Sunday, December 4, 2016

Moment

Home

The lights by the pink boxes took her back.
It was a rainy day.
She complained that she needed sun, that she absolutely abhorred winter.
He smiled. It wasn't even winter yet but he knew her well.
He grabbed one of the boxes and said there was something special in it. She played along.
Inside the box, a string of white lights was neatly stored away.
When he plugged them, they flickered happily.
Here’s the sun for you, he said.
The lights stayed on since that day. And the sun was his smile offering her a string of white lights.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Paint

Concrete Cube Light

The agitated middle-aged chubby painter waved his arms while he explained what happened.
“The man said hands in the air. Drop the paint. And when I did, the can exploded. There was paint everywhere. I thought he was going to kill me but I couldn’t quite understand why. It’s not like I’m worth a fortune...”
The cute policeman nodded but the distraught painter suspected he was probably doodling instead of taking notes.
When the officer walked away, nodding, the painter sighed.
“I wish that wasn’t my last can of paint. Police uniforms can be amazing canvases,” he whispered to himself.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Turning a Box into a Home


Introduction



Second Life® (SL) became a part of my days at a time of unwelcome changes, both personal and professional. The changes stirring my Real Life (RL), and the resulting financial uncertainty, prompted me not to spend RL money in SL. So, I created a Free account and paid for everything inworld with money generated by my inworld store (yes, I co-owned a clothing store for a while).

Eight years after setting foot in this mysteriously captivating virtual world, my SL life crumbled to pieces. I won’t mention the reasons why because there was another person involved. About a year ago, I was homeless (how dramatic) and had close to no money in SL.

While I was distracted with my pain, unexpectedly and in an instant, my SL life (and my RL as well) took a turn. Someone listened and cared. That changed everything and I decided it was time to enjoy SL again. In the meantime, my financial RL had stabilized and I upgraded to a Premium account. I got a house (one of the perks), and I had someone special to share it with.

The funny thing is that I never really thought much about the Linden Homes. Everyone kept saying how ugly they were and how they allowed for only a very small amount of prims. It didn't matter. I had years of training in managing the biggest amount of objects for the least amount of prims, and a lot of determination. I rolled-up my sleeves and got to work.


When one thinks of a Linden Home, the wow-factor is non-existent, true. I had even heard someone refer to living in a Linden Home as living in the projects.

Well, this very expression prompted me to show you that I have a pretty nice life in SL’s projects!


My house is a two-floor box with a small veranda. Next to the entrance door, there’s a covered area that includes a little pond. This is my immense kingdom, 512 square meters and 175 prims, recently upgraded from the initial 117.


Outside



The exterior of the house is quite interesting but unusable. The door doesn't stay open and the windows cannot be opened either. Perhaps if the building had a sliding window we could control, overlooking the pond, more residents would lounge in those areas of their residences. I decided to leave it as is.


Lower Floor



The interior lower floor started off as a very traditional and predictable living-room. I quickly realized I’d have a problem though. Mesh furniture is tiny and Linden Homes are still built in the old mind frame of hugeness. Adding to that, the relentless prim count was tyrannical. 


So, the living-room disappeared and an interior garden took its place (notice the ugly Linden fireplace; more remarks about it below).

Note: The extra wall at the back is no mod... So, I couldn't play with the prims. But it does work well there. It makes the huge area look smaller. This means I don't need a lot of prims to decorate it further.


The corner underneath the stairs would be a great writing room. I tried several options but it just didn't make any sense to have the writing room there now that the lower floor had become a semi-exterior area.

I’m not a Buddhist but Buddha has had a place in my life ever since I was a child (long story, not the right time to tell it). So, the Buddha took residence there.

Note: I played with tones, matching the different elements, and added light here and there to the objects to give everything a feeling of warmth.


Upper Floor


This corner became the bedroom from the get-go. Not much has been changed and I think not much will change. Its stability is kind of symbolic, actually. And I’ll leave it at that!

Note: The pink pile of boxes in the corner doubles as a Q&A chatterbox. Prims saved.


Challenge number one. I have always had a fireplace in my SL home(s). The Linden Home proved to be a challenge though. It comes with a terribly ugly round shiny fireplace located in a corner of the lower floor. I can’t move it or delete it. I considered somehow covering it which would cost me a few prims if I wanted to do it nicely. So, I gave up on that idea and just embraced it.

Challenge number two. Where could I have a nice fireplace? Next to the door to the veranda? Across the small corridor? No, nope, nope... So, it ended up here, in this otherwise lost corner. I think it works.

Note: A house without animals is not a home for me, so I spared a number of prims to have a fox, a raccoon, a Siamese cat and a black cat. I also paid close attention to details. A book here, a slice of pie on a plate, an open notebook. Well-spent prims. They make everything look "lived in".


