Sunday, 13 January 2013

Review: Hoorenbeek's Cargo Pants

ARMAGEDDON DOWN TO HOORENBEEK

My SL Prepper, bedecked in the finery of H's Mesh Cargo Pants

21st December 2012: That has to go down in history as the worst apocalypse ever. I, for one, was very disappointed. I’d made all the preparations (bought in some extra cans of beans, a clockwork torch and radio, camo jacket, etc). And then nothing. It was terribly disappointing.

And I had such an amazing post-apocalypse post planned for Every Second Man! I was going to include tips and tricks for surviving, special moves for taking down a zombie in a one-on-one situation ... tonnes of stuff. But (sighs) it all seems a bit redundant now. There’s been no apocalypse, no polar shift and no rising of the undead. Life (and Second Life) goes on as normal.

However, I will still introduce you to my SL Prepper, who is all kitted out with the very latest in post-apocalyptic fashion, including the newly released Hoorenbeek Mesh Cargo Pants!

Mesh Cargos from Hoorenbeek have been on my SL wish-list for a while now. Their non-mesh cargos were the best I had come across in SL, and I was really excited to see how they would tackle them in mesh form. The results, I’m delighted to say, are very, very pleasing indeed.

They come in six colours (three camo and three plain), and they’re suited to both the military prepper look and the casual look (particularly the beige, as I've illustrated in my montage below). The hem of the trousers comes in four different variations that allows you to pick one that best goes with your shoes or boots, whether they be high boots, ankle boots or just shoes. This works pretty well and with some adjusting I was able to get each pair of boots I tried to fit very pleasingly with the trousers. In all honesty I’m not likely to look for the ‘trousers tucked into my boots’ look very often, but when I do, the option is there, so this is definitely a good thing. 

'I see you baby ...'
As if my posterior wasn't tantalising enough

The detailing on the trousers is typically excellent. The shading, zips, pockets and seams are all first class, as is the choice of patterns in the camo. This goes for the belt, too, which comes in five different colours and a big silver Hoorenbeek buckle.

If there were any criticisms of the cargos, they would really be down to my own personal preferences; I couldn' find anything functionally wrong with them at all. For example, I like cargos with big chunky pockets, particularly at the back, but in comparison to Hoorenbeek's non-mesh equivalent the pockets are much smaller. Also, the belt is fabric and I would have loved a leather option. Finally, and perhaps my biggest moan, I would have liked to have been able to wear them without a belt. Unfortunately, the deep shading around the waist, marking where the belt should be, means that you can't do this unless your t-shirt, jumper or whatever actually covers that area of your waist.

Overall, I think these cargos are excellent and are definitely a worthy addition in any prepper's fashion kit. True, the 21st December didn't really live up to the hype (sighs), but who knows what cataclysmic catastrophe awaits us? At least with Hoorenbeek cargos, we can make sure we look bloody good when it strikes.

You can buy these cargos by visiting Marketplace (click here) or by going down to their inworld shop (click here). A pair is priced at $520L and the fatpack of six is set at $2100L.

Happy shopping : o )   


Post-apocalypse, it's the man with the burnt out car and the old mattress that will be King


The colours: Brown, Black, Green, Grey, Olive and (to show a more casual look) Beige 



Saturday, 22 December 2012

Exclusive Interview with the Flatterbot Scam Artist

   The Mind Behind the Scam


To many in SL, the scenario is frustratingly familiar.

You TP to a new location, usually a shop, and immediately your IM box is flashing. A woman, having complimented you on your wonderful avatar, is spinning a yarn that has it all: anger, betrayal, heartbreak, jealousy and Linden poverty. Eventually, you must choose between putting your hand in your pocket and helping this poor waif get back on her feet, or brushing yourself down and walking on. 

Of course, there is no woman. You've been speaking to a bot that churns out a scripted sob story. And if you did put your hand in your pocket, you've just been scammed. 

These bots have become the plague of SL. Signs have been put up warning about them, notices flash up in local chat exhorting the public to be aware of their wiles, and whole blogs have been started, dedicated to tracking down these bots and the person or persons controlling them. 

Now, Every Second Man brings you an exclusive interview with the person that claims to be behind this entire operation. Speaking to ESM using the bot Nanyea, an insight is provided both into the workings of the scam and mindset behind it. 


The Interview

B:       Thank you agreeing to this interview, Nanyea. I’m sure you know the first question that everyone will want answer: how much do you earn?

N:           I make roughly $40,000L per day.

B:           No way!

N:           Way. And consistently for three months. Everybody is exploiting everyone here.

B:           You know people are going to find this figure hard to believe, don’t you?

N:           I suppose they would have to ask themselves why I would be wasting so much energy on this if the return wasn’t there.

B:           You might just enjoy the thrill of it.

N:        I would use this to be much more malicious if I enjoyed the thrill of it, like handing out stores of full perm items just to watch the economy fall.

B:          How many bots do you have operating?

N:          10-15 at a time.

B:          Do you monitor each conversation?

N:         No. That’s not even possible; I message far too many people for that. Sometimes I catch a glimpse of people shouting at me or something.

