Saturday, July 23, 2016

"The website that didn't want to be"

I was so close! The website would have been live a bit more than a month ago. I bought a new hard drive to make all the pending backups I needed to and that for many varied reasons, I couldn't do before. The new hard drive was installed and I rushed into copying files there. Go, go, go...

Early in the evening, the system slows down dramatically and it finally freezes. No, no, no...


The hard drive died, while I was trying to back the data up. Too late.

I brought the computer to a local store and while the guy was checking if the disks were alive, the power supply died with a bang that made his UPS to turn everything off at the place. That was fun to see. Sort of. I almost laughed. I'm glad I didn't because the best was to come.

Well, maybe it's finally time to get a new computer. (She said, after seven years of loyalty to her old machine.)

The new computer arrived two days later, Friday evening. I bring it home, Debian Linux is installed, things begin to be set up. On Sunday I log into SL, wow at the graphics and the FPS I can get. I take a few pics. I think about the dead hard drive, but I also think of how to start rebuilding my work with the help of the latest backups I had. And then, for no reason at all, the computer reboots. It does again, and again. It does again later in the day. It does randomly, for no apparent reason. It seems I can't start rebuilding my work yet.

On Monday I call to the store. Houston, we have a problem. Since I was developing a script with a deadline, I couldn't bring the new computer to the store immediately. Rather, we tried figuring out what the heck was wrong while I tried finishing the script, testing things that could give a clue about which part was causing the problem. Little more than a month later, after some bumps in the road of replacing parts, it seems that the new computer is finally working as it should. Stories like the weekend without (new) computer because the replacement of the new power supply died are to be told during Halloween, around a campfire. The culprit of the whole new computer mess was indeed the power supply, so if you see that your computer randomly reboots, consider it as a possibility so you don't have to be pulling your hair for a month trying to find out what's wrong.

Many important files died in the backup I was trying to do, and if you ask me why I didn't have a RAID set in place or why I didn't get another drive earlier, or why I didn't do this and that... I could tell you yet more horror stories, but since we humans are going to judge anyway without understanding the particular life situation, I'll simply answer You know nothing, Jon Snow and save all the explanations that would go nowhere.

I haven't given up yet on the data of the dead hard drive, and that's yet another story. But there's something that didn't die in the middle of this: the website. I'm sorry for whoever was celebrating. (Probably the same person that reported this blog in the first place)

The website code, while it takes long to develop, it can be compressed in a small file by today's standards: Less than 1 MB. That size is something that even my slow connection can upload without strangling the net's use, so I backed this up and uploaded it often. Because if there's a fire in the area and then flooding, I will be able to have that work safe. I know what kind of things can happen. I just don't have the resources to be ready against all of them.

The experience has been frustrating to say the least and it hasn't come alone. Cats, parents, doctor appointments, rehabilitation. Life. It was hard not saying anything in the lines of this is unfair! or all this bad luck can't be possible, it was so tempting because that's our first irrational impulse. Things suddenly get wildly out of control and the Universe sure has been conspiring for this, because we are that important (That last phrase was sarcasm. Just making sure.)

I noticed how this kind of irrational thinking was building in my mind and I had to give myself time to get some perspective back into my thoughts and not let myself surrender to the easy believing.

You're having computer, cats, health, etc. issues, but that means you have computer, cats and a life that lets you take care of it.

Bad luck is just one roll with low probability, but it's still possible. Would you have complained with similar chances, but in the good luck direction? How many more people are having similar situations? Exactly, you don't know, so you can't conclude you're the only one having this happen.

Still thinking you're having bad luck? Watch two more episodes of Grey's Anatomy and then be thankful because you don't work at the Seattle Grace/Grey-Sloan Hospital. That would be being unlucky.

Now I fear giving any kind of notice that lets know if my work is advancing or is close to anywhere. It was close to somewhere when it stopped to be close to somewhere. All I can say is that I have started working again. Finally. (One sure could say that that website is slacking and doesn't want to go live.)

I hope I'll be back on track soon. I really do. Because I've written down on paper a lot of things while these problems were happening, and those things won't type and publish themselves alone :o)

Have a great day :-)

Friday, May 20, 2016

Getting there!

