Sunday, March 30, 2014

All Square

Today is my fourth rezday.  A great many avatars drop out of SL entirely by this age, and of course I was darn near one of them.  So I don't propose to do a retrospective of my SL career or anything.

I do, however, plan to muse a bit on an arithmetical coincidence.  Four is, of course, a perfect square.  So are 49 and 81.  What is the relevance of this?  Simply that my mother's 81st was yesterday, while my younger sister celebrated her 49th earlier this month.  I suppose it can't be that unheard of to have "square" birthdays in the same year as one's parents, but it's not all that common, either.  (It's never happened to RL me - the numbers are wrong, with me being a bit older than my sister.  Which you could have worked out from the way I described her as my younger sister, I suspect.)

I don't know if there's any great cosmic significance to be ascribed to this.  But the coincidence struck me as interesting, and my little blonde brain has been busying itself working out what ages you have to have kids at, for this to happen.  (Entirely academic as far as I'm concerned, I do assure you.)

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Last Post (from Steam IX)

... and assuming that stops 59 and 80 don't get themselves ready between now and March 31st, that is.

This is going to be a bit of an epic, so strap yourselves in tightly folks.  Not only does it cover twenty-six stops, but several of them are mini-hunts or multiple gifts, so I've got a fair old chunk of ground to cover here.

Let's start, actually, with the one I missed way back at stop 85, which turned out to be this neat little compass.  It opens and closes, and is wearable so you can consult it from time to time.  Rather nifty, actually, I'm glad I went back for it.

On to stop 101 - and a mini-hunt across several locations for Myrddin's Emporium. The total haul includes the programmable Greeter-bot at the right, the "Duct Soup" fog generator thing (oblong thing with pipes, seen here not generating fog, because it generates fog prolifically and enthusiastically, so if it were generating fog, fog is all you'd see), the Holo-generator (a temp-rezzing device for product display) and the KR 200 transporter, based on the bubble car seen in "Brazil", and entirely driveable.  On that little island in Burroughs, driveable straight into the water, but certainly driveable.

 Stop 102, UnZipped, and their typically good Steampunk outfits.  Female version shown here, can't give you a meaningful pack shot of the gentlemen's counterpart, but it's good stuff.  UnZipped have been doing these things for simply yonks, I have some of their stuff in my overly large inventory already, and I am happy to add more.

Stop 103,  Dragon Magic Wares, gives us this Steam Shop.  Small building with cog motifs, entirely suitable for use as a shop, or for whatever other uses you can put a small building to.  Looks quite cool, would fit in on many a Steampunk themed sim.

Stop 104, McMinnar's Oddments, and a Jacob's Ladder.  This being the term, if you don't know, for one of those electrical gizmos where a spark gradually goes up between those two antennae, getting longer and longer until it reaches the top, at which point it pops apart and the whole business begins again down at the bottom.  I'm not sure what they were ever used for, besides suggesting "SCIENCE!!!!!" in Flash Gordon movies, but they were always cool, and it's nice to have one.

Stop 105, which rejoices in the name of 14-FL-OZ, give us a pair of Sand Blaster Goggles.  Actually, two pairs, one worn pushed up on the forehead as shown here, one worn more conventionally over the eyes.  Good stuff.

 Number 106, Dark N Crazy, gives us two unrelated gifts, or at least they're beyond my little blonde brain's capacity to relate them.  The first is this tasteful staple of 1970s cocktail parties everywhere, a drinks cabinet inside a globe.  (The globe opens and closes on command.)

The second is this rather neat wooded glade with picnic rug, which pops out of a Landscape Rezzer, and seems to me a Landscape well worth Rezzing, once in a while at least.

Stop 107, Tipsters, specializes in scripted tip jars.  So that's what we're getting here.  Two of them, with a Queen of Hearts theme, one a Giving Heart and one a Broken Heart.  Using your powers of observation and deduction, work out which is which.  You know my methods, Watson, apply them.

Round about stop 108, Cherie, I started running into some texturing problems - my upper body textures just would not refresh, and if you look carefully at that photo, it shows.

So I wound up taking another shot of their Storyville Gown - Violette.  Does that peplum jacket look vaguely familiar to you?  Templates, got to love 'em....  The Mermaid Skirt, though, is something different.  Might not fit an actual mermaid, but what the heck.

