Thursday, May 9, 2013

Of Bells, Bread and the Good Folk

I do some thinking about Fae and their folklore, as part of my ongoing Second Life existence. Today, I found myself pondering bells, chimes, and mundane things in general in relation to the Good Folk. I used to have wind chimes up at my tree, and I've known other Fae who did as well, but the lore on them is contradictory, with one source saying they love bells, and others saying they are driven off by them. So here's my musing for the day on how this can be:

Bells are a matter of some confusion when it comes to the Fae. Some hold that bells draw the Fae, some that they repel them. It's clear that bells and chimes can drive them away, as church bells protect from fairy mischief and attack, but it's clearly not universal, for the Lady of the Fae has been documented to have bells on the tack and harness of her horse.

It's simple, really: bells don't repel the Fae. They repel Fae of hostile intent. If you ring a bell, or set a bell that rings, then it rings an aura around it that resonates with your intent and well-being, and any in harmony with that may enter it freely. Those who are not, are driven off. So bells may be used by the Fae themselves as protection from other Fae -- though it may be a problem for them, since impulse drives them so that a bell may suddenly drive away another Fae whose mischief rises, and it's unselective enough an effect that a Fae with a chime ringing may suddenly find friends or invited guests driven off simply because they considered some practical joke. For this reason, it's considered rude for any but the highest of the Fae to have bells ringing in any but the most serious of circumstances.

Bread is also something that folklore rocks both ways. On the one hand, baking bread or carrying bread in your pocket are said to protect you. On the other, bread may be left as an offering to the Fae, either in gift or supplication, and they clearly enjoy eating it, if somewhat less than they do cream, butter and honey. This is actually similar in a way to the bells, in that bread serves as a symbol for home and order, and so provides the human that holds it with a symbolic "hearth" where they are granted at least some of the protections of being on native ground. It weakens and dilutes antagonistic magics, and in the case of lesser Fae of ill intent can repulse them completely. But when left out, released from the possession of a human, bread is just bread, and therefore potentially yummy.

Rowan trees are likewise given the love/hate treatement in lore, being both holy to the Fae (who are said to be seen where grows the Rowan, as well as Oak, Ash and Thorn), and being a soverign protection to keep them from a house or a child's cradle. The answer to this is simple: it IS sacred to them, and so anyplace it may be found is guarded,  kept under the protection of which the Rowan is emblematic. No attack or offense can be made where the Rowan guards the entrance.

Until my mind wanders again... Be well.

Monday, April 29, 2013


Yeah, I know, that Creag, he's such a loser, he never calls, he never writes...

For the last week, I've been hanging out at the Fantasy Faire. I do it every year. Last year's Faire marked my turning Petite, first buying my avi and then winning the Faire auction for the custom male petite head -- which, I've been told, is still the only one ever sold in Second Life. While I'm not a full-time little one, I spend more time little than big these days (which I think is frustrating to certain folks who prefer me in the standard package to the fun-size Creag).

Size aside, though, except when the odd whim strikes me I'm about always a fae, so the Fantasy Faire is really my thing. I love it. I wander, I dance, I shop (at the RFL kiosks so I can tell myself I'm not just buying toys for myself), I chat with passersby, I meet new friends, I meet OLD friends, and I just immerse myself in the amazing builds. This year's may have been the best Fantasy Faire ever. I could just spend hours staring at the amazing builds (Magnificat and Titans' Hollow particularly blew me away this year), and something about it brings my imagination alive and soothes my spirit all at the same time.

So I'm PARTICULARLY unhappy that it's ending.

When I was only a wee sprat of a fae, there was a traveling carnival that used to come to our town every summer. They'd stay a week, and for a week I would be there every day, riding rides, playing games, watching people, eating junk food and having a wonderful time. Then at the end of the week, they'd pack up in the night and the day would dawn on a bare and beaten city park where all the fun had been. I'd feel hollow, like someone had let all the air out of my balloon, and that's how I feel when the Fantasy Faire is over. Come tomorrow, I'll be wandering again in my old haunts, with images of giant lanterns still ringing in my mind and the ghost of childhood cotton candy whispering across my tongue. I wish it could go on longer. I wish it could go on FOREVER. I'll just hold it in my heart, and dream, and wait for the day that the carnival comes back to town.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Little Changes

Not that I have anything big to say, but these days, I'm little. Really, I'm not usually that big; while I have a couple avatars that run up against the SL height limit, and I do have a Na'vi-style avi that uses a deformer HUD to get REALLY gangly, mostly my shapes tend to be more in the normal-to-short range. With one, designed to be as close as possible to my RL dimensions, I always have to wear a beard or people accuse me of having a child avi. My main "Creag" avi is a fae, and though I've let people talk me into making him taller on occasion, he's usually one of the shortest avatars in any given group. I find the SL addiction to being gigantically tall and blandly beautiful to be a bit grotesque and more than a bit sad. No one's ever accused me of making ugly avis, but I make all my own shapes and every one of my looks is a distinct individual.

