Defiance

In MY gardenI’m going to buy a sim.
I’m going to fill it with flowers, trees, bushes, grass.
All the textures are going to be 1024 x 1024.
Every plant will be made of flexi prims.
The colors will be warm. Not a gray wall in sight.
There will be beaches.
There will be meditative gardens with sculptures.
It will be crammed with things pleasing to my eye.
Bamboo and I will sit amid the flowers and be happy.
I don’t care if you lag.
I don’t care if you can’t move.
It’s my sim.
And we’re doing it my way.

Puttering in the Garden

trees in planters
flowers for the tableI just can’t stay out of my garden. I think about the landscaping all the time, wondering what I could change, what might make a better atmosphere. I go there when I am stressed or upset. I try out new ideas. I’m learning so much about building and textures. Building new planters, mixing flower textures calms me.

planters edging the seating areaI have not been satisfied with the look of those columns. They are still so stark, imposing. I love the climbing roses but I still needed a little more softness in the view. I decided to try adding trees again, but this time soften the trees with flowers at the roots. Just a smattering of trees – nothing too regular. I went back to the weeping cherry, graceful, light, airy, but continuing with the overall vertical theme of the meeting area.

pink clematis on trellisI wanted more color, more softness closer to the seats as well. My original thought was for large trellises covered with flowers, but I did not want to block sight lines to the speakers. So I created a small trellis with pink clematis. I brought my trial-size planter over to see how it looked. As I moved it about to check color and shape, I realized that I actually liked it as it was. I decided to bring the outer circle into the seating area by using the outer flower boxes to flank the new trellis planters. That added something new and different in both shape and color but pulled the outside in, connecting them.

new flowers for podiumI’ve also made several different planters so that I can put “fresh” flowers at the podium each week. *grin* I know, I am hopelessly out of control. I need to get some flowers and take some pictures so I can make textures so I can make MORE flowers for the podium planter. Yeah, it’s an addiction for sure. Someone has created a monster…… 🙂

My Day Job: Grounds Crew

birds' eye view

flower box and tree2Sigh. I don’t seem to have much luck with gardening for work. J gives with one hand, takes with the other. A few weeks ago I mentioned she gave me a sandbox, flowers, plants, EVERYTHING and told me to go plant. And I did. I will make this painful and sad story very short: J told me she had to take pillars2down that sim. In other words – bye, bye garden. LOL. Can you believe it????? Okay, J was totally apologetic and sorry. But still – yet another garden bit the virtual dust. This is a bit better than the first time – at least if she brings back the sim my garden will come back too.

lecternDo you read Charles Schultz’s comic strip “Peanuts”? Do you remember how Lucy will hold the football for Charlie Brown to kick? How she always PROMISES that THIS time she won’t pull the ball away? But she does. Every time. Yet Charlie Brown falls for it everytime. J went and found me a landscaping job in our virtual world. *grin* Yep, she volunteered me out to another group to landscape THEIR sim. Oh my goodness – I fell for it. They said they would love to have me landscape, I was delighted to have the opportunity. I said yes. Start the betting pool NOW, folks. How many weeks til J comes to me and says regretfully – Um, Ahuva, I’m so sorry to tell you this, but, your gardens have to go. LOL. I’m starting the betting at 4 weeks. 🙂

pillars and plantersAnyway, I have been landscaping a sim where technical meetings are held. It is a monumental build: huge 20 meter columns. Very formal – marble, columns, stark. I started off just putting some flowers at the lectern and trying to get some flower boxes and greenery up. I wanted to get something done quickly so that my client would know that I was serious about working on her sim. (The picture at the top of this blog is how the build looks at the end of today. The next 3 pictures are the first pass at landscaping.) The first flower box has something I called fire tulips (when I was given them they were called “object”, so I figure “fire tulips” is an improvement. *grin*) and yellow lilies. I used red lilies at the lectern.

