted these residences from afar, because I particularly love Harlow Heslop’s epic landscaping skills, so when one became available I jumped at the opportunity to rent. I wanted to feel a sense of community, especially as we enter the Holiday season, and the idea of having neighbours again appealled to me. As I write I’m still busily moving my stuff (read: cats) into the property, and it’s fabulous fun.

I’m incredibly fussy when it comes to virtual home-making, it has to be *just* right (I’m a Virgo, ’nuff said) so I’m having a grand-old time making the space feel like home. All the pleasure, with none of the pain (Although fitting virtual curtains is a challenge and a half, let me tell you! )I find decorating virtual houses exceptionally relaxing after a long, hard day in teh real world, and I take great pleasure from it, as I’m sure regular readers can tell. One of my favourite toys as a child was my doll’s house, and I think my love for that has somehow relocated into the virtual world. It’s incredibly relaxing decorating from behind a keyboard, and there are some absolutely amazing items in Second Life that you can decorate with ( I relish my daily read of LTD!).   and, for me, it’s chill out time. Behind the screen in real life I’m enjoying a brew and listening to music,on-screen I’m moving a wardrobe or changing the colour of the cushions at the touch of a button. It’s bliss, it really is, and it makes me so happy.

So I was a little rattled when my home was, for want of a better phrase, intruded upon.  I logged in, and as soon as I did I realised someone was in the house. At this point I wasn’t concerned, and soon identified that my visitor was sat on my kitchen sofa, drinking a cup of tea. I wandered down the steps and into the kitchen-space, and as I did so the rather well-dressed intruder jumped to her feet. Now, at this point I wasn’t angry, nor was I considering making a fuss. I was (if anything), curious, and had things progressed a different way I’d have sat next to her on said sofa and poured her another cup. She was no newbie, not by the way she was dressed, that’s for sure. She was sporting a quality skin, and a retro look; in other words, the kind of look that would take time to perfect. Yet, according to her account, she was three days old?!

If my name was Alice, I would have probably said, “Curiouser and curiouser!” but it’s not, it’s Kitty.

I actually saved the chat-log, but I’m not going to name names, because I think I was dealing with an alt.Not only that, but an alt who either didn’t have English as a first language, or who was actually taking the piss, and not in a funny way. (All spelling appears as it did in-world. Comments afterwards are obviously mine:) 

[10:42] Kitty Otoole: Hello:)
[10:42] XXXXX: Hi do you live here?
[10:42] XXXXX: Cause I move hear alredy (Really? So that’s why the house was empty when I moved in..)
[10:43] Kitty Otoole: Hi, yes, moved in yesterday
[10:43] XXXXX: so can you go please not saying in a bad way  (I’m glad she wasn’t saying it in a bad way because, you know, I might have taken offence…)
[10:43] Kitty Otoole: Oh! Did Harlow Know? ( At this point, gullible Kitty that I am, I thought there had been a genuine mistake. That thought lasted a nanosecond..)
[10:43] XXXXX: yes (Fib! Fibby fib-fib!)
[10:43] Kitty Otoole: Oh ( I’m realising this is definitely a fib)
[10:43] XXXXX: So please.. (Detecting odd sense of desperation..)
[10:44] Kitty Otoole: Well I’d better have a word with her, so I can get my money back ( I put this out there because obviously I had paid rent upfront, and my mysterious visitor had not..)
[10:44] XXXXX: well ok (Ooh! Seems almost legit!)
[10:44] XXXXX: bye (RUDE)
[10:44] Kitty Otoole: You’d better return all my stuff as well (Bear in mind here peeps, she’s sat enjoying a rather lovely BAZAR kitchen, along with all my accessories, some epic NYLON PINKNEY artwork and a few cats. As well as a cup of tea.)
[10:44] XXXXX: no plaese (Eh?)
[10:44] XXXXX: i dont know were to live (No, but you know where to shop judging by that outfit/hairstyle/skin..)
[10:45] XXXXX: so can we live together tham (Hmm, how do I put this? NOPE.)
[10:45] XXXXX: please (A minute ago you were telling me to go, now you’re asking if you can stay?!)
At this point, I lost the plot. I don’t normally, I’m usually very easy-going and wouldn’t hurt a fly. However, I was feeling played here, and a tad pissed off. Had I not been tired and grumpy I might NOT have done this, and I’m NOT proud of it….
[10:45] Kitty Otoole: Go and find your own place like everyone else does.
[10:45] Second Life: Avatar ejected.

And that was the end of that. Two minutes of banter before I ban-hammered.

And you know what? I felt SO GUILTY. Did I over react? I mean this is a virtual world after all, so does it really matter that much?

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Well, actually, yes it does. I’ve paid rent, bought furniture and invested in the Second Life economy. Had my intruder been a genuine newb I would have perhaps offered some advice about the best way to interact in Second Life (As I poured another cup of tea and offered them a biscuit of course. I’m nothing if not a cordial host!) But my visitor was, quite obviously, not being genuine with me.