Until now.

Really, it's not entirely by choice that Creag is now running around in what's almost a generic skin and shape. Well, yes, it's a choice, but not for the sake of some bland-vanilla standard of beauty. I'm doing it because I get to be REALLY LITTLE.

About a month ago I made what's become something like a quarterly sweep through Fallen Gods. I used to shop there for skins quite a bit, because they have some very distinctive fantasy looks for fair prices. Ultimately, though, I decided they weren't quite "real" enough for me, and I moved on. But I always looked back, to see what new things they had and to see if maybe the extra depth and realism I'm now used to in other skins had made it into theirs. It hasn't. But something new HAS wandered onto their sales floor, and it caught me: Petite avatars!

It seems a while back, a maker named Yabusaka Loon came up with some mesh-based avatars that are about 1/3 the size of a normal one. If you're in SL much, you've probably seen some. They're about one meter tall in a world where the average height is more than twice that, and with delicate, graceful proportions. Very elfin. Very fairy-like. The version that Alia Baroque's Fallen Gods store was selling was only a slight variation, but with a skin that's a dead ringer for some of their normal-sized elf skins and recolorable too boot. The male "Crystals" version just completely grabbed me. I had to have it. I had to be that small!

I bought one, the biggest SL purchase I've made in quite some time, and got the accessory outfit for it. Then I got some mesh hair from Wasabi Pills, matching some I bought a while back for "Biggie Creag". I'm not wild about it, but it's long and flowing and was THERE, and I sure as heck didn't want to be bald. I got all done up, and started to wander... and I found out I'd fallen into one of the biggest little things to ever hit SL. Little mesh avatars, and things for them, are EVERYWHERE!

I did a quick search in SL, and found a shopping mall dedicated to petites. Sorry, I forget the name, but really how can it matter when you can hardly go ANYWHERE without finding things for them. Clothes for them. Vehicles for them. Houses for them. Full sets of musical instuments, amps, mics and show lights for them. I mean!

While there, I made friends with a fellow who seemed to know his way around. He told me a few other places to find things, and gave me some tips, and a script that, in most copy/mod items, will let you resize them to petite size. (And sometimes well beyond. I tried it in a sailboat that ended up so small I couldn't find it!) A little playing about showed me that my regular wings were already able to resize to the right proportion, and the script let me make a teeny copy of my usual hair. (Yay!)

Now I'm all done up with little prim things. Just about all of it but the jewelry modded right down to petite size. I grabbed a free camera adjuster HUD off the Marketplace that someone mentioned to me in passing, so I'm not always peering over the top of my own head as I walk. I've got a green skin, my usual color for the past few years, and I bought a couple little outfits, and I've spent a lot of the last week wandering the annual Fantasy Faire in my tiny guise. I'm set. I'm finally in an avi where I don't have to explain to people WHAT I am. Folks boggle a little at a muscular, human-sized fae with horns and a green skin. Make me teeny, and they get it right away. Now to make it ALL me, I just need to fix this genreic-elf-looking face... and I've got a bid in at the Fantasy Faire auction on a custom mesh head.

*Rubs his hands together in anticipation and giggles...*

As Steve Martin once said, "LET'S GET SMALL!"

Saturday, November 5, 2011

...No Pixel Shall Escape My Sight...

(I wrote this about four months ago and just never posted it. So now I do. Why? Why not?)

Hey, there. Been a while. I'm still here, though. What've I been up to? Oh, nothing much... going to concerts, mostly. I love live music in SL, especially when it's really live and not just karaoke. A little sailing, when the sim crossings allow -- there've been more problems with that than usual, lately. And oh, I'm now a member of an intergalactic police force. I'm a Green Lantern.

Now, there are two kinds of Green Lantern (GL) in Second Life (SL). Years ago, when SL was still young, a group of people dedicated to targeting and reporting griefers took to "patrolling" SL as an organized team, the Green Lantern Corps. A noble intention, but they've kind of got a reputation for being a little full of themselves, no matter the good they do, or try to. But then there are people who simply like to dress up in green and have fun with rings. I'm one of those.