close upI knew that those columns were crying out for climbing vines, however. At first I thought that I would create a texture that combined the marble and roses and I would re-texture the columns. There were a few problems with that idea. First, the columns were locked – I needed J to give me the column and she was busy. Secondly, the roses would have been flat against the pillars. Both Honour and Hell suggested building a cylinder to encase the existing columns and to put the roses on that cylinder. I did one pass that way but I used too many repeats of the texture. On further discussion with Honour, I redid the cylinder – only one vertical and horizontal repeat. The encasing cylinder is actually 3 linked cylinders. As I placed the climbing roses, I could rotate the cylinder vertically so that the texture would vary. I also rotated the cylinder horizontally so that each pillar has a different look. I’m quite pleased with the final result. I hope you are also.

peering thru the pillarThe pillars have signs on them. I wanted flowers there as well. Now one thing I learned from J was that it’s not really the quantity of prims that I use – it’s more that fact that I use so many different textures. So I have tried to use the same textures in this build, but modify them so that they look somewhat different. This is probably totally obvious to all you REAL builders out there but I was pleasantly surprised to “think up” the idea of copying and stretching the textures in a given plant and so changing the look that way: number of prims, rotation, size. I was a little stumped at first about the hanging baskets – I couldn’t figure out how to drape the flowers over the top and down the front. Honour to the rescue again. She pointed out that I should use a different style basket and the plants could grow from the basket itself. So the hanging baskets are more cascading roses, daisies and bacopa.

hanging basketI was having a very stressful day at work last week. *grin* Nothing awful – just LOTS of it. So at lunch I retreated to my virtual garden and created a second flower box. It was so amazingly soothing and fun to do. 🙂 I made this one larger than the first. I felt more yellow was needed. I love yellow in a garden – so bright and cheerful. So this flowerbox is yellow lilies and daisies.

Guest lecturerOnce the climbing roses were up, I didn’t like the look of the trees between the columns. The green was too dull. And there was too much vertical-ity, if there is such a word. So I consulted with Honour, my landscaping mentor, and pulled the trees and moved the flower boxes. I think that tomorrow I will send a note to my client, asking her to take a look. I’ll be happy to add more flowers – I’d love to stuff the whole platform with multitudes of different colored flowers. But I figure my purpose here was to enhance the meeting area, not steal attention from the presenters. I’m very interested in my client’s feedback.

Oh, and of course….. I’m waiting to hear when I lose THIS garden!! *grin*

Ahuva, Lead Gardener

In my sandbox nurseryThey gave me a sandbox. And plants: trees, flowers, bushes, fountains, planters, picnic benches, rocks. 🙂 They don’t know how that goes to my head – excites me. I LOVE gardening. This year RL gardening was a total wash – literally. Rained every day but one in June. I never even cleared and planted my 2 side gardens. I discovered some cosmos sitting in a pot still in the little porch garden – I never planted them because the weather has been so uncooperative. Then they gave me my own sandbox behind the firewall and they gave me plants and they said – Have fun! OMG. *grin*

For those of you who were here with me way back in October 2008, with my first round of landscaping, you remember the tragic end. Where J made me pull out my gorgeous gardens. The ones over which I labored for days and days and days. Some nonsense about how avs couldn’t move about because my flowers were sucking up all the fps. /me shakes head. WHY would they NEED to move about? They could have simply tp’d in and looked at my gorgeous gardens, no? The irony today is that it is J who gave me the plants and said “Have fun!” LOL. Foolish J.

it really needs more flowersI unpacked all the flowers and bushes and fountains and all into my sandbox. Set up a little nursery so anyone else could also come and take everything and play as well. The flower beds from last October are behind the firewall as well. Or ones that are the same size and shape. A few days ago I couldn’t stand the lure anymore. I went and planted. 🙂 I TRIED to limit myself. I really did TRY. But…. Two plants simply are not enough for me. I want to stuff the entire flower bed FULL of a riot of color – flowers crowding each other, vibrant colors everywhere. That’s how I do my RL gardens. Garish? Perhaps. But I find the colors and shapes and life pleasing to the eye. I planted with only 3 bushes. Stepped back, said “Okay, not too bad.” Then I couldn’t stop. It simply was too bare. I had to add some rocks. Maybe a few plants among the rocks. *grin* Before I could stop myself – I was up to 5 different plants and many rocks. 🙂 I liked it. (By the way – ignore the wood walls – I threw them there quickly to block all the other stuff in that site.)

