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Apparently Robert Jensen…

Apparently Robert Jensen… published on 1 Comment on Apparently Robert Jensen…

 …is in the same hysterically anti-porn camp as Andrea Dworkin and Catharine Mackinnon, whose detailed diatribes against porn are, well, pornographic. See observations here. Well, he may be a pornographic anti-porn person, but I still think his points about masculinity, porn and anxiety are valid.

Masculinity as fear

Masculinity as fear published on 2 Comments on Masculinity as fear

I don’t have time to go into detail about this topic, but I do think it’s interesting. As I know from personal experience, the state of being culturally construed as a woman basically boils down to fear: fear that one will be taken advantage of by those culturally construed as men. At the same time, those culturally construed as men have their own fear: fear that they will lose their power. What pathetic, anxious cowards the patriarchy makes of us all!

I was prompted to the masculinity=fear equation by an excerpt from Robert Jensen’s Getting Off: Porn and the End of Masculinity, as posted on Alter.net. Here is the conclusion of the excerpt:

Pornography knows men’s weakness. It speaks to that weakness, softly. Pornography ends up being about men’s domination of women and about the ugly ways that men will take pleasure. But for most men, it starts with the soft voice that speaks to our deepest fear: That we aren’t man enough.

Maybe I’m just sensitive to the anxieties of masculinity because I’m writing about a guy who is firmly convinced that he is not man enough and, interestingly enough, uses porn to try to prove himself to himself.

When I next get some money…

When I next get some money… published on No Comments on When I next get some money…

…I am purchasing a 3-month subscription to PoserWorld and downloading like crazy…. At $30.00 for 3 months of unlimited downloads, it offers a staggering array of clothing for all figs, including lots of historical stuff…. The proportions of content offered are, interestingly enough, very similar to my own interests. About 50% of the stuff is fantasy fetish wear, and the other 50% of it is historical, casual, utilitarian sort of stuff. Just like 50% of my characters are meretricious, and the other 50% are historical and/or sober!

Little Will, revision 3

Little Will, revision 3 published on No Comments on Little Will, revision 3

Hmmm, I see that my Preteen Vicky model has all facial and body morphs fully loaded into her, so I might try recreating little Will’s head with Preteen Vicky’s, especially since I can’t get my current version of Little Will soft enough in the face. The lines of his chin are still too harsh…. 

Little Will in his little dress

Little Will in his little dress published on 1 Comment on Little Will in his little dress

Here’s a picture of my latest draft of little Will in his little dress. I made little Will by using a Millennium Girls Preteen Vicky body and neck, then erasing the body of my Michael 3 Will and resizing and shaping it so that it looked young and the appropriate size for the preteen body. As a result, I realized that Will looks extremely cute, but also very anxious. You would be too if your mom raised you on gory tales from Ovid’s Metamorphoses!!

He’s really a very cute little kid. Littlle does little Will know that he will grow up to become a dead guy with gender confusion and no fashion sense.

Please pay attention to the beauty of his dress!!

Little Will’s dress!

Little Will’s dress! published on 1 Comment on Little Will’s dress!

After many long hours looking for specific items of clothing [corsets for men, dresses for men, chunky platform heels for anyone, baggy T-shirts, hooded sweatshirts, winter coats, etc.] and NOT FINDING IT, I actually FOUND SOMETHING PERFECT today. Behold — a dress and pantaloons for the Millennium Girls and Preschoolers!!! 

With minor tiddlywinking, I will be able to use this outfit as a dress for a preteen girl or non-breeched boy from the 19th century. Translated by my good friend CrossDresser, it might make a good long summer dress for modern Will too, although it’s a bit conservative for his tastes.

In case you can’t tell, I installed my kid models this morning and just started to experiment with them. I have Millennium Kids Preschoolers, Millennium Girls and Millennium Kids Young Teens. I’m most partial to the Preschoolers, who, besides being really cute, come with very expressive poses such as Monster Time, Cannonball!, Bored, Defiance, and [the highlight, well-known to anyone who deals with the under 5 set] I Want That! Unfortunately there is no Tantrum pose with clenched fists and stamping foot…

Anyway, I don’t have the morphs for any of these characters, so I’ll probably just splice Victoria and Michael heads onto them, as I’m doing with little Will. Speaking of which, I think his chin needs to be softer….