Perhaps I’m just too trusting, and perhaps I assume incorrectly that everyone thinks the same as I do, that it IS possible to cultivate respect for fellow virtual citizens, just like your real life peers. But you know, this has started me questioning my own judgement, and now, for the first time in my virtual life, I’m considering installing a security device. And I really don’t like that thought at all. I’m having a virtual-existential crisis here guys!

Thing is, I LOVE seeing how people have decorated their virtual abodes, and I enjoy nothing more than wandering a sim and drooling over the interior ideas I spy around every corner but I set myself hard and fast rules. I always check if someone is in their home before I cam-in, and I NEVER go into a property uninvited. (Probably the only trait I share with a vampire!) But perhaps even that is too much, and I’m no better than my uninvited house-guest?

I get that Second Life can be daunting to a new member, and it can be expensive and alienating as well as welcoming and exciting, but just because this is a world of pixels and polygons it doesn’t mean we have to leave our manners at the log-in screen. 

So the question remains, leave my house as is knowing that people will be able to enjoy it when I’m not around (something I’ve never had a problem with before), or do I hit the marketplace, and buy a security orb?

 Readers, how do you feel about your virtual home? What do you think, am I over-reacting, or is this actually an issue that deserves more consideration? 

I love to ride my bicycle..(Avatar Blogger Crossfit Challenge(Entry 23 of 30))

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Time for one of those mad, rambling posts that start at one point and end up somewhere completely different. Much like me on a bike ride!

I like surprises, and I received a really lovely one this week. I’d mentioned on Plurk that I was mooching around The Grove Country Club Estate. It’s one of my favourite places to visit; I like to chill on a bench in the park there and explore it when I’m in world. (It’s my Second Life dream to live there one day!)

I noted that it would be more fun had I got a bike.  It was a throwaway comment of course but it did strike me that blessed with glorious winding paths and roads  The Grove would be perfect for velocipedal exploration.   (I don’t think that’s a proper word, but it is now!)

So imagine my delight when I logged in to find someone had gifted me a mesh bike! How wonderful, and what a really kind gesture! Of course I wanted to establish who my mysterious anonymous benefactor was, but first of all I needed to go cycling…

And cycle I did. The bike is made by ‘Sweet Bunny’ and is their ‘Pinkie Cycle’.  Now, regular readers know I hate pink, BUT I actually really love the vibrant pink on this cycle because it’s really bright and in your face and actually not too Barbielicious if you ask me. 

Even better than that, it’s mesh. You wear it and move as you normally would, and that’s it.  There’s a cycling animation built-in and you can click the bell to make it ring (the sweetest little ting-ting tinkle) and it also makes a nice noise as you pedal too, the sound of spokes on wheels creaking as they turn. (A noise that evokes happy summer holiday memories from when I was a kid.)  There’s even a basket on the front which you can show/hide.  I thought about filling my basket with prim nommage and going for a picnic, but then I realised it was a bad idea because I planned on cycling very fast and nobody likes it when your pop explodes and your sandwiches get soggy. It’s a fantastic creation, and brilliantly done.  A really thoughtful gift that I was so lucky to receive.

I rezzed Bessie (yes, I have named my bike)at The Grove and went for a cycle. And spent many happy hours in cycling bliss.

You’re probably wondering did I establish who my anonymous benefactor was? Well initially I thought it was Mands, as she often treats me to random gifts because she is lovely like that, but no, it wasn’t her.  This meant I had no clue who it could be, until a discreet plurk disclosed my generous chum, and they were thanked heartily.

Plurk gets a LOT of stick for the inherent drama that often kicks off amongst the plurking Second Life community. It can be a harsh environment, and I’ve realised that the only way to deal with it is to watch from the sidelines. Oftentimes issues blow over, but some have led to lasting hurt, scurrilous gossip and betrayals. It can be very upsetting but the thing is with drama you can choose NOT to be involved. There’s a famous saying that is incredibly true, “If you can’t say anything nice then don’t say anything at all”, and I confess I find myself thinking that phrase out loud when biting my tongue just isn’t enough.

But as my gift proves, there is a lot of love and caring on Plurk too.

If you’re having a bad day and put it out there you soon find yourself enveloped in virtual love, hugs and support.  I’ve learned so much about people, and shared so much of myself on there to friends I’ve never met and been rewarded with nothing but love and caring. As a support network it’s actually proven to be second to none.

Last night was the ‘Pixel Prom’, and Harlow Heslop (amazing blogger) plurked about how excited she was about it.  I’ve never been to a prom before, although they’re popular in UK schools now they weren’t a ‘thing’ when I left mine (which makes me feel incredibly old.) I always wanted to attend one as a teen, a passion I developed due to my love for John Hughes movies.

But here’s an interesting  thing, I’ve been going to SL10b events all week and NOTHING I attended was as successful as the Pixel Prom last night.  (Why is that? Well, I think it’s because Second Life is very group/clique-orientated. The wider community as a whole seems to distil itself down into groups that aren’t just avatar-type specific (Furries, Tinies, Vampires etc) but socially specific, due to the people who you mix and mingle with. It just so happens that there are a LOT of Second Life Plurkers who wanted to go to prom.))

