Monday, 31 December 2007

Dreaming of a journey

At the start of the new year we make our resolutions for the coming one. Sometimes we have to let our fantasy soar freely. Doing just that I've been thinking about how it would be to take a few months off work and go off on a journey to visit a bunch of the friends I've made in my time on SL. Wouldn't it be lovely to be able to travel from city to city all over the globe and spend some time in RL with all those wonderful people I've met online? Off the top of my head I can think of people in Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, France, Portugal, UK, US, Canada, Brazil, Singapore and Australia I would love to meet. Imagine what an adventure it would be. Of course I would keep some sort of journal of my whereabouts and share my impressions. I'm sure it would be an interesting read.

Pondering on this I started wondering about a few things though. I've met a few Belgian SL citizens in RL and it was wonderful to get to know them on a different level. But what if some people would not be comfortable with the idea of giving up the relative anonymity. Maybe for some the step from SL to RL would be too big. Who would want to meet up with this odd bird from Belgium let alone accept him into their home or spend time with him? Who would want to show me their town and a little fragment of their life? Would people turn out to be what I imagined them to be? How would things be different once I got back?

The more I think about it the more I would actually love to do it. I think it could be a very interesting experiment. Unfortunately unless I start playing the lottery and win the big bucks it's not going to happen. Apart from that it would of course not be easy to just pack up here and leave my RL behind for a prolonged periode of time. It never hurts to fantasise though.

Happy New Year to you all. May 2008 be a year full of inspiration, love & friendship.

Tuesday, 25 December 2007

The Naughty Eleven: SLex Invitations

Once again I got tagged by my dear friend Vint. Eleven questions (I noticed the list has been growing, seems Veyron added number ten and Vint added number eleven) this time about who I would want to have SLex with for various reasons. No a very Christmasy subject but a bit of fantasising never hurt anyone, not even on Christmas day.

I have to admit it was more difficullt then I thought at first to come up with names because inevitably you sort of wonder how people will react to being nominated as a potential SLex partner. If you're on the list, don't worry, in most cases I wouldn't have even thought about you in that way if it wasn't for this list ;-)

Name the avatar that you would most like to have second life sex with for…

1. … their avatar: This one is easy. Luna Zolnir has one of the most beautiful avs I have ever laid eyes upon.

2. … their mind: that's a tough one. I actually have two nominees I can't choose between. Silverdrake Sparrow is a long time friend and definitively fits the bill but even though I have still to meet Cinderella Kesey in world I have been very charmed by her writings.

3. … their poetic/mystical/creative spirit: Nephie Eerie without a shadow of a doubt.

4. … their social success/success in SL: I'm not too sure how to interpret this one but I'll go with fashionista extraordinaire and jewelry designer Caliah Lyon.

5. … their libido: Tricky one because you don't want to nominate someone because you consider them oversexed. I'll pick my dear friend Jaxi Morrison because she is someone to whome SLex comes natural as in "it is just a fact of life".

6. … wanting them to go against type for you. That is, if they are normally a top, you would want them to be your bottom, if they are straight and you are same sl gender: From her pictures I take it Gabrielle Sinatra has a bit of a submissive streak but she can be my mistress anytime.

7. … and you would go against type for this: I'm no neko lover but Vint wouldn't have to ask twice.

8. … and you would most want to do a nothing-but-sex week with, who you are not currently having sl sex with: See questioon 9

9. … and you want a threesome, which two. They don't have to be from the above list, but can be: Ryker Beck & Keiko Morigi and can I please combine this one with question 8 ??

10. … "The forbidden," the one that, you'd like to publicly confess to, but the consequences would be toooooo awful. Examples would be your best friend's partner, a professional contact, someone you know rl who is here… Someone who you want, but have never been able to confess it too. Don't post… Just answer with whether they are online right at the moment that you post your answer: not online

11. … nostalgia reasons: Shiloh Minogue

Now who to tag? I'll go for Ryker, Cinderella, Jaxi, Luna & Joonie

Merry Christmas all!

Sunday, 23 December 2007

Second Rez-Day

December 23rd was my second Rez-Day. Yup, Loki is two years old now and my god how different SL is from that first day I walked onto the grid in my playdoh skin and white T-shirt. When I arrived I was all alone there. These days new avs rez left,
right and center. I remember feeling very helpless, moving around was difficult, moving objects even more so. Thankfully I'm not easily discouraged. On my first night in SL Sophia Willberg taught me how to use poseballs to dance and together we danced the night away. I was hooked.

Later on I met this really nice lady whose name I have sadly forgotten who gave me a load of boxes with invaluable inventory. I spent hours sifting through furniture, clothing, gestures, animations, sextoys and all those others amazing things I now owned. Since I needed a place where I could rez all the stuff and some privacy to do so I set up camp at a sim called Hedonistic Retreat where I found a small empty hut to use as my home.

From my base camp I started roaming the sims. One of my first regular hangouts was a place called Sexcapades. Sounds a lot more corny than it really was. First and foremost it was a place where people gathered and where I met a lot of nice and interesting peole. The place later moved and changed it's name to Heaven Above the Clouds which, as far as I know, still exists.

One of the people I met there was Shiloh Minogue. She became my first real friend in SL and later on we extended that to RL. Together with her I discovered poseballs were not just for dancing. Since she couldn't stand the playdoh skin I was still wearing she bought me my first "real" skin; a very expensive one from Dragonfly. Even though I don't see her in SL all that often these days I will get to meet her IRL in the near future. I'm looking forward to it.

It was also around this time I discovered making snapshots of people and giving them a copy is a great way to start a conversation. Unfortunately uploading snaps costs $L so I had to find a way to make some Lindens since I had set myself the goal not to just buy them. I noticed a bunch of people walked around with really badly made tattoos and I was convinced I could do better. Guess I was right. Doing only custom jobs, saving myself the hassle of needing a shop and all that, I was able to bring in enough to get around. I even got ambitious and started making a skin. I had no clue where to start and tutorials were few but with the help of GLIntercept I got myself a few samples of how it was done. Lazy as I am I still wear the one skin I ever made (yes, I know that it's cheating but I only used it for "educational use").

The Hedonistic Retreat closed down and I lost the place I called my home for the first few months. Not that I really needed it, by now I was hanging around wherever the SL winds blew me and my friends list grew steadily. Through one of them, Unrulie Childs, I met Lily Fizz who offered me to take up residence on a small plot of land next to her humongous castle at Bloody Falls. I accepted and though I was seldom home I had myself a nice cottage for a while and all for free. Thanks again Lily !

