Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: Uber Anniversary Gifts

As you might know, one of my Top Ten tips for freebie shopping in Second Life is to hit the annual anniversary celebrations of the major shopping events, when most designers have free gifts at their vendor booths as a thank you to their customers.

Uber, one of the biggest and most popular monthly shopping events in Second Life, opened its sixth anniversary round on August 25th, 2020, and the event is running until September 22nd.

And, to celebrate, there is a free gift which you can pick up at each vendor booth (no group is needed). Here’s what the gift box looks like, you can’t miss them:

Because Uber is so jam-packed with shoppers and browsers, I would strongly advise you to wait until mid-September to pop by and pick up all the fabulous freebies!

(Me, well, once again I couldn’t sleep last night, a common complaint during the coronavirus pandemic, so I was lucky enough to able to teleport into the very crowded sim at 5:00 a.m. this morning, so I could collect all these gifts to show to you as soon as possible.)

Please forgive my use of a pose stand to show off some of these outfits; it’s the only sane way I could get through the dozens and dozens of gifts without going insane!

My favourite gift from the anniversary round of Uber is this charming embroidered dark blue belted skirt by Giz Seorn, which I have paired here with the Brooke top by Blossom&Seeds (the B&S gift also includes matching shorts in the same blue-and-red pattern). The Devorah sunstone earrings, the Uber gift from EarthStones, complete this look. Vanity Fair is all set to head out to the nearest folk festival!

Next up we have a much dressier look, the stylish lilac Charlize dress by Valentina E, with the black leather clutch by Zenith (which comes in a full-black version and the brown-accented you see here):

Here, Vanity is sporting Kaithleen’s rollneck sweater in mint green, which comes with a HUD to tint the collar, hem and cuffs a different colour. Here, I added the gift from Jeune, the Mara jersey skirt in red. The reds don’t match, but I was a man in a hurry…so there is an (unintentional) Christmas feel to this particular outfit!

The Uber gift from Masoom is this daring, backless olive green Imogen jumpsuit, with sexy slits up the side of the legs (and if that isn’t sexy enough or daring enough for you, it also comes in a sheer version!). The Polynesia high-heeled sandals, the Uber gift from Essenz, are the perfect finishing touch. (The sultry side-eye Vanity is giving you is optional.)

Up next we have the delightful, summery Croissant (?!??) dress, the Uber gift from Neve, which comes with a HUD with four different ombre tones as shown below:

The plunging neckline of this next dress, the lilac Tori minidress (the Uber gift from Pink Cream Pie) is the perfect spot to highlight the long, long, long dangle necklace by Mon Chérie, which comes with a HUD to change the metal to one of 12 different colours, as shown. (The PCP gift comes with built-in panties that you can tint to one of 24 colours—or remove completely—via a separate HUD.)

Another one of my favourite gifts from this round of the Uber event are these wonderful rose earrings from Baiastice, which come with a HUD to change the colour of the gemstones and the roses! I think Vanity will be wearing these a lot, as they can match pretty much any outfit!

Chokers are very useful items to have in your SL inventory, and they are particularly handy to hide, say, a slight seam or mismatch in skin tone between your mesh head and body (which sometimes happens to the best of us). Luckily, you can pick up not one, but two choker gifts at Uber! (Well, at least two. There may well be more…but I confess that I haven’t unpacked everything yet!)

The Reckless choker by Avec Toi comes in a complete fatpack, with 36 colours for the leather, and 8 colours for the metal studs:

The high-fashion golden Diane metal choker is the gift from David Heather:

Osmia’s rather bizarre unisex Uber gift is this bucket hat (safety pins included), which comes in a fatpack of colours. Perfect for your next fishing trip! 😉


And (of course), Uber has so, so many gifts of footwear! Here are just a few of them.

From Mangula, we get a complete fatpack of the strappy Leila shoes, which coms in two versions: the ones that have straps going up your calves, as shown, and a second, shorter version that doesn’t go quite as far up your leg:

Seniha’s Uber gift is a complete fatpack of the Caroline wedges, where you have numerous options for tinting each part of the shoe:

Now for something completely different, these awesome black combat boots with the side pocket, the gift from Memoire! These come in sizes to fit both male (Legacy, Belleza Jake) and female (Legacy, Belleza Freya, Maitreya Lara, Slink Hourglass) feet.

