UPDATED! Cracked Tooth; No Blog

I have not been to the dentist in over two years, of course, because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. So when I started to develop a very painful toothache over the course of last week, I finally made an appointment and went to the dentists’ office yesterday.

It turns out that I have a cracked tooth under one of my dental fillings—no doubt due to all the teeth grinding I have been doing over the past couple of stressful years of pandemic living.

Because I cannot chew anything, I am living on a diet of various flavours of Boost and extra-strength painkillers, until my next dentist appointment tomorrow morning (with probably a few more visits to follow). I am NOT a happy camper, people.

So, unfortunately, the RyanSchultz.com blog (and the Metaverse Newscast show) will remain on hold for the foreseeable future, at least until I get my dental issues fixed. With the addition of a cracked tooth to the workload I was already trying to juggle, something has to give. Sorry, folks.

UPDATE April 21st, 2022: I had my cracked tooth fixed yesterday, but it’s going to take a few days to see if it’s completely better once it heals. I still might need a root canal (hopefully not!), and either way, the dentist wants to put a crown on top of it eventually. I still have partial dental coverage through my full-time paying job as an academic librarian, so I’m going to go with whatever the dentist recommends. Better to do it now than after I retire!

And I go back Friday for more dental work. Once all the work is completed, I will be fitted for a mouth guard, to protect against any further damage from my tooth-grinding!

Blog is still on hold for the time being. There’s no shortage of news to report on, and stories to write about, but I just don’t have time right now. Sorry!

UPDATE April 22nd, 2022: I’ve had four separate appointments with the dentist this week, to work on four different teeth. The good news is that I can chew food again without pain, but I still have a dull ache in my jaw tonight, where he patched up my cracked tooth.

I’m exhausted, completely worn out. Like I said, I’ll be back when I have time to post.

Virtual Cultures in Pandemic Times: A New, Feature-Length Documentary by Draxtor Despres Looks at Second Life and Animal Crossing Users During the Coronavirus Pandemic

HOUSEKEEPING NOTE: The RyanSchultz.com blog will be on an indefinite hiatus, as I am working on a brand new project: writing up a proposal for a VR lab for my university library system! More details here. I’ll be back as soon as I can, folks!

Image source: the official website for the documentary

The full-length documentary by Bernhard Drax (a.k.a. Draxtor Despres in Second Life), titled Virtual Cultures in Pandemic Times, has now been released on YouTube, where you can watch it for free! (I first wrote about the film here.)

It’s 1 hour and 24 minutes long, so go get yourself some popcorn, and settle in!

According to the official website for the film:

Virtual Cultures in Pandemic Times is a new feature length documentary by media maker Draxtor.

Since March 2020, Draxtor has been following researchers Tom Boellstorff, Evan Conaway, Chandra Middleton and Sandy Wenger (based in the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, Irvine) around Animal Crossing and Second Life to find out how COVID-19 is reshaping online interaction.

In the 85 minute film, protagonists from all over the world speak openly about their anxieties and everyday challenges during this global crises and about what virtual worlds and social games mean to them in the context of a pandemic.

Mixed reality interviews and group discussions provide the basis for a sprawling narrative: a mosaic of impressions, shared by people from all walks of life, some well known figures from science, arts and culture, some just regular folks (like the research team itself), trying to make sense of a new age dominated by uncertainty and physical isolation.

Enjoy!

P.S. If you watch the documentary, you can see my main SL avatar, Vanity Fair, sitting in the audience at the Virtual Ability 10th Annual Mental Health Symposium: Mental Health in Trying Times virtual conference, held on April 16th, 2021 (at which I also was a presenter on the topic of acedia). At exactly the 25:10 mark in Virtual Cultures in Pandemic Times, you can see Vanity, busily knitting away… 😉 I’m tickled pink that I made a (brief) cameo in Drax’s documentary!

Screen capture of Vanity Fair (with her animated knitting needles!) sitting in the audience at the Virtual Ability Annual Mental Health Symposium (taken from Drax’s documentary)

P.P.S. Starting at the 1:17:42 mark of Drax’s documentary, in the discussion of social media/networks versus virtual worlds, Drax has an image of my popular list of metaverse platforms appearing on the screen of a virtual television set in Second Life! He even scrolls down the listing! My blog got a cameo!!!

