Friday, 22 February 2008

SLNN Style Advisers

White Tiger
Originally uploaded by
Willow C

Just a quick request for all pixel-based beauties. I'm writing this with my SLNN Style Editor hat on: our section has been up and running for a month now, thanks to my truly marvellous team of reporters. We'll even have our very own home on the site as soon as the server upgrades and redesigns are complete.

To make sure we're bringing you the style, fashion and lifestyle information you really want and need, we will be introducing a brand new section: the SLNN Style Advisers.

Looking for an item and don't know where to start?
Want to know the best places to go for the things you like?
Having problems mixing and matching?
Can't make a purchase work for you?
Need somebody to try before you buy?
Seeking advice in creating a new look?

Our fashion experts are ready and waiting to get on the case for you.

Post a comment here or drop me an email at - name optional, of course.

Incidentally, if you're interested in adding your voice to the team, simply tug my sleeve here, there or in-world.

Boxed Lunatics: A Better Brand of Customer

Tonight I have a little story for you, epic only in its silliness. Kind-hearted Kitty felt it would be only right to make good her promise to fashion me a bird hide (for stalking purposes). She delivered said lovingly crafted wooden hidey-hole as I wandered about the SL shopping districts during my lunch hour and encouraged me to try it on.

I should have guessed what she was up to when she innocently enquired what I was doing, but with the naivety of the seldom stalked, I chirpily gave her the precise coordinates of Tesla, my next shopping stop.

Then landed next to her.

Also in a bird hide.

"And that," she said, with a flourish, "Is how you stalk people."

Right there, outside a shoe shop, as I bristled at the challenge to my lurking crown, the Great Second Life Stalk-off began.

"So now you're stalking each other....simultaneously?" asked Laura, rather pertinently.

"Yes," Kitty replied, adjusting her binoculars. "It makes it easier. We can pencil it in and stuff."

We stood staring at each other for a while, marvelling at how much less of a bother it is to stalk a person when they keep nice and still, until a thought occured to both of us - also simultaneously - and we turned, slowly and ominously, towards Laura.

"You're making me feel like a gazelle," Laura pouted. "I feel I should stride about in the long grass."

In a somewhat misguided effort to combat this feeling, Laura reverted to her natural form... which turned out to be an ostrich.

"With those legs?" asked Kitty, also pertinently. "I thought you were a vulture."

"Yeh, what's going on with those?" wondered Laura, looking down at them in annoyance.

"You're just stunted," I said, not without sympathy.

"And that's why mummy ostriches shouldn't smoke," Kitty agreed. While we appreciated Kitty's wit, Laura made a break for it - but not fast enough for the Stalking Two.

"Oh my god, I turn around and there are some boxed lunatics," she exclaimed as she sprinted for the escalator. "Ha! I outsmarted the crazy people!"

Shaking our heads at the Laura ostrich, we boarded the escalator and glid gracefully, though ominously (and also simultaneously), upwards.

"Useless ostrich," I gloated, like that dalek in the new series that worked out how to climb the stairs. "We cannot be outsmarted. We glid."

But Kitty's ever-stylish eye had strayed to the bird's stunted feet.

"I don't think those work with your legs," said Kitty after a pause, looking at the shoes it was trying on.

"Certainly not the pink," I agreed, warming to the task.

Could we have a future as secret style advisors, leaping out from our subtle hiding places to prevent fashion accidents before they happen? Watch this space...


As a brief aside, I believe it my duty to issue a countrywide warning: shopping with Canimal is dangerous. I've just returned from a late night spree with her in Kingston and, as you can see, I spent rather more on jewellery than I perhaps ought to have. Turns out Claire's Accessories do goody bags with 10 random items inside for £3. I feel like an impatient, yet replete, magpie.

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

The Boudouir Baker

Boudoir Baker
Originally uploaded by Willow C

Three posts in one day is bordering on excessive, but I thought it best to reassure you all that my negative day had a fabulous finish.

Firstly, I caught up with Jinny after all this time, who now runs a club called Baker Street Station. I had tremendous fun making a spectacle of myself in the Martini glass and failing to answer any of the trivia questions thanks to my slow, sad little computer. It's been a very long time since there was somewhere I enjoyed just hanging out at in Second Life. I may have to make a habit of it.

