When second place is a good thing ...

I got notecards from Inara Pey yesterday and today. They had announced the winners for the "Filling the Cauldron" contests!

Long story short:

  • In the garden contest, I am "joint runner-up" with Oscelot Haalan.
  • In the photography contest, I am in second place.
From the blog, a quote from Elicio said, "... And the Dragon Skull one has a very neat and orderly layout. It’s beautiful.”  :D

An artist complimenting your artwork carries greater weight because they know what they're talking about. The same goes with any other type of work, like musicians complimenting music, programmers complimenting code, writers complimenting an essay. So, Elicio's compliment is a really big deal. :D Well, to me at least.

I talked about my garden contest entry here, but I didn't really mention my photography entry because I just randomly took it after I finished my shopping spree at Elicio's store to use in my blog post. I didn't even decide to enter it into the photography contest until much later.

I also wanted to bid on Elicio's RL paintings. From the website, I noticed one that was extremely well-done, where his technical skill was very apparent. It was a painting of a structure with mountains in the back. The title on the website said "Lugares Sagradas" ("Sacred Places"). It pulled me in the same way that Elicio's inworld work pulled me.

This one was done in acrylic on canvas. The rest of the artwork in the auction were watercolors on paper. I love love love watercolors. But next to the "Lugares Sagradas", they felt too whimsical, too light, too superficial. I still picked my favorite out of the watercolors anyway — the blue forest scene. On auction day (Sunday), I decided that maybe I should go for the blue forest watercolor because it seemed more appropriate as a memento or representative of Second Life. The "Lugares Sagradas" felt too "heavy".

I had set my limit to $100 before the auction started. When the auction started, I realized that my limit was too small to be competitive, so I doubled it to $200.

The blue forest watercolor was the second painting on the block (Saffia, who served as the auctioneer, interspersed other non-painting items in between the paintings). The bidding started at 15kL. Wolfgang advised me to wait until the end before I bid. So I joined when it became quiet and Terra Volitant had bid 22k. I started at 23k. Then the bidding bounced quickly between Terra and me. For five minutes.

I had already reached my limit at 50kL. But I kept going... with longer pauses. I decided that 60kL would be my last bid and I'd leave it up to fate after that. Terra called out 65kL. Saffia was repeatedly calling me by name on public voice asking if I would go higher. Then, as I emoted bowing out, Terra sent me an IM that he would not go over 65kL and he would not compete if I outbid him after that. But I already bowed out and, as I told him, 60kL was already past my limit. I felt that the painting wasn't meant to be mine.

The "Lugares Sagradas" was the fourth painting on the block. Its name is actually "Stupa" and it is from a series called "Lugares Sagradas"/"Sacred Places". From Elicio's description, 'Stupa is the last remianing original painting of my "Pre Second Life" period that is not already in a private collection.'

Up to the last minute, I had doubts about bidding on it for an inner nervousness that I couldn't explain. It felt as though owning it would be a very serious responsibility. I felt its weight on my soul. At the same time, it pulled me.

If the blue forest went as high as 65kL, I was sure the "Stupa" would go even higher because it's on canvas, but I decided to bid anyway. The bidding started at 20kL; I immediately started at 21kL. Soon, it was between Terra and me again. I think he felt sorry for me for losing out on the previous painting, because he stopped at 46kL so I won it for 50kL. My limit. The universe was confirming it was meant to be mine. Somehow. :)

I stayed for the remainder of the auction, even though I wasn't planning to bid anymore. Afterwards, I chatted a little with Elicio and he told me some facts about that painting. It's one of his favorite paintings, he said. The background is actually "one of the sacred mountains where the Ganghes is born". Then he told me about the four elements that a stupa's parts represented.
Then, he said, "This painting I had hanging on my wall for many years...and was always a source of solace and peace for me. I hope it does the same for you =)"

Uhhhmmmmm, I was feeling more nervous at that point. The weight of the responsibility felt a little heavier.

I asked him if he was sure he wanted to part with it, and I said he could send me another painting instead. He replied, "Letting go is important, specially as an artist. And specially when the piece is appreciated by who is getting it."

After he explained that it was a composite image (there are stupas in that spot on the Himalayas, but they had more prayer banners). Then he sent me a link to a photo of a real stupa with prayer banners.

I don't think this painting will give me peace. It has a certain mystical energy to it that reminds me of the mysteries around my maternal great-grandfather.

Anyway, I sent him my shipping information. And we'll see. 

Garden of the Seven Shamans

I started writing this post almost a month ago when I signed up for the garden contest of "Filling the Cauldron" event to help raise funds for Elicio Ember's family.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I bought half the store again, as I did six years ago. Since I don't have land for my Mer Betta store anymore, I figured I could at least use my new acquisitions in the garden contest.

