Thursday, May 9, 2013

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder, Right?

I promise I'll be back and blogging soon... SL has gotten hectic... most specifically with the Owner of the store I manage being on hiatus...

I've been told twice by this Owner, "I'm coming back tomorrow," and then they've not signed online again for days... weeks even... This time, I was told 4 days ago, "I'm back for real this time..." and nothing after that.

So I do apologize, dear Blogosphere, for the few of you who may read me, that I've not been blogging.  I've got some awesome designs and some awesome stylings to show you... like things from my GRAUDATION FROM AMICI!  *Gigglefits*

Again, I will be back soon, I promise.

Until then, please enjoy this video of a song that's really been stuck on my playlist lately, strange as it is.  <3

"Without You My Life Would Be Boring" - The Knife

Friday, April 19, 2013

Up On This Hill, In This Uncanny House...

(Featuring designs by Izzie's, Amacci, and ~ghee~... and news about Sightsaver!)

Up on this hill, in this uncanny house
This wind makes this place creak, the lights they are flickering
The moon she is lurking, the clock it stopped working
At quarter past three
There's something dancing here in the shadows
And I wish it were us...

(I went through a temper tantrum with my eyelashes and trashed them... anyone got a recommendation for GOOD eyelashes?)

Unfortunately, I wish I could explain my week-long absence with the presence of a dance blog... but alas... RL has just gotten hectic with me this week, unfortunately.  I had yesterday and today off, and I've been slightly less than productive.  Lol.  But damn I'm tired.  My job in RL is not physically demanding, as it's home health care... but it is definitely emotionally and mentally drainaing, as I work with the developmentally disabled.  Oh how I wish I could tell you all stories.  There are some that make me giggle, after the fact, and others that still make me livid.  But then of course, they don't know better.  It's like being mad at a two year old for calling you a "bitch"... they don't know what it means... they just repeat what they hear.  That's how a lot of my people are.  They don't know a lot of what they're saying... they just know it's a word used in conversation, because they hear other staff use it.

You'd THINK that would inspire people to watch what they say, yes?  Unfortunately not.

So of course there are days I go to work with my two guys and I get one of them calling me "honey" because that's what the other and his girlfriend call each other... and I've got the other telling me that staff so-and-so is lazy and doesn't do anything.... because he's overheard one of the overnight ladies complain about them.  Then again, this particular overnight lady complains about EVERYONE.  But here's the kicker... ALL that is done on the overnight shift is house cleaning, and then waking the guys up to get them dressed and take them to work at the end of your shift.  I know... I've covered this particular woman's shift.  So if you REALLY want to fault the evening staff for not finishing one load of laundry in the dryer... when they've been running the guys all over creation for the volunteering they do, or the sports they play, or just the places they want to visit... then try actually DOING more on your shift before you complain.  Seriously?  Heaven forbid you have to put ONE load of laundry away in the 8 hours that you're there doing LIGHT cleaning and sitting on your ass watching TV.  Lord have mercy.

Sorry.  I care about the people I take care of.  And I care about my job.

(Ah the advantage of being the Village Manager on a GORGEOUS sim... amazing photography potential... I'm sure you'll see this sim again.)

Ok.  Sorry again for the rant about RL work.  But I feel like certain aspects of this apply to Second Life as well.  I'm SURE all of us, somewhere in the fashion world, have run into people who are a right royal hot mess who then rip into us about our look.  I mean, I'm trying to be more... polite... in public... *Chuckles*... some of you know I can shoot straight from the hip and it's normally not pretty.  I'm trying to pretty it up in public, because I represent myself and the places I'm associated with.  But there are times that I'm REALLY tempted to slap someone upside the head and say, "Seriously?  When you can come back not looking like a noob with too much eye makeup and not enough definition in your skin, wearing clothing from 2007, THEN you can talk to me about how I look."  These are CERTIFIED models walking around looking a hot mess.  Or... even better... the ones who are not certified themselves, have made no effort to become certified, who then try to tell you that you're not good enough because you don't have enough experience, enough schooling, don't know the basics... etc.  At least I'm LEARNING... at least I'm TRYING... at least I'm putting myself out there and saying, "This is me... take it or leave it.  Accept it, or walk away."  If you leave it, or if you walk away, more power to you.  At least you have the balls to be honest to my face, instead of being all smiley and happy, then turn around and tear into me when you think I'm not looking.

As creepy as this sounds, I have eyes everywhere.  And even if someone hasn't come to me and told me something, I can usually find it for myself.  My reputation proceeds me for being able to find things that are well-hidden from most people.  "Detective Tivi", my partner calls me.  Haha.  So don't think just because you hide it from "normal" people means I won't find it.

In case you haven't figured it out yet.... I'm not normal.  And the truth ALWAYS comes out.

(Gorgeous flowy gown in a gorgeous residential sim... Firefox Fonda did an AWESOME job with this place!)

Ok.  Now.  To the whole reason I wrote this blog, fashion-wise.

Recently I've been accepted to blog an event called Sightsavers.  I'm starting on my blogs early, because the event has been pushed back to May 11th.  Fashion shows will be held on May 11th and May 12th, and the event itself will run from May 11th to June 11th.  So why start blogging items on April 18th?  1.) Cause I like being able to giggle and say, "Neener, neener, neener, you can't get this gorgeous gown for another month," in the nicest way possible.  :-P  And 2.) With as hectic as RL gets with me at a moment's notice, I want to make sure I can get all the designers creations in before the event begins.

The thing I liked about Sightsavers that drove it to me instantly is that it's charity-based.  Some of you know that I've been trying to work with the Take Back the Night foundation to bring a Take Back the Night walk into Second Life.  That's still a work in progress.  The other charity that I have begun to feel very close to lately is called Shoes For Orphans Souls.