Meanwhile, Kitty, who I have quietly stalked for some time now, granted me the ability to map her, which really does make the whole process a lot easier. She has also promised to build me a bird hide in which to wait patiently when she is out of sight. I have added her to my blogroll, much like a trophy >:) And this post is in her honour, as she was very interested in the concept of a martini paddling pool in a London Underground station.

I've even mended my chair such that it all faces in the correct directions. I shall go to bed now, so as not to push my luck...

Seating issues

I generally try to exercise a certain degree of discretion when choosing topics to blog because, let's face it, there's precious little jetsetting going on. In this case, however, I feel to err on the side of dull is justified, for this is an issue that needs addressing.

On Sunday, the hydrowhatsituppydownythingers on my computer chair cracked in two and it launched me across the room, thus proving once and for all that chair gymnastics are not a good idea (I totally know that WillowZ is going to remind me of the time I couldn't work out how to plug my headphones in when she's finished reading this post, so I'm preempting that by reminding her of the time she broke Everything Electrical I Own).

Today, Staples delivered a new one to my office, necessitating a taxi ride home when my cunning plan to re-pack the pieces in a wheely suitcase and trundle home smugly proved unworkable due to its sheer size.

I got home in the end though, at which point the trouble began.

The instructions say that this chair can be built by one person. Really? REALLY? One person with how many limbs?

At various points during the construction process I used my knees, feet, elbows and head to hold things in position and I still ended up with sore hands from the alum key (alum? alan? alun? wtf?) and a worse temper than this morning. This photo was taken after discovering I'd put the arms on back to front and the following thought had gone through my mind:

"Fuck it, fuck it ALL TO HELL, I shall sit on boxes and type from my knees, I hate EVERYTHING, I don't even WANT a chair."

As you might have guessed from the fact I am typing right now, I did complete the job and am not sat cross-legged on the floor having a sulk (any more). I shall be away from the pc for the next hour or so, however, because I just reached under to adjust the height and discovered I put the lever bit on the wrong way round.

Le sigh.

Morning of Bad Temper

We are not amused this morning, things have not gone well. After waking up with a crick in the neck and irritatingly little sleep, the following annoyances have added to my woe:

1) There is once again no hot water, not a drop of it, so after splattering my own head with a stream of water roughly the temperature of an ice cube, I was forced to make the crick worse by washing my hair in the sink.

2) While attempting to get my suitcase down from on top of the wardrobe, I managed to dither about in the galactic clutter and knock over a whole box of washing powder, which I will be hoovering from crannies for many months to come.

3) During my frantic maneuverings (is that even a word?) to get said suitcase out the door, I managed to get my frightwig (you try washing 2-and-a-half foot long, thick hair forwards and then flinging it back and just see what happens. Back-combing, that's what) caught on the door latch. Cue a desperate struggle to rip the whole chunk off my head/off the latch without letting go of the door and having it crash painfully onto my skull.

4) There is someone banging on the office wall. Loudly and repetitively. With a seemingly endless array of tools.

5) One of the people I work for has complained that I never check the finished product to see how what I do is used. I'd love to, honestly I would - but I've only ever seen one of the bastards.

6) The first incarnation of the Open Your Mind website is so bad I could cry.

7) There is a THING in the kitchen. I didn't know what it was, but I opened it to investigate and promptly scalded my wrist, so I'm guessing it's a kettle. I'm offended that I had to injure myself to deduce its purpose.

Monday, 18 February 2008

Meme..Me Me

Originally uploaded by Willow C
I enjoyed the last meme so much that I demanded a new one from dear Alicia, and bless her she had one up before you could say "Willow really likes talking about herself".

Which means that, thanks to our Meme Queen, I have more lyrical to wax...and another opportunity to smugly display a picture I created absolutely effortlessly on flickr (it took me about 2 hours, but we'll ignore that fact, I think).