My goal was to preserve the mystery and the magic of his work. I didn't want a manicured garden. I wanted something untamed, natural, and spiritual. I scrapped a couple of ideas. The water, the skull, and the swamp tree in the back were the easiest decisions. The rest were a bit more difficult to decide, but I felt pushed to work on it every night. So I got done about a couple of weeks before the deadline with positioning scripts. Yeah, that's unusual for a procrastinator of procrastinating, like me. (Don't ask about my taxes which are due for filing on Apr 15. I'm procrastinating about filing the extension. :) )

The only thing that wasn't created by Elicio is the fog. I was looking for rain and found the fog. Happy accidents. :)

I took pictures of the result, of course. This is the best one, I think.

"Garden of the Seven Shamans" (entry for "Filling the Cauldron" garden contest)

And I made a machinima that makes me very sleepy, to be honest. But I've been short on sleep lately. I found the perfect music, which I would love to reuse in another project someday.

Hopefully, it calms you down too. Or maybe it takes you to that mysterious magical world that Elicio's work takes me to.

Come and experience my garden here and vote here. The event ends tomorrow April 9, 2017.

The psychology of reversed roles

Sometimes, you get the most interesting conversations while testing sex beds.

Wolfgang: do you see how it is more sexy [when] you are on this place?
He had just clicked SWAP in the menu. Earlier, my avatar was tied up and his avatar was the dominant one. After the swap, his avatar was tied up and mine was the dominant one.

He thought it was a lot sexier when I dominated him. And that was surprising, coming from a man who has always been dominant. But we have reversed roles for a few months now. Taking a more submissive role was one of the "gifts" that he gave me recently and that he promised to give to me only, forever. It was an easy promise, like my promise that I would never take another dom ever. Being submissive is not his nature at all. And not mine either.

For him, the reversed roles were a way to balance our relationship. I'm still not a domme, but I "take care" of him in our roles. I'm the oldest in my RL family, so it came naturally to me. At the same time, he says that he feels at peace and mellowed out in a less dominant role. It also makes him less likely to "hunt" other partners, although he pursues Opal and my other public alts.

We've been meeting almost everyday for a few hours before I go to work. (Yes, I've been getting up at an ungodly hour to meet him.) And the last few weeks, we've been like rabbits. Only a few months ago, I thought that menopause had caught up with my libido. I was wrong.

So, yesterday, when he noticed the big difference in how he felt, just because he swapped our avatars, I realized that it probably had to do with our reversed roles.

Because FF is not my natural sexual orientation, he understood that I was projecting into his female avatar often. Many heterosexual men have created female avatars because female avatars get sex partners more easily. Then they project into their male partner's avatar. So when his avatar takes on the more passive role, I project into her, not on my own avatar, because I can relate with her passivity better.

I thought he was projecting into my avatar, when I take the more assertive role. But, many times in the past two months or so, he would get a feeling that he never expected and it would amaze him. And I'd say, "Yes! That's exactly how I felt when you ..." and I'd recall a situation we had a long time ago when I was in his shoes.

He is finally understanding why I did certain things, why I made sacrifices for him, why I felt insecure. He was understanding those things from a first-person perspective.

I too have had my own aha! moments when I began to understand how he felt when he dominated me.

Today, we realized that the reversal of roles intensifies our sexual relationship as well, because we essentially experience it "in stereo".

When I first started with stereoscopy, I marveled at how intense the images looked in 3D. Someone in the stereoscopy community responded that it's because our brain gets twice the information — once from the image in the left eye and again from the image in the right eye. Two slightly different 2D images processed by the brain as a single image in 3D.

So, the role reversal is something like that. We naturally relate to the role we are familiar with — the dominant role for him and the passive role for me. But in the process of acting out the reversed roles, we also get the perspective from the opposite side — the passive role for him and the dominant role for me. So each of us actually get the full perspective because we get the view from both roles. Deeply, intimately. In the first person. Like stereoscopy. That's why these experiences have been intense.

Anyway, that's my theory, and he thinks it makes sense. :)

Our relationship continues to evolve. We've become more emotionally and psychologically intimate. We're not the same people that we were the first time. The situation is different, because we are each other's only serious relationship nowadays. And, because of the reversal of roles, we relate differently with each other. Because of the reversal of roles, we understand each other better. From experience, not just from logic.

Tying a posthumous knot

My fifth partnership in all of SL. My third with Wolfgang. Another tie that binds me to him. Another knot.

We decided to do it today, which is exactly five years after I surrendered to him in our first RP. The surrender that felt like a wedding.

We also decided to do it all without logging the pair into SL. It was all done on the website. Our relationship still has landmines, and this pair is one of those landmines. Too risky. Too emotional. And he is fighting to keep us together by avoiding those landmines.

We were logged into our current pair, which was the first pair we partnered. And we went to the "grave site" of the pair we partnered today to do the partnership there. It felt like a wake, like a ceremony for the dead. It was bittersweet. I cried.

Then I thought to bring Alt #6 to "visit" us again. I saw his strong affection for her, his sadness for losing her, how he missed her. At moments like that, he reminds me of my father.

But he was soothed with her presence. Well, more aroused than soothed. Just by her presence, he said. Like Pavlov's dogs, I said. He laughed.

Needless to say, I was late for work. :)