UPDATED! Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: What Advent Calendars and 12 Days of Christmas Calendars I’ll Be Hitting This December (2020 Edition)

Advent and 12 Days of Christmas calendars are a Second Life tradition
(image by Susanne Jutzeler, suju-foto from Pixabay)

Well, as November winds down, it is time for the dedicated freebie fashionistas to begin planning for December, when many Second Life stores have either an Advent calendar or a Twelve Days of Christmas calendar, with gifts for you to pick up each day!

There are four lists of 2020 Advent calendars published by various websites:

UPDATE Dec. 1st, 2020: I have gone through and checked each of the SLURLs to the stores linked to below, and updated them where necessary. All of them should now take your directly to the store (some have changed location since last year!).

Six Advent Calendars I Will Be Visiting Every Day

  • Firelight Hair has an Advent calendar running from December 1st to 24th (you do need to join the Firelight group for free). The gifts are mostly women’s hairstyles, but there will also be a few male/unisex styles. All hair gifts come with a mini 3-colour HUD.
  • 7 Deadly s[K]ins has an advent tree in their store, with generous gifts every day from Dec. 1st through to the 31st! You do have to join the group; I believe the group join fee is L$125 until the end of November, then it jumps up to L$1,000 during December!
  • Appliqué Chic offers two separate Advent calendars, one for men and a second for women! Each day’s gifts are free, and you can buy gifts from previous days for only L$10 each. No group join is required.
  • Virtue offers an Advent calendar with beautiful clothing gifts for women. The emphasis here is on classic, modest fashion. You do not need to join the Virtue group to pick up these gifts.
  • Entice offers Advent calendar gifts of womenswear from December 1st to 25th (you do have to join the Entice group for free). They also have a very handy sign on either side of their Advent tree, which shows you what each of the gifts look like, so you can plan ahead!
  • Essenz has an advent calendar from December 1st to the 25th, offering gifts of high-quality women’s footwear (the group costs L$350 to join).

Four “Twelve Days of Christmas” Calendars I Will Be Visiting Every Day

Please note that none of these calendars will be set up until mid-December:

  • The Baby Monkey calendar runs from December 12th to the 23rd, 2020 and is free each day. This year, you can pick up all the gifts at once if you prefer to make just one visit, between Dec. 23rd and the end of the year. All the gifts together form a complete, colour-coordinated capsule wardrobe. Even better, you do not need to join a group to pick up the gifts this year!
  • Altamura has a 12 Days of Christmas calendar running from December 12th to 24th, with a different gift every day: male and female accessories, clothes, skins, makeup, even a mesh head! Please note that the group join fee for Altamura is usually L$100, but during December the group is free to join.
  • JUMO usually gives away gifts of women’s apparel and jewelry from Dec. 12th-Dec. 24th, as well as on New Year’s Eve. This is the place to pick up some beautiful ballgowns and costume jewelry!
  • The eBENTO Event has an advent calendar that runs from Dec. 11th to Dec. 25th. Last year, the large red calendar numbers are randomly scattered around the shopping event, with two or three gifts from participating vendors each day. The eBENTO group is free to join.

Happy freebie shopping!

Pandemic Diary, November 29th, 2020: How People’s Ignorance, Stupidity and Hatred Are Making the Pandemic Much, Much Worse

I watched this video of today’s anti-mask protest in Calgary today, with hundreds of people in attendance, and have to say it: I no longer recognize my country.

Add to the mix reports that Good Friday sales brought out floods of shoppers to Calgary’s shopping malls (a worker at Chinook Mall posted a video of the crowds to her Twitter feed). CBC News reported:

Despite new provincial restrictions introduced this week, large crowds descended on Chinook Centre during Black Friday sales — and Calgary police say a couple of instances quickly got out of control.

Multiple fights broke out Friday evening, police confirmed, and officers escorted a “whole bunch” of unruly patrons out of the facility. No charges were laid.

At this point, Calgary police Staff Sgt. Mike Calhoun said the emphasis remains on education rather than enforcement — but that could change.

“We’re starting on giving warnings,” Calhoun said. “If we’re starting to see [people] not complying, we’ll move to enforcement.”

I predict that Alberta, which broke new records today in COVID-19 diagnoses, hospitalizations, and ICU admissions, is going to see a further COVID-19 surge that will overwhelm hospitals and healthcare systems, in the next 2 to 3 weeks.

Meanwhile, here in Manitoba, Winnipeg police and the RCMP are having their hands full dealing with churches who are willfully disobeying the province-wide pandemic lockdown, which includes a ban on in-person religious gatherings. The Winnipeg Free reported that Manitoba’s largest church was among them:

Winnipeg’s Springs Church is the latest congregation flouting public health orders aimed at protecting Manitobans to lower the number of daily cases of COVID-19.

