Category: Commentary

FB Jail

Reading Time: 2 minutes

After having trouble with the group on Facebook, I thought I would post some pictures to get the party going again.  Well, apparently that was a bad move.  At least with one of the pictures.  I wasn’t even considering implications, but I just landed in Facebook Jail.  Here’s Why:

FB-Jail I have to admit this is the first time I’ve ever been censored like this on Facebook. When I was posting this picture in concert with the other ones, it didn’t even occur to me that there was going to be a problem. Now that this happened it makes sense considering that A) It’s a public group, and B) Facebook has gotten a lot more restrictive over the years. Definitely not the Wild West it used to be.

I’ve made references about how bad its gotten over the months with making everyone adhere to specific requirements as well as making sure that any content is nearly G-rated before anyone else can see it.  Have to protect the kids, I suppose.  To the point that kids aren’t going to be able to fend for themselves when they grow up.  Between Tumblr and Instagram censoring and eliminating people’s accounts for what they term to be ‘questionable content’, and many people who have kink inclined interests being relegated away from ‘free’ sites, I just wonder at the end what the whole world is going to look like online and be like.  The Internet was supposed to be a place where anyone was welcome, and could share themselves.  Now I understand of course there are certain aspects of people’s lives that probably shouldn’t be shared, but sometimes self-policing is better than allowing the ‘thought police’ to have their way.

Anyway, I’m banned from posting or comment on FB for the next 24 hours.  Believe me, it’s not going be too much of a hardship.

It can’t be just me that thinks…

Reading Time: 4 minutes

…Tumblr really hasn’t changed all that much for those that mostly post porn. Sure there are far fewer naked’y’ [explicit] pictures but for the most part, the pictures that are posted on the strictly porn accounts still have nudity, leather, latex, rubber and other styles of dress, just for the most part the nudity is from the side, or from the back, not front-facing. So, the Tumblrgeddon that occurred this past December wasn’t as far-reaching or disastrous as we all expected. Add in the knowledge that Verizon seems to understand they sort of ‘cut off their nose to spite their face‘ in this, and they’re already looking for a buyer to take the platform off their hands. Whoever they find to buy it is going to be getting a bargain, since their foray into censorship has cost Tumblr a good third of their clientele. A lot of people moved off the site after the censorship of late last year. Sites like pillowfort, BDSMlr have taken a lion’s share of their former kink friendly accounts. Even on my feed (I backed up all of my accounts but being me, I didn’t delete any of them) I can see a pile of deactivated accounts being referenced by some of the ones still active, reblogging the same pictures over and over.

Whether or not that will change with the selling of the platform is anyone’s guess. The buyer might prefer to keep the service as clean as it can be, given that it’s a pretty open site, to begin with. How else would those that were interested in adult-friendly services (and service) have started to use it for their purposes? Tumblr didn’t start out being a G-rated site. If anything, it seemed to be a step up from Stumbleupon, another site that I used to use (and still have an account on, though I haven’t been there in ages). Similar premise, but they did it a little differently (much like the difference between VHS and Beta) and ended up becoming more popular. It’s always hard to tell what’s going to work and what’s not. I mean, people in France put mayo on their fries and wouldn’t dream of using ketchup. Here in the US, I had never heard of putting gravy on fries until I moved to where I’m living now. Pop is sometimes soda, and soda is sometimes soda water. Cats and dogs living together…Mass hysteria!! (ahem…sorry, got carried away there a bit)

Even so, a site like Instagram has looked at the Tumblr model, and instead of seeing a bad idea, they decided to jump on the bandwagon. Many kink-friendly accounts that have been there long-term are starting to get pushed out, and are taking their business elsewhere. I’ve posted about catering to the Lowest Common Denominator before and I believe this is systematic of that problem. Instead of treating everyone like adults, we’re attempting to treat them as children, ie not offending anyone if we can help it. Instead of allowing people to make their own informed decisions, we’re allowing companies and entities (and yes governments too!) to both legislate and dictate what’s acceptable and what’s not. That’s pretty high school thinking, to my mind. Making the majority of the popular ones (which end up being a minority) decide for the rest of us. That never works out for the best, since the majority rarely has the best interests in mind. Usually, it’s their best interests they’re considering and to hell with the rest of us.

All in all, I’m not certain where Tumblr is going to go. But it will be interesting to see how it all pans out.

Catering to the LCD

Reading Time: 6 minutes

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.

Still slow but coming back

Reading Time: 2 minutes

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. 

Contractual obligations

Reading Time: 3 minutes

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.

Saga of the “What If’s..”

