Shad's challenge

Here's my response to Shad's challenge. This verse would go before his, so read this silly verse before going over to his blog.

Dashing through the snow
Were a li'l horse and a fae.
O'er the sims they go
Searching for roleplay.... LOL, LOL, LOL
Some won't take the horse.
Others say, "Don't fly."
So off they went to malls instead
And guess what they did buy...

Read his chorus here.

While you're there, you might wanna check out his rendition of "O Little Town".

/me whispers, "Just imagine he's singing in tune.... Shhhh." ;D

Merry Christmas!

Alt #2: Please leave a message.... And, no, you may not map me.
Alt #3: Can I say, "Bah, humbug!"?
Alt #4 jumps up and runs to the window for a glimpse of a chubby white-bearded man on a flying carpet.
Alt #5: If we're gonna do a New Year greeting card, can I be the dying old year?
Alt #6 sings seductively, "Santa, baby, slip a sable under the tree... for me...."
Alt #7 wonders if her crew can pillage Whoville.
Alt #8 flaps her wings, stretches her fingers, and brings in Christmas morning.
Alt #9 moans. "Mmmmmm, baby! Yes! Yes!" ... Oops, sorry, wrong window.

HiHo gets proposed

It was at yesterday's MODA Spotlight show. While HiHo was on the runway. Out of the blue. Mak, my model coach, suddenly throws out a surprise in the communicator channel, "WILL U MARRY ME HIHO?"


She was kidding, of course. She knows it's me.

But if that were a real runway, I would have tripped and fallen on my face. Thank goodness all I had to do was click-click then up-arrow. I was laughing so hard on the way backstage.

Then she sends Calveen to her dungeon when he made a mistake, and he says, "promises, promises".

That was the most fun show I've been on yet.

Oh, hey! It's my 100th post!

It's not roleplay anymore

Day before yesterday, he called out my name... during sex.

Yesterday, he met Opal.

After he called out my name the other day, I figured it was time he met my "main". He said he almost declined meeting Opal. He wasn't sure if we were ready, then he added, "but it's just you with another name." :D

I guess it helped that Opal and Alt #9 look so much alike. Good thing Opal got jealous of Alt #9; it made this introduction easier for him.

But I think, to him, Opal is still a different entity. And that's good; that separation will keep my secrets safe. Besides, I think there's too much going on and too much history with Opal, that he'd get overwhelmed.

Alt #9 and BF #2 are still in their own little world. No other friends but our own alts and each other. Nice, quiet, and private.

But now, this whole affair is more "real". It's not roleplay anymore.

A "promise ring"

Alt #9: I got a message that you granted me permissions to modify your objects.
BF #2: yeah while i was at it i went ahead and gave them
Alt #9: What for?
BF #2: just because
BF #2: you may wanna mod something
Alt #9: Like...?
Alt #9: I can't modify anything attached to you. ;)
Alt #9: So i can't make your [private parts] bigger.
Alt #9: lol
BF #2: lol
BF #2: its like a promise ring
Alt #9: A promise ring?
BF #2: just deal with it and shup
Alt #9: LOL
BF #2: lol
Alt #9: But I can't return the favor.
BF #2: its ok
BF #2: i dont expect you to
BF #2: i just wanted you to have mine
BF #2: so shup
BF #2: ;)

Well, I can't really modify anything because the stuff he has at our love shack are owned by his other alt (BF #1). *giggles*

But... *sigh*... He gave me a "promise ring"... *sigh again*... How sweet is that?... *another sigh*

Opal: Holy shit!
Alt #9: What?!?
Opal: You realize that that promise ring is bordering commitment and you know how commitment-phobic we are.
Alt #9: But it's only for 30 days or so. That was the deal.
Opal: Yeah, but it's been 20 days already and you still say "30 days or so". When is it really gonna end?
Alt #9: I don't know! I kinda like it....
Opal: Girl, you are crazy!
Alt #9: Oh, yeah? Well, who's talking to her own alt?
Opal: Shut up!
Alt #9: YOU shut up!


I think I've talked in the past about how we bring so much of ourselves into SL, how our avatars represent more of our real psyches than we care to admit. Each of my alts are different aspects of my real self. They each have their own domain, their own purpose for existing.

But, a few days ago, I (as Opal) felt a faint sense of jealousy over Alt #9's skin, which prompted me to get the same skin for Opal, even though I already said I won't be buying new skin for Opal for a while. So that was a vague hint of separating. Of aspects of me pulling apart.

Then last night, I witnessed the same separation on someone else.