enjoying my gardenSo I decided that maybe before I got too carried away, I should warn J that I was on the loose. Undoubtedly destroying response time again. I sent an email. This morning I woke up, still no response from J. I’m on vacation today. What do I want to do on my day off? Play. What constitutes playing on a humid, humid day in August? Virtual gardening. *grin* Now I KNOW I shouldn’t be planting before getting the go-ahead. But my manager always taught me it’s better to ask forgiveness than get permission. Which is how I got him to agree to work in virtual worlds, LOL. Anyway, I got up this morning and attacked the second flower bed. With trees. Two flowering dogwood type trees – a pink and a white. Only 6 trees. They really need some rocks, a few ground covers. 🙂 I sent off another message to J, admitting that I’d been adding yet more prims to the entryway.

Every garden needs a touch of yellowFinally J responded. Not a useful response, of course. Just a “we need to talk” response. LOL. Uh oh. Anyway, I’m not really sure what J wants to discuss. Someone else mentioned to me that I may be planting in a world scheduled for destruction. (I wonder if I should be thinking Deathstar from Star Wars or thinking of Project Genesis from Star Trek? *grin*) So maybe I should stop planting for awhile. But it was such fun while it lasted. And if it endures – great! If not – I get to play all over again! Even better!! Think GREEN! And pink, red, white, orange, yellow, blue, lavender, rose, peach……

I’ll Never Be a Builder

If Crap Mariner is correct, I am constitutionally unable to be a builder. Oh, I may indeed build and enjoy it. But Crap froze my soul today in his “Prim Waste” post:

The Law Of Building: Each prim has to carry its own weight or it’s GONE.

after-is-betterThere is NO way that I can follow that maxim the way I think Crap means it.   If he means that each prim must be functional, I’m jumping off that bandwagon.   I am motivated by appearances, not functionality.  (Oh my, does that make me sound totally shallow or what?)   I have been playing with my office in SL.  I was given a maximum prim count and then told it would be best if I kept way below that. every-flower-necessary I keep adding things.  They aren’t things that I NEED. They are things that LOOK good to me. I added an armillary. It seemed appropriate somehow. I’ve added flowers to my desk and credenza. They don’t DO anything but please me. I like to have flowers in my RL office too. I suppose you could argue that their function is to lighten my spirits and to provide a pleasant and therefore productive work environment. Is that carrying “its own weight”?

every-rock-is-necessaryI still mourn the loss of my gardens. I know, they weren’t that good. But to me – they were beautiful. They were really the first thing that I felt I created, that were “mine”, that were “me”. I lavished so much time and effort on planting each flower just so. A tree here, some rocks. I spent so much time arranging the pile of rocks at the base of the bridge. Placing the reeds and the grasses. Building trellises to climb the wall. For no reason other than to make it pleasing to the eye. I understood why they had to go. I felt the lag. But. /me shakes head – frustrated. I want a world where I DON’T have to count prims!!!!! I want as many flowers and shrubs and rocks and ducks in my virtual world as I have in my RL. (Okay, I don’t have ducks in my RL, but you KNOW what I mean.)

I have a friend who is recreating a lighthouse in opensim. He COULD do this faster with prims that are textured to LOOK like many prims. But he is actually using individual prims for each piece of siding, each link in the fence. Using individual prims changes how the build looks – how light reflects, the feel of the build. I’ll be taking pictures and posting more about the lighthouse. In his case, I suspect that every prim DOES pull its weight. But for me – well, my RL garden is crammed full of flowers too. (cuts down on the weeds! *grin*) Thank goodness there is no prim limit in RL.