My list of metaverse platforms gets a cameo in Drax’s documentary!

Thanks for the cameos, Drax! 😉

Virtual Cultures in Pandemic Times: A New Feature-Length Documentary by Draxtor Despres, Premiering on YouTube and in Second Life on April 2nd, 2022

Second Life filmmaker Bernhard Drax (better known by his Second Life name, Draxtor Despres) will be premiering a new, feature-length documentary on April 2nd, 2022, titled Virtual Cultures in Pandemic Times. I have written about Drax many times before on this blog, notably when he released his previous feature-length documentary, Our Digital Selves: My Avatar Is Me. Drax is a truly indefatigable chronicler of Second Life, who often creates promotional short films (a.k.a. machinima) about various aspects of Second Life for Linden Lab. He is also an insatiable reader, who hosts the popular weekly Second Life Book Club.

According to the official website for the film:

Virtual Cultures in Pandemic Times is a new feature length documentary by media maker Draxtor.

Since March 2020, Draxtor has been following researchers Tom Boellstorff, Evan Conaway, Chandra Middleton and Sandy Wenger (based in the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, Irvine) around Animal Crossing and Second Life to find out how COVID-19 is reshaping online interaction.

In the 85 minute film, protagonists from all over the world speak openly about their anxieties and everyday challenges during this global crises and about what virtual worlds and social games mean to them in the context of a pandemic.

Mixed reality interviews and group discussions provide the basis for a sprawling narrative: a mosaic of impressions, shared by people from all walks of life, some well known figures from science, arts and culture, some just regular folks (like the research team itself), trying to make sense of a new age dominated by uncertainty and physical isolation.

The online premiere of Virtual Cultures in Pandemic Times will be happening on YouTube and in the virtual world of Second Life, at 1:00 p.m. Pacific Time/SL Time on April 2nd, 2022.

For more information on the project, and to register for the premiere, please refer to the official website for the film. You can also search Twitter for the hashtag #VCinPandemicTimes for the latest tweets about the film and the people it profiles. You can also check out Drax’s voluminous output over on his YouTube channel (including a playlist of teaser clips from Virtual Cultures in Pandemic Times!).

Housekeeping Notice: I’m Juggling

Between the ongoing pandemic, the recently-concluded five-week faculty strike at my university, and now the unexpected war in Ukraine, things have been a little crazy around here these past 3 months (did you know that 14.5% of Manitobans are of Ukrainian ancestry?). Like many of you, I have been glued to the news lately.

Throw in a broken Valve Index VR headset (my unit, of course, died a couple of months after its one-year warranty expired, and Steam has asked me to ship back my headset and cables to be replaced with a refurbished, non-warrantied, headset.) Also, Carlos and I have also—finally!—started working on Episode 1 of Season 2 of the Metaverse Newscast, about which I will be sharing more news soon.

I forgot to mention that after 23 months of working from home for my university, this week I finally returned to my office in the library full-time. (The University of Manitoba has a firm vaccine mandate and a KN95 facemask mandate. Faculty, staff, and students were required to upload proof of vaccination to a special, secure website, and students who did not do so were deregistered from their courses this term. U of M is following the science and absolutely not messing around, which makes me feel much more comfortable coming in to work every day!)

I’m juggling a lot of balls at the moment
(photo by alexey turenkov on Unsplash)

I’m juggling a lot at the moment. All of this is my very long-winded way of saying: don’t expect a whole lot of blogposts from me over the next few weeks. I’ll do my level best to stay on top of all the news and events happening in the metaverse, but no promises 😉

Thanks to my readers and followers for your continued support and engagement! And you are welcome to join the RyanSchulz.com Discord server, with 650 passionate members, representing every social VR platform and virtual world! We discuss, debate and argue about the ever-evolving metaverse and all the companies building it, and we’d love to have you participate (or, if you prefer, just lurk and learn!).