It was only when I found and made myself a profile that my friends list started booming. I met so many people there I stil call friends today. I would love to list them all here but I would inevitably forget someone and I just don't want to do that. I'm sure you all know who you are! The "Thank you Yo and Jaxi" party, the activities for "Relay for Life", the inevitable drama, they all forged bonds. Even though some have left SLP by now for various reasons, for me they will always be linked to those days.
Some of them I found again when, being a bit unhappy with the maximum size I could post my pictures on SLP, I started an account on Flickr. It meant a second wave of new friends; creative people who pushed me to explore the boundaries of my own creativity and technique by the stunning work they produce, getting me in touch with the vivid SL photography community in world.

This trip down memory lane is of course but the tip of the iceberg. So many good laughs, disappointments, true heart warming moments, deep conversations, silly drama and exciting adventures remain unmentioned but I just can't list them all. On this occasion I would love to thank all of you out there who mean or have meant something to me. You guys have made SL in the past two years a good place to be. After all, it's the people who make SL what it is, always has been like that and it's not likely to change.

A day and a half later...

While I was sorting out some pictures to go with the above text I got an IM to mail from Mecca asking me if I could log on since she needed a profile pic of me. Struck me as odd since only last week she made a series of 80 pics of me. Upon logging on and tp'ing to her place I was greeted by a whole bunch of friends. Turned out Mylena had secretly been organising a party for my rez-day and what a party it turned out to be... I will not go into detail but the first incriminating pics have already surfaced and I'm sure more will follow.

All I can say is I had a blast. It felt so good to be surrounded by those I love and genuinly feel part of something bigger.

An incredible "thank you" to Mylena for organising it, thank you Andrew for the sporks, thank you everone for being there and an extra special thank you Semi and Nephie for your wonderful music. You guys have no idea what it meant to me.


Thanks to Bella & Adhemar for the footage! Great job :-)

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

A Different Light

The Cannery opens its doors again on Wednesday, December 5th at 4pm SLT for "A Different Light". Curators are once again Shoshana Epsilon and Vint Falken. Featured artists this time around are: Andromega Volare, Isolde Flamand, Kimberly Mirabeau, Marianne McCann & Mylena Aquitaine. I'm happy to say yours truly will once again have some of his work up on the walls of the Cannery too. The new exhibit kicks off with a party starting at noon SLT on the 5th. I'm looking forward to seeing you all there.

A lot has been said and written about the the Rezzable Cannery Art Gallery. I had three pictures up at the first show and I have to say I never had any problems with the way Rezzable or those associated with it treated me or my work. Maybe that is because I don't take these things too seriously. Take the contract that got a whole bunch of people's knickers up in a bunch. Sure the original wording was vague and didn't really provide much protection for the artists but hey, everyone tries to get the best for themselves out of a deal and to Rezzable's credit it has to be said they did adjust it. The new version does take some of the concerns in account.

Months ago I wrote about the fact it's communities that make SL such a great place and not companies with their shiny clean sims where nothing ever happens and I expressed the hope that over time the two would intertwine. I think what Rezzable is doing is a good step in that direction. They are not there yet but the Cannery is slowly starting to be associated with a group of people, a community and that is a good evolution. A lot more could be done still and like I told RightAsRain I think Rezzable itself needs a face or some faces that can represent them. People with roots in SL who can be the center of a community and carry it. As curators to an extent Shoshana and Vint play that part but I have a feeling the distance between them and Rezzable is too big for them to really represent Rezzable. It's not their job either, on the contrary, being curators they should have some independence in order for them to maintain their artistic integrity.

Rezzable is not a charity and so in return for the given opportunities Rezzable expects something back. I think that is absolutely normal. Give and take is what makes the world go round. For some this seems to be pure blasphemy. I don't see why. If you want to be a patron of the arts, go ahead and spend your money on a sim and give the artists free reign to set up as an SL museum. Galleries on the other hand both in SL and RL are not museums, they sell art for the profit of the artist and the gallery. Why would it be any different in SL? What IS a problem in SL is the fact digital content is easily copied thus making it more difficult to manage. A RL painting is a single piece and it's easy to determin who owns it. For an SL picture it's a lot more difficult. If I mail a high rez version of my finished picture to Shoshana she now has a perfect copy of the work she can do with as she pleases outside the mod/copy/trans scheme inside SL. Does that mean I'll make her life difficult by insisting I will not give her a texture unless inside SL and only with limited rights? Of course not. I trust her with my work. Just like I would have to trust a RL gallery owner if I let him exhibit my work.

Hope to see you all at "A Different Light" and thank you Shoshana and Vint for including me once again. It's truly appreciated.

Oh ... and I so hope Nephie will play the opening party!

Monday, 3 December 2007

Damn, I'm IT ...

Seems a few people were bored last night ;-) Both Ryker and Joonie tagged me and invited me to participate in this "8 random facts about yourself" thing. Lazy as I am (random fact number 1) I copy 'n pasted the rules from Joonie's blog:

Here are the rules:

1) Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
2) People who are tagged need to write a post on their own blog (about their eight things) and post these rules.
3) At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
4) Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

One thing the rules don't clarify is whether these fact are supposed to be about me, Loki, or about the puppeteer who pulls my strings. So I decided to follow the same route Vint took on her blog post.

Now for the tidbits of info on me:

1. As already stated: I'm a lazy bugger. I could probably make decent Linden$ if I would make the effort to make, market and put some tattoos and/or skins up for sale but I have to admit that apart from a little shop with old stuff I could never be bothered

2. I did make my own skin. The face is based on a picture of Keanu Reeves. Don't tell him if you know him. He might not like what he sees. I'm still thinking about making a female skin. I once got started on a freckled one but I'm still waiting for someone to send me her pictures to make it just like hers.

3. I never owned land on the grid in the nearly two years I'm around in SL. At one point I had a cottage in the shadow of a great castle. Lily, a very nice lady allowed me to live there for free.

4. I love making snaps in world. So much that when I'm with a group of people I'm usually not really good company since I'm so busy making pictures I completely lose the thread of conversation. Sorry folks! Mind you ... WindLight may have fixed that for me though.