Saturday Relaxation

I logged in Saturday afternoon to check for messages. I’d sent off a notecard offering to swap some land. There is a 16m2 parcel of land in the middle of MY property that is owned by someone else. Their profile states that they never ever never sell land but do swap. So that is what I offered. Otherwise I foresee some intense shrubbery going in that area.

But as it always seems to happen, once in I found it hard to leave. 🙂 Odd that, isn’t it? I began ahuva-and-hellchatting with various friends. HellspawneD and I began discussing scripting and inventions and other intriguing concepts. So I invited him to come by and enjoy the view while we chatted. I’m quite grateful to Hell. He, along with other friends, is teaching me all sorts of nuances that I never understood. How to see invisible objects, land “rules”, how scripts work. 🙂 As I’ve mentioned here before, I love the shore, the sights, the smells, the sounds. I don’t foresee having the wonderful beach smell in SL anytime soon, but thanks to Hell, I now have the sound of seagulls to accompany the sound of the waves on the shore. It is these simple pleasures that make SL such a joy to me. We sat and chatted and relaxed. I decided we needed some butterflies for company as well so I rezzed my butterfly rock, also a gift from a generous friend. I’m not sure that butterflies belong at the shore, but they were fun to watch.

So as we sat there and I looked at my empty house and basically empty land (gee, I should have enjoying-the-viewtaken a picture of the trees I planted…) it occurred to me that I am very lazy. I would say that I have spartan tastes, but I’m not sure that a house with balcony and swimming pool and spiral stair and 2 fireplaces quite fits the definition of “simple, frugal, or austere”. 🙂 I have comfy chairs for sitting, I can rez trees when I need some shade by the beach, I have my 3 big trees in the back blocking unappealing sights and, of couse, I have my ducks. I definitely need a cat, however. More on that below. I also am toying with the idea of a cow. I thought a cow or two in the “upper 40” might be a nice touch. They would have to “moo” of course. 🙂 I’d need to plant some clover (pretty sure I have that) and some meadow flowers for them. Speaking of at-least-fill-the-plantersplanting – I should at least fill my planters with flowers. Although I’m still so exhausted from all that work landscaping, I’m not sure my heart is in it. That is…. I don’t THINK that anyone can come here and tell me that my flowers use too many prims. But what if I’m wrong????? 🙂 Maybe I’ll simply take one of the pictures of my now-vanished gardens and put THAT in the planter.

After Hell went on his merry way I tp’d over to watch the Saturday afternoon trivia contest. I apologize- I didn’t take notes so I can’t tell you where it took place. Maybe someone reading this saturday-afternoon-triviacan post and tell you. Issa was competing and she brought me over. Chad was asking the questions and yes – there were prizes for correct answers! Woot! as people in SL are wont to say. 🙂 (Did I use that correctly????? Been looking at that word for months!) I, of course, was sidetracked by the white kitty in the chair. I was zooming in for a shot when, to my great surprise, it jumped down and wandered about the floor a bit, before alert-kittyreturning to the chair! Now THAT’S the kind of kitty I need! One that walks about and keeps me company! Maybe a couple of kitties. I’ll get a fishbowl to amuse them. Anyway, silly me, I did keep taking pics of the competitors, but forgot to save them!!!!! Oops. So there is only one, but I think most everyone is there plus a little of the beautiful landscape.

All in all, it was a wonderful way to spend a RL rainy afternoon. Oh yes, I DID manage to get RL tasks done as well. So my conscience can simply be quiet and go away…..

Disappointment

Into every life a little rain must fall. Sometimes it’s a lot of rain and it rains very very hard and washes things away. Like flowers. As in, all the flowers that I planted last week in the flower beds for the conference. They are all gone. No more. Sigh. I ripped them all out last night.

