UPDATED! Editorial: “Let It Go”

I have been struggling with insomnia since the pandemic started, but in the past few weeks, it appears to have gotten much worse. Yesterday, after three successive nights of poor sleep, I was feeling so dragged out that I took a sick day from work, and I spent a significant chuck of the day in bed.

Very early this morning, as I was sitting dejectedly in front of my computer, thinking about my quixotic endeavour to leave most of my small army of Second Life alts to other people via my will, a song lyric popped into my head.

As I written before, I have learned that my subconscious tries to send me messages through whatever tune is running through my head when I am thinking about something. And this morning, at the very moment I became aware of it, the song lyric was from a 1984 song by the Canadian musician and singer Luba: “Let It Go”:

Let it go, let it go
Let it free your head…

—Luba, “Let It Go” (1984)

Hmm. Well, that particular message from my subconscious seems pretty clear. And it made me realize: it was time for me to let go of this crazy notion that somehow, every single one of my Second Life alts is going to find a second home when I pass away.

The bitter truth is, most of my creative work in Second Life over the past 14 years will simply vanish when I die, or when Second Life shuts down, whichever happens first. Fighting against that fact is futile. I just have to accept it, and stop bargaining.

My weird, obsessive little hobby has been something that I have turned to, time and again, over the past 14 years, whenever I wanted to shut out painful, messy reality. I have turned to creating, styling, and endlessly shopping for fabulous freebies for my female and male alts when I was depressed, anxious, or upset. It was my coping mechanism, especially during the current coronavirus pandemic.

But I have, sadly, reached the conclusion that my compulsive virtual shopping and styling of avatars is taking time and energy from other things that I need to take care of in my life.

And so, once again (and yes, this is not the first time I have done this in the 14 years I have been in Second Life), I will be scaling back, and even deleting a few avatars.

It’s time. I need to let it go.

UPDATE Dec. 10th, 2020: Today I bit the bullet, and I deleted eleven avatars. I have updated the following list accordingly: Leaving My Second Life Avatars to Other People Via My Will: An Updated List of Avatars Available. I do plan on deleting more over the next couple of weeks.

UPDATE Dec. 15th, 2020: After some consideration, I have deleted another seven avatars, updating the list linked to in the previous update. Again, I don’t need to keep them, and I think it is highly unlikely that anybody else would want them, either. It’s time to let them go.

UPDATED! Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: Free Male and Female Bento Mesh Heads from LeLutka, Only Available from December 8th to 26th, 2020!

IMPORTANT UPDATE, Dec. 11th, 2020: The Alain and Lilly gift heads are NO LONGER AVAILABLE from the LeLutka in-world store! Please go to one of the following locations instead to pick them up:

Lelutka Sim 1
Lelutka Sim 2
Lelutka Sim 3

News flash! LeLutka is offering two free Bento mesh heads, one for males and one for females, but only from December 8th to December 26th, 2020. All you have to do is join the LeLutka group, and pay L$1 for each head (your Linden dollar will be automatically refunded).

According to a notecard sent out via the LeLutka group (which is free to join):

Hello, LeLU’s,

So we ask, what’s better than a price drop, Black Friday sale, and 6 Christmas trees to end this year?

Free heads!!! One for the girls and one for the boys. You read right, we want to spoil you with these two little gifts. This is just another way of showing you how much we love you and to thank you for giving us support this year!

Please help us welcome Lilly and Alain to our Evolution line, and we truly hope you will love them like we do.

These heads will be set to L$1, but you will get refunded. The only reason you will need to pay the vendor is to record your purchase, which will ensure you get all future updates and redelivers. We wanted to be sure our group members felt special; therefore, Lilly and Alain will be available to group members ONLY and set to a regular price (L$3990) on December 26th.

These heads come with all of the features you have come to love. With all addons and skins, we left nothing out. So with that said, enjoy and thank you for being with us yet another year.

May 2021 be an amazing one for us all…

With utmost gratitude,

The Alain and Lilly gift heads from LeLutka (source)

Of course, the LeLutka sim is absolutely jampacked and laggy as hell at the moment, but you’ve got from now until Boxing Day to come in-world and pick these heads up, so you might want to bide your time until the sim is somewhat less crowded. It’s important to note that LeLutka is telling shoppers that they CANNOT cam shop from the neighbouring sims for this special deal; you will therefore have to fight your way into the LeLutka sim to pick these heads up.

UPDATE 11:05 a.m.: After spending most of this morning trying to get in with the handy Teleporter Hammer tool (which you can buy for free here from the SL Marketplace), I was finally able to get in!

Here’s what the vendor panels look like in the LeLutka store. You need to click, not on the poster, but on the red panel directly underneath the poster (please see the green arrows in the picture below):

Click the red panels underneath the Alain and Lilly posters in the LeLutka store

Just pay the panels L$1, et voilà! The Alain or Lilly head that you desire is now yours!

Here’s what in the Lilly head package when you unpack it:

The LeLutka BoM Add-Ons folder contains things such as Bakes on Mesh freckles, blush, eyeshadow, and lipstick, plus a few things you wouldn’t expect: smile lines, mature wrinkles, and even some vampire blood! The LeLutka BoM Hairbases folder contains dozens of Bakes on Mesh hairbases, in just about every shade imaginable.

