Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Changing To Wordpress

Blogger recently gave notice that they will be blocking blogs with sexually explicit content starting on March 23rd. Although neither of my blogs have ever really been sexually explicit, I believe that this is Google's way of gradually phasing out Blogger. I also don't believe in unnecessary censorship and yes, I do believe this is unnecessary.

So I'm making the switch to Wordpress. If you have my blog in your blogrolls [thank you, btw, if you do!], I would appreciate if you would update it to my new Wordpress address. I'll also be contacting the owners of the feeds that I'm on to change my blog URL, so if you normally read me through a feed, you'll be able to see my posts the same as usual pretty soon.

I'm not terribly familiar with Wordpress yet, so please forgive me if things here seem disjointed and crazy for a little bit while I get used to my new blogging home. Thank you! ♥


That was the message I posted for my style blog. Since I'm not on any feeds with this blog, that I know about, I'll expand a little more on this.

Man. Changing to Wordpress sucks. I mean, really sucks! I've been on Blogger since 2007, I'm used to it, and I find it incredibly easy. I've been able to make my blog pretty much exactly the way I want it by just dragging and dropping things all over the place. Wordpress, though? #JesusFixIt

So you might be asking, "Okay, Ali. If you hate Wordpress and you're not about to start showing vagina all over the place, why move?" Well, like I said, I really do think this is the beginning of the end for Blogger. Yes, there have always been content filters here. You could mark your blog as adult and that was that. Now it seems like that's not that. If it starts with this, what is next? Any curse words might get your blog marked private? They decide, like on Facebook, that avatars are not welcome? Or they decide at the end of the year to just shut down Blogger altogether? Eff that. I'm not waiting around to see if that happens.

But it's a bummer. I like Blogger a lot. I'm having a lot of trouble getting used to Wordpress because there is just more to it. Not a lot more, but enough that it's irritating. And I know in a month or so, it'll be second nature to me and I won't even think about it any more, but until then... I'm bitching about it. A lot.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Why, yes, I have SecondLifed.

I've been working on our little park area the past two nights. It's getting there. It's actually quite comfortable now and I kind of prefer to spend my SL time outdoors rather than in the house these days. Aldwyn and I were sitting out there last night and his biggest question was "Do we get wifi out here in the park?"

Duh. OF COURSE WE DO! *laughs*

Why Yes, I Have SecondLifed

Strawberry made a new meme called "Have you ever SecondLifed?" It just so happens that I have, so I decided to answer the questions in my long winded way.

1. Have you ever owned a sim in Second Life?

* Yep! I've owned Bluebonnet since September 13, 2008. Want to come live near me? I have a parcel open! IM me to find out more! /shameless plug

2. Have you ever created content in Second Life?

* Of course! I sell like 10 of the famed Blingis a month. I have no idea WHY I sell them, but people seem to like it enough to pay me a $1L for it. *laughs* I also do nail polish for Slink hands on occasion [not often any more] and I used to have a store back in 2008 where I created random things like belts that had stuff hanging off of them and crappy prim furniture.

3. Have you ever driven a vehicle in Second Life?

* Soooo many times. I'm not very good at driving, though. I'm much better at walking.

4. Have you ever gone sky diving in Second Life?

* Oh God, yes. I even have my own skydiving pod thing. Remember, skydiving is how we asked Birdy to be our daughter!

5. Have you ever played a sport in Second Life?

* Hmm. You know, I really don't think I have. Unless you count bowling?

6. Have you ever gone clubbing in Second Life?

* Ohhhh yes. I spent the first year of my original SLife basically living in a club that I worked at. We've been going a little more often lately with Lolita and Takeo when the kids are in bed.

7. Have you ever fangirled/fanboyed someone in Second Life?

* Unfortunately. *laughs* Before plurk and before I got to know creators well, I thought most of them were just these intimidating, amazing things. I still find some of them amazing, but it's hard to fangirl when you know that most of them are eating pizza and hanging out in their PJs while they work in Blender.

8. Have you ever taken a picture of your avatar in water in Second Life?

* Multiple times. There are many things in SL that just look crazy, but Linden water is really one of the things that SL does exceptionally well, and it's nice to take pics in it.

