Enjoying The Day

So this has been kind of a cool week for me. 🙂 I have actually been chatting with people who watch my videos! That was an unexpected side effect of doing YouTube. *laughs* I want to do another video kind of just chatting about that, so I’ll save my thoughts for another day. But it’s been cool, most definitely.

Another thing is that I’ve gotten some wonderful feedback on my post about family! I kind of didn’t expect that either! People can be super judgmental about something they don’t quite understand or aren’t interested in, so it’s been great getting comments and IMs and stuff about it. So today I’ve just been relaxing in SL [because lord, it is HOT outside in RL and I can’t even with that right now]. Luckily in SL, I can relax and enjoy the day and not fry to a crisp.

Enjoying The Day

I had a comment in my last post with a question and I thought I’d answer that here rather than in a video just because I tend to get long winded at times and since I’m subjecting you all to probably another 30 minute video on Friday [Luxe Box opening!], I figured I’d just write. 🙂

So Kate asked what I thought about virtual pregnancies. Honestly, I think what you want to do in your SL is your business. For me personally, it’s not something I’m interested in, but I truly understand people who do them.

I mentioned my friend Renee in my post about family. She was one of those people who went through a virtual pregnancy because in her real life, there was no way she could possibly get pregnant. She wanted to experience some form of motherhood and pregnancy, so that’s what she did and she enjoyed it. Again, I think that is probably one of the best uses of SL – doing things that you truly want and would never ever get to experience in the RL.

Now I know that when people think of virtual pregnancy, they think of 2 things. One, those dang tummy talkers that yell at you if you bump the mom, or let the whole world know when your baby wants you to eat your vitamin or is swelling your ankles. Trust me, I’m just as annoyed by those as anyone else. *laughs* And two, they think of prim babies, like the Zooby babies. And for a lot of people, that’s as far as it goes. But there is another side to the virtual pregnancies that, if you’re not in the family community, you might not know about.

It’s not uncommon for parents who have adopted kids in SL to later “birth” the child. No, not like… no, not like you’re thinking. LOL! I know what you’re thinking. But the mother goes through the traditional virtual pregnancy knowing that at the end, the “baby” is their adopted child. It’s more symbolic than anything else. Once the child is born, they are no longer considered an adopted child, but instead are considered a true born child. Actually, our friends Jill and Gattz have done this with all of their kids, and you can read about Jill’s last pregnancy on their blog here. Like I said, it’s more symbolic than anything else, although I think most of the people who do this do get a Zooby baby named after the child.

Now would I “birth” Abby and Birdy? Uhh… probably not. *laughs* I mean, if it was something they truly needed, I would do it. I understand the meaning behind it. But I don’t really have an interest.

So really, like most things in SL, I think virtual pregnancies comes down to “You do you.”

But for real. Turn your stupid tummy talker off. No one wants to hear it.

Randomly Annoyed

I’m annoyed today. I woke up annoyed and now, hours later, still annoyed. And by nothing in particular. Just everything. I logged in to try to get a blog photo done and I just can’t do it. I’m too bothered by life in general today.

So let’s just do an edition of “What non-problem problems do I have today?”

Randomly Annoyed

1. My RL is gray. It’s been gray and slightly rainy off and on for a few days now. I hate rainy days that last too long and I hate not having a lot of sunshine.

2. I forgot to buy cream yesterday, and I hate black coffee. Not that it matters because I’m all out of the coffee I prefer anyway and all that’s left in the house is coffee I don’t want to drink because it’s gross.

2b. I’m also out of eggs, so breakfast was a bust.

3. I love being a blogger but I hate this new trend of “Send me a notecard with your posts!” “Here’s a google doc to write your posts in!” “This is required blogging or you’ll be kicked out of the group that I invited you into and didn’t have rules before but now I do!”

No.

I love to blog and I adore the people who allow me to blog for them. But this is not my job. When it starts to feel like a job, I lose interest in blogging that store. I understand post requirements, like 2 posts a month or something. But not all these extra things. Either let your bloggers do it how they want or just do it yourself. Obviously you picked these particular bloggers for a reason. Let us do our thing. You will get more posts out of it that way.

4. No one ever just does what I want without me specifically having to tell them to do it. I’m not complicated. Just… be cute, have fun, and do stuff on your own without me having to say things.

5. I like my new head now but I don’t like that so many of my old hairs don’t work anymore because of my stupid ears and the hairs are rigged so I can’t even mod them to get hair out of my ears. I don’t want to have to buy mesh ears just so I can move them around for my hair.