1. Do you remember the first person who helped you in SL, and are you still in contact with that person?
It was Jinny Fonzarelli, who was sat in the original Welcome Area, casually offering freebies and help to the blinking newborns stood helplessly around her. She gave me the most wonderful tartan outfit, complete with tartan knee high boots, that remains in my inventory, in a little folder marked 'nostalgia', to this day. Jinny's work was far and away superior to anyone else's that I encountered in those early days, I adored it. She is still on my calling card list, but I never see her log on these days - I know she switched to an alt, which I also have friended, but embarrassingly I can't remember its name!

2. Do you stick around in SL for business, or for the people?
I stick around to watch the birth of a new social era. I find it fascinating how innovative and creative people can be when faced with new horizons, while the flipside, the underbelly that lacks imagination and thinks only of greed and attention, always make for eye-opening encounters.

3. Who is the most positive influence in your SL?
There can only be one answer to this: Willow Z, because she's been around since I was a wide-eyed noob, sharing in my pleasure and pain, advising and asking for advice, amusing and being amused. It's rare that a day goes by without chattering time. She rescued me from my overenthusiastic early purchasing habits, which often involved hair that looked like a lampshade - she finally stepped in after I trotted off shopping and came back wearing something you might find on a colour-blind bag lady. And what I perhaps find most amusing about our sisterhood is that we both fight to do things our own way and make our own decisions, no matter how good the other's advice, and then end up in the very same place, drawing the very same conclusions.

4. Is there someone who makes you roll your eyes and groan when they IM you or if you run into them somewhere?
Good god yes, there are a frightening number of people who elicit that reaction. Mostly the people who I can see right through. I don't give two hoots what it is that makes you tick, as long as you're honest about it.

5. Is there someone in your SL that makes you smile whenever you notice their name on your friends list, even if they're not online?
Laura, because I only have to see her name to think of one of the millions of times she's made me laugh so hard I've wheezed like a 90-year-old. No matter how wound up, stressed or overtired I am, I relax immediately in her company. From the first evening we talked, after I rescued her from a weirdo that turned out to be one of the Lindsay Daviau alts, we met up on the same wavelength and have been casually strolling along it, hand in hand, ever since.

6. Do you let people map you? Do others let you map them?
One of my extra-special personal SL bugs is that opening Search makes me freeze for a minute or so, as does opening profiles. My shopping companions would wait for hours to be summoned if they couldn't stalk me. So yes, I let people map me if they want to, and I can land on a fair few people's heads myself.

7. If we found out tomorrow that SL was closing, do you think you'd still remain in contact with your friends?
Many of them, no, because I am an appalling correspondent and falling behind on my emails (and dratted Facebook) makes me stressed and avoidy. I'm pretty confident I could stalk Laura, WillowZ and Cani, because I know where they live, and I've managed to not lose track of Vici over the years, despite her wafty disappearances. I'd like to think there are a good number of people I would forego my uselessness for and continue to maintain the bond with. Syssy would hunt me down, and be welcomed gladly, and I recommend that plan to anyone else interested enough.

Saturday, 16 February 2008


What Weighs Me Down
Originally uploaded by Willow C
For my 100th post - and may I take a moment to thank everyone who's stuck around for the wittery ride - I thought I'd address the new meme that Tymmerie and Alicia started. It's Second Life-related, so non-virtual readers will probably want to skip this one.

1. If you could do one thing in SL, what would you do?
I would make clothes and skins. The ideas are all there, but sadly my creative instincts stretch no further than writing, writing, more writing and making the occasional picture of my avatar. Of course, seeing as it took me nearly 4 years to get to a stage where I think she's kind of cute, as a designer I would no doubt be the literal opposite of a sweatshop. However, Sysperia will this evening be attempting to hone my artistic skills, so who knows.

2. If you could be anyone else in SL for a day, who would it be and why?
Leading on from the previous question, someone with better SL-related creative skills than myself. So, anybody really. Someone whose work I admire, just so I could experience being able to create something more impressive than a stick man (with a ruler). Perhaps Laura, who rather evilly makes it all look really effortless. Or Talyn or Abby, who have so much fun with their talents. Or Sysperia, to see where that endless flow of amazing ideas comes from.