9. Have you ever taken a picture of a sunset in Second Life?

* Many many times. I used to always put our houses so that our bedroom window would face the sunset. Of course, with windlight, you can basically make sunset wherever you want. Sunset in the north? Sure!

10. Have you ever taken a nude picture of your avatar in Second Life?

* Um, duh? I'd say most women in SL have. Heck, most men, too. Plus, I was a SLuicide Girl when the blog was active and that required a lot of naked. Ms. Trixie Belle, at your service!

11. Have you ever dated in Second Life?

* Nah, I just told Al "We're getting married" when I met him. *laughs* Of course I have! Not lots, but enough. Dating in SL can be incredibly fun! And even when it's not fun, it can make for some fantastic stories to tell later.

12. Have you ever had or attended a wedding in Second Life?

* Yes and yes! I've been to more weddings than I can count [I'm a great wedding guest. Invite me to yours!] and we had ours in 2011. I'd do it again in a heartbeat, it was beautiful!

13. Have you ever drank, smoked or taken drugs in Second Life?

* My favorite thing for a long time was finding the drinks that would have you stumble around and fall down drunk! I still have one of those "Eat your piece of the sunshine acid!" things that puts a big wavy psychedelic thing on the screen, too.

14. Have you ever engaged in sexual activity in Second Life?

* Berry, you are SO nosy. But yes. :)

15. Have you ever been to Bukkake Bliss in Second Life?

* Yes! We used to go when there was nothing else to do, usually on an alt, just to be jerks. I have an alt named... Busty or Chesty, I can't remember now, and I made her look like Snooki circa 2009 [btw, have you seen Snooki now? She's grown up well! She's so pretty!] and I'd be stumbling all over Bukkake Bliss while people were trying to get it on. Got hit on a lot, but most of it was just "Come sit on this poseball." No thanks, noobfreenie. No thanks.

I really gotta go remember that poor alt's name. I have a feeling I left her at Bukkake Bliss.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

I'm surrounded by your embrace

It's late and my pixel feet are tired from all of the dancing tonight, but I had to do a special Valentine post for my special Valentine. [Of course, I don't think he actually reads my blog!] I was actually going to have this dedicated to him at the party tonight with the song but that didn't happen, so I get to write it here. :)

My love,

It's been almost 6 years since we first met and almost 5 since you decided that I was worth spending more time with. We've never had a fight, you've never used harsh words against me, and you've been more patient with me than anyone ever has been. I've never had to worry about anything with you and that is a gift that sometimes I feel like I don't deserve. You know my secrets and my past and you have never judged me. You have been my rock for almost 5 years, the one constant that I know I can count on. You call me your angel every day, but truthfully you have been mine. Happy Valentine's Day, I love you!

Remember those walls I built?
Well, baby they're tumbling down
And they didn't even put up a fight
They didn't even make a sound
I found a way to let you in
But, I never really had a doubt
Standing in the light of your halo
I got my angel now

It's like I've been awakened
Every rule I had you breakin'
It's the risk that I'm taking
I ain't never gonna shut you out!

Everywhere I'm looking now
I'm surrounded by your embrace
Baby, I can see your halo
You know you're my saving grace
You're everything I need and more
It's written all over your face
Baby, I can feel your halo
Pray it won't fade away

I'm surrounded by your embrace.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

My Family of Valentines

Happy Valentine's Day, dear ones! It's barely the 14th, but I know I won't have time to update later. :) Not that my updates are consistent or anything, but I do try to come around for holidays!

So Friday, we had a family Valentine's party! Tonight there is a black and red formal Valentine's dance, but that is an adult party and we couldn't let our little ones be left out of valentine fun!

My family of valentines

Birdy and Aldwyn aren't in that picture because we took it pretty early in the evening before Aldwyn got online, and my poor Birdy is under the weather. And I'm not REALLY that much smaller than my sister! She was wearing heels and I was in flat sandals. If we're not wearing shoes, we're usually around the same height!