The website is reaching to the live stage: I've involved my business partner in the creation of a vendor system for the store and that aside, I'm close to finishing the engine that will hold everything together. I could talk about all the boring details of what I've done and what is left to do, but I understand that's something only I get excited about and I will spare the pain to all of you. Don't worry though: I will likely bore you with all the details once I'm done.

May is being a quiet month, which has helped a lot in moving forward as I needed. No flooding, no fires. The grass is green and the weeds haven't spread as they used to thanks to the work I did last year. My foot recovers and I can finally walk on two feet (I know, I didn't mention about my foot.) The Hibiscus is blossoming. My cats are healthy. My business partner hasn't killed me yet. Ansel hasn't killed me yet (but I do hear how his eyes roll at me). My days are bright even with the problems *looks at her foot* and there's a lot I'm grateful for.

I have some hope in that I will write more than I used to when the move is done. I've found an organizing method that seems to be clicking with the way I work and is bringing some order into chaos, but I won't preach the gospel until I'm at least one month (or maybe three months) into it because I'm known for not following organizing methods.

Today I'm taking a little (scheduled) break from the website by creating a new poses set for Lazy Sunday, The Widow.

Cheesus, Auryn, you always so *coughs* cheerful.

I know! I need to bring some darkness into all these bright days for balance or I could turn into a unicorn, and I don't want to be a unicorn. I want to be me, with my lights and my shadows.

Have a great day and see you soon, hopefully, at the new place :-)

Friday, March 25, 2016

I have one little secret to confess

I took the decision of participating in this year's edition of NaNoWriMo a few months ago when I was, of course, busy with something else. The part that scared me the most was trying to think of a long story to write (not just very short tales like I do), but I think I've reached to a point where I could go for it.

I have my two main characters already defined: the leading role and the antagonist. The antagonist still needs more detail but I'm getting there. I've scribbled notes about their past and how they cross paths. I'm now writing down a timeline of the future events. Together with them, the rest of characters begin to show up. I stopped worrying about writing about something that others have written before. I don't think it's the originality in the topic what makes a story a good one.

What helped me was reading all those articles about story-writing. A long story doesn't come out of nowhere (unlike my short tales) and I don't think it could be improvised without a plan. Rather, I feel it's a mix of who are the characters involved, what situations do they live, in which environment, and everything else. Since I had no idea about what story to tell, I started writing about the characters. And then, it happened.

Writing about the past of the main character I started writing pages and pages. Small pages, since I'm writing all this in a notepad book-shaped, but more than ten anyway. (I like scribbling notes on physical paper.)

The main character had a lot to tell and I decided it was time to give time to their antagonist, which has also turned out to be chatty and tells me many things about their life, how they think and why they think what they think about all life matters. That has been an interesting experience: You start writing without a clear plan, trying to define a consistent character, and then it jumps to your fountain pen and writes itself, controlling the words your hand writes. (Yes, I like scribbling notes using a fountain pen.)

The story is now growing inside me and the plot is defining itself practically without my assistance after I defined the main characters: they are doing the work for me. All I have to do is sit down, write down on paper what my characters tell me, and review the notes each time I sit for more writing to avoid holes and contradictions in the story.

What's the story about?

I'm afraid I won't say until NaNoWriMo is over. Anyway, as the saying goes, time flies, so it's not going to be such a long wait. I can say though that it's not going to be a fight between Good and Evil. I believe that people are far more complex than that, even those without conscience.

Meanwhile, the very short tales will continue to come, because they simply jump out of my thoughts when I create some pose sets. It's as if the story was waiting for me to start taking photos to flow though my fingers. I still don't understand how that works.

I'll leave it for now, presenting the Shadows short tale, which was inspired by my last poses set (or was it the other way?)

Have a great weekend :-)


I'm back for my next story, and I've chosen you to be the lead character.

You will barely notice that I slowly reach into more private areas of your mind, reading your most important secrets. When the closeness scares you, I will speak about concern and you will believe me. Concern is a feeling I've learned to pretend very well, but you will never know the secrets hiding behind my own walls.

Eventually, you will know that something is off in me. When you reach to that realization, you will want to warn others about me and inevitably, we will fight. My survival is at stake.