Oh, I'd try to put down/report a griefer if I found one, though honestly in all my years in SL I might have run across as many as ten, total, who were more than just enthusiastic noobs who didn't realize they were causing problems. But going out of my way to track them and report them doesn't strike me as FUN, and fun is one of my biggest reasons for being in SL. Now, going somewhere and playing make-believe is FUN. It was fun when I was a little kid. I loved that. Didn't you? Grownups tend to forget that playing dress-up and make-believe is fun. We pull it out of our closets for a Halloween party, and some (the few, the proud, the nerdy) will get into a role playing game, but really, don't you remember pinning a towel to your shoulders and suddenly becoming Batman? I do.

I do, and I've missed it. I never REALIZED I missed it, until I found SL and stumbled into "immersive roleplay" there. Then, I played make-believe a lot. A LOT. And then I got burned, and burned out, and got rather away from it. Part of that, I think, is that there's a seriousness to a lot of roleplay in SL that turns me off. It's a lot of win/lose gaming in many places. It's "learn the meter" and "stay in the lines", and I know that you can't have any sort of organized roleplay without rules, but when it becomes more about the rules than about play, then the wonder that makes that towel into Batman's cape starts to fade away.

I let it fade, I fear, because it seemed like everyone I met was either more into the "grimly dedicated" school of roleplay ("Our meter is the best!" "Only RL Doms and subs can really understand BDSM!" "That's not what a Fae is supposed to look/act/talk like!" "You have to dress this way to play properly!") than I was, or not into roleplay at all. And while I actually like coloring inside the lines, nothing much ruins the fun for me more than having someone sitting over my shoulder watching to make SURE I do. But about a month ago, a friend asked me if I'd seen a movie.

When Green Lantern, the movie, came out, I'd been really excited to see it. As a kid, GL was always my favorite hero. I was never going to have the fanaticism to become Batman, it was a little late for me to be born as a superhuman alien, and while I might get struck by lightning I was aware even as a child that it'd probably not make me anything but dead. But I could imagine getting a magic ring that would do whatever I wanted it to. I mean, the other stuff was impossible, but the ring thing only seemed really, really unlikely. That meant it MIGHT happen, right? But then the reviews came out, and they all said the movie wasn't all that good, and Thor was out at the same time with really good reviews, and really we only had time to see one movie just then, so it was Thor (a character I'd  never been a fan of as a kid, but oh well) instead of Green Lantern.

But my friend got it on video recently and said, hey, this is good! So I did too, and damn, they were right! What were those reviewers thinking? Clearly, they had never spent days as children reading and re-reading and re-re-re-reading a Green Lantern comic, imagining themselves flying through space, making giant glowing fists appear in the air with only a thought. But I had. It brought all that wonder home to me in a way that I'd almost forgotten existed. And then I got to thinking about the main outlet for wish fulfillment in my mundane adult life, and I pulled up Second Life and searched for Green Lantern. I found out there are a LOT of people in SL who shared my GL fantasy, and are living it out. Lots of people, lots of groups, and even one that gives out free power rings twice a month. Well, DAMN, I'm gonna get me one of THEM, I decided, and joined.

Just like when I was seven and sent a pile of boxtops off for a Spy Belt, I waited in growing anticipation. About a week later, the ring showed up, and boy oh boy, it was a LOT better than the Spy Belt. I spent a day or so figuring out how it worked (don't you hate trying to read a manual in SL, with a little, slow-scrolling text window next to your avatar?), and then I felt ready. The ring came with lots of extras including a bunch of different GL costumes, so I could take my choice about what look to have, but I chose "none of the above," and went about making my own up. What's a superhero's uniform for, but to show off how great you look, in a skintight way? So dug into my inventory for various latex and leather bits, put them together with the green/black/white color theme in mind, and then made up a GL badge using the textures helpfully packaged with the ring, et voila! I'm a Fae Green Lantern!

There are superhero sims, ranging from "let's pretend" to "tie me down" in theme, and I've yet to go into one that I didn't meet up with another GL. We're all OVER the place! I've made up a whole big backstory for how a Fae gets to be a comic book hero, and so far it's just been casual, the most casual roleplay I've seen since I first stumbled into SL roleplay, back in the fine old heyday of the original Aglarond sim. It's fun. It's play.

I like it.

If anyone else out there wants to play, just give a whistle to GL Creag an na Sioga of Sector 58, and we'll see what happens! Hooray for make-believe!

The Fae GL Oath:
"In brightest day,
In blackest night,
No evil shall escape my --