Monday, April 28, 2008

The Second Life aquatic

I was busy with the usual first life stuff on Friday and Saturday night, but Illya and I managed to get together last night. She took me sailing. I'd been sailing before, but that was only around Iron Fist, and there wasn't much water to manoeuvre in. Last night, Illya took me to a marina on Nantucket sim.

She changed into a swimsuit. I was hunting through my swimwear folder, wondering if I had anything that wasn't somewhere between small and minuscule (trying for some propriety for a change), and I found a tankini that I'd bought in that flurry just before the closing of Last Call (for all I know, it's not closed yet). Perfect!

We boarded her yacht. I think it would have to be called a yacht. I'm pretty ignorant about sailing vessels. I just love to get out on the water, real or virtual. I should learn how to tell one craft from another. And when it's virtual water and virtual sun, you don't have to worry about virtual sunscreen!

I clicked on the "crew" ball, but I was more passenger than crew. Illy says she has a crew HUD, so hopefully I'll learn how to manipulate the sails. There really is wind in Second Life, although she says it sometimes acts weird.

We did get under full sail, however, and sailed around the whole area—Nantucket, Block Island, Gloucester, and a few other places with names from my native New England. I went into mouselook for most of the voyage, something I rarely do, and it was great to watch the shores slip past, and look at the cottages, lighthouses, and vegetation along the way. I don't even have a good graphics card or the Windlight viewer, and still things looked really cool and very realistic. Or maybe I have a good imagination.

We managed to make is safely through several sim crossings, but one gave us a spot of trouble. I found myself suspended in mid-air with only the sails and the steering wheel left from the boat. I managed to stay online, but Illy crashed. When she got back online, we managed to get reset and continue the journey.

We were still sailing, still taking in lovely scenery. Illya spotted a whale off the port bow (I do know my directions). I couldn't resist manipulating the camera to get a picture. Whales don't spout when they're underwater, but it was still a cute shot. SL, and the things people do it in, still surprise and delight me sometimes.

It got late for me. I had to take my leave from a perfect evening. I can't wait to go sailing again.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Expect the unexpected

It was the evening (at least in my time zone) of April Fool's Day. I was doing a rare DJ gig at the Velvet, thanks to Jasper. We had a pretty good crowd there when the sim restarted after the usual five minutes notice. Some left, some stayed until, boom, everyone was blown off. But I did not lose the stream, since that's not part of the sim. I logged back in to my home, kept cueing up songs, and tried to teleport to Romero repeatedly until the sim finally let me back in. I was the first to return. Pretty soon, we had a pretty good crowd again.

She was among the second wave. I'd sent out the usual Velvet announcement, but either she hadn't received it or she'd just gone in world. At any rate, she came by to listen to the rest of my set, to dance, and to chat with me.

I've known her for quite a long time, in Second Life terms, and we've talked from time to time. I had never had a chance to know her well. She was often busy doing her job. I would flirt with her when we'd both be at the Velvet, but it never went very far. Yes, I know, I was married at the time. Bad me. She didn't go for that sort of thing.

I've been single for many months now, but I've been busy with first-life school, turning myself into a real counsellor. It's only recently I've had much time to spend in world. I've been kind of lonely in SL, but I wasn't looking for love. At the Velvet on April 1, however, something was different between us. Our chat was playful. Hers seemed to suggest more than I thought would ever happen.

After my set, we spent time together, mainly talking, and holding each other some, staying up way too late. After that, we made contact on and off, more off than on. I thought maybe something wasn't going well. In first life, I'm pretty self-confident, but in SL I'm often insecure. She's a bit of a mystery, and I don't always read her very well. Days would go by without a peep. My friends had to put up with my self-pity.

Then, two days ago, I saw her on Gtalk, and I rang her up. The response was cheery and inviting. She's also a DJ, and she was doing an early set at the Velvet. I popped over there and danced for a while with her and some friends. It got on toward supper time for me, so I had to leave. Just before I left, I heard it: I love you.

I was floored, in a good way, but floored nonetheless. I said it back, because I really meant it, but had not dared say it before. What had been very tenuous became much less so. There has been more talk, more dancing, more sharing.

I am very happy. I am intrigued. This woman is very intelligent. She is not easy to get to know. There's a lot going on with her, and she is not the open book that I am. (She thinks I'm not, but I am.) I want to know more, and I will be patient in getting there. I want to share myself with her. She says she's not special. She's wrong. I wouldn't be with anyone who isn't special.

This isn't head over heels. We're both still cautious, despite what we each blurted out that evening. We're testing the water, feeling our way forward. I think about her a lot. It's good. It's scary. It's exhilarating. I feel vulnerable, and wonderful.

Friday, April 18, 2008

I finally buy a new skin

I've been slacking on blog writing again. And just when I got inspired, the blog strike started up, and I ain't no scab. But now, even though I still have no idea whether I violate you-know-who's trademarks, things are supposedly clearer and we can blog again.

Not that I've been having any great adventures that I can blog about, but I have been spending more time in world. And without any advice from friends I was hoping would give me a third-party view, I bought a skin.

Deciding on a skin can be agonizing. I haven't found a single skin yet that I love all the features of. It might be out there, but I haven't seen it. The one I chose is from Celestial Studios, by Starley Thereian, from the Charmed line, tone 70 (second darkest). I actually bought two: Drama, which is my day look, and Rubies, which is for nighttime. I thought about a four pack for less money per skin, but I didn't go for all four of any single pack. If I could do my own custom four, well, that might be a different story. What say, Ms. Thereian?

I like a lot about this skin. It has one of the best eyebrow arches I've found, and I'm fussy about eyebrows, in Second Life as in first. I quite like the face in general. It enhances the way I have my eyes set, and the mouth is a lot less pursed than my old skin.

I like the shading a lot, definitely better than my old skin. The colour is adjustable, which is quite lovely. The profile photo above is a bit darker than I've since set the colour, as you can see at left. I'm trying to match my old skin tone. I do like the quality of this dark tone. It's not too yellow.

I don't know why skin designers so often make the nipples with soft focus, but they do. I appreciate that the navel is not a black hole. In fact, it looks like there's a piercing in it already! The kitty is nice, if not outstanding. I can put up with the landing strip, but I'm going to miss the completely bald option on my old skin. I'm less fussy about the naked parts than I used to be.

I was with my wonderful friend Tatsuko on Thursday, and she gave thumbs up to the new look. I value her opinion. I'm happy with it for now. Let's see how long that lasts!