Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Skin market

I've been wearing this Hybrid II Ardent skin for a long time now, ever since I discovered it and left my beloved Gala skin in inventory. I actually bought Feral first, but I decided it was a shade too dark for me. Now, I really only switch between the shaved and unshaved versions of Ardent, except for certain special occasions when I'll pull out the Nomine China White.

Hybrid II has been berry, berry good to me, but it's time for a change. I need a change for all kinds of reasons, but at least partly because my second life needs a kick start. This is a big one—just clothes shopping won't do it!

I do like several things about the Hybrid II. One is the colour. It's hard to find a non-white skin that does the colour as well as this. I hate dark with too much yellow. I also love the arch of the eyebrow and the general eye shape. I don't so much like the softness and lack of detail, nor have I ever really liked the pursed mouth.

I really like the detailing on the kitty of the Hybrid II, as well as the shaved option. Sorry, I'm just not big on pubic hair, not even a landing strip if I can avoid it. It's my smooth and slippery personal taste (or maybe lack of good taste for having published that). I would put up with a landing strip, but not anything really bushy.

The reason I bought the Hybrid II in the first place was because of a review in Linden Lifestyles. I don't find many skin reviews, but they have some, and I appreciate their advice. I went there again to see what's new, but hardly any skin reviews are recent.

Based on one review, I'm currently checking out photoreal skins from Insolence. I like several things about this skin, although it's not quite as dark as I prefer. The detail is very nice, I like the eyes, I almost like the eyebrows, and I love the mouth. I thought I'd waited for the rez before I snapped the photo, but I didn't, so this picture is less than it ought to be. In looking at these four photos near each other, I'm looking favourably on this one at the moment.

At the urging of my friend CodeBastard, photographer extraordinaire—she was kind enough to include me in her Boudoir Rouge series (be sure to check out the others too)—I'm also looking at RAC. But man, we're talking L$4,000 for a skin! Yes, the level of detail is very good, and there's a lot to like about this photoreal skin, but that's a lot of moolah for a girl with no job who just dropped three grand to see the ZeroG SkyDancers (with no regrets). As well, I'm not very fond of the southern zone. And the darker colour is one with a lot of yellow in it.

My alt has a skin from ND, and I like the makeup options for that one. The Hybrid II is not versatile, and it has pale fingernails rather than polish that matches the lip colour. Wrong! I've lived with that for a long time, but it's not my preference.

For some reason, however, I'm not sold on this skin for this avatar. I'm not sure that the face works as well for this shape as I've seen it work for other avatars. It's amazing what a skin can do when there's been no modification to the shape.

So I'm looking at any and all options, when I can make the time to shop, buy skin demos, and check them out. Suggestions appreciated.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Zero gravity

One word about not having written for more than a month: sorry.

OK, more than one word. My Second Life has been practically nonexistent lately. School takes a lot of time. Other things in first life do as well. I just haven't been able to block out time to play, which is really what SL is for me. I know, all work and no play make Jill a dull girl, but I've had to set priorities. I'm not always happy that I can't have as much fun as I'd like, but I need to works in order to make some things happen. I should be working even harder.

Anyway... I actually got into SL twice today. Earlier this afternoon, I popped in to clear the numerous notices that had accumulated since the last time I'd logged in, and I saw that my friend Peter Stindberg was on (his excellent blog is on my blog list). He lives in Germany and I'm on the left coast of Canada, so we don't meet up very often. He graciously invited me over to his wife Gina's gallery, so I got to see Peter, meet Gina, and see her photographs, which are very good. I should have asked to take a few snaps myself, because Peter and Gina are both cuties and make a great couple. We chatted for a while until we all had to return to first life.

Later, I finally made time to attend a performance by the ZeroG SkyDancers, in which my friend Deborah Strangelove is one of the company's original dancers. The piece was called "Second Spring." This was my first time, and I completely enjoyed the combination of original music by ZeroOne Paz and flying movement with colours by the dancers themselves. Do you ever get those little chills in your spine at things like rituals? I do, and that's how I felt watching this performance. It was very evocative. Even the space in which they perform, Ars Simulacra, is marvelous, which is why I included a shot of the audience waiting for the show to start.

I wish my computer and graphics card were more up to snuff. I'm sure the better your hardware is, the better the experience. As it was, I still enjoyed it completely. I seemed not to be able to get in close to the dancers, though, so that's why all the photos are a bit more panoramic. In fact, I was moving the camera so much, with the draw distance set much higher than I usually do, that I crashed my client right at the end of the show.

The ticket price isn't cheap—L$3,000 recommended, L$2,000 or L$1,000 if you're broke—but I felt the experience was worth it. A ZeroG SkyDancer performance, with its combination of sight and sound, is one of those things that make people say, yeah, this is what SL is really for. Check it out for yourself. These photos are only a hint—and they're silent.