My sis cooked up a great meal for us of sushi, steak [and tuna steak for the non-cow eaters!], and for dessert we could have chocolate mousse or ice cream! Riley had both. She might have a chocolate problem. *laughs*

Dinner with my valentines!

Of course, certain little girls can't be contained and Payton might have decided when dessert was over. She's lucky she's cute. I wouldn't have just anyone dancing around in my ice cream. [And I was also having a ridiculous time keeping things rezzed tonight, so that's what's up with that gray box on her wrist.]

Welp. I guess dessert is over!

But then my sis gave us all presents! It was like Christmas! She even gave me a gift that I think was more of a gift for Aldwyn. *snickers*

After gifts were over, we went to their little beach and ... well, there was the BIGGEST FONDUE POT EVER.

Giant Fondue

We became marshmallows! We had to run up the fork, dip ourselves in chocolate, and then jump down. I, of course, won with a time of 29 seconds! Go me! That kinda made up for when we did marshmallow sumo wrestling later and I was the first to fall over the side. Ahem.

When we got home, Aldwyn and I got our outfits for the formal. Usually it takes him foreverrrrr to find clothes, but he found something super quick this time. I was the one who went through 29030923 demos. This is the thing about me, and might be a problem for a lot of bloggers - Sometimes we honestly have no idea what to wear when we're not doing a post! Really! It's soooo much easier when I say "Okay, today I need to blog this event/store" and boom! It gets done. But tell me "You just have to look nice" and it's like OMG WHAT IS HAPPENING HERE. *laughs* And also, when I blog, it really doesn't matter if I blog the same item as someone else. Most creators and events have more than a dozen bloggers at any given time and it happens. But for a big dance like this, I don't want to wear the same dress as anyone else. So I tried not to go directly to any of the bigger formals stores or pick a dress that I thought someone else would be in. I really like the dress I chose. I think it's super classy and since it's in black, I can wear it again if we ever choose to go out to a fancy dance club for a date night.


Sunday, February 8, 2015

Easy Like Sunday Morning

My sister was nice enough to come help me with our parcel the other night. For the past...well, forever, our home has always looked like it just kinda showed up in the middle of a lot of trees because I am not great at putting a whole area together. I can do bits and pieces, but not a whole thing. This is why I've always let my renters do what they want on their parcels rather than have some some carefully constructed residential area. They can do what they like and I can enjoy their art.

But after the whole house moving craziness, we had LOTS of room left and Lolita came and put down a road similar to what she has on their sim. It's kind of amazing what having something defined does for a place! The road is bigger than what I would have done which I think makes it better. I'm not really good at proportions. Years ago when I was hanging out with someone, he told me that when you do landscaping like this, you should always go bigger than you think you should. He gave me a couple of huge trees to prove his point and he was right. But of course, being me, I end up working in smaller bits and I think that I should have remembered his advice. *laughs*

The new road goes around in a rectangular shape, so we have a grassy area in the middle. I decided it would be a good place for a small park, so I plopped a fountain down in the middle. For some reason, I've acquired a few fountains in my SLife! I have no real idea why because I think I've only used a fountain once. But I like this one quite a bit. And with the addition of our little cafe caravan and a table set, it's becoming the perfect place to have my morning coffee and some quiet.

Easy Like Sunday Morning

Of course, my sis has an awesome coffee shop on their sim, so I'm still going to be running over to have my lattes and cappucinos!

I am still working on the park and on putting more trees around so that it looks a little bit more natural and not like a tree farm of the same trees. I also need to get our backyard done up. We had a great deck last year and I KNOW I took it all up in one big piece so I could just put it out again, but we'll have to see if that actually happened or not!

I guess since my coffee cup is empty, I should go do something productive so I can come back and start hunting for my perfect Valentine's dress. There is a Valentine's formal this coming Saturday night and I need an awesome formal gown!

Friday, February 6, 2015

You Can't Make Old Friends

I had a lot of things I could have been doing tonight while my family was off doing other things. But I mostly just sat around, looking at profiles of people on my friends list. There are people that I will never ever delete because I'll never be able to get them back on my list.