I should probably stop complaining about life and go get coffee. And god help whoever gets into my way today.

Look For The Helpers

This is more of a RL post today because my mind is full. I’ll get back to the snark and SL antics soon. 🙂

Over the past few years, I’ve done posts here and there, either for Memorial Day or Veterans Day, thanking those who have served in the armed forces. Two of my high school classmates, Robert and Billy, died while in service. One in Iraq, one in Afghanistan. My nephew is currently in the army. Another young cousin is planning on enlisting in the air force after he graduates in 2017. With everything going on in the world, it’s hard to think of what their military careers will be like. But they know what they are signing up for. They are, or are going to be, soldiers.

But then I think about the people caught in the crossfire. What happened yesterday is a good example.

Look For The Helpers

However, it would be too easy to give into fear. I know we’re all scared. Anything could happen. I spent an hour on the phone with my mom earlier reassuring her that we’ll be safe. It’s a promise I can’t exactly keep, of course. We both know that. But it made us feel better. And as we are people of great faith, we prayed about it.

It would be too easy to look at the news and be scared and hide in the bed. So I’m doing as Mr. Rogers said his mom told him to do when things are scary.

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'”

I’ve been looking for the helpers. And oh, are there helpers! So many people opened their doors last night to strangers in need. People reached out to help in any way that they were able. It was beautiful to see in the wake of so much tragedy.

For every bad deed that is done, there are many more people practicing love, charity, forgiveness, and hope. Look for the helpers. They’ll show you that we’re going to be okay in the end. ♥

Back On The Wall

Our Heritage panel expired yesterday. I thought it wasn’t time yet, but they do expire after 20 days and after counting back, yep, it was the 20th day.

Part of me thought, okay well that’s that. But the other part of me said, “Let me revamp our notecard and we’ll try again! Woo!” I think I’ve gotten used to all the spam from Heritage, and it’s now part of my routine to head down there every evening to read some panels after the family has gone to bed. But we still haven’t really seen anyone who fits what we want since the first girl. 😦

Back On The Wall

Now, granted, we are picky. Anyone who reads our own panel notecard will see that. We have certain things that we look for in a family member. You SHOULD be picky when going into this. I’ll say that again.

You should absolutely be picky about who you are choosing to go on trial with.

That being said, it amazes me that people wouldn’t put their best foot forward while writing out their applications. So here are a few things that make ME immediately delete an application that I’ve read. It might be of some help to you if you are looking to be adopted and are having problems getting your panel Liked. Now these are just my opinions. Some families might not care about any of this, some might care about all this and a whole lot more besides. But this is just how it is for me.

1. You have written NOTHING. No. Seriously. You have to fill out the application. Just throwing the app in the panel without even your name is not going to do you or anyone else any good. My favorite was the kid with the almost blank notecard. All it said was “Please talk to me.” No name, no information. Nothing.

2. You haven’t written anything that lets anyone get to know you. The application has a lot of very straight forward questions on it. What is your name, how old is your RP age, when are you online, etc. But it also has questions that can let your personality come out a little, especially in the freestyle area where you can kind of talk a bit more about what you like and what you’re looking for. 1 out of 5 applications I’ve read, this area has been left blank.

3. You have way too much backstory. Some people are much bigger roleplayers than I am and I get that. But I feel like there are some kids out there who write too much “story” about their life prior to Heritage and it’s almost a bit weird. But, again, there are families out there who are a 10 on the RP scale and want to know NOTHING else about your outside life. But I’d say the average family doesn’t require a huge story about how you ended up at Heritage in the first place.

4. You don’t really know who you are. When we first met Abby, she told us she was 8. She felt 8. She IS 8 in SL. When we met Birdy, she said she was 7, but felt she could go slightly younger or older. I feel like [and she can correct me on this!] that it’s because she came from a heavier roleplaying background and sometimes you change to fit a story. But around her first adoptaversary, she settled in at 5, and 5 seems to fit her very well. Some of these kids on their apps say that they can be “2-15.” Or they have 12 different avatars where they’re “2, or 6, or 13, or 16, or 27” on any given day. And even worse, they write their application as a 4 year old, then slip in that by adopting them, you’re adopting their 17 alts that are all different ages from 18 months to 48 years old. No thanks.

5. I can’t understand a dang thing you just wrote. Look, I get it. Kids don’t always speak correctly. Changing a few words here and there is endearing. Writing an entire notecard in crazy “baby talk” is NOT endearing. If every question “are answordeds wike dis becuz mees is fwees years olds an ebberyting is wonnerfuls,” I’m going to delete your card and not look back.

