Didn’t mean to jerk all y’all around here

Hey folks, today I’m gonna talk about masturbation habits. I don’t imagine it’s gonna get particularly lewd, or that I’m gonna talk about anything to do with my body, but here’s your warning up top.

When I was hanging out with friends yesterday, someone mentioned that they’d recently gotten a Hitachi. As they’d put it, it felt like a queer rite of passage. They said it now typically took them around 45 seconds per orgasm. Most of my buddies these days tend to be relatively pervy, and I thought it was interesting hearing people talk about it. It’s not something that people often feel comfortable talking about. At the same time, I assume that for most of us, masturbation plays a relatively common role in our lives. Some friends mentioned that they typically did it most mornings to prep them for a day. It tends to be an evening thing for me, to relax and get ready for bed. I chatted with my girlfriend about it and- without spilling the beans on her personal habits- was fascinated to hear just how differently things play out for her. I tend to be pretty liberal about this kind of thing. My stance on sex/sexual stuff is that I hope everyone is having as much of it as they want, and enjoying themselves to the fullest.

It’s a pretty regular occurrence in my life. It relieves stress, helps me calm down, and straight up feels great. Why wouldn’t I? I probably started around age 12 or so, and obviously was quite into it as a teen. Weren’t we all? Things that I’ve been into have fluctuated over the years, and as I’ve grown I’ve branched out into all kinds of different material. There are so many things I find fascinating. There are a myriad of power dynamics that are interesting in all sorts of different ways. I’ve definitely watched a ton of porn that was more about curiosity and entertainment than any actual pleasure. We’re talking Pterodactyl Porn and Segway Cuckold kind of stuff. I once watched this six part series looking at different dynamics within latex-y stuff, and the final episode was just an interview with the cast/director. Nothing erotic. It was fantastic. She talked about her experiences with the industry, pitfalls and how she got ahead. She started as a performer years back, and had a ton of wisdom to share with her younger cast.

There’s a huge spectrum of stuff I’m into, and particular tastes come in ebbs and flows. Every once in a while I’ll be like oh yeah, that’s something I was into a while back and maybe I still will be. I’ve developed odd habits around privacy/secrecy with this stuff, even though I’m the only one who uses my computer. I always browse in a private browser. I never save anything to my computer. Instead I just hope that I’ll remember where stuff is. I have a ton of favoured videos/pictures/stories from across the years, and I rely on memory to recall where I found them. It’s a mixed bag, honestly. They could be from one of 20 or so tube sites, from a random Tumblr page (that probably doesn’t exist anymore), or even from Bing Video. Oh, that’s a bizarre thing more people should know. While Bing is mostly a much maligned search engine, it excels when it comes to searching for adult videos. Exponentially better than Google Video. Odd, that. Occasionally I’ll spend a ton of time trying to locate something I previously found, and it’ll end up being anticlimactic (or anti-climax-ic?). Other times it’ll be precisely what I’m looking for.

Weirdly (or at least I tend to think so. We’re all freaks here, right?) I tend to be into a lot of non-nude stuff and Instagram has been great. It’s also nice to know that stuff has generally been uploaded by the user themselves (or at least consensually uploaded by their social team). Like anything I sign up for (for the purposes of lewd browsing) I have a particular user name/password combination that I don’t use for anything else. I used to use Tumblr before they cracked down on adult content. Instagram has a pretty far reach, and gives me a ton of flexibility in what I search. Typically I’ll spend a bunch of time searching pictures (having 20-50 pictures loaded up in tabs), then going off to find some tube video. It makes me wonder why I spend so much time looking up pictures in the first place, but maybe that’s what my brain classifies as foreplay. I have a common rolodex (rolo-dicks?) of tube sites that I use for different purposes. Some cater to different kinds of material, or I’ll know that a particular actor has a lot more work stored on one site. I have so many different search terms that I use, and tend to be hyper specific, spending time paring search terms down to find exactly what I’m looking for. The idea of someone getting off in 45 seconds feels so alien to me, considering the amount of time and specificity I take during my “process”. Of course, if I had the potential to be multi-orgasmic, I imagine things would change substantially.