Four things about the puppeteer:

1. He lives with one two-legged and four four-legged companions. The four-legged crew is made up of the cat twins Castor and Pollux. The latter is very unhappy at the moment because he's confined to a large dog crate after being hit by a car. One of his hind legs is pretty badly damaged, especially the knee, but he had surgery and is recovering. He may limp forever though.

Castor on top.

The other two are the Irish wolfhounds Faelan (1) and Dwynfal (3,5).

2. He drives a bright yellow Lancia Delta just like this one:

3. He has never paid for a single piece of software on his PC.

4. He's just as lazy as I am.

Tagging eight others at this point seems a bit difficult since everyone I know has already been tagged, if not multiple times. It has to end somewhere I guess... and hell, I told you I'm lazy ;-)

Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Flickr Antics

Joonie Jatho just sent me a mail asking if I will ever blog again. Thank you Joonie. Of course I will. I know it's been a while. I guess I have been spending way too much time in photoshop and on Flickr. As a result I have used up my 200 pictures that come with a free account and I'm rather proud of most of them so I don't really want to delete any. I'm left wondering if I should go for a pro account but something is holding me back. I'll get to that later.

It's a funny world, the SL community on Flickr, and rather addictive. I have wondered why people, myself included, would spend so much time making, processing and posting pictures that will most likely be forgotten the next day. Is it the calling to produce true art, to express ourselves in a creative manner or is it the stream of views, comments and favourites we hope to get and with it the appreciation or even adoration we gain from our fellow flickerites? Maybe after all it's just an ego thing. Or part of it is anyway.

It would explain the extensive commenting and the virtual pats on the back that are constantly exchanged. It is a given that the more you comment on others the more comments you get back. The more comments you get the more you are loved, no? I guess it's like with every other community site whether it be Flickr, MySpace, SLProfiles even SL itself, we want to belong, be part of it. This does introduce some strange phenomenons though.

It's rare to get a "real" comment on a picture. What do I mean by that? A real comment in my opinion is just what it says it is, something a person wants to say about your work, good or bad. Not that I think all the "Gorgeous picture" or "Stunning work" compliments are not real but in all the comments made on my pictures there is just one in which the author states how she thinks the picture could be improved. Thank you Luna! That took courage because it's "just not done". In a way it is sad since we could all learn from each other if we had Luna's courage.

I know, there are groups you can add your pictures to just for that specific purpose, but that's not what I mean. I'm not saying every picture should be thoroughly dissected and evaluated, I'm just looking for some honesty. Usually the honesty is translated into "I don't like it so I will not comment".

Another strange phenomenon I've noticed is the tactics people use to get their pictures noticed. Adding it to a bizillion groups for example or adding a thousand tags or making sure you post it at a certain time for higest visibility. I caught myself doing it. I'm just as guilty of it as the next guy. All of that so I could belong and that brings me back to the pro account. I could easily get one. The cost isn't exactly a problem but why would I need to add hundreds more pictures? Why would I need to get my fix of comments on a neverending stream of pictures? Maybe I should stick to my 200 picture limit and only add pictures I think are really worth it, replacing an existing one. By doing so I would protect myself from the temptation to enter the rat race for pats on the back and I can go back to work on the pictures that really matter to me regardless of the comments.

But that's just a thought because if I started replacing older pictures I would lose the evolution in my work. It is most certainly there and it would be a shame to erase it. After all it is very nice to see how people's work progresses and changes or takes new turns. The endless creative possiblities was what sucked me into it and is what I still enjoy. I suppose I will just have to grow a spine and resist the temptation of picture vomiting and underhand tactics to get them noticed. The comments that matter will probably be there regardless and and I'll remind myself it's not supposed to be a popularity contest when I see 20 favourites appear on the next mediocre picture.

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Sorry to say, but ...

I've been reading some posts and comments this evening here and here and here and frankly I felt I had to add a little something...

Prok, you bitter old hag (and I mean that in the most endearing way), you are loosing it aren't you? Wake up and smell the coffee, SL has changed. It's no longer the little playground we had all to ourselves 2 years ago. Business has moved in, hordes of new av's are roaming the sims and there are just not enough experienced residents around to help them find their way. A lot of them don't care about the politics and possible social impact the metaverse could have. People like Vint do!

Now, before I go on I have a confession to make that is important for the rest of my expose. I'm European, a friend of Vint Falken and some of my work graces the walls of the Rezzable Cannery Gallery. I'm just stating this so you can label me properly. (are you still reading ?) In my defense I can say I've often had a good chuckle reading your stuff in the past.

I have seen the mud going back and forth on both your blogs and I'm afraid to say you really missed a few points. I'm not going to bother with the whole rating, google ranks, en what else stuff. What I want to point out is your obvious lack of empathy and ill will to see things as they are. Take your "Vint’s blog is, again, as anyone can see, about fashion, and about her own builds". That's bullocks. It is not because she illustrates her blogs with original material it is all about "her own builds" whatever you mean by that. If she writes about Open Sim it is because she realises it is the next step in a larger metaverse and when she writes about "some html on a prim" (sic) it is because she sees the possibilities it holds. Mean time you whine you have "nothing to click on at Rezzable" which proves to me you missed the boat. That was Command & Conquer.

You complain about the style in which the Cannery was built but you fail to see the fact a company has actually given residents the possibility to set something up they might otherwise not have been able to. I for one prefer that over another Nissan, IBM, etc sim where I can click on stuff only to get info on how wonderful their stuff is. Style is per definition debatable. What makes Rezzable different is the interaction between a company and independant residents and that is an evolution I applaud even if the execution isn't perfect.

Another thing that bugged me in your comments is the whole US versus the rest of the world thing. English is the Lingua Franca of the industrialised world at this point, but your own legislators had to push a law to make it the official language of the US because the Spanish speaking community in your own country is booming and is expected to outnumber the native English speakers soon if it already hasn't. Oh, and let's not forget a quarter of the worlds population speaks Chinese.

Your statement that the whole (sexual) ageplay thing came from Europe is beyond the pale and I will not even dignify it with a reaction. Or maybe just one, to point out the proven fact that the concrete reaction against sexual ageplay indeed came from Europe, even if charges were recently dropped by the Dutch state prosecutor. The fact people emigrated from Europe to the US because of religious persecution bears no relevance when it comes to SL; those days are long gone. In fact anyone who lives in a country where creationism is openly advocated should shut up about religious zealotry anywhere else. Anyway, all I have to say about this is that, being European, I'm personally offended by such faux rhetoric.