Now, there IS a religious aspect to this.  To my understanding, while the people with Shoes For Orphans Souls are washing the childrens' feet and giving them the new shoes, they are telling them about Jesus.  THAT, in my opinion, is awesome.  I believe in God, I believe in Jesus.  I'm ok with these things.  What I DON'T like, and what people hear me say more times than not, is organized religion.  I hate how "Christians" of today have perverted the word from the original message.  Whatever happened to "God loves you, right where you are".  Whatever happened to loving the LEAST of these?  Forgive me for the soapbox moment, but my BIGGEST issue with Christians today are how much they look DOWN on other people for what they do or don't do that makes them "ungodly."  So normally, for this reason, unfortunately one bad apple spoils the whole bunch, I tend to stray heavily from religious organizations and religious charities.

But these people... with Shoes For Orphans Souls... all they do is share that someone loves them.  Someone loves them enough to speak to the heart of someone in the United States of America (or wherever the donation was from) that allowed a missionary to travel to Guatemala, or one of several other countries these people travel to... to wash these kids' feet and give them a brand new pair of socks and shoes... some of whom may have never had shoes before.  Isn't that just awesome?

I'm hoping to reach out and poke these guys as well, see what we can't get going inside of SL.  People totally underestimate the power of the online community... but they don't realize that people bring REAL LIFE money into this "game" to buy pixel things.  What if that REAL LIFE money was going to a good cause?  Perfect example?  Relay for Life.  Look at how much REAL LIFE money is raised for this organization, just through Second Life.  It may not be some out of this world, millions and millions of dollars kind of figure... but without Second Life, that much LESS money would be raised.  Every little dollar counts.

So I guess the point of the last part of this really random blog post... was when you see Sightsavers in May... please consider going to the shows to see the clothing... look into the blog posts from various bloggers who are covering this event... GO see the creations the designers are making for this event and consider donating to the cause, and getting some awesome stuff out of it.

Yeah, I know there were a lot of random topics in this blog, and I do apologize for that.  Lol.  It's been a really random day...

*~* Up On This Hill, In This Uncanny House *~*
(I'll put these SLURLs... as well as the last post's... up here soon, promise.)

Thursday, April 11, 2013

You've Gotta Get Up And Try...

(Featuring designs by Poptart, SLX, TRUTH Hair, and many more...)

(Take note, this is what I'm doing when I should be furnishing my house... you'll see my lack of work in other pictures...)

Quick!  No one in the dance world has made an ass of themselves in the last 24 hours.  Let's make another fashion post and keep the momentum going!

No, but for serious.  This is ideally what I'd like to do.  Post daily.  Normally at night before I go to bed, because that's when I seem to find enough down time to do something like this, uninterrupted.  But because I'm too tired at this point to do any heavy research, so I tend to add the SLURLs for the stores in the morning.  Then again, I could be like most bloggers and make you find it yourself, from the credits... haha.  But I try to be a bit nicer than most.

Speaking of other bloggers, the syndication process has been interesting.

(Please note my house in the background... and please also note that there is no furniture in it... I think I put the thing up, like, a week ago...)

In my quest to become a syndicated blogger and be taken seriously, I find my journey starting out slowly, but not altogether unsuccessful.  So far, I've found myself syndicated on 3 feeds, which, from what I hear is pretty good.  While I've been searching the various feeds, though, I've found a very diverse opinion of what is considered "the best" or "high quality".

All of these feeds claim that they only post "high quality" blogs, and that the bloggers that contribute to them are "only the best", however the types of bloggers and the types of posts that I see very GREATLY.  This is not a bad thing, as I appreciate, and even practice, various styles of writing and blogging myself... but it feels like, once more, there's no set standard, so some people are left off of some feeds simply because they don't conform to someone else's idea of "the best".

One example I can think of off the top of my head is a feed that I believe I was drawn to on three separate occasions.  (Yeah, my memory sucks and I couldn't remember that I'd already ruled it out.)  This feed claims that it will only public 'high quality' blogs, which it defines as quality clothing, edited photos, and "tight posts" which is basically just the photos and the credits, with very little wording in between.

That's all find and dandy... and it's great for people who come to these blogs just to see pretty pictures of outfits they can spend their lindens to recreate, rather than expressing their own UNIQUE sense of style... but for those of us who are writers, it kinda sucks.

I find it amusing as well, because the definition of what a blog is, according to Dictionary.Com, is:
"a Web site containing the writer's or group of writers' own experiences, observations, opinions, etc., and often having images and links to other Web sites."
See, from the dictionary definition of blogging, you seem to get the idea that there should be writing involved, yes?  And that the inner-writer in all of us would be embraced, rather than discouraged, right?  There is a time and a place for 'photo-only' blogs... but I would call that more of a photo album than a blog.

At the same time, do I believe that EVERY post should be a novel?  Oh hell to the no.  I think we'd all get bored reading it, let alone those of us who write it.  We'd eventually run out of ideas.  There are only so many things to talk about... even with the stupidity of the people around us to rant about occasionally.

 (Before anyone asks, no, I'm not British. My partner is... and I figured he'd appreciate this sweater when He logs in while I'm sleeping.  Haha!)

So at this point, I guess I should just chalk it up to another mini moral crisis in my life inspired by the fashion world in SL... but it's starting to irk me that it occurs so often.  In a virtual world that people come to for their own reasons, and they expect people to not only accept them for how they choose to represent themselves... but they also expect everyone to accept their reasons for being here, their personal limitations, what they want to get out of being here, and they expect everyone to condone their actions and words in the name of individuality and freedom of speech... you'd think in a virtual world like this, that there would be LESS judgment than in the real world.

But shockingly enough, I'm beginning to find that there's more.