I don’t know that there was a message in all this. Masturbation is an entirely healthy practice that I hope people feel great about doing. I love that we’re all different, that we’re into a variety of stuff and I’m always happy to hear about how others take care of themselves.

It’s like you don’t even listen to me anymore, Zucc

What does your Facebook advertising say about you?

Mine tells me it’s about time to clear out my preferences again. Okay, let’s scroll through my feed and see what Facebook wants me to buy…

  • Alan Dupetit: Suits. I’ve been seeing these ads A LOT. The most common ad involves a dude sitting at a table in a suit. He has a bowl of dry cheerios and an empty coffee cup in front of him. I noticed it immediately, and now I have trouble remembering anything else about the ad. I think the kitchen has wood panelling, but I couldn’t tell you what colour the dude’s suit is. They also have another one in rotation where some guy is wearing a suit, standing in the middle of one of those garden things where they have sparse plants within a cluster of rocks. I don’t know what the ad is really implying, it’s just a baffling situation. The ad I’m currently seeing is for Black Friday and has a headless body wearing a white suit. They seem to be more conceptual than they are effective. In fact, if I were in the market for a suit, I’d specifically go somewhere else. I have a head, I’m clearly not their target demo.
  • Mill Street Brewery: They’re a Canadian beer that’s pretty okay. They tout the word “organic” as if it’s an improvement. No, it’s not piss water like Molson, but neither is it a Good Beer. It’s the kind of beer a corporation would offer at their Christmas party. It’s a beer you can ignore, but not one I’d ever spend money on. I don’t know if I’ve ever bought a Mill Street, but I’ve drunk a few of them.
  • Nordstrom: They’re selling gift packs for Under $100. By the looks of it, they’re all cosmetics. I’m curious what I clicked on to get sent this ad, but since I spend most of my time ignoring ads, I’m not super bothered.
  • Beam Me Up: It’s a disco party from a local bar. This one makes some sense. I’ve been once or twice to this event when it used to be hosted at The Piston. It’s honestly a great party, with some deep disco cuts. I would 100% go again. They must’ve scraped my event attendance (dance event attends) or something?
  • Zaful: Okay, this one I totally clicked on. I was at a party in the park, and saw some dude wearing a cool dinosaur T-shirt. It had little dinos of all varieties in multiple colours. I asked him where he got it, and sheepishly told me that it’d been a Facebook ad, and he ended up actually liking their stuff. I have yet to buy anything, and probably won’t, but it’s a pretty inoffensive company to have on my feed.
  • Independent City Market: I think this is an off-branch of Loblaws or something? They’re peddling dietician services, with points on offer. Weirdly, I bank with PC Financial. I joined them when I first arrived solely because they were owned by Loblaws, and Bob Loblaw is the name of a character on Arrested Development. I can’t see myself being bribed with points into spending money with their dieticians.
  • Polestar: It’s an electric car. You’d think Facebook could gauge my lack of income by the kind of things I click on. In what world could I afford a car? Let alone an electric one? I just bought a bike and that was a Big Fucking Deal. Where am I supposed to get the money for a car Facebook?
  • BoardGame2Go: A board game rental place? That’s not a terrible idea, considering that some are more like bored games, amirite? Nonetheless, I’m a few years past tired of picking up new board games. I think they’re great, but I get really anxious having to constantly learn new rule sets.
  • Dior: I think I fucked my Facebook up good. Why would Facebook ever think I had a cultivated sense of style? Or is it more that they know I have all the style of an ant, and are seeking to change that?

I think what we’ve learned is that Facebook thinks I have money, and like to spend it on my appearance. You’d think they were better at spying than that. Let’s clear out my preferences and start the roulette again.

C’mon Facebook, you already have all my data. At least use it wisely.

Black and white and read’s all over

Happy International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists everyone.

