Catering to the LCD

A post from a scene friend on Tumblr yesterday gave me pause about something that has been niggling in the back of my head for some time now.
It has to do with the BDSM scene and kink in general and how society as a whole seems to be attempting to deal with it on the Internet as well as elsewhere. For a while now, those of us in the kink community have been pretty closed off and content with that considering how open society views the scene. Generally, if you’re labeled as ‘kinky’, you’re considered to be on the ‘outside fringes’ and well worth keeping a distance from. Certainly, people who are kink friendly have shown up in news reports doing ‘odd’ things like walking their girlfriend through a mall in NY as if she was a dog or pet. Personally, I think that’s an extreme case and not really the best way to put your best ‘kink foot forward’ since a mall is a place where children are likely to be present, and you’re causing others to be privy to what you normally do in the privacy of your own home. Doing it at an event that’s specifically geared towards kink practices is one thing, out in public where you’re making others uncomfortable is not. So I can easily understand how sites like Facebook and Tinder would be less inclined towards those that promote themselves as being kink friendly.

Less so for sites like Tumblr and Instagram. In December of last year, came an event that unofficially was dubbed ‘Tumblrgeddon’, where the owners of the site decided that they were going to almost unilaterally remove a good deal of porn from their servers, and effectively sequester the rest as much as the could. If you had an account that was strictly geared towards kink, or porn, whether it was yours or just being reposted, it was excised from public view. Worse yet, if you had anything that (in their rather poorly stated words) promoted “female-presenting-nipples“, it was summarily banned or hidden from others’ view. So essentially 90% of people who were working with accounts that were kink related had to find somewhere else to put their interest. Within a couple of days, enterprising people were setting up sites called pillowfort.io, bdsmlr.com, Humblr.com as well as others that wished to freely accept anyone that wanted to leave Tumblr.

Within the last month or so, Instagram has more or less decided to do the same. (I note that it’s not a coincidence that Instagram is owned by Facebook btw) About 3 weeks ago one of my Insta accounts was deactivated by TPTB (The Powers That Be) and I received notice that it was mine no longer and it wasn’t going to be reactivated due to a violation of the TOS. When I asked what the violation was, they wouldn’t tell me. I’ve heard about others that have had similar experiences, much like when you’re relegated to ‘Facebook Jail’ and they won’t divulge the reason you ended up there. Just that you’re going to be offline for a specific period of time and that’s that. The people who run these sites know they’re in the catbird seat, and you’re basically powerless to do anything about getting censored. You can lament all you want about how ‘unfair’ its become, but anymore they’re the only game in town. It’s certainly become far more difficult in the last 20 years in terms of connecting with like-minded individuals of the kink persuasion, as the sites to which we’re allowed to gather become more and more restricted. People talk about ‘Freedom of Speech’ but that doesn’t apply to multi-national conglomerates or these companies that, like Wal-Mart in a way, gather millions of people on their servers, and squash (or buy then liquidate) the smaller websites that might do the same thing, but when they’re the only game in town, things become far more restricted. Especially when those companies become publicly traded entities. When Facebook was a private company, it did things very differently than now when they’re beholden to shareholders.

Just a FYI, for those that say Twitter or Fetlife are suitable alternatives, honestly they’re really not. Twitter doesn’t have the same capabilities of a Tumblr or Instagram, and Fetlife by its very nature isn’t a personals site. Yes, people use it as if it was one, but that’s not the purpose of the site. About the only reason that Fetlife hasn’t been more restricted or censored is the fact that the home servers are located in Canada. If they were located in the US, they probably by all purposes would have been shut down by now. I equate the current situation to what happened to the website Insex around the time it ceased production around 2005. At that time, there was another Republican Administration in the US in power and by and large they were cracking down on a lot of US porn (and kink) producers, stating that the money that they were making was being sent to purveyors of terrorism (a huge lie) and many sites were being shut down or being threatened with lawsuits. The creator of Insex decided on his own that he was going to shut down the site, and move the content outside of the US (to the Netherlands to be specific) so as not to lose his work to a sudden possible seizure by said government. Which was actually possible. At the same time, he created several other sites that were a LOT tamer in comparison to the original, and they’ve been operating for the most part ever since. Though as of this writing, they’re slowly being updated infrequently, and probably in a few more years won’t be around at all. The original creator of Insex is now in his 70s, and as I understand it has mostly retired from active online participation. He has basically one ‘apprentice’ that carries on his work in Oregon, but he’s a mere shadow of the ‘The Source’, where all the diabolical ideas came to life way back in a little place in Brooklyn circa 1995.

