Housekeeping Notice: 58 Years and 1 Day

Yesterday was my 58th birthday (hence the subtitle of this post), and between work, the cold and snowy winter weather, and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, I find myself stumbling through the days like a zombie. I drag myself out of bed, and I push myself to get even the simplest of tasks done. I fall into bed like a dead man at the end of every long, weary day. I am tired.

I recently posted this animated GIF to Twitter with the comment: “Is anybody else out there just feeling emotionally and mentally battered by this point of the pandemic?”

I am feeling absolutely exhausted and completely beaten down by all the suffering, sickness, and death all around me (another 23 Manitobans died from COVID-19 this weekend, 16 in my city of Winnipeg). I am essentially barricading myself in my apartment, working from home until this punishing Omicron wave has subsided. And I need to refocus on my full-time paying job as an academic librarian; I have firm deadlines to meet, and classes to prepare for and teach.

So this is all my lengthy preamble to tell you: don’t expect a lot of blogposts from me over the next little while. Like the cartoon cat falling in a heap off the cartoon chair, I can’t. I’m sorry. Something has to give, so it’s the blog, at least for now, at least for a little while.

Stay safe, sane, and healthy in these unprecedented times!

This is a Caffeine-Powered Blog—Please Buy Ryan a Coffee!

I love coffee. I usually drink it black, but sometimes I add skim milk, or even a little vanilla extract and stevia if I want something fancier. This blogger runs on caffeine!

Photo by Jessica Lewis on Unsplash

As many of you know, I do have a Patreon, which helps me cover the cost of hosting this blog on WordPress, and provides a bit of side income (along with accepting advertising and writing sponsored blogposts). I want to take this opportunity to thank all of my Patreon patrons, both past and present. Your support means the world to me!

But I know that many people would rather just make a one-off donation (which, by the way, you can certainly do with Patreon), instead of making a monthly contribution to support the RyanSchultz.com blog and the Metaverse Newscast (which will be returning for a second season; Carlos Austin and I are going to be co-producing the show).

So to make it a little easier to say “thank you”, I have added a new widget to the RyanSchultz.com blog. See the round red button with the coffee cup icon in the bottom right-hand corner of your screen (blue arrow in the image below)?

You’ll notice that this button stays on your screen as you scroll down. Click on that red coffee button, and you will see the following display:

This red button also now appears in the lower right-corner of your screen when you visit my blog on your mobile device; here’s what it looks like on my iPhone:

If you were helped, informed and/or entertained by something I wrote, you can choose to buy me a single coffee (US$3.00), 3 or 5 coffees (my average daily coffee consumption), or you can—gasp!—enter any number of coffees you want into that little box! Then enter your name or Twitter handle (this part is optional), and a message (also optional), and click the big red Support button.

I do want to test this new widget out, so if you are in a beta-testing mood, or if you have simply appreciated something I have written lately, then please consider buying me a coffee! Thanks 😉

Please buy Ryan a coffee! Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

A Quick Guide to the VRChat Communities on Discord, Twitch, YouTube, and Other Social Media (Plus a Couple of Directories of VRChat Maps/Worlds!)

After writing up my recent blogpost about the Second Life blogging and vlogging community, I decided to investigate what social media exists around another popular social VR platform/virtual world, VRChat, which I have been writing about for four years now on this blog.

Blogs

To my surprise, there’s very little in the way of blogging about VRChat; my Google searches consistently pulled up only two blogs which discuss VRChat regularly, my own blog, and Wagner James Au’s venerable blog New World Notes, which has branched out from its original coverage of Second Life to write about other virtual worlds (here’s a link to all of my VRChat posts, and a link to all of Wagner’s).

Discords

As for Discords, there are any number of popular Discord communities:

There are also the following Discord servers, which have a VRChat section or channel:

Directories of VRChat Worlds

As I have written about before, it can be difficult to find good directories of VRChat maps (i.e. worlds) to explore (other than the Worlds listing in the VRChat client itself).

There is a Japanese-language website called The World of VRChat, a website directory for VRChat worlds (if you turn on Google auto-translate in your Chrome web browser, it works well enough). I don’t know how up-to-date it is kept, however, and I have been unable to find any other website directories like this one.

The World of VRChat Website

Also, VRChat user CatRazor has created a very useful Discord server called VRChat Maps, where users can post their favourite maps to various channels. Check it out!

The VRChat Maps Discord server

If you know of any other VRChat map/world directories which exist outside the VRChat client, please drop a comment, thank you!


Of course, it was the Twitch and YouTube livestreamers who first brought attention to VRChat, so it only makes sense that the overwhelming majority of the social media out there about VRChat is on Twitch and YouTube.

Twitch

There’s a very active VRChat community on Twitch, with dozens of livestreamers. Your best bet is to go exploring, and see whose content appeals to you!

Just a small sample of the VRChat streamers on Twitch

YouTube

There are hundreds of people who regularly post videos about VRChat to YouTube. Feedspot maintains what it claims is an up-to-date list of the most popular VRChat YouTubers, but I have discovered that many of the people on this list haven’t posted VRChat videos to YouTube in many months, if not years (for example, Nagzz21 is listed, but he stopped posting videos about VRChat a year ago, citing the U.S. FTC’s COPPA legislation).

There are so many VRChat videos on YouTube that it is possible to create subcategories! For example, there are many YouTubers who focus on slice of life or “man in the street” interviews:

Here’s a couple of examples of YouTube videos from iListen and iamLucid, to give you an idea of the content you can expect in these interview videos:

Other VRChat videos tend to be edited or unedited recordings of shenanigans happening on the social VR platform. Your mileage may vary; some of funnier or others, but overall it comes down to your personal sense of humour. Here’s the results of a keyword search for “VRChat” on YouTube; dive in! If you’re looking for the most popular VRChat videos, start here (but be warned; some of these are not for the faint of heart!).


Do you know of any resources which should be listed here? If you know of a Discord server, a YouTube channel, or a Twitch channel, or some other social media that should be included in this blogpost? Then please feel free to leave a comment, thanks!

Please Read: The RyanSchultz.com Blog Is on Indefinite Hiatus

Next week, I will reach the one-year mark of working from home in self-isolation for my university library system (my full-time paying job). As the pandemic drags on, my chronic clinical depression has become worse and worse. I regret that I am now at the point where I have to put this blog on hold. For how long, I don’t know. At least until I can get my worsening depression under some sort of control.

I am really struggling with my mental state, and I need to do this to focus my limited energies on my paying jobI WANT TO MAKE THIS VERY CLEAR: I AM NOT SUICIDAL!!! I just need to take a break from the blog.

I need to take some time to heal

I will still be active on the RyanSchultz.com Discord server, Twitter, and Clubhouse (where all I have to do is listen), and I will still be showing up at Bray’s Place in Second Life, and perhaps a few other social VR platforms and virtual worlds (I feel very guilty for neglecting Sinespace these past six months). But that’s the extent of what I can do right now.

So this will be my last blogpost for a while. I’m so sorry, you guys. I tried to keep going, but I have to rest and heal for a bit. I hope you understand, but even if you don’t, I am still stepping away from the blog.

Clip ‘n’ Save: Mental Health Resources During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Image source: Kids Help Phone (Canada)