Friday at noon we ran a stress test for the conference. Only fifty some people there and it was fairly laggy. Most things seemed to work, by and large. After that I continued to do some landscaping. Snuck in the swan and the ducks. 🙂 By Friday night I was pretty tired of planting flowers and trees and arranging rocks. On Saturday I released butterflies into Margie’s gardens. But otherwise I stayed away, spent most of my time in RL (whee! that can be much fun too!!!). Sunday night after my company left and I’d cleaned up, I logged in to catch Noma rocking the weekend to a close. No sooner had I waded my way into the crowded sim when J pinged me.

She said “Hi Ahuva, I really hate to ask this.” I laughed and said “You want me to remove the ducks and the butterflies?” She said “What ducks??????” Still laughing I said “Oops, shouldn’t have told you!!” But as you already know, it wasn’t the ducks. (So far the ducks have been spared. I told her I was willing to sacrifice the butterflies but that I LOVED the ducks 🙂 ) “My” flower beds were at the entry to the conference. That was why I started there and put so much effort into it – the point was to make the entry looked good. There is good and there is over the top. This was over the top, not in beauty, but in prims. Apparently 3300 prims in that sim were mine. Flowers that is, flora gold. The way J figured it, each flower is probably a 1024×1024 texture — that is 32 bits deep, so each texture is eating 4MB. I have no idea what I just wrote, except that obviously it is not a healthy situation for the sim. 🙂 X had also had 3300 prims in that area and removed them at J’s request. That improved the FPS (frames per second). So J asked me to remove mine. I gulped and asked “All of them?” She suggested that I start with some and we could see what happened.

I don’t know how to remove “some”. I tried to link flowers before and pull them out, but I hadn’t gotten very good at it (had problems getting the angles and groupings the way I wanted them). So J taught me “rubberbanding”, as she called it. This was exactly what I wanted earlier in the process. If I’d known THIS, I’d have been done in half the time, I’m sure! And the flower beds would have been identical. 🙂 Rubberbanding, should you want to know, is a form of copying. You select Tools from the menu, then click “Select Only my Objects”. Next click on an object in a corner of the area you wish to copy. Draw a yellow box highlighting all the items that you wish to take/copy. And there you have it. So I did that. I didn’t catch everything on the first bed, but I caught enough that should there ever be an opportunity, I could probably recreate the missing corner. I caught more of the 2nd bed. We simply tossed the flowers that were in the quadrants under the trees. What the heck.

So then I got my next assignment: Make it look good using only 2 plants and many fewer instances. LOL. Right. Okay, well, the world used to be black & white before they invented color photos, right? 🙂 Planting goes MUCH faster when you are limited in which plants and how many. So my gardens are gone, long live the gardens.

Mini Updates

I LOVE rocks!!! LOL. Added them to my landscaping tool kit. Although I am so weary tonight, I feel that if I never plant another flower that will be just fine. From the wall to the river is my work. 🙂

It’s time for a BUTTERFLY HUNT!!!!! YAY!!! Shengri La is having its monthly Ode jewelry butterfly hunt tomorrow (Friday, Oct 17). For all the details click here.

Details

Love and Sex are the 2 big draws in SL blogging (maybe in all blogging). 🙂 I’m busy landscaping. But if you want the serious conversation, go to Bailey’s blog. She’s talking about lying and sex and love. 🙂

It’s the attention to details that makes SL such a wonderful place to inhabit. After days and days of planting flowers and trees and landscaping, that fact has been driven home. I’ve been having fun and learning a lot. I’ve been learning about rezzing objects, moving objects, stretching, shrinking and rotating objects. I’ve learned that I am a bit obsessive and compulsive about my work. 🙂 Maybe some of you knew that already. I cannot walk away and leave the plant as it rezzed. I NEED to tweak it. I need to scatter the placements so that the plants are not in a straight line. I rotate each plant slightly to different angles so that the tops have a more natural look. I change the size of each one – some larger, some smaller. It takes me forever. But I can’t not do it. I tried to simply put a bunch of flowers in and walk away. I couldn’t do that. I HAD to make tiny adjustments to each one to differentiate it.