 So I took a break and went into RL, decided I didn't like it very much (the whole place is a no-fly zone, and teleports are always down, did you know that?), and came back for some shoes from number 109, Whims & Wishes.  These are their Enginette boots for ladies, and quite fetching they are too.  Their Explorer boots for men are not pictured.

Stop 110, Zoe's Garden, has a little mini-hunt which yields three prizes; a Steam Pavilion, and two different sizes of Mesh Steam Topiary, the coggy bushes seen in front of the Pavilion.  The Steam Pavilion itself comes in two versions, with and without an enclosing sphere that provides a dramatic background when you're inside it.  You can see the sphere version here.

Stop 111,  Bloodsmore Inc., gives us this Victorian Romance flowers and table set.  Mesh work, and very good mesh work.  Those flowers have a superb amount of detail, and all for only 6 LI.  Never mind that it looks pretty - that, folks, is efficient mesh design.

 Stop 112,  Peckbeth Clothiers, gives us a Steam Trunk which, at first sight, appears to be just a large wooden box.  Tickle it on its included scripts, though, and it rezzes one of two choices of Steampunk domestic drudgery apparatus, the top one for Steaming, the bottom for Ironing.

If you want to spend your time in SL slaving over a hot iron, this gadget is clearly for you.  Even if you don't, it's a well made bit of fun.

Do we return to the hatty theme at  number 113, LaNoir Soleil Designs?  Why yes, yes we do, with this Steampunk Romance Top Hat.

Stop 114, House of ACCentaury... texture pack.  Looking like a box, in this case a box that's been stepped on, but still a box.  Doesn't do justice to the contents.  Let's move on.

Stop 115,  Phrynne by Design, and a pair of Steampunk Walking Hats, one green, one brown (pictured here), both capable of being illuminated in the hours of darkness.  I think Phrynne missed a trick by not sneaking in some pun about headlights, but that's why she's a professional designer and I'm a random blog scribbler, I guess.  Fun things, anyway.
 Stop 116, makeup specialists Gugu Dada, and a nice vivid lipstick design, plus a tattoo which is not pictured here, on account of I didn't know how much skin I'd have to show in order to see it.  I'm sure it's nice, though.  Gugu Dada is one of those places that do one thing and do it very, very well.

 St. Helen's Dry Goods at 117 go back to the hatty theme with a selection of Pith Helmets for ladies and gentlemen, plus that folding screen thing behind me.  You can't do without a good pith helmet, I often say.

Stop 118, Jinxed Toys & Magic!, have a selection of  "Complete my Steam Heart" necklaces and chokers, featuring one half (left or right) of a broken heart, a turning cog (because Steampunk) and on/off particle steam effects, because also Steampunk.  And jolly nice too.

Stop 119, Curious Seamstress.  No pack shot, I'm afraid, of the "Sunbaked" gents' explorer-style outfit, but here's the "Dark Shadows" one for the ladies... hello, mesh peplum jacket my old friend!  And with a deeply SL-traditional system skirt underneath it too - and yet, in a way, this all works for me, somehow.  A few little tweaks and added accessories, in fact, and I used this as the basis for an outfit that might well be a keeper.  Mesh and system skirts - don't knock 'em if they work.

We're back on familiar ground with this  Linen Romantic Bloom texture pack from 120, LilArt Creations.  Yes, it's a box.  The textures look good, but you'll just have to take my word for that until I build something with them.

Oh, my.  This is the "cooper heart bed" (sic) from 121, Impertinences, and you don't often see a bed that needs its own rezzer.  Or that has quite so many hearts... and cogs.  A constant rain of particle cogs, too... Tali and I had a brief discussion as to whether that would enhance or detract from (ahem) intimate moments.

Stop 122, Mobius Creations, and oh my.  I expected high quality and no subtlety from this place, and boy was I not disappointed with these two avatar designs, the Platium Angel Adraiel and Corona Angel Archronus.  (Adraiel is for the ladies, Archronus for the gents.  Though, as both of them include an AO and a full-body alpha, it doesn't really make a lot of difference.)  The detailing, and the sculpt work, is genuinely impressive.  What was that you said?  About draw weight?  Hush now.

