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Back to the fancy stuff


So, I have spent most of last month playing around with casual wear for avatars. Which is all very well and good up to a certain point, but after a while boredom does set in. I usually wait to stumble upon something to give me an idea, and this time it was a big series of vectorized vintage flowers that I saw on vecteezy, one of my favorite resource haunts. So far I have ended up with 4 skin based outfits that are based upon these drawings. As is often the case with floral elements they all have historic overtones, one nearer in time to present day than the other three - more Art Deco than medieval, so to speak. But, in the end, all of them belong to a different age.
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Üsküdar

 I have been working on the Istanbul Facebook page quite diligently. However, so far I have not really ventured much outside of my own hood, Beşiktaş, where God knows there is enough material to fill not only one but many Facebook pages. The thing is that I want people to see other things too, of course. Especially other lifestyles.
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Dress-up Games


I have been in SL more of late. Finally managed to make the transition to the mesh body and the mesh head for Alpha. Wasn't easy to do, I still miss the scurrilous little face that the classic avi used to have and that, for the life of me, I cannot seem to achieve with the mesh head. Far too perfect. Far too smooth.
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Bıdık the Crow


My housemate Hafize has been taking care of a young crow for the past few weeks. And the relationship is becoming so hilarious that I want to make a note of it.
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Beşiktaş


I am not terribly patriotic when I think about Turkey as a whole. Sure I want the country to be OK. Sure, I want it to get out from under this yoke of oppression and tyranny - which I am fairly confident that it will, sooner or later. Sure, I like hearing the music, or eating the food. But, I do not well up in tears when I see the flag or anything like that. I do not think we are better than anyone else on the globe.
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My city is Istanbul


I may have found a way to put my street photos to some use. Not in terms of creativity, or design. I still have no ambitions or confidence in that regard. But there is something else that has been bugging me for ages, and there I may be able to do something with them. Which is trying (against all odds) to change the perception that people have of my city by starting a Facebook page (awful design, but nothing to be done about that, it is the thing that has the reach) where I simply post what I capture around me. And also a tumblr where I post the pictures in a much nicer way, mostly in order to satisfy my own designer cravings. Doubt that too many people will be looking at that one.
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Julian Assange


I am very upset about this. In fact, I obsess about it. For the man himself and what he has been subjected to obviously, but I also obsess about what this means. In Gordon Dimmack's words "this is the biggest story ever, in ever ever - bigger than Brexit, bigger than anything else" - speaking as someone from the UK. As someone from Turkey, Brexit has never been high on my agenda anyway, but looking at it from here, Julian Assange's plight is a bigger story than all the horror stuff we are currently undergoing in this country also.
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Going out on the streets

After exhausting home and cat photo topics I have ventured outdoors with the phone and have started taking street photos. I still get nervous when I point the thing at people but I am also realizing that, unlike a real camera, the phone does not seem phase anyone. They probably think I am just texting someone when I hold it up like that.
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The Selfie


Whenever I see a photo of myself taken by someone else I have a massive shock. This isn't something new, or something that is age related. Obviously I no longer look as good as I used to, and I wouldn't expect to come across as a glamour puss in photos. And like I said, it isn't a new thing anyway, I have had this experience for decades. The shock has less to do with how I look in these snaps than it has to do with my expression. Really really sour. Bad tempered. A very nasty old woman stares back at me.
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Starting to take photos


Never done it before. Never had the slightest interest, in fact. But now that I have the phone camera I have started to explore, starting with my own home and my cats. Which is probably how most people start with this. Their homes and their cats. And it is a lot of fun, I must say. A new toy, a new playground.
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Finally - a smart phone


For years I had a Blackberry. Something like 15 years. And then in the end the battery gave out and because it is such an old model it could no longer be replaced. At least not here in Turkey where HRH has banned Blackberry phones because they refused to hand over the user data to the government. So, I have had no choice but to go out and purchase a new phone. Being a consummate hater of all things Apple, I went for a Samsung A50. Android, a google product - which makes it hardly less criminal (even possibly more), but what is a person to do?
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So, we won the election


By a landslide, no less. HRH has been defeated, and defeated very badly indeed. At least here in Istanbul, at least for now. Last night the city turned into one big party, and my 'hood was once again one of the center stages of the celebrations. I was out for a bit too, but it was so crowded and so hectic that I didn't last long. Dancing everywhere. Belly dancers, halay dancers, disco dancers. Dancers and dancers. Young and old. Rakı glasses raised all over the place with the famous chant "to your health Tayyip." Dogs dressed in victory t-shirts being paraded around. Our beloved Çarşı soccer fan group out in full force in their black clad magnificence.
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Kikas and Marmaduke!


