Around the Grid in Eighty Days – or – How Phinaeus Got His Groove Back (Sneak Preview)

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One of the wonderful things about Second Life is an abundance of Science Fiction and Fantasy fans inworld building things for role play and other stuff.  When you throw together a virtual world where you can build anything you want, and a few thousand rabid fans of various genres, your imagination really is the limit, and you end up with some wonderful things to find and explore.  If you set foot in this virtual world, you could end up cavorting under the waves with mermaids, flying through the air in World War I Sopwith Camels and Fokker Triplanes, running with dragons at Avaria, or you could even end up on the deck of a Steampunk Dirigible in Caledon.

Of course if one ends up in the Steamlands, one must be properly attired.  To the layman, if you just slap a few gears on something, you can call it “Steampunk”, but the genre goes much, much deeper than that.  Steampunk rose from the World of Jules Verne and H.G. Wells in the 19th century.  Loosely based in Victorian times, Steampunk is the science and the imagination of that era.  From the mighty flying dirigible to the whimsical fighting trousers, Steampunk encompasses a vast range of wearable doo dads and clothing, in addition to some spectacular vehicles and buildings.

For Steampunk clothing, you can’t go wrong with a frock coat and pin striped pants, or a corset and puffed sleeve gown.  Add a pair of goggles and some clockwork jewelry and you’re well on your way to immersing yourself in a wonderful whimsy of imagination.  Let your flight of fancy begin…!

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“But Mr. Eel,” you might say, “What’s up with this Phinaeus character in your blog title?  Wasn’t the hero in Around the World in Eighty Days called Phileas?”  Well, you do have a keen eye and a great memory for literature.  The thing is, I actually kind of forgot this till the suit was already made and Phinaeus was already mired in my brain.  Plus it turns out there’s a King Phineus in Greek Mythology, who appeared in the voyages of the Argonauts.  So I mixed up my literature a bit…the suit’s still pretty cool!

The Phinaeus is a classically styled psuedo Victorian suit, made from the finest virtual velvet and delicately stitched and rigged to fit the most stalwart male avatar.  It’s available in five sizes and several colors.  The suit is all one piece and includes the coat, waistcoat, turtleneck, and pants.  The finely detailed frock coat is beautifully accessorized with a silver chain.  Not shown here, because I hadn’t uploaded it when the pictures were taken, is a wonderful tall top hat, which is one part Mad Hatter and two parts Wide Bell Top Hat.  For a little extra flavor, this outfit has been materials enhanced.

This suit is perfect for Steampunks, Goths, Vampires, or whoever wishes to include a classic dark almost-Victorian flare to their wardrobe.  The cost is 450L and includes the hat.  Shoes are not included.

A bit after the release date, the jacket/waistcoat combo will be available as a standalone garment, with a color HUD that includes all the Phinaeus colors.  TBA.

Available NOW on the marketplace and inworld at Avatar Bizarre.

Edit:
This top hat comes with the suit.  The goggle lenses have a touch menu to change the color.
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Style card:
Shape: Mine
Hands – SLink male relaxed
Eyes – Avatar Bizarre Crystalline mesh eyes with color HUD
Shoes – Avatar Bizarre Two-Tone Hazzard in black
Hair – Argrace Akira Black
Skin – Nivaro Crow Cream
Facial hair – Nivaro Snazzy Jaw Black

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The Glorious Ludwig van…

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I have to admit.  I’m a huge fan of A Clockwork Orange.  I also quite enjoy Beethoven.  So when I was making this new outfit, I figured I should name it after one of the greatest composers in history: The Glorious Ludwig van, as Alex deLarge was fond of calling him.  Beethoven’s iconic high-collared coat is the inspiration for the Ludwig Tux.  This ensemble not only draws from the late 18th century styles, but also from 19th and very early 20th century styles.  Generally, when I make a historic style, I stick with one era and try to be true to the real deal, but this is more of a fantasy suit.  It’s Gothic, in the dark club sense of the word, while being somewhat anachronistic, and a stylistic oddball.  Such is Second Life fashion.

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Naturally, when writing up any blog post, there’s this driving need to find a suitable spot on the grid in which to take pictures.  Between monkeying with the right windlight settings, messing around with camera settings, and searching around for great locations, blogging can certainly turn into a full time occupation.  Luckily, this particular sim has been around since I signed into Second Life, and it’s one of my favorites, though there isn’t much there.  Just a meadow, a piano, a lake, and some benches.  It’s ideal for photographing a suit named after a classical composer, because the piano you see me hunched over is scripted to play the sim owner’s own deft piano playing (though the music is Mozart, not Beethoven, but we can overlook that, can’t we?)

