I wish I had a river…

It’s coming on Christmas
They’re cutting down trees
They’re putting up reindeer
And singing songs of joy and peace
Oh I wish I had a river
I could skate away on

I wish I had a river...

I am not a huge fan of on-location photos. The backgrounds kind of detract from the clothes, which is really what I am doing here. But Stephen Venkman and Cocovia Zoilin built a beautiful skating area on their sim and invited me over for skating today and I was very grateful after wrestling with gingerbread house icing. (It’s an adhesive—need I say more?)

Skating there reminded me of one of my favorite holiday songs by Joni Mitchell. I tried to dress appropriately and came up with this mashup of favorite designers. Sweater from Janie Marlowe, skirt from sachi Vixen, tights from Memai Avon, cowl from Morphine Janick (who has a sale on right now.. go go!), earmuffs from Antonia Marat and freakin excellent mittens from Nena Janus. A wind-kissed skin from Toast Bard gives me the touch of girlishness that skating requires.

I wish I had a river...

My skates are Bax Coen’s v2 set, which come in white, black, gold and silver with a new alpha layer option. She has packed them with the same resizing scripts from her boots and a skating AO that is quite nice. However, I opted to upgrade to Sala Snook’s AO, which has all sorts of fun stuff like jumps, skating moves, twirls, etc. The whole combination today made skating so pleasurable, especially in the crisp air of Stephen’s and Coco’s sim.

I wish I had a river...

I wish I had a river
I could skate away on
I wish I had a river so long
I would teach my feet to fly
Oh I wish I had a river
I could skate away on

~ “River” by Joni Mitchell

Hair: >TRUTH< Quinn Streaked – cherry by Truth Hawks for >TRUTH< *

Skin: (fd) Bird Skin – Dust 1 (Red Brows) by Toast Bard for fashionably dead

Sweater: **MIS** Bell Flower Sweater – Cranberry by Janie Marlowe for Mischief (no longer available but you can find some good stuff of hers at Jane)

Skirt: Adam n Eve Clothes – Cord Skirt – Black by sachi Vixen for Adam n Eve *

Ear Muffs: /artilleri/ Knit earmuffs! *black* by Antonia Marat for /artilleri/

Cowl: [SG*] Desire – Purple by Morphine Janick for the Sweetest Goodbye

Mittens: *League* Sheepskin Mittens –Berry by Nena Janus for *League*

Stockings: [ Last Period ] socks 0001 Gray by Memai Avon for Last Period

Skates: BAX Ice Skates Black by Bax Coen for Bax Coen Designs *

AO: :KH: Ice Skate AO by Sala Snook for KAMI-HITOE

Your Brother’s New Girlfriend

Sometimes holidays are full of stress because you will be meeting new people who are significant to people who are significant to you, and you feel obligated to like them. Take for example, when your little brother brings home his new girlfriend, Siobhan. He has spoken so enthusiastically, so lovingly of her, you really want to like her. He says she likes the poetry of Mary Oliver, cardamom in her coffee, obscure tango music she finds on the internet, and crocheting purses. You’re not sure what to expect.

(And of course, your brother has never been known for his taste in women. Remember the French major who nervously chewed her fingernails to the quick and ended up quitting school because she owed so much on parking tickets she couldn’t pay tuition? Or the weightlifting physical therapist who told him to “man up” and told him to drive himself to the emergency room when he had been throwing up for two hours from food poisoning? Or the girl who sold Peruvian hats and sweaters in a head shop and argued with your mom about the difference between sweet potatoes and yams? Clearly the poor girl has a lot to live down.)

Your Brother's New Girlfriend

She arrives somewhat shy and sweet, bearing a gift for your mom of Belgian chocolates she brought back from a recent trip to Europe. When she says hello to you, you notice her breath does smell sweetly of cardamom, and her blue eyes are captivating. You approve of her pretty velvet dress from Ivey Deschanel. Its lush fabric and textures speak to the season, and she looks very demure—that is until she turns around and you see her dress is cut deeply down the back to show off her tattoo from Jesseaitui Petion. Your boyfriend nudges you as you both watch her walk by and whispers in your ear that he thinks you need a tattoo, for which you swat him. Her pumps made by Pixieplumb Flanagan are pretty and festive with bows in the back. Clearly she dressed up to impress her boyfriend’s family. Minus the low cut back, you wholly approve of her appearance.