And the biggest issue that I have with this is that it's not just judgment.  It's people walking around beating their chests like Tarzan (or I guess Xena the Warrior Princess may be an appropriate female reference) and being 'loud and proud' about their choices in SL, their reasons for being here, etc... everything that I mentioned before.  They boast and brag and expect everyone to be ok with them because they are who they are... and they get pissed if anyone dares judge them.  But THEN, they turn around and harshly judge the people they share this medium with.  I'm even guilty of it myself.  But the difference here is that I see that I've done it, and I watch other people do it and it BOTHERS me.  There are plenty of people walking around SL (or driving their pixels around SL, as the case may be) who are being completely two-faced in regards to being open and accepting.

So once again, I'm forced to choose... do I try and "tighten" up my posts to appeal to more fashion feeds that don't want as much text... even though true blogging is about WRITING?  Or do I flip them the bird, continue to write what I see fit, and post the pictures in between, making an altogether cohesive blend of fashion and my own thoughts, in my own little corner of cyber space?

I'll bet from the length of this post, you can tell which on I chose.  :-)

(Yes, that is an anchor in my house... and no, I didn't put it there in an effort to put SOME kind of furniture or decor in there... it actually came with the house... I'm hopeless.)

*~* You've Gotta Get Up And Try *~*

(You know the deal.  I'll post SLURLs tomorrow.  Love you all.)

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Just Your Stereotypical Femme Fatale....

(Featuring designs by AdN, Alterego, Breach, Ploom, and more...)

(Haven't quite figured out how to make my face look fierce yet.  Haha.  I still see the "Aww how cute!" quality that makes me cringe.)

Sorry it's been a few days since I've been over here.  For those of you that don't know, I have a dance blog that I post to as well... and it seems that there are far more idiots in the dance community that inspire random rants.  So I style an outfit, mean to go photograph it, and then some douchenozzle turns around and does something stupid... and thus a dance blog is born and my fashion post gets slid onto the backburner.  Again.

But not this time.

Though, admittedly, this look WAS inspired by the heavily irritated mood I was put in after this past dance blog entry.  If you look on my blog roll over ---> on the right hand side, you'll see Confessions of a Dancing Slave.  That's me as well.  Those of you that know me, or those who actually pay attention to the text I put in these blogs, have probably come to the conclusion that people who take advantage of other people make me sick.  Unfortunately, that happens all too often here in SL.  And someone taking advantage of the good nature of one of my closest friends is what inspired my last dance blog last night... and the terribly fierce, "I really want to kick your ass," look that I styled to blog tonight.

(No, I have no idea what I'm looking at...)

Now, another thing you might notice is that I'm pale again.  This comes back to the idea of being taken advantage of.  As much as I'd like to tell myself that I'm down to earth and pretty jaded... and that I'm cautious of who I trust... and that I carefully analyze situations to see who is trying to take advantage of my skill and work ethic and who GENUINELY needs my help... but unfortunately, given that I'm a helper and a do'er, I am far too trusting with people who request my help and supposedly believe in me.

I walked this past Saturday for a change at the Top 15 for Colour of Couture.  For those who read my past blog post, you know that a few conversations I managed to have with Sequoia before the semi-finalist list went out were very inspirational to me, and encouraged me to embrace what I FEEL and identify with, rather than trying to portray a more "inside the box" image of my RL self.  What I mean, as a quick review for those of you who didn't read or have forgotten, I am as white as white can be in RL.  My ancestory is Irish, German, and English.  I don't really have an ounce of colour in me.  However, when I was in my preteens, I began heavily studying the culture of Zimbabwe, and other tribal African cultures... and I just fell in love.  I roleplayed as a Gorean Mamba in SL for the better part of 4 years and just had fun with it.  When I came into modeling, I let a few wannabe instructors convince me that pale was the only "right" way to be in order to model.  Sequoia debunked this myth and encouraged me to embrace what I feel I want to represent of myself.  And thus, I went back to my darker skins.

However, with my experience in the Colour of Couture walk on Saturday... I definitely had to do some soul searching and determine if THAT kind of operation is something that I want to be associated with.  First of all, I knew two of the judges in particular, and I knew I was screwed the moment that these two entered the sim.  I will always be the first person to admit that I am not a certified model... yet.  Yes, I have a certificate from Steele's old school, because he HAS been privately training me (which people LOVE to treat like it's nothing... "You're not certified by an academy so your experience and private training doesn't mean anything to me.").  However, I am also enrolled at Amici.  So I might not be certified YET, but I am in the process.  But, before I enrolled at Amici, I interviewed for an agency with these same two judges.  I was told to prepare poses and a walk, have all this stuff prepared.  I came in in my modeling shape, which was just over 7 feet tall... which is within in the window.  But because I was still a head shorter than the woman, it was determined that I was "too short" and the woman proceeded to stretch my shape to nearly 8 feet tall.  Then it was determined that the skin I'd bought from Skin Fair made my face look too much like everyone else, and made me lose the unique quality of my face.  I was not even allowed to walk for this agency interview... after having spent the 24 hours prior finding the poses, editing the prims to be sure the poses worked, and piecing everything together... I was not allowed to walk for the agency interview and was told to come back when I was certified.  So, as soon as I saw these two people on the judging panel, I knew they were not going to take me seriously.  And because I know how they operate, I knew they would not bother to take a moment to look into my profile and see if I had taken steps TOWARD taking their advice and trying to BECOME certified.  So yes, I was screwed before I even started.

Still, I had hope.  As I cammed on a lot of the models that walked... a vast majority (admittedly more than I expected) had poses that were all kinds of a hot mess... they had prims that were cutting into each other and into the avatar... some had a gorgeous dress and then decided to pair it with cheap, horribly made jewelry.  So I still had confidence.  I will admit that I looked good, I had quadruple checked my prims, and my poses, and my walk.  I had everything perfect and ready to go.