Now last but not least, you call people amateurs as if it were a disease. Amateurs are by definition people who do something because they enjoy it or believe in something. They don't do it for the money. That spirit is what produces the best SL has to offer. I'm an amateur and proud to be so.

My opinion, no more no less. And no, I don't want the discussion to be continued overhere.

Friday, 24 August 2007

Turbulent times

These seem to be turbulent times. In the last few days two of my friends told me independently they and their significant other are splitting up. The situations are rather different though. In one case my friend, let's call him Fred, decided to leave because his long time girlfriend Ginger admitted to him she fell in love with someone else. In an other case my friend Eve's husband Adam is about to leave her because she confessed she "knew" someone in the biblical sense. Wait a sec ... didn't I say the situations were quite different? Well, in Ginger's case the proverbial green grass on the other side of the fence is a RL person in Eve's he is a Second Life avatar.

So is there a difference? After all, the net result is the same; two couples who have been together for years are about to split up. Does it matter whether Eve fell for an avatar and Ginger for some real life person? I think it does for a number of reasons. When we fall in love with someone we're always on our best bewitching behaviour to convince the other party we deserve a chance with them. How much easier is it to hide behind a flashy avatar than is to hide behind your toothpaste smile? I would say a lot. Sooner or later inevitably the smile will show some cracks but you can hide behind the av reasonably comfortably forever unless and until you decide to meet up in person. In SL there will always be a larger degree of wishful projections about the other party and their feelings even though it rarely feels that way.

Now there is also the matter of sex and adultery. Here I think things are a lot less clear. What is worse, Eve looking at pixels exchange bodily fluids whilst having a racy conversation or Ginger going out with her friend for a beer, holding hands and exchanging dreamy looks knowing all too well what they both rather be doing? I think the clue is in that last bit "what they would rather be doing", because basically that's what it is in both cases; the expression of a longing, not the act itself or lack thereof. Both Eve and Ginger respond to the social rules of their environment and we all know those are a lot more liberal in SL than they are in RL. Ginger is held back from the next step by her own morality and/or social constraints whilst for Eve there is no next step but to take things out of SL into real life.

That's why, if I was in Fred's shoes, I would probably leave as well. Ginger has decided she wants to devote her love to someone else. If I were in Adam's shoes I wouldn't and I know that for sure because I'm still married. Eve explored some fantasies and satisfied her curiosity in a limitless fantasy world. Don't we all fantasise about that new and exciting stranger at one time or other or of indulging in that kinky thing we would never even contemplate in RL? SL provides the sandbox to experiment with those fantasies. Does that mean you want to give up on an existing RL relationship? Of course not.

Fantasy and creativity are what makes us human and sets us apart from your average chimp. SL gives us the space to experiment without fear for consequences other than a better insight into what makes each of us tick. Consequences usually arise from the fact many can't deal with the newfound freedom or because of judgemental people that don't understand the nature of SL. So does experimenting make us adulterous? Of course not.

Right now my heart bleeds for Fred, Ginger, Adam and Eve although for different reasons.

Now before you shoot, I respect the fact we are all individuals, situations vary and a multitude of factors can come into play. Human emotions are not an exact science, I see that all around me on a daily basis. SL provides us with a unique chance that, if used wisely, can help us gain an insight into aspects of ourselves that might otherwise remain hidden.

My opinion until proven wrong...
may it never be ;-)

Saturday, 4 August 2007

SL vs. RL Promiscuity Index

After reading Vint's blog on the SLex / RLex ratio a while ago in which she tries to catch the differences between people's Sl sex life and RL one in a formula, I was left with the feeling some things in her math didn't add up. Math is not my thing either, but being a bit bored today I started thinking about it. Since it doesn't always have to be serious stuff, this is what I came up with:

A sort of "Promiscuity Index" so to speak...

(RLA -216) / RLP
-------------------- = PI
(SLA x 5) / SLP

RLA = your RL age in months
RLP = the number of RL sex partners since your 18th Bday
SLA = your SL age in months
SLP = the number of SL sex partners since rezz-day
PI = Promiscuity Index (I wonder is someone is going to turn up with 3.14 *grins*)

Now let me explain why I think this is a more accurate way of calculating or if you want more indicative of the differences between yourSL sex life and your RL one. First of all there is the fact that her calculation doesn't take in account we are more or less active during certain periods of our lives be it in RL or SL. At some stages in both our RL and SL we tend to experiment more. So I thought I should divide the time we are sexually active by the number of partners over that time in both lives. To compensate for the fact you can be active inSL from day one and not so in RL I decided (rather arbitrarily I'll admit) to deduct 216 from the RLA thus starting the count at 18 years of age.

Another thing that had me thinking is the fact that there is a difference in pace between SL and RL. Face it, what is the average life span of a relationship in SL? So based on my experience I set the value at 5. Meaning the pace of life in SL is imho about 5 times faster than in RL. I agree it's debatable and any good arguments to change this value are more then welcome.

What do we get out of this? I think it makes for a nice comparison of your promiscuity in SL as opposed to RL. Let's look at an of course completely fictional example:

A male 42 years old has had 15 sex partners since he was 18. In SL he has had 5 since he rezzed 19 months ago.

That makes:

(506 - 216) /15
------------------- = 1,02
(19 x 5) / 5

The conclusion in this case would be that his promiscuity in SL and RL are fairly the same.

index > 1 = RL promiscuity < SL promiscuity
index < 1 = SL promiscuity < RL promiscuity

This says nothing about the frequency of SLex or RLex. I guess if you would like to hazard a guess at how often you've done it in RL since you turned 18 and the number of times you engaged in SLex in SL you could replace RLP and SLP by those values but I'm not going to venture there :-)

On a side note, this equation also solves the problem Vint had with her calculation that could lead to an illegal "divide by 0".

I'm as always curious to hear your thoughts and reactions!
And your Indexes of course ;-)

PS In case you were wondering, no, it's not me in the top picture ...

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Easy depth of field for SL pictures

It was Bella March's latest blog posts on renderview and an aside about the "depth" option in the snapshot tool that got me wondering about the possibilities of this option when taking pictures in SL. Maybe I'm kicking in open doors here but what at first seemed a rather useless option, apart from using it like Bella did to create a very powerful effect shot, all of a sudden made sense. I'm sure I'm not the first to figure this out, but I have never seen this trick mentioned before. A few Google searches revealed nothing either so here it goes...