And this isn’t really a dealbreaker or anything, but just a suggestion. Get a good photo for your panel. I know, I know. Don’t judge a book by its cover. But who picks up a raggedy, boring looking book? A lot of the panel pics are the kid basically just standing there at Heritage. You don’t need the most professional photo in the world, but a nice, clean picture will draw someone’s eye to your panel. If you don’t have a computer that takes nice pics or the ability to figure out what looks good, there are a lot of people who will take a nice photo for you. Heck, IM me. I’ll do you up a quick panel picture in less than 10 minutes if I have the time.

Next up – Parent Applications. Lord, if you thought the children were bad….

Ads and Demos

If you came here looking for my post on the demo skin and the Photoshopped ad, I took it down. Not because I was pressured to, because if you know me, you know I would have kept it up and posted it EVERY-FREAKIN-WHERE if I’d been told to take it down. *laughs* But I took it down because I feel like people, including the creator of the ad itself, missed the point I was trying to make entirely.

If you are a creator and you sell your items for money, you owe it to your customers to not do false advertising. As pretty as you can make an ad with Photoshop and filters and morphing, you are doing a GREAT disservice to your customers AND to your brand by making a completely fancy ad that looks absolutely nothing like what you’re selling. Although some people showed me how they looked in the exact same skin and shape that I demoed, they did not look like the girl in the ad for that particular skin and shape. They did not, and I think they could agree with that. The creator of the ad IMed me and told me that yes, she draws digitally using a tablet. And that’s cool. I thought she actually did a pretty decent job. She was hired to do something and this is not her fault that what’s in the box is not really on the ad.

When you put something up for sale and you expect to be given money for it, the person giving you that money expects to get the right item. This is why vendor ads in SL should not be overly photoshopped. It’s why, in my opinion, bloggers should not do too much photoshopping if they have gotten an item for review. If you digitally retouch an item until it no longer looks like it does in world, you need to put a disclaimer that that is what you did. Otherwise, you are cheating people who expect that item to look just like it does in your photo. And let’s remember that a great many bloggers and creators have higher end computers that support ultra graphics, but the every day Second Lifer may not and things don’t always look even half as good to them. I do Photoshop my blog photos, as most bloggers do, but never to alter the item in a huge way. AND – and let me make this very very clear – if there is a demo available, you NEED TO DEMO. I have been burned many times by not taking 5 minutes to demo an item before buying it and then being disappointed when it does not meet my expectations. Had I wanted to look just like the ad in question, I would have been severely disappointed if I’d not demoed the skin and shape beforehand. And long time SLers know this. But someone new to the grid may not, and those are the people that you as a creator want to grab. Long time SLers have their faves already that they are dedicated to. Newcomers are still deciding who their faves are. You want to grab them and sway the long time people to your brand. Having your ads photoshopped to death and back is not the way to do this.

Anyway, I didn’t expect my post to be so controversial. 🙂 This is a personal SL blog, it’s not on any feeds, and the skins were just something we were joking about on Plurk on Sunday. I kind of didn’t expect more than a few people to read my post, so I was pretty surprised to see that it got as many views as it did. And I know many people went down to the store to check out the demo for themselves, so all publicity is good publicity, am I right?

So TL;DR version? False advertising = Bad. Demoing = Good.

Are views actually everything?

Now let me just say that this is JUST my opinion and I’m not trying to tell anyone how to run their businesses or events. I obviously do not run a business or an event, so what do I really know? But I do have something to talk about that’s been bothering me a lot for the past few weeks.

Are views actually everything?

I’ve been a blogger in SL for a long time. I’ve been lucky enough to have had the chance to blog for some AMAZING people and events. I am almost a 6 year old fashion blogger [6 years next month, officially!] and let me tell you – in SL years, that’s a long time. I don’t consider myself one of the “top bloggers.” Years ago, a designer friend of mine mentioned that he was so excited to be blogged but a “top blogger,” I think it was Berry or Gogo, despite the fact that I’d been blogging him faithfully for a while. *laughs* But I hold no delusions that I’m at the top of the blogger mountain and I’m kind of okay with that considering that it seems like an awful lot of work and responsibility. I don’t have “sponsors” because people with “sponsors” seem to be crying all of the time when they can’t blog for a day because the “sponsors” are breathing down their necks. I simply blog as the mood strikes, when I have fun things to blog, and I blog for some wonderful events and some lovely people who are kind enough to allow me to blog for them. I know how lucky I am. Believe me, I know.