B:          What’s the usual reaction when someone realises they’re being chatted up by a bot?

N:          “Fuck off”

B:          That’s it? There’s no curiosity or anything?

N:        No, not generally. I don’t think people realise on their own. Most of the time it’s pointed out to them by another player. They usually just want to abandon the conversation due to what they might have revealed to me. I’ve been doing this for three months. It’s pretty hard not to be informed now. There are signs about me in every store. It’s OK though. I have a new idea in the works. It’s just taking some time for me to do the analytics on it.

B:           Do all your bots use the same patter?

N:           Yes. I’ve been quite lazy about that; they all currently use the same sob story.

B:      Have you ever conducted more personal engagements? So actually getting to know someone and maybe courting them a little bit somehow?

N:           Oh God no. As in building friendships or romantic involvements? No. I do very little.

B:          Who are your best marks? Lonely men?

N:         I don’t have any particular marks. I just go to high traffic areas and let it run its course. I can’t discern between men and women. There aren’t as many men here. I think it’s more likely to be women who can relate to my story of being taken advantage of in SL. And I do have that story – it’s not bullshit. I pulled it from my RL. I’m just not jaded like I was; SL lost its lustre a long time ago. If I were going to target men specifically, I don’t think they would want to hear a sob story. I doubt it’s that alluring to someone that just wants cartoon sex.

B:         How do you live with yourself?

N:        I’m like a bum on the street; most people are pretty sure that he has a home and they give him a dollar knowing he’s probably not going to buy a hamburger with it. It’s just panhandling in SL. Once, when I was in Seattle, I saw a girl with a fishing pole and a sign dangling from it. It said ‘Fishin’ for Change!’ I thought it was creative and I gave her a dollar.

B:      There’s a clear difference in both of your examples though. There’s no deception in the girl’s approach. Even with the ‘bum’, the giver knows to whom he is giving money, and there is almost definitely some disadvantage in this person’s life, regardless of whether or not he ultimately spends the money on scotch or food.

N:         That’s debateable. A lot of the content in SL is provided by deception, so it’s not really the same world. RL and SL don’t follow the same standard. 

B:         How did you get started in this?

N:      Initially I was commissioned by a creator (that I shan’t name) to advertise their store. When I ran a test using the begging bot, I made $120,000L in one day, so instead of providing that to the creator that hired me, I just kept it for myself. I decided when it had run its course, it would be done. I haven’t changed the dialogue and I haven’t gotten sneakier, though I could do all of those things.

B:          You’ve been going three months. Any plans to retire?

N:          For sure.

B:          You said earlier that you were working on something new.

N:         Ha! I was just being an ass. Sometimes my ego gets in the way.

B:      I do sense quite an ego in you. You’re clever, and I wonder if perhaps you feel a little unappreciated.

N:         I don’t think I’m better than anyone else. Lots of people send me hate messages and I just retort with snide comments. I take a lot of shit from all angles. The copybot community doesn’t approve of me; the general public doesn’t approve of me. There are whole forums dedicated to my removal, so I get defensive, because I don’t think I exploit this nearly as much as I could. The forums and blogs that are writing about me – it’s all garbage. They’re playing detective and trying to link avatars to me, but none of it is true, which sucks for the people they are calling to take the rap for me. I don’t have a main avatar that I’m protecting. My avatar was banned the first time around for not paying my tier fees. After that, I began exploiting SL because I didn’t care anymore. All of my accounts became expendable.

B:         I saw that someone has attempted to link you through a chain of copybotted hair.

N:       Yes. It’s all garbage. The person that writes that blog has a bunch of random avatars posted in her attempt to play sleuth. Instead of going to those people and asking them directly, she just started posting pictures of these avatars. They’re not tied together at all. My bot receives a lot of copybotted stuff from random people. A lot of the time people will copybot something in another person’s name anyway. It’s hard to really be sure who the copybotter was. Anyway, those avatars listed don’t belong to me; I don’t have a main avatar. When I attempted to refute the claim, it was dismissed. Of course it looks like I am trying to hide something, but all of those avatars seem to have had time and money spent on them, and it sucks for them to catch the backlash. I just kill my bots when I’m done with them and move on to the next set.

B:         Are you concerned about RL legal consequences for your actions?

N:       I’m not familiar with the legalities of what I do. I suppose if someone wanted to bother to take me to the civil court they could. What I do isn’t illegal; I offer nothing in return. No exchange is made. To scam you, I would have to tell you that I am offering you something for monetary compensation; I don’t ask for anything.

B:         What about a criminal prosecution? In Britain, what you’re doing is illegal.

N:         That’s ridiculous. Panhandling would be fun to try and prosecute.

B:         So you’re not concerned at all?

N:        The short answer is no. I’m not concerned about any RL backlash or recourse for begging for spare change on the internet. There are far more malicious things out there.

B:       There’s a big perception that LL does nothing about this type of thing. Is that true in your case?

N:       How can they be asked to hall monitor everyone? They provided a platform for people to come and sell each other intangible trash that they don’t need. How does LL even determine who is the true creator of what? By who uploaded it first? There’s plenty of crap in SL being sold that was stolen from many different platforms.