Then the Finalist list came out.  I was not on it.  Was I shocked that I wasn't on it?  Not particularly.  However... a few things did shock me.

First of all, the thing that was really easy to notice is that it was not a Top 15, but a Top 16.  That was actually a little encouraging.  Sequoia had mentioned judge's cards, so I assumed actual scoring NUMBERS were being assigned to each model (which, to make sure that it's fair and not political based on some completely unethical system like, oh, say, voting) and perhaps there was a tie and they didn't want to break it, so they let both through.  It was encouraging... at first.

Then, as I looked down the list, I saw two people... TWO PEOPLE that deserved to be there.  Other than those two particular people, it was a list of all those models who were a hot mess in their poses, who had prims cutting into their bodies, who missed the mark... one of which was so far forward on the runway I was afraid she'd fall off... lord, it was like other than those two people, I felt more like it was a list of who DIDN'T make it.

And then I saw it.

I saw one name that I didn't recognize from backstage.  And then I realized that this particular Finalist never walked with us.  She sat out in the audience with the judges and watched all of us walk.  Now things started to make sense.  It wasn't Top 16 because they didn't want to break a tie.  It was Top 16 because they let this woman have a free ride into the Finals.

Now, some of you who are like I used to be are instantly trying to justify reasons why she could've made finals without walking.  "Maybe she had an RL commitment so she did her walk early."  Well #1: she was there the whole time, and #2: it was made very clear to us that there would be ONE day to walk, and that was April 6th.  So if she couldn't make the scheduled walk, she should not have applied... and if something had come up last minute, then that's the way the cookie crumbles and she should have been withdrawn.

Basically, what it all comes down to, once more, is personal politics and cliques.  And unfortunately, this seems to be the largest community of women of color in SL.  So I had a moral dilemma on my hands... do I continue to attempt to express the culture that I love in the only medium I can express it in, and risk being seen in association with an organization that allows personal politics, rather than ethics, dictate the results of everything that occurs?  Or do I disassociate myself with that community and stifle that piece of myself again until such a time as I can find a more honest community?  Unfortunately, due to the fact that I do have morals... and a conscience... I had to go with the latter... and so now, I am back to being pale.  Which, don't get me wrong, I love my pale skins, I love the makeup options that I have this way that may look 'awkward' on darker skins... and I *do* still enjoy styling my pale skins.  It just sucks that it took less than a month for my dream of finally being able to express pieces of myself around women who not only understood and related to it but EMBRACED it... to be destroyed in the puff of smoke that used to be referred to as ethics and honor.

I have to wonder if everything in the SL fashion industry isn't going to come down to a moral conflict.  Are there any ethical and honorable people left?  Well... I do know the answer to that, and it's YES... they are just few and far between.  I happen to be lucky enough to have found a gathering of them at Amici.  And I'm sure I'll devote an entire blog to the mushy emotional stuff I feel about my Amici family, and dedicate myself to the mission of making Cara and CJ cry... but I think I've rambled enough for the night... or morning.  And I need some sleep.

*~* Just Your Stereotypical Femme Fatale *~*

Shape: My Personal Shape
Skin: Alys Wonderland blonde brow Fairy (Group Gift): Al Vulo
Eyes: JABU Eyes - Light Blue: -DAMNED-
Hair: Mily - Candy (adjusted via color HUD): ploom *~* mesh *~*
Body Tattoo: Death of Baroque: Hebenon Vial
Makeup (Eyes): Kiss Me To Death - EyesMakeup: -DAMNED-
Makeup (Lips): Voluptuous Lip Junkie - Lipstick 2: [the Skinnery]
Makeup (Tears): I'm Not Feeling Well - Tears Tattoo: Izzie's
Eyelashes: My Perfect Eyelashes: -DAMNED-
Nails: Long Metallic Nails (Past Collabor88 item): Izzie's
Facial Piercings: Beast [Ink]: Hebenon Vial
Outfit Top (Collar/Sweater/Shirt/Armwarmers/Armbands): Sabotage: AdN
Outfit Bottom (Shorts/Stockings/Boots): Mystic - Midnight: AlterEgo
Guns: MAC10 - Both holsters with straps: Breach

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Lights Will Guide You Home...

(Featuring designs by Egoisme, Bellydance Goddess, and more; Photographed at Art of Submission.)

(Staring off into space is nothing new for me...)

Oi.  So.  RL has been insane lately... from being stalked and nearly attacked by one of my neighbors high off his ass to finding out that my mother is FINALLY coming home for a little bit (she's been in Alabama caring her for her parents after they both fell in the same week)... I just kept getting sidetracked.  I've got another OrsiniRed blog post started, just not finished.  But this Egoisme post has a deadline.  So here's what you're getting to see first.

But before you get to see the other pictures, I have to brag on Aquilegia Gossipgirl a little bit.  Back when I was involved in the raging fiasco that was called the Miss Metaverse pageant, I went to Aquilegia for help.  I needed a 'gown' that could be deemed appropriate and tasteful, while still being able to move and flow like it needs to for dancing.  At the time, my plan was to dance in it for one of the preliminary categories.  *I* screwed up the timeline (I chalk it up to it being my first pageant and really not knowing what I was doing) and we had to make a few adjustments, but you know what, the extra time paid off.  Instead of using it for a preliminary category, I had it slated to be used for one of the Finals walks: Queen of the Metaverse.  Not that I was being presumptuous... in fact, I was just trying to be prepared in case I DID make it... so I wasn't scrambling around at the last minute.  I was stressed enough spending almost 2 months to get the prelims stuff put together.  Let alone having 24-48 hours to put Finals stuff together if I made it.

Yeah.  It was all insane.

