Blink and You'll Miss Them: 5 Exclusive Collabor88 Deals to Grab While You Still Can

C88 Feb 2015 Yummy
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

February is a deceptively short month, and that means that right now lost of avid Second Life fashion fans are rushing to make sure they have everything they want from their favorite limited-time events. For me, Collabor88 sits at the top of that list. February's lineup was ridiculously strong, featuring a lot of guest designers and collaboration between many of the regulars. While the event was centered around love and romance (because, you know, February) just about everything there manages to hold up to post-Valentine's day scrutiny.

So if you've yet to make the trip over to C88 yourself this month, here are a few items you won't want to miss:

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Relive Your First L$ Purchase Through These Fascinating Reader Comments

SL MeshJanine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

Last week I asked NWN readers when and why you made your first virtual currency purchase in Second Life, and the answers so far have been a trip down memory lane.

Of course these answers have also been an interesting look into the early virtual lives of some infamous SLers. Arwyn Quandry, for example, got her start on the Teen Grid (back when there was a Teen Grid). Because most residents of the TG did have ready access to their own credit cards or Paypal accounts, the Teen Grid economy was wildly different from the Main Grid's. She writes:

I bought my first bunch of $L about a week before I left the Teen Grid. It was a big thing, because I didn't have my own card. I had to ask my dad to borrow his paypal account so I could get $10 worth of lindens. On the TG, that was big money - a nice pair of shoes that would go for 250 to 300 on the main grid went for maybe 100 at the most on the TG. Before that, I would wear freebies or build my own stuff. There was an educational group that gave away lindens for attending their events, so I would always go there.

When I got my ten bucks worth of $L, I bought a few outfits from my favorite designers who I wouldn't see again (at least until they transferred), gifts for some friends, and even my own plane, because why not. It was the coolest feeling being able to shop. After that, I would buy maybe once every two or three months to get a new outfit. These days, I buy a larger amount because I'm supporting a sim, but still keep my expenses fairly low.

Meanwhile, famed Second Life home and interior designer Barnesworth Anubis' first exchange of cash for L$ was so he could snap up a nice plot of land. No surprises there. The most interesting detail in his story, however, is where that cash came from:

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Virtual Photographer Loony Columbia's Second Life Snapshots are as Angelic as Ever

Enfant Loony Columbia cropped
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

Today seemed like a good day to check in on one of my favorite Second Life photographers, Loony Columbia. Although it's been awhile since I've blogged her, her work is easily some of the most adorable out there. Even if you're not into the cutesy avatars she favors you can almost certainly still appreciate her technical style. Loony likes to keep her work blindingly bright and pastel perfect, and even though she prefers those cute-looking avatars she's not shy about veering towards the NSFW side of things either.

"Enfant - Woman in Love" is one of her latest pics, and it stands out because it's a slight departure from her usual images. While most of her SL snapshots are seas of milky color, this one is much bolder by comparison. It stopped me in my tracks, or rather it stopped my cursor in its path.

You can check out the uncropped (and slightly NSFW) version of "Enfant" here, or spend some time perusing the pastel wonderland that is Loony Columbia's Flickr stream. If you'd like some styling advice, then you'll want to swing by her Tumblr as well.

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Lost an Item from Your SL Inventory in the Past Year? Take This Quick Survey from Linden Lab

SL Inventory WindowJanine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

Inventory loss has been the bane of avid Second Life users for years now. Although there have been periods where it was more or a problem than usual, it's never not been there, lurking in the backs of our virtual closets and waiting to devour one, just one shoe from our favorite pair. It's not a simple issue, either. There are a multitude of ways it can happen, and addressing every one of them is something that Linden Lab has undoubtedly been struggling with for as long as Second Life's existed. 

If you've lost an item out of your inventory in the past year there's not much you can do to retrieve it at this point, but you can still help LL by providing a little information about that loss. They've recently put a call out for victims of inventory loss to fill in a simple survey. Expect to answer questions about how many items you've lost in the last 12 months, when the majority of those losses occurred, what viewer you use most and, of course, what happened immediately before the loss -- trying to rez something on a no-rez parcel, for example, is a pretty common way to lose an item.

You can fill in the survey for yourself here, and with any luck the information gleaned will help limit future losses.

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Learn from the Masters by Tuning in to These Second Life Content Creators Who Livestream Their Work

Nylon Pinkney Portrait Voshi paineJanine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

Earlier today, Second Life designer and artist Nylon Pinkney livestreamed her process as she worked on one of her gorgeous avatar portraits, just like the one shown on the left. Nylon does these streams pretty regularly, but unless you follow her on Twitch.tv there's a good chance you'll miss them.