B:       But I’m talking about you and the operation that you have going on. Has LL come after you in way?

N:           For what? For begging? For being annoying?

B:           So there’s been no contact?

N:           No.

B:           Do you ‘play’ SL at all in a normal sense?

N:           Not anymore. I haven’t in many years, since 2009. My original avi is from 2007.

B:           Do you ever talk about what you do with others inworld?

N:       People ask me sometimes and if I see it I’ll admit the truth. I’ve spoken to several creators. Most of them are most annoyed that their IMs are flooded with crap about me, rather than being annoyed about what I’m actually doing. I feel bad about that I guess; that the public is messaging sim owners like 1000 times a day. It’s been a while, however, since I chatted to someone on the internet for more than five minutes.

B:           Do you like having someone to talk to?

N:           Sure. It makes it less mundane.

B:           Tell me about your RL self.

N:           Ask me specifically.

B:           Are you a guy? Where are you from? Do you have kids? Are you married? Do you work?

N:           I am not a guy. I’m from the US, and yes to the rest.

B:           How old are you?

N:           25-30.

B:           Nanyea, thank you very much for agreeing to be interview by Every Second Man.

N:           You’re welcome Blaise. 

It would seem that the information campaign is working in raising awareness of this scam

Thursday, 20 December 2012

10 Gift Ideas When Buying for the Women of SL

BLAISE BUYS FOR HARPER


I find this time of year bloody stressful, and a large part of that is buying gifts, RL and SL. What's worse is having friends like Harper Beresford. What on Earth can I buy for the Queen of Second Life that she doesn't already have, has already seen or has already been given by someone else? Of course, we all encounter this problem to a larger or lesser degree, and it was funny when chatting with Harper that she had thought the same about buying for me. So ... it was agreed ... we would buy each other a positively generous ten gifts, five in SL and five in RL, and we would write a post on what we were buying and why we had made that choice.

You can read Harper's gift choice for lucky me by clicking here.

As for me, I hope that both Harper and you enjoy my choices. Perhaps some of the ideas will help you choose some nice presents for the women in your Second Life. If we stick together, men of SL, we can get through this seemingly interminable time of year with our wives', girlfriends' and lady friends' respect intact.

It's a jungle out there. Good luck, men of SL. Here are my choices.

SL Gift #1: Prada Influenced Embroidered Gown from Paisley Daisy


First off, I'm taking a brave plunge in buying a dress for Harper. Yes, she probably has thousands; yes, she's probably the hardest woman in SL to please, but I don't feel I can lose with one of SL's hottest new dress designers. Joeylin from Paisley Daisey does exceptionally high quality work, and as soon as I saw this dress I knew it would be on the gift list. What's more, guys, Joeylin does a rather fine line in negligee and lingerie, so this is definitely a winning designer to introduce your girlfriends to.

You can pick up the Prada Inspired Gown on MP for $350L by clicking here, or visit Joeylin's inworld shop by clicking here.



SL Gift #2: Sparkle Small Mesh Avi from Immortals



I knew when deciding what to buy for Harper I had to be different. Having experimented with the whacky world of petites and small avis, I know what a lot of fun it is (you can read about my adventures in the land of the pint-sized people by clicking here). Immortals' new release 'Sparkle' will be a lot of fun, I think, and I like the idea of a gift we can enjoy together, as I can dust down my own little avi and take Harper out for a night of partying at Shrinkydinks.

You can pick up Sparkle for $1,400L by visting the Immortals' inworld story by clicking here. Contact Isabelle Torok inworld for assistance in gifting one. 


SL Gift #3: $500L Gift Card from Chop Zuey


The award-winning  and exceptionally helpful model Portia Pexington, bedecked in her Chop Zuey finery

Bloggers always need accessories. It's not like we choose an item of clothing to blog, throw it on and snap some pictures. A lot of time and effort goes into perfecting the whole look, in order to show the item being blogged at its very best. No one does this better than Harper, so a gift card from one of SL's finest jewellery designers is in order.

You can pick up gift cards from Chop Zuey by clicking here and visiting their inworld store.


SL Gift #4: Ice Skates in White from BAX



It's true that when I set out on this mission I had a lot of ideas about what I wanted to get Harper. But sometimes you just come across something that is so charming, so irresistably endearing, that it just pushes aside any other preconceived ideas you had. So it was with these ice skates from BAX. When you consider that BAX offers a personal fitting service to all of its customers, I think this makes the perfect winter gift.

You can pick up a set of BAX ice skates on MP for $349L by clicking here, or visit the store inworld by clicking here.


SL Gift #5: "Enhanced Avatar Physics" by Fey Telling




OK. This gift is a little less ... umm ... cultured than the others. But come on! How does a guy resist an advert with the tagline "Subtle Breast Jiggles"? Plus, I thought it would combine nicely with the ice skates.

So, guys, if your SL girlfriend is a little static in the packet, needs more lust in the bust, or some more rhumba in the chumbawumbas, consider this little baby. And at $30L, if she point blank refuses to try it, you can just pretend it was one big joke. And if she's really angry, feel free to use the "Baby! This is all just a storm in a D cup!" line. That should calm things down.