Anyway.  Before I show you this gown, I should mention that I was representing Greece.  That would explain the elegant simplicity behind the gown she custom designed for me.  And the kicker?  Gowns aren't really the 'typical' creations that she makes!  First of all, she's a kick-ass gown maker for someone who doesn't do it a lot.  And secondly, to my knowledge, she and I are the only two people who own this gown, because she hasn't put it up for sale.  Again, gowns aren't normally what she makes, so she never put it into her store.  I LOVE this dress and wear it every chance I get (and half of you models just cringed because I just admitted to wearing the same outfit more than once... haha!).

So... without further rambling from me... the amazing Queen of the Metaverse gown designed specifically for me by Aquilegia Gossipgirl of Bellydance Goddess:

(Look at the bottom and how gorgeously it flows!  Even just with my AO standing and rocking subtly.)

Now, with zooming out to show you the gown, you get to see a little bit of the venue that I photographed this post in.  I have a friend... Princessbbygurl Resident... and she happens to be a pretty amazing builder from what I've seen... even if she won't admit it, or hasn't built much.  From what she tells me, the original version of this build was done as a surprise for an ex.  But now she keeps it up in the sky and filled it with pillows for a discussion she leads at the Art of Submission M/s Academy, called Slave Journeys.  (Thursdays at 6:30pm SLT, if I remember correctly).

The build itself is so peaceful that I warned her I was going to use it to photograph for a blog post one day... well Princess, I did it!  *Giggles*  What better place to photograph a Greek dress than in a gazebo that is structured with pillars and a nice little pool at the front.  Very Greek.

Then again, it's all Greek to me.

So why the Greek theme anyway?  WELL, that's the exciting part!  Earlier this week I got a notecard from JeffLevin Resident, from Egoisme.  How in the world he's seen my work when I've been blogging for such a short amount of time completely floors me, but I was honored to be included in the offer to begin blogging with Egoisme.  My first project was a new release, the Evian - Aphrodite skin.  Rumor has it this is only the FIRST release in a Gods and Goddesses set.  So of COURSE I had to pair my Greek Queen of the Metaverse dress with the first Goddess skin I was given.  I chose the darkest skintone they had, which, admittedly isn't as dark as I normally like it, but the lightness allowed me to keep the red updo that I had originally paired with this dress when I was using a pale skin.

Needless to say, some people call blogging 'work'... but when I'm given awesome creations and awesome venues like this to complete a blog with... if this is 'work', then I'd gladly 'work' for the rest of my SL.  :-P

(The eyelashes are not built into the skin... they are mine.  Same with the red lipstick.  The normal lip for this skin is a neutral lip.)

*~*  Lights Will Guide You Home *~*

Shape: My personal shape
Skin: Evian - Aphrodite Skin - DARK (Dark brows) Cleavage One: Egoisme
Eyes: JABU Eyes - LightBlue: -DAMNED-
Hair: Waiting For Tonight - Rouge (with tiara pin in Silver): Exile *~* mesh *~*
Eyelashes: **Irresistible Look** Eyelashes: Crissy Designs
Makeup (eyeshadow): Eyeshadow Black Smoke (comes with skin): Egoisme
Makeup (lipstick): Classic Lipstick - Pinup Red: Pink Fuel
Gown: Miss Greece Queen Goddess Draped Gown: Bellydance Goddess
Necklace: Greek_Kolje: Dark Moon
Earrings: Caged Pearl Drop Earrings: Earthstones
Nose Stud: Nose Diamond: envi
Ring: Legends Family Name Women's Wedding Ring: JCNY
Nails: Square Medium Frosted Flowers: MoonDance Boutique

Friday, March 22, 2013

Lies, Disguises, and Hoops... Part 2

Which hoop am I jumping through?  And why is is lit on fire?

This is exactly how I felt throughout the vast majority of the Miss Metaverse pageant.  It was asked of me to make a more 'fact-based' account of my experiences, rather than the emotion-based one that I made in my last post.  The only response I could think to say to the person who asked?  "Oh, it would be my PLEASURE."

First of all, I think it's been well established by other contestants in the pageant that the rules were changed on us fairly frequently.  I think I ignored the changes mostly because the ones that I saw really only affected how the Finals were going to go.  Originally, how Finals were slated to run was as follows:

  • The Top 10 Men and Top 10 Women would be selected from preliminary competition.
  • Second Interview
  • Walk: Style Category: Evening Wear
  • Walk: Style Category: Creative Costume
  • Viewer's Choice (online poll where SL residents could vote for their favorite finalist)
  • Administrative award (measures the ability to follow directions, be where you need to be when you need to be there, etc.)
There was no narrowing... no "Queen/King of the Metaverse" walk.  And it's not like I came in late.  I was brought in with the 2nd round of candidates chosen.  (Side Note: When the 1st round went out, I thought it was the only round and missed my opportunity to apply... because I'd meant to do so.  When I went to the website and saw the deadline was still ages away, I applied immediately to be sure I didn't forget again.  That's how I ended up in Round 2.)

Now, to my knowledge (I'm not in the ground anymore and it was more than 2 weeks ago, so the notice would be gone anyway), right AFTER candidate selection closed, the Executive Board had a meeting.  The notice that came out after that meeting introduced a NEW structure for Finals, splitting it into Semi-Finals and Finals.  This was the New Structure:

  • Top 10 Men and Top 10 Women would be selected from preliminary competition.
  • Second Interview
  • Walk: Style Category: Evening Wear
  • Contestants would be narrowed to Top 5 Men and Top 5 Women
  • Walk: Style Category: Creative Costume
  • Walk: Style Category: King/Queen of the Metaverse
  • The viewer's choice and Administrative categories will be eliminated.
Ok.  Now.  Not only have we split this that was once "Preliminaries --> Finals" into "Preliminaries --> Semi-Finals --> Finals", we have now taken away 2 opportunities to earn a decent score and have added an entirely new walk category.  Seriously?  Oh, but it gets better.