3. If you could change one thing in SL, what would it be?
I would make it obligatory for everyone to reveal their real life name. I believe the vast majority of rudeness, griefing, snarking and other unpleasantness is a direct result of people not having to stand behind their actions. One need only look at the comments section of the Brutal Honesty blog to see what happens when people can hide behind anonymity. I would make all of us accountable.

4. If you could hop on a naughty poseball with one person of the same sex, who would it be?
Hmmmmmmm...not sure on that one, but I'd better say Syssy because she deserves a reward for all that admirable stalking :P

5. If you could hop on a naughty poseball with one person of the opposite sex, who would it be?
Even harder, I have no current SL boy crushes! I probably need to get my nose out of my writing pad, don't I...

Thursday, 14 February 2008

The sweetest surprise

This week has been the most tiring in years, with endless pressure and all manner of problems. But all the worry and stress dissolved in an instant today, when the post arrived.

For looming among the invoices was a brown paper package with my name on it, inside which was a birthday present from Bill (the artist who helped me create the look of Open Your Mind, for those with a short memory).

My very own, original piece of art, created just for me!

This photo, of course, does it absolutely no justice, and is marred somewhat by the big camera flash in the middle, but it at least gives you an inkling of how gorgeous it looks, hanging up right next to my desk.

I'll get quite a bit less work done for a while, because my eyes keep wandering over to gaze at it. But I don't mind being distracted. I shall be proud, and possibly boastful, for a good long time, which I don't think anyone can blame me for. How many people, after all, can claim their very favourite (real life) artist sent them a piece of art, in their very favourite style, all of their very own?

Monday, 11 February 2008



Stolen from Kitty Lalonde's blog, on which I lurk.

This'll teach me not to keep the kitchen knives sharpened.

Saturday, 9 February 2008

Hollywood slums it

I return to you this evening feeling as though I spent the afternoon being smacked about the face with a pan. Why? Because I just went to see Cloverfield with Canimal.

What an amazing movie. I screamed out loud twice, like the feeble woman I am (Cani did too, mind you), sat with my jaw hanging open and have never felt so involved. Cloverfield manages what The Blair Witch Project, one of the worst pieces of filmmaking of all time, was trying to do, and not knowing what the hell is going on works this time to make the whole thing so much more frightening.

It reminds me of World War Z, an incredible book that Tim recommended before Christmas. Both look at how the man on the street would respond to an extreme circumstance - people like you and I, who can't see the big picture, who don't have access to the plans being made. That horrifying feeling of just not knowing what to do to survive or where to run for safety.

There's no time to predict what's going to happen next in this movie because it's tough enough to work out what's going on in the moment. I did ponder what I might do thrust into the same circumstances, but I'm afraid I must agree with Cani's conclusion: I'd sit in a corner and whine a lot. I also love that it never answers its own questions - we don't know why it happened, what the monster is, or, of course, what happens after the movie ends. And nor should we, because that adds to the whole atmosphere of not knowing where to run for safety.

I now feel ever so slightly iffy thanks to the bucket of popcorn I made my way through to appease my abject terror (all because I misunderstood which of the available containers was the large. That's my excuse, anyway.) and rather traumatised, but I also really want to see it all over again!

While I'm at it, I ought to mention my other excursion this week: 30 Seconds to Mars in concert in Hammersmith.

Which was enjoyable, in its way, but I couldn't quite shake the feeling that Jared Leto can't tell the difference between acting and being in a band and feels he must emote his way through every song.

Plus he gushed. A lot. Which began to stretch even my ability to suspend belief after he claimed for the fourth time that a song, the gig, the evening and everything else in his immediate vicinity was the best he'd ever seen/done/heard.

The lights, the effects and the energy were more than adequate, and the company was fantastic. It didn't, despite what all the leaping tweens might have thought, pretend to be a proper rock concert, to be fair. Which is just as well.

Apart from that, why on earth did I go, I hear you ask? Dear god, people, have you not seen Jared Leto?