The largest church in the province held a drive-in service in its parking lot on Lagimodiere Boulevard just north of Fermor Boulevard on Saturday night with plans to hold three more on Sunday.

All four services will be in violation of the province’s public health restrictions for gatherings. Along with ordering the cancellation of all religious gatherings, saying services have to be conducted only virtually, the province has also restricted both indoor and outdoor gatherings to five people.

South-east of the city in the Manitoba Bible Belt town of Steinbach, the RCMP moved in block people from attending services at the Church of God Restoration, which has already been slapped with several fines. Global News reported:

Manitoba RCMP blocked the parking lot of a church that was trying to host a service Sunday.

Global News reporters on the scene heard RCMP officers telling people if they walk into the parking lot toward the Church of God Restoration, which is south of Steinbach they will be fined.

There were about 150 or so cars lined up down the road outside the church with people sitting in their cars.

There are at least 10 RCMP cars with officers walking in the area.

The province banned all faith-based gatherings as part of the level red pandemic restrictions put in place on Nov. 12 while COVID-19 cases skyrocketed in the province.

The Southern Health Region, where the church is located, had 1,126 active novel coronavirus cases Saturday — 1,885 people have recovered since the virus reached the province, while 56 have died.

As of Saturday, 76 were in hospital.

Steinbach as recently as two weeks ago, had a test positivity rate of 40 per cent.

Scott Billeck, a local reporter for the Winnipeg Sun newspaper, shared on Twitter an example of the hate mail and death threats he says he now receives on a regular basis, simply for reporting the news about the coronavirus pandemic in Manitoba:

And, in the CanadaCoronavirus community on Reddit, somebody from Toronto shared a flyer he had received, that is filled with so much misinformation, disinformation, and crackpot conspiracy theories, that it boggles the mind:

Wikipedia’s entry on the Plandemic “documentary” cited in this handout states:

Plandemic refers to a pair of 2020 conspiracy theory videos produced by conspiracist Mikki Willis which promote falsehoods and misinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic. They feature Judy Mikovits, a discredited former researcher who has been described as an anti-vaccine activist despite her denial, and many others.

The first video became viral, making it one of the most widespread pieces of COVID-19 misinformation. It was soon removed by multiple platforms.

Snopes.com, the internet’s definitive fact-checking website, has debunked a collection of Plandemic-related claims here. The Conversation website published an article titled Coronavirus, ‘Plandemic’ and the seven traits of conspiratorial thinking, which outlines seven distinctive traits of conspiratorial thinking; the Plandemic “documentary” offers textbook examples of all seven.

The seven traits of conspiratorial thinking. John Cook, CC BY-ND image (source article)

People’s hatred, ignorance, and stupidity are making the coronavirus pandemic worse—and it’s not just happening in the United States! All of the examples I share with you in this blogpost happened in Canada. The Canadian federal, provincial, and municipal governments have not politicized the pandemic as Republicans and Trump supporters did in the U.S., and most governments have worked according to the science-based recommendations made by the doctors and infectious disease experts advising them. However, all levels of government are now fighting an uphill battle to beat back the veritable tsunami of ignorant misinformation (and deliberately-planted disinformation) that has taken hold of our social media.

I am deeply worried that, over the next four to six weeks, we are going to see an unprecedented spike in COVID-19 cases and deaths that will bring our hospitals and healthcare systems, here and all across North Aamerica, to the breaking point.


And late yesterday evening, I received the first news that someone I follow on Twitter has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and is now in hospital:

GermanRifter is a VR enthusiast whom I follow on Twitter for his posts; he lives in Stuttgart, Germany. I don’t know him personally, but this lit a fire under me to start work on a document outlining my requests and wishes in the event of my death (COVID-19 or otherwise). I am already working with a lawyer who is drawing up a will, a financial power of attorney, and a healthcare power of attorney. I have already begun writing up a document and making arrangements with six key contact people, who will know what to do with my blog and my virtual possessions in the event I become incapacitated, or (God forbid) die.

I have even gone so far as to issue a updated call for people who would like to inherit one of my Second Life avatars via my will! (Twenty of them are now spoken for, but I still have many that I would like to give good homes to in the event of my death. It would give me great pleasure to know that my avatars will live on after me!)

The COVID-19 pandemic (being made worse by people’s hateful, ignorant, and stupid behaviour) is forcing all of us to confront our mortality, and to plan ahead for worst case scenarios.

Stay healthy and stay sane in these trying times—and fight the misinformation and conspiracy theories wherever you encounter them!

UPDATED! Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: Everything at Sweet Evil Is Free!

I received a tip via the Freebie Queens Discord server, that everything at the Sweet Evil in-world store was free, so last night I went down to check it out.