You see, Alt #9's bf (BF #1) created a new alt (BF #2). BF #2 is supposed to belong to my Alt #9 exclusively, so he wouldn't be disturbed by IMs and such, while he's with me. So, we were running around yesterday, shopping for skin and hair and other important parts. *grins* Anyway, (with my prodding, of course), he used the same shape and the same skin, except with a different beard and different hair, so they looked like twins, but not quite. The goatee on BF #2 made him look more like the "bad boy" type; that beard was his choice.

He had both alts logged in almost the whole time. And towards the end of the evening, I asked, "So, whom do I cuddle with tonight?" And BF #1 replied that he would, then he proceeded to shoo away BF #2, like a jealous boyfriend.

It was a funny and charming roleplay, but I was surprised that he seemed very decided that he chose BF #1 to stay, even though he created BF #2 specifically to be with me. I told him I was glad anyway, because I've grown attached to BF #1, even though I know they're both him. I said that it feels like there was more of him in BF #1; he agreed that there was.

You know, I'm surprised that the mental health professionals aren't coming down on SL in droves. SL isn't helping people integrate their personalities; it's allowing people to split up their personalities even more. :D

Hmmm, I wonder if I could sell a book titled, "Multiple Alt Disorder (MAD) - Split Personalities in Virtual Worlds"....

And, yes, Alt #10 will be named Sybil, and she'll definitely be a member of the "SLoony Bin Residents" group.

Alt envy

Well, I was dressing my new alt today (yes, the mystery alt with the love affair). And I was taking her pictures, and I realized,... Geez, she looks so much better than Opal! Of course, Opal got jealous, so I had to buy her a new skin today. :D

It's the same skin as the mystery alt. And since the shape is very similar and just tweaked slightly, they look almost like twins now.

It used to be that I'd use a different skin manufacturer for each alt, but certain looks just feel right, and this feels right for Opal right now.

I think it might also be psychological. I'm in that alt a lot nowadays so I associate with that alt more. Plus I'm having a lot of feel-good emotions there, so, in a sense, I'm pulling some of those good vibes into this side.

So, the triptych is gone from my profile now and replaced with this one:

I'll be changing my picture in all other web applications soon.

Meanwhile, the mystery alt is having quite a torrid love affair. Gamel said that "torrid" is an ugly word and suggested other adjectives like "passionate", "ardent", or "beautiful". I replied that "torrid" was the perfect adjective with the "rrrrrr" sound, because of all the sex going on. And he wished me a verrrrrrrrrrrry torrrrrrrrrrrrid affair. LOL

Nine virtual lives

Maybe I shouldn't admit to this, in case a Linden reads my blog. But, I just created my ninth alt.

Yes, she was created for a guy.

Yes, he's officially her boyfriend.

Yes, that means Opal and all her alts are essentially "committed" too.

Yes, he knows Opal exists but doesn't know her name.

No, I won't tell you the name of my new alt or my new lover.

But now you know why Opal won't be in much. Of course, you can always set up an appointment....


The Three Faces of Opal

Okay, I wasn't quite happy with my new skin so I bought the other one in my list, and I kept going back and forth between the two, tweaking and molding my face. But I still keep going back to the familiar.

Usually, when I change my look, I stare at my avie's face for a long time. I think it's a way of associating with it, of putting my consciousness into it. Yeah, kinda like that Genesis thing of "breathing life" into your own creation. Or like staring at your own face in the mirror and accepting that that's who you are.

So, as of this point, I have these three faces, and this triptych will be my profile picture for a while. That should trigger some interesting conversation when it comes up in one of those gadgets that display profile pictures of guests.

Anyway, I may continue to keep tweaking. I'm not likely to buy a new skin anytime soon, since I spent a fortune on these two already. But neither of the two new looks feel like *me*. I think it has to do with the difficulty of defining "me" in the first place.


Who knew creating an avatar would be an adventure in self-discovery in itself? And we're talking about just one of my nine lives....

When will my reflection show who I am inside....

Ethnicity in SL

One of the questions in the MODA Spotlight application form was "SL ethnicity". I wrote down "Pacific Islander mix".

A month ago, Mak sent out a group notice, looking for models who were Asian irl. I replied that I'm Southeast Asian. She wanted ethnic models for Spotlight. I said I'd work on the shape, since all my skins were already tan. Well, Opal already looked ethnic with her tan skin and full lips, but it's a non-specific ethnicity. And with the straight black hair, she *does* look like a Pacific Islander.