Getting back to the title of this, it’s my opinion that we’re increasingly catering to the Lowest Common Denominator in many things and Kink seems to be no less of a victim. It’s sad to see how far we’re falling, and how it’s all going to play out over the next few years.

Springing into Spring

I’m fairly certain at this point we’re not going to be getting any more snow.  Our daffodils have (almost all) bloomed already and there are crocuses in the front yard near the patio.

Last weekend I was asked by The Wife to drag out the patio furniture and set it up for the season.  I’ve noted in the last 8 or so years that we’ve had the set it’s getting a little worn, starting to rust in some places and getting threadbare in others.  Certainly, a truth that things aren’t and haven’t been made to last in the past 20-30 years, certainly since the influx of cheaper materials from China in all ways and means.  Go to an antique store and find something similar and you can discover something that was built to last.  A brass fitted Y coupling for your hose is designed to probably last a year now if you’re lucky.  I certainly seem to buy a new one every year.  ‘Non-kink’ hoses spring leaks within a year of purchase so you throw the practically new one away and get another.  I bought a 100 ft length of hose back when we first bought this house in 2001.  I still have it, it works just fine.  I honestly think it’s an aberrance.  Or it doesn’t know it was supposed to fail in its first year.  Either way, I appreciate it’s durability.  Come to think of it, I still have the (mostly) metal power strip my parents bought for me when I first went to college in (gasp!) 1983.  It still works.

We still have leaves left over from the previous fall.  Autumn was a quirky season last year, in that the trees didn’t cooperate in dropping their bounty on time so that the village could come along and collect them before our first snowfall.  Consequently, neither I nor my neighbor to the east was able to rake and collect them, to deposit them on the curb.  During the ensuing 7-8 months they’ve managed to be blown around and mashed into either my driveway or piled up next to the house because my house makes a convenient windbreak and the leaves stop being blown around and pile up for me to dispose of.  Lucky me.

Dragged out the lawn mower and roto-tiller from their spaces in the garage.  The mower (as usual) acted like a champ and started up with a little priming.  The tiller is going to need a little more work.  I did get a new muffler over the winter since the original one was a rusted worn out mess.  I’m going to have to change the oil at the very least and probably take apart the carburetor to see if that’s the reason why it’s running so roughly.  If I can’t successfully fix it, I might just call the small engine place I use on occasion and have them work on it.  The drive wheels are frozen and have been for the last 20 years.  I watched a few YouTube videos over the winter suggesting this is something that can be fixed, but I don’t have the necessary tools to do it.  They might.  The last outfit I used said they couldn’t manage it without cutting the axle in half.  That’s a non-starter since the cost of replacing the axle and wheels would likely be half of the cost of a new tiller.  And I like the one we have.

Slowly getting the house ship-shape for company.  Friends from NC are due in a couple of weeks, my mother is expecting to visit in June and I have to try to drag my slave up here or somewhere close by before we both go stir-crazy.  Not going to go into that anymore as I already posted about it.

 

High time for a rant

I watch the calendar day by day and note that it’s been almost a year since the last time my slave and I were able to be together and see one another in person.  We could have gotten together sooner, but there’s a wrinkle that I’ve had to impose due to financial realities.  The last two times we got together, I pretty much paid for everything.  I went down to where she lived in southern Virginia back in 2017, rented a car, drove down there (10 hours each way) and spent several days with her.  It was great, we bonded, had play time, did some sightseeing, but in the end, it cost me about $1500. (about half of that was the rental car…which even now seems a little obscene)

After that, we kept in touch via online abilities.  Text, video, email, phone.  With an LDR (Long Distance Relationship), you have to keep in touch the best way you can, or things tend to fall apart pretty quickly.  Our plan post meeting was to get together more often, keep things fresh, build on what we had set in place at the face to face meeting. As oftentimes happens, life gets in the way, and time marches on.  So, we didn’t get together again until June of 2018.  That time, instead of me driving all the way to her, we decided that we’d meet ‘somewhere in the middle’.  Since I’m a bit better with logistics, I found a place that was approximately equidistant from both of us and searched for a suitable town/city and then a hotel for our stay.   Since she’d recently moved a bit further north towards northern VA, Harrisburg, PA ended up being the best place to meet. I booked a hotel, got the time off and this time took the family car instead of renting a vehicle.  A bit cheaper, but again I paid for most of the cost of the trip.  All said and done, somewhere between $900 and $1000 for the entire adventure.  