Now I can do flashback scenes with Will and his mom and with little Anneka and her parents, even with her and Mamie and Minerva too!!!!!

Little Will

Little Will published on 1 Comment on Little Will

This is a test; this is only a test.  The person on the left is Will between the age of 8 and 12. He has a second skin wetsuit only because I lack clothes for my new kid models. He should be wearing one of those dresses that boys in the 19th century were sometimes kept in until they were 6 or 8 or even [really REALLY pushing it] 10. [Most of them went to short pants by 8, though.] Also his hair is supposed to be in ringlets, but that is the closest I could find.

I mentioned earlier that I wanted to scale down my adult models to make child models, but I ended up not doing that. I scaled down a copy of my Will model and morphed its head to make young Will’s head, then erased the rest of the small Will model’s body, then stuck the small Will’s head onto a Millennium Kids Young Teens Mike body because the neck area of the small Will model did not look appropriately smooth and fat for a child.

Dancing on 6 limbs

Dancing on 6 limbs published on No Comments on Dancing on 6 limbs

Check out these two ballet dancers. I am not linking to this because it’s an inspirational example of disabled people overcoming their limitations. That’s a load of tripe. I’m linking to this because their dance plays perfectly to their strengths and to their disabilities in such a way that their performance tells a pretty cool story about disability acceptance. I also like the choreography, which incorporates the idiom of modern dance [like tumbling!]. Special props also to the choreography for designing such a fluid, graceful movement for the male dancer so that his character can embody for the uncertain female character the joy of living in one’s body, no matter what the shape.

Subservient Santa

Subservient Santa published on 3 Comments on Subservient Santa

First there was Subservient Chicken, Burger King’s advertising gimmick where you could type in commands and, if they were within the applet’s repertoire, watch a guy dressed up as a chicken act them out.

Then there was Subservient Programmer, which is the best of all the subservient applets I’ve seen. The animation loops are most carefully timed to create the illusion of continuity. There is also a wide range of commands available.

Now there’s Simon Sez Santa. It is not as well-looped as Subservient Programmer, but the sound effects are funny. If you choose the naughty version, make him drink a beer. :p There’s also a kid-appropriate version so you can show him to little ones.

Chinatown sites

Chinatown sites published on No Comments on Chinatown sites

Chinatown Gateway Coalition http://www.chinatowngateway.org/ A grassroots org to preserve and accentuate Chinatown’s geographic, historical and cultural heritage through strategic development of the Chinatown Gate area.

The Chinatown Blog http://bostonchinatowngateway.com/ A relatively new blog written by younger residents of Chinatown. 

Chinatown Main Street http://www.chinatownmainstreet.org/ A business directory.

South Bay Planning Study Documents http://southbayplanningstudy.org/documents.asp Documents about development plans for Chinatown, Fort Point Channel and the Leather District, including the Chinatown Masterplan 2000 [which is not, as the name implies, some sort of blender], Chinatown Community Plan 1990, etc.

Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center http://www.bcnc.net/index.php Providing social services to residents of Chinatown, the South End and South Cove.

Nightly patrols reduce crime in Chinatown http://www.baystatebanner.com/issues/2007/08/23/news/local08230713.htm An article about the volunteer Chinatown Crime Watch.

http://boston.indymedia.org/feature/display/186609 A firsthand account of the Chinatown Crime Watch delivering the smackdown on some fighting idiots.

Making kids in Daz

Making kids in Daz published on No Comments on Making kids in Daz

 Instead of loading completely new kid figures into Daz, I should just be able to rescale my two main models, Victoria 3 and Michael 3, so that they have kid-like or teen-like proportions. As a matter of fact, I have been messing around with proportions a lot recently. I successfully created two teen girls, one in her early teens [Magdelena] and one in her mid-teens [Baozha]. 