Then life got way too busy and I never got the chance to work on the shape.

Anyway, my skin has that lovely face but the skin on the arms is flat and the lower body is blurry, so I didn't look so good in revealing clothes. Once, while chatting with Headman, I complained about the navel being out of focus so I had to always wear a belly jewel when my midriff is bare. And he goes, "I think that's called a fuzzy navel." LOL

This week, I was asked to model some lingerie for marketing photos for a clothes designer and the fuzzy navel won't do. So I had to go searching for a new skin.

Long story short, after a few demos and a lot of face tweaking, I ended up with this:

New Amerasian look, head frontal

New Amerasian look, head profile

If I go with dark eyes, I really look Southeast Asian. But dark eyes look flat from a distance. Besides, I absolutely love these pale blue eyes. They're very unusual and certainly unexpected with dark skin, so they add a punch to my look. So, I guess, it's an Amerasian/Eurasian look.

It doesn't have the regal bearing and classic elegance of this look though, so I'll probably keep going back and forth for a while.

Head shot - PJs

And now that you know my RL ethnicity, you're probably wondering if that woman in my Morphing Portraits logo is me. The answer is no. But we're related.

HiHo : from mare to male

Head shot - business #2

Well, it was bound to happen. Mak sent out a call for models, including male models. I volunteered and said that I could use HiHo if she needed a male model, since I already used HiHo for the MODA Halloween show.

Mak said okay but wanted to see HiHo anyway, even after I sent some pictures. Well, long story short, Mak checked my (HiHo's) height and animations, and then took me to Redgrave to get some skin demos, then we went back to her beach house to try them out. I asked if she wanted me to strip to see the body part of the skin. She asked if I had "parts". I replied, "Freebie ones. :D" After laughing, she told me to just remove the top of the suit I was wearing, because if she saw male parts, she might jump me. lol

Full body - business #2

We eventually decided on the skin. She had me adjust the muscular tone of the arms just a teensy bit and told me to update my profile to take out the bit about being a cowgirl. lol

Well, in order to decide how much I should invest on HiHo as a model, I asked if she would need HiHo in more MODA shows. And she replied, yes, because Calveen (who's the only other male model in MODA) has different hours. After the "omg!" and "you are soo hot" and "dont change that body", I said goodnight and went to buy the skin we decided on.

Half body - business #2

And then, I worked on my profile. Go check it out. I had to say that HiHo is "Alt of and assistant to Opal Lei." And emphasized in the 1st Life tab that I'm a heterosexual female behind the avie. But, boy!, I still got hit on by people who don't read profiles. lol And even in the show, Juju said something about "admiring the man and the shorts".

I only got to model two outfits in this show -- a pair of boxers (Mia had to find the "wifebeater" for me, since they weren't happy with the t-shirt I found) and a pajama set. You can view the show here:

Looks like HiHo's life is gonna be interesting from now on.

Meanwhile, Opal... *sigh*....

The devil and the deep blue sea

October 30
18:00 - Went to Lora's party.
18:30 - He arrived at Lora's party.
18:50 - He responded to my joke in public chat with a follow-up joke.
19:20 - He sent me an IM, joking about the "Renaissance" part of my profile. I laughed.
19:27 - He added to the joke, and I didn't get it. Conversation started.
20:35 - I noticed people leaving the party and invited him to join me at the Blue Note. I had already concluded that he was an arrogant elitist ass, but I was intrigued anyway. He accepted.
00:52 - We said goodnight. Earlier than my usual bedtime, but I was tired.
(5.5 hours)

October 31
17:25 - He pinged me to thank me for the previous night's conversation. Conversation started again. More joking around.
21:23 - I said, "Sometimes, sarcasm is tiring." Tone of conversation changed -- more serious, more like an argument, more personal.
23:05 - I asked, "What do you want from me?" He replied, "nothing". The conversation had seriously gone south, and it had exhausted me again. I had a sense at one point that I angered him because of something I said, but he didn't let on.
23:20 - I said goodnight.
(6 hours)

