A little Blender reward

I've just spent the past couple of hours getting acquainted with the basics of Blender. Not that I'm planning on dumping my use of Mesh Studio any time soon, but getting to know Blender can't hurt. So, having got through the tutorials I wanted to get through, I thought it was time for a bit of nonsense as a reward:

Just don't let on to Auryn Beorn that my reward was exporting and uploading a mesh object when all I'd done is complete her interface basics. Those warnings about running before we can crawl are kind of scary. ;)

A quick visit to Sydney

After the Raven Park Stereotypes dance was over Miss Vila and I felt we needed to take some photos of our costumes, not to mention the mode of transport she'd chosen to arrive at the dance on. To start with we took a couple of photos outside our house:

Don't ask what the 'roo is smoking...
Close-up to try and get a good shot of
Miss Vila's t-shirt
So it seems koalas are pervs who like a good

But then we realised that a ridable 'roo deserved a far more impressive backdrop...

Having made it there, we had to take a trip over the bridge, of course:

Having made it to the other side, we carried on exploring:

I think the thing that confuses me about the whole trip is this. If the 'roo was smoking all the way, how come it's the koala that looks stoned?

Or is it that he just go this cleavage quota for the day?


The Black Fair

So, given the name and the description for it, Miss and I just had to check out The Black Fair. I can't help wonder if they were being ironic or something (yes, this photo was taken using the region's windlight setting):

It's a good job Miss had her shades to hand.


New car

Despite the issues and hassles that can surround them (especially region crossings, which seem to be horrific these days) I have a bit of a thing for Second Life vehicles. I don't use them much, the main reasons for that being a) when I'm in-world I'm normally either working on some build or I'm busy with Miss Vila and b) these days I'm permalocked in Sub-Allowance and driving a vehicle on the ground comes off the walk allowance (on purpose). But, if I see a vehicle I really like, and it's affordable, I just have to grab it.

A couple of days back I saw this. I had to have it.

And now I have it. :)

Not only does it suit Raven Park rather nicely, the main reason I had to have it should be obvious to anyone who's a fan of the show:

There's a couple of quibbles with it. The handling is a bit too twitchy (which might be on purpose -- I guess I'm spoiled by having built my own vehicles and making them work "just so") and the sound seems more like it was intended for a motorcycle than a car of some description. But, like I say, they're quibbles. It's still fun to blat around in and it looks lovely.


So much for that plan

So, that plan where Mal would move to the shop when he was "fully grown"...

Yeah. That's not going to happen is it?

How not to advertise

At Z&A we've always been careful and a little restrained in our advertising. Sure, we have an in-world group, and we're members of a small number of relevant groups that allow announcements, and of course we have a blog and stuff. In every case though everything is opt-in -- it's up to the customer (or potential customer) to join up, request the information, take an active role in receiving things from us.

Never once have we even considered any of those in-world mailing systems that do the "oh, you landed at our shop once, cool, we're now adding you to a mailing list and we'll bombard you with stuff from now on" thing. Never once have we even considered adding people who have purchased stuff from us to any such list. With the obvious exception of sending out product update information I find that sort of thing rude, annoying and off-putting (as does Zardia/Miss Vila) so there's no way we'd do that with Z&A.

The closest we've ever come is with our affiliate programme where one of the requirements of being part of it is that you agree to be put on the mailing list (which is only used to send out details of new products in the affiliate boards). But, again, it's a requirement, it's documented up front and it's something people agree to.

So when something like this turns up over night:

it's kind of irksome.

I haven't got a clue who these people are. Perhaps I've got some relationship with them from way back (not that I recall the company name)? Perhaps I've dropped by a location of theirs at some point? Perhaps they're just trawling groups? I've no idea. At the very least they could put something in that message to say why they're sending me that IM. I'm fairly sure I have no connection with them whatsoever.

The closing line makes it pretty obvious that they're skating on thin ice and they know it. "Yeah, we know, we've signed you up to some advertising that you didn't ask for but if you just come and visit our location and follow these instructions to get off the list..." -- because if there's one thing we know from the history of the Internet it's that opt-out mailing lists are never seen a spamming.