Stop 123, Pixel Perfect Productions, gives us two prizes, one a Full Steam Jacket for the gents (even in mesh, it doesn't look too good on my slender feminine form.  It'd be different on a gent.)

... and for the ladies, here's the Steam Bunny - March Hare outfit.  That is, the bits in green - everything else is underwear from a different outfit, that I was sensible enough to leave on.  The skimpy mesh top and equally skimpy mesh thong are designed for a much fuller figure than mine.  Not shown: floofy bunny tail.  It's behind me.  Use your imagination.

Stop 124, Designs by Sebastian, offers several variations on this finely detailed Gear Heart necklace.  This is the "S" version.  There is also a "C" version.  What do these letters mean?  Answers on a postcard please.

(Edit: the very excellent BuboAthenae messaged me to point out that this refers to their attachment points - Spine and Chest respectively.  Thank you!)

Stop 125, Twelfth Night, and a  Compass Ring for the gents.  On my right hand, if you look closely and don't get distracted by the green bunny ears.

For the ladies, the Romancing the Steam Gown, including boots,  flexi skirt, and positively inevitable hat.  Good stuff in a trad-SL way.

By now we have reached the finishing post, and the traditional little pile of bonus gifts from some of the Hunt merchants.  We have also reached that time in the evening, I think, when texture glitches start hitting me.  I'm not convinced that this Clock Hat by Ceg McDonnell is supposed to be as grey as it looked to me.

No problems with the Clockbot Eyes from Grim's.

Or with this Gacha Machine from Myrddin's.

Or with the gentlemen's washbasin and grooming accessories from Peckbeth Clothiers.  (Must admit, with a name like that, I was expecting, y'know, clothes.  I'm not saying I'm disappointed - far from it.  Just slightly surprised.)

And, finally, a bunch of stuff - flat-panel standees, some rotating, some not - from Pirate Queen Designs.
And, unless I revisit that Clock Hat, or someone points out something important I've missed, or stops 59 and/or 80 make it in before close of play - that is it for Steam Hunt IX.  One's thanks, as always, go out to the merchants, to the inestimable Mr Perryn Peterson and his indefatigable team of organizers, and to the men, women, clanks, tinies and My Little Ponies (to name but a few) of the Historical Hunts group - all of whom make these events such a pleasure.
(Oh, and my thanks also go out to a certain catlady you see slinking in the background of some of those shots, for putting up with me throughout all this.)

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Unpacking from the Hunt: the penultimate (?) installment

I might get it finished with the next batch.  Or not.  We shall see.

Anyway, here we go.

Stop 81, Hudson's Clothing Co., gives us this "Together Forever" jewelry set - ladies' necklace and earrings pictured (OK, one earring, with that hair, but that's enough for me), also an alternative gents' necklace.  Looks good to me.  "Together Forever" might be a bit optimistic for those little padlock things, given that I can open a padlock in about a minute and a half using nothing more than a penknife.  But the thought is sound.

Stop 82, Destiny's Designs, "Steampunk Traveller" outfit.  Ladies' version pictured here, the gents' one is quite different, fortunately.  Looks like the jacket top is based on the same template as the one from AdelleArts, much earlier in the list.  This is fine by me, at least it's mesh I can wear, and the texture work is good.

Also in that shot, Steaming Love Birds from number 83, ~XM~ Designs.  Sculpted decorative piece, with turning cogs at the bottom of the cage, so we know that either this is Steampunk, or those lovebirds have been on a seriously weird diet.

Stop 84, Miss Darcy, and a Caged Heart.  Doing well for cogs and winged things in cages so far today, aren't we?  This cogged-up heart can be set to sparkle for one special person alone.  That's kind of cute.

Stop 85, Timeless Timepieces, and a Simple Hourglass.  Here, I must confess that my hunting skills failed me, as I found on opening the prize that there is another, presumably More Complex, prize hidden nearby on the sim.  I should probably go and find that, morbid completist that I am.

Stop 86, Rag Dollz, and hats! hats! hats!  A total of ten hats, five brown and five black, each with a different tartan on the band.  This definitely returns to the "hatty" theme I mentioned in an earlier post.  They're good hats, mind.  Wouldn't expect anything else from Rag Dollz.