Your weapons are logic and reason. Those would be lethal in an ideal world. But this is not an ideal world, and I take advantage of that. My weapons are feelings and offense. It doesn't matter how right you are about me. It matters how helpless everybody else will perceive me. Did I tell you I'm a great actress? Now you're a monster in their eyes.

While everybody is busy tearing you apart, I will retreat to the shadows, to quietly see you shatter. These so convenient shadows will hide the glint in my smirk and I will rise stronger, ready for my next story... All while the darkness I use as my cloak smothers you, pushing you into the road to madness, a road I've known nobody to ever come back from. In your nightmares from now on, you will hear me sing a lullaby. Good night... Good night...


Mesh body: Lara, from Maitreya
Mesh hands: Lara's hands, from Maitreya
Mesh feet: Lara's feet, from Maitreya
Mesh head: Karin, from Lelutka

Eyes: Phantom Eyes, Snow, from Dead Apples
Face Applier: Pom-Pom, Porcelain, from KOOQLA
Skin Applier: Porcelain tone, from KOOQLA

Hair: Rooskje (no materials), from Mina
Horns: Uninvited Horns, pitch, from BOOM

Dress: Suhina Sequin gown, onyx, from Zaara
Collar: Dahlia collar, black, from Baiastice
Gloves: Long gloves with claws, black, from Baiastice
Shoes: Zora heels, Noir, from Ingenue (not showing in the photos)

Spider wings: Spider legs backpiece, from Zyn
Birds: Abadon Orbit 1, 2 and 3, from Zibska
Face Thorns: Rose Face Thorns (L and R), Dark, from LaGyo
Arm Thorns: Rose Arm Thorns (L and R), Dark, from LaGyo

Pose: Shadow #1 set coming for Lazy Sunday, Black Tulip (mine)

Background: Cemetery de Morte, from Pandemonium
Windlight Sky: Places Kingsport

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Not on hiatus

I know I haven't posted anything new in a couple of months. Things happened, then life happened. Then life happened again (funeral included). Then there was some more of life, then sick for a month (I think. I lost count of the weeks. I'm not out of it yet.) While sick, also, life, life, life.

Yoga poses - Coming for Lazy Sunday

I haven't given up on writing. I'm just trying to work in the website engine as that life thing lets me, preparing for a big move (the store page and this blog will no longer live at Blogger). Trust me, I miss this space, particularly with so much going on (in life and in my mind).

Yes, I've said work in the website engine. I'm designing the database and programming the content management system that will let me publish new content, with widgets and everything. Why, since I could use something from the available systems? Because I'm wired this way, and if I'm moving to a non free place, I want things done in a certain way. Which means, I have to do it myself. It would seem that I like to get in trouble, since this is a lot of work! But I'm liking to do this work, the kind of work I used to do years ago, before other things happened.

I'll let know when all is ready and the new website is available. See you soon :-)

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Creating a poses set, the scripter way

When you're a programmer that dreams in source code to solve the problems you've found when programming awake, you know that you cannot hide from thinking in algorithms: It's in your blood, you're simply wired that way. Even Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer, the poet, said it:

What's programming?, you say,
while you stare at my code lines in your inquiring eyes

What's programming? And you ask me that?
Programming... That is you.

(Well, he sort of said that.)

This means that it's only normal for me to wonder something after filling the same parameters when I upload poses a couple of times, before I've uploaded my first set ever: Would it be possible to have the choice of defining those same parameters as default options, so they fill automatically and you only change them when you need different values?

After having uploaded nearly 120 sets of 5 poses (plus mirrors), I decide it's time to use my brain for something else than the basic vital support of my body, and do as the saying goes:

and so I call my business partner, the only unfortunate person from SL that sees me regularly in the real world, and whose phone number I actually know.

She looks at my sad begging eyes, and the next happening is this (FIRE-17251: Allow users to set default values for animation uploads - patch by Sei Lisa; this also fixes FIRE-13738 (Default hand position is spread instead of relaxed)) and this ([PATCH] Allow entering animation loop parameters as frames rather than percent), which means that weather forecast is favorable to my begging being incorporated in the next update of the Firestorm viewer.