SL shots lack so called "depth of field". In RL you focus on something and the elements in front of your focus point and behind it become increasingly unsharp as they are further from the focus point. How blurry they become depends on a number of factors that are not really important here like the focal lenght of your lens, the aperture etc. What does matter is that applying some blur to the background of your pictures brings out your main object and feels more real.

Making a decent blurred background can be a tedious job if you do it the traditional way as explained very well in Vint Falken's tutorial by making a mask. Not anymore...

In the snapshot interface select what Bella calls the "Matrix view" i.e. the "freeze frame" option and also select the "keep open" option. Now make your composition and save your picture to disk. Before anything else change the selection "color" to "depth". Save this gray-scale picture to disk as well.

The rest of the story is Photoshop editing. Open both bitmaps in Photoshop. Use control-a to select the whole "depth" picture and and control-c copy it. Now go to the actual colored picture. If you're lucky enough to have CS3 duplicate your background layer* and convert the copy to a smart object (right click the layer for the menu). In the layer thumbnail you should now see the smart object icon. From the filter menu select blur > Gaussian blur and apply a generous dose. In your layer appears a smart filter thumbnail. Click it while holding down the alt key. This will open the filter mask. Simply press control-v now to paste the "depth" image into the mask. Click back on the "background copy" layer and bingo, you used the depth image to determine which parts of the picture will be blurred and which not and how much they will be blurred. You can play with the brightness and contrast or the curves of the filter mask to optimise the effect or you can even get a brush out and make some manual adjustments.

If you don't have access to CS3 you can do it another way. Again open both the color version and the depth version of your picture. Start by inverting the depth picture by hitting control-i (or go to the top menu image > adjustments > invert). Select and copy the inverted depth picture as before. Select the color version and make two copies of the background layer. Of the three layers you have now select the middle one and apply some degree of Gaussian blur to it. Now select the top one and drag it down to the bottom of the layer box to the little icon looking like a rectangle with a circle in it to add a mask to it (or from the top menu select layer > add vector mask > reveal all). The top layer should now have a white thumbnail next to the regular thumbnail representing your pic. Click it while holding the alt key and use control-v to past the depth pic in your mask. There... two ways to get the same effect.

However, there are some drawbacks. The "depth" picture doesn't pick up on transparent objects so they take on the blur of what's behind them and there is the fact it doesn't account for foreground blur. On top of that the grey areas in the mask are actually partially transparent so the sharp smart object or underlying layer is showing through to some degree which gives those areas a somewhat haloed look. Nevertheless I'm sure it can serve its purpose as a quick way of enhancing a picture.

as an example:

This one...

... plus this one ...

... makes this one :-)

I would love to hear your comments and suggestions on refining this technique and I'd love to see your pictures created using it.

On a side note: sorry for the somewhat messy layout of this post, the template was not intended for tutorials :-)

* I like to keep the original background layer untouched so I can always go back.

Monday, 16 July 2007

My date with an Australian fire fighter and more.

Got your attention didn't I ?! No, I'm not coming out of the closet. This particular fire fighter is actually a very nice and bright young lady. Ember is the girl I bid for and won at the auction for Relay for Life I wrote about earlier. Because we both have busy schedules and are in opposite timezones it wasn't until last night we finally went on our date. I put on my tux and took her dancing and although that may sound a bit boring I had a great time. I guess it's the company that counts and they don't come any sweeter then Ember. I hope we can do it again sometime.

Upon logging off way too late for a Sunday night I found a rather strange mail in my inbox.

Dear Loki

I am really sorry to send you this unannounced. I am looking for some kind SL enthusiast to do me a big favour and your terrific blog suggested that you might be be that person ... it also, of course, gave me an email address.

I am also an SL enthusiast - not as experienced as you, though. It is a boring story (to do with my Internet connection being by proxy) but my system now automatically blocks access to SL. I am missing the fun of exploring SL but mostly I am missing chatting to my two best friends in SL and they will be wondering where I have got to. Please would you be kind enough next time you're in SL to send by IM two messages for me? I would be so pleased and grateful if you would.

I'll write them out below so that you can simply copy and paste.

I'll understand if you do not feel that you can do this for me - but either way I'd appreciate a very quick reply so that I know where I stand.

Thanks Loki and apologies for bothering you. Have fun in SL !!

(messages and names removed since that's no ones business)

Being the good soul I am and not entirely immune to the flattery (hey, he called my blog terrific... ) I logged back on and found both ladies online, sent them their messages and mailed my mystery mailer their replies. In a way it felt really good doing that. If for some reason or another I would be cut off from friends in SL I think I would try to find ways to get in touch too.

Which brings me to a topic I talked about with a friend a while ago. She and I met online over two years ago and became "e-pen pals" (for lack of a more apt word). At one point she stopped responding and since all I had was her e-mail address there was no way of finding out why. For all I knew she could have been in a car accident or ill or mad at me for some reason. It goes without saying I was worried to say the least. Thankfully, after not hearing from her for several months she resurfaced and explained why she had been silent for so long. I told her I had been worried something might have happend to her. Talking about it we both agreed to make sure that if anything happened to either of us we would make sure the other was notified. It's a small thing to take care of but it could make such a difference if something bad really happened.

Sunday, 8 July 2007

SL & traditional media

Second life is a hype in the traditional media, here in Belgium anyway. Wouldn't it be lovely if they also knew what they were talking about?! A while ago I read a column in a respected computer magazine in which an editor of the games section got all upset because someone had the audacity to compare Second Life to World of Warcraft. He ranted that there are no red light districts in WoW and SL is a non-game and the two shouldn't be compared. Fair, that's his opinion, after all it is a column. Unfortunately it was also very clear from the article that he had never even been in SL.

Now, whether SL is a game or not and whether or not it can be compared to WoW, I don't really care. What I do care about is the general tone used when traditional media report on SL. It seems that whereas a year ago SL was sniffed at as something novel and potentially interesting, these days it seems to be fashionable to reduce SL to a playground for perverts, nitwits without a social life and gold diggers. Everyone is entitled to their opinion but they should be based on something. More often than not I read articles written by journalists who actually claim they created an account and had a look around. Based on that they decide SL is only about getting laid or making Linden dollars. What about events like SL4B, beautifully crafted sims like Svarga, communities built around SL like, the vibrant blogsphere related to SL, the creativity of people posting in world pictures at Flickr, the friendships forged in world?!? That's the Second Life I've experienced and got to enjoy in the past 19 months.

