the girl with feathers..

Her name is Hope. She wears flowing bohemian dresses but walks with a strut good enough to shame any top runway model into early retirement. She loves animals and won't buy fur, but snuggles into the fox-fur collar of her mother's red winter coat at every opportunity. It's so soft, she says. She rarely dates, preferring to smoke pot on the weekends with her friends while they test out new restaurants. (The pitfalls to this method of gastronomic research became evident recently when she discovered her favorite little Thai place was not so spectacular without the influence of taste-enhancing drugs.)

She was born and raised in New York City, but Hope believes she lived in India in a previous life and would immediately know her way around if she were dropped in the middle of Jaipur tomorrow. She argues that her deep love of saris supports this theory; her friends argue her intolerance for spicy food refutes it.

Hope doesn't own a computer. She says laptops are too heavy for her to carry, and she's never in one place long enough to use a desktop version. She prefers phonecalls and face to face meetings to electronic communication anyway, she often protests. When she needs to type something up, she pulls out her grandmother's antique typewriter and her fingers positively fly across the loudly clacking keys. Hope thinks the sound is charming, and the neighbors in bordering apartments are enchanted by her enough to not mind when she decides she absolutely MUST type a letter to a friend at 3am on a monday morning.

Hope is the color of honey. No, she says, she won't elaborate on whether that refers to her eyes, her skin, her hair, or any other part of her. I just like describing myself as honey-like. Maybe I'm a little sweet and sticky, she says with a shrug. And maybe too much of me will cost you.

An Open Letter to a Certain Type of Frankensteiners:

(if you're not deep into The Sims 2, this post is irrelevant. Skip it and forgive me for being such a rabid gamergirl.)

Now, this is not actually about simpose versus frankensteining. It's more pointedly about the PEOPLE, those provincial simmers who insist on saying one method is superior, more acceptable, more *noble* a pursuit of simmy-happiness than the other. And while all the people I've personally encountered who push for the purity of one and the unacceptability of the other are frankensteiners, I'm by no means speaking about all frankensteiners or on behalf of all simposers. (remember kids: all generalizations are false, including this one. =P) And by "certain" frankensteiners, I also am referring to that TYPE of person, and not to any specific individuals. (Srsly.)

You see, I'm fairly talented in photoshop. I'm not what I'd call an advanced user (layer masks still confuse me) but I'm a highly competent intermediate. I can smooth limbs into each other seamlessly, make sure all lighting is even and coming from the right directions, edit expressions, slap on a different head and actually make the neck look nice in the process, etc.... I even have a good working knowledge of all the different animations and how they affect sim's bodies. In short, I have all the *technical* skills necessary to be on my merry way to franking heaven.

But I just can't do it. I cannot go into my game and take several different screenshots of various bits and bobs of my sim's anatomy and join them together into a wonderful or even mediocre pose.Now, usually when I say this to someone, they inevitably reply back with "Oh, but Janelle! It's hard for everyone at first, you just have to keep trying and learning. It'll get easier."

This response, after the 25th repetition, is starting to grate a little. I'm... getting... annoyed. I do not half-ass things, and I've not put only a little effort and time into the pursuit of franking, I've put a lot. But here are my problems more specifically: I don't have a definitely pose in mind before I enter my game. Sometimes I'll have a vague idea of what I want for that round, but more often, I let the pose I find ingame (ya know, without franking or simposing-- i.e. the most pure of all so if you wanna argue about what's acceptable or not, I have ALL of you beat.. now shaddup. =P) determine the specifics of my picture. And going ingame to take photos of a thousand different ankle positions so I can finally make up my mind as to what kind of pose I want in the end-- doesn't make sense. Most importantly, I can't mentally divide up the pose I'm picturing into the requisite bodyparts necessary to actualize it. I can see the final pose in someone else's work, and immediately recognize that they got the arm from this animation and the legs from that static pose, etc. But I can't do it the other way 'round. I cannot. No. Not gonna happen. My brain just..can't do it.

Simply put, my creative process does not operate in a way that would allow me to create frankensteined poses. So one day I learned simpose. (I have sipped of that dark dark wine and now there is no hope for my soul.) And I found that I spent more time and effort on one simple simposed pic than I did on my most complicated frankensteined pic before I gave that method up for lost. But I discovered that I enjoyed the hard but fruitful work of simpose; that I could express myself and my sims in new ways. I finally felt what it was like to create a pose that was totally and completely mine from the nose to the toes, one that took a LOT of time and effort to get right. I imagine it feels a lot like when a great frankensteiner has just finished a kickass franked pose that they know is gonna blow people away. But I wouldn't know. And yes, it might be easier to churn out a crappy simposed picture than a crappy frankensteined one, but a really great picture in either medium takes a lot of care, and to say that one is easier than the other is saying that you are the ultimate authority on what's easy and hard. Whatever you find it to be is what it is, period. Simpose is easier because you find it easier, and not because different people have different abilities. No, that couldn't possibly be it. Whut dew yew meen, das my ohpinyawn? MY OHPINYAWNZ R DA ULTIMATE TRUTH!!!1~1!.