November 1
13:40 - He explained himself in four very long offline IMs, which I got in email later. For someone who claimed he doesn't care what other people think about him, he seemed intent on convincing me that he's not an arrogant elitist ass. I composed an even longer reply. In that notecard (and this detail is significant), I explained why I asked him what he wanted from me. I said that I too am very busy that I spend long hours only with lovers or romantic friends, and I have had very little time for platonic friends lately. If all he wanted from me was platonic friendship, then I would have to prioritize him accordingly.
17:40 - I logged in, copied my reply to a notecard, and sent it to him.
19:53 - He sent back a reply in another notecard. (Of course, we had issues with SL not delivering it so he had to resend.)
20:10 - I thought I was just going to give a short reply and that would be it; I was wrong. But the conversation was definitely friendlier. Still argumentative.
21:20 - I told him the arguing was making me horny. More jokes.
21:48 - I was about to say goodbye to log into my sex alt, since he didn't seem interested, but he called my attention to a sentence in his notecard reply that I glossed over earlier. The sentence said that, if he had to be my lover or romantic friend to enjoy my company, then so be it. I was stunned.... So, I tp'd him over to my skyloft and brushed the dust and cobwebs off my sex poseballs.
23:30 - We were still chatting about random things while he tries to adjust the Lovescene poseballs for our sizes. We decided to use Skype.
06:00 - Yes, sometime after 6am the next morning. And that's actually 7.5 hours later because of the daylight savings time switch. After many more hours of talking, talking, talking, he finally got the Lovescene poseballs somewhat aligned and his voice dropped suddenly... The poseballs were having the same effect on him as they were on me.
07:27 - We said goodnight.
(19 hours!!!)

* Wonderful storyteller. Very competent debater.
* Soothing, hypnotic, sexy voice when he whispers.
* No, he cannot commit to spending time in SL to be my lover, due to his RL commitments.
* Arrogant? Yup. Elitist? Maybe. Ass? Sexy. Horny? Literally. ;)

A tale of two costumes

Well, I didn't have time to make a witty costume this year, but I found this freebie "webby" costume through the "Hey, girlfriends!" network. It gets my vote for "Best use of sculpties". :D

Gamel pinged me while I was taking pictures of it, so he got to see it. And he approved of it. Lora said, "Of course, he would." :D But when I asked Lora if I could wear it to her Halloween party, she had to think about it. (Click on the pic to go to Flickr and look for the half-body shot to get a better view of the sculpty.)
2008 Halloween web costume, full

Well, she gave me the go-ahead the next day, but I had already decided on an alternate costume that's very PG-rated. Actually, I got this costume a few weeks ago from Bare Rose. And it's what I ended up wearing at the party anyway, since I wasn't sure who was going to be there.
2008 Halloween pirate, full

*sigh* In a place like SL, it's kinda hard to make a costume stand out, you know.

I've been to paradise, but ...

This confession may be a shock to some and not to others, depending how you met me and how well you know me. *grins*

Last month, I created a new alt. Purely for sex. Very isolated. Some friends know she exists, but nobody knows her name -- none of my friends (SL or RL) and none of my siblings. And I'm finding out that having a sex alt is not so rare anyway. Whew!

Anyway, Anna sends me this link to an article about sex addiction with a disclaimer that she's not saying I have the affliction but she's not saying I don't either. A quote: "'Female sex addicts crave intimacy,' [Don Serratt of Life Works] says. 'They’ll use sex and seduction to create that closeness with a guy — but, once they get it, they freak out and move on to the next one.'" (I'm not going to say how close to home that one hit.)

Then, I hear a song I haven't heard for a long time, and it sticks in my head. I loved this song when I first heard it on the radio in my early teens, but obviously it didn't apply to me then. This time, with this alt, the song feels like a warning.

"Took the hand of a preacher man and we made love in the sun... But I ran out of places and friendly faces because I had to be free... I've been to paradise, but ...."

"Sometimes I've been to crying for unborn children that might have made me complete... But I took the sweet life, I never knew I'd be bitter from the sweet... I've spent my life exploring the subtle whoring that costs too much to be free... Hey, lady, I've been to paradise, but ...."

Ironically, that same sex alt, who's supposed to only have one-night stands, has just fallen into a husband-and-wife RP. It started out as a joke, but it expanded from there. It *is* a warm and sweet RP, but that's exactly where the danger lies -- it melts my heart. And hearts melting turn into bonding, which is very risky in terms of emotions and anonymity.

/me frantically rebuilds emotional walls as they crumble around her.

Runway horsie (and Opal's second show)

Well, now, two of me are fashion models. *grin*

Fashion - Avid Designs "Van Helsing", full
More pics in Flickr.

HiHo (my little horsie alt) had its/her/his debut this past Friday at the MODA Halloween Showcase. Zeek said she needed male models for the Halloween show, and I've been using HiHo as a male model for my own designs and as a male extra for one of DarkZone's productions. So, HiHo was a better choice.