But there’s this thing that’s happening lately and I don’t like it. It seems like every event or store looking for bloggers now suddenly require 500+ flickr views per photo. When the heck did THAT happen? When did having more Flickr views = more sales?

Because see, here’s what’s happening. People are adding loads and loads of contacts in the hopes of getting a follow back so that they can get a photo view. And not only that, but people are re-upping their Flickr pics to get more views. Not just once, but SEVERAL TIMES. So you might end up seeing the same dang picture 12 times in 2 days because they’re trying to get those views. And oh my god, it’s annoying. Everyone is annoyed by it and usually end up taking back their faves or just unfollowing the person. I watched a girl that I had recently followed repost a fairly plain photo about 7 times in 2 days. She got over 600 views, but I don’t know exactly what she was showing and I ended up just unfollowing her. Because I don’t have time to keep seeing the same photo on flickr over and over. I barely can keep up looking at the new ones as it is.

I get wanting to have more publicity for your event or item. I really do. But it’s making Flickr completely not fun. And I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m not rushing out to purchase whatever someone who re-posts their picture 18 times is showing. Most of the time, I don’t even know what’s being shown. All I know is that I’ve added over 300 people in the past week, have gotten maybe 100 following me back, and my pics are only getting maybe 50 more views on average. And I don’t think my photos are that bad.

Is this what it’s going to come to? That it’s no longer about how good your photos are, or how well you write, or that your blog readers actually buy what you show? It’s knocking a LOT of really decent bloggers out of the running to apply for things because they don’t meet the Flickr view quota because they refuse to repost their pics 12 times or add everyone in sight just to get a view. It’s frustrating. Yes, I do still shop, but I enjoy being a blogger for stores and events that I like because it’s really fun. It’s always been really fun to be “behind the scenes” in a sense.

Again, I don’t run a business. I don’t organize events. Maybe knocking some of the bloggers out of the running because there are others who get more Flickr views doesn’t hurt anything.

But then again, maybe it does.

Why You Gotta Be So Mean?

Don’t you hate when you need something that you just washed and now you can’t go to bed until the dryer finishes? Of course, the item in question is the towel my cat sleeps on and as she has me trained to be her slave, so I’m up at 1:30am waiting on the towel to dry. I am such a sucker.

But, that gives me a chance to do Miss Berry’s new Monday Meme – Mean Comments edition.

Why You Gotta Be So Mean?

1. Have you ever been subjected to mean comments online by strangers? If not, then skip to question #5.

Oh gosh, of course. You don’t spend any time online in social areas and NOT get told something awful. You don’t become a blogger without people throwing every mistake you’ve ever made back in your face when you write about changes you’ve made. It’s just the way of the internet.

2. How did you respond to them?

Usually I just ignore it. The times I’ve fought back, it has lead to me shaking, crying, and being in a foul mood for days.

3. How did they make you feel?

Well, it really depends on the comment and the day! Sometimes I feel really bad. Sometimes I’m really super amused. It kind of depends on who said it, too. Strangers can’t hurt me the way friends can, you know?

4. Can you share some of the mean comments you’ve received and your thoughts on them?

I don’t have any saved. That’s not something I keep around. 🙂 But I’ve been told that I’m stupid, that I’m disappointing, that I don’t deserve good things. There’s always the “Omg, you’re so fat and ugly IRL” comments, too, but I feel that’s a cop out when someone can’t think of anything more to say and they know they’ve basically lost the “fight.”

5. Have you ever ridiculed or negatively commented on someone else’s work, actions or personality with the intention to hurt them?

Unfortunately, yes. Something that most people don’t know about me because I control it pretty well is that I have an incredible temper. I don’t go specifically looking to be some internet troll, but if provoked enough, I can bite back pretty hard. I go for whatever I think is the weakest spot and hit hard and fast. It is not something I’m proud of at all, believe me. But it does not happen often because I tend not to let myself get dragged into internet fights and I have learned when to just shut my mouth. On occasion when it happens, I usually feel horrible for weeks afterwards. I don’t forgive myself as easily as I forgive others, I’m sorry to say. But it’s helpful because it reminds me, “Hey. Shut up. You don’t need to say that. Walk away.”

And on that note, I’m shutting up for the night because the towel is dry and I can put it back on the corner of my bed where the Spoiled Princess sleeps. [10 points if you know that name!] Goodnight!