In spite of the expression on my face, the area is serene and calming.

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The Ludwig Tux is a delightful throwback to several bygone eras.  The wingtips, mostly worn by Las Vegas magicians these days (Hey, Teller!) cast a shine that matches the color of each suit.  That’s one of the fun things about using materials; you can adjust shine so it realistically reflects colors around the objects that have the heightmaps applied.  In addition to the fancy wingtips, the creased pants sport a herringbone texture.  The cravat, a mix of sculpts, mesh, and flexi prims, has a bright metallic sheen that, like the shoes, reflects the colors of the jacket in a magical way.

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Of course the whole thing is set off by a white waistcoat and a high-collared velvet brocade tailcoat.  Available inworld and on the marketplace, it comes in eight different colors.  This is a delightful addition to any discerning male avatar’s wardrobe.

Be sure to try the demo before you buy the suit.

Dressage For Success – A Twisted Hunt Gift

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A friend of mine on plurk was pining for the Fjords while lamenting the lack of Dressage suits for men in Second Life.  I was vaguely aware that people riding in horse competitions wear something that looks a bit like a tuxedo with knee high boots, and it’s just the sort of thing I enjoy making, so a promise was made more or less sorta kinda.  After doing some research on the various Dressage looks out there, I decided on the classic tail coat version.

Since the pants on a Dressage suit tend to be skin tight, I figured this suit didn’t have to be full mesh.  The pants are a system layer, along with the system layer Dressage shirt, and leather gloves.  The rest of the outfit is mesh, both rigged and unrigged.  The tail coat is knee length and comes in the five standard male sizes.  The Cravat and the low Top Hat are both unrigged and can be resized as needed.  There is, of course, an alpha included for the coat and for the boots.

The rigged boots (included) are a special new addition to the Avatar Bizarre collection.  Not only are they superbly textured patent leather, but if you run on a Materials compatible viewer and have Advance Lighting enabled, you will see a subtle leather shine you wouldn’t otherwise see in viewers that aren’t materials compatible.  The shine has a slight color applied, based on the color of the coat.

This brings me to the Twisted Hunt gift for men (Twisted Hunt starts March 1 and runs through March 31)…

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The theme of Twisted you probably already know, if you read this blog regularly (or just look at the post below this one).  The color of this hunt is a magical purple.  Frankly, it’s one of my favorite colors, and lends itself well to a Dressage outfit, even though the traditional color is, well, black and white.

The Magic Purple Dressage outfit from Avatar Bizarre comes with two pairs of pants:  a black pair with a colored stripe down each leg, and a more traditional white pair.  This suit will be available in more colors at the end of the hunt, including the traditional black.

Till then, Tally Ho!

The Dickens, You Say! Ghost of Marley

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A Christmas Carol is a novella by English author Charles Dickens, first published by Chapman & Hall on 19 December 1843. The story tells of bitter and miserly Ebenezer Scrooge’s ideological, ethical, and emotional transformation resulting from supernatural visits from Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come. The novella met with instant success and critical acclaim.
 
The book was written and published in early Victorian Era Britain, a period when there was both strong nostalgia for old Christmas traditions and an initiation of new practices such as Christmas trees and greeting cards. Dickens’s sources for the tale appear to be many and varied but are principally the humiliating experiences of his childhood, his sympathy for the poor, and various Christmas stories and fairy tales.
 
The tale has been viewed by critics as an indictment of 19th-century industrial capitalism. It has been credited with restoring the holiday to one of merriment and festivity in Britain and America after a period of sobriety and somberness. A Christmas Carol remains popular, has never been out of print, and has been adapted to film, stage, opera, and other media multiple times. – From Wikipedia

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And now a word from the builder of the Christmas Carol sim:
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Charles’ Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”

Happy holidays and welcome to Minty Entertainment’s Production of “A Christmas Carol!”  With great pride, we bring you this great classic story of greed and redemption.

Frequently, there will be live performers on the sim.  (Identified as “Minty Performer” group tags.)  They will be playing the roles of the characters from the book.  Feel free to interact with them, but please be respectful.  If you would like to perform here as well, then IM Zoltan Mint as soon as possible!

Explore!  Get out there and dig deep!  The adventure is in the details.  It helps if you are familiar with the book as well.  If you have not read it, do so!  It is available for FREE on the Internet.  (Google “Christmas Carol E-Book.”)

