Pandemic Diary: October 4th, 2020

I have been spending this weekend working on various projects for my full-time paying job as an academic librarian for my university library system, and doing the dishes and the laundry in my apartment (I have a kitchen counter piled high with unwashed dishes, even though I have a dishwasher). I barely leave the apartment, usually only to throw out the trash and to go for brief walks in the sunshine to top up my Vitamin D.

To give you an idea of how infrequently I have been leaving my apartment, I filled up the gas tank on my car on March 15th, 2020—and it lasted me a whole six and half months! I have been taking out my car, on average, less than once per week. I never even took off the winter tires this year!

In my off hours, I have been binge-watching various TV shows and movies on Netflix and on Apple TV+ (I got a free one-year subscription to the latter when I purchased my iPhone 7 last year).

I just finished watching season one of For All Mankind, an alternate-history TV series on Apple TV+ that examines what would have happened to the space race if the Russians had been first to set foot on the moon, instead of Neil Armstrong. It’s the little details, like Teddy Kennedy becoming president and pardoning Richard Nixon for Watergate, that make it so enjoyable! (In this alternate timeline, the Chappaquiddick scandal never happened, but Teddy does get himself mired in a later sex scandal with Mary Jo Kopechne while president, putting him at risk of losing to Ronald Reagan in the next election.)

For All Mankind: In this alternative timeline, Richard Nixon responds to the Russians putting the first woman on the moon by recruiting the first class of female astronauts

I have also been busy picking up free store credits in Second Life for my small army of alts (more details here and here). Between Addams, Bumblebee, Scandalize, and Seniha, there are L$1,750 in free store credit or gift cards available, which is a goldmine for us freebie fashionistas in Second Life!

The lag at the Scandalize store is just absolutely horrendous, with transactions timing out constantly, and even occasionally locking my avatar account out of the store credit collection panel until a certain number of days have passed. All this hassle makes me wonder why I even bother with this nonsense in the first place, but Second Life is one of those hobbies that helps keep me sane and distracted during the pandemic, so I persevere.

I picked up this beautiful Azahara ballgown for free, using the recent gifts of free store credit at Scandalize (complete styling details here). You can never have too many ballgowns in Second Life! 😉

And I actually got fooled in Second Life, something which happens rarely to me with my almost 14 years of experience in SL. I have an alt named Artist Scientist and when I teleported into the Seniha store sim to get their store credit, I got this message immediately:

{ Greenies } MoneyGrabber: [Redacted Name] stole 80L$ from Artist Scientist

I check my total balance and it’s at L$1. Even worse, I can’t remember if it was higher than that before I teleported in! The episode led to a rather lively discussion thread on the official Second Life community forums, where the culprit turns out to be a harmless prankster’s attachment for sale on the SL Marketplace.

I would flag it, but it appears to be permissible, since it does not actually steal any money; I lost no Linden dollars. Lesson learned! So now you know, if you should encounter it (and a reminder that you will see something like the following strong warning whenever anybody or anything tries to take money from your account outside of an actual sales transaction (see image, right).

And I have still been actively avoiding all social media (except for a few subReddits to follow coronavirus news and the myriad editions of RuPaul’s Drag Race) and the news media. In fact, I only learned that Donald Trump had contracted COVID-19 from a meme somebody posted to the RuPaul’s Drag Race subReddit community! But so far, my strategy appears to be working overall, and I plan to continue with it.

I have heard through the grapevine of many people who have, like me, decided to quit Facebook to avoid the toxic dumpster fire currently taking place there, where misinformation and conspiracy theories are spreading like wildfire. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

Stay sane and stay healthy! May you find hobbies and pastimes to help you cope with the stress of the coronavirus pandemic, much as I have with Second Life and other virtual worlds and social VR platforms and the blog!

Image courtesy of 1920s Berlin landlady Jo Yardley (source)

UPDATE 4:04 p.m.: The following message has been posted to the Scandalize group in Second Life:

Scandalize sim, it will be closed for a while, due to maintenance. We will be back soon.

I’m not surprised; it has just been hammered with avatars trying to get in. I really do think that the more popular SL stores need to rethink how they handle these sorts of events in future. For example, do you really need to be holding a hunt, and putting up several dozen popular lucky boards, at the same time as giving away free store credit? The Scandalize sim is already crowded due to one thing, so why combine three things to make the situation even worse?

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