I am back from my travels. Porto first, then Greece, where I spent a few lovely days down in Kalamata where Katerina and Fotis have a village house up in the mountains above the city. Just gorgeous!
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Intimate Spaces for Metaverse Avatars?


I am going to Porto in a few days to make a presentation at the Consciousness Reframed 2019 conference. It is a trip that I am looking forward to especially since I will also be getting together with CapCat Ragu (Catarina Carneiro de Sousa in RL - and we have met before). But this time I will also be meeting with her mother SL artist extraordinaire Meilo Minotaur (Sameiro Sousa in RL) - and that will be a first time encounter which I am anticipating with a lot of pleasure.
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The big alpha.tribe update


I did not want to switch over to a mesh avatar for a very long time. I have had the Alpha shape and skin for years and I have really identified with Alpha, in that appearance. She looks like me. Or rather she looked like I looked 20 years ago. But, then a few weeks ago I decided that the switch had to be made if I wanted to keep up with SL as a fashion designer. I had to know how this stuff worked. It all had to do with what I have talked about on this blog from time to time. About no longer feeling up to scratch in SL, about a feeling that the world had overtaken me technologically and that I found it hard to be creative in it. So, among some other changes, I made the switch.
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Kokopelli

I love it when a software gives me ideas. And Sculptris does so. While I am playing around with the clay suddenly it looks like something and...
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And very well behaved they are...

Yesterday I finally got over all my inhibitions and went into 3D software, after remembering that Cica Ghost had once told me that she was using Sculptris. And after muddling around for quite a while, watching a lot of tutorials, I did get some results - the critters in the photo here. Had a hellish time with uploading the textures that I had also made for them into OpenSim (which is where I am testing all this before I spend a fortune in SL), at which point further investigation told me I had no other option but to install the dreaded loathsome Blender. And from there I could actually export the models with the embedded textures.
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The dumbing down of the World Mind



I have been teaching graphic design at 3 universities, good ones that are tough to get into, for 26 years. The thing about graphic design is that it is a complex field to be an instructor in. Contrary to popular misconception graphic design is not about visuality, it is actually about words. Or rather it is a field that lies at the intersection of words and images since the job of a graphic designer is to transform the spoken word into a visual artifact. Which is a highly sophisticated process, of course. How to go about doing that is what you teach. So, naturally, this involves going into all sorts of adjacent fields such as art, literature, cultural studies, history, mythology, semiotics, philosophy and so forth. In short, it involves an intertwining with the Humanities.
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Change the light - and...

The alpha.tribe sim keeps niggling at me. It is making me face my shortcomings. But something that I did today helped. Well, helped a bit.
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Binge watching Adam Curtis - but critically...

Well, binge watching is an exaggeration. But I did watch the episodes of a series called "the power of nightmares" back to back. And I have also watched "hypernormalisation" - but that was a while ago.
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Internet cats

My twitter account is anonymous, I do not post, I only follow news. That is, this is how it was until recently. I have been adding more and more cat accounts to my twitter and am actually far more interested in the cat owners who post than in all the "important people" I used to follow exclusively.
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Produsage


There is this, in my view terribly misplaced, myth that while using off the shelf software is an unavoidable evil, everything that gets built inside that software should be made by you. Painstakingly. Path by path. Or writing the code (that particular myth especially). Taking your own photos. Sculpting your own 3D models.
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Curly Things

Logotype for Mr. Tabby's Spice Shop ("tekir" is "tabby" in Turkish)

Handwritten fonts, script fonts, gothic letters, art deco, art nouveau, faux-oriental fonts, retro stuff, scrolls, ornaments, patterns - these are all challenging visual elements for graphic designers. Not only are they very tricky to get to work as part of a layout (alignment issues and so on), they also have to always be used within an appropriate context. In fact, they are so tricky that I advise my novice students to stay away from them at all cost until they become more experienced as designers. Otherwise, these things (no matter how attractive they may appear to be by themselves) can end up becoming visual mine fields when placed in proximity to the other stuff that will also be on your page.
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Indulging my graphic designer's heart

Sitting at home, not going out much - if at all - I am busy making visual identities. First I did the companion species thing, which is actually 4 identities rolled into one. I had a blast doing that one. That project was so absurdly playful that I could go ballistic.
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The old scientific stuff


I had to create a new tumblr site. Yes, had to, not wanted to. And floundering around in my hard drives for what to put in the damn thing I came across all these old charts and diagrams and powerpoint presentation slides that I had made, especially during the PhD years. And some of it surprised me. It ain't half bad... And then I also seem to have made some stuff along those lines for fun. So, that is what will now go into this new tumblr site that has been forced upon me.
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Companion Species

The term "Companion Species" was coined by Donna Haraway who examined a very particular relationship between human beings and animals - specifically domesticated animals. A relationship, which according to Haraway, is built on a "significant otherness."