Your Brother's New Girlfriend

She is not overly made up. This is intentional as she wears a skin from Toast Bard, which is usually minimal and very human and girlish despite being hand-drawn. She’s just not that kind of girl, you find out, as you all chat over hors d’oeuvres and find out she majored in Mathematics and currently works for a start-up research company. (Your older brother is impressed.) Her hair from Lamb Bellic, though showing dark roots, is clean and nicely kept with a bobby pin and suits her look. (He once had a girlfriend with dreadlocks—need we say more?) She eats everything on her plate and doesn’t pick around like the Gap manager your brother brought home last Easter who spent way too much time extolling the virtues of  jeans. (“Who doesn’t eat ham on Easter?” your mother complained in the kitchen while you were scraping her dish into the garbage.) She responds thoughtfully to questions, sits with your brother but doesn’t hang on him, patiently looks at the kids’ crayon drawings, and doesn’t bring up politics or religion.

Your Brother's New Girlfriend

As she leaves that evening with hugs and goodbyes, a plate of leftovers to take home in her hands, you feel a twinge of anxiety. You realize it’s no longer whether she passes your test. The question is, will your family pass muster with her?

Hair: !lamb. The Chills – Powder w/ Black Roots by Lamb Bellic for !lamb.

Skin: (fd) Bird Skin – Dust 1 (Black Brows) by Toast Bard for fashionably dead

Dress: :::Sn@tch Velvet Drape Dress by Ivey Deschanel for :::Sn@tch *

Tattoo: AITUI TATTOO – Angelic Embrace I by Jesseaitui Petion for AITUI

Shoes: BM Mia Pumps – Blacks & Reds by Pixieplumb Flanagan for Baby Monkey *

A Visit to Jingu Bashi

Every Sunday, young people in Tokyo gather in the Harajuku district to shop and show off their fashions. The most popular place to gather is Jingu Bashi, a pedestrian bridge. What I find interesting is that these young people “express” themselves in a culture that is well-known for their conformism and a country that has suffered from a long-standing recession. Harajuku is so like some parts of SL in some ways I am blown away.

A Visit to Jingu Bridge

First, the culture of Harajuku is so keenly like SL culture, it’s amazing. (Check this nice little ethnography by Chris Perry.) It’s primarily social and consumerist, centered on gathering in small groups to chat, take photos, go shopping, and show off fashion with the secondary aims of enjoying music and other activities. (And the participants use aliases instead of their real names.. hmmm….)  Second, it takes place in a country that has suffered a long recession but is, by all measures, pretty well-off in the greater scheme of things (just as we are in the US and Europe). Young people can still afford such consumerist pleasures as we are afforded in SL.

My brief academic bit over, I want to show my little Harajuku outfit today. Wearing a dress from Emedea Morgenstern, who primarily has a shop for neko and steampunk. It’s mainly photosourced but well done with a flirty plaid skirt layered over lace. The outfit includes the cute little glasses.

A Visit to Jingu Bridge

The skin is from milok Hermit. I felt I needed a more Harajuku-ey skin (ie, not so sexy as much as doll-like) so a trip to Mother Goose was in hand. The pale skin, bright cartoonish blush, and stained lips is defintely a more East Asian aesthetic for skins, I think.

I topped it with hair from Toast Bard, who has several nice pieces at the Hair Fair. I think Toast is an unsung hero of interesting styles, to be honest. I really like what I am seeing coming from his store, from vintage to almost manga like this hair.

The boots are my twist on the Lolita look (to match the “naughty” stockings in the outfit). What else would push this outfit from cutesy to cutting edge faster than boots made in tribute to Alexander McQueen, as made by Meg Demina?

A Visit to Jingu Bridge

Harajuku Girls you got the wicked style
I like the way that you are, I am your biggest fan
~ Harajuku Girls by Gwen Stefani

Hair: (fd) Bug Lady – Nothingness by Toast Bard for fashionably dead, available at the Hair Fair

Skin: .::Mother Goose’s::. KittY Skin a3 by milok Hermit for .::Mother Goose’s::.

Outfit: *Rag Dollz* Naughty & Nice – Red by Emedea Morgenstern for *Rag Dollz*

Shoes: McQueen Sequin Boots by Megg Demina for Chapeau tres Mignon

Grandma

Isn’t it odd how things in SL can be so evocative and tangible? It seens a kind of a “duh” statement but the things you see in SL really can remind you of RL things. This is a deeper idea that it seems at first. I could get all esoteric, start talking about semiotics, poststructuralism, etc. But instead I would like to talk about my grandma.

Grandma

My grandma (my dad’s mom) was a tall thin graceful woman (who passed many of her genes on to my dad that somehow missed me). She liked fine things but didn’t have enough of them in her life so she was careful with the ones she had. I remember her entire closet was filled with clothes that dated back from the 20s and 30s, covered carefully in fabric to keep them in good condition. So going through her closet was like going through a history of women’s fashion.