Meanwhile, Opal had her second MODA Spotlight show: .

Fashion debut: taller and flatter

In late September, I was so excited to find out that I was accepted into the MODA Spotlight team. I'll be a fill-in though, since I can't commit that much time to it. Modelling doesn't pay much, so it's really more for the fun of it and the experience.

And yesterday was my debut into the professional virtual fashion world with my first MODA Fashion Spotlight show. Lovis and I arrived early and Mak got to work with our shapes. The first thing that Mak said to me was "reduce breast to 45". *sigh* There goes my trademark boobs. I was originally at 70.

The next thing we had to change was our height. Lovis and I are about the same height, and we're both short, except I have a more (ahem) "voluptous" body. Mak explained that MODA Spotlight models are 6'10" to 6'11" with shoes. *another sigh* So I went from a 63 height to a 92 (give or take, depending on the shoes). Thankfully, my "voluptous" body translated well with a taller height. Poor Lovis, who was petite in width as well as in height, had to make adjustments as best as she could so she wouldn't look so stick-thin in the taller version.

Well, soon after the show, I switched back to my familiar shorties-and-boobies shape, and I'm happy again. :D

You can view my fashion debut (and my taller and flatter version) at .

"Describe your personality"... Which one?

I just completed my application for a position as a model with the MODA Spotlight team.

One of the questions is "List 5 words that describe your personality" and, in my opinion, it is the most difficult question in the list. So I have the usual stuff in it, but the last one is one that I think my friends who know me well would be vigorously nodding their heads to:

"e. Multiple (often followed by the word 'disorder') - supposedly as evidenced by my growing number of alts"


It may be a virtual world, but common sense still applies

When it comes to merchandise, there are differences between SL and RL. Some are good (system clothing is one-size-fits-all) and some are bad (you cannot always return the merchandise).

People who have been in SL for some time realize these things; it's all just common sense. But, for people who are not as knowledgeable about the platform, here are some facts that we, oldbies, take for granted:

- If it's copyable, it's not likely refundable. In real life, you can't go back to a store and say, "I bought an outfit here a week ago and threw them in the garbage because I don't like them. Can you give me a refund?" If the product has both Copy and Transfer permissions, sure, you can transfer it back to the merchant, but you still have copies in your inventory. Asking for a refund for copyable items is asking for a free product.

- System clothes may be one-size-fits-all, but attachments are not. You *have* to learn basic editing skills. It's a fact of SL. In real life, it's like knowing how to hem pants that are almost your size but just a tad too long. If you're the type who would rather have someone do it for you, be prepared to pay additional costs. And in SL, sometimes it's not possible for someone else to edit clothing for you. So head on over to the Ivory Tower of Prims and learn basic prim editing.

- If the product looks good on hundreds of avatars, but not on yours, it's not the designer's fault.

- If the designer recommends AOs and accessories that go well with their designs and you decide to go with other AOs and accessories, please don't blame the designer if it doesn't look right.

I honestly try my best to make my customers happy with their tails. Not everybody needs extra help, and I greatly appreciate customers who read the notecard and do their best before contacting me.

But if a customer takes hours of your time, refuses to do anything you suggest, refuses to learn how to do the most basic editing tasks, and then demands a refund of a Copy-only product, it makes you wonder why you bother to do all this. All for the price of a latte at Starbucks.


2yrs 2day

Yup, folks! I'm two today!

Don't worry. I've been terrible the past two years, so I can't get any more terrible than that. :D

August seems to be a significant month for me in Second Life. I joined SL in August 31, 2006. I set up shop at the old Sirens Mall with my first four Mer Betta tails on August 10, 2007. And yesterday (August 30), I walked my first official fashion show as a graduate of the MODA Modelling School.

The first two events proved to be significant milestones in my life. Discovering SL changed my RL, and launching Mer Betta changed my SL. Only time will tell how significant my MODA graduation will be in the coming year.


Hello. My name is Opal. I am a hair-aholic.

For almost two years now, I've been battling this addiction. Well, maybe "battling" is not the right word. "Indulging" is probably a better word.

There was a time when I'd buy a new hairstyle once a week. With all the colors.

And over time, it has gotten worse. Now, I buy *several* hairstyles each trip.... It's getting out of control.

And then, one of my MODA friends mentioned the Hair Fair 2008. Well, I was travelling the past week, so I didn't have a chance to go until last night.

So, after five hours of roaming four sims, I ended up with four thousand fewer Lindens and two thousand more inventory items. Oh, alright, maybe not quite *two* thousand. But my transaction history shows 117 transactions (both freebies and purchases) at the Rezzable sims last night.