After this second meeting, I had to inform her that I wasn’t going to be able to foot the cost of our meetings anymore.  She had to help out or else it was going to end up being unacceptable for me to continue.  I’m not wealthy, I’m very much blue collar in my finances.  Granted I don’t live paycheck to paycheck, but there has to be give and take in other things than just the BDSM.  She agreed and admitted that she was feeling somewhat guilty that I was paying for everything but her finances were in a poor spot at the time.  Consequently, our plans to get together more often after the June meeting had to be shelved.  Summer passed, then autumn, and now winter has gone by the wayside.  We’re back to Spring, and we’d had tentative plans to meet at the end of this month or the beginning of May.  Those plans included ‘closing the circle’ per se, having her come all the way up here to visit, stay at my house to cut costs, (as well as having her here in my comfort zone) and as before the visit would be 3-4 days.  Any more and we’d be encroaching on The Wife’s patience, and that’s not a good thing to do.

However, between money and other things happening, that’s had to be shelved for the time being too.  It’s getting very frustrating for me.  And for her as well I know.  Relationships are kindled and developed with face to face interaction.  Yes, I’m reminded that couples have managed to stay married and in relationships over long distances through war and strife, through long trips and distances over the centuries when communication was a LOT more spotty than it is possible today.  Still, it’s not the same.  I want to DO things with her, in person, not through text, not through emoticons and messaging one another.  Saying in words, like last night when I put her to bed ~”I come into the bedroom and see you cuddled under the covers, I lift the blanket edge, take the metal shackle and encircle your ankle with it, you can feel the cold of the steel as it steals the warmth of your skin, hearing the lock click as it’s secured, hearing the clink of the chain as it is secured to the bed leg, knowing that you’re secure and going to stay in place all night long”~ is all well and good and engenders nice feelings, but it’s most definitely NOT the same thing as doing it in person.  Which we’d both rather be doing.

I’m not certain what the solution is at this point.  I’m actually about to the point of saying ‘fuck-it’ and put something together willy nilly and go see her.  Just because I’m tired of the situation the way it is, and the way it’s been and continues.  Of course, when I stop being emotional and look at my debt spreadsheet, it brings me back to reality and down to earth.

My pseudonym/name is Leathers, this is my rant and I fully support it.

Still slow but coming back

First off, my apologies for not posting more this month.  Been a bit of a slog with the web host that I use having a brain fart.  Every time that I want to check the blog, it takes more than 30-45 seconds to load (if not longer) and no one wants to wait as if they’re connected via dial-up for something to load.  They’ll lose interest and go somewhere else.

Earlier this week I took one of my domains and moved it to a different adult-friendly server with the hopes of moving this blog over to there.  Of course, nothing like that is easy either.  Between gaps, I was able to back up the blog here and try to move it, but for whatever reason, it wasn’t going. It would transfer, but wouldn’t load on the new server.  Even yesterday when this blog finally came back up, I attempted to use the ‘IMPORT/EXPORT’ feature on WP, but the new version of WP wouldn’t accept it, so I finally gave up.

This morning, there’s possibly good news.  Traffic on my various websites is up again (it had been down below 1 GB for over a week now) which means that people are able to get to them, and when I attempted to come here, it loaded after about 10 seconds.  Still, an eternity when you’re on a 100mbs hi-speed connection, but at least it’s way better than it has been. 

In the interim I’ve been reading others’ blogs and commenting on them, getting the occasional follow-back and spending time doing other things around the house, around the grounds and yep still buying toys.  Made a few missteps in that regard in the last week, which I’ll be detailing in the next couple of days.  There’s something to be said about ‘measure twice, order once’.  Fortunately, I didn’t outlay a few hundred dollars for that mistake.  Whew. 

Anyway, just thought I’d post an update here.  Have to work, to pay for the ability to do all this stuff, so I’m outta here for now.  Be good everyone.  Well, not too good. 

Slow as molasses

Still having trouble with this blog running slowly.  I’ve sent messages to both my web hosting company, and WordPress.org, but the answers are slow in coming as well.  My web hosting company is going through an upgrade of all their systems and transferred everything to new equipment, so there’s been a complete revamp of how it all is set up in the background that I have to get used to.  Pretty much that’s where the trouble began.  Once the migration was complete, I was unable to find the database that corresponded to this blog.  I emailed the support team at the web host, but they couldn’t seem to find it either.  Finally, I did a good amount of digging and discovered that it was indeed there, except that the identifier on it had changed, so my blog was unable to find it.  Once I fixed that, and changed the corresponding file on WP to point it in the right direction, I thought everything was going to be ok.  Didn’t turn out to be the case, naturally.

The blog continues to load slowly.  I thought it was just me experiencing it, but my slave mentioned it to me the other day as well.  The blog that I have for her, which is also hosted on the same server, and the same domain, runs slowly as well.  So I’m not entirely certain why that is since it’s a different setup through WordPress, but it’s all hosted in the same location.  I have many other domains here, and they all load just fine.  Just the blogs seem to be affected.  The only common denominator appears to be that the blogs utilize databases.  