You can pick up the "Avatar Physics" on MP for $30L by clicking here.


RL Gift #1: Blogging for Dummies



There's an unwritten rule that you're allowed one book per person when buying gifts. This is my choice for Harper (sniggers). Available for about $20.00 on Amazon. 

RL Gift #2: Flowers



Yes, a simple bouquet of flowers. Personally, I think flowers aren't given enough. They're beautiful, they smell wonderful, and they light up any room. And ladies - guys like getting flowers too. With companies like Interflora doing international deliveries, there's no excuse for not lighting up someone's day with a simple bunch of flowers. Just check she doesn't have any life-threatening allergies first ...

RL Gift #3: Spanish Lessons




I always think a nice gift is when you give of yourself; your skills, your time, your work. There isn't too much I can do for Harper in a practical sense with me being in the UK and she being in the US, but I teach Spanish and so, Harper, here is a promissory note for three Spanish lessons for you or a person you nominate! If it's someone nearer, you could offer to wash their car, clear their path of snow, teach them the piano; anything really. And if it's your wife or girlfriend ... well! ... I shall leave that to your imagination ...

RL Gift #4: The Complete Collection of Hitchcock on DVD


 

I love a good box set, and there's nothing like it over the holiday season; off work, working off the turkey and mince pies on the couch. The classics are always a winner, and I'm quietly confident that someone as smart as Harper will be partial to a little Hitchcock. Available on Amazon for about $60.00.

RL Gift #5: Amazon Gift Card



And finally, even if I've buggered up everything else, there's an Amazon gift card winging its way to Harper to the tune of $100. No! It's not a cop out! A gift card is a really nice way of saying "I don't always deign to know exactly what you need or want; I understand that at times there may be something you'd like to choose yourself, and I would like to buy that special something as a gift."

And Finally ....

Three Gifts You Probably Shouldn't Buy ...
(or at least should think very carefully about)


A Puppy




... unless it's specifically by request of course! You know the old adage about buying puppies at Christmas ...


Candles



Urgh ... I hate candles as presents. They just scream "I had no idea what to buy you so I just picked this up at the supermarket." OK. Maybe this one is a little too personal. This is plea to anyone who will listen: please STOP buying me candles!

 

Novelty Vibrators



OK ... I understand that the breast physics entry probably cost me any moral authority on this ...

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Review: Egoisme's Pea Coat

TO PEA OR NOT TO PEA

(Note: Ego's Pea Coat Floats My Boat)




Silly post titles aside, why is it even called a Pea Coat?

As it's basically a sailor's coat, my deductive mind thought it might be because sailors would don this style in bad weather, or during 'pea soupers' as my Grandad used to call particularly foggy days (I can't reprint what he used to call my Grandma's pea soup).

But no, it's not that. After spending countless minutes researching the topic on the utterly infallible Wikipedia, it would seem that the term comes from the Dutch or West Frisian term pijjekka. While pijjekka might sounds like a slang word referring to a man's ... umm ... nautical equipment, it isn't, and actually the pij part refers to the coarse wool that the garment was made from. Have a look on Wikipedia here if you don't believe me. Like I said, infallible!

So anyway, etymology aside, what of the eponymous Egoisme Pea Coat? Well, it's mesh, it comes in ten different colours, and it costs a rather affordable $250L. And, I must say, I rather like it.

If I'm honest, it wasn't an instant taker for me, and I vacillated over it somewhat (as I am wont to do) before I decided 'Yes! I like this coat!' There are some aspects of this coat, you see, that are somewhat bizarre. For example, the direction that the 'grain' of the fabric runs in is somewhat erratic. On the body at the front it's kind of diagonal, and then diagonal in the opposite direction on the arms, and so forth. And then the buttons, which are for the most part perfectly round and buttonesque. However the top button on the front of the jacket has been squashed into a really quite bizarre shape (as can be seen from the picture). These, however, aren't flaws, because this jacket is rather unique and it all only adds to the sense of this coat being quirky and different. For me, it definitely contributes to its charm.

If I was to find any flaws with it, it's that the coat can seem a tad angular (particularly in the arms, as can be seen in the pictures). Also, it would be really nice if the coat had a few options with it, such as being able to wear it closed. When I field tested it, it only drew positive comment. The only criticisms were actually directed toward the outfit as a whole: "Love the outfit, but lose the hat," or "Great coat, but the shirt ... srsly??" For me personally, I love the coat's quirkiness, and I love its mixture of style and, well, warmth (we are in November, after all). I particularly like its shape, especially at the back, and I've provided a photo of that so you can specifically admire that aspect with me.

Should you wish to take to the high seas in style or just start wrapping up a little (lest you get a chill on your chest), you can head down to Egoisme by clicking here. There's a handy demo version too, which is always worth a try first.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Obamarama

Barack Hussein Obama II, President of the United States of America

A collective sigh of relief resounded around the world today, as it awoke to read the news of who would (and who wouldn't) be leading the world's only superpower for the next four years. That's right - Barack Hussein Obama II was reelected for a second term as President of the USA, much to the delight of reasonable, fair-minded, intellectual people across the globe and to the deep chagrin of ... well ... other types.