Anyway, such sloppy journalism is not what I would expect from generally well respected magazines and newspapers. Honestly, I still have to read the first piece written by someone who has actually been in world for a decent amount of time. But maybe there is a glimmer of hope. Dutch writer and poet Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer has published a book about his adventures in SL. Born there in October last year as Lilith Lunardi (yes ladies and gentleman, sorry to burst your bubble but the big-boobed bombshell is a guy with a moustache) he has written a number of short pieces about SL that are now bundled into a book. I'm really curious to read it and to see if his take on things shows a bit more nuance. From the pictures of Lilith Lunardi on Flickr I'm afraid it might be more of the same but until I get my hands on the book he has the benefit of the doubt.

Saturday, 23 June 2007

Not so happy-go-lucky

I should not be writing this. I should not have the time to write this. I should be on my way to France for a weekend with friends and family. I'm not. I'm home, hungover and angry with myself for way too much whiskey last night. As you may have guessed this one is not about Loki. It's about the man behind Loki. Most of the time we are a lot alike apart from the looks and even there, some similarities exist. But, there are difference as well.

Last week was a rather turbulent one. I think I've managed over time to make Loki a nice, easy going, creative, somewhat flirty guy who lives his second life to the fullest. Last week however the differences between us blurred. Loki became the angry and melancholic drunk I sometimes am. I have always tried to keep that side of me away from him since it's a part of me I don't like and I don't particularly want to bother others with. Last week it shone through, bright and clear.

In a way I guess it was inevitable. We can pretend, we can disguise, we can make believe but in the end we are who we are. Loki is part of me, the better part I hoped but as it turned out he wasn't immune to my own bad spells. It's rather ironic it was actually SL spilling over into RL that brought all of this on. I always thought I could keep both lives nicely separated, but as many before me I have to admit now I couldn't.

For those of you who met with Loki's darker side I want to say I'm sorry. To all the rest who probably don't have a clue what I'm talking about I'll promise to clean up my act and make Loki the happy-go-lucky guy he always was again so hopefully you will never have to deal with me.

Thursday, 14 June 2007

Making a difference

Last Sunday I was auctioned off at a date auction. It was organised to collect linden dollars for Relay For Life by Friends Fighting Cancer, a group associated with the slprofiles website. This same group has organized several other activities in the past raising money for cancer research. So far they collected a whopping 722,000 L$ (about 2500 US$).

Now I'm not a big fan of this kind of incidental fundraising. I prefer to make donations to selected organisations on a regular basis. It gives me more certainty the money will be used for what I want it to be used. However, this group has managed to sell their cause with so much enthusiasm I couldn't say no and I don't regret it for a moment.

In a way it is incredible and heartwarming to see this aspect of SL. The contrast with the often painted picture of a meta verse full of perverts of every possible persuasion couldn't be greater. Here is a group of people who spent considerable time and effort to raise money for a worthy cause while others like me spend their time writing silly blogs about nonexistent SLelections and all they entail.

I'm actually not all that happy with my previous post and thinking about the whole RFL auction added to the uneasy feeling. Even though I tried to make a few valid points about democracy I guess most of it was nothing but more SLelections bs. Guess I was trying a bit too hard to contribute to something I should have ignored. Maybe it's time to change my tune and do something a bit more valuable as I originally intended to do? What I mean to say is; it's too easy to be just a bystander, commenting on what is going on and not put your money where your mouth is.

So I would like to call upon all the blogging would-be-Governors and whoever else for that matter to come up with ideas and suggestions to help the people of Friends Fighting Cancer carry their total to that magical number of 1.000.000 L$. Let's do something that actually makes a difference for a change. Surely it can't be that difficult?!

In world donations are always welcome of course! (all info can be found here)

Friday, 8 June 2007

SLelections vs. true Democracy

SLelection fever seems to have the blog sphere and by extension SL in its grasp. Blogs are buzzing with swollen rhetoric and candidates are crawling from under every rock. Idle promises are made and it even looks like the first smear campaigns are on their way. Contrary to popular belief and even after some heartfelt pleas I for one will NOT be running for office. Not only am I far too lazy, I will not do so because I think the whole idea is flawed. I hear candidates ranting and raving about democracy while they actually want you, the voter, to install a dictatorship. What else can you call a system where one person, being the governor, holds all the power? In addition, the way this story unfolds, this proposed SLelection is not about ideas; it's about personalities, inflated egos and exaggerated media attention, not unlike a lot of RL elections in fact. Why would we accept the same flawed system in SL that is forced upon us in RL? At least this time around we have a choice.

I considered campaigning against SLelections if they were to be held or even start a guerilla group to overthrow the governor once elected, but since that would be a rather negative attitude I will propose a positive alternative.
Thinking about it and brushing up on my political history I concluded that in all western countries politics are governed by a conflict model, majority against minority. I fail to see how this can be considered truly democratic. The only true democratic model is a consensus model. Keeping this in mind I would like to see a "Counsel of the Wise" put in place. Now this is true democracy! This counsel could debate the issues at hand and organise referendums to hear the people's voice on the matter. If by any chance an actual decision would come out of this at least it will be well thought through and supported by most.

Of course the question of how to put together the counsel is a tricky matter. Since we all respect our elders my proposition would be to invite the 100 oldest active avatars to take a seat in this esteemed new institute. Since we can't really force them to take up their mandate they would have to be at liberty to appoint someone they feel worthy of taking their place. I'm sure the collective wisdom and experience of these 100 will bring a wind of change and prosperity to our beloved SL and could be a major force in forging the future of SL and its community. Let SL show RL the way to a better world.

I'm sure that you, my dear reader, will be convinced by now this really is the only way to go, so now we can put aside all the hype, end the propaganda, bury the personal crusades, stop the soapbox politics, turn off the printing presses and start looking for the 100 Chosen Ones.

Someone will have to lead and moderate this esteemed counsel. I'll humbly volunteer to preside it.*

* I'm convinced this is a conditio sine qua non. ;-)

Monday, 4 June 2007

Who's afraid of Linden Wolf ?