It's funny, but when things are quiet and I'm alone in SL, my thoughts always drift back to Cen. I still miss her. It's been 6 years now since she left SL and I still miss her. I miss the easy friendship we had. We were always in IM with each other when we were online, no matter what we were doing. I think we probably saw each other if not daily, then every other day. It was easy and fun and I miss it. I wonder what she would think of all the changes in SL over the past 6 years. When she left, mesh was still 2 years away from making its appearance on the grid. Gacha was something silly you stumbled upon in small Japanese stores. Stores happily gave gifts to not just their free group members, but to everyone by just placing a box at the front door. Our whole group of friends were still strong and together. Things have changed a lot.

You Can't Make Old Friends

But, that's the way of the world. Things change, people leave. I don't even know that we'd still be friends if she had stayed. I know my priorities in SL definitely changed over time and I'm sure hers would have as well. It happens. But if she ever came back to SL, I'd hope she'd look me up.

It's late and I think I've reached Grey's Anatomy saturation point [I've been marathon watching for days], so I think it's bedtime.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

So...that happened.

So as part of the whole "I'm tired of our parcel looking like crap" thing, I decided I wanted to move our house. Should have been a simple thing. I have mod rights for pretty much everyone in the family at this point, so it should have been as simple as unlocking the house, selecting everything, and scooting it on over. SHOULD HAVE BEEN THAT SIMPLE.

Somewhere along the way, random things of mine in the house got locked down. Not just the house, not the walls I built downstairs and in our bathroom. Just random things like my teacup pigs, pictures on the wall, beds, posters... It had no rhyme or reason! A wall hanging I put up just 2 days ago was locked, but a music box I put out months ago was not. It was all completely random. And the more I unlocked items and tried to move things, the worse it got! Things were just becoming locked down for no ding dang reason! It was frustrating and laughable all at the same time.

The whole family was over while I was doing this so they really kept me from shedding tears. And hey, my sis even put out a fruit plate! *laughs*

Eventually, I decided to just move the house by itself and then move each individual room. After I moved the house, everything looked NUTS.

So...That Happened.

The guys, in their EVER so helpful way, said I should say that it's very zen. You know, inner peace comes from living without walls. I threatened to kick them in the face.

A lot, actually.

But I meant it with love. ♥

Everyone had to go to bed, and I stayed up, checking every prim of mine in the house to unlock what was locked. It was insane how much was locked and how random it was. I still have absolutely NO idea what happened. In fact, in my head, all I was thinking of was that cover of the Atlanta Voice from last year. "What happen? Why it happen? Can it happen again?!"

All I know is that if it happens again, we're living in tents outside.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

So You Want A Family In Second Life.

The biggest question I've frequently been asked in the past year is, "How did you get into a family?" The simplest answer I have is that I was adopted into it. Sometimes I refer them back to this post that talks about the day it happened. But inevitably, it leads to more questions. "How did you get kids? What kinds of things does a family do? How do you deal with family changes? Is it constant roleplay? You don't find this weird at all? How can I get a family like yours, too?" Let me kind of detail how the family thing has gone for me.

My sister and brother were already family and in the family community before they sibling adopted me. I was friends with them. I knew I cared about them and I knew that being their sister would be fun. More than that, I already felt safe with them. I knew saying "yes" to them would be a good thing. If you're looking to start a family, getting siblings that are already your friends is a really good start. I usually suggest that to adults who are looking to get into it all because if they are friends, there is a good chance you already feel like they are your siblings.

Family changes are inevitable. People get adopted, people leave, new people come in. Is it strange sometimes? Of course. Our brother is now our forever brother [forever siblings are those who are always family to you, no matter where they go or what family they join] because he joined a family that included parents. We're happy for him that he did! But my sister and I don't have parents. We would probably get grounded a lot if we did.

Getting kids can be kind of a process, but worth it when you find kids that click with you and your family. Most decent kids in SL want to have good parents who make them feel safe. I never realized it before joining a family and becoming a SL mom, but most kid avatars are quite vulnerable because they put their "little self" out there in a way that adults never do. I feel it more with the ones who are dedicated kids than the ones who flip back and forth between kid and adult avatars, but it's still there. They trust that someone who says they are family will not hurt them, so if you look into getting a kid, realize that you need to do what you can to not abuse that trust.