Pose makers and animators, don't forget saying thank you to my business partner. I've already bought her some of the best cheese and promised I will try not to eat it.

The news make me all kinds of happy, and I proceed to start creating my next set of poses for Lazy Sunday. I wanted to create a pose set of a new series called Boudoir. Knowing me even if a little, the right thing to wonder is why I haven't done this before.

I decided that I will create different bedroom setups on purpose to favor the process of taking the photographs and show some variety if I am to move forward with the Boudoir series as more than one set, and spend the whole Wednesday morning looking for skyboxes and rezzing beds from my inventory. (People of Plurk, thank you for all your suggestions when I asked. I would have lost all day looking in Marketplace and found nothing.)

IMAGE: Boudoir #1, pose #2, in Flickr

The first skybox I'm using is the The Little Penthouse, from 22769 ~ [bauwerk]. Then the furniture is a mix of items from LAQ, Trompe Loeil and Dutchie (The cast iron fireplace and the side table that comes with the summer BDSM bed, tinted).

Why preparing all this before getting to the actual poses?

I realized, when I created my first set of laying down poses, that this particular kind of poses should not be tested outside its natural environment. I mean with this, if you plan on making laying poses, keep in mind where the avatar will be laying, be this the cold ground or a bed, and test them over the right surface. The target surface will let you know how to bend some parts so the avatar adapts to it, rotating to an approximate fit within what is possible in SL.

With all this ready, I was ready to create the poses. But, wait! There was one more thing to prepare before creating the poses.

Currently, despite I like taking pictures in SL, it's also a time of torment and agony. Think of an almost seven year old computer that I cannot yet upgrade. Think of the Advanced Lighting Mode turned on, all the fancy mesh, and shadows. Not even in Ultra mode. Medium settings. At the ultra speed of 4 FPS in a light-mesh loaded setup, 1 FPS in a heavy-mesh loaded setup, I need to take care of the lights and the fine tuning of positioning my avatar. Lights cannot be set up with the Advanced Lighting Mode turned off, because they behave completely differently (not to mention that you cannot see the shadows from the projector lights.)

Have you ever tried to edit an object, simply to move it, or change the light properties, at an average speed of 2 FPS? Try it if you have the chance.

So I decided that I had to choose one from between the following possibilities:

  • Read the manual of the tools you have, in detail, to see if they do what you need and how, in that case.
  • Script your own tools.

Which was my choice? The logical one: I scripted my own pose stand and projector light so I could move and rotate them from a HUD, and change the light properties of the projector, instead of having to fight with the Edit window at 2 FPS.

"The logical one"... I can hear you mumble.

This will sound fun, but it takes me more time to read all the documentation and trying all things out, than scripting my own tools exactly as I want them to work. I started with the pose stand on Thursday after lunch, in the early evening, and I completed the task, with the projector light as well, on Thursday night.

Finally, Friday was devoted to actually creating the poses and taking the photos for the product vendor. And this is how you create a poses set, the scripter way.

Have a great day! :-)


Outfit Credits

Mesh body: Lara, from Maitreya
Mesh hands: Lara's hands, from Maitreya
Mesh feet: Lara’s feet, from Maitreya

Skin: Lulu 02 C, Jamaica, from Glam Affair
Freckles: Cassiopea Cosmetics, A (tn), from Glam Affair
Lipstick: Leah Lipstick 21, from Glam Affair
Hair base: (Hairbase 3), True Red, from Argrace

Hair: Dakota hair, FIT A, reds, from Lelutka
Shoes: Zest Pumps, Black, from Maitreya

Panties: Giselle lingerie - panty (Maitreya fit), Black, from erratic
Bra: Delice lingerie - bra (Maitreya fit), Black, from erratic
Suspender: Delice lingerie - suspender (Maitreya fit), Black, from erratic
Stockings: Delice lingerie - stockings HUD (Maitreya applier), Black, from erratic

Windlight Sky: Tron Legacy clean

Tuesday, November 10, 2015


Enchantment will open in a few days, and this round's theme is Neverland. While I love fantasy and telling stories, I confess I would not like to stay forever a kid like Peter Pan. There are other ways to fly, and other ways to reach magical places.

