Friday, March 28, 2014

Kitely: somewhere and no wear

           You know that sweater in your wardrobe, no, not that expensive one you shrunk but don't have the heart to throw away, the other one, the one that's not a weird color, or too small, or anything like that, yet every time you're looking for a sweater to wear, you think no, not that one, not today.
          That's me and Kitely. But wait! Hosoi Ichiba is in Kitely, and has been for months!
          You know, there probably is a reason you don't wear that sweater, if you really think about it. Something subconscious maybe. With Kitely, I don't go there because of the minutes. In March 2012 I joined up and got my free sim Chocolate and it was great but only kind of great because sure, it was free and that's always nice, but you could only be present on your sim for something like 100 hours a month for free - any more than that, and you had to pay. You could go see other people's stuff - if those other people have the right kind of membership - but you couldn't hang out gratis in your own place for more than those hundred hours. Which, if you're already paying in SL, Craft and Veesome, is going to make a girl think twice.
          There was something about that concept of the tick tick tick of the meter that drained all the creativity away, too. Perhaps you're the kind of person who already has OARs prepared, or at least a plan on paper, but for those of us who like to contemplate the land and develop it slowly, 100 hours a month seemed way too few to form the basis of something like a relationship with the grid.
          Time went by and Kitely developed in my absence, and there were murmurings of neat builds like this one, and (by all accounts) great strides being made with their commercial website which hopefully is better than that dreadful one SpotOn3D had with its Double Dutch system. It speaks to the affection in which SpotOn is held that nobody could be bothered to point out to Tessa and co what 'double dutch' actually means. 
          The thing with websites and selling is, if you came to open sim to make your own stuff and occasionally share it with others, how much is a place where you buy stuff going to have you whooping for joy? If you're committed to capitalism, wouldn't you just stay in SL, or if you really have too many enemies there, go to InWorldz?
          But OK, Kitely promises they have a lot to offer, and hey, they're going to find a way to make being a commercial grid compatible with hg travel to no-money grids. Right? With lots of lovely content. And that would be good, because this is what Kitely Thirza looks like. Back in 2012 apparently Kitely noob outfits included undershirts made in Appearance. To fix that, instead of going to Kitely Market, I went for Import textures, because I have a whole store of freebie clothes on my own grid.
          Because why buy what you already have? 
          Although, I may be missing the point.
          Face and sweater, leggings and undies, easy peasy, texture uploads, all free. But when it came to shoes, there was a problem. I have neat .obj boots I made on my grid, but to import an object to a new world, you need to be somewhere you can Build, like a Sandbox. OK, there were a dozen listed on the Map. Oh dear. I tried them all, and wasn't allowed to visit any of them. OK then, perhaps my famous free-hundred-hours-a-month sim that I've barely used shall now come in handy. Taxi to sim Chocolate, right away!
          You may say - 'Things changed while you were away.' and 'Kitely is obviously looking for consumers, not freebie hunters and the self-sufficient.' or 'They're looking for commitment, not people passing through, you're just not their target audience,' or 'Get some KC, you cheapskate.' Maybe.
          I kept thinking of fried chicken.
          So, OK, give up on the hair and the shoes and the earrings and other goodies of my own invention that would typically be my first uploads to a new grid. Let's just be a barefoot traveler, and go in search of Edo villages.
            Years ago, my mother would make us all go and spend Easter with an old aunt who had a sprawling house and garden in the country. Dad would sort out the vegetable patch, Mom would get the spring cleaning done, and the children would help out with both. Auntie was glad enough for the help, and we were on our best behavior. She was a nice old bird but she had the irritating habit of switching off lights all the time. If you went from sitting room to library to get a book for five minutes, you'd find the light switched out in the sitting room when you returned. The same if you went to the loo at night, you'd come out of the bathroom to find the corridor bathed in darkness. It was a pessimistic, penny pinching, claustrophobic habit not caused by a shortage of money, but a reaction you often find in people who have lived through Tough Times. It paid off in a way, for when she died, the Donkey Sanctuary got enough money to keep the lights on in the stables for another ten years.
          The 'on demand' feature of Kitely gives that same rather depressing sense of everything being in darkness until it's absolutely essential to turn something on. True, the Hosoi Mura sims loaded very quickly, but there was something of my old auntie about the process.
          But the build is a joy. The Matsumoto castle, the gardens, the hiroba, the walls and the houses, the countryside with fields and hills, even the spare buildings, hovering just off the ground as though waiting for aliens to take them off to another planet, it's all so well made, and charming. True, a 9 or 16 sim build is not the big deal in open sim that it would be in SL, but Ami has made excellent use of the wide open spaces. It feels like a real place. Once that 'wait for me to turn the lights on' feeling has passed.
          Walking around was cool, but there weren't any poses or moving vehicles and with no interactivity, it wasn't long before I started wondering what else there might be to see.
          A number of SL friends have set up homes and builds in Kitely, and one name came to mind, as a possible source of good places to visit. Opening her profile, it was kind of disappointing to find the Picks closely resembled her Facebook posts - nothing more than a long tribute to Self. Unappealing. When someone lavishes that much public love and attention on their own creations, there really is no room left for the rest of us to admire it without feeling a bit sick.
          Back to the Map, then, as a source of inspiration.
          Back to Evergreen? That sighing, slightly long-suffering little grey window 'oh, ok, if you really must, just a second, and we'll turn it on' message again. I felt guilty at making them waste the electricity, and decide not to go after all.
            But then Woot ! The Map and I got lucky and found Time Vault, a region by Paislee Myrtle, one of the Devokan storytellers. It loaded pretty fast, and was way nicer than my dim recollections of Evergreen.
          Nobody around doing RP or anything, thank goodness, (good lord, memories of Grimmrfell! Urk!) Instead, a strange, thundery landscape and fabulous flights of alien fancy, with steampunkesque buildings and mechanisms littering the land.
           This might be turning a corner. The never-worn sweater might become a favorite after all! More hunting for regions on the Map, and pretty soon it yielded another big build, Brian Robert's Dragon's Bane. Tp!
          No, sadly no Bane for Thirza. The same thing happened about ten more times.
          Sigh. Well OK, you know what, all this faffing about sticking a pin in the map, it's not the way to do things. Every grid has its Welcome sim, where all is made clear, and newcomers or prodigal sons can return and be made, well, welcome. Let me and Kitely give each other a proper chance in the orthodox manner. Wow, and maybe I'll even find an A/O and a pair of shoes! Yay! I am still not giving up on Kitely!
          Except Welcome Area is only for Premium Accounts.
          OK, OK, hold on, there's a Welcome 2, maybe that's for folks like me...
            Shows they don't know me well, if they've got me down as Moderately Mature.  
          Although, I did find the Edo village moderately interesting, so perhaps they're partly right.
          Let me pop the whole thing back in the wardrobe.
          Aren't Paislee's mushrooms nice, though?