I also created my craziest morph yet by tweaking and shrinking Victoria 3 so that I could get a fashion doll model. [And it really looks like a fashion doll, which is somehow extremely disturbing, despite my great experience with fashion dolls.] If I can make Victoria 3 into a 1:6 bobblehead with pointy little feets and gazongas bigger than her head, surely I can make her into an acceptable kidsy.

My l33t skillz

My l33t skillz published on 1 Comment on My l33t skillz

I’m nearing the point where the time I spend setting up a digital scene is equal to the time I spend setting up a scene with dolls. While working yesterday on 2 sets, Chow’s study and Will’s room, I spent about 13 hours, which actually is probably less than the amount of time needed to produce the same scenes in real format. [Digital format allows for much quicker deployment and customization of props!] After all that labor, both sets look very close to how I want them…

…Except for the shadows. I’m having a problem with them. Note to self: Find out how to make everything create shadows. Help may be here: http://www.daz3d.com/i.x/tutorial/0/-/?

I’m also very comfortable and fairly skilled with Daz. How can I tell? Well, when I didn’t have any posters or poster frames for aforesaid sets, I instantly created some basic ones using the primitive shapes available in Daz. I didn’t balk at the thought of extending my existing skills; I just constructed something simply and quickly so that I could go back to the greater fun of scattering digital stuff all over Will’s digital floor. [I never knew he had so many shoes!]

Pictures later. It will be interesting to see how long a render takes with all the stuff in these scenes.

Automatic vector graphic maker

Automatic vector graphic maker published on No Comments on Automatic vector graphic maker

Photos or drawings converted into vector graphics look really cool. However, manually converting a rasterized file to a vectorized file takes a really long time. If you’d like to automate the vectorizing process, however, visit VectorMagic, a Web site hosted by Stanford where you can vectorize anything. No guarantee on how awesome the results will be, but, if you choose a rasterized image with a low number of artifacts and a relatively narrow palette, you should get stupendous and scalable results.

Below is an example. It is a picture of Will, made on “logo without artifacts,” “medium palette,” “medium quality” settings. I like the harsher, more chiseled look that vectorization supplies. The original picture is right here.

 

Smells like rain…

Smells like rain… published on 4 Comments on Smells like rain…

You know that sharp, light, floral odor of the first rain? It has a name: petrichor. Actually petrichor is an exudation of certain plants during dry spells. This chemical leaches into rocks and soil, which then give it off, along with a compound known as geosmin [literally, “earth smell,” that full, brown, slightly crunchy, moist smell of, well, earthy things, like beets]. Petrichor + geosmin = “smells like rain.”

Incidentally, Petrichor and Geosmin are perfectly conceivable, under the current ridiculous drug-naming schemata, as names for medication. Petrichor is for drooling idiots with rocks in their heads…it comes in little brown pills. Geosmin, which comes in swirly blue and green tablets, aims to counteract LGS [Loss of Gravity Syndrome], when excess air in the cranial cavity causes a person to float away. Neither of them are really effective, but they sure sound imposing.

Some people look good in skirts.

Some people look good in skirts. published on 1 Comment on Some people look good in skirts.

Will is one of them. He also looks good in second-skin fishnet. Also, as you can see, he has a new, much paler complexion, more character-appropriate makeup and reflections in his eyes. The reflections make him look more alive, which is ironic because he’s dead. :p

Several frustrations resolved in one piece of software

Several frustrations resolved in one piece of software published on No Comments on Several frustrations resolved in one piece of software

Frustration 1. It’s hard to make tight clothes look good on dolls. That’s because the dolls are not 1:1 scale, but the clothing is, so the clothing does not look appropriately form-fitting. It looks too bulky. Plus it usually limits the dolls’ movement. 

Frustration 2. Poke-through on 3-D models. This is when the position of your 3-D digital person is such that the person’s body part penetrates the clothes unrealistically. If someone’s arms are bent acutely, you may see, for example, elbow poke-through in the shirt. It’s not realistic, and it limits model poses.

Frustration 3. Memory hogging. 3-D modeling programs put a huge drain on computers. Every piece of clothing has its own construction, design, morph and texture information, which can get really complicated if you have a scene with 3 people, each with 1 hair, 3 items of clothing, 1 accessory, not to mention the set made up of 6 props. Memory hogging makes loading the files, saving them and rendering them really slow.

