Pandemic Diary: January 23rd, 2021: Happy Birthday to Me

My brother called me this morning at 9:00 a.m.. I had slept in, and he left a message for me to call him. When I did get up later this morning, I saw that he had called, and since he telephones me so infrequently (we usually text), my first thought is that it was an emergency, and I called him back.

Only to have him wish me a happy birthday! I had completely forgotten that today is my 57th birthday!! I told him on the phone, as we shared a good laugh, that every day is so much like every other day while I have been working from home in self-isolation for my university library system during the pandemic. All my days tend to run together!

As a birthday present, the Manitoba government has slightly lifted a few restrictions in our province-wide, code-red pandemic lockdown, which has been in place since early November.

Each household can now have a maximum of two external visitors (and no, they can’t be two different people every time; it has to be the same two people). And stores selling non-essential items (books, clothing, consumer electronics, etc.) can now reopen, provided they operate at 25% of their normal store capacity and practice social distancing, face masking, etc.

The timing is perfect, as my trusty iPad 2 has finally bit the dust. I had used it almost every day for the past ten years; the thing was built like a tank! I often would use it to watch Netflix movies or TV, while lying on my sofa in the evenings.

There is a (single) Apple store way up here in the frozen prairie hinterlands of Winnipeg, but I may opt to do my shopping online instead, as I did for my Valve Index. I really don’t feel comfortable walking into any shopping mall right now, even with a face mask and practicing social distancing.

Canada is experiencing delays in vaccine production and delivery, and I am becoming extremely worried about all the new coronavirus variants popping up in the U.K., South Africa, and many other places. It is possible that many vaccines and vaccine candidates will have to be rejigged to handle at least some of these mutations of the virus. The very thought makes me anxious. We are not out of the woods yet! A Manitoba doctor tweeted the following disheartening update yesterday:

Oh, and the Manitoba provincial government also announced that barbers and hair stylists were allowed to reopen, too, provided they adhere to the same restrictions as stores, plus take contact information on all their customers, in case any contact tracing is needed. My mother will be so happy; she has wanted to get her hair cut and styled!

So, next weekend, I will drive across the city to pay a socially-distanced visit to my mother and stepfather at their seniors life-lease condo, and we will finally exchange our Christmas presents, a month late! And I will receive my mom’s birthday present; I told her cash would be a perfectly acceptable gift! (I don’t want to set foot in a bank, or touch a germy ATM number pad, if I don’t have to, and having a little spending money in my wallet can come in handy at times.)

I am still struggling with depression and anxiety at times, but I am coping as best as I can. I hope that you are staying safe and healthy!

Second Life Celebrates Its 17th Birthday!

Second Life, the most popular and successful virtual world to date, is marking its 17th birthday with a celebration that opened today, and runs until July 12th, 2020 (here’s the blogpost from the official blog).

Patch Linden, in his opening remarks at the SL17B Live Stage to a large and appreciative crowd of avatars, said that Second Life is enjoying a renaissance, adding that “the pandemic has brought a return of many old and new generations of residents to Second Life”. He confirmed that the number of monthly active SL users (that is, avatar accounts which have signed in at least once in a month) has risen to almost 900,000 people (as I have reported before, an increase of 50%), and that Second Life has seen an increase of 20% in its daily user concurrency figures.

Look at all the green dots on the map (left)! It was a capacity crowd indeed!
Patch Linden (centre) and Strawberry Linden (right) on the SL17B Live Stage

Many of the top performers in Second Life have come together to perform live at the SL17B Music Fest, a special two-day music event held June 19th and 20th at the SL17B Live Stage. Here’s your chance to celebrate Second Life’s 17th Birthday while experiencing some fantastic live musical talent that you won’t want to miss. The full line up is available here. (Skye Galaxy is the closing act of Music Fest on the 20th at 7:000 p.m. SLT; don’t miss his performance!)

And the Shop and Hop event has been expanded to ten (yes, TEN) full sims, with 200 stores participating, each offering discounts and giving freebies! I have already thoroughly ransacked the Shop and Hop mall, so expect a blogpost soon about the many fabulous free gifts that you can pick up, both at the mall and at the separate gifts section located on the SL17B Celebration sims.

Between The Stay at Home Club and SL17B, freebie season is truly upon us! I suggest you take full advantage of this opportunity to stock your inventories with fabulous freebies!

To keep on top of what is happening each day, please visit the full SL17B event calendar or visit the special SL17B Landing Page.

Happy 17th birthday, Second Life!

Two Years!

Today is the second anniversary of the open public beta of Sansar, which happened on July 31st, 2017. And it marks the second anniversary of this blog, which started out as the Sansar Newsblog and focused almost exclusively on Sansar. I renamed it the RyanSchultz.com blog in February 2018.

Over time, I have expanded this blog to cover many other social VR platforms and virtual worlds. I even started a section of this blog devoted to Second Life steals, deals, and freebies, which has proven to be surprisingly popular!

Over two years I have posted exactly 1,268 blogpots, which works out to almost 2 blogposts per day. These are the Top Ten most popular (i.e. most viewed) posts and pages on the RyanSchultz.com blog:

  1. Second Life Steals, Deals and Freebies: Free and Inexpensive Mesh Heads and Bodies for Female Second Life Avatars (posted Sept. 24th, 2018; 8,922 views so far)
  2. More Details on the Upcoming Ability to Change Your User Name in Second Life (March 22nd, 2018; 6,252 views)
  3. RyanSchultz.com Reader Poll: What Social VR/Virtual World Do You Spend the Most Time In? (Feb. 21st, 2019; 5,532 views)
  4. Linden Lab Announces a Mix of Good News and Bad News for Second Life Users (May 29th, 2019; 5,079 views)
  5. The Dirty Little Secret of VRChat: Hidden Adult Content (March 28th, 2019; 4,174 views and rising fast!)
  6. Oasis: A Brief Introduction to a New, Adults-Only Social VR Platform (Aug. 7th, 2018; 3,611 views)
  7. Second Life Steals, Deals and Freebies: The Four Best Freebie Stores in SL (May 15th, 2018; 3,072 views)
  8. Second Life Steals, Deals and Freebies: Free and Inexpensive Mesh Heads and Bodies for Male Second Life Avatars (Oct. 4th, 2018; 2,752 views)
  9. Second Life Versus Sansar: Why Linden Lab Can’t Win, No Matter What They Do (March 9th, 2018; 2,502 views)
  10. Comprehensive List of Social VR Platforms and Virtual Worlds (a page based on a blogpost originally made on May 10th, 2018; 2,412 views)

Here’s to the next two years!