When I woke up this morning and saw the big mess in my inventory, I realized that I needed help.

My name is Opal. And I'm a hair-aholic.

PS: The winners of the Hair Fair photo contest are listed here. Check out the honorable mentions.

Hunka Umpa Lumpa

I have a new beau. *giggles*

I met him last night as I was skating the Relay for Life trail. He was standing there at the edge of the bridge next to a luminary, followed by his brothers. He was leading the troop shirtless, revealing his hunky physique. His spiky hair reaching up over his head. His outtie belly button sticking out from his blue pants. His big black shoes supporting him solidly on the ground.

I fell in love at first sight. His name is Umpa Lumpa.

I stood there for a long while, mesmerized by this vision, before I pulled myself away to continue on the lap. But I couldn't stay away. During my next lap, I paid the luminary next to him -- my second luminary. (My first was near the auctions where I started my laps.) Paul was in IM with me so I tp'd him over and he paid the next luminary in line before going to bed.

After Paul left, I stood there a long while again with my new beau.

Today, I went searching for him in Madcow Cosmos's teapot shop, but he was nowhere to be found. So I pleaded Madcow to let me take Umpa home, and Madcow sent him to me without a dowry. He said that Umpa was made for the RFL, so I should just send them my Lindens instead of paying him. So, I went back to the RFL trail and paid a third luminary up the hill from my first one.

Now, Umpa and I sit by my waterfall watching the sunset. Don't we make such a cute couple?

PS: Lora, notice the big hands.
PPS: Yes, Howard, another boyfriend for my collection. I now have three in my inventory. :D

Pulling myself together

Jaime had always joked about my persona being fragmented, what with my separation of my RL and my SL, with all my different alts, and with all the different work I do. I explained that these fragments were all different aspects of me, and he accepted my explanation.

The last time we had a long conversation, he felt that, now, he too was getting fragmented. My only response was that, sometimes, we have to split off aspects of ourselves in order to pay attention to those aspects and heal them.

Well, as I've mentioned in the last blog entry, it seems that my different aspects are converging, because my alts are beginning to look alike. This past week, another convergence has happened -- I got a domain.

And you're probably going, "Huh?" ;D Well, one small step at a time. First, I have to pull Opal together, all my businesses as Opal and all my activities as Opal. So, now, they're all under one roof, so to speak. Introducing...

Yup. And it's anonymous, so don't go looking for my name in But it has links to everything Opal does, including this blog.

Oh, alright, I lied. It has links to everything *PG* that Opal does. Geez.

Old clothes

The homework for the MODA runway class on Thursday is to prepare three outfits separated into folders for quick changes.

So here I am, trying to decide what outfits to use for the homework, since last night. And, of course, I get distracted and start cleaning my inventory.

I realized, I hadn't worn anything casual for a long time. I'm trying out these outfits in my "Casual" folder and, boy!, memories come flooding back.

In a sense, that's good. It brings back my old SL, a time when it was innocent and quiet and stress-free, a time when it truly was an escape from real life.

And to top it off, I just moved my home position yesterday, back to Aglia in my old skyloft.

I'm coming full circle....

Even mo' bettah

I realized that one of my alts hasn't been upgraded for a year and a half either, so I went looking for a new skin for *her* and found other skins I hadn't looked at.

So, I reconsidered skins for Opal. Well, I ended up with the same skin as my RP alt, who looks the best of all my alts anyway. But, as usual, I had to tweak the face to keep the same feel. I've also changed her body so it's shaped more like my RP alt's.

Makeda Cole of MODA had suggested that I consider going with an ethnic look. I initially said I'd leave the ethnic look with my RP alt, because my friends don't like it when I change Opal's looks. But, as I was tweaking my shape to try to get the old look with the new skin, I ended up with this ethnic look anyway:


It seems my alts are converging. Just as my SL and my RL are.

Mo' bettah me

It took me four hours in Orientation Island to create my face shape on my first day in SL. It looks nothing like the RL me, but it is the face that I had been drawing since I learned to draw. It was my ideal face. Although I've changed the body shape a few times, I didn't touch the face for more than a year and a half.

It took me six months to find a skin that would preserve that look and feel. I found it in X2:Exotica with their Soft Fusion line. At that time, it was among the best available skins in SL. And among the most expensive at 4,000L per set of five makeups. Although I bought a total of three different skin tones (tan, deep, and dark), I've stayed with the same manufacturer. In fact, I've stayed with the same makeup set in the same line.