Here’s a few more shoes that I picked up (not fatpacks, just single colours as shown) from Vanilla Bae:

And from NX-Nardcotix:

And from Nerido:

And from Decoy:

And finally, these completely over-the-top pink pumps from Breathe:


But I saved the best gifts for last: this cute little stuffed sheep from Le Fil Cassé, called Aggie Snow, which sits on your head, and an absolutely adorable fat red chinchilla, the gift from Foxwood, which comes in two versions, one you hold as shown here (comes with a Bento pose), and another for decoration!

I mean, look at this not-so-little cutie! Look at him!!!! I may just have to go back and buy the entire fatpack of chinchillas at the Foxwood booth!! Awww…

Like I said up top, this round of Uber runs until September 22nd, 2020, so you have loads of time to swoop down and scoop up all the freebies. There are literally dozens and dozens of other gifts not shown here, including many items of home decor.

Happy freebie shopping!


Vanity Fair is also wearing:

  • the Kimberly Catwa Bento mesh head
  • the Maitreya Lara mesh body
  • Daria skin by The Skinnery
  • Dasha hair or Astra hair by Truth 
  • and the beautiful Sahara eyes by Avi-Glam (a gift from the recent SL17B Shop and Hop event, but they are also a group gift at the Avi-Glam mainstore; the Avi-Glam group costs L$5 to join)

UPDATED! A Few New Glimpses of Facebook Horizon on Twitter—and Some Reactions

Facebook has just presented a series of short teaser videos about its forthcoming social VR platform, Facebook Horizon, on Twitter (here’s a link to the entire thread).

Among other things, it shows that Facebook Horizon will support collaborative building, including the ability to resize your avatar as needed while building.

The Facebook Horizon avatars (and the rather blocky, Minecraft-esque style of the user-created worlds briefly presented in these teaser videos) leave me rather underwhelmed, especially after having been immersed in Sansar for so long. Sorry, Facebook. Frankly, I was expecting more than this. Even the Rec Room avatars and the updated AltspaceVR avatars look better than these boring, soulless Horizon ones.

The in-world building tools do remind me strongly of building with prims in vintage Second Life, circa 2003-2007. I’m still trying to decide if that is a good thing or not. Remember that many virtual world content creators got their start with prim building in SL, and eventually moved on to other tools (e.g. Blender) and other platforms (e.g. Sinespace). This could be a good decision in a virtual world intended to appeal to novice users. I wonder if Facebook Horizon will allow users to import more complex mesh items created using programs such as Blender, because that building-block stuff is not going to be terribly appealing to many experienced content creators. And user-generated content (plus a marketplace to buy and sell it) will be key to the success of Horizon.

I will be updating this blogpost throughout the next few days with other people’s reactions to these videos.

I’m quite sure that more details (and commentary on these tweets) will follow. It’s still not enough to entice me to renounce my recent decision to boycott Facebook products and services, however.


Thanks to Jin for the heads up!

UPDATE 1:47 p.m.: Well, that didn’t take very long! Lucas Rizzotto, creator of the wonderful VR app Where Thoughts Go, opines:

This looks like the social VR equivalent of a beige wall. I’m astounded that a company spending hundreds of millions of dollars on social VR can only come up with Rec Room, but Pixar.

In the many good comments made on a tweet made by VR vlogger Nathie of one of the new Facebook Horizon videos, Lhun says:

No legs, major lack of immersion, Roblox gameplay. If it’s as easy as Roblox to build things like that, sure, that’ll be popular, but VRChat it ain’t.

Of course, many people are using comparisons to existing platforms and services in talking about Horizon. Hermit tweeted:

Its Rec Room + VRChat with Facebook integration. This is going to be big, but I’m not sure its going to be good-big or horrifying-big, likely both.

Sansar Announces an Extension of the Grandfathered Sell Rate for Content Creators Cashing Out—But the Deadline is Tomorrow!

Way, waaay back in November, 2018, I reported on a change to the cashout rate for Sansar dollars which, to this day, has remained controversial among many content creators:

The buy rate will be set to 100 Sansar dollars to 1 US dollar. The exchange rate back (the sell rate) will be set to 250 to 1. However, the sell rate will be grandfathered for current Sansar users at the “legacy” rate of 143 to 1 until at least the end of next year (2019). 