Stop 87, Rainy Fey Creations, obligatory disclaimer about the proprietor being a personal friend... her Gear-it-Up boots are nice, though.  They use quality components, including a resizer script by one T. Rosca, who was standing right next to me when I opened the box, and was chuffed.

 Stop 88, Classic Steam Accessories, and a choice of hats, the ladies' version shown here, the more macho one with brazen portholes instead of Van Gogh prints being intended, presumably, for the gentlemen.  Yes, the teapot is entirely functional and dispenses a cup of tea.  Which is all you could ask of a teapot and more than you'd expect of a hat.

Stop 89, Chimeric Arts & Fashions, gives us Stiched (sic) Skull Masks in black (pictured) and brown.  The spelling may be iffy, but the masks are splendidly sinister.  If I ever rob a bank, I know what to wear for the job.

Stop 90, Holly's Fashions, and the "Romancing the Dream" outfits for men (on the box, natch) and women (worn).  Um.  It looks good in this shot... it would look good in any static pose... but it kind of illustrates a deficiency of pure mesh design, in that those soft feminine flowing ruffled sleeves are completely rigid.   I tried to convince Tali that they'd just put too much starch in the laundry, but I don't think she bought it.  Oh, well.  As I say, it'd look good in a static pose.

Stop 91, Art Unbound, and a texture pack featuring Victorian era chemists' labels.  I have got to find an excuse to use that "Spirit of Vitriol" one.  Absolutely got to.

Stop 92, SRL Leatherwerx, and two of their sculpted furniture items, an Octagonal Pie Crust Table and a Ewer and Basin.  Good sound decorative sculpts, as we would expect from this long-standing SL supplier of same.

Stop 93, Cog & Grog, and another Arcadia Asylum offering, Professor Mittens, the steampunk exploring cat!  He doesn't actually do much besides sit there and look cute... but, come on, he's a cat, sitting there and looking cute is pretty much his job description.

Stop  94, Luminous Designs.  I can't comment on the gentlemen's outfit here, as there wasn't a picture on the box and I didn't unpack it, but this is the Steampunk Lolita dress for the ladies.  The mesh pretty much works on me, and the detailing is nice.  Bit more modest than one might have expected, given the name, but who's complaining?

Stop 95, Panda Panda, and a folding screen with a Steampunk-y scene on it.  It folds and unfolds on touch - shown here unfolded, so you can get something like a proper look at it.

Once more, it's just a texture pack, and looks like nothing much until you use the textures.  This one's from number 96, the SOMA School of Design.

Stop 97, L+N Signature Designs, and - as is their Signature - it is designed with lots of swoopy Art  Nouveau curves and much shininess.  It plays a tune and the sculpted ballerinas dance.  Once again, we wouldn't expect anything other than quality from this shop.

Stop 98, COOGER & DARK'S WAX MUSEUM, and a figurine of Vlad Drakulya, textured and normal-mapped to within an inch of my graphics card's life.  Incredibly detailed figurines seem to be their thing, and they do it well.  The Wax Museum itself is well worth a visit, by the way.  Be prepared for things to take a while to load, mind.  But it's worth the wait.

Stop 99, Pierre Ceriano - who is listed on this blog's short roll of followers, hello there! - and who has supplied some jolly nice creative stuff in previous Hunts.  This time, we get a "Steam Hunt Gift" which is this sort of gazebo affair, complete with a bed based on a tin of sardines, and a complimentary bottle of champagne.  Which I think constitutes doing things in style.  I approve.

Stop 100, Drow Science, gives us this Steampunk Airship Daedalus Mini - actually, several variants of the same model airship, which go round and round in different radius circles.  Good detailed little model, would suit a Steampunk aeronautical laboratory or something, purely as a decorative piece.  Look at Professor Mittens, there, you can see he's impressed.

And that's all for now.  I hope, in my next, to reach stop 126 and the end of the Hunt, thus enabling the readership-at-very-small to take a look at all the items and cherry-pick whichever ones they want.  I'm here to provide a service, you know.  Or to rabbit on about stuff pointlessly.  One of the two.