Virtual Alchemy

by AK365

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Yo. Bronxelf here. So, I came to the conclusion that I sort of liked the idea of a 365 project, but really wasn't up to taking photos of me every day.

What sounded in some ways more challenging, but in some ways more comfortable was to twist it slightly and do 365 days of my avatar on Second Life.

AK, as I think everyone knows are my initials. They're also the initials of my avatar. And my avatar is well... pretty much like me. So there you go.

Um, I don't know the first thing about CSS, so I'll uh.. get to that.

Other, more traditional, currently active or completed 365 projects include...

365 Days of Mr. Kyoob
My Defective Ear(the one that started this madness- COMPLETE!)
See Me
Slice of Life
Whose Shoes?

Recent visitors

VA35:Christmas in July

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The Tube hosted a Christmas in July event. I look like a refugee from the
Lollipop Guild. I don't normally use the poles in the club, preferring to be
on the floor, but part of the problem is I am much smaller than the average
avatar and most pole scripts make it so Im standing in midair- I never touch
the ground. Sammi, one of the club's owners, built a box for me to stand
on. Seriously. a box.


OCD Sprocket says:

the other pole dancer appears to have gotten into some serious costume rendering difficulties

27th Jul 2008, 15:17

bronxelf says:

No her costume was okay. It's just that fabric doesn't always act like it would in real life. In real life she wouldn't be able to *wear* that skirt and dance on the pole because of the way it's cut.

For example. my skirt is formed of about 8 wedges that move independently. Hers was just one piece. So in order to let her dance, the skirt material gives way to the pole.

27th Jul 2008, 18:00

OCD Sprocket says:

tis all very complicated

have you thought of changing your avatar to something a little taller to avoid the whole pole-dancing problem?

27th Jul 2008, 20:59

bronxelf says:

Why would I want to be taller? My avatar is the same height I am, IRL. I already think people in SL are ridiculous for making their avatars so oversized. I'm more than happy to stay on the floor. I was only up by the pole last night because it was a special occasion party.

It's a bit ridiculous to make myself taller (when it was a right pain in the ass to get me exactly the right height to begin with) just to do something silly like dance on a pole.

27th Jul 2008, 21:05

OCD Sprocket says:

you see, I kinda thought that people in the virtual world would make themselves the ideal that they would like to be - therefore all the guys lose their beer guts, grow hair over that baldy bit, gain a few extra inches erm all over (is Second Life that detailed??), and generally become uber masculine and attractive.

whereas the women all develop legs the length of gazelles, and curves to put a parabola to shame.

good to see that you are maintaining some reality checks in the virtual world. I would probably keep myself much as I am in my avatar, though would definitely adopt a cape when in flying mode

27th Jul 2008, 21:21

bronxelf says:

Actually, I don't think my response really makes it clear what I find so interesting.

In order for my feet to touch the ground using one of the pole scripts, I'd need to be roughly a foot taller, maybe about 14 inches, than I currently am. That puts me at about 6'4" tall, in the case of 14 inches. So it means I have to be super tall and wear super tall heels, or just be super, super tall.

Just looking at the phenomenon objectively, I really am disappointed in what that's saying. I find it disappointing that *so many people* are making their avatars that tall.

I'm also disappointed that so much of the women's clothing in SL really does look like it came out of a strip club- particularly the shoes.

It exists because obviously there's a market for it. The reason the pole scripts are designed as they are is because they're fulfilling a need. Both of those facts bother me- that there's *THAT MUCH* demand for both that type of clothing, and that many people who are making their avatars that tall.

However, your comment (totally taking out anything personal in it) is interesting also- that sure, it's a simple matter to make oneself taller- after all, it just requires a couple of seconds to change things. But it's more the idea that somehow molding oneself to this taller image just to do something silly like dance on a pole for a couple hours is worth doing at all.