I have finally finished with the 6 flower beds. Now I’m making my way along the river. Ahuva Appleseed!!! 🙂 I am planting weeping willows and weeping crab apple trees. I have cattails for along the shore. I have rocks to size and move and pile. I have weedy water plants along the shore (hey – maybe some lily pads????). Thank goodness there are some other people doing some landscaping as well, because at the rate I’m going, I’ll be done sometime in the spring of 2009. 🙂 And the conference is next week. But trees and shoreline go much faster than tailored flower beds. Less tweaking is needed. Large open space is acceptable. But even so – I am compelled to fill in spaces with little touches of color or rocks. I went in this morning to take some pictures for this blog and I see that J and J have been very busy planting trees. And you know what – it looks great! Obviously they understand the macro view and are not obsessing about tweaking each leaf. There are trees all over. I couldn’t help but notice, however, that they all look the same………. Bad, Ahuva!!! Get with the BIG picture!!!! 🙂

I am sure that there are still more tricks to this than I have grasped. I have learned to group objects to copy but I’m not very good at it and I still feel compelled to change them. I’ve learned to flip plants in the middle of a group of plants in order to change the look and feel even though the individual flipped plant doesn’t show. There are things that happen when I try to move a plant or rotate it that I don’t know why they happen or how to stop them (note: these are not “good” things that happen LOL). I definitely need to get a building lesson (Hey Bailey – I’m going to take you up on your offer) and I need to learn about textures.

It would have been easier perhaps if I’d had more time to learn the nuances before the conference. LOL But I didn’t know that I was going to jump under that particular bus. 🙂 It will be quite a relief when the conference has begun and I am done with this pressure to plant, plant, plant (that’s pressure applied by me to myself, by the way – no one else is “making me” do anything). I miss my life – both RL and SL life. I dream about this project. I think about it most of the time. LOL. I wish I could pull a Tom Sawyer and get someone else to logon as me and do some planting! I can’t wait til I can kick back, put my feet up, go into SL and NOT feel obliged to head to the work sim and plant. 🙂 Soon, soon. And yet – I am so grateful that I am having this experience. It is great.

So there are many many many places in SL where the builders and creators get all the details right. The pictures in this post come from the library at Midsomer Island. If you go back and look at the picture of Darcey stretched out on the floor reading, you will see one black kitty sitting there watching you, and one black kitty reading its own book. But there is a third black kitty – a naughty black kitty sitting on the shelf, trying to catch itself a fish! I stood one night for awhile and watched her play.

Think Green!

I am obsessed. I have spent well over 24 hours in the last 4 days, working in my virtual garden. I IM’d J yesterday to tell her that I wasn’t sure if I loved her or hated her for giving me this opportunity. She merely laughed and said “Welcome to my world”. 🙂 I have learned a LOT about moving objects. Failure is a great teacher! LOL I have a VERY healthy respect for all the SL landscapers. The two major flower beds are done – I added Orange Dahlias and Lambs Ear to the one that I finished the other day. I’m tried to work around the rocks provided in the original landscaping. The gardens do not match (different flowers) but they are similar. You and I know that by a real SL garden, these are nothing. But at least they are DONE, and maybe first-time SL visitors will like the color and effort, and hey – there are still 9 days til the conference – I can redo them if I get a major inspiration!!!!

Thank goodness RL is pulling me away for 2 days or I would be back in the flower beds. As it is – I am awake at a ridiculous hour, thinking about what I will do in the next set of flower beds and blogging about it!! 🙂 I have my own gardening outfit! I can wear shorts, because I don’t have to worry about crawly icky things (my least favorite part of my RL gardens). Had to put my hair up so it wouldn’t get in my way. And of course, my inspirational t-shirt: Think Green! 🙂