The Job that Wasn’t There

I’m not the one who ends up in situations like this. Usually, I hear such stories from The Amazing Catwoman. Her scrapes and follies with insane handlers and crazy situations are great campfire tales, but I would not want to live through them. Of course, she handles these situations with rage, whereas I have always tried to look at the ups and downs of my life with humour—and often it doesn’t matter whether I am laughing at myself, someone else, or the universe as a whole.

Not long ago, I got my chance to experience this level of frustration for myself.

Davey! BLOG - 6

The dock was in poor repair.

The dock was in poor repair. That was the first clue. Even stepping carefully and slowly, some boards had to be avoided altogether.

Davey! BLOG - 5

My senses told me something was awry.

I had been asked to come and tell stories about the stars from the Rom at a planetarium celebration. Now, of course we have many stories about the stars, and I was looking forward to the chance to tell them to an audience not well versed in the affairs of the travelling folk. It was the planetarium’s 25th anniversary, according to the island curator who approached me, and so they wanted not just any Romani, but a “famous” Romani. They told me to come in armour, because the island was largely uninhabited and just below the planetarium, there had been an unfortunate incident where some eccentric’s menagerie had got a bit out of hand. Well, all right, I replied, though armour isn’t really the traditional dress of my people. Don’t worry, they said. You’ll only need it for the walk from the dock to the planetarium; then you can change into something you like better.

Davey! BLOG - 4

I walked through an arch and arrived in a deserted town.

I walked through an arch, as instructed, and arrived in a town that appeared wholly deserted. Of course, there was nothing in the information the curator sent that had even hinted at a completely deserted town.

Davey! BLOG - 3

Deserted for some time?

I surmised that this part of the island, at least, had been deserted for some time: I mean, how often have you seen a town with a pay phone booth that didn’t offer free wifi or credit payments lately?

Still, I shook my head and walked on. There was always the possibility that only this part of the island was deserted. My instructions told me to proceed up a hilly path, then turn right to take the steps up to the planetarium on the island’s highest point. The warning about the menagerie-gone-terribly wrong scenario suggested this was a place of danger and the reason they had insisted I arrive in armour.

PlanetariumBLOG - 1

I wore armour for this?

By the time I reached the top of the hill, my body was complaining about the dense armour and heavy cloak. I ditched the cloak but kept the armour on, just in case, and soon found myself in the company of two massive stone elephants. I scanned the overgrown, thorn bush-laden area and saw the tops of other stone figures on the train above.

I could not help it: I sat down on a half-broken stone wall and laughed my arse off. I wore armour for this?

A walk up the further steps confirmed it: there were stone zebras, stone antelope, stone tigers, stone lions. It was easy to conjecture a history where someone’s menagerie did indeed go wrong—and then some event changed things and turned all the animals to stone. It could have been That Event We Don’t Talk About, but that was months ago. It is a pity that Dyisi has faded into the mists: she might have some insights about other connected events, possible repercussions, and all those other things I prefer to understand only on a subconscious level.

Davey! BLOG - 2

Sure enough, the planetarium was deserted.

Sure enough, the planetarium was deserted. And not just deserted: it was also falling apart. Inside, the orrery-style mechanism continued to operate, and that gave me pause. Had this event, whatever it was, happened very recently? And if so, how could it be that the disrepair of the planetarium looked to be months if not years old?

Davey! BLOG - 1

Only one thing left to do

In my mind, there was only one thing left to do. I dragged my mostly-new drone out of my backpack and took a selfie in front of the broken-down planetarium to send to the guy who had hired me. Yes, I channeled TAC’s rage and used it for myself.

Then, I just walked back down to the pier, got in the little motorboat, made my way back to the mainland, and got the first transport back to Awenia. I wonder if I’ll hear from that guy.

Something tells me… not.

Style Card:
Body: Signature Gianni
Head: Lelutka Andrea
Skin: The Plastik,
Skin: The Plastik, Drazaren Skin (Homme), Alloas
Eyes: Avi-Glam, Lucent Eyes
Ears: Eclipse Art Studio, Dairon Ears
Hair: No Match, No Bills
Clothes: Noble Creations, Glory Armor (includes boots!) (Available NOW at We Love Roleplay!)

Location: Erebus Harbor, a beautiful region created by the folks at Dirty.Pretty

Coming Home to the Forest

I know I said something about spending a little time in Awenia Faerie, but the truth is the forest is close enough to touch from there, and the Romani camp is inviting. You hear all these rumours about how there’s never anybody there, but that’s a load of bull. They’re always there: you just don’t see them. That is, unless the vardos have left for other pastures for a little while. But the Awenia Forest Romani are the most settled bunch of travellers I know, and it’s all because the hunting is good and there’s plenty of room, and it being such a magical place, they feel comfortable and at home there.

DaveyReboot BLOG - 3

So, I decided I should put in an appearance.

So, I decided I should put in an appearance. What could it hurt, right? So there I was, walking down the path to the encampment, thinking about mostly nothing, when all of a sudden the smell of a roasting hedgehog came through the trees to me.

Well, that made me want to hurry. After all, getting the best of a roast hedgehog is often down to who’s there first. Hedgehogs aren’t all that big.

So there I go, speeding into the encampment, and as the path widens out into the vardo ring, there are Lash and Timbo, smirking at me.

“Well, look who’s here!” said Lash.