Well, when Sansar went through the wrenching ownership change that eventually led to it being acquired by Wookey, many content creators were expecting that grandfathered rate to be extended beyond the end of 2019, but no announcement was ever made.

But just yesterday, the following announcement was posted to the official Sansar blog by Lacie, Sansar’s community manager:

We are happy to announce that we will be extending the Grandfathered rate of (143 Sansar Dollars to 1 U.S. Dollar ratio) until the end of 2021 to the creators that help our platform grow with their excellent creations. In order to be eligible for this extended rate, you MUST follow the instructions below:

If you would like to apply for the Grandfathered rate – you will need to send in a support ticket by August 28th

You can send in a support ticket at the following link: Link

You must include the following to be considered eligible:

1) Title of Ticket: Grandfathered Rate

In the body of the ticket, you must include:

2) Your full Sansar User Handle (Example: Lacie-5474)
3) Your email linked to your Sansar account
4) A link to your Sansar Profile (Example: https://profiles.sansar.com/profiles/Lacie-Sansar )
5) Indicate that you wish to receive the grandfathered rate.

The deadline to submit your requests is August 28th, 2020, 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time, which is tomorrow, so don’t delay!

Lacie also writes:

Additionally, please note that our product team will be developing a forum post announcement in the near future that will outline both our current and future marketplace strategy. Please keep your eyes posted for this.

Although I had put my dream of becoming an avatar clothing creator in Sansar on indefinite hold, I might just apply for the grandfathered cashout rate, in case I change my mind! Sometimes it pays to keep all your options open.


UPDATE 1:00 p.m.: After writing and posting this blogpost, Lacie reached out to tell me that, despite the blogpost mysteriously being dated yesterday, this announcement had been made two weeks ago via the official Sansar Discord channel. Thanks, Lacie!

Pandemic Diary: August 26th, 2020

My subconscious is starting to rebel against social distancing in new and creative ways.

This morning (on day 164 of working from home in self-imposed isolation due to the pandemic), I dreamed that I was participating in a full-blown, pansexual orgy. (No, you are not getting all the juicy details. But it did take place in a glass-walled house.)

Sebastiano Ricci – Bacchanal in Honour of Pan (circa 1716; source)

I will be honest; I am finding it very hard to stay motivated working from home, even though I have lots of work projects to keep me busy. All the days and times of day—weekdays and weekends; morning, afternoon, evening and night—tend to blur together. I find myself responding to work emails on Sunday morning, and working on PowerPoint slides late into the evening. I don’t seem to have any boundaries between work and non-work life anymore, a common complaint of those of us who find ourselves working from home during the coronavirus pandemic.

The news here in Manitoba has been not so great, with the number of COVID-19 cases increasing, rising infections in some Hutterite communities, and a serious outbreak in the western Manitoba city of Brandon, leading to new social gathering restrictions being imposed:

I feel a general sense of unease about the current pandemic situation and our response to it. To give you an idea of how little I am leaving my apartment during the pandemic, I filled up my gas tank on March 15th, 2020, and I still have a quarter tank of gas five months later. I have been making an effort to get outside during our all-too-short Canadian summer, though, just to get some external stimulation and some exercise. I need to do more.

I still haven’t decided what to do about my hair, so I am letting it grow out. I am toying with the idea of just growing it long and rocking a ponytail, something I have never done before in my life. Either that, or just shave it all off (unfortunately, I have a distinctly pear-shaped head, and I look horrible in a brush cut).

I am continuing to lose weight; my clothes fit looser, and I am now wearing a belt that I haven’t been able to wear for well over a year. I chalk it up to not eating out at restaurants (not even drive-through or take-out), cooking all my own meals and shopping for all my groceries online via Wal-Mart. I haven’t set foot in a grocery store since March 15th, where I could be tempted by store displays and sales, and I refuse to buy junk food when I am shopping online: no chocolate, no ice cream, no potato chips, no white cheddar popcorn (the crack cocaine of junk food). If I feel hungry before I go to bed, I heat up a can of soup or make some Kraft Dinner.