Reading Time: 3 minutes

giphy.gifI was laying in bed last night, just before going to sleep, and the temperature outside was a balmy -6°F when it hit me.  What if we had a fire in the house right now?  It’s not an impossibility.  The house is over 170 years old.  Having gone down to the basement, there are indications of a previous fire in the neighborhood of the living room fireplace, so in the past history of the house, there was some sort of disaster, or at least some timbers were heavily singed.  Since we don’t know the history of the house really past the 1870s (that’s as far as the title search went) we’re forced to speculate a little bit about the ‘what if’s’ that occurred back then.

But again, what if there was a fire in the house?  Would we get out in time?  How many of our possessions would be salvageable?  Moreover, would we be able to catch the cat to save his little furry butt as well?  Naturally there are pressing issues about scene items, like my flogger collection, and other BDSM toys, how much of them would be destroyed, lost to water damage, smoke and so on.  One of our wedding presents was a flogger made by an artisan who’s no longer crafting her wares.  Matter of fact, one can’t hardly find a reference to her work anymore on the web, but go back 25-30 years ago, and she was a highly respected and sought after craftsperson.  Weird sometimes how that happens.  Lost to the whims of history, even in BDSM lore.

I started this post a week ago, but am finishing it up now, fyi.  A couple of days ago as I was thinking about the scenario that began this post, I thought about buying a safe for my more valuable and less ably replaceable scene items (along with some other necessities, like insurance papers, birth and marriage certificates, as well as other important documents and valuables).  We do have a small safe that my FIL owned, but it’s been in storage for the past 20 years, and it actually weighs about 200 lbs (~91 kgs).  Too, I don’t believe we ever ascertained or found the combination, so at present the safe door is open, so we don’t have to pay a locksmith to open the damn thing.  Consequently, that wouldn’t do very well anyway.  Too small.  I went to a safe website, and looked for possible options and hit upon a possible solution, a ‘gun safe’, one that would be used to protect one’s firearms as well as other valuables.  The only problem (besides price) would be the one I would probably want weighs in excess of 800 lbs (~363 kgs).  The likelihood of something of that nature would be it would end up in the basement, since it would probably crash through the floor of whatever room we wanted to put it in.

So that scenario isn’t a likely solution.  Just another in a long line of musings I’ve had over the years.  Actually, the other ‘what if’ thought I’ve had is, who’s going to inherit my toy collection after I’m gone?  Yeesh.  Gotta quit being morbid.

 

Almost tired of the holiday

Reading Time: 3 minutes

I suppose there’s a term for holiday burnout.  Perhaps that’s the term right there.  When you get to the point that you really, really want it to be all over with.  A little peace and quiet, and no one wishing you Merry Christmas, or expecting you to be happy all the blessed time because of the holiday.

Certainly (I think at least) it’s worse for those of us in retail.  When you have to be ‘on’ all the time, smiling and helpful to people who may be having a bad day and they (perhaps inadvertently, perhaps not) take it out on you, because they can’t get something that they’ve been wanting, planning for etc.  So, sometimes you have to bear the brunt of their ire, shrug it off and plaster a smile on your puss for the next person.  After a couple of months of that (think Thanksgiving and Christmas) one can get a little frazzled.

Then of course there’s the music.  Stores play over their sound systems music that people over the years have termed ‘Elevator Music’, it’s Muzak, but more increasingly it’s not just instrumentals, but what might be called ‘contemporary music’, ie it’s somewhat current, but it’s subdued, to keep the din of the shopping experience somewhat muted.  So you don’t have a silent store, but there’s something to mask the sounds of what goes on in a typical store, from chattering of the patrons, to other sounds that are normally heard in any brick and mortar retail establishment.  Of course, when you work in such a place, since the music is fairly predictable, eventually you know what song is coming next because you’ve heard it tens of thousands of times.  The music companies aren’t really all that unpredictable with their playlists, only every now and again do they change things up, and with some of them, they have contracts with companies that individual stores can ‘choose’ what playlists they can have piped into the stores, but the contracts generally are for several years in length.  So what you get is what you get all the time.  Try listening to the same playlist for a couple of years straight, 8 hours at a clip.  Try it, I dare you.

The day after Thanksgiving, the Christmas music begins in earnest.  At least in my store.  One solid month of Christmas music.  Old ballads, newer versions, but of course after you’ve heard ‘Santa Baby’ by fourteen different artists in different arrangements, you start to go a little nutty.  Frosty the Snowman, or Jingle Bells are nice songs, but when you hear them played 3 or 4 times in the same hour, you start to wonder if you’re going to make it through the season.  I have to admit, after 30 plus years in retail, I wonder sometimes if I’m going to manage the rest of my time in the same type of job when the wonder and merriment of the season is being sucked out of me.

Sadly, it’s become more and more apparent that I’ll be glad when Christmas is over.  January can’t come soon enough!

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Seasons Greetings.  Thanks for reading.