We got our two girls two different ways. Abby was my plurk friend and then our goddaughter, and Birdy we met through Heritage Adoptions. If you're not sure if you're ready for the big step of becoming a parent, becoming a godparent can be a great introduction to having a kid around but there are some things you have to know about it first. If you become a godparent to a kid who has a family, realize that you may not see them too often. Your role as a godparent is basically to talk to them or give snuggles or just be there for them sometimes when their parents are unable to be. This is good in that your time is still your own and not too much changes in your life. But it can be bad, too, if you start to grow very attached to the child and you don't want them to leave. Their first priority is their existing family, not you. But yes, on occasion, you end up with them as your child. It happened with us, and it happened with Lolita and Takeo with Payton. Sometimes the bond is just really strong and you can't stop it. [We're not baby snatchers, despite what you might have heard.] [No, seriously.] You can find a godchild at an adoption place like Heritage, or you can ask around if anyone knows a kid looking for a godparent.

Our adoption with Birdy was through Heritage, but not the "traditional" adoption since we did a longer trial period. Heritage has it set that kids are on trial with their prospective parents for just one week. Every day you get notices saying that you have so many days left in your trial. It can actually be quite anxiety making! But you are absolutely not required to only take a week and I urge you strongly to take a much longer trial period than just one week. If the kid is heavily campaigning to be adopted within the first few days, it is a red flag. If they are mad at you for wanting to extend the trial past a week, it is a red flag. If they try to get too familiar too quickly, honey...it is a red flag. Long trials, especially for kids you didn't know before, allow you both to get to know each other and learn about how you can combine your SLives together. You might feel that this is the kid for you within the first day, but still, extend it out just a little longer. Our trial with Birdy was over two weeks long and that was a shorter trial than we were anticipating, but the whole family basically knew from the start that she would be adopted. When you do go on trial with someone, if you feel like things are not working out, you have to speak up. That goes for both parent and child. You should never feel pressured to join a family.

If you do decide to hop in and adopt through an agency, remember that you must have a home for them already. If you're the type who just lives on a platform or you stay in sandboxes all of the time, being a parent may not be for you. Heritage is actually specific on their panel notecard that you MUST have a place for the child to live. They aren't required to live with you during the trial period, but I suggest that they do because you have to get used to each other. Make sure you get a kid who can be online around the times that you are, too. Do NOT pick someone who can only be in SL from 8am to 12pm when you can only be there at 1pm. It is unfair to both you and the child. Also remember that if you have kids, you will need to plan things for them to do once in a while. Sure they can entertain themselves, but like RL kids, they do get bored! I'm actually quite bad about this, though. Luckily for me, my sister is much better at planning family activities than I am. We do movie nights, game nights, go on vacations, and explore different places. And remember, too, that even if you have kids, you still have to take time for yourself and your partner [if you have one] once in a while. Your kids shouldn't mind and if you want to get "real" about it, you can hire a babysitter. But usually the kids just entertain themselves, or go to bed early.

Is being in a family constant roleplay? Well, yes and no. We do talk about our real lives when we're together. A Second Life family is about friendship, after all. But there is always that bit of roleplay there. Lolita and I refer to each other as "sis" most of the time on plurk. Our kids refer to each other as cousins. We do have times when we're more heavily into the family thing, like when we do vacations, have game or movie nights, or do meal times together. The kids very rarely use their voice to speak on Skype with us to maintain the whole kid thing. So yes, there is always that bit of family roleplay, but my family doesn't feel the need to immerse ourselves in it to the point of not knowing about the others' real lives. If you like more heavy roleplay, there are certainly people out there who would do that with you. You have to find the balance that works for you.

All families are different and while you might see our pictures or hear of our adventures, you might find that a family like mine doesn't work for you and that's okay. The most important thing in having a family in SL is that you are with people that you feel safe with, that you can have fun with, and who make your life happy.