I feel like I intended to do some silly piece about getting to parties late, but I’m taking a hard 90°. I’ve been thinking lately. It’s not a change, but it’s a change in direction. Throughout this past election cycle, I’ve really noticed how neutered journalism has become. I’m not breaking ground here. I don’t even know if it’s a phenomena that’s North America specific. Journalism is failing its fourth estate principles. The journalistic code of ethics is playing second fiddle to cultivating an audience. The news cycle no longer works in the best interests of citizens, and that’s a problem. What am I talking about?

I’m talking about softball questions, failing to speak truth to power, and letting the dominant get away with inexcusable behaviour. Impartiality has been compromised and contorted into something all new. Biases are all too evident, and they’re impacting the strength of reporting. It’s no big secret that most major publications have political leanings. It comes with the territory. It’s part and parcel of having an audience. People tend to follow views that resonate with their own. They’ll more readily agree with things they already agree with, or are a few minor deviations away. We don’t want to be challenged, we want to be reaffirmed that we’re on the right track. With media outlets, this leads to a bunch of pandering. They’re less likely to publish material that would alienate their audience, because this could push that audience away. So they reinforce the status quo, and fail to provoke anything.

Why is this happening? Because traditional media outlets are facing challenges from this new online driven world. It’s becoming too difficult to compete with the news cycle, so they’re adopting online techniques. It’s not entirely their fault, but I’m sure it’s out of their hands. The money that was once abundant has now shifted in new directions. In order to stave off extinction, these outlets are trying their best to retain any semblance of an audience. This means reaffirming their views, publishing un-challenging stories and more or less clickbait. It means following the popular stories and picking up their crumbs. Donald Trump has shat all over whatever political structure America had. He’s been a human wrecking ball, taking without giving and leaving a shambles in his wake. Of course people want to know what he’s going to destroy next. It’s like rubbernecking 24/7. He’s news relevant, and people will click on stories about him. Hell, I do. I’m part of the problem here. News organisations are stuck in a difficult position. If they got rid of Trump, where would their ratings go? Where would the money go? Where would the jobs go? It’s not in their best interests to build a case against him, because they’d go down with him.

Lather, rinse, repeat for other contentious figures.

There are nigh infinite things to press these people on. Calling them out on what would be crimes, if they didn’t have the money and influence to contort the law. Let’s look at this election cycle. Why was Scheer given so much room to spread bullshit disinformation without being challenged? Because that would seem unfair or imbalanced, especially from left wing outlets. There’s been this idea on the left of keeping the moral high ground. The right, however, does not have these scruples. So it’s some Prisoner’s Dilemma shit. The right keep spreading the message they want to spread, while the left holds its punches. The right gains ground. The left tries to retain this notion of impartiality by giving corrupt individuals the benefit of the doubt, when their actions deserve anything but. The truth is not impartial. The truth is not biased. If these people have done immoral things, then calling them on these is not media bias. It’s reporting the truth.

It’s not that easy though. Media has been so thoroughly bifurcated, that people of interest can just ignore the other side. Why open themselves to bad publicity? So if journalists grill them, they can just stop talking to those journalists. If that kept happening, these journalists would lose all of their access. They could no longer report on these news relevant individuals, and their ratings would wither away. No ratings = dwindling staff = closed news outlets. It sucks, because the fourth estate principles are a defining pillar of the profession, but the profession has been hamstrung by the fiscal restrictions of the medium. Journalists need to get paid to do their job, but their job has shifted. Fourth estate plays second fiddle to keeping the lights on, and the lights are run by ratings. Good journalism doesn’t rate anymore, and I’m not sure whether it’s gonna exist for much longer outside of the pages of Teen Vogue.

This next generation though? They’re out for blood, and I’m here for them.

Yeah yeah yeah, you turn it into a rectangle, then how do you not get tangled?

Oh I love The Internet.

It probably consumes most of my waking hours. Whether I’m scrolling through Reddit/Facebook/Twitter, playing Magic, streaming shows or, well, doing exactly what I’m doing now. I’ve become used to the internet as a forum for arguments, hatred and showcasing the worst that humanity has to offer. Political rhetoric may not have overtaken porn as the central use of the internet, but it’s zooming right up its butthole. Even with the absurd amount of time I spend on it, I still forget how genuinely useful the internet can be.