“I don’t see nobody,” replied Timbo.

I rolled my eyes. “Step aside, boys; I smell hedgehog!”

DaveyReboot BLOG - 1

Step aside, boys! I smell hedgehog!

And then Shelta Margaret pipes up from her bench next to the dugout for the clay ovens. “You stop plaguing Davey, boys. He’s late enough as it is.”

Late? “I just got here,” I said. “How can I be late?” Questioning Shelta Margaret is never a good idea, but I just couldn’t help myself.

“Word came down you were in Awenia, what, a moon course ago?” Shelta Margaret narrowed her eyes at me. “This is the twenty-seventh hedgehog I’ve put into the clay oven for you. Boys are about to mutiny, especially since we’re coming up on deer season. ‘Oh, no, Shelta Margaret! Don’t you make us eat no more hedgehog!’ And I just say, ‘I gotta, boys: never know when Davey’s coming through the forest.” And now here you are, clear as morning. Welcome home.”

DaveyReboot BLOG - 2

A whole hedgehog

The boys went fishing. And me? I got a whole hedgehog, all to myself.

Style Card:
Body: Signature Gianni
Head: Lelutka Andrea Bento Mesh Head
Skin: The Plastik, Drazaren Skin (Homme), Alloas
Eyes: Avi-Glam, Lucent Eyes
Ears: Eclipse Art Studio, Dairon Ears
Hair: No Match, No Risk
Jumper (Sweater, Americans!): Boyberry, Cable Knit Jumper, Charcoal
Shorts: Chuck’s, Kaike Shorts, black
Trainers: Gabriel, Leather Sneakers, black

Environment
Location: Awenia Forest
Poses: All from Wrong: Bento Static Male Poses – 46

Book Forest Expanded (The Changing Landscape of Awenia, 4)

I watched out the window as the boundaries of the Book Forest expanded. It’s funny, when things like this happen: you don’t actually see things moving—it’s just that a few seconds, or minutes, or hours later, you note that something has changed position.

The Book Forest is its own entity. It began as a concept in my mind, I admit, and I did have something to do with the first little iteration of it, but since then, as with all the wild places of Faerie, it has developed a mind and soul of its own. I noted the changing boundaries for a few days, but I stayed away because I knew the Book Forest would take care of itself. When the boundaries seemed to settle (or at least have been in the same place for a couple of days), I took Bran and his trusty smartphone camera, and we went down to take a look at the new Forest.

BFS3 BLOG - 1

The Book Forest

This is my favourite photo that Bran took as we explored the remade. Book Forest. He took so many pictures!

This entry is going to be image-intensive: there are 26 photos of the book forest. I’ll do my best to keep the text within reason!

As with all the best forests, the first thing I felt when I walked into the Book Forest is this wonderful silence. The outside world just falls away.

BFS3 BLOG - 3

The outside world fell away.

The outside world fell away, and suddenly we were in the world of “once upon a time”.

BFS3 BLOG - 4

Joy and wonder

I was overcome by a sense of joy and wonder. The first thing I noticed was this beautiful area that looked like a homage to writing and to books themselves.

BFS3 BLOG - 5

Stop shooting me!

“Stop photographing me and concentrate on the forest!” I admonished. “Bran, seriously; look where we are.”

Bran looked at me and winked. “I am looking, Your Majesty,” he said.

“Perv,” I shot back.

BFS3 BLOG - 6

Look at all the little chairs!

“Look at all the little chairs! Some of them are even shaped like books!” I couldn’t resist the urge to play storyteller.

BFS3 BLOG - 8

Bran seemed to like it too.

Bran seemed to like it too: he just kept photographing me as I laughingly told him to stop. I loved that the statue behind me was supported by two armloads of books, that the mushroom table had a stack of books on it. There was just so much to see.

BFS3 BLOG - 7

I wanted to tell stories here forever.

I wanted to tell stories here forever; there was something about the ambiance of the place, magical, removed, and yet so solid.

But there were many other things to see, so I stepped down from the tree stump podium and we walked further in to the forest.

BFS3 BLOG - 12

The next stop was a tiny house.

The next stop was a tiny house with books on the steps as if somebody had just run in to make a cup of tea.

BFS3 BLOG - 11

A mysterious air….

There was a mysterious air about the little cottage, as if magic occurred there. I wondered if it was the residence of some Author or other.

BFS3 BLOG - 9

Seriously, stop photographing me!

“Seriously, Bran—stop photographing me! If you do it again, I will make a photo face!”

The camera clicked. Again.

BFS3 BLOG - 10

I warned you!

“I warned you, Bran!” I shouted. “You know not to test me!”

To my embarrassment, there was no other sound than the electronic click of Bran’s mobile phone camera.

I sighed. “Fine. Let’s see what’s in this house.”

Bran insisted that it was rude to just walk into someone’s house, even if nobody was there. Some part of me, the part that grew up in Southeast London where places have bars on the windows, knew that. But Queen Gwyneth, you know. She goes anywhere she likes.

In the end, I folded. “Fine; but let’s look through the window at least.”

BFS3 BLOG - 13

It looked like someone was just moving in.

It looked like someone was just moving in: there was an empty bookshelf, and the only inhabitants were two cats. I do like cats.

“Maybe we could get to know whoever lives here,” I mused.

“Maybe,” Bran said. “But there’s more to see.”

“Yes, yes, yes,” I said.