And thus my ultimate points- When you, dear arrogant frankensteiner, say that your method is better, should be more respected, is harder, etc.. you are saying that everyone else must create in the same method as you. You are saying, whether you realize it or not, that there is only one acceptable method of expressing artistic desires through the sims, and other ways of reaching that end are unacceptable. If my creative process does not operate in a way that allows me to frankestein beautiful poses, then you essentially want me to take my ball and go home, because the way I do my art is somehow less valid, important, less *artistic* than you and yours.

If you feel it's sad to see how many people are using simpose these days, I say this: I remember when people were saying how sad it was to see people using photoshop to cut their sims up into tiny pieces to make them appear to be doing things/in positions not available in the game. I remember when many contests forbade frankensteining because while some simmers loved it, many many others thought it was a perversion of the game. You know, the game? The thing that brought us together in the first place?

And when you say that you should be more "respected" because of your method, I just have to laugh, sorry. You should do this because you love it, because you're bored, or because you want to improve certain skills and learn others. Because it's the closest you can get to the type of modeling/art/design you can get right now. There are a billion other great reasons. But doing ANYTHING in the sims world just -or even mainly- for the respect of the 'community' is bullshit. People shouldn't respect you for your work, they should respect your work. We have all different skill levels here in this vast sims world, and I'd rather interact with many pleasant, clueless newbies than even one primadonna of mild to moderate acclaim. They should respect you for what you bring to the community table- advice, humor, a kind word of encouragement to those below you in skills and experience, honest critique, tension diffusing comments at the right moment...etcetera. That's what should earn people respect here, not how many comments and boob notes they have on flickr. That's not how anyone should measure their contributions to the simming world.

When you're this narrow-minded and arrogant about something meant to be a GAME and a fun HOBBY, then I cannot imagine how you view people of a different gender, skincolor, religious background, ethnicity, sexual orientation, etc. Is that a stretch? Possibly. But people who look at two different things and immediately have to classify one as superior to the other, more acceptable,and the other as less acceptable instead of just DIFFERENT... that scares me, in whatever context it's found. Why must you impose a hierarchy? Other than the obvious reason of making sure whatever category you're in is at the top. So please, please, stop acting so butthurt that your frankentsteiny ways aren't the only ways, stop being divisive in a situation already too divided to be truly called a "community" and how about bringing some positivity into the lives of those of us who are striving to make art with our sims instead of judging how we achieve that goal?

And as always, feel free to disagree. But back your words up with examples, logic, experience. I may be totally off-base. And I'm open to new ways of viewing any situation. I'm ready to learn, experience, and whenever necessary, to apologize with sincerity and honesty and a total lack of foolhardy pride. As someone who is raging against the overinflated egos festering in the sims community, it would be hypocritical of me to be or do otherwise.

I hope this has clarified something for those who read it. You don't have to agree, not by a long shot, but if this post has even made you rethink your own feelings for just a moment or two, or gain even a little more understanding about another point of view, I've succeeded in my goal.

And thank you to the frankensteiners and simposers who do what they love because they love it, and don't try to force their preferences onto others as being either superior or as the only acceptable way. You have your preferences, you often share them with others but don't ever disparage people who choose differently than what you'd prefer. You guys rock.

virgin no longer

catchy post title, eh?
no longer a *blog* virgin, you perve.

I've considered a blog for a long time now, over a year. I have a livejournal that I use very very infrequently. But it's more of a, you know, journal. And while I don't claim to be a particularly good writer, I do sometimes feel the need to wax poetic and then share the results. Which I don't want to do in a LJ that exists mostly to purge my twice-a-year emo inner feelings when they're too embarassing by half to share with anyone else.

So I hope that this blog will be actually mildly entertaining for myself and the .03 other people who will read it. Hopefully it'll be a little bit about me, a little bit about the sims, photoshop, (sex?), food, and maybe a bit about photography...if you're lucky. Hell, if I'm lucky.

Ambitious, aren't I? It'll never happen. But a girl can dream, can't she?