It brings up questions of self-image, and self-awareness in space. How do people view themselves? What attributes are important to them, or more importantly, which ones would they change if they could? There's a lot of women who have given themselves the bodies of supermodels. Aside from the fact that I can't understand why anyone would find that attractive, I'm also seeing a lot of body dysmorphia issues being acted out in SL as well. It's very saddening, but fascinating at the same time.

My avatar is the same size I am, because I'm perfectly okay with my size. I am comfortable with that size, and so changing it (especially for something so silly) seems not only ridiculous, but almost insulting to my own identity as a person- even a virtual one.

27th Jul 2008, 21:23

OCD Sprocket says:

I shall come back to this in a mo

I need to grab some chocco pud first (obviously I am lacking any kind of body image problems heh heh)

27th Jul 2008, 21:26

bronxelf says:

I was still typing my comment when you were typing yours so in response to yours-

Exactly. SO MANY people do that. And I don't mean completely reinvent themselves as say a blue skinned mermaid, or a furry hybrid of an animal and a person. I mean simply recreating themselves as a completely different, but otherwise ordinary human being. And you tend to see what the issues are there- how they "wish" they could be. What their sore points are in terms of how they view themselves, and how their view in the mirror is really strange. I was in the club last night and there was someone in there I'd never met before who had simply impossible proportions- I mean strange enough that I took a photo and sent it to a friend to show her what I meant. I think that so many people have no idea what they look like- they are caricatures *even to themselves*, in the mirror.

I spent a long, long time working to get my proportions within something that seemed accurate, and still, I tweak it when I see something is off. Like there's no way for me to accurately check breast size in SL. I can tell you precisely how tall I am, but it's hard to gauge a chest size.

27th Jul 2008, 21:30

OCD Sprocket says:

One would think it would be a lot easier if SL would just let you type in your height, weight, inside leg, chest measurements etc. And then if you could just scan in your own clothes from your wardrobe. Or have a virtual GAP or Old Navy where you could pick up the same stuff you bought in the real world that morning. I guess that's where making your own t.shirts in SL comes in handy.

I have recently met a lot of women in the real world who would like to be mermaids. I don't know if they have some romantic notion of being a perfect size 8, with stunning boobs, combing their 36inch long golden tresses while sitting on a rock and being gawped at by passing sailors, or whether it's some inner desire to return to the sea. I've never come across any women that would like to be fairies or pixies. Obviously fairies don't have the same romantic connotations. Plus fairies are somewhat childish, whereas mermaids are probably seen as mature and sexually active beings.

I was going to ask if you had actually met anyone in RL and SL and how their avatar compares to their real selves. I would think that if you make yourself a 7ft werewolf type character in SL then people are pretty much going to ignore you, which surely defeats the object of the whole experience. Isn't the point of it to meet and interact with people. But, then again there may be a whole sub culture of werewolf type people roaming the lands of SL desperately waiting to bump into like-minded lycnathropes.

Body and age issues are something that my friends and I all experienced when we were dating online. It was common pratice for people's profiles to shave a good 10 years off their age and a few pounds off their midriff. Though I never came across anyone that lied about their height.

Actually, no. I lied about my height once. For an experiment I decided to see if I would get more hits if I changed my height to 6ft. Oddly enough I didn't get any.

27th Jul 2008, 22:08

OCD Sprocket says:

I like to think that people preferred me the height I am.

But when online, no matter in what capacity, Moblog, SL, Twitter, FaceBook, Myspace, aren't we just creating an image of ourselves that we want the outside world to see. Or at least we don't let people see the darker aspects of our characters, our faults and our failures.

Well actually maybe not so much in Moblog. Especially when it comes to self-portraiture, which in many of the Daily-Me's has shown pain, anger, sadness and loss. In fact, both Mobloggers and the bloggers themselves have probably learned a lot about themselves by posting photos from their darkest most personal moments.