BFS3 BLOG - 14

Beautiful trees behind the house.

There were beautiful trees behind the house. “You know what?” I said. “I really like that all the paths are made from books.”

“Oh, you noticed that, huh?” Bran smirked. “Your powers of observation are truly staggering, Your Majesty.”

“I don’t think you’re allowed to talk to me that way, Bran.”

“I have a photograph of you making a very rude selfie face, Your Majesty.”

“Fine.”

BFS3 BLOG - 15

Signs everywhere

There were also little signs everywhere; I liked that touch. And there were beautiful lamps, even though we didn’t need them in the bright sunlight of Faerie during the day. The fairytale books with their pop-up paper castles and other little touches gave us something new to look at every time we turned.

BFS3 BLOG - 16

Book Fort!

“Bran, Bran! Look! It’s a book fort! Take a picture of that!”

“I already did, My Lady.”

He was way ahead of me.

BFS3 BLOG - 17

Happily ever after

Once again, I was caught by these signs. Up ahead, there was this amazing glowing door set in to a rock.

BFS3 BLOG - 19

Another “strange” sign

There was another “strange” sign in front of the glowing door (See what I did there?). I wanted to go through it, but Bran resisted. I won, of course, but when I tapped on the door, nothing happened. How annoying.

BFS3 BLOG - 18

Somewhat changed, but still recognisable.

The book forest had kept some of its old features, and this little ruin was one of them. There were new features here, of course—and weirdly, some of them seemed to have come from my Frog Prince dream a couple of weeks ago. How very odd. The moon on a stand was here, and the little figuring of the frog prince himself looking into a mirror. I just shook my head.

BFS3 BLOG - 20

Candy Apple Tree

I loved this candy apple tree, next to another one of those beautiful pop-up books. It was hard to keep all the little details straight: I could see I was going to have to come here again and again.

BFS3 BLOG - 22

Stump House

This little house made from the largest stump I’d ever seen, had also been a feature of the old forest, but the surrounding roses and trees were new. I guess the book forest’s expansion provided more room for beautiful things. And I’m never one to discount the appeal of beautiful things.

BFS3 BLOG - 21

Book bed and bridge

The little area with the bed made from a book and the table full of interesting things was till there, as was the bridge. But there were new book piles, even a large book arch.

BFS3 BLOG - 23

Then I turned around, and this little house took my breath away

Then I turned around, and this little house took my breath away. When I checked, it was empty. “It’s just waiting for someone small to move in,” I told Bran.

“Like… Clutie, for instance?” Brian asked. He was smirking.

“She’d never leave me,” I said.

“How wonderful for you.” The expression on his face said everything. Bran and Clutie… yeah; they don’t get along.

BFS3 BLOG - 24

Wow, look at that book arch!

“Wow! Look at that book arch!” I couldn’t wait to stand under it. “Bran, Bran! Take a photograph!” I shouted.

Brian smirked. “I thought you didn’t want me to make any more photographs of you, on pain of your selfie face,” he said.

“I changed my mind.”

Bran rolled his eyes.

BFS3 BLOG - 25

Rose petals, like a kiss

Now, sometimes funny things happen around you when you’re a Faerie Queen. In this case, it was hundreds of rose petals, just falling from the big book arch. So I blew them at Bran. To thank him for the photograph, of course.

BFS3 BLOG - 26

The Narnia Wardrobe

I call this the Narnia Cupboard. It’s been here since the Book Forest first sprang out of the surrounding woodlands. I like to think it was the first thing that appeared here, and maybe everything else sprang from it. It’s special.

But we were approaching where the paths converged, nearly back to the Book Forest’s entrance. I couldn’t help but feel a little sad. I only get to discover a place for the first time, once.

Until it remakes itself again, that is.

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Lona Bento Mesh Head
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Seattle (Available NOW at  Ultra!)
Nails: Cazimi, August VIP Nails (You can pick this up at the Cazimi Main Store!, but only if you’re a member of the Cazimi VIP Group)
Ears: Lumae, Leevi Long Ears
Eyes: AviGlam, Doll’s Eyes
Gown: Junbug, Pippa Gown (Available NOW at Equal10!)
Hair and Antlers: Analog Dog (natch), Doe (Available FOR JUST TWO MORE DAYS at The Gacha Garden!)
Autumn Necklace & Earrings: Bliensen & MaiTai, Augumn (Available NOW at Collabor88!)
Book of Shadows Necklace: Maxi Gossamer, Soul Catcher Book of Spells
Rose Petals: Persefona, Floating Rose Petals 2

Location: Awenia, The Book Forest
There are so many things to credit here that I know I will leave some out and possibly put some in that aren’t shown properly in photographs. If you have questions or would like to know more about any item, just leave a comment here or message me in-world (Gwen.enchanted), and I’ll give you whatever information I can. Also, some of the items have stories around them, and I am not able to resist telling a good story, ever.