Can you discover how to travel through time?  Like Scrooge, you too can visit his days of Christmas Past, Present, and Future!  Here is clue:  Just like in the book, all the ghosts visit him in his apartment!

Thank you for taking the time to explore this holiday classic!  If you like it, tell your friends!  Please let us know what you like as well!  The event will run non-stop, now until January 2nd., 2014.

And from the Minty Entertainment Staff…

“MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ONE AND ALL!”

— Zoltan Mint
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Jacob Marley’s Ghost wanders the grid for the first time, in search of retribution from a bitter old miser.  Charles Dickens’ classic story, A Christmas Carol, has come to life in movies, television, song, Broadway, and now Second Life!  Inspired by a sincere plea from the builder of this year’s Dickens installation, the Ghost of Marley is a classic spectral outfit with glowing chains and a glowing cravat for that ethereal spirit appearance during the Holiday season.  This outfit is part of a growing Dickens collection available from Avatar Bizarre.  If Marley isn’t your style, there’s an outfit based on Ebenezer Scrooge, and a suit based on Bob Cratchitt, both available inworld and on the marketplace.

Marley dressed in death as he did in life:  in Victorian splendor, and draped in chains.  The Ghost of Marley suit is available in six muted colors, to represent the afterlife, and the glow on the chains and cravat can be modified as you see fit.  All pieces in this ensemble are modify and copy, including the rigged chains.  Though you cannot resize rigged mesh, it can be tinted.

Available on the Marketplace and Inworld.
Includes:
Rigged chain
Unrigged mesh attachments
– Coat collar
– Coat cuffs
– Coat tails
– Cravat
– Pants cuffs
– Shoes
System layer clothing
– Pants on two layers
– Shirt
– Waistcoat (top and bottom layer)
– Coat

Available in Silver, Patina, Violet, Copper, Green, and White

Credits:
Avatar – Sredni Eel
Hair – Wasabi Pills Dylan (with glow)
Eyes – Avatar Bizarre’s Mesh Manse Eyes (Glow), available as a Gacha prize at Gothmas by Gaslight in December
Landmark:  A Christmas Carol by Zoltan Mint

Feel free to wander this sim.  There will be shopping, Dickens folk, performances, and a vintage Christmas spirit to liven your holiday!

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Gothmas by Gaslight – More Goodies

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So.  Gothmas by Gaslight.
Like the commuter train barreling around the bend at dangerous speeds, the holidays are fast approaching.  As much as we expect them, we’re still blindsided by the speed at which they attack our sensibilities.  Christmas is one of those holidays that oozes out of the cracks sometime in August, grows exponentially like the Blob as it feeds on lesser holidays, and finally consumes everyone in a 20,000 mile radius sometime in mid-November.  Soon, you will be unable to escape its insidiously colorful and cheery clutches.  Christmas music is already dripping of the radio airwaves, and seeping into our collective brains via grocery stores and malls.  Fuzzy red hats are everywhere.

Fear not, my friends, because there’s an antidote to all the glitter, joy to the world, and awful Paul McCartney Christmas songs:  Gothmas!  Gothmas by Gaslight is an annual event held in Second Life; a shopping event that showcases all the best in Steampunk, Steamgoth, Dark Victoriana, Dieselgoth, and generally the Darker side of the Holidays.  Traditionally held in the Cursed sim (home of Gothika and things), there was so much interest that it’s been expanded to Sium sim.  Yep, two sims full of Gothic Steamy Victorian Goodness, all for the holidays, and all for the astute shopper who has everything and wants more!

Avatar Bizarre was among the roughly 75 stores eager to be in on this event, and luckily squeaked through the application process, and became a sponsor of the event.  This comes with many perks, but it also means great responsibility.  One of those responsibilities is to make sure Things Get Made.  You can’t be in an event like this and not offer new shinies for the huddled masses of Second Life.  As such, Gacha items have been prepared (the boots are in a previous post, the wings will be posted about later), a brand new outfit has been tailored, and I’ve scoured the countryside, robbed some graves, and scooped eyeballs out of sockets to bring you a new set of eyes for your viewing pleasure.