Anyway, I've changed. Here's why.

The story starts in February when Shanna Sungsoo asked if I would be interested in doing a mermaid fashion show, which would feature several mer tail designers. I said, sure, but I only had one tail to show and I wanted to model it myself. At that time, I was already planning the bridal mer tail but hadn't started work on it yet. I wanted to unveil it (pun intended) at the fashion show.

Well, I watched a few SL fashion shows on YouTube and realized there were things I didn't know about modelling at a fashion show, so I started looking at training and found the MODA Modeling School. I filled out an application and didn't hear from them for a long time.

Meanwhile, the mermaid fashion show kept getting postponed, until I couldn't wait that I went ahead and released my bridal mer tail. When the fashion show got scheduled, I couldn't model the tail anyway. At around the same time, I got word from MODA, but the classes started after the rescheduled fashion show.

The MODA classes started last week, continue through this week, and will end after next week. It was the Photography class last week that made me realize it was time for a new skin. I was about ready to get new skin anyway because I'm seeing more realistic skins available now. And, as the Photography class illustrated, the skin makes a big difference in the headshots.

Well, I tried a gazillion demos. But they all changed the look and feel of my face and no tweaking could bring back that "flavor". So I finally went back to X2 and noticed their Hyper Fusion line. It photographed better. I got the deep tone but there was a blue tint to the highlights that kinda made me look like a zombie. So I got the tan tone and it works much better. However, I had to tweak my face shape, particularly the mouth, to preserve the feel.

Head shot - formal, blonde

Then I had to buy natural-looking eyes because the eyes I had in inventory had very white whites. I found the perfect eyes at Wild Lilies. I bought several pairs.

Head shot - casual, dark hair

So, I have two headshots for the Photography homework. Same pose, same lighting, same composition. But one is everyday sweet and the other is evening elegant. The everyday sweet one is now my profile pic. (How'd you like that transparent background?)

It's still me, only better. Mo' bettah.

"Kiss the Rain"

I popped into SL briefly today to attend an ISM meeting. SL says that my laptop's graphics card and my CPU do not meet the minimum requirements, but I got in anyway.

During the meeting, Sir Robert (well, that's what I call him because he's the first person to ever call me "milady") sent me a link to YouTube. But I couldn't listen to it until now, because, well, I couldn't risk crashing.

And, oh, what a beautiful song! It's called "Kiss the Rain" by Yiruma.

Here's the full version showing the musician playing it himself.

Merci beaucoup, Monsieur Robert! You made my day. And I have a new favorite piece of music and a new favorite composer. :)

/me loves this music as much as she loves the rain.

A conversation with "M"

I just had this conversation with "M". He caught me by surprise, and it was so funny.

[7:06] M: Tah my dear :)
[7:06] Opal Lei: Tah?
[7:07] M: An Aussie slang term meaning Thanks lol
[7:08] Opal Lei: lol
[7:08] Opal Lei: Sometimes, I wonder if Aussies actually speak English. lol
[7:08] M: We do more so than the Americans my dear :-)?
[7:09] Opal Lei: LOL
* Quoted with permission.

Rising for a breath

It's been a crazy month! The muse is very demanding, and she's not done with me yet.

I just finished a new line of products. No, not mer-related, but history-related. Although there's nothing technically new with this product, I've refined some skills while working on it.

Next on my todo list is a new mermaid tail, hopefully in time for the mer fashion show that Akasha Wachmann and her partners are planning for early April. Besides, I have to keep my promise to Azheni Something.

Besides those projects, I still have my ISM commitments and an ongoing RL project. So, I apologize to dear friends who haven't heard from me much. Really, sometimes, eating is an inconvenience. If the grumbling tummy weren't such a distraction, I'd forget to eat.

But, you know, there's nothing as satisfying as finally releasing a product.

So, here I go.... I inhale deeply before I dive in again.... Mer tail is next.

Transformation of the cricket

One lover pulled me back into the real world and, thereby, showed me how one reality enhances the other. But the real world has responsibilities and commitments and vows, and the cricket chirped.

Then another lover brought me into a deeper fantasy and, thereby, reminded me how imagination enhances our lives. And in a world of fantasy, there are no responsibilities, no commitments, no vows, and the cricket was muffled.

That's where I've been. Deep inside my imagination, deep in tales and myths and metaphors and archetypes.

But the emotions are still real. No matter how deep into fantasy you get. At a time when I thought he was rejecting me, he thought I was rejecting him. And I realized that perhaps I was as important to him as he is to me.