Book Paths and Forest Bounding Books: Una, Book Path. (This is now a group gift at the Una Main Store!) Una Daxter sent me this, I think because I played her Alexandra gacha about a million times at a Fantasy Gacha Carnival. It’s one of the coolest things anybody has ever given me, and I have blogged and photographed and credited it more times than I can count. It was absolutely the inspiration for the Book Forest, and I cannot thank her enough for that small gift. Although it’s been in every blog post featuring the Book Forest, I haven’t told this story before. I love it very much.
Forest Entrance Book, Brown Book Scenes, Leaf Book, Book Bed Fae Swing (with a tree): BananaN, all from Story Book Gacha except the swing. (You can find this at the BananaN Main Store!)
Tree Stump Chairs and Podium, Mushroom Seats, Tree Spirit With Books: Merchants of Dreams, Writers’ Place. This was a live auction item from the 2015 Relay for Life of Second Life Fantasy Faire. It’s not available. It was given to me by the people who won the auction so that it could be placed at the Milk Wood Writers’ Colony, and there is a copy of it there in Gossamer Down so that anyone can use it to hold workshops and meetings.
Cabin, Doors of Durin, and Pink and White Pop-Up Castle Book: Spell, A Forest Tale Gacha, Cabin; Spell, Middle Earth Gacha; and Spell, Once Upon a Time Gacha  (You can find all of these at the Spell Main Store!)
Butterfly Tree with Faeries: Simply Shelby, Butterfly Tree (Available at the Simply Shelby Main Store!)
Lighted Book Tree: {e}lusive Designs, Book Tree With Lights. ({e}lusive is in between stores at present; however you can find their stuff at the {e}lusive Marketplace Store.)  Dema Fairport, who created this beauty, is a SL creator, DJ, and photographer. She was in my Visionaire class, and we’ve been friends ever since.
Lanterns, Wishing Well, and Bridge: Raindale, Maplemoor Gacha. (You can find this at the Raindale Main Store!)
Signs: All these signs are from the stunning 8f8 Storyteller’s Burrow gacha. (You can find this, and lots of other amazing stuff, at the 8f8 Main Store!)
Big Book Fort: Cheeky Pea, Book Nook gacha, Book Fort (You can find this at the Cheeky Pea Main Store!)
Ruins: Ionic, Sacred Ruins (Available at the Ionic Main Store!)
Décor in Ruins:
-Silver Moon on Stand:
Air, Frog Moon Silver (Available NOW atEnchantment!)
-Table:
Dust Bunny, Autumn Calling, Wooden Table (You can find this at the Dust Bunny Main Store!)
-Book on Table With Rose:
Konpeitou, Beauty and the Book w/Rose (Available NOW at Enchantment!)
-Frog with Mirror (on table)
Konpeitou, Frog Prince Mirror (Available NOW at Enchantment!)
-Alchemy Book Scene: Stormwood, Alchemy Book Scene!)
-Story Book on floor (and many other story books scattered around the forest): Divine Creations, Tell Me a Story (It looks like Divine Creations has some Real Life and isn’t active in SL at the moment, but you could probably find pieces of this gacha on the Marketplace.)
Candy Apple Tree, Fairy Tale Chairs, Table, Parfaits, Daisies & Ladybirds, Will-O-Wisp Tree, Glam Poppies, Persian Carpet Grass:  (Available at The Looking Glass’ Horizon Dream Region!) I’m a proud Looking Glass fan.
Stump House: Since 1975, Fairytale Garden House (Available at the Since 1975 Main Store!)
Magical Tree House: Kazza, Abode Tree (I couldn’t find this at their main store; it was an ultra rare from a fantasy gacha. You can find it on the SL Marketplace, but it’ll cost you.)
Roses: {anc} Sugar Rose Field (Available at the {anc} Main Store!)
Giant Book Chair and Wonderland Book Arch: Boudoir. (Available at the Boudoir Main Store!)
Trees: There are so many different trees in here I’d go nuts listing them all for you, but they’re from places like Rivendale, Harshlands, Keke, and Happy Mood. You can go to every single one of these places and find the most amazing stuff ever.

Thank you to everyone who previewed the expanded Book Forest and gave suggestions, reactions, or just was nice to me while I went through all my obsessive stories about Cool Stuff. These people include, but are not limited to: Mystical Edenflower, Nyza Stillwater, LLRiven, and Nathaniel Ballard.

The Gypsy Davey’s First Awenian Tour

That makes it sound as if I am going on tour in Awenia. The Author is a bit florid with language today, methinks. (Really? I would never say ‘methinks’.)

No; the fact is, I’d heard through the grapevine about what Queen Gwyneth is doing with Awenia, and despite the fact that we are no longer… well, you know… I still like to check up on her.

She’s made the entry point for Awenia’s faerie in the big dancing square—at least, I hope that’s what it is—and although parts of it remain unfinished, I think she’s done a really passable job so far.

TGD-Ench-NC BLOG - 1

Her Majesty has done a passable job so far.

I was pleasantly surprised, really. I guess in the standard stereotypical view of Queens, Her Majesty isn’t exactly a ‘detail’ person. So the fact that she’s concentrated on getting the big picture worked out first and is obviously waiting to concentrate on the little bits and bobs—or perhaps getting her many minions (not the yellow kind) to do that for her—makes a kind of sense.

TGD-Ench-NC BLOG - 2

View from the Dancing Square

Here is the view from the Dancing Square. Now, I notice all kinds of little things, but as you can see, the big trees are all in, and the landscaping has been done. Of course, she’ll eventually add some ground cover and possibly some smaller trees, but structurally it looks passable to me. And yes, ‘passable’ is a compliment as far as I’m concerned.

TGD-Ench-NC BLOG - 3

I’m glad she kept the music shop.