I’ve had this muscle in my arm that’s been sore for days. At the top of the forearm, kind of on the outside, by the bicep. I don’t know how I stressed it (some kind of overuse, no doubt), but it’s been making itself known quite profoundly. Any time my right arm has been bent and doing some sort of pulling motion, I’ve felt pain there. Bicep curls, obviously. Pull ups, definitely. Outside of gym stuff, certain gripping actions have inflamed it. Feeling down the arm, I noticed that the muscle was connected somehow to my index finger. I wondered if it’d been because of workplace RSI. I’ve tried at multiple junctures to do trigger point release. In short, finding points on the muscle where pressure created strong pain, and holding that point firmly until the pain eased. Letting the muscle relax, basically. I did a bunch while lying in bed last night, and found the stress abating a bit. Pleased, I nodded off. I woke up this morning, with the pain still there.

Disappointed, I consulted the internet. Google has gotten adept enough to handle my dumb queries (“muscles connected to the index finger”), and I found a page full of individual arm muscles. I looked through them all until I found the one that seemed to fit my symptoms/arm location. The brachioradialis. I then searched for brachioradialis stretches. Within a minute I’d found a YouTube video of a British physiotherapist giving a stretch for the muscle. I tried the stretch, it went straight to the source of the pain. I tried on the other arm just to test. Nope, no pain. I’m pretty sure that I’ve found how to ease the strain over the next few days. I consider this a total success.

It’s so easy to forget this part of the internet, but it kinda feels like that was what people originally had in mind. The internet, despite all the trolls and clickbait, is a massive repository of human knowledge. Chances are, anything you’ve asked has already been solved (and/or, pornified. Thanks Rule 34). I don’t know how many times I’ve asked the internet questions like:

  • How do I fold a suit for travel?
  • How do I fold a fitted sheet?
  • How do I iron a shirt?
  • How do I cook ______?
  • What is a remedy for _____?
  • How do I sew a button?
  • Sorry, I forgot the fitted sheet thing?
  • Which bike accessory fits my needs?
  • What do I eat/drink/see in this city I’m visiting?
  • Is there a free alternative to this software?
  • Is there an easier alternative to fitted sheets?

Mostly, the internet has delivered. There are any number of tasks that get so much easier with guidance, and if you’re willing to look, the internet provides.

Also, thanks to The Google effect, I still haven’t bookmarked that Martha Stewart folding fitted sheets video.

Is there such thing as an outernet?

Remember when we used to be offline?

First and foremost, here’s what this entry is not going to be: It’s not gonna be an exercise in ripping on “millenials” and their “phones”. It might be an exercise in “excessive quotation mark use”, but that’s about it. I have no leg to stand on in shitting on phone use. It takes very little downtime for me to be checking Facebook/Twitter. It’s a habit I’d like to curb, but it’s one I’ve developed. I love having my finger on the pulse of what’s happening. That’s how I sell it to myself. Realistically, I’m addicted to a combination of stimulation and validation. If I get “likes” for something I’ve written, it makes me feel great. The concept that people enjoy my output is obviously compelling. It’s the world we live in. The other side, of course, is that these smart tech companies and their R&D departments have zoned in on how to make their stuff really addictive. My brain receives the message that I’m keeping on top of things, when really, I don’t need to know that much all the time. It’s a fallacy. If I instead went several hours without checking my phone, I’d probably get the same info. I’m just hooked up to that ol’ stimulation IV and I feel like I need my fix. I’ve gone for periods without Facebook before. It turned out I felt less anxious about the state of the world, and far more present. Does that mean I’m gonna delete my app today? Hell no. If it were that simple, I would’ve done it already.