An awful lot has already been said and written about Daniel Linden's by now almost mythical blog post "Keeping Second Life Safe, Together". It came in reaction to a German TV report about child porn and sexual age play on the grid that raised more than a few eyebrows. I don't intend to rehash all the points made and questions raised already, but I do wonder what Linden Labs hoped to achieve with this blog post. Clearly they must have anticipated a lot of residents would be outraged and opposition would be fierce. The announcement was also deliberately vague. Who is going to define "broadly offensive and potentially illegal" in a metaverse that spans continents, countries, cultures, age groups and so on?

So I wondered "why did they do it and why this way?" Legally the statement by Daniel has no meaning and even then, according to what law? US law because they are US based? What about the rest of the world? Of course, by posting this blog they can say they tried to do something but still it doesn't hold water. At first I thought they were just trying to buy time while an army of lawyers was examining their options, but to me it's more and more clear they just can't regulate everything. Out with the lawyers... Did they do it to escape a bad rap in the press? I don't think so, there are far better ways to do that. Then why?

I think a perverse and frankly broadly offensive game is being played. It's called "scare tactics". It goes like this: first you make a vague statement people can and will be punished for certain actions you don't define properly. Next, watch how people who don't want to lose land, money, friends, whatever start to steer clear from what they think might be interpreted as "broadly offensive". Now ain't that grand! You don't have to tell people what they shouldn't do anymore. They will do it for you. So what's next? Close a few sims, ban a few people and make sure you properly reinforce the whole idea? I call that scare tactics and an easy way out to say the least.

Apart from this being intellectually very unfair, it is also a very dangerous game as it will not affect those die hards that will continue to peddle truly illegal content. They will just be a little more careful but in the mean time Joe Blow's innocent kinky fun is ruined.

Thank you Linden Labs.

My advice? Don't give in ... enjoy SL as you always have.

Friday, 1 June 2007

Legal Issues

This morning someone pointed out an article in a blog post that got me thinking. It's about a guy who apparently found a way to get his hands on land in SL well below the market price. Not sure how he did it but anyway, Linden Labs found out and his account was terminated for violating the TOS. Nothing special if the guy hadn't been a lawyer and didn't take LL to court over this and won his case. This could have far stretching implications and proves once again Linden Labs have but a loose grip on what they started. You would think that by now they would have had an army of lawyers going over their business and the potential pitfalls they face.

In view of the recent hoopla about age play and child porn in SL, what is the consequence of the TOS being declared not legally binding and LL faced with potential claims of those who find their accounts suspended or terminated because of violations against the TOS. I can't see someone caught with child porn taking LL to court, but age players, consenting adults?

Seems to me like it's time for Linden Labs to get their ducks in a row and take a clear stand on a few grey areas if they don't want to end up swamped with court cases. Apart from that LL is already taking flack in the RL press, at least here in Europe. Stories about virtual rape, child porn and more give SL and by extension people in world a bad reputation. I for one am not happy about the fact all questions I get from people who were never in SL are about the aberrations and excesses. Don't get me wrong, SL is a great playground and as far as I'm concerned anything goes as long as we're talking consenting adults but SL is so much more and it's a shame that never gets highlighted.

Related links:

www.second life.reuters
Bragg's website
The verdict (.pdf)

UPDATE: Posted 6/29/2007

--- Posted by Robin Linden on Linden Lab Blog ---

On June 28, 2007, Linden Lab and its Chief Executive Officer, Philip Rosedale, filed their response to the complaint of Marc Bragg in the federal district court in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, denying Mr. Bragg’s allegations, and asserting counterclaims on behalf of Linden Lab against Mr. Bragg for computer fraud, breach of contract, and other claims, arising from certain activity that led to his being suspended from participating in Second Life.

Saturday, 26 May 2007

Not-a-meme #17: State Thy Groups

Ok, I'll humor you Vint. Here it goes...


This used to be the place to go if you really needed a good laugh. Playdoh noobs discovering sex balls is a hilarious thing to observe.

Cuppycake Gumdrop

Friends of probably the craziest woman I ever came across in SL.

Design's by AZULL

I like the lady, not sure about the designs ;-)

Fool's Paradise

Loki Fool's live music place is a very nice place to hang out. She always has talented people on her stage and she manages Nad Gough, one of the funniest performers in SL.

Hummingbird Cafe

Dimi and Leira's stage at Menorca. THE place to be for good music.

Ignorance is Bliss

Sinister Undertone's friends group. He's the better half of a dear friend of mine. Not sure why I'm in this group though. Could have something to do with access to their place.


Should nix this one since the group no longer exists. We made this group when preparing a surprise party for the admins of PSST stood for "Party Secret Slprofilers Team" :-)

Public Sex Commission

The Heavens Above the Clouds group. It used to be a fun place to go. Despite the name it had little to do with sex. Sure the poseballs were there but it was more of a meeting place then anything else. Haven't been there in a good long while. Wonder is it still exists.

Ready or Not Vip's

I'm not a club person but since a few of my friends worked there at one point I ended up with this one.

Rhythm Collective

Another live music place. Think we've got a theme going on here?

Second Life Bloggers

... what can I say ...

Shiloh's retreat

She is my oldest and dearest friend in SL. I'll retreat with Shiloh to Shiloh's retreat anytime :-)

SL Belgium

Oh well, why not be a little patriotic.

SL Belgium V.I.P.-Club

See above

Slutty By Nature

Someone once convinced me I had a golden future as a male escort and made me part of her group. Never had a single customer. Not that I ever made an effort ;-)


More music...

The Bloody Resort

For a while I actually had a roof over my head. Lilly Fizz was kind enough to offer me a small cottage in the shadow of her huge castle. I lived there for a month or two free of charge. The place was converted to a mall. All that's left now is the impressive castle.

The Hollows

Really can't remember where this one came from.

The Stage

Even more music.

I guess you could say I'm not big on groups. I absolutely dislike group IM spam. Most of my groups are there for reason of access to places or announcements of music events.

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

Sometimes 2 + 2 = 5

About two months ago I was talking to Mecca, a dear SL friend about the site where we met. It's a profiles site backed by a fairly active community that has been building up momentum over the last few months. Almost inevitably we ended up talking about Yo & Jaxi, the couple who actually started and run the place which must be a considerable amount of work. We decided that with SLP's first anniversary coming up it would be nice to do something to thank them for their efforts. After all, they have given us a fun and convenient way to stay in touch and share even outside SL.

We agreed right from the start it would have to be something carried by the SLP community so we sent out a whole slew of messages to those most active on the site. A committee was set up, plans were made and discussed. All that resulted in a big surprise party in SL with two live acts, a video presentation, fireworks, a present for Yo & Jaxi, donations made in their name to Relay For Life and SLP T-shirts for all. It was a blast.