I’m glad she kept the music shop: it seems to be one of the only features of the previous faerie incarnation that has held on. Now there’s even a little stage propped up on a green near the shop; presumably she will sponsor some performances there—or the music shop will, I guess. I recall there also being a small stage setup inside the shop itself; I wonder if there’ll be differences between the kinds of acts that get booked for one or the other. Something to think about.

TGD-Ench-NC BLOG - 4

Of course, they’d never book me there.

Of course, they’d never book me there. The stampede of women would be unmanageable, given the relatively small size of the green and of Awenia Town itself.

TGD-Ench-NC BLOG - 5

So… where to next?

So… where to next? I ambled down the High Street, passing by a couple of shops and a couple of residential buildings, until I got to the end, where one can turn a corner and find themselves in such unsavoury places as the offices of FaeWatch (how could she allow that rag to have an office in her Realm?), a psychic (obviously not a proper Gypsy psychic), a craft store (seriously?) and a pub, which is more like it. But it was the scene across the wide farm-facing street that caught my eye.

TGD-Ench-NC BLOG - 6

Now this? This is a kissing tree.

Now this? This is a kissing tree if ever I saw one. It’s too bad the Faerie Realm is almost deserted at the moment: I can imagine just standing here and, you know, whistling or singing. I could collect dozens, maybe hundreds of kisses in the span of an hour. Perhaps I shall suggest a Gypsy Davey Kissing Station for a village féte or something.

This little park was truly lovely. It has everything one needs for a good park: beautiful flowers, trees, an ancient structure to bound it from the nearby light forestland, and of course restful benches.

TGD-Ench-NC BLOG - 7

Restful Benches

I can imagine myself, having taken off my coat and letting my shirttails go where they will, reclining, just enjoying the breeze. Hm… I probably need a book here to look more legit, but let’s be honest—I don’t think I even own a book. I’m a lover, not an intellectual.

Ahh… I ended my reverie, as another detail caught my eye, this one completely silly.

TGD-Ench-NC BLOG - 8

The Line Forms Here, Ladies!

Why of course my castle is “This Way”! Ignore all those other signs.

The line forms here, Ladies!

Style Card:
Body: Signature Gianni
Head: Catwa, Skell Bento Mesh Head
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Brent (Brent is this month’s group gift for men at 7 Deadly s{K}ins! You can pick it up at the 7 Deadly s{K}ins Main Store!)
Ears: Eclipse Art Studio, Ears Dairon
Eyes: AviGlam, Dramatic Eyes
Clothes: Noble Creations, Prince Lawrence Outfit (Available NOW at Enchantment!)
Shoes: Avatar Bizarre, Crowley Boots
Hair: No Match, No Offence
Hairbase: Unorthodox, Good V2 Hairbase

Location: Awenia Faerie
Kissing Tree: The Looking Glass, The Kissing Tree (Available NOW at Enchantment!)
Thisway Thatway Tree: Titans, Thisway Thatway Tree
Bench: Raindale, Heathergate Bench

The Forest Meets the Trees (or, Corporate Art)

Everybody who knows me, if asked the question, “Is Her Majesty a Forest Person, or a Tree Person?” would answer that I am a forest person. I appreciate that details make up the things we see around us, and I appreciate details, but I am far more interested in the complete picture than individual pieces of it.

So when I got the invitation from Arahaelon for a lost weekend in Helgen Francis, I pictured long walks in the parks, the view of the Gyldenport bridge, evenings in the city. The address he gave me was for what sounded like a very posh hotel, just on the outskirts of the city, and he told me not to worry about anything; he’d have it all set up for me.

Don’t worry about clothes, shoes, your hair, anything. I’ll meet you at 8:00 in the hotel lobby. -A

Well, that sounded promising. I pictured those romance novels where Hero always knows exactly what size Heroine is, right down to the unmentionables, and every dress fits perfectly. Still, I brought along an overnight bag, just in case he got it wrong.

Hotel Snobette was indeed a very posh hotel! The porter who greeted me at the door gave a bow, seemed to know exactly who I was, and told me we could bypass check-in. Then he took me up to a large suite on the second floor, took my bag, unpacked it for me, and refused the tip I offered, stating he was paid enough for his services and enjoyed his job.

The room opened into a hallway, to the left of which was the bedroom and bath suite. The front was a foyer. I investigated the bedroom first, and found that Arahaelon had indeed gotten all the details right as I shimmied into the dress. Ooh, a Senzafine! Deliciously strapless, matched perfectly with the shoes he’d chosen, and with a lovely line. I got dressed, spent an hour with the hairdresser who arrived a few minutes later, and then made my way into the foyer to pass the time until 8:00.

hotel posh BLOG - 1

I opened the French doors

The first thing I did was open the French doors to the balcony. Oh, what a beautiful breeze! The hairstylist, someone from Emo*Tions, had done my hair in what she said was a popular Helgen Francis style this summer, Vindblåst. Their version of it is called Chrystal. 

hotel posh BLOG - 2

Oh, that breeze!

Oh, that breeze! I half-closed my eyes for the joy of it. I’d taken the precaution of having my skin painted properly before I arrived in Helgen Francis, because the ladies at 7 Deadly s{K}ins always know just what to do.

hotel posh BLOG - 3

I stepped out on the balcony

I stepped out on the balcony to get a different look at the room and the inner courtyard of the hotel a few doors below. When I turned around, something caught my eye.

hotel posh BLOG - 4

I couldn’t stop staring

It caught my eye, and held it. I couldn’t stop staring. While at first I’d taken in the whole of the room, I now realised the art on the walls was, well… dreadful. There was no other word for it. On second thought, I could come up with several: hideous; horrendous; monstrous; abominable; nasty. More came to mind, but why belabour the point?

