Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: The Phantom of the Opera Hunt

The Phantom of the Opera shopping event starts today (November 14th, 2020 at noon Second Life/Pacific Time) and runs until December 7th, 2020. As part of the event, there is a Phantom of the Opera Hunt, where you are searching for red, long-stemmed roses in participating stores. The hunt is free and, as you might expect, most of the wonderful prizes are strongly evocative of the smash Andrew Lloyd Webber musical. There’s just no way that I could not start doing this hunt immediately! The theme song alone just sends shivers up my spine (see video at the bottom of this blogpost).

The Phantom of the Opera Hunt (source)

Second Life – FREE is a little-known-about Russian-language group on Vkontakte, the Russian version of Facebook, which often lists items I don’t see on other Second Life freebie blogs. They have helpfully compiled pictures of the hunt items. There’s also a website with hunt hints, which states:

The hunt starts at the entrance to Enchantment. Simply click the hunt prim example by the Phantom of the Opera Hunt sign to receive your landmark to your first destination. You’ll be looking for a Rose in each of the stores you visit! The landmark to the next location will be located in the folder along with your prize. Hints can be found at each store by clicking the example on the hunt sign, alternatively you can use this page for hints.

Here’s your taxi to the shopping event, which is run by Enchantment (there are no hunt items hidden there).

The entrance to the Phantom of the Opera shopping event
Vanity Fair (and her new pet chihuahua, Goliath) at the POTO shopping event (the outfit is Beatrice, from Belle Epoque, which you can get for 50% off at their 5th anniversary sale)

Near the spawn point are two alcoves where you can view the entries of a photo contest (and really, what better place to recreate the surreal world of the Phantom of the Opera than in Second Life?). I want the gowns used in some of these photos!

The POTO photo (see what I did there? 😉 ) contest

Here Vanity Fair models a number of the hunt prizes. She is wearing six of them in this picture:

  • Rose Hair Accessory: by Butanik83 (comes with a HUD with ten colour options)
  • Mask: Gold Bird carnival mask by ANTAYA (resizable)
  • Dress: Operetta dress by Fugue (comes in sizes to fit Maitreya Lara, Belleza Freya, and Slink Hourglass mesh bodies)
  • Lace Gloves: by MOoh! (come in sizes to fit Maitreya Lara; Belleza Venus, Isis, and Freya; Slink Physique and Hourglass; and Meshbody Legacy mesh bodies)
  • Fingernails: Music of the Night coffin nails by Witchcraft (comes in sizes to fit Maitreya, Belleza, Slink, Legacy, Tonic and Signature Alice hands; includes a HUD as pictured below)
  • Candleholder with red candle and Bento pose: by Laminak

Here’s a closeup of the Music of the Night nails, plus the HUD to change their texture to any of six options:

And here Vanity models three more hunt gifts:

  • Mask: the Phantom Mask by Harshlands (resizable; comes in two colours, white or black, each in bloody or clean versions)
  • Floral Earrings: Barbara earrings by Chocolate Atlier (comes with a HUD with six different colours)
  • Candelabra with hold animation: by NG Designs

Happy freebie hunting! The hunt is a bit challenging, so here’s my list of top six tips for Second Life hunts to help you.

Pandemic Diary: November 14th, 2020

I saw this on my Twitter feed; so funny and so, SO true! (image source)

Today is official Day 244 since I began working from home in self-isolation for the University of Manitoba Libraries. I have attended a lot of virtual meetings in that time (mostly in Microsoft Teams, but also in Zoom and Cisco Webex) and I just howled with laughter at the image above, which appeared on my Twitter feed a couple of days ago. I need all the belly laughs I can get lately.

The latest news update from the province is grim: Another 15 Manitobans died today, a new record. The current five-day COVID-19 test positivity rate is 12.4 per cent provincially and 13.1 per cent in Winnipeg—the highest level yet. At Victoria General Hospital, just a stone’s throw from where I live, the outbreak has expanded to a new section of the hospital, and as of today, 42 patients and 38 staff there have tested positive for COVID-19.

And yet, unbelievably, there are still covidiots out there, who feel that their personal freedoms (and their rights to go shopping and to church) are being infringed upon with the current restrictions being placed upon Manitobans.

Yes, we have out anti-maskers here in Manitoba; in fact, there is an anti-mask rally taking place today in the Mennonite Bible Belt town of Steinbach, south-east of Winnipeg, where the local hospital is already so overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients that it is treating patients in their cars. The Winnipeg Free Press reports:

As anti-maskers were preparing to rally in Steinbach, the community’s hospital was reportedly being overrun with COVID-19 patients.

It became so hectic Friday, some patients were being triaged in their own private vehicles, because of a lack of space in the Bethesda Regional Health Centre emergency department, the Manitoba Nurses Union said.