I am having some trouble coming up with a politically correct way to describe the majority of the womenswear for sale at Sweet Evil. Suffice it to say that I have rarely encountered such a comprehensive array of skin-baring outfits in one store! Not my particular style, but your mileage may vary…after all, many would argue that if you have the perfect body in Second Life, why not show it off? However, wearing a lot of this clothing will certainly get you tossed out of clubs with strictly-enforced dress codes, such as Bray’s Place (my community of choice), where you are requested to keep your nipples, vagina, and asscheeks covered.

However, especially among the tops, I was able to pick out several more modest items. Much of the apparel comes in two versions, one with patterns and another with a colour tinting HUD. Here’s an example, an underwire tank top which comes in a tintable cotton texture, a tintable satin texture, and a one version with a patterns HUD:

All you have to do is right-click on the vendor panels, and select the Deliver option when a blue menu appears in the upper right-hand-corner of your viewer (do not left-click and select Pay; that way you have to pay L$1 for each item).

Below, Vanity Fair is wearing the Tight Turtleneck, which offers you a variety of 15 preset colours for each of the body, sleeves, and turtleneck separately, plus a colour HUD to allow you to tint it to match any outfit. Very versatile!

You should also know that word has obviously gotten out since yesterday, and the Sweet Evil store was much busier today than it was when I paid my visits yesterday evening. Today, I also found that the overwhelmed CasperVend systems in the store took as long as 20 to 30 minutes to deliver some items, and some items were delivered multiple times. So please set aside an hour if you are going to come ransack the store, okay? 😉

Also, I can find no information, either in the store or in the store group, about why the owner is holding this giveaway, nor how long we can expect it to last. Is it a Black Friday sale? (Can you call it a sale if it’s all free?) Who knows. So, if you are in the market for skimpy, skin-revealing clothing, you might want to pop into Sweet Evil soon. Here’s your taxi.

UPDATE 9:21 p.m.: Well, over the past two hours, I have received so many erroneous, duplicate deliveries from the CasperVend panels at Sweet Evil that I had to mute messages from the store. So be warned, the CasperVend system at Sweet Evil is completely overwhelmed and malfunctioning badly.

UPDATE Dec. 4th, 2020: A couple of people have informed me that the Sweet Evil store has now permanently shut down.

Pandemic Diary: November 26th, 2020: It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like (a COVID) Christmas…

Today, Manitoba’s top doctor reminded us that we all need to prepare for a Christmas which we will only be able to share with the members of our immediate household (and, in my case, for the first time in all my Christmases, alone):

The 5-day COVID-19 test positivity rate in Manitoba is almost 15%; in the Mennonite Bible Belt town of Steinbach, it is still hovering around 40%.

Despite this, the Steinbach Church of God still stubbornly plans to go ahead with in-person services, despite receiving several fines to date (since that article was written, the church has been issued a third, larger fine). It should probably come as no surprise that the Steinbach Church of God’s minister, Tobias Tissen, was a speaker at a now-notorious anti-mask rally held in Steinbach on November 14th (which I blogged about here).

Anti-mask rally held in the Mennonite Bible Belt town of Steinbach today (Source: CTV News/Danton Unger): no social distancing and not a face mask in sight

Meanwhile, a woman in a Kelowna, British Columbia, thrift store was arrested for entering the store without a facemask, refusing to leave, then screaming at and assaulting two police officers who were called to the scene:

And 30-year-old Jordan Alex Taylor knocked over and repeatedly punched a Walmart employee in Dawson Creek, B.C., who requested that he wear a facemask in the store (police reviewing the store’s surveillance video were able to identify Jordan, and later arrested him for the assault; you can view a 20-second video of the attack, captured by a nearby shopper’s cellphone, courtesy of the CBC).

All of which is slowly but surely, eroding my faith in humanity. The coronavirus pandemic is truly bringing out the worst, most odious impulses in some people. I look at the three examples I listed above and think: whatever happened to people thinking about the public good, instead of just themselves?

Has it always been like this, and it just took a pandemic to bring it to the surface? Has social media like Facebook played a role in this? Has our education system failed to produce civic-minded people? I must confess I am at a loss.

The misadventures of Tuesday evening have also underlined an unpalatable truth: that no matter how much care I take, and no matter how many precautions I follow, at any moment something unexpected could happen, that throws all my carefully-laid plans up in the air, and puts me at risk of exposure to the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19.

So, no, I’m not feeling particularly optimistic this evening.

UPDATE Nov. 27th, 2020: This morning’s editorial cartoon in the Winnipeg Free Press pretty much says it all.

And so does this chart, also courtesy of the Winnipeg Free Press:

70% of all COVID-19 deaths in Manitoba happened in November 2020