I have been bingewatching Netflix on my iPad since my TV set died. My taste lately veers towards sci-fi, dystopian and pre/post-apocalyptic fare to match my mood: the televison series The Umbrella Academy, Lucifer, Snowpiercer, Hard Sun, Dark, The Rain, 3%, and movies like The 5th Wave, Io: Last on Earth, How It Ends, 3022, and Only (which depressed the hell out me). I don’t watch the TV series in order; I skip forwards and backwards, and even watch episodes out of order (I did that a lot for Dark to figure out what the hell was going on).

And I have been camping for Lindens in Second Life. Yes, I know a couple of secret spots; no, I am not telling you where they are (most of them I have discovered by randomly searching for keywords under Places in Search, when I was bored). But I did share one tip with you previously, which I will mention again:

I took my alt…over to Escort Oasis, plunked her down on one of the animated burlesque dancer chairs, signed into the tip jar, and let her dance among all the other working girls.

By the way, if you ever do have an avatar short of Linden dollars, this is one of the better spots in Second Life to park yourself on an animated chair, platform, or dance pole, dance your little heart out for a few hours or a half day or so, and take a chance on winning a small mount of Linden dollars (L$2 to L$9) if you are randomly selected when the sploder gives away cash every fifteen minutes.

Of course, it’s an inducement to increase traffic to the Escort Oasis sim, but it is very effective. As long as you don’t have any moral qualms about hanging out in an Adult-rated sim which is meant to be a place where virtual johns meet virtual hookers, why not dress up, go dancing, and maybe earn a few Linden dollars to spend on more fabulous dollarbies and other bargains and deals in SL?

Since I wrote that, Jenwen Walpole, the owner of Escort Oasis, has bumped up the sploder to award between L$5 and L$20 randomly to someone dancing on one of the chairs, stools, platforms, and stripper poles, every fifteen minutes, 24/7/365.

I must confess that at times I have been so bored in the late evening, that I have plopped 5 or 6 anonymous male, female, and transgender alts into Escort Oasis, just to win a few Linden dollars. You do have to check the sessions every 10-15 minutes to answer the anti-camping bot correctly in order to stay perched on your furniture, however (see image above).

You can throw on a nice outfit, dance your little heart out, listen to the music stream (sometimes they have a live DJ), and chat with the working girls or the customers (I have found that a bit of witty banter can sometimes lead to a nice tip). Of course, you do NOT have to escort, despite the name of the sim. Remember, “no” is a very appropriate response to anyone who actually tries to hit you up for pixelsex 😉

Oh, and I forgot to mention: every so often Jenwen will start a round of 30 trivia questions. Be the first to type in the correct answer, and you win L$5 per correct answer!

So if you are flat broke in SL, to the point where you can’t even buy Lindens on your credit card, you might want to consider this as an option, provided that you only need a small amount of Linden dollars. (You ain’t gonna earn that pricey Catwa head you’ve been eyeing this way, honey. Now, watch as the Escort Oasis get inundated with new avatars, like so many other spots with an active sploder. I should have kept my big mouth shut.)

I don’t even know why I am hanging out in Second Life anyway; some days it feels like only a slightly more engaging alternative to playing Solitaire on my computer. I feel brain-dead, like my neurons have been replaced with cotton wool. I just haven’t felt much like putting on my Oculus Rift VR headset to use any social VR apps, and I still can’t use my Oculus Quest because the empty space I had cleared for it in my bedroom is now piled high with pandemic preps like rice, canned soup, and toilet paper.

And frankly, I’m still feeling supremely pissed off at Facebook. My online order of a Valve Index has been confirmed by email, but manufacture and shipping delays due to the coronavirus pandemic mean that I will be waiting at least right weeks or longer to receive it.

I have heard through the grapevine of many other people who are so angry at Facebook that they are also jumping ship, planning to sell or give away their Oculus devices to protest Facebook’s announcement that, henceforth, they will have to set up an account on the Facebook social network in order to use them. (One wag on Reddit commented, “This is an odd advertisement for Valve Index.”)

Oh, and by the way, Oculus is now officially known as “Facebook Reality Labs”.

(No, the eye is not part of the new logo, but it may as well be there;
this modified image was posted to Twitter by LokiEliot)

I am reminded of the ancient Chinese curse which says, “May you live in interesting times”. 2020 has been such a perverse, dumpster-fire year, and it looks like we are going to have an…interesting fall and winter.

Stay safe and healthy, we’ll see you in September!