A partial solution is second skin clothing.

This is how it works. A 3-D digital person has two basic parts: the object and the texture. The object is, well, duh, the 3-D object, like an unpainted doll or resin kit model. The texture is a 2-D picture that “paints” the object. In the case of digital people, most of them have two textures or mats. One is a head mat and the other is a body mat. The mats look like flayed human beings with their skin flattened out conveniently into 2-D. When you apply a body mat and a head mat to a digital person, the pictures wrap around the person, translating from 2-D to 3-D, and the person looks successfully naked.

So every digital person is covered with a skin and a head mat, but then, if you want to give them clothing, you have to add pieces of clothing. Each piece of clothing is an object + mat as well, so you can see how the memory drain increases quickly.

Second skin clothing avoids the memory drain by painting the clothing directly onto a digital person’s body mat. Because the clothing is thus part of the skin mat and not separate, there’s no out-of-scale bulkiness. There’s also no poke-through. And, because the person is only wearing the [modified] body mat and not any extra clothing objects, the memory load is reduced. 

Here’s a picture of Rori wearing second skin fishnets. They are painted on her body mat:

Anyway, I’d like to make second skin clothes for my characters, so I’ve discovered some software that can help me. Zew’s Clother and Clothim give you men’s and women’s clothing that you can easily apply on any body mat to create custom second skins. They’re the same program, differing only in the base wardrobe supplied. Second skins will be very helpful for certain characters [Anneka, Will, Velvette, Dom, Pippilotta, etc.] who wear tight clothes. It will also be good for putting underwear on everyone so I don’t have to see their [lack of] genitalia.

Hee hee, check out the Clothim add-ons. Do you or do you not see a distinctly FABULOUS sensibility at work here? I mean, seriously…tank tops for men that don’t cover the nipples?  And over here in the downloads…underwear with a question mark on it. I don’t think I’ve ever seen any guy wear clothes like this, except for at pride parades…WHICH MAKES IT PERFECT for my fashionless vampires! PERFECT I SAY!

“Oh, you know, Jon, mainly how GAY it is…”

“Oh, you know, Jon, mainly how GAY it is…” published on 1 Comment on “Oh, you know, Jon, mainly how GAY it is…”

I’ve been cracking up over this round-up of gay humor from the Daily Show, especially the clip where Jon Stewart is talking to Stephen Colbert about Prince Charles’ alleged gay experience, and there’s a banana involved. I’m surprised Stephen Colbert didn’t choke on it, since he was laughing so hard.┬áThe best part is the trouble he has with the “Whoever kills the fewest grouse…” line. It’s still hilarious the 45th time.

If only I were Gothic…

If only I were Gothic… published on 2 Comments on If only I were Gothic…

On my lunch break, I inspected many offerings of 3-D content from Sixus1. They have a lot of therianthropic creatures with an emphasis on dragons, dinosaurs, werewolves, etc., all of them studded with teeth, spikes, claws and optional impractical [but imposing] armor. Like the Raptorian female with armor. I can just picture the designers saying, “What’s cooler than dinosaurs? Oh, I know…DINOSAURS WITH ARMOR! Hell yeah!”  Somebody loooooves the monsters over there. 

Then I went over to Meshbox, which is apparently staffed by highly literate horror nerds. They have thematically arranged sets of intricate design, including the admirable City of Vampires, which looks about as bleak and ominous as a Gothic cathedral in bad weather. My favorite element is the Old Library, where the vampires enter by flying in and out of a portal in the ceiling! It also has the only commercially available set of stacks that I’ve seen so far.

Anyway, it’s really too bad that my vampires are just dead, ground-based, non-transforming queers with no fashion sense who live in an actual city in the modern day where the monsters are stupidity, jealousy, rage, depression and homophobia. If only they were Gothic and fantastic, they could have some real cool shit goin’ on…

This is the most beautiful 3-D modeling product I have ever seen.

This is the most beautiful 3-D modeling product I have ever seen. published on No Comments on This is the most beautiful 3-D modeling product I have ever seen.