I like subtlety when choosing metaphors in my photography

"But you're not even American," I hear you cry (as well as some even cried about Obama himself). True, but this election gripped the world because of the influence that its outcome will exert on all our lives. This, coupled with the Republican penchant for starting wars it can't finish, means everyone had a vested interest in keeping an eye on things State-side. 

Love him or hate him, few disagree that he's a great orator

And, above all that, even if I don't really understand the American political system (which I don't), or don't understand how a candidate can get less votes and still win the election, and certainly don't get what part an Electrical College plays in all of this, that man is just so damn charismatic. He, and the First Lady, just ooze poise and dignity and decorum, maintained throughout with people questioning his ethnicity and religious background, and asking these questions with the absolute conviction that these things really matter in a leader.

I hope you enjoy some pictures I took great delight in making today to mark this occasion, together with a video I made last night with Harper Beresford of the man himself and his First Lady celebrating (at least, that's how they're celebrating in my head).

If you're wondering how I was able to make such a wonderful likeness of the great man himself, it was with the absolute graft and talent of the very lovely Siobhin Shippe of Waxworx who made Obama's shape and gave him to me to skin and dress. Shiobhin is one of SL's premier shape designers and as well as her stock of standard models she also accepts custom orders if you, like so many, find that avis offered in SL aren't quite up to your RL Adonisian standards. A couple of clear photos of yourself is all she needs, and you'll be seeing yourself cruising the grid in no time. Click here to visit her store









Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Review: Redgrave's King Skin

CRADLE TO THE REDGRAVE

And you would think, being a medical man, that he would know better
One solid weekend of training and now his First Aid Certificate sits proudly taped to his locker door
Some say that everyone in SL is looking for something. For some, it’s love. For others, it’s sex. For yet others, it’s a simple escape from the drudgery of RL. For me (right now anyway), it’s an older looking skin.

Yes, I’m on a quest at the moment. I’m in my 30s, and like a lot of men here I don’t like looking as if I’m only just moving out of puberty. However, I have found that older looking skins are in quite short supply. I should really qualify ‘older’. For me, ‘older’ in SL means over 25. For a long time, now, I’ve used Belleza’s Jacob skin. He’s young, but if you look closely he’s definitely no teen, and he even appears to have little crow’s feet creeping in (something, I’m glad to say, that hasn’t appeared in RL yet!).

From speaking to other men on the subject, it seems I’m not the only one that feels this way, and that there is a definite demand for such skins. Therefore, as and when I find them, I will be making a marked effort to bring you reviews of ‘older’ skins. This can be a concerted effort, so if you know of any good skins that fit the bill, drop me an IM or leave your suggestions in the comments below.

The very first to kick off this little expedition into the wonderful world of aging is Redgrave’s King skin.

To be honest, this guy is a little bit older than I’m looking for (fussy, fussy me!). I would put him around 40, but ... what a 40 year old! There’s definitely more than a dash of the action hero about this man. You get the sense that every line, crease, mark and imperfection has been earned in saving the world, probably several times, and that he’s diffused more than his fair share of bombs while simultaneously operating an uzi on some bad guys with his left hand and pouring a glass of champagne with his right, all the while making love to a beautiful double agent and making a donation to ‘Save the Pandas’ on his mobile phone.

However, as I couldn’t find a pose that adequately portrayed this scenario, I chose another suitably heroic profession for him, and cast him as a combat medic. As you can see, this is a very detailed and realistic skin indeed. The chest and chest hair seems particularly lifelike, and the abs are defined and manly without being ridiculous. It’s true that this won’t become ‘my’ skin, but that’s only because it’s older than I’m looking for. However, I can’t fault its quality and I know this will be making regular appearances in ESM whenever a heroic figure is needed. Roar!

If you like the idea of ditching the pre-pubescent teen look and being a real man (roar!), head on down to Redgrave my clicking here. You can pick up a bundle for $990L which, considering current rates for skins, I think is rather good. I would like to thank my willing models for the shoot: Cael Caudron as the unhelpful rubbernecker and Roary "Supposed to be Injured but Looks More Like He's Eaten a Jam Donut Without a Plate" Cymru. They both well illustrate the younger bodies (boo!) that populate SL in contrast to the cool, firm maturity (roar!) of King.


"I'm going be honest with you, son. I'm not as competent as this arm band suggests."




Saturday, 3 November 2012

CTS Competition Winners

HIP HIP HOOREYMUNDO!

El Nuevo Reymundo
(you just can't beat history jokes, especially those in another language)

Every Second Man is proud to announce that a winner has been chosen for the CTS Wardrobe Competition. Readers were asked to state in one sentence why they (or someone they nominated) need the Wardrobe. Answers flooded in, some of which were funny, some of which were very creative, and some just downright desperate for inventorial rescue. However, for me, one entry had it all: humour, pathos, romance, and above all the possibility of redemption for a sartorially challenged man. Therefore, I am pleased to announce the winner of the ESM CTS Wardrobe competition as Callie Latham who submitted this rather heart-rending entry: 

"For the love of my sanity, please give this wardrobe to my husband so that our pictures can have some variety and don't all look like they were taken on the same day because he can only find one outfit!"