Nylon's not the only Second Life creator streaming their work, for that matter. There are quite a few others taking advantage of the various streaming services to broadcast their process. Some like Nylon spend their streams painting or drawing, others edit snapshots, and still others work on 3D models and textures that will be brought into SL once they're complete. Watching these talented folks work can be a great learning experience, but since not all of these streamers store their archives it's crucial to catch them live.

With the help of folks on Plurk (the Second Life community's social network of choice) I've compiled a list of Second Life artists and designers that stream, so you can follow your favorites and be alerted whenever they go live. Take a look:

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How to Slim Down Your Second Life Avatar's Draw Weight

Second Life avatar draw weight

This is a great tutorial by SL content creator Penny Patton on how to trim a Second Life avatar's Draw Weight. That Linden Lab feature shows you how much effort it takes to render your SL avatar onscreen (green being fast, red being slow), but as Penny notes, it's caused SLers to complain that the range "was unrealistic, that we'd all have to wander around naked to get ourselves down into the green, or even the orange." However, she goes on, "the truth is, the rendering levels displayed by Draw Weight are not unreasonable at all, it's just that content creators are making no effort to produce reasonably optimized content for avatars." (And so, thanks to the Tragedy of the Commons, we have a whole world of slow-ass rendering avatars.)

However, there's some solutions to this, which Penny lists in much detail -- and as you can at right, it's possible to greatly trim down avatar Draw Weight without hardly changing an avatar's appearance. Solutions such as:

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"Just the Right Amount of Weird for Me": Meet Emiliana, Star Second Life Fashion Photographer

One day, a girl named Emiliana was watching TV when a segment on Second Life showed up. "I saw them making fun of it on a show," she remembers, laughing, "and I thought, 'Hey, that's just the right amount of weird for me.' And I love taking pics in real life, always have, so it was only natural I brought that into SL also."

Consequently, she now takes spectacular Second Life images that look like this:

Second Life fashion photo

Emiliana entitles it, of course, Charlie Bob and me defending the universe against the spiders from Mars and about 40 prim cats, and it's simultaneously the geekiest and hippest image I've seen in quite awhile. (Seriously: I live near Silverlake in Los Angeles, a global epicenter of hipster-ness, and hipsters who look exactly like these two are fricking everywhere. Except maybe without white bazookas.)

See much more great SL fashion pics by Emiliana on the blog she co-produces right here. (Iris is a fan too.) Speaking of which, here's how Emi gave this pic its extra luster:

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Want More Clothing Support for Your Favorite Second Life Mesh Bodies? Fill Out This Survey!

Slink Physique HUDJanine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

Mesh bodies and avatar enhancements have been a huge step forward in terms of the way Second Life avatars look, but that advancement hasn't come without a cost. Developing products fitted to all these different add-ons is a time-consuming process for designers, since each individual system will have its own requirements and quirks. And that's not to mention the fact that picking what bodies/enhancements to support involves a fair amount of guess work about their respective popularity. 

That's where SL designer Iki Akiri's survey comes in. Iki currently has a survey open to gauge the level of interest in various mesh bodies so that she can better tailor her releases to them. In her own words:

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SL Fashionista Challenge: Shoot Your Avatar Dressed as a Well-Known Movie Character - Including 3 of My Favorites!

Second Life Movie Avatars

I love Strawberry Singh's latest meme challenge:

Dress up your avatar as a character from a movie. Don’t forget to share the link to your post in the comments and add your pictures to the Blog Memes flickr group.

Pictured above: Strawberry herself, evoking Labyrinth with a David Bowie-esque friend, and this tribute to Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's by Michely Blogger. In fact, since I'm such a cineaste geek, I'll add to this challenge:

Dress your avatar as characters from three of my favorite films: Jean-Luc Godard's Breathless, Terence Malick's Days of Heaven, or Wong Kar-Wai's Chungking Express. Because if you can pull it off, I will totally blog you.

All of those are on Netflix, in case you haven't seen them already, and here's some trailers to get you started:

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The Case for Clearer Names: Here's Why Second Life Designers Should Keep Things Simple

Second Life Color Wheel
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

There are a lot of Second Life designers whose creations I just never wear. It's not because I don't like them, it's not because they're not my style, and it's certainly not because I don't buy their releases. Quite simply it's because I can never find their products when I'm looking to fill in a blank in my outfit. 

It's because I'm searching for something pink instead of Peachy Keen.

It's because I'm searching for a skirt, and not Genevieve.

Straightforward item naming may not be glamorous, but it's important. Here's why:

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