The Manse Eyes are unrigged mesh and come in three flavors:  Fullbright, Normal, and Glow.  In addition to the mesh shinies, each box of eyes also comes with a system eye base for a fuller piquant flavor, sure to please any eyeball connoisseur.  Resplendent in ten glorious colors, each eye reflects the image of a Victorian mansion for a somewhat spooky, but very effectively beautiful look.  Suitable for men and women, these eyes are modify and copy.  I’ve thrown a few color variations into this blog post for fun.  Enjoy, and I hope to see you at Gothmas by Gaslight!

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I’m not sure if I’ll have fatpacks done in time, but we’ll see.  The magic of Christmas may yet make things happen.

Vernian Process – Gothmas by Gaslight Gacha Sneak Preview

It never hurts to be prepared and, in the event of the Second Life Gacha crowd, it’s never too early to start thinking about what to put into a Christmas Gacha machine.  If you are unaware of the ubiquitous Gacha in Second Life, think of it as a sort of old-style drug store gumball prize machine.  You put in a quarter, and you get a random prize.  Sometimes, if you were a kid like me, you’d spend a good bit of your meager allowance trying to get that one prize you coveted; the one prize that never seemed to drop out of the chute, no matter how many quarters you dropped into the coin slot.  Yet, this prize would taunt you from a board in the glass face of the prize machine, urging you on, and cultivating a love of gambling that may follow you into adulthood and Las Vegas.

If you still don’t know what I’m talking about, then I’m sad, and will now crawl into the fetal position for feeling old beyond my years.

Gothmas by Gaslight is a shopping event in Second Life.  It started off as a hunt, where people would search for hours to find various hunt objects hidden in stores across the grid.  But, as hunts have become a little passe, and more than a huge nightmare for organizers, the powers that be turned Gothmas by Gaslight into something much, much better.

Every year, the Cursed sim prepares itself for this wondrous event.  Merchants sign up to have that special spot in the sim where they can hawk their wares.  Of course, those wares include the insidious Gacha.

Avatar Bizarre is happy to announce a sneak preview of ten pairs of boots in jeweled Gothic hues, to be placed in the Gacha, and sold for 25L per play.  The Vernian Boots are transfer, so if you end up with a dozen pairs of green boots, you can trade them for other things with folks, give them to a best friend, or even sell them at a Second Life yard sale.  Whatever you end up doing with your new leather SteamGoth Boots of Awesome, I hope you like them.  A lot.

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As Christmas marches inexorably at us, ready to slap us with good cheer, peace on earth, Santa, and all that other stuff, I will be unveiling more goodies to be debuted at Gothmas by Gaslight.

Meanwhile, feel free to visit Avatar Bizarre inworld for all of your fantasy, historic, Gothic, and Lovecraftian needs.

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“See here, waiter, I’ve found a button in my salad.” “That’s all right, sir, it’s part of the dressing.”

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A man’s life in the Victorian era is fraught with top hats and waistcoats.  One is meant to make you look taller and more stately, and the other is a vessel for holding your pocket watch.  If you were a part of high society, or even low society, you were expected to be as well dressed as your station allowed, and this meant really uncomfortably starched collars, neck-warming cravats, and a single — or double breasted waistcoat.

Don’t get too excited.  Double breasted never means you get a couple of free jigglies to play with.  It just means you have a double row of buttons down the front of your vest.  It really is an unjust moniker, if you ask me.

Avatar Bizarre is happy to announce the arrival of its latest hand-stitched mesh waistcoats for men.  The “Reginald” is available in nine colors, each waistcoat is packed with five “standard” rigged waistcoat sizes, an alpha layer, a system shirt layer, and an unrigged mesh collar with sculpted and flexi cravat.

Not to be outdone by itself, there is a set of rigged mesh sleeves, meant to fit just about anyone.  But please head into the fitting room, where ever that may be, and try on the demo.  There’s nothing worse than a man in an ill fitting suit!

You can find this bit of finely crafted and tailored goodness on the Marketplace, and Inworld.

Dickens Holiday Suit – Please, Sir, May I Have Some More?

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You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch, but at least you can be a mean one in true Victorian style this year.

Avatar Bizarre is happy to announce the arrival of four brand new suits to help you get into a festive mood.  Of course two of them come in bright Christmassy Red and Green, because it’s Christmas, the color of holly and poinsettia, and Santa Claus.  The other two suits are a splendid touch of color in Purple and Gold, and Blue and Silver.

Each suit includes everything you need to achieve your spectacular holiday look including the hat with a sprig of holly, a pair of shoes, and a formal cravat.  As with most things at Avatar Bizarre, everything is modify and copy so you can easily resize things to fit your own avatar without worry.

Available at the Marketplace and inworld.