The upper floor was an open area. I decided to add a wall and that created an extra room. A see-through mesh wall with an entrance made the room feel cozy. Plenty of books, and words, and colors did the rest.

Note: I fiddled with the transparency %, darkening it a bit.


Veranda


Finally, the veranda. I used a pergola to cover the whole veranda, the same see-through mesh wall (also present in the lower floor as a divider to the interior garden), a C-shaped prim to darken the sides, and I had a pleasant environment where I could place a tempting hot-water tub. 

Note: The C-shaped prim was hollowed, cut-pathed, and set to 40% transparency over black. The butterflies add movement and color.


Conclusion


Linden Homes are a bit of a challenge. Their build is somewhat crooked. The windows are not aligned. It’s not easy to add walls or hide parts of the house we’d like to eliminate. However, if we think out of the box (pun intended), they do work.

The boxy house feels welcoming and warm, and is now a home I share with someone very special.

Note: I still have 40+ prims available for seasonal decorations! 

Pretty awesome for the ugly, sleazy projects, wouldn't you say?


Sunday, November 20, 2016

Idiot

Highlands

Millie sat at The Tea Room, a beautiful picturesque café while a friendly waiter served a tea, his belly struggling inside a tight vest.
She watched the couple in the corner whispering, the elderly woman reading a book, the teenager checking his phone.
When the flash mob invaded the café singing The Sound of Music, the couple smiled and the elderly woman clapped enthusiastically.
Millie covered her ears in horror and waved to the waiter for the check.
The Tea Room had just become a nightmare and the resident idiot was still checking his phone, oblivious of everything around him.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Zoo

Octoberville

“Welcome, ladies and gentlemen! Step right up! Tramps, haters, free thinkers. Everyone is welcome to the Twiddle Zoo, the place to channel your deepest frustrations and experience the catharsis of those gruesome fears, burning you up inside. Step right up! Twiddle your thumbs and wiggle your toes. Sing a song of despair and join the fun. We have scary rides and dark labyrinths. We have sickening beings that will eat you alive. We have hunger and famine and many more exciting events for you. Step right up to the Zoo of Life where no one does anything but be horrified.”
(Prompt: Pick Two -Tramp, Hate, Free, Burn, Channel, Catharsis, Zoo, Twiddle)

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

NaNoWriMo Pep-Talk

Milk Wood

Despite the fact that I am taking a break from NaNoWriMo this year, I was invited to write a short pep talk for those who took up the challenge. Follow this link to the Virtual Writer's website to read "Stop and Smell the Roses". Thank you, Harri, for asking me to write this!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Watch


Those watchful eyes knew the time had come for things to change. Drowned in doubt, she weighed the terrible consequences. Then she opened the window. It was a bright winter day. The sun was shining. She smiled, packed her bag and looked at the watch he had given her for her birthday. When he beat her up, she used to watch the minutes go by, just passively waiting for him to stop. She used to add them up too. She placed the watch on the table and smashed it. Then, she opened her front door and entered a new life.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Halloween Special

Milk Wood

“There’s a creepy clown behind you. No one will survive. The clown is lifting his arm. Food, food. He’s hungry for you. Forget the time. The time. The time. Time…”
They looked over their shoulders and couldn't see any clown but this was to be a “horrifying experience” said the brochure, so they thought it was all part of the show.
Suddenly, the room went dark. A dreadful slashing sound... Peter laughed nervously.
When the lights were back on, he was the only one alive.
The Ouija board slowly wrote “Congratulations. Your ticket had a special prize. Come back soon!”

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Express

Asalia House

Would you like to offer a special someone a trip to an unknown destiny? We have what you’re looking for. Rates for all budgets. We have a promo with our Express Rate. The ride might not be first class, the company somewhat off but… it’s all part of the adventure, right? We’ll take your special someone to vaguely puzzling yet strangely calming accommodations where he’ll be able to enjoy the serene tranquility of our lodgings, alongside a large crowd of other peaceful campers. Oh, and we’ll even provide a sturdy shovel for the… gardening hours, a highlight of our program.
100 Word Stories

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Bottle

Leroy

“And a bottle of wine,” he ordered. “You’ll love it. Super expensive.”
She didn't drink. He knew it but didn't care. He went on to talk about his expensive new suit. Didn't he look smart, he asked, scanning the restaurant for familiar faces.
“This is the best place in town, very hip, super expensive too. Oh, hey, Vincent,” he waved hellos left and right, turning his back to her.
When she walked away, he didn't even notice it. And now he had that super expensive existence all to his radiant, perfectly pathetic self. And she was free. Wasn't life grand?