CTV News reported on the anti-mask rally:

Hundreds of Manitobans gathered in Steinbach, Man. to protest COVID-19 restrictions implemented across the province, which led to at least one of the rally’s speakers being handed a $1,200 ticket for violating the very orders they were protesting.

On Saturday afternoon, an estimated 500 people gathered for a ‘Hugs over Masks’ car rally in Steinbach, a city that is currently experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases. According to provincial data, the Southern Manitoba city has 263 active cases and has reported 14 deaths – the highest number of any area in the Southern Health region.

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
Another shot of the protesters at the anti-mask rally in Steinbach (source: Austin Grabish/CBC)

The situation here is starting to become surreal.

Oh yeah, and in the middle of all this, did I mention that I might be going on strike? The University of Manitoba Faculty Association (which represents 1,200 professors, instructors, and librarians) recently voted 80% in favour of strike action in an online poll.

Nigaan Sinclair, a First Nations professor at the University of Manitoba and the head of the Department of Native Studies, writes in an editorial in today’s Winnipeg Free Press:

Unless an agreement is reached between the University of Manitoba and its faculty association this weekend, the institution will face its third strike in history, on Monday.

As of Friday, negotiations were continuing with the help of a mediator: a hopeful sign. If talks break down, rotating picket lines, socially distanced rallies, honk-a-thons and online campaigns will begin Monday. It will be a strike like no other in Manitoba history.

Yet, faculty association members — instructors, librarians, and professors like me — don’t want a strike. Students definitely don’t want it, either. By all accounts, U of M administrators don’t want a strike.

No one wants this work stoppage, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

So why might it happen?

In the U of M’s 143-year history, strikes have happened twice — in 1995 and 2016. If it happens, this will be the second strike under Brian Pallister’s Progressive Conservative government. So, this is all on Pallister.

Four years ago, the 23-day strike was held despite faculty and administration agreeing to a small pay increase and commitments to address workload and protect jobs. While the agreement was not perfect, it was enough to get the university running again.

But Pallister sabotaged the negotiations. He commanded the university to mislead the faculty association and withdraw salary increases. This resulted in the university negotiating in bad faith, originally offering a seven per cent pay increase over four years and then – almost overnight – offering two years of zero per cent, a 0.75 per cent increase and a one per cent increase over the last two. Without this, there would likely have been no strike.

Later, after Pallister’s interference came to light, the Manitoba Labour Board forced the university to pay faculty members $2.4 million in compensation.

So here we are, on the cusp of a strike no one wants, at the behest of a premier who seems dead set against the public sector.

Pallister wants to cut public-sector jobs, salaries, and working conditions, period. He’s using the pandemic as an excuse.

I was on sick leave/long term disability for the treatment of a serious clinical depression during the 2016 strike, but I vividly remember walking the picket lines for three weeks during the 1995 strike, at one of the entrances to the Fort Garry campus, in the middle of a bitterly cold Canadian prairie winter.

I am significantly overweight, and have asthma, type II diabetes, and hypertension, all of which put me at a high risk of a severe, possibly even fatal, reaction if I were to become infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19. I support a strike, but I will not be doing ANYTHING that will puts me at risk, and that includes walking on the picket line. If that means I do not receive strike pay, then so be it; I have sufficient savings to live off of for a month or two, if it comes to that.

We should know by Sunday night whether or not we are going on strike, so I just have to sit and wait.

Jesus Tapdancing Christ, what an absolute fucking mess.

Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: The Frees in SL Store

The Frees in SL store

0L$改めLow price Fashion In Second Life is a little-known-about Japanese blog, which sometimes lists freebies that I don’t find on any other SL freebie blogs, and they tipped me off to a freebie store that I hadn’t visited before: the Frees in SL store (SLURL). You do need to join the Frees in SL group to pick up the freebies here (there’s a group join panel on the front desk as you walk in; the group is free).

There are freebies here from a number of SL content creators, which I have not seem before at other freebie stores (and trust, sweetheart; Auntie Ryan has been to them all and ransacked them thoroughly 😉 ), including these outfits for men and women from YDEA:

There’s also some clothing with clever slogans from La Mort Designer and Bottoms Up (the tank top was an instant must-get!):

The tank top on the left says “When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping”; the COVID-19 black dress on the right warns “6 feet distance or under, it’s your choice” 😉 unfortunately, the vendor panel on the right appears to be broken at the moment, but I have sent a notecard to the owner, so hopefully it will be fixed soon!

On the second floor, there are camping chairs where you can sit for 15 or 20 minutes and win free women’s apparel, as well as lucky boards with clothing for both mesh and classic avatars:

So, I will be adding this new (well, new to me, anyways) freebie store to my constantly-updated blogpost, Ryan’s All-In-One Guide to Freebies in Second Life.

Happy freebie shopping!