It’s the first time in my entire Second Life that I’ve been amongst so many avatars all at once. At one point while I was there, there were well over 120.  It was also amazing to see how many ‘SLebrities’ I recognised from Second Life that were in attendence, and of course names from my Plurk timeline. According to Harlow at one point there were 135 avatars dancing around to Anubis Darkwatch’s outstanding DJ set, which featured classics from Backstreet Boys, N-Sync and, erm, Mr. Blobby.

It wasn’t without problems however. Despite being ten years old, Second Life still cannot cope with that many avatars all in one place at the same time and people were crashing left, right and centre. That said, the sim itself didn’t crash, and I’m sure the peeps with graphics cards to die for managed to enjoy the fabulously handsome and divinely dressed male and female avatars that were making moves on the dancefloor and topping the punch up with vodka. (Alas, most of what I saw was grey-goo, hence my having no pictures to share)

When I left, after being there to witness the entire gathering get rick-rolled, I went to bed with an extreme case of the warm and fuzzies.  I wouldn’t be on Plurk without Second Life. And I wouldn’t have met so many amazing people if it wasn’t for Second Life, for which I will be eternally grateful. 

Happy Birthday Second Life. Thanks for ten years of madness, creativity and imagination, and may you reign for many more birthdays to come!

And on that note, I have more cycling to do…

Kitty LOVES The Catnip Carnival!

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Well come on guys, I wasn’t going to dislike it given that it’s so feline-centric!

It’s a bijou event; there are only a handful of participants and it won’t take you more than ten minutes to peruse the offerings that are available, but every single item on show is lovely and raises funds for Kitties. YAY FOR KITTIES!

You’ll find furniture, skins, poses, hair clothing and jewellery from ten superb content creators who have generously contributed items to the cause.  The full dazzling array of loveliness can be viewed via the Seraphim blog or by visiting Elysium’s Pinterest boards, but I thought I’d share a few of my favourite finds from the event with you here.

I’ve mentioned before that I’ve fallen totally in love with Izzie Button’s work, and she has provided a fantastic skin, ‘Irene’, to  this event. It comes in pale and mocha tones (you get each shade in the pack) and features a discreet cat-eyeliner.  I tried the demo on and was completely sold.  At L$890 for two superb quality skins I’d say you can’t go wrong, and it works really well with the fantastic hair that Truth has contributed to the event, see?

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 This style is called ‘Noemi’.  I love the heavy fringe (bangs) on this style, and the volume and curl on the pigtails. It’s also my first try-out of Truth’s new shades and I am especially in love with the ‘Gingers 04 Fade’ shade that I’m wearing in this picture.  There are a number of colour packs available at L$200 each at the event , but I treated myself to the fantastic variety pack at L$350 so that I could experiment with the colours.  (Stop Press: Truth’s promised me he’s working on some bobs; when they are released I will spontaneously combust!)

I also FINALLY got with the in-crowd and bought myself some Gos Boutique shoes. I’m not really a shoes-y gal in RL, and I can’t say that I am in SL either, but having tried these ‘Lolita Espadrilles’ I fear that I may be about to change (and lose!) my mind. Of course I’d heard all about the amazing GOS skin matching system and that it was totally easy and super-effective to use, so when I bought these (I had to buy them; leopard print) I sort of knew what I was letting myself in for. But OMG it’ really is THAT easy to match your skin to the shoes that it now seems plain ridiculous that I don’t own every pair that they have ever created!  What an absolute blessing to Second Life this concept is, and by the way, the shoes are absolutely sensational.  They’re perfectly shaped and textured and I predict that I will be wearing these all summer long, because they’re just THAT pretty!

I also splurged on a cat-bed (even though I currently don’t have any cats!) and lusted after the Cheeky Pea sofa.  I don’t have need of a new sofa so couldn’t really justify the expense, although I do think that if I was looking to purchase a new one this would have been perfect.  The textures are ideal for a cat-lover and applied beautifully. (But what do you expect, it’s Cheeky Pea!)The poses in the sofa and the co-ordinating floor cushions have been well thought out and carefully applied making this entire ensemble a worthy purchase indeed. I think it would work especially well in a small sky-box.

My absolute favourite item though has to be the Catnip necklace from Cae.  

The detail on this is just brilliant; from the intricate and extremely delicate chain to the cat pendant with crystal embellishment. It’s colour-change and is just so ruddy lovely that I want this in real-life, desperately.  I can’t think of a nicer and classier way to show your support for all things feline than by wearing this.  The metal can be changed to either Gold or Silver, and there are six crystals to select from in a variety of colours, meaning you can team it with practically any outfit in your wardrobe. I don’t envisage that I’ll be taking this off anytime soon!

 I really do hope that the Catnip Carnival is a HUGE success and hope lots of lovely cash is raised for the  River Cities Humane Society For Cats  (Thanks so much to Harlow Heslop, and to all the generous contributors, for bringing this event to our virtual world!)

 Click HERE to go visit!