And so it is. Right now, direct from Carlyle Theas Solutions, a CTS Wardrobe is winging its way to Reymundo, Callie's husband. 

"I'm just so pleased," said Reymundo, talking to ESM earlier today. "My inventory was getting out of control. I have like 30 items in it already, 10 of which are just t-shirts! 10! I mean, who needs 10 different t-shirts? I've only been in SL just over a year. It's amazing how stuff just piles up if you're not careful."

"This will be a great step forward for Rey," agreed Callie. "While we do need to address his profligate spending, I think the wardrobe will help him not to feel overwhelmed and at least get his burgeoning inventory under control. Heaven forbid, with his 'one a week' habit for t-shirts, he would have been pushing on nearly 50 items in his inventory before long!"

I would like to say a huge thank you both to Carlyle Theas for sponsoring this competition, and of course to everyone who took the time to enter and compose witty and original ideas for needing that wardrobe. I will be running more competitions for the ESM group, as well as launching some rather tasty group gifts pretty damn soon, so keep an eye out for those. However, once again congratulations to Callie and Reymundo, and remember that if you weren't lucky enough to win this time, you can always pick it up on marketplace by clicking here. 




Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Review: Hoorenbeek's Mesh Blazer

BLAISE BLOGS BODLEIAN BLAZERS


The notation on the blackboard is purely to calculate whether I can afford yet another fatpack
This is the second Hoorenbeek blazer that I’ve reviewed, the first being the rather delectably suave Mesh Leather Blazer. This, however, is a very different cut of suave. This is the blazer of the academic, the intelligentsia and the literati. And before you scoff at that, do remember that some of the West’s most popular icons are academics, Sherlock Holmes and Indiana Jones to cite two examples. There’s no doubt about it: brains are sexy. And if you slap in a little dash of privilege, the result can be near irresistible.

Which is what we have here, for this blazer exudes education and privilege. In form, it is a single breasted pin striped blazer, worn either open or closed, with two gold buttons at the front and four on each cuff. It comes in six colours and has a choice of three badges that can be worn on the left breast pocket, although you can also wear it without the badge.

In its form, it’s a near perfect blazer. It holds a really good shape (particularly in the shoulders, which are often poor in mesh jackets) and looks every bit as tailored and fitted as it should. The textures are excellent, and the badges stand out for particular praise in this regard, and hold outstanding detail even at the closest scrutiny, should someone so decide to zoom right in on your left breast pocket to see what you’re all about.
I like all of the colours, but particularly the blue, black and green (in that order). To my amazement, I even like the white! Usually in mesh fatpacks, the white just looks like the one that hasn’t been coloured from the template, but not at all with this blazer. It looks as equally smart and preppy as every other colour here.

There are only a few criticisms of this blazer, and they’re very minor. The biggest is that, when you wear the jacket open, the left lapel partially covers the badge. Yes, yes ... I know ... that is particularly picky! Sad to admit, but I even went to my wardrobe and dug out my old blazer to check that my memory wasn’t faulty, and (as I had I thought) I could wear my blazer open with abandon, never in fear that my alma mater’s badge would be even partially obscured! The other point (which is oh so picky!) is the badges themselves, the selection of which I found rather odd. You can pick from a lion (I expect to be corrected on this if it turns out to be a griffon or something else but, whatever it is, it's suitably heraldic), the coat of arms for the Royal Ulster Constabulary (the controversial and now defunct police force of Northern Ireland) or a badge (of all counties!) of Yorkshire. What would I have chosen? Well, I don’t know, but I have included a picture (quite at random and without any bias, of course) at the top of this post of perhaps a badge that could be considered in future editions of this jacket.

However, despite my carping (and, I must say, even by my standards I have been particularly picky!), I absolutely love this blazer. It’s smart, sophisticated and will blend with a lot of different styles and, as with most Hoorenbeek products, the quality is outstanding. If you fancy looking edumacated, you can pick it up for $520L by visiting the Hoorenbeek store by clicking here


The Badges: The RUC, a liony griffony thing, and (coughs) Yorkshire
(you can wear it without a badge, too, of course)
The colours: White, green, black, bordeaux, blue and grey 



Friday, 19 October 2012

Win a CTS Wardrobe

Interview with Carlyle Theas

Plus Your Chance to Win the CTS Wardrobe!

Come on! What prize isn't made better by a big red bow and a girl in a bikini sitting on it? 

This is it! You had thought it wasn't true, but yes! ESM brings you the opportunity to win (yes, win!) the CTS Wardrobe Inventory Organiser (read the review here if you need reminding why you so desperately want one) and we bring you a very special interview with the designer, creator and all round cerebralist Carlyle Theas. As both an entrepreneur and SL product inventorator, this was a rare opportunity to probe the type of creative mind that I could only ever dream of having and pitch my own business idea to her. Carlyle was gracious, articulate and oh so very professional, clearly immune to any of my charms or 'wit' and very patient in gently explaining her product to a person whose IT skills don't extend beyond pressing Ctrl, Alt, Delete. 