What I do find interesting, are those moments where our reliance on “The Information Superhighway” (I think I might be done with this “quotation bit”) gets in the way. At work last night, our company internet went down for a few hours. No problem, I thought, I use offline editing software. I could just do my job, and still get what I needed from the internal network. It turns out that while my software is offline, it does regular license validation checks, and that’s cloud based. I was midway through describing an episode of The Real Housewives of Dallas (and an aside, these Real Housewives shows are fucking bullshit. Terrible, terrible TV. I’m not judging anyone who wants to throw on an episode and forget about their troubles, but hoo boy it’s wall to wall rich white women arguing about manufactured tension. Abysmal), and I got an error message. My license couldn’t be validated, and the program was shutting down. I blinked, saved my work and waited. I tried a restart, but no dice. I was hamstrung, and couldn’t do anything. My supervisor suggested scripting the rest of the episode so I could finish it once the internet came back up. It made sense, so I followed through. I waited. Eventually internet came back in, but I didn’t know our License username and password. One of the other dudes did, but he had gone home hours ago. I hated having to call him at 11pm, but thankfully he slept through it. No reason why he should need to be on hand for that. So I went home. I couldn’t believe that a lack of internet meant I couldn’t work on something that had nothing to do with the internet. Who would’ve thought that was a pre-rec?

But it makes sense. We’re always online. I’m sure that makes sense.

I think.

DARE to resist pun and meme posting

On my birthday this year, I turned off posting to my Facebook wall.

Please be aware, that this will be one of the pettier posts I’ve made. Y’all have been warned.

I was deep into a solid depression, and birthdays are usually kind of messy, fucked up times for me. I hated the idea of people wishing me a happy birthday, when all I wanted was to not be living anymore. Strange juxtaposition, y’know? So by turning off posting, I wasn’t faced with a ton of well-meaning jovial messages that would only make me hate myself more for not being well or jovial. It worked, and took a lot of strain off. Then I just kept commenting off. I didn’t forget, I kind of liked how peaceful things got.

Here are some things. I make puns. I love puns. I’m known for my puns. People know that I love puns, and whenever friends would hear puns they’d reach out and post them on my wall. This all sounds fine so far, right? Here are some more things. I have very specific tastes in puns. I’m into weird, niche puns that need hyper-specific contexts to work. I’ve heard a lot of puns in my life. I’ve made a lot of puns in my life. There’s a certain threshold where puns just don’t impress me much, or rather, rarely the Twain shall meet. Not everyone has the same needs in a pun that I do. Am I a snob? Probably. I don’t begrudge others enjoying puns. Rather, I encourage it. At the same time, I get all kinds of NIMBY when it comes to people making puns that they just assume I’ll like. I’m on the internet a lot. I’m in a few pun related groups. I see a critical mass of internet content, because I’m a goddamn addict.

So, back to my wall. People love posting puns they’ve heard on it, and I entirely get where that sentiment comes from. They’re excited about a pun and want to share it with me. That’s a sincerely lovely gesture. On some level though, I believe there’s something else to it. Yes, they think it will bring me joy, and since I’m a pun guy they probably think that friends of mine will be pun people who will enjoy it too. At the same time, because I’m known as a pun guy, they can post the pun and get my approval in a public space. I’m not saying that I’m such a wizard of wordsmithery that my approval is tantamount to glory. I am saying that there’s part of the equation where they’re getting public acclaim for it. In my head, if that’s what they were looking for, why not just post it on their wall? Why would I need to be included? If it was a good pun, I’d see it in my newsfeed and I could give it a like. Most people probably aren’t thinking about that. I am because I’m a petty sombitch, but I wouldn’t entirely discount the idea on a latent level. If people just wanted me to see their pun, why not message me directly? It’s very personal, and shows a thoughtful touch. It’s private, with entirely pure motives. By turning off posting to my Facebook wall, I took the choice out of their hands. They could message me directly, or just post on their own wall. It’s been working.