I caught the hairdresser as she was leaving and asked her to take a photo of me with other examples of this fine *cough* artwork.

hotel posh BLOG - 5

Save me!

I texted this photo to Arahaelon with the simple message, Save me! Now, Arahaelon isn’t omnipresent in my life, but he is reliable when he is there, so I wasn’t surprised when he showed up half an hour early.

He kissed me on the cheek and complimented my appearance first of course; that’s only proper. But then he looked at the walls. “You weren’t kidding,” he said. “At least I got here before you took out that sickle you carry and slashed it to bits.”

hotel posh BLOG - 6

Me? I would never!

“Me?” I asked, affecting innocence. “I would never, ever, ever do such a thing!”

“Sure you wouldn’t.” Arahaelon tapped a message. “Valet will be downstairs with the car in about thirty seconds. Let’s go before you cause actual damage.”

I just laughed.

Of course, hours later when I returned, I found the artwork had been changed to line drawings of trees.

Much better.

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Lona Bento Mesh Head
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Texas (Available NOW at  eBento!)
Nails: Cazimi, BotM, Dan’s Metallics & Glitters (You can pick this up at the  Cazimi Main Store!)
Ears: Swallow, Magic Pixie Ears
Eyes: AviGlam, Doll’s Eyes
Gown: Senzafine, Maris Gown (Available NOW at The Trunk Show!)
Shoes: Reign, Jolie Heels
Hair: Emo*Tions, Chrystal (Available FOR JUST TWO MORE DAYS at Cosmopolitan!)
Necklace: Swallow, Magic Necklace (Available NOW at Kustom9!)

Environment: FoxCity Photo Booth, The Neighborhood
Furniture, LAQ Decor, Sofa Set
Corporate Art: I feel I shouldn’t name the artist here, because Gwyneth panned so badly. If you’re curious, feel free to IM me in world, and I’ll send you to the artist’s web page, although you may be surprised at how much it will cost you to have one of these pictures in real life!

Shadow Play

I looked for songs about shadows to illustrate this post, but they all seem to be about being fooled by bad relationships or psychotic ex-lovers, and that’s not really what I wanted to talk about, so despite the fact that the chorus for Fish‘s song Shadowplay keeps going through my head as I write this, I won’t inflict it on you guys. You’ve probably never heard of Fish anyway. He was with a band called Marillion, and you’ve probably never heard of them, either.

Anyway. I haven’t spoken a lot about my experience with the Visionaire photography class here, but you’ve seen the results, changes, and experimentation in my photographs. Or at least I hope you have. Friday was our last class before graduation (February 19— I’ll just go ahead and invite all of you to the party now!), and we had a guest teacher, Senna Coronet. Now, the only thing I knew about Senna before this class was something one of our instructors had told me: he photographs in complete darkness, using only projectors. But the fact is, Senna is a genius at explaining very complex things in a simple way. And, I’m convinced now that not only can Senna photograph in complete darkness, using only projectors—so can I!

shadowplay-blog-1

Shadowplay 1

Shadowplay 1: Here, Gwyneth is lit by a projector and three prim lights, the usual LumiPro setup. She is in a constructed prim box, which in retrospect I probably should have made totally white in colour/no texture; however, I knew I would be shooting in Phototools No Light windlight, so I didn’t bother. I may go back and reshoot some of these for my Visionaire graduation portfolio and see how the texture of the box might change the photographs. Anyway, I wanted her to be mostly black and white, so I chose Lumae‘s Eirtae Nimbus fantasy skin: it’s very white with subtle shading, and I’ve used it before when I turned Gwyneth into a Bain Sidhe for a post several months ago. This outfit is one I’ve seen photographed a lot: it’s Blueberry‘s Angelberry set from the current (and half over!) round of The Epiphany. This hair is special, as well: it’s from Emo-Tions, and it’s at Hairology for another few days: it’s Anik, and I loved it so much I’ve already used it in a blog this month, but I love Emo-Tions’ silver textures so much that I put it on again for this one. Gwyneth is wearing eyeshadow from ArteSmoky Eyeshadow, but it’s also called Gwen, so of course I had to buy it! The red lipstick is one of the Catwa choices for the Catya mesh head, which Gwyneth is in almost all the time these days. The lipstick and the eyes (from Avi-GlamElysian Eyes, colour Ghost) are the only things with colour on Gwyneth.

In order to get the projector to appear in a perfect circle, I chose LumiPro‘s wide spotlight bulb for the projector, then moved the projector so that it was centred on Gwyneth’s middle. I pulled it back so that the spotlight appeared to be in a perfect circle around her. This pose, and all the poses in this post, come from An Lar‘s new Flutter Series, which you can find at this month’s SaNaRae. The prim lights are arranged so that Gwyneth’s face and hair are highlighted, and the third (LumiPro standard) prim light is on her body below the waist, on her upper legs. She’s rotated so that there is just a bit of sharp shadow behind her and so that you can see the fluffy wings make a shadow as well. I used some tips I got from William Weaver in the class he taught us at Visionaire about using Phototools to best advantage to make sure my shadows were sharp and visible behind her.