Friday, 8 February 2008

Eddie Izzard Spat on my Coat

It's true, he did. In what's been the most tiring week Of All Time, I have over the past few days scripted an advert, dressed a set for filming, been to a very peculiar concert and gazed at my idol up close. More on the rest later, but for now I must tell you about the best night in living memory...

I've already spent much time waxing lyrical about my heartfelt love for Eddie Izzard, the funniest - not to mention most beautiful - man alive. I've made sweeping, yet true, statements, such as that I would choose him over chocolate.

Imagine my instant hysteria when I found out he was doing a couple of secret gigs in Covent Garden, in a 300-capacity theatre. I've seen him live before, but it was at Wembley and we were so far away he was the size of my fingernail.

Ignoring that the starting time was 11.15pm (I would have stayed up for a fortnight if I'd had to), I grabbed desperately at the first couple of tickets that came up. One for myself and one for Best Mate (who no longer needs such a coy moniker now she's become a blog whore and shall henceforth be called SylvieGirl, or possibly SG if I'm feeling a bit lazy).

They were only front motherbuggering row. Very front row. As in, nothing in front of us. As in, three feet from the stage with nowt but a bit of air between he and me. So close, in fact, that my coat now bears a teeny tiny amount of Eddie saliva.

Dear Eddie, he's lost not a speck of his zing, he will always be a genius without peer when it comes to stand-up. I laughed so hard my nose bunged up (strange, but true). He's also clearly read The God Delusion, which pleased me no end because I'm in the middle of it myself. Which makes me his wife and soulmate. Oh yes it does.

From an extended explanation, through mime, of why giraffes are lucky to not be extinct, to musings on Moses and the burning bush (he's quite right, it IS a bit odd that all those people decided to follow some bloke across the desert on the basis that flaming shrubbery told him it was a good idea). It was all new material and may herald a rekindling of his interest in, well, standing up. I hope so.

This picture, by the way, is a bit of a naughty one, as cameras weren't allowed in the theatre. I took it, however, simply to convince myself that the whole thing really did happen. And in my defence, it's not very marketable because he has a distinct aura of light and no face.

I've never won a competition, got sod all out of any raffle I ever entered and gave up playing the Lottery when I couldn't even snag a tenner. But I don't mind, because I was saving all my luck for picking those tickets on Wednesday night - and it was absolutely worth it.

Saturday, 2 February 2008

Happy Birthday to ME!

Yesterday was my birthday, officially marking 29 years of Willowings and wallowings. Highlights of the day included:

The office boys surprising me upon my return from making a tea round with a huge, sticky chocolate cake, complete with candles.

A cuddleable Gobo from The Fraggles from Laura, with a Right Kind Of Soft poof of hair, accompanied by a mug featuring Willockman and the sparkly poo - the first official Lollybloggings merchandise!

My chocolate quotient being upped by a box of nummy Thorntons truffles from WillowZ, spelling out the message "Happy Barfday" (along with Linkin Park's Minutes to Midnight to fuel my inevitable obsession).

Being treated to (a number of) bottles of sparkling rose by Ian and Matt, which I excitedly, and a bit tipsily, described as a cloud resting on a valentine sea. Sadly, when I asked Ian how he would put it, he just looked at me defiantly and said "gonad in a glass".

A little package that fell out of my card from Lovely Lisa that was carefully protecting a pair of gorgeous drop earrings made especially for me by Amber, her shockingly talented daughter.

And lastly, but absolutely not leastly, waking up to a message from Sysperia telling me there was a message for me on her blog. It turned out to be this stunning new piece of artwork and three haikus written in my honour - I've never had my own haiku before, and Syssy's never written one, so I must admit I got a bit touched and tearful when I got home and read them again (can I blame the gonad in a glass?). So much so that I can't help but show them off here:

My lovely Willow
needs only to flash her smile
for my own to bloom.

Willow tree woman
all essence of sun and dew
was born this fine day.

When we met I knew
Like was inevitable.
Now Love holds its hand.

Thank you loads to everyone who sent messages, made me smile and made my day - it's not every year you spend your natal celebrations feeling smug and loved while discussing the sexuality of Supergran, guzzling chocolate and sipping posh wine from a mug illustrated by a shining poo <3