The base skin is a full-head Bakes on Mesh tattoo layer, which comes in four skin tones. Likewise, the eyebrows are Bakes on Mesh, and come in blonde, red, light brown, and dark brown (and I am not a fan of these particular BoM eyebrows, which to my eye look very unnatural and overly manicured, as seems to be the style nowadays).

Here is what the Lilly head looks like, straight out of the box and using the default head, body, and eyebrows shapes included, with zero adjustments to the sliders. For this picture I chose the lightest of the four included face skins, and the dark brown eyebrows:

This is the first freebie Bento head gift that I can remember that includes several options for aging your appearance. Here’s what the Lilly head looks like when you select Mature instead of Young from the HUD, and add the included mature skin tone and the smile lines from the unpacked BoM Add-Ons folder:

You do get eight different types of eyelashes, with the option to change just the upper lashes, the lower lashes, or both:

The Lilly head does include mesh eyes, and the HUD gives you twelve different colours to choose from, plus quite a few other options:

The HUD includes high-definition (HD) options for eyeshadow, lipstick, and eyebrows (if you choose not to use the Bakes on Mesh eyebrows included in the package).

There is also an extensive animations HUD, with no less than 64 facial animation settings to reflect many different moods! The HUD also includes 64 separate facial expressions for pictures and the like…check out this lovely, bright smile!

Unfortunately, it does appear that, unlike other, previous freebie mesh head group gifts from other vendors, you will have to purchase LeLutka skin appliers in order to match the four included head skins with whatever mesh body you choose to pair with this head.

So I decided to try out a couple of skins designed specifically for LeLutka heads, just to see how they look. Here’s the free group gift of the Mandi skin from Lara Hurley Skin:

And here is what the free group gift from Essences, the Waleria face applier for LeLutka heads, looks like on the Lilly head (more details here):

The Alain male Bento mesh head looks like this, right out of the box:

It comes with a high-definition beard and a HUD to give you one of five facial hair options, in any of five different colours:

Like Lilly, the Alain head comes with four shades of skin tattoos, but in the case of Alain, the tattoos seem to apply to both the head and the Bakes on Mesh-compatible body (in this case, the Meshbody Classic body), which was not the case with the Lilly head when I tested it (unless I screwed up the settings on the Maitreya Lara mesh body I used for the Lilly photos, but I don’t think I did, since the other Bakes on Mesh skins I tried did work with it). Strange!

UPDATE 5:47 p.m.: In frustration, I finally went and upgraded my Maitreya Lara mesh body to version 5.3, turned on Bakes on Mesh for it, and tried it again, and I can now confirm that the skin tattoos that come with both the Lilly and Alain head tattoos include an extended neck fade, but they do NOT extend to the entire body itself! (The reason I had originally thought that the Alain skin tattoos covered the entire body was that I had tested it with a system skin that was close enough in skin tone to match!)

Here is what the Lilly head looks like in the darkest skin tone of the four included, and you can clearly see where the tattoo fades out. At least, I don’t have a visible neck seam this time! Honestly, switching back and forth between skin appliers and Bakes on Mesh can be such a pain in the ass sometimes…anyway, just to make it crystal clear: You will definitely need to purchase skins (either Bakes on Mesh skins, or skin appliers for your preferred mesh body in the LeLutka skin tones) to match the head skin tattoos included with both the Alain and Lilly gift heads.

One interesting thing I noted is that there were no darker or Black skin tones that came with either the Lilly or Alain heads—Caucasian only! Again, you’ll have to purchase those Bakes on Mesh skins or LeLetuka head and body appliers separately.

All in all, these are both really high-quality products, and well worth picking up!

UPDATE Dec. 12th, 2020: Clef de Peau is offering up a free group gift of a male head and body skin called Jamie (the Clef de Peau group is free to join). Here is what Jamie looks like on the Alain head; the package includes a suggested body shape and eyebrow shaper for the Alain head. which I had to tweak slightly in the upper body and neck areas to get this picture. Looking fabulous!

There is also a free gift at the POUT! store, of a shape created specifically for the LeLutka Lilly head. It’s located in the centre of the store, and you don’t need to join any group; just slap the vendor panel and it’s yours!

Thank you to both Linda Haber and Kieran Stephens for the heads up!

Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: Advent Calendar Gifts for December 9th, 2020

Here’s my blogpost with links to four lists of Advent Calendars and 12 Days of Christmas Calendars, plus my “Top Ten” Calendars you should not miss in 2020!

Today I have just a few gifts to show you. Today’s Advent calendar gift from Virtue is this lovely floral top and pale blue skirt (the Virtue group is free to join):

The gift from Wow Skins is this beautiful Belle skin in the milk skin tone (the Wow group costs L$199 to join):

Today’s Advent calendar gift, the Hope skin by 7 Deadly S[k]ins, comes in a very pale skin tone called powder (as usual, there is also a men’s skin the package; the cost to join the 7 Deadly S[k]ins group is L$1,000):

From Firelight Hair comes the Frankie hairstyle with a mini-HUD of three ombre colours (there’s also a male version called Frank). The Firelight group is free to join.

Happy freebie shopping!