I shot a couple of photos with this lighting setup, and I was so pleased with myself that I sent a Gyazo link to Senna, proudly noting that I had been listening in class. At the same time, the creative and delightful Lola Key suggested that I try a Gobo, so I started playing with some of the LumiPro gobos to see what I could come up with.

shadowplay-blog-2

Shadowplay 2: Gobo

Here is a double experiment: a gobo, plus a single blue coloured prim light behind her to colour the shadows and set a different tone for the floor area. In retrospect, I’d like to try this with her floating against the wall so that the shadows don’t bend, but the wall/floor dichotomy also makes her appear to be on a stage somewhere, so perhaps it’s a good thing. Notice how the blue prim light affects the colours of the shadows behind her legs and the bottom part of the wing? This was Senna’s suggestion when I sent him the Gyazo link, and after that I just went crazy, putting differently coloured prim lights behind her and experimenting with different placements!

shadowplay-blog-3

Shadowplay 3: Different Gobo, different lights!

Here, there are two more prim lights placed behind Gwyneth so that you get a different colour both on her body and wing shadows, and also one off to the side so that the gobo changes colour on the right side of the photograph. Ordinarily in a blog photo I’d have turned her so her face is visible, but here I was concentrating more on the shadows of her hand against the wall. The Vista Bento Hands do such great things with their random movements, even with static poses, that I left this option on and just shot when I liked the position her hands were in.

shadowplay-blog-4

Shadowplay 4: Close-up

For this photograph, I turned off the gobo option and moved the spotlight very close to Gwyneth so that the spotlight circle would appear smaller behind her. I left the purple and teal prim lights in place to create some interest around the edges of the spotlight. For those of you in the UK who are familiar with Charlie Brucker, I’m concerned that Gwyneth looks a little too much like Philomena Cunk in this photograph, but I’ll overlook that for now. Note that all the LumiPro lights were set to a grey colour and I turned the intensity and falloff down so that Gwyneth’s white skin would not be blown out by such a close placement of lights here.

shadowplay-blog-5

Shadowplay 5: Symmetry/Asymmetry

Here, I intentionally kept the spotlight fairly small, while panning out so that the single prim light behind Gwyneth’s ankles shows you that she’s standing on a surface somewhere, possibly a stage (which the spotlight sort of implies). I carefully positioned the camera so that her shadow was roughly equidistant from her on all sides, even though she wasn’t perfectly centred in the spotlight.

So many thanks to the whole Visionaire crew for this amazing class. Wren and Nariko have created a wonderful thing. If you want to get your mind blown on a weekly basis and learn more about SL photography than you could possibly absorb in a single second lifetime, check out the Visionaire Website for more information and to see when applications will open for the next class. If you’re super keen, you can always IM WrenNoire Cerise in-world and talk to her: she is approachable, warm, and a great teacher. I cannot say enough about how enlightening and empowering the Visionaire experience is. Do not think about the money. It is not about the money. I am thankful every day that I splashed out for this class. It has been worth every Linden and much, much more. It’s worth it for the critiques alone, but the lessons will blow your mind, and the guest speakers are amazing, and the opportunities for learning more about your own work, developing your own style, and finding out how the pros do it? Just wow.

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Catya Bento Mesh Head
Hair: Emo-Tions, Anika (Available for a few more days at Hairology!)
Eyes: Avi-Glam, Elysium Eyes (Omega eye appliers)
Skin: Lumae, Eirtae, Nimbus Fantasy Skin (Available at The Lumae Main Store!)
Ears: Lumae, Leevi Long Ears
Hands: Vista, Bento Prohands
Outfit: Blueberry, Angelberry, in colour Slayer (Available until February 15 at The Epiphany!) —all the colours are beautiful, but I particularly wanted the black for this series of photos.
Makeup: Arte, Gwen Eyeshadow (Smokey Eyeshadow) (Lipstick is included with the Catya head)
Poses: An Lar, The Flutter Series (Available NOW at SaNaRae!)

Setting: A Box!

Learn more about Visionaire at The Visionaire Website!

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I’d never talk about lighting Second Life photography without it!

h011017   lumae-logo

Positively Faux Street

New Blog Headers - 11

The Amazing Catwoman:

Pocket Universes all have this feel about them, like they’ve been stamped onto a sheet of paper about a dozen times, only nobody’s bothered to re-ink the stamp. You spend as much time as I have in this business, you get to know them the second you step in to one.

Now, granted, not all pocket universes are bad. Some of them are perfectly decent club and shopping districts. Some of them are decent hideouts. In fact, I’ve even been to one or two pocket universes I actually liked. But the fact is, when you get hired to do a job in a pocket universe, you’re doing something illegal (almost always), or you’re doing something somebody doesn’t want somebody more important than they are to know about (always always).

tac-in-amsterwhatsis-6

One thing I can guarantee: if you land in a pocket universe that has as its portal a pair of Big, Impressive Elfin Doors and you’re not then in Elf Land, it’s not one of the good ones.

One thing I can guarantee: if you land in a pocket universe that has as its portal a pair of Big, Impressive Elfin Doors and you’re not then in Elf Land, it’s not one of the good ones. Just a bit of wisdom from your old buddy TAC. Because damn. This pocket universe was really not one of the good ones. I could tell it the moment I stepped through the Massive Elfin Doors.

tac-in-amsterwhatsis-9

And whether you’re in a good pocket universe or a bad one, it always takes a moment or two to get your bearings.