Blaise & Carlyle during the interview
In this shot, I think I skilfully captured the moment when Carlyle started to think that I might not really be up to job of this interview

B:        Hello Carlyle. Welcome to ESM and thanks for agreeing to a short interview : o ) 

C:        You’re welcome, Blaise : ) 

B:        So ... tell me the history of the CTS Wardrobe.

C:        I released it in May 2010, prompted by own personal need. I had been looking for a system but I couldn't find one I like. I didn't like those where you had to save snapshots as textures, because you had to pay for uploads and it took ages to rez. Having a web-based system eliminates these problems, and it's also much easier to search through your catalogue of items.

B:        Did it take long to develop?

C:        I have always worked full-time in RL, so I couldn’t devote too much time to it. I think it took me about two months of my spare time to come up with a working version. I’m always getting suggestions from customers (and having ideas of my own), so I’m always working on improving it.

B:        The reviews on MP (as well as my own review, of course) are overwhelmingly positive. What kind of feedback have you got personally?

C:        Most people I talk to really like the system. There are some critics, of course, particularly on the learning curve. I’m always amazed, though, at how many people use it and how positive the response is.

B:        I noticed that you have a number of different products on sale. Are there any more innovations in the pipeline?

C:        Well you never know! I’m always working on something. Recently I’ve been concentrating on improving existing products, but if you have any ideas, you’re more than welcome to let me know!

B:        I do actually. I have an idea for a product that I think would be really useful to men of SL : o ) 

C:        Oh?

B:        Yes. It’s a ‘Girlfriend Management System’. Lots of people in SL have multiple girlfriends (and boyfriends, of course), which can at time lead to humorously awkward situations! Some kind of management system where you can timetable when certain people are on, have prompts so you don’t get names wrong, alerts if you’re with one partner on a sim and another enters into radar range, etc, etc. I think it would be a best-seller. What do you think?

C:        ...........

B:        I mean, obviously I wouldn't need anything like that personally.

C:        ...........

B:        It's just an idea

C:        ...........

B:        OK .. umm ... let's move on ... soo ... I’m someone that thinks of IT as some form arcane, esoteric knowledge, a little like plumbing or GCSE maths. What’s your background?

C:        Well, I studied mathematics and have a PhD in Computer Science. Neither was really necessary for the design of the wardrobe though!

B:        I’ll have to take your word for that. Carlyle, thank you very much for the interview, and I look forward to seeing what new products you release in the future.

C:        Thank you Blaise : ) 

If you just move your eyes down an inch, you'll see the prize being offered

And Now For the Competition .... ! 


So ... enough talk ... you've read the review (click here if you still haven't!), you've researched it on Marketplace (click here), and now you want one, you need one ... you covet one, dammit!

Well, now you can, as the lovely Carlyle has agreed to sponsor one CTS Wardrobe to the winner of this exclusive ESM competition, either for you or a nominated friend. So what do you have to do? It's simple!

Tell me why you need one in one sentence!

That's it! That's all it is! Just IM me inword (BlaiseJoshua) or email me (blaisejoshuaSL@gmail.com, preferably putting 'Wardrobe' as the subject and definitely telling me your avi name!). The competition is open to all ESM group members (and if you're not a group member, I will send you an invite on receiving your entry) and, if you already have a Wardrobe or are just feeling altruistic, you can even nominate someone else (a messy boyfriend or girlfriend, perhaps?) to win the prize. 

Note: You can write anything as to why you need or want one, but you're more likely to win if it makes me laugh. Of course, you might try and make me think. But you're defo more likely to win if it makes me laugh : o D

The competition will run until the 1st November, after which the doors of the Wardrobe will be closed. So remember ... male or female, friend or foe, all are welcome to enter. Don't miss out on this great chance. 

ESM thanks Carlyle Theas for her participation in the the interview and sponsorship of the competition, and also to Harper Beresford (who blogs here) for modelling all over the prizes. Personally, considering the intellectual calibre of the interviewee, I wanted a more serious, studious looking model, but Harper insisted on a young blonde in a bikini. Ah well. 

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Intolerable Fashion: Top 5 Worst Male Trends in SL Today

SEXY AND WE KNOW IT

"For bad taste to flourish, the good need only say nothing ..." 

Meet Gavin - the sum of all I hate.
Since starting Every Second Man a mere three months or so ago, I've only written about things I like. Not that everything I like is perfect, of course, and not that everything I've chosen not to blog has been stuff I positively dislike. However, there is a lot out there that I do positively dislike; stuff that makes me grumble, huff and puff and wonder at the youth of today; stuff that makes me feel old and cranky and out of touch. 