IMAGE: Flying to Neverland, in Flickr

In fact, despite I miss all the energy I had when I was twenty years old, no way I would ever want to be back to that age again. Not even with my current knowledge of people. I would be the most bitter twenty year old in that case, while now I can enjoy of simply being cynical. True, I don't like all things that being an adult implies, but then, who does?

Those thoughts made me think what if instead of Peter Pan, is Tinker Bell the one growing up?

I know that Tinker Bell is represented like an adult fairy, but there's growing up, and there's growing up. Since my mind at times wanders to that other adult land, I wanted to create a sexy fairy, yet not too sexy and undressed, for this is still a fairy tale and you know the thing about fairy tales. Kids are looking and nobody has taught their parents yet that their kids are not stupid.

IMAGE: When the fairy grew up #1, in Flickr

I've done two pose sets for When the Fairy grew up. The first one is all standing poses, the second one is sitting on the ground poses. And every time I create a sit-on-the-ground kind of pose, I wonder why do I hate myself so much, and I also wonder if that explains why I don't see so often sit-on-the-ground kind of poses.

IMAGE: When the fairy grew up #2, in Flickr

If you wonder why I say that, I can only suggest you trying to create one of those poses. Any other thing I say cannot show the problems as clearly as trying to making it on your own. Still, I know that there will be more sit-on-the-ground poses in my future. Because, stubborn.

Have a great day :-)

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Where does your darkness come from?

Often I have internal monologues remembering past events, and often I wonder about sharing them. With almost the same frequency, I forget about those monologues right as I sit in front of the computer, and wonder what was that thing I wanted to write about. If only I could record my thoughts when I'm everywhere else. (Although I'm not sure I would like if it exists a machine that records thoughts.)

Recently, I've written a few stories, perhaps more often than before. Dark, all of them. (Halloween was not the reason. Just check all of my other short stories and compare). I like writing but I really don't have an habit of writing. I've struggled a bit to make sense in some of my short stories, to tie all ends so the story was coherent. I'd love to write something longer, but I'm really not sure that I have the ability of creating that habit.

When I talk about writing "something longer" I don't mean writing technical books or tutorials. Those are easier to write than a story for you don't need to tell a story that makes sense. Well, relatively easier to write, for there's a lot to research and examples to prepare. They're also tough to write if you don't feel inspired to explain the processes. Okay, and you need to make sense too in the material you explain. Well, and if you first introduce the topic and give a little of background story about where we'll be heading in our technical travel, describing the characters, that helps as well. Okay, forget I said anything about technical books and tutorials being easier to write than, for example, novels.

Writing the latest stories brought back to my mind some memories I cherish from high school.

I live in a bi-lingual region, so we had three different courses about language. The Spanish language course, the Valenciano language course, and the English language course. In my third year of high school, after quarreling with the Valenciano teacher, she brought an interesting activity in our last quarter: the writing workshop. Every week, one of the class days would be devoted to writing.

IMAGE: Where does your darkness come from?, in Flickr

She gave clear guidelines about the plot we had to write about in the two first assignments. This was to help those that had never written a story and had no idea of how to go about. The third one left more room to our imagination, having several choices we could follow. The fourth and final assignment was completely free.

I was sixteen years old, and I wrote a collection of independent, short dark stories. I drew an even darker cover. I did some dark illustrations as part of the stories. I handed them, scared that the teacher would think I was completely insane. The teacher praised my assignment at the classroom and asked me permission to make a copy for herself to keep, and I didn't understand what just had happened.

My last oil painting was a bright and cold yet dark scene. My parents hated it so much that they sent the canvas to my grandmother. They continually invaded my private space in my bedroom, to make sure I wouldn't do anything else than my homework. I stopped writing, stopped drawing.

Later in my life, when I found a safe spot and regained some confidence, I tried writing again.

Dark paragraphs. Desperate paragraphs. None of them were related to what I was feeling, yet darkness continued to come out of me. Why wasn't I able to write a happy story?