It is a texture set and series of morphs for Victoria 3 called “Mary Ann.” The advertising text says she’s perfect for a “mom, a young grandma or even a witch.” However, I think she’s perfectly lovely for anyone over the age of 25. I especially like the light flush over her face, the hollows under her eyes and the brackets around her mouth. Where so many character sets look flat, flawless and stupid, with most of their variety appearing in the palette used, this character has obvious depth and personality.

Sexy but obviously stylized stuff: http://www.renderosity.com/mod/bcs/index.php?ViewProduct=51887&Start=91&TopID=11219.44031.44033. Lillith…lots of dribbly eye makeup…has second skins, but…sigh…

http://www.renderosity.com/mod/bcs/index.php?ViewProduct=50621&Start=121&TopID=11219.44031.44033. Diwania…eye makeup is too heavy…

http://www.renderosity.com/mod/bcs/index.php?ViewProduct=44503&Start=331&TopID=11219.44031.44033. Marilyn…lots of eyeshadow…

http://www.renderosity.com/mod/bcs/index.php?ViewProduct=44420&Start=331&TopID=11219.44031.44033. Rachel…a little less eyeliner…but definitely a frickin’ lot!

 

OOoooooOOOOOOoooooohhhhh…

OOoooooOOOOOOoooooohhhhh… published on No Comments on OOoooooOOOOOOoooooohhhhh…

For almost a month, I’ve been moving the cameras around in DAZ with only the right mouse button, wondering why the heck I can’t get the camera to orbit around a figure. Apparently I can press down the OTHER mouse button and get more effects. Maybe that will keep me from cursing at the computer so much….

W/Racked with guilt?

W/Racked with guilt? published on 4 Comments on W/Racked with guilt?

If I’m wracked with an emotion, should I be RACKED or WRACKED? If I use “rack,” I conjure up the pleasant image of someone’s tendons being unscrewed on a Procrustean bed. If I use “wrack,” it connotes “wreck” and “wreak,” a verb that absolutely must be conjoined with “havoc.” [Seriously, what else do you wreak besides havoc? Destruction, maybe, but that’s about it.] Both spellings are acceptable and absolutely synonymous, so the choice comes down to a predilection for connotations. I use “wrack” because, when someone is wracked with pain, sobs, a coughing fit, etc., he/she is usually incapacitated, hunched over, deflated and otherwise wrecked. I like the wreckage, not the rackage.

Boy, that silent W in “wracked” looks stupid. I guess I shouldn’t look at words like “write,” “wriggle,” “wrap,” “wraith,” “wreath,” “wrath,” etc. They all look RONG! :p

My digital modeling skills are not in demand…

My digital modeling skills are not in demand… published on No Comments on My digital modeling skills are not in demand…

…by the greater modeling community. This is because I specialize in making rotund people, scrawny people, ancient people and — my forte — guys in drag. In contrast, all of the people I have seen in the greater modeling community are lean, tight, voluptuous and between the ages of 18 and 25. They are all wearing clothes designed for their sex.

Anyway, here is Mamie Sinquell. She is not Anneka’s dying grandmother; she is Anneka’s dying grandmother’s long-term partner. She was a mannish lesbian before people even came up with the term. She’s still as intimidating in her 90s as she was when she was the hard-ass headmistress of Endless Lake Boarding School. Since she was either skiing or hiking or running around taking photos in the Adirondacks, she has poor skin that’s probably on the verge of precancerous melanoma. I love her. She, on the other hand, is not impressed with YOU, but you knew that already from the picture.

Welcome back…I think.

Welcome back…I think. published on 1 Comment on Welcome back…I think.

This morning, I decided to write a re-intro to LHF, checking up on where Anneka and Will are now. Oh boy did I ever find out. They were yelling at each other, as is frequently the case, and they managed to throw almost every important detail of their histories in each other’s faces without sounding too much like they were reading from exposition cards. In chronological order, they hit the following touchstones, neatly sketching out the major players, their relationships to each other and their preoccupations:

Hot topics: lesbovamps.com, mermaids, La Biblio, Mark, Velvette, Janet, de Sade, Ovid, Minerva, Alzheimer’s, Mamie, Adirondacks, Maximilian, colonial New England, Alexandra, counseling, Leonora, fairy tales, Chow, the Hun, the MeMo, Chinatown, Boston, Wintermere, gender dysphoria, invalidism, bisexuality, cross-dressing.