Here is, to my knowledge, how Semi-Finals and Finals operated.  (I did not make it past preliminaries, so I am only going on what I have heard and what I saw on the website:

  • Top 8 Men and Top 10 women were selected from preliminary competition.
  • Second Interview
  • Walk: Style Category: Evening Wear
  • Contestants were narrowed down to Top 5 Men and Top 5 Women
  • A vote of all 18 semi-finalists was cast to bring one non-semi-finalist back to get a free pass into finals, plus $L5,000.
  • Top 5 Men and Top 6 Women would now compete in Finals.
  • Walk: Style Category: Creative Costume
  • Walk: Style Category: King/Queen of the Metaverse
  • Placements/Crowning
I have one major issue with this "voting" thing.  Whereas in another pageant, one may see their competitors do their walks, see their outfits, hear their interviews, etc... and have a GOOD understanding of how their competitors did... preliminaries for Mr and Miss Metaverse were CLOSED.  NO ONE except the judges and Hethwen Resident (Heth, the pageant CEO) got to see anyone else's walk.  So what exactly was everyone voting based on?  It certainly wasn't who they felt did well and deserved to come back, because no one knows how well anyone truly did.  So what was the criteria?  Their friendships? Popularity?  Heth's suggestions and personal politics?  As I was not there, I cannot say for sure.  I only know that the voting was NOT done based on performance in preliminary competition... and if you can't vote based on that, why the hell vote at all?

I wasn't even in the group at the time of Semi-Finals.  And I had not left it of my own accord and denounced my title as so many others seem to have done.

So why, you ask, was I not in the group?  Oh dear.  Let me tell you.

I was very emotionally connected to my participation in this pageant.  It was my first one, and being so close after One Billion Rising, my platform of bringing awareness to sexual violence against women and empowering these women to stand up for themselves as victims hit very close to home for me.  Actually, in my Preliminary interview, I was asked WHY my platform meant so much to me, and there was really no other way to explain except to recount my own RL situations that make me identify with these women.  My leadership ability and my honor were called into question during that very same interview, in a question about my being a collared submissive, and yet being a leader in a pageantry organization and how I feel I could handle that responsibility.  I took everything they threw at me and hit it head on like a mac truck.  I was honest, I was open, I was different, and dammit, I don't care what the numbers say (I don't even KNOW what the numbers say... more on that in a moment) I did well.  So of course I was upset to not make it farther.

Now, in this pageant, I have developed friendships.  And so I went to someone that I knew, as a friend, and expressed a very simple disappointment.  My message read as follows:

{☆ Tivi ☆} shakes her head, very disappointed.  I'm on my way to bed, but of all the emotions swimming around, betrayal is the most prominent.  And I can't explain why that is in a way that makes sense, but I feel very betrayed by the whole concept of the value placed on being "different" versus being a carbon copy of every other pageant girl out there.  This is cookie cutter... and it hurts.

Now, no offense to you ladies whom I competed with.  I love all of you that I got to meet, and all of you are awesome.  I was NOT pointing out a flaw in you.  I was pointing out a flaw in Heth's organization of the pageant, ranting and raving about how he was going to place an emphasis on being different, with comments like, "You know everything you've seen in every other pageant?  That's what I DON'T want."  This was allllll Heth.  This wasn't any of you at all.

Of course, being in pageantry and being that the friend I sent that message to is an executive board member, she showed Heth the message.  I'm honestly not mad that she did that.  It's basic business ethics.  HOWEVER, the fact that Heth completely misinterpreted that is what disappoints me.  Being that I was very upset, before I went to bed, I was given a list of maybe 15-20 people that I was allowed to speak with in IM over the course of the weekend.  Otherwise, beginning after I woke up from a good sleep, I was to take time TO MYSELF (something I NEVER do) for the weekend.  It's a rarity that I have the weekend off of work with nothing to do, so I was instructed to take full advantage of that.

Thursday evening I'm in a roleplay with some very close friends, laughing, having a good time, and doing a lot of things that I haven't gotten to do in a long time: roleplay, hang out with people outside of the context of a class or meeting, dance for the hell of it, and just HAVE FUN.  I had my autoresponse set to say this:

"It is my wish to be left alone for the weekend.  Please refer ALL communications to Cloe Darkfold.  Thank you in advance.

A&M inquiries should be placed in the Assistance Dropbox at the mainstore location.  Thank you.

<3 Tivi"

Basically, what my partner did all weekend was filter the bullshit and give me important information, allowing me to focus on taking time to myself.  Easy enough, right?  Simple enough request, right?

Clearly not.

Hethwen Resident (Heth, Metaverse Pageantry CEO) came into my IM box that evening while I was in roleplay.  Not only was he NOT on the list of people I could speak with, he wanted to speak about pageant business which I was not allowed to do, AND I was BUSY.  He received my auto response and continued to type to me.  Each attempt he made at opening my IM, I closed the window without responding so that he would see that autoresponse.  "Maybe he missed it the first time..."  A lot of people seem to.

By the FOURTH time that this man got my autoresponse and had not paid attention to it, I finally responded to something he said.  However, it was not rude, it was not angry, it was not disrespectful in the slightest.  It was simply this:

[2013/03/15 20:48:35]  Tivi 'Lux' Darkfold (tiviyah): I do please have to refer you to my autoresponse and wish you a wonderful evening.

Some people aren't USED to people having autoresponses up.  Maybe he saw "A&M" and ignored it, thinking the whole thing was a store message.  I was still giving him the benefit of the doubt at this point.