The gross and mercenary side to this, is that there are elements of personal branding tied up in it. Like it or not, we’ve all started curating our own online spaces. We shape how we appear online, and package that for others. I want to try and make my Facebook wall the purest distillation of who I am. I post dumb puns, strange personal observations, weird internet articles I find to be interesting, and specific nostalgic stuff I experienced. It’s kind of like this page, but on Facebook. I’m pretty honest on there, because that’s important to me.

When other people posted, assuming my sense of humour, I’d end up with a bunch of things that didn’t personally resonate. It felt weird. Why were ideas that didn’t jive with me taking up my personal online real estate. To be clear, I have no issue whatsoever with people commenting on my stuff, having discussions, etc. That’s all part of it, because I can curate that and learn new things. There’s no reason why I can’t repost things people have sent me on messenger, giving them full credit. At the same time, I find it to be weirdly presumptuous for others to decide what they think should represent me. On some level, that’s peculiar, right? It was peculiar enough for me that I nipped it in the bud. I’m so glad I did.

Was this a bizarre and pedantic thing to do? Of course it was. Do you think I’m totally off-base? Well I haven’t turned commenting off on this site. Let me know below, if you… dare?

Hot take it or sleeve it

I sent an email to HR today.

I had no complaint, but I did have a question. Is there such a thing as workplace appropriate sleeveless male attire? Most of my female coworkers tend to have bunch of options. There are tanktops, sleeveless dresses, blouses, etc. They’re all totally fine within a professional environment. Some have open toed footwear, even. This isn’t me bitching about gender inequality, because the workplace still exceedingly revolves around the needs of men (office thermostat, etc). Our workplace is pretty forgiving in terms of attire. Lots of people wear graphic tees. I sometimes do on a short Friday workday. It all goes without comment. I like that our dress codes are quite relaxed, I feel comfortable for the most part when I’m at my desk.

I’m also a husky dude who sweats a bunch. This is less comfortable. My entire back, my chest, my belly, they’re all problem areas that accumulate perspiration by my simple existence. I’m never not somewhat sweaty. I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to install a fan at my desk. I wear plain t-shirts most days. They’re tidy enough while remaining basic and unassuming. What options do I have for cooling down through clothing? If I’m normally wearing t-shirts, are they suddenly no longer appropriate if my arms are showing? I’m not talking some kind of loose workout shirt that shows off chest hair/nipples. I just want more airflow. Are arms inappropriate? Most people have them. Why are male arms less appropriate than female ones? Once again, I’m not complaining, I just find it arbitrary and would appreciate clarification. Hell, if I could wear a sleeveless blouse, I’d consider it. We’ll see what HR says.

Little Mermaid controversy. She’s black now. Who cares? I’m not gonna take this space for easy dunks on entitled racist dipshits. There’s a talking crab with a French accent. Suspension of disbelief is part of the whole Disney arrangement. Like pretending the new Lion King is live action. What I think is more interesting is our collective take on dissenting responses. Is anyone actually concerned that the anti-black mermaid mob has a point? Do you think Disney really cares? They’re printing money by making the film. That’s all that matters. Like the “Star Wars White Genocide” blockheads, and “Ein as a husky? Cowboy Bebop is ruined!!?!” dorks, these are opinions that aren’t worth our time. What would happen if we let them shout into their echo chamber without responding? What would they do? Would these children tucker themselves out? Get bored and move on? Give up the ghost? I know it would take immense self control not to correct someone on the internet (I’m definitely not immune), but it could be done.

The thing is, we give them the attention, and it convinces them that their opinion has even an iota of credibility. We’re responding, getting riled up and giving the trolls what they want. News sites desperate for content run stories on the controversy, then they try to present both sides. The other side is tilting at windmills. We can just let them. It’s an option. What will they do? The chances that Disney would recast are considerably negligible (not that I trust Disney whatsoever, especially after the James Gunn bollocks). I know we’re all desperate for that sweet, sweet, hot take, but it’s not worth interacting with these ideas. The world is enough of a tire fire that hot takes are an unlimited, renewable resource. These clowns can be (and are) wrong, even if they don’t know it.

I may have a chip on my shoulder, but it’s only cause I have to wear sleeves at work.