Now back to the title. All of this would have been possible if only a handful of people had taken it upon themselves to organise all of it but what made this special was the joint effort, the clash of ideas and opinions. Granted the end result may have looked a bit eclectic in style but I don't think anyone there even noticed and it was so much more then just "a party".

These days companies set up shop in SL. Nice polished buildings with slick textures on fancy sims. Professional work. Looks great but where is the soul? I'll prefer the community effort anytime. It may not look as perfect, but it reflects the SL spirit that much more. Personally I think SL is losing that spirit little by little. As SL grows and draws the attention of commercial interest groups I fear it's inevitable.

Thankfully there will always be places on the grid where intelligent and creative people get together and come up with crazy, brilliant or right out wacky ideas and projects. Hopefully some of those will eventually spill over into the commercial venues and if that happens who knows what the future has in store for SL.

Thursday, 17 May 2007

SL Drama

Ok, so what's the most discussed thing in SL if you forget about Vint and more recently child pornography? No doubt in my mind it's SL relationships and all the drama they entail. On a daily basis I read testimonials from people who fell in love, made friends for eternity or feel they've been lied to, cheated on, abused and worse. People who then turn around and pour their, often wounded, heart out for all to see. What is it with SL and this emotional exhibitionism? I have my ups and downs and those who know me will notice, just like friends in RL would. If I had a really crappy week I may even post something about it, but still it will not go beyond what people around me in RL would know.

Sure, we all know the absence of physical presence creates an environment in which one can remain anonymous and enjoy the relative safety it provides so people are more likely to confide in others. We also need to fill in the blanks this absence causes which makes people project their wishes and expectations onto others but still that doesn't explain it. The same was true in text chat and although it had it's share of drama it was never like SL. I wonder if it could have something to do with the fact we primarily rely on our eyes to interpret things and we subconsciously replace the blanks with what SL shows us thus projecting the pretty/sexy/feminine/masculine/well dressed/etc. av onto the real person behind it causing us to be attracted to them.

Throw in the fact you can, more easily then in RL, hide the less desirable sides of your personality and I guess it could explain why people all over SL fall head over heels all the time. Unfortunately reality catches up sooner or later for one of the parties involved and what was perceived as very real suddenly is nothing but a fantasy and a new drama is born.

I'm sure there are other reasons as well, but the addition of a visual aspect that fools our judgement for a while accounts for a lot I think.

Sunday, 13 May 2007

Locked Out

Forced by circumstances (my main pc died on me and it will take some time to get it fixed) I had to abstain from SL this weekend and will probably have to do so most of next week. I find it hard not to be able to log on and talk to people I've come to consider friends. Most of them know by now why I'm not around and I'll be back as soon as I can, but still it annoys me. Thankfully there are alternative ways of communicating. Bug your friends with mail to IM messages or through SLprofiles is always an option but it isn't quite the same as actually being there (come to think of it .. if you have never seen the movie "Being There" go and rent the DVD... NOW!).

That said it did give me the time to think about what I want with this blog. I got some thought provoking comments on the previous post and found TianaMeriman's blog because of it. I think I'll be writing a "Woman in SL part II" soon. If I find the time that is . I don't know how some people do it. Maintain a first and a second life, jobs in both, relationships in both, blog about all of it *shakes head* ... not sure I can.

Friday, 11 May 2007

woman in SL

Ok, so it took me a while to get started. Honestly, if it wasn't for Vint twisting my arm and the fact I can't spend much time in SL due to computer trouble, I might have just deleted this blog. Then again, I read something earlier today that puzzled me and got me thinking. It was a heartfelt cry from someone who just found out her longtime SL girlfriend is in fact a man. The comment list was full of echoes of woman telling her the same happened to them.

Emma, a very dear friend of mine recently had exactly the same happening to her. She is bi in RL but never came out of the closet because, according to her, the place where she lives is a little anal about these things (go figure). Anyway, she found SL and fell in love with a pretty girl, Anna, she spent days and nights talking to (and I doubt it ended there). Since they didn't live all that far apart in RL after a while the inevitable question was raised whether or not they would or should carry their relationship over to RL. The idea was prodded and poked thoroughly but never materialised. Enter in SL Anna's RL boyfriend who starts hitting on Emma and asking her questions about Anna. After a while Emma did the math and confronted Anna with her suspicion; namely that pretty boy and Anna were one and the same. Anna confessed to being a man and walked away leaving my friend heart broken.

These stories leave me with a couple of questions. I can see the lure of being able to make some quick Linden $ as a dancer, model or escort using a female alt, but how can you string someone along well beyond the point where real feelings have started to blossom. Who can be that cruel? The often heard "SL is SL and RL is RL"-excuse is only true up to certain point. You would really have to lack any empathy not to notice things have progressed beyond SL. On the other hand I guess empathy is a typically female skill.

What also puzzles me is why so many woman in SL seem to start relationships with other woman. The number or girl/girl couples in SL is a few factors higher then in RL. Why is that? I have wondered if it has something to do with the fact woman are maybe more imaginative and susceptible to suggestion. I don't want to stereotype but I can't come up with an other explanation. Speaking as a man it is almost as if we are obsolete. At a stretch we're almost second rate second life citizens. I can't say I like that. Not only do we always have to take in account every pretty lady could be a guy in disguise, those of us being honest about our gender are often kept at a distance by the ladies of SL. Maybe that creates some sort of vicious circle.

I'd love to hear your opinion on this so by all means leave your comments.

Oh, all names mentioned are fake for obvious reasons.

Monday, 2 April 2007

and yet another blog was born...

Now let me use this first post to introduce myself. I'm Loki Popinjay, a Second Life resident since December 2005. I've been wandering through sims, meeting people, making friends with some of them and over time I have seen SL grow from a few hundred concurrent users to what it is now. I have to admit it sometimes is a puzzling place where people can look and behave very different from first life. It's those differences that make it so intriguing. Why do people behave in ways they would not even contemplate in real life, why would people like to run around looking like a fox or with cat ears and a cat tail? Even those who, at first glance, seem perfectly normal often display unexplicable behaviour from time to time. So many aspects of this wondrous world still haven't gotten a satisfying answer. Not for me anyway.

It's these questions I want to write about and hopefully I'll get some answers out of it.