It was while bemoaning such delightful trends as the ankle knickers with my blogging companion Harper Beresford that I hit upon the idea of writing a 'Top 5' list, but a cautionary list that documents the very worst fashion trends in SL at the moment. It's subjective, it's biased and (from looking over the pictures) it's a horror show. Harper has compiled her list (which you can read by clicking here) and you can now read my Top 5 list here, counting up to the very worst. Set your throats to gag and your stomachs to churned: this is ESM's Top 5 Worst Male Trends in SL. 

#5: Talentless Tanks & Tedious Tees
Now, let's be clear that I have nothing against tank tops or tee shirts per se. What I'm referring to is the proliferation in SL of bland, boring or badly textured tanks and tees (particularly mesh ones) in which someone has just taken a template and slapped a trite or lazy design on it. Mesh tanks often look particularly rubbish because they fit so badly, so camming from any angle other than straight on often leaves you looking straight into or straight through the body. Men of SL: we can do better and, if we are going to insist on wearing tanks, let's at least buy those that are well designed and have had a modicum of thought put into them. 

Only a true man can pull off the 'scribbled on by a kid with a marker' look. Now that's badass!
Talking of bad ass ...
#4 Indefensible Ink & Pernicious Piercings
I fell asleep at a party once (yes, I may have had one spritzer too many), and my brother thought it would be amusing to give my four year old nephew a black marker pen and encourage him to express himself on the insensible canvas of my face. The random scribblings and seemingly cathartic self-expression that this boy left behind were considerably more aesthetic than many examples of 'body art' out there. Body art, be it ink or metal, can be breathtakingly beautiful. But please, exercise some restraint and don't look like someone loaded a blunderbuss with studs and bolts are shot you in the face, nor me after that party. 

#3 Slapdash Slogans
This is closely related to #5, but ... wow! ... the slogans on some of these items! Examples of such wit (deftly edited to protect my British sensibilities): Suck my [clock] ... Bend over and take it, [female canine]! ... and, most inanely, Sex. 

So, you're no doubt concluding that Blaise is a big prude with no sense of humour and he should just lighten up on this. Well, aside from the blatant misogyny, my biggest problem with these slogans is that they are so utterly lacking in anything approaching wit or humour! And (maybe I'm completely out of touch here) do they even work? Are there any women out there who see such a shirt and think: 'Now there's an intelligent man who I think I'd like to know a little better! And with a shirt like that, he must be awfully humorous!' 

I think what really gets to me about these slogans, what really depresses me and weighs me down at night, is the thought that there is someone out there who sat at a computer and actually thought to himself: "Now. I want a slogan for this t-shirt, and I want it to be funny. What can I write?" And the very best he came up with was Sex. I mean, it doesn't even have the shock value of the others! There's a Facebook page out there somewhere that you can 'like' to show you've lost all faith in humanity. I don't know why that's suddenly come into my mind. 

Those ears ...
#2 Egregious Ears
We've arrived at the first fad that nauseates me without fail. You know what they are - they're the stretched earlobes that flop and flap in the wind, or at least they will do as soon as someone adds physics to them. Oh my. I love ears, and I love ear lobes. What purpose do ear lobes serve other than to be amorously tickled and nibbled on? Here though is a fiendishly gruesome accident just waiting to happen. Young Tracy loves young Gavin (names have been changed to reflect lazy English stereotypes). Tracy is a keen proponent of the 'shot with a blunderbuss' brand of nose, eyebrow, lip, cheek and any other other available facial space piercings; Gavin that of earlobe stretching. Imagine, in the heat of ecstasy, as Tracy and Gavin celebrate their union of vapidity, disaster strikes! Gavin's trailing lobes snag on Tracy's septum spear and, with a soft pop, their love evaporates, Tracy quickly realising that Kevin's 'Hard As [Fornication]' tank top is erroneous. I hate to invoke the rationale of Health & Safety but if it stems the tide of this dangling trend, so be it. 

#1 Base Baggies & Sadistic Saggies
I don't even know what these are called - I'm not sure I want to know. They're just the trousers or shorts with the gusset somewhere between your knees and ankles. Does anyone actually like them? They appeared and proliferated so quickly that I really don't think anyone had time to stop and think and realise the oh-so-obvious truth: they're bloody awful!

Instead of looking cool, urbane or suave, you just look like a kid who's gone shopping without his Mum for the first time. We guys like to flatter ourselves, we really do. And when we're deficient in any department, we're well known for trying to compensate. But, men of SL, we're fooling nobody: no one's balls need that much swing room! And if they do, for God's sake see a doctor.

It's not just us, though. The women are up to this as well. From the aforementioned ankle knickers to breast physics that register on the Richter scale, bad taste and fashion faux pas are everywhere we look. Harper Beresford has been investigating also and you can read her chilling around by clicking here. In the meantime, take action, men of SL. Purge your inventories, write letters to designers and refuse to accept a dance with any woman who looks like a fish. Together we can stop this. Together we can stand up and be counted and cry as one: No more! 


Harper made this video, though I think she just wanted to show off her script-writing skills.
It's a horror show, torture porn, sadistic. Viewer discretion is seriously advised.

What's your opinion? Have I made any glaring omissions from this countdown of sartorial shame? Or am I off-the-mark, out of touch, unappreciative of the beauty the new trends bring? Please let me know.