Self-critique

8:30 am local, and here I am “replying” to the latest Single Frame Story without having submitted one…

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Thing is: I’m a lot better with words than images. Oh, yeah, I post a lot of snapshots — but that’s all they are. No setup, minimal if any tweaking, and always of other avatars or builds. What I’m saying with them is either, “You’re my friend and I want us both to remember this occasion,” or “You’re a random stranger who struck my eye with your originality, and I think you should be seen by other random strangers.” (The latter goes for builds as well as avvies.)

Composing a deliberate photographic image to illustrate a theme… not so much. Of the two I’ve offered so far, one was recycled. When “critique” appeared as the topic, the first and only thing I could think of was the Op-Ed page (tab at upper right), because that’s where and how I do my critical thing. You can go there and read some of them if you want — or not, up to you — but there was a time when I could, and did, spend six to eight hours polishing before posting.

That’s where the “self-critique” comes into this: it’s the two-edged sword of the writer.

Even so… “Single Frame Story” has become my favorite avatarian blog. To see the entries from others is to see into their minds, if only through the path their creators want you to take. Even when the topics don’t inspire me to try, the results are always inspirational.

And, it’s a challenge — to me, to stretch the mind, to try something I haven’t before. I need that.

We all do.

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Randomness

Early Voting

I went to elementary school in the late ’50s, when we were taught things like “civics” (how government works) and “citizenship” (one’s duty to participate).  In those days between Korea  and Vietnam, nothing much was said about military service; on the other hand, we had dozens of tales about World War II to draw inspiration from, outside of class. The two most important things I learned, and still adhere to, are jury duty and voting.

I’ve never understood why jury duty has become something people seem to wish to avoid… I’ve been called three times and never chosen, but I would have relished the chance to “perform my civic duty,” as the phrase used to go, and I will be just as eager to do so again, when called.

Voting — well, I haven’t missed a federal election since 1972, the year after the age was reduced from 21 to 18; ironically, also the year I turned 21.  Election Day was tantamount to a civic holiday, on the same order as Veterans Day (which we still called Armistice Day in my youth), Memorial Day, or (gasp! how socialist!) Labor Day — days during which, even if we had to work or go to school, we paused to both honor and, on Election Day, perpetuate the democratic republic established in our Constitution.

… and then, on that first Tuesday after the first Monday of November, we’d all go home and watch the returns, then wait 8 to 10 more weeks for the inaugurations.

This year, on the next-to-last day of October, I succumbed for the first time to the siren call of early voting. Sure, it was convenient — especially since Indiana’s standard Election Day hours are from 6 am to 6 pm, as if we all still had plenty of time to vote that morning after sloppin’ the hawgs. But it feels weird, somehow… a disconnect between the act of casting the ballot and seeing the results.

I’ll get used to it.

Virtuality

What with all the Reality going on around me (and within me, see below), there’s increasingly little in SL (or Iwz) I can be arsed about.  I’m still maintaining my pixel land in both places, but visiting it? Rarely happens any more. Besides, between one thing and another, I’m rarely awake past 9 pm (6 pm SL/IW time), and never online while I’m with my sweetie Emspar, every weekend.

What hasn’t changed is the friendships and conversations with people I met first in virtuality and now carry on out-of-world(s). Thank you, all, from as deeply as I can express.

Reality

Pretty much official: I have lung cancer, from which the brain tumor is a metastasis. So much for not heeding the Surgeon General… There’s another biopsy scheduled for next Monday (11/5) to nail down the histology, then chemo will begin some time after that. Wednesday (11/7) begins “treatment planning” for the brain tumor.

And somewhere in there, I ought to try to quit smoking.

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B&W

And now, for something completely different: a cat with three… oh, never mind.

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I am completely ignorant of SL fashion; for one thing, I’m a guy; for another, there’s way too little menswear of a style that suits me, whether furry, neko, or human. Nevertheless, I follow a couple of avatars on Twitter who happen to be fashion bloggers, and one of them is Strawberry Singh.

Thus, I randomly opened up a post of hers last week, to learn of a “Black and White Blogger Challenge” put forth by another fashionista, Maci Restless. This was the day after I had installed the latest Firestorm, and had paged through the new additions to the Windlight preset menu.

I couldn’t decide which of these was the best, so I’m posting them all: Three Variations on a Black Cat in the Dark.

Windlight: Bryn Oh’s Rusted Gears

Windlight: Orac – Black fog 1

Windlight: Surreal Night (Paulina)

No post-processing – just me and the Windlight. And it wouldn’t be a proper fashion entry without:

Shape, skin, paws, ears: “Lost Crypt” Black Cat from Lost Furest (Cheetah Kitty, Oct 2008)

Tail: Panther Animation Studios (2009)

Hair: !TM Sordid Midnight (Tami McCoy, 2009)

Glasses: Mia’s bigcat eyglasses (2009)

Clothing: What clothing?

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