Frustrating.  I hope I can figure this out.

Contractual obligations

I’m on vacation again.  But this time I’m using up my vacation days before I lose them from not using them. [Say that 5 times fast]  It’s something I go through every year around this time, due to the fact through my work I’m due 4 weeks of time off yearly.  Technically it’s 160 hours of vacation and 24 hours of personal time.  According to the union contract, (fortunately) it doesn’t have to be taken a week at a time (40 hours).  I can use it sparingly, or in larger chunks.  However, due to the nature of where I work and how short-handed we are (didn’t use to be this way), if I were to try to take off 2 weeks at a time, there would be several peeved off managerial types.  So I make every effort not to rock the boat in that aspect.

It just so happened that this week coincided with monthly inventory, so in theory this could have been a problem taking the time off.  The department manager prefers to have me present for inventory, so I make it a point to be at his beck and call and keep things on the level.  Consequently, this week I worked Sunday & Monday and took off the rest of the week for 3 vacation days and my normal 2 days off.  Next week I have 2 days of vacation and 2 days off, then back to work on April 4-7 to round out the week.  So, 9 days total.

As with all my other vacations, I have lofty plans, which usually almost never come to fruition.  If someone were to give out awards for laziness, procrastination and stubbornness in not getting things done, I’d have a basketful.  Certainly much to the chagrin of the wife, and my slave.  I’m not always spot on with keeping my promises, even if initially they’re made with good intentions.  As always, something to work on.


This morning while I was scanning through blogs I’ve started to follow, I came across one entry where the owner of the blog was railing about the necessity for contracts in BDSM.  Not just railing mind you, but making it quite clear that she believed they were essential for any BDSM relationship to be successful.  Furthermore she seemed quite convinced that the Fifty Shades model of contracts was the best one to be used.  Add in a link to a PDF she’d created with the contract in question (blank of course), and I suppose I shouldn’t have been too shocked to find there were a litany of responders to the post all pretty much agreeing with her.

Honestly, I couldn’t just let that one go.  Had to put my own take on it, though when I looked through the homepage of the blog, it hasn’t been updated since January, so it’s entirely possible my comment is falling on deaf ears.  Furthermore, since all comments to the blog are moderated, it would have to be approved in order to be seen by someone from the outside.

4 days down, 5 to go.

Sometimes there’s just not enough Motrin

This past fall I was informed by my web hosting company that they were upgrading their servers, and would eventually be moving all the accounts that they host to a new upgraded platform.  The process was going to take the better part of 6-8 months, and when the time came for my account to be moved, I’d be informed by email.  Well, that time arrived last week, and I received the rather lengthy email with a veritable mountain of information.  I have more than a few domains that I’ve purchased over the years, and many of those domains also have sub-domains (like this blog for instance).

It’s not enough that they’re going to be moving/upgrading the hosting, they’re upgrading/moving the emails associated with the accounts as well.  Since I use Mozilla’s Thunderbird program for corralling my emails, I had to do a little surgery on how the program interacts with the server to collect them.  That was the easy part.  The difficulty came when the respective domains were moved to the new server. 

On the previous server, when you set up your domain, it was pretty straightforward.  If you wanted to upload (FTP) your site, you designed your pages and uploaded them right to the main directory of your website.  Bim bam boom, easy.  With the new system, you have to use a sub-directory that they’ve installed called ‘public_html‘.  All of your files are now there.  One extra step.  For a normal everyday website that’s not a problem, because the way they set it up internally.  If one were to type in http://www.website.com, the server forwards the subdirectory’s contents to the main, and you see the website that you wanted to view.  As I discovered, it doesn’t work that way with WordPress.

Basically, it took me the better part of 2 nights to resurrect this blog, because of the problem with the subdirectory.  Add in the fact that my hosting server is in Germany, so there’s a 5-6 hour time difference depending on when they enact Daylight Savings Time.  Too, their troubleshooters primarily speak German, not English, so everything has to go through a translator.  Finally (there’s always one more thing, right?) the database that WordPress relies on for much of the nuts and bolts of how it works was missing.  I emailed the server troubleshooters several times about it and they finally sent me a screenshot of the old server, in my account, and it wasn’t there either.  Referenced to in the WordPress admin file, but the database was just gone.  Or, at least I thought it was.  After looking a little closer at the details of all the databases, I discovered that the one I was looking for was there, but for some inexplicable reason, the identifying code had changed.  Another cup of tea, a little more angst, and some time spent working with the Vaultpress people associated with Jetpack, and I had it all humming again.  It’s still running a bit sluggish a week later, but it’s working.  And that’s what’s important.