She would have definitely worn an ensemble like this. In fact, I remember she had a blouse very similar to this one, but not so bright—navy blue I believe. This one is made by Antonia Marat and in her typical nod to retro, she has the big polka dots, the rolled up sleeves, and the collar. I show it with a slim skirt from Onyx LeShelle.

Grandma

This skin from Hart Larsson reminds me of my grandmother too..when she was younger—she was beautiful. She had beautiful skin. She kept her hair about this length, but not with a bow in it. And it wasn’t red. She always had her hands manicured, and these nails from London Armidi reflect the sort of nails a woman who takes care of a family and her home would have.

Grandma

The reason I have gone on this trip down memory lane is because of these shoes from Emma Gilmour. Spectator pumps! Emma’s work on these shoes is exquisitely detailed. Look at the buckle. Check out the cork soles. And finally those punched decorative details. My grandmother had some awesome shoes, especially spectator pumps. I remember them quite well.

Grandma

I didn’t inherit her thinness but I did inherit her love of style… ;)

Hair: (fd) Jennyfly – Burger Clown by Toast Bard for fashionably dead

Skin: [PXL] Candy SK CE RedLips MEB by Hart Larsson for [PXL] *

Top: /artilleri/ Selma blouse (red/white dots) by Antonia Marat for /artilleri/

Skirt: Maitreya HighSkirt Ivory by Onyx LeShelle for Maitreya

Bracelet: Armidi Gisaci – Triple Pearl Bracelet (L) – Classy by London Armidi for Armidi

Nails: Armidi – (True Enhance) Painted Nails (S20) – Cherry III (L) by Nicole David for Armidi

Shoes: [SC] Surf Couture – Nantucket Spectators – Red by Emma Gilmour for Surf Couture, available at the Shoe Fair

Rollergirl

When things get a little hectic (and they have been a wee bit lately), I do “downtime” in SL by doing something goofy. In this case, I threw on a pair of roller skates and toured my sims.

Rollergirl

I got this dandy little outfit from the 10L sale on the Car Wash sim. Normally 250L (I checked the Onyxia Constantine’s store, where she has several other cute cute things), this little get up, perfect for rollerblading around a sim while engaging in detente in IM, comes complete with the funky gloves and stockings (including prim roll), bikini top and wonderfully outrageous skirt. Rush down to Car Wash because the sale ends March 9 and there are some really great things! (And the sim is terrific.)

Rollergirl

The hair is a sweet little number by Toast Bard. You know, Toast comes off all ironic and obliquely funny but honestly, hair and clothing there is sweet and nostalgic. I love the wisps of hair falling in the face, the innocent daisies, the hair perfectly tucked behind the ear.

This skin by Gala Phoenix is the obvious choice. It’s youthful, glowing, fresh (and sexy with this little bikini top).

Rollergirl

Finally, the skates. These funky roller skates (complete with skulls) come from Vasha Martinek (head of the Twisted Hunt, which is now going on). I wandered over to her shop, and I was blown away. If you want roller skates with skulls on them and funky bands and a kick ass vinyl texture over a platform heel, she has them in like 90 variations. You want acid green with black? She has it. You want black with orange accents. Got it. You need bright yellow? She’s ready for you. Additionally, she has some great gothic shoes, boots, hair—all of it fantastic and funky. I am definitely going back.

Let me give a shout out to my skating AO. The skates come with an AO override so you look like you are skating when you walk. However, if you want deluxe skating complete with stands that cause you to circle around and do all sorts of tricks, go to Sine Wave and get the rollerblading AO. I can skate circles around everyone else and frankly enjoy watching myself swirling around to the music as I work in other windows.

Rollergirl

“If the good Lord had meant for us to walk, he wouldn’t have invented roller skates.”
~ Willy Wonka

Hair: (fd) Rainy Day – Burger Clown by Toast Bard for (fashionably dead)

Skin: :GP: Sundust [Dark] June-Grass 1 by Gala Phoenix for Curio

Outfit: [Gumdrop] – Fairy Duster : Snag by Onyxia Constantine for [Gumdrop]

Rollerskates: +DV8+ CyberJammer Skates – Red/Black by Vasha Martinek for +DV8+

Roller skating AO: Rollerblade AO by Easy Babcock for SineWave

Chevette

I am having some sort of crazy free-form neural connections happening while I make this blog. I have been reading William Gibson’s book, All Tomorrow’s Parties. In it, California is divided into two states—NoCal and SoCal (which I wonder might really happen now the state is in such dire straits), and people are living in shantytowns in Japanese subways and on the Golden Gate bridge. One of the characters in the book is Chevette Washington, a former bicycle messenger and resident of the bridge and now on the run from an abusive boyfriend. I also read a recent article in the New Yorker about economists Paul Krugman and Robin Wells. And I heard a report about Heidi Durrow’s book, The Girl Who Fell From The Sky, on NPR, with a character who is biracial (wherein she made a great point about Obama being biracial).