27th Jul 2008, 22:18

bronxelf says:

There's a large merfolk community in SL, but you may be surprised to know there's a HUGE fairy/pixie/fae community. HUGE. If you check Flickr you can see some really impressive work done on avatars. Some examples here(linky)
and here(linky).

What I've found is that people who are just radically different are interesting- there's a guy who's got an avatar that's a giant (I mean like 15' across, easily) floating purple mechanical spider. I find that fascinating. I find the fairies, fiurries and merfolk fascinating. You know what I *dont* find fascinating? Supermodels. Hyper-feminized or masculinized avatars that look like some kind of ridiculous idealized version of something that comes out of a magazine. And unfortunately, there's a LOT of them. I mean a LOT.

Though I find the merfolk very interesting, I am the very opposite of a water creature. I have zero desire to be anything sea-related.

The only people I know in RL who have SL avatars look reasonably like how they do IRL. Reasonably. Mostly though it's because they don't either have the time to work on getting their avatar exactly right, or they just dont have a computer system that can really handle the graphics, not because of any kind of weird body dysmorphia.

Any kind of radically different community (furries, fairies, merfolk, etc.) will find many, many likeminded people. There's no problem finding a community to accept them. It's the other ones that confuse me, because it just seems like an even sadder version of an old AOL chat room.

27th Jul 2008, 22:30

OCD Sprocket says:

Sadly there are hyper-masculinised guys in real life, who generally congregate down my gym.

There is a core group whose sole purpose in life is to have bigger arms than any of their friends. Unfortunately, this leads to the total loss of their necks, and their bodies looking like a child's drawing of Arnold Schwarzadoodle. I was watching them today wondering what sort drove them on their fanatical quest to distort their bodies so grotesquely.

Presumably the obsessive weight lifting guys get off with the silicone-addicted girls, so at the end of the day everyone is happy.

Merfolk, now that's an interesting one, because I'm immediately thinking "do merfolk have any tackle". They strike me as somewhat asexual creatures, letting the merwomen get their kicks from the passing sailors. Strange then that someone would chose to be one, even in SL.

27th Jul 2008, 22:46

bronxelf says:

Since I really am so not the kind of person to be interested in being a member of the merfolk community I can't really say, but there may be something to be said for sexuality with safety. They're getting attention for being sexualized, but in the end there's only so far it can really go.

In SL, you can purchase all your various sexual bit needs (it's pretty funny how much money people make from pubic hair. Seriously.). The sex industry is pretty enormous. I don't like being hit on in SL any more than I do IRL, and so I even have it in my profile as a warning not to hit on me.

But speaking of mermaids:

27th Jul 2008, 22:52

OCD Sprocket says:

incredible detail that the fairy woman (linky) put into her costume

*goes off to check out the mermaids*

27th Jul 2008, 23:16

bronxelf says:

The alternative communities spend a LOT of time on their environments and on themselves. there's hours and hours of work invested in those avatars.

27th Jul 2008, 23:51

CatsEyes says:

I am finding the discussion in the comments absolutely fascinating.

For myself, my SL avatar is a representation of how I wish I looked (realistically) in RL. Same height just at my idea weight. I can't be bothered to dye my hair but my SL avatar wears different coloured hair *every* day. Our wardrobes are similar - basic and comfy.

I just plain gave up trying to tweak my SL looks to match RL. Took me a month to find gothy pale skin and figure out how to put it on.
<--- n00b

As far as boob size, I quote comedienne Elayne Boosler: "Going jogging? Put on the A cups. Seeing the auto mechanic about an estimate? Pop on the DDs" ^_^

30th Jul 2008, 03:55

silar31 says:

When I get my new MacBook (insert house sale prayer here) and can do SL, I'll probably make my avatar look like me, only the height I should be (5'10"). I've always wanted to be that tall to match the rest of my tall family, and in fact should have been, based on baby growth algorithms. Growth was stunted by steroids when I was a kid.

30th Jul 2008, 17:34

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