In response, I simply get a "FINE".  I was hoping that was the end of it and went back to my roleplay.  Then, much to my complete SHOCK, I get the following:

[2013/03/15 20:49:12]  H E T H   V E R T A U S (hethwen): You have been ejected from 'Metaverse Pageantry' by Hethwen Resident.

He goes on to tell me that he hopes THAT got my attention and to remove any tags and associations that I have with Metaverse.  Ok... I have a few issues with this.

  1. You cannot negate the hard work I put into earning my title.  So long as I fulfill my obligations, it is my title.  Period.  I earned it.  You can take away your endorsement of that title, but it is still mine until 2014 when someone else has the 'current' title and I will simply be the titleholder from 2013.  Don't think you can use bully mentality to scare me into negating my own hard work.  Hell no.
  2. I'm ejected from the group because I COULDN'T and DIDN'T WANT TO deal with DRAMA that you were bringing into my IM box at the MOMENT you wanted it dealt with?  Who's playing games now?  Seriously?  Grow up.  People have lives outside of Metaverse, ESPECIALLY those of us that didn't have to worry about competing that weekend.
  3. The comment about hoping THAT got my attention.  It wasn't that he didn't have my attention... in fact, he had MORE of my attention that I desired to give him at that point, as he was interrupting my roleplay and my fun time with my friends.
  4. You don't use things like group membership or titles like a weapon.  If there's one thing I've learned through my chosen Lifestyle of D/s and M/s... you don't use things that are important to you like a weapon!  The more you do, the more flippant they become.  If you use your collar as a weapon, it becomes more like velcro than steel.  If you are going to use a title in your organization against me like a weapon, then how much value does it REALLY hold?
Anyway, I went on my merry way and kept my title in my resume, as I DID work hard to earn it.  I just severed all ties and associations and tags and whatever else having to do with Mr and Miss Metaverse.

Now... at that point, MY experience stops.  However, today, after I was asked to re-write this blog from a more 'fact-based' point of view (dear lord, I hope I've done that... and sorry it's so long winded...) I received the link of a blog belonging to another pageant contestant.  In this blog post, this contestant mentions something that deeply disturbs me on a very personal level...

When candidates were being accepted, we were told not to have anything sexually explicit in our profiles, etc, to keep up the image of the pageant and keep dignity associated with our title. I  even had to hide groups like, "Gorean Whip Radio" and "Gorean Whip Staff" that are groups for a radio station I broadcast for.  Harmless, but because they're "Gorean" they might be "controversial".

After the crowning of Mr and Miss Metaverse, a picture link was brought to Heth's attention, regarding Mr Metaverse in a picture on Flickr engaging in an SL Rape scene.  (Now, yes, I understand that in SL everything is consensual because there's a big red 'x' in the upper right hand corner that will take care of anything you don't consent to.  I get that.)  HOWEVER, when this was brought to Hethwen Resident's attention, as the CEO of his organization, instead of dealing with the matter quietly... and ethically... he chose to SLANDER the person who REPORTED the link in the first place.  Claiming that the links he had been given of both Mr AND Miss Metaverse (I had not been aware of a Miss Metaverse nude picture until that moment) were done as works of art.

Ok, slow your roll, Sarah Lee.  You want to call a picture depicting a scene of RAPE a "work of art"?  You want to call a picture that not only depicts but endorses as being OK, the idea of a man taking a woman against her will as some sort of display of power over her, a "work of art"?  You want to call a picture that may very well be a TRIGGER for people who have EXPERIENCED rape in their real lives, a "work of art".  And you want to say that it's OK for your CROWNED MR METAVERSE to SUPPORT such acts?  Really?

Coming from someone who has experience rape not once, not twice, but three times in their real life, I simply have this to say to your "work of art" bullshit defense: Fuck. You.

So honestly, I went into this whole Miss Metaverse thing with high hopes about being involved in something that could really affect change in SL as well as RL.  I went into this, admittedly, with my rose-colored glasses on, seeing the good in everything and everyone... looking to Hethwen Resident not as the delusional lunatic that I'd been told he was, but rather as someone I could RELATE to and LOOK UP to... I went into this completely blind and expecting to grow and change and push myself and my boundaries in ways that I couldn't imagine pushing them.  I went into this thinking I would come out on the other side as a better person.

Well, I DID come out a better person on the other side.  But it wasn't BECAUSE of Miss Metaverse.  In fact, it was IN SPITE of it.

EDIT/UPDATE 3/23/13:

I realize that in my rush to make it to RL work on time after posting this, that I left out one VERY crucial piece of information about this pageant... that I'm not entirely sure if it's been discussed or brought up by anyone else yet.

One of the biggest issues that Heth has with Frolic's Miss Virtual World pageant is that he sides with the group of those that believe the whole thing is rigged from the get-go.  From the very beginning of the Mr and Miss Metaverse Emeritus pageants, Heth was ranting and raving (noticing a pattern here yet?) about how he wanted this pageant to be conducted with honor and integrity and ethics and all those other 5-dollar words he didn't follow through on.  But the BIGGEST way that he said he would be making sure the pageant would remain ethical would be to publicly publish the scores.

This would give everyone, not just competitors, but others in SL, the opportunity to review the scores given to each contestant, and verify that the semi-finalists were, indeed, the ones highest scored, and were fairly moved into semi-finals.  It's about transparency and giving people the ability to fact-check.  This, in the beginning, I believed, was an awesome idea and a true display of the integrity that Heth claimed to want to bring to this pageant.

Unfortunately, to this day (and I just checked it around 8:30am EST on March 23rd) the scores have not been published.  A few contestants found out how they ranked in preliminaries by asking one of the women who helped tabulate scores, but that is not what the initial plan was that Heth was bragging that he was going to do.

Of course, Heth doesn't seem to be too keen on sticking to his initial plan.