Chevette

So with all this in my head, I went to LionSkins again after reviewing them in my blog yesterday and found Lion’s new Nikita skins, which reminded me a lot of buff, ropy muscle Chevette. Nothing is specifically described about Chevette’s skin color, but I imagine her as multiracial (probably influenced by the brilliant and strong Robin Wells, who is African-American). Lion does a great job on these skins making an alternative-style but beautiful woman. This is really important. In a virtual world that is *mostly* Caucasian, representation for people of other races or cultures is difficult to find. Lion gives us a delicious alternative.

Chevette

This little get up is from Joy Laperriere and made for the tribute to McQueen. As I understand from her partner, this was one of Joy’s first creations and it’s quite good, especially the sexy shape and the finned shoulder pads. I accompany it with bracelets and nails from kikunosuke Eel. (Any adjustment problems you notice are because these are no mod. I move one into place and the rest get displaced. Ugh.) However the building and textures are exquisite—as we have come to expect from Mr. Eel.

Chevette

Finally we have the issue of the boots. There was quite a kerfluffle over Megg Demina making designs from RL designers and showing them in SL. To be honest, I thought she did a terrific job of making them and showing them and these sequined numbers are brilliant in shape and texture. I believe what Megg has done is no different than Andy Warhol making a Campbell Soup can. She is not taking a trademarked logo or brand and using it as her own—she is replicating a shape and style in a new medium–appropriating. Is she creating art? Well by putting it in Second Life, she may well be. The production of these pieces could be a discussion about the production of virtual commodities, the artifice and insubstantiality of fashion, the easy replication of the “precious” art piece, etc. There is no tradeMARK infringement for a piece of clothing. My gut says nothing wrong was done here.

Chevette

Brain scramble:

Hair: (fd) Sparks (Earth Pack) by Toast Bard for (fashionably dead)

Skin: NIKITA 5a cute-LionSkins by Lion Jonesford for LionSkins

Outfit: [m] Decadence Outfit by Joy Laperriere for Magnifico Exclusive

Bracelets: *[MANDALA]TAKARA Bangle/Buddha/black nails & Rings by kikunosuke Eel for Mandala

Shoes: McQueen Sequin Boots by Megg Demina for Chapeau tres Mignon

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

Some days you wake up and you smell the fresh air and you hear the birds singing and you realize this world you live in requires some laughter and enjoyment rather than the same old sturm und drung. This second life provides an inexpensive way to have a few laughs—spankers, the lime jelly dance, onigakko, “Do not peench,” and tinies.

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

This bubble dress from Quinlan Quimby (whose name alone requires a merry giggle) is piece of orangesicle crush, citrus fluff, sunniness and charm. With her clever use of sculpties and gradient textures, she creates a frothy fun frock that screams “smile!” in the face of rolling restarts and disappearing prims.

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

The obvious accompaniments to this dress are whimsical pieces by Lexi Burks and sato Yifu. There are thousands of fun jewelry pieces like these in SL. Find one, put it on, grab a smile. This wild hair from Amrita, with its brilliant orangey textures and flyaway ponytails is an ideal top to this ensemble.

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

And Toast Bard and the other kids over at Tableau are the royalty of whimsy and irony in SL. These Jellies took me right back to the bins of brightly color jelly shoes at the local dollar store, their stinky vinyl fresh out of the flimsy paper cartons from China.

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

She Bop ;)

Hair: ** Amrita**[Kasandra-Noon] Carrot*Nolight by Atsuki Kayo for **Amrita**

Skin: Pulse Skin Brandy ll-Full Freckles/True Self by Lorac Farella for Pulse Skins

Dress: TOSL *Punk Princess* Party Dress v1.4 Royal Rose by Quinlan Quimby for TOSL

Necklace, Bracelet and Watch: *F.O.R.* Kickin Candy Set YUMMM!!! by Lexi Burks for *F.O.R.* (Store closed :( )

Earrings and Ring: *KUROTSUBAKI* choco cake Ring&Earring by sato Yifu for *KUROTSUBAKI*

Shoes: (fd) Jellies (Blood Orange + Ocean Shore) by Toast Bard for (fashionably dead)

Listening to My Party by Plastilina Mosh