About the only things that didn’t get in there were Viktor, Sibley, Pippilotta and Mark’s cacti! I do wish that I could wedge Viktor and Sibley in there, but this season focuses less on them and more on Anneka, Will and their families.

Scutwork

Scutwork published on

Today’s phrase is “the scutwork of the flesh,” from Alison Bechdel’s pretentious but fascinating graphic memoir Fun Home. She uses the phrase to refer to the minutiae of embalming that her father did when he ran the family funeral home. It’s a perfect word; it sounds foundational and visceral at the same time, as if it involves ploughing through muddy trenches or the furrows of an open abdominal cavity, trudging with dismal work. It also has a Shakespearean sound. “Poor forked creatures…” I think that phrase is from Shakespeare, but I can’t find out wherefrom.

This sucks.

This sucks. published on 1 Comment on This sucks.

I started on Viktor and did Rori earlier today, but then went back to Will. I used another of those dark, shadowy and atmospheric backgrounds by Tony Hayes, whose work is deliciously melancholy and creepy. [He did the abandoned asylum too.] Anyway, I learned about lights for this picture, adding two spotlights, one over Will and one pointing toward his face, all with the hope that the lighting on him would be equivalent to the light in the background. I made this one extra big so you could admire the background!

Now you’re going to feel a little poke…

Now you’re going to feel a little poke… published on 1 Comment on Now you’re going to feel a little poke…

…as I gore your arm with this harpoon in order to surgically drain you for my next meal.

Yeah, I know he’s really pale, and you can see the places where his skin textures are a wee bit too small, and he looks severely malnourished with a disturbing resemblance to Richard O’Brien, and he’s even faggier than before, with even more of a predilection for violent pink, and the lighting is probably off for this scene, and he’s not really holding the syringe, and his hands look like they are flexed unnaturally, but I don’t want to hear about it. I am proud of myself beyond measure because I finally figured out how to make someone use a prop that wasn’t hair-related and easy to stick on someone’s head. Now if I could just figure out a way to move props easily into position, I’d be all set.

I’d probably develop a hankerin’ for violently pink makeup too if I’d been dead and out of the sun for 130+ years. I’m not sure about the alarming fingernails, though. I didn’t know he had those until…well, they happened. I think nail polish is one of the world’s stupidest inventions, but apparently my characters disagree. At least it matches his outfit.

I need to fix the size of the body textures. Dolls don’t have seam lines like that….

Death in 3 minutes, 37 seconds, to a rock soundtrack

Death in 3 minutes, 37 seconds, to a rock soundtrack published on 1 Comment on Death in 3 minutes, 37 seconds, to a rock soundtrack

GOOD magazine provides a comic view at the death industry. My favorite part is that all the employees of the death industries are shown as ancient Egyptian jackal-headed gods of the underworld Anubis.

Despite the concept and the names behind it…

Despite the concept and the names behind it… published on No Comments on Despite the concept and the names behind it…

Dollhouse, an upcoming Fox series created and produced by Joss Whedon, starring Eliza Dushku and somehow involving Tim Minear [who was involved with Angel, Firefly and the rockin’ awesome Pushing Daisies], will go down in flames, despite a hyperactive cult following, only to be released on DVD in a year and a half with unaired episodes. I’m also not sure that the sexy but rather flat Eliza Dushku is the appropriate choice for a main character who is basically a Method actor bot. I don’t think she has enough range. It is amusing to note, however, that, in the linked interview, she’s very happy that the Red Sox Losers won the World Series.

Chow

Chow published on No Comments on Chow

I’m having some problems with the M3 mesh, so this is the only angle from which he doesn’t have strange lumps on his arms poking through. It’s also a characteristic posture. I would like everyone to know that I successfully subdued the V3 Ultimate Changing Ponytail and made Chow’s hair. He’s supposed to be dressed in a subdued and somewhat antiquated manner, befitting his personality.

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