In the middle of that argument, he mentioned the cricket. He feels that I'm still hearing it, and he said I had to either shoot it or follow it. He advised following it.

The day after the argument, I sent him a roleplay scenario just for the two of us. A few days prior, he had told me the story of Eos, the goddess of the dawn, who had asked Zeus to make her lover Tithonos immortal, but she forgot to ask for his youth to be preserved. So Tithonos aged and shrunk, until he became a cricket. The roleplay scenario extends that myth. The fantasy continues.

I did take his advice. I followed the cricket. I followed Tithonos... my darling Tithonos.

The fly

I've been a fly for almost a month now. I was able to replicate the invisible avie trick with the Shadow's help. (I'll call him "the Shadow" here, because his foot shadows and his name tag were all I could see when I met him.) He wore each component of the avie one at a time so I could see what's going on.

But instead of a doll, I use a particle-generating prim using a texture for a fly that I used when I made a pile of poop as a trick on Blue. (If you look in the picture he made of me in my 1st Life tab in my profile, you'll see a little brown blob in the lower right hand corner with dots flying around it. That's a poop with flies.) I've pulled too many tricks on Blue, that he had learned to expect the unexpected. I think I've made him paranoid.

Well, it turns out that there are a lot of advantages to being invisible. You don't get distracted by random passersby. They see a dot on the minimap but they don't see anyone, so they figure the dot is high up in the air. Or, they see a dot on the minimap, their radar says there's someone nearby, but by the time they (a) recover from being frustrated from lagging so badly that my avie is not downloading or (b) give up looking for my avie, I've usually tp'd away already.

Anyway, here, I thought I was just having fun. Then last week, Gear asked, "Can I ask what you are hiding from?"

I laughed and said, "Myself?" and didn't think twice about it. Until today. I guess I'm in a pensive mood today.

I am well aware that other people act as mirrors to us in many ways. In this case, Gear was probably seeing something I'm not admitting to myself. There was a time when I changed Opal's look almost every week, sometimes twice a week. It was the fun side of SL.

Then, I changed her look after every heartbreak. Many a time, the changes were a rebellion against a beloved who was bothered by seeing a strange woman every week. (Yes, Opal can be passive-aggressive at times.) He'd break my heart, I'd forgive him, but I'd change my look... drastically. Those were the times when I didn't like being me.

At times when I was hurting too much, I'd see him as my testing alt HiHo, who is a little white mare. But Opal has always been human (or at least half-human). Until now. Which brings me back to Gear's question.

The thing is, I don't know the answer. Maybe I have to hide in one world in order to explore another. Just as I hid from the real world in order to explore this virtual world, I am now hiding from Opal's world in order to explore a roleplaying world....


The good thing about Second Life is that it is always changing. The bad thing about Second Life is that it is always changing.

The grid keeps getting bigger. There's always new content, changing content. Residents keep creating, and more creative people keep coming in. There's always something fresh to look at, to experience, to explore.

But, sometimes, things and people that you've gotten attached to also eventually go away. They've changed and you've changed. There is less constancy in virtual worlds than in the real world.

Ah, well. We'll always have our memories.... And our chat logs....

Comparative dancing

Last night, I danced. In real life.

Today, I ache.

One point for virtual dancing.

Unattractive salmon

I think I've figured out the difference between married people and single people. It has to do with the safety net that Howard talks about, but not exactly like he saw it.

I think the safety net has a lot to do with self-confidence. Married people know that if they get rejected in SL, they're still loved for who they are irl. A virtual rejection is a small dent on their self-confidence.

On the other hand, single people have more of their self-confidence vested in SL relationships. And, being active in dating, they're more likely still feeling raw about a previous date, so their self-confidence takes a beating.

It's amazing that single people continue to go back for more beating. It must be that procreative instinct. So strong that it drives us to self-destruction, like salmon fighting the current and risking being a bear's meal, only to die in the end.

So, here's a question to you, dear readers. They say that it's the self-confidence that makes someone very attractive. Does that make married people more attractive than single people?

One last night at the Blue Note

I remember loves lost, friends lost, chances lost. All in the past year. A very long year. Or maybe it felt long just because it was bursting with memories.

And a lot of those memories are at the Blue Note, one of my favorite haunts since Headman introduced me to it. But very soon, the BN will be closing its doors. And I sit here with my memories. Lingering, hanging on to the memories a little longer as though they would fade away with the Blue Note.

SL would never be the same without the Blue Note.