Whoever they are (I've no desire to call them out by name) this is obviously a very new thing for them, the avatar that sent it is pretty obviously some sort of bot, registered the same day the message was sent out:

Aside from one group, that's the total content of their profile. No information. Nothing in there even to explain why I might be getting advertising IMs from them.

I'm not in the market for rental skyboxes (really, I'm not) but if I was this would put me right off.


A gift for Miss Vila

Sometimes, just sometimes, you have to spoil your Mistress with a gift of the latest thing that she's been looking forward to. Pretty quickly after she'd seen the notecard announcing the release, and grabbed and tried the demo, I jumped on the marketplace and got the gift in motion.

Of course, that sort of backfired. That resulted in the inevitable "now I need a whole new wardrobe" moment:

Not that I was complaining. ;)

Eventually though she found something to wear and, I think, she was a little happy with the gift.

And Catastrophe seemed to approve of them too:


Moving into fashion design

Earlier on I needed to do a test that required that I was wearing every possible layer of clothing. Rather than faff about pulling an outfit together from clothing in my inventory I decided it was quicker to just make a new item for every possible layer. And, to help see what's what, I tinted each item as I went.

You know that moment when you're so busy doing a thing (in my case working on and testing a script) that you don't really notice what you've done to your avatar, until you pause?... Yeah. That.

I should totally move into fashion design.


Cats need attention

If you own a cat or two you'll know that thing they do where, no matter what you're doing, no matter where your attention is focused, they have to get in there and become the focus of attention. Even if it means wedging themselves into the oddest of places.

Yup. Second Life is no different.



Anyone who reads the Z&A blog or is a member of the in-world Z&A group will know that, yesterday, the Raven Park dance was themed around the film The Fifth Element. My choice of costume was pretty obvious this time, even if it did mean I had to dye my hair red (yes, yes, I know, it should really have been bright orange -- you can't get my hair in bright orange and, sadly, it's not mod).

This build was lots of fun too. When it comes to making the skyboxes for the Raven Park dances I try and keep them as simple as possible, knowing that they're mostly a throwaway backdrop that people won't pay much attention to (not detailed attention anyway). So this time I went for something that was a nod to the opera scene, with a slowly rotating Earth and a huge field of starts in the background. The posts were made specially for the build too, quickly cobbled together with prims and then meshed with Mesh Studio.

I also couldn't resist knocking up a quick-n-dirty multipass for everyone. Just a silly prop that, when worn, would animate the avatar holding it and also add their profile picture to the pass:

[04:30] Mul-ti-pass!: Antony Fairport multipass! Mul-ti-pass!
The nice thing about making that is that it gave me a reason to look at how to get hold of an avatar's profile picture from a script. Hardly the greatest of challenges (goodness knows there's plenty of those sorts of things around the grid that hassle you when you land somewhere) but one of those things I've never figured out because I didn't have a need.

Now I know.


Doing my best under difficult circumstances

It's that time of year again, the buildup to The Femdom Hunt. What started as a fun one-off idea that we had to get out of our systems has become an annual event -- one that we get asked about frequently. Right now we're at the very start of the process; right now we're sending out invitations and handling the applications.

Part of that process involves paying a visit to locations that are new to the hunt. Partly we do this because, of course, we want to be sure that a location is a good match for the hunt. As well as that we like to drop in and see a location because it's often somewhere we don't know and it's fun to see new locations, discover new shops, etc.

Today Miss Vila and I spent an hour slowly wandering around a number of new applications. Upon finishing we headed home and Miss decided we should sit outside and review how things are going, while she had a coffee:

Given my situation at the time I think I did a rather good job of laying the table. ;)

Of course, I still managed to get into trouble. Apparently it's not acceptable to leave a crease in the tablecloth!

And, apparently, protesting that you've done pretty well considering gets you nowhere!

Things didn't get any better when I begged to be released from the cuffs and gag for the evening so I could photograph a new product for Z&A.

And the hunt's not even got busy yet. This could be a long couple or so months...

Escape artist

So, somehow, Mal's figured out how to get out of the house!

He's braver than me. If/when I'm locked in Miss Vila's house I know better than to even try and escape...



Somehow, as shocking as it might sound, something that happened today ended up being identified as my fault. Which quickly resulted in my arms being locked behind my back...

and the hair sticks coming out!