Saturday, December 18, 2010

I'm afraid we're going to have to commit ritual sacrifice here

Somehow, I can't even see straight gearheads finding pleasure in this one. I think the only humane thing to do with the bike is to fill and cover it with gasoline, burn it, and melt it down to raw materials (the temperatures involved should kill any remaining pathogens). Full hazmat gear will be required — no, not for that; just to handle the bike safely without risk of deadly infection.

Thanks — if you could say that — for the link go to my web-watchful partner, who sent me the link right after I had to take a prescription-strength anti-nausea pill. I may need another now. 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

An interesting "Tron: Legacy" review & Daft Punk's new video

The Guardian, a UK news site, has posted a review of "Tron: Legacy" with a very... let's say "relevant" blurb.

Things have moved on in this virtual world, but they've not strayed too far from the preoccupations of the average teenage boy. The gladiatorial action, involving "light cycles", or deadly frisbees, delivers videogame dynamics, while the styling is all shiny black surfaces, neon highlights and skin-tight bodysuits. Combined with the pounding Daft Punk score, it often feels like being trapped in a 90s fetish club.
Interesting commentary by the reviewer. I wonder if I know him, under an alter-ego alias, on a different website or three. See the full review here.

And while we're at it, make sure to see the Daft Punk "Derezzed" music video, which was just released in full yesterday. 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Atlanta Eagle settlement could have been better

Not because the Atlanta Police Department destroyed evidence; not because only 19 of the 71 victims came forward; not because the economy has made things hard on both Atlanta Eagle and the City of Atlanta; and not even because the case was settled for only a little over $1 million (plus "police reforms" unspecified at this time).

It's a semi-empty victory because we lost a chance to set a precedent.

(Sorry to kickoff the blog with such a dour post, but it's current news. I promise the next post will be a lot less serious in tone.)

Let's recap. On Thursday, September 10, 2009, a total of 62 patrons, eight staff, and one resident were in Atlanta Eagle, its partner business Rawhide Leather, and its upstairs apartment. A pretty sparse night, to be sure, but it was only a Thursday. (Don't giggle about the fact that there's an apartment in the same building. Atlanta Eagle has been in the same place for 22 years in a central Atlanta neighborhood, and there's plenty of other buildings in the area that have gone mixed-use to make ends meet.)

Based on two tips — both allegedly from a person having a bone to pick with one or both of the Eagle's owners — and a few visits to Eagle on random days, the Atlanta Police Department conducted a sting operation without following proper procedure. Upon seeing what one officer claimed to be "sexual activity" (you know, the butt-sex) in one of the main bar areas, the now-infamous RED DOG police unit raided the bar, detained all 71 people inside, and arrested the employees and resident of the building.

Oh, and while doing so, they forced everyone to lie face down on the bar floor with their hands tied, searched them for contraband — and upon finding none, ran every one of their IDs through the warrant database. The worst things they found were cock-rings and bottles of poppers, both perfectly legal here. I could tell you tales of not-so-wholesome (and probably illegal) things that some other local bars do, but suffice it to say that this showed just how tame Atlanta Eagle really is.

Did I forget to mention that all this detention, search, and seizure happened without a search warrant? To my friends across the pond, that's a legal requirement here; it's a formally written part of the U.S. Constitution. There are small exceptions based on the concept of "probable cause", but to date, no probable cause case of this size has been considered justified by any court.

The employees were left in jail overnight. One person in particular was explicitly denied the ability to take medication essential to his health, seized by police. It's not my place to give more details about that, but in my book, knowingly putting a person at serious health risk is worth a $1M settlement all by itself.

In recent years, I've made a point of getting out of the house and meeting people of like mind now and then, and in the process I've spent quite a few nights at Atlanta Eagle. I've seen plenty of fondling, and the occasional brief exposure and even a blowjob or two (which are also illegal, but happen in plenty of straight bars all the time). But the logistics required to have anal sex in the bar without significant props and extra open space make it a little harder to believe. Not impossible, but just a lot less likely.

Which brings me to the real reason for the raid: it was a political stunt to show "cracking down on crime" during a high-profile mayoral race. Atlanta Eagle wasn't the first bar raided in the manner in late 2009; it was, in fact, the seventh in a series of raids on "adult establishments". The reason the Eagle case exploded in the media was because of a principle the gay community established in the days of the Stonewall riots: you might be able to fuck with the gays, but you can't put us in paddywagons just for being who we are.

The local gay community balked around the tortuous treatment of the patrons and staff, and we held a rally in support of the victims on the following Sunday. (I happened to be the guy who pulled major media and bloggers into the story, and local and national TV cameras were there for the whole rally.) Lambda Legal provided assistance in the case, and the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom offered their help as well.

We were all hoping that this was a chance to say, loudly and proudly, NO. No more police harassment over consenting adults' actions. No more rounding people up because they pose a perceived nuisance to a neighborhood. No more using the "fringe" of the gay community as political pawns. Ultimately, this tiny settlement did none of that.

All in all though, this is still a victory for the people who matter most. Regardless of the broader issues of law and community, the victims have to live with the result. I know they want to be able to go home and put this behind them, and I know the City government is not exactly overflowing with money these days. For that reason, I'm not going to stay upset over the settlement's outcome.

Sure, I'm skeptical that the claimed "police reforms" will ever take place in earnest, but I have a feeling that the Atlanta Police Department will think twice about turning against its neighbors over petty things. It's their job to work with all of us, not against us. 

Monday, December 6, 2010

I'm back... again.

It's been a long time since I wrote anything publicly, on this blog or elsewhere, but I hope to change that. Over the last several years, I've had all sorts of ups and downs, personal conflicts, tragedies both first- and second-hand, and moments of confusion and clarity. It's time to get back out of this rut and get into a groove.

Earlier this year, after one particular loss that I'll detail in a future post, and with inspiration drawn from Rubberasylum and Tynanfox, I decided to stop being so paranoid about my alter ego online. While I don't go out of my way to identify myself, my Facebook profile now shows my real full name, and my real first name can be found in various places, including this blog's profile info. I spent over a decade on a roller coaster of self-induced conflict and denial, unaffected by strong antidepressants, and I'm frankly done with it. I am what I am, as that goes, and today's opening of the Prop 8 appeals court case is as good of a reason as any to start posting again.

Just as this blog was originally intended, it will explore alternative expressions of sexuality, fetishism in particular, and associated subcultures. I hope to pepper the posts with some more interesting image/video media I happen to find out there. Links to other bloggers' posts may appear here from time to time, and you'll see the blogroll on this page expand as I add links to others, whose posts I regularly find interesting.

For the rest of you out there, if you find that your sexual attractions don't fit the norm, if you can't find friends who can understand how you feel, if you are afraid of others finding out your "dark secrets"... you are not alone.

That's it for now, but hopefully more is to come soon.