And whether you’re in a good pocket universe or a bad one, it always takes a moment or two to get your bearings, but that’s true of all portal travel. Worst portal sickness I ever had was on a trip to Manchester, I kid you not.

Anyway, the fixer had set me up with a place to stay, which was a blessing, since the whole PU (I love that abbreviation) seemed to be made up of one street of shops and a lonely little city park, bordered by forest on one side and God Knows What on the other.

tac-in-amsterwhatsis-8

As luck would have it, it was upstairs from an art studio. Or maybe it was a gallery. I get those two mixed up.

As luck would have it, it was upstairs from an art studio. Or maybe it was a gallery. I get those two mixed up. Never gave a fuck about art anyway. I put my shit away and started to settle in for the night, but since I was meant to report for work in the morning, I figured I’d take a look around, see what there was to see.

As it turned out, there wasn’t a hell of a lot to see. Every place except the art studio/gallery/whatever was locked up tight, even the address I was meant to report to the next morning. Come to think of it, the clerk at the art studio/gallery/whatever hadn’t been there when I’d come back downstairs, either.

Great. I’m in a two-bit pocket universe with only one street, and the only unlocked building is a fucking art studio. Gallery. Whatever.

tac-in-amsterwhatsis-10

The park was a disappointment, too.

The park was a disappointment, too. Not even a fucking bench. Just a lit up tree with lights all in it (because it’s never too early for Christmas in Pocket Universe Land), a big clock, and some weird statue of a girl apparently losing a battle with a dandelion. Awesome. I went back to my special room, probably the only living inhabitant of the whole universe, such as it was, and I just meditated until I fell asleep. Because damn. The least they could have done was bought me dinner, you know?

Fucking bright sunlight woke me the next morning. At least there was a shower, and since I was the only person in the universe, plenty of hot water, booyah. And when I got out of the shower, I noticed somebody had left a styrofoam cup of coffee (really? do they even make styrofoam in pocket universes?) and a shabby-looking croissant on the table in my room. Delish.

tac-in-amsterwhatsis-1

They told me I’d meet my contact in the coffee shop.

They told me I’d meet my contact in the coffee shop. Luckily, it wasn’t shut tight in the morning: I hoped the coffee would at least be better than that swill I’d swallowed with the croissant (because fuck knows when I’d get another meal, you know?).

tac-in-amsterwhatsis-2

It did not take me long to realise this was not the sort of coffee house I’d been thinking of.

It didn’t take me long to realise this wasn’t the sort of coffee house I’d been thinking of. For fuck’s sake, the whole place looked like some teenager’s dream of what an Amsterdam coffeehouse looked like, except of course the teenager’s from somewhere in Ohio….

tac-in-amsterwhatsis-4

Oh, hell no. I turned to walk out.

Oh, hell, no. I turned to walk out. Figured I’d ring my fixer as soon as I could get a signal and let him know there was no way there could be any good work in a place like this.

“Tacey! Wait!” I stopped dead. Nobody’d called me that in years. And the voice was familiar. Jesus fuck.

tac-in-amsterwhatsis-5

“Owen?” I stared at the fellow who’d materialised in front of me.

“Owen?” I stared at the fellow who’d materialised in front of me. “What the fuck do you want?”

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: LAQ, Trinity
Ears: Gauze, High Elf Ears, Naturals
Eyes: Avi-Glam, Elysian Eyes, Chocolate
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Lexy (Freckled), in tone Chestnut (Available through 30 November at TWE12LVE. Additional appliers, including body appliers, available at the 7 Deadly s{K}ins Main Store.)
Hair: Emo-Tions, Maureen (available at Hairology!)
Top: Jangka, Hyperia Jacket (Available at We❤ RP!)
Belt Pouch: Noble Creations, Medici Pouch (A prize for the 5th Fantasy Cream Hunt!)
Trousers: Lassitude & Ennui, Hand-Stitched Leather Leggings (Maitreya Appliers)
Boots: JustDesign, Ara Boots in Earth
Ring: Aisling, The Good Wife
Necklace: Emo-Tions, Precious (Available at We❤ RP!)

Big, Impressive Elfin Doors: Violetility, Ultimate RP Door Elven (Stone)
Streetlight: BlackJack, Amsterdam Gacha, Streetlight (Available at 6 Republic!)
Street: BlackJack, Amsterdam Gacha, Straight Road (Available at 6 Republic!)
Art Studio Building: Death Row Designs, The Joint Coffee Shop, Coffee Shop (Available at 6 Republic!)
Art Studio Interior: Artisan Fantasy, Art Studio Gacha (Available at 6 Republic!)
Clock:Mistero Hifen,  Il Tempo Perfetto
Dandelion Status: Mistero Hifen, Dream 2
Light Tree: Happy Mood, Garden Tree 08 With Lights
Corner Trees: Roawenwood, Autumn Fire Tree (Available at We❤ RP!)
Coffee Shop Interior: Death Row Designs, The Joint Coffee Shop (Available at 6 Republic!)

Poses: All from An Lar, some from the Daydreamer Series, some from the Layna Series

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I never subject you guys to cliffhangers involving The Amazing Catwoman without it!

hairology-november   [NC] - Noble Creations - LOGO   7ds