Time continues to go by. Now I'm in Second Life, and I decide participating in a writing contest. Erotic writing contest, I must clarify. Even though we had a suggested topic, I managed again to make a dark story out of it. (For the curious: I was runner-up in that contest. For the even more curious: Yes, I may end up publishing it, perhaps after a rewriting. My current English reads no longer like my 2010 English.)

I was discovering my passion for photography in SL, and realized that yet again... I would continue bringing darkness out of me. At some point, you wonder "but where does all this darkness come from? What horrible traumas I'm hiding from myself that make me write all this?"

And I confess I was afraid for some time, that all of you thought I'm insane. But the high school episode repeated itself, in a certain way. Some of you like the stories, the pictures, and whether you think I'm insane or not, I sure am noticing that you're not treating me as a crazy lady (Perhaps you're good at dissimulating it. Good job then :o) ).

The good experiences reinforce me in my "write yet another story", and this time I'm old enough not to allow anybody acting as some kind of paternal influence that attempts to have me stop. I stop myself if work deadlines don't leave me free time.

For a while, I thought deep about "where does all this darkness come from?"

I finally reached to the only consistent answer I've been able to find: This is the way I am. I like dark stories and I write dark stories that I would like to read. They often have nothing to do with how I feel at the moment of writing them. They probably have something to do with my past, but not because of horrible traumas that I don't want to remember.

They have more to do with what I like, and the cultural references I've chosen to surround myself of. Cultural references likely chosen because of some circumstances of my past, but chosen anyway, for they accompanied me into adulthood even after said circumstances changed for me.

They have nothing to do with my possible secret wishes about being and doing what my dark characters are and do. They are not even wishes I have, nor I approve of some of the choices they do. They don't even mean that I believe in magic and the supernatural. I don't.

They are my fantasy, they are the dark dreams I want to play with in safe territory, a virtual piece of paper, knowing that I don't want them to turn into anything real. I like that I can share them with other adults which also realize this is fantasy and has nothing to do with how I am myself or how I'm feeling at the moment.

But these are all short stories that aren't related one to each other. In that sense, it's easy to write them for they don't have to stick to a common plot in a coherent manner.

A couple of days ago I was telling my business partner that I would be taking the first weeks of November to write some more Blender books, to be released at Black Tulip for Black Friday. She laughed and replied does that mean you're participating in NaNoWriMo this year?

Damn you! Why did you have to say that...

Yesterday I spent some time reading some articles on that website about story telling - on a longer term than I use to do. I don't feel capable of writing about 150 pages of the same story. I can do it with technical books (I will probably hit 1000 pages about Blender by the end of the year), but I feel that my mind is too random and scattered as to keep the consistency and follow a plot. Heck, I can't even follow a schedule. (I also know the saying. You can get things done, or you can put excuses. I get things done, in time. I just can't follow a schedule.)

Perhaps it's only fear. Perhaps the way to achieve it is not telling anyone that I'm working on it, so nobody puts pressure on me by having their own expectations. (That is actually the reason why I often don't tell what I'm working on if it's going to take more than one day. You will know when I'm sure I will finish it. That is, when it is finished.)

Curious, I asked Ansel. If I were to write a long story, what do you think I would write it about? His answer made me reflect about what little I allow for myself to be known through my words, and I wonder if I'm that good at hiding in plain sight. It also made me wonder if that would be the general expectation. How disappointed would be all of you then.

Fortunately, one of the articles I read yesterday said something I considered as well: Despite the pressure of being liked by others, do not forget writing what you would like to read. If not even you like what you create, hardly others will do.

Unfortunately, I don't have a clear plot in mind. Without a clear plot, it's impossible writing 50000 coherent words about it. But I know that this is something that occupies more and more time in the back of my mind, and I know that some ideas come and go, persistently. I want to write a long story out of them. I just don't know how, yet.

I'm not writing this because I want to be cheered up. In fact, if you feel like cheering me up, please don't. I'm the Ms Grumpy of the Internet, and I don't do well with cheering and hugs. They make me feel that I want to stab kittens. Please think of the kittens.

I'm writing this for the same reason I write and publish other similar things. Because when I write trying to clear my mind, and then I realize the mess I've made public, I feel more motivated to stop with the internal whining about a particular subject.

For that same reason, I'll leave it here. Have a great day :-)