Anyway, in re-reading this blog last night, I realized that I made mention of not knowing where the numbers fell, and that I would give "more information in a moment", and I never did... so I figured I'd come back and edit this part in.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Lies, Disguises, and Hoops They Make You Jump Through...

(Featuring designs by Soedara, Emo-tions, Madrid Solo, and a few others; photographed on the gorgeous Bellydance Oasis sim.)

(I look so different to myself!  More info below...)

So, as those of you who are either my friends or have followed the pageant know, I did not make semi-finals.  I worked my ass off during prelims and the nearly two months prior, I gave it my all, and it was not enough.  Is this a disappointing realization?  Yeah.  But no one likes being told their best isn't good enough, and there was some stiff competition.  I love all the ladies that were competing and I know that Miss Metaverse is going to find a wonderful face of its pageants.

To add to that disappointment, a bit more drama flew my way at the hands of those who cannot seem to understand and respect a simple request.  I mean, really... is it too much to ask to want 3 days to yourself?  I didn't have pageantry business to worry about, I had the weekend off of work (which I NEVER have, btw) and so I was taking some time to enjoy myself doing the things that *I* like to do.  At the time the drama transpired I was actually in Gor... which is something I haven't had the time to do in a long time... roleplaying... which is also something I haven't had the time to do in a long time... and celebrating Kajrualia with a few of my closest friends.  For those that don't know, Kajuralia is a Gorean holiday in the books where a LOT of tolerance was given to slaves, and they could do much of what they pleased, within reason. Our roleplay centered in the Tavern... so I'm sure you could only imagine the things we were getting up to.  But was I able to truly enjoy it?  For awhile, yes.  But damn... when I have an auto response up that expresses a simple wish to be left alone for the weekend, you'd THINK people could understand and respect that, yes?

Clearly not.

Anyway.  So needless to say it's been a hell of a weekend.

Being the workaholic that I am, I couldn't resist peeking into the designer behind Soedara (Marbella Provonost)'s IMs and asking if, after the weekend, she had any projects for me.  She doesn't have staff exactly, but I do odd jobs for her when she needs me to, like research projects.  *Giggles*  She comes back with, "Actually, yes, I do.  It's a pain in the ass."

Now keep in mind, the last project I did for this woman was researching vendors and how many ways you could build a clothing rack and sell items from a prim with the texture on it... without putting the ACTUAL texture on it so copybotters couldn't steal it.  So when she tells me that something is a "pain in the ass", I'm expecting a similar project.

Instead, she says she wants me to "parade around" in an outfit today and tells me to pick a color.  Given a heart to heart I had with Sequoia Nightfire (more on that in a moment), I chose black, as my skin is darker now.  Where I think I'm getting a pain in the ass project, instead, I get passed this gorgeous outfit.

(I think the only thing "pain in the ass" about this is the person wearing it.  *Grins*)

Now, I mentioned earlier having a heart to heart with Sequoia Nightfire.  A pageant that I've been hearing talked about for quite some time, given that the Dazzlers perform for it (I believe) is Colour of Couture. I 'd not heard much more about it until registration opened up, so I went to take a peek.  I think it is truly awesome what these women are doing.  This pageant is directed specifically for women who portray women of color in Second Life, from a list of specified regions.

Depending on how long you've known me, if you know me at all, you may know that I played a mamba in Gor for YEARS, where I used the dark skin I'm wearing in these pictures.  Essentially, to understand what a mamba is, culturally, think... tribal cultures in Africa... and then stereotype them to be cannibals.  That is what I roleplayed.  A fierce, vicious woman who normally couldn't speak the language that those around her were speaking.  It was amazingly fun, and honestly... I identified more with my personality in Gor than I did outside of Gor just trying to "be myself".

I am not a woman of color in RL.  But ever since I was young I've been FASCINATED with the culture in Zimbabwe.  I was a puppeteer in a puppetry ministry in church when I was a preteen, and when our adult leader's daughter became a missionary to Zimbabwe, our group actually handmade about 3 or 4 puppets that were meant to be culturally African, and sent them with her to take to the children down there for something to play with and teach with.  Ever since then, I've been hooked.

In speaking with Sequoia, I told her about how I used to represent myself in SL, and about how I allowed people in modeling academies when I began modeling to convince me that a pale skin was more "right" for modeling... she urged me, rather simply, to consider that which I love.  And if I truly loved it, then to represent myself how I wish, and live as that culture that I relate to and love.  I'm trying my best to take her advice to heart.  I may not be able to live it in RL, but the beauty of SL is that I can live it if I feel like it.

So if you see me around SL all dark again, know that I am once more truly myself.  I honestly can't believe that I allowed myself to lose sight of myself for that long... and I can actually thank the Miss Metaverse pageant for allowing me to rediscover who I am.  When I walked out on that runway for the "Me" walk category, in that dark skin and tribal styling... I felt more myself than I ever had since before I began modeling.

And I'll never lose that bit of myself again.

*~* Lies, Disguises, and Hoops They Make You Jump Through *~*

Shape: My Personal Shape
Skin: Bean[Dark] Pout - Brat 1: Curio
Eyes: JABU Eyes - Green: -DAMNED-
Hair: *RUTH* Black (worn with hairbase): EMO-tions
Makeup (Eyes&Lips): Insanity Plea - Gold: Madrid Solo
Makeup (Blush): Cleo 2 - Blush Only: Madrid Solo
Outfit (all jewelry & piercings included, except earrings): Nubian Divinity Night Creature: Soedara *~* mesh included *~*
Headpiece: Nubian Divinity Headdress Stones Adorned: Soedara
Earrings: 3-Hoop Earrings in Radiant Gold: Misha Fine Jewelry
Feet (not pictured): "Feet": N-Core

P.S. SURPRISE Soadara!  I blogged it.  :-P