This Old House

During the way back from the great Sex For Science In A Seedy Hotel In Seattle Experiment last month, zaiah and our innocent victims companions and I stopped at the ruins of an ancient house along the interstate so that I could take pictures of it.

I vowed back then to return with a model and a lot of rope.

About a week ago, zaiah, my friend Scott, and I did just that. We brought with us a friend of his, the lovely slavetopurple, and another mutual friend who’s a bondage rigger.

The house has changed rather a lot in the past month. It looks like it’s being disassembled bit by bit; structurally, it’s in significantly poorer shape than it had been. It’s also being devoured by gigantic feral blackberry bushes.

As least that’s what I’m told they are. They’re actually more like the Great Cthulhu incarnated as vegetation, with even more tentacles than he is customarily depicted as having, and totally covered in thorns.

I used a wide-angle lens to get this rather fetching shot of the interior. You can see one of the feral blackberry bushes invading what apparently used to be the kitchen, presumably in search of souls to devour. It’s a little-known fact that every time you masturbate, God puts the souls of the unbaptized underneath your stove. That’s why televangelists don’t have stoves.

Clicky for more pictures, which are definitely not safe for work unless you work in a place that's pretty laid back about these sorts of things.

The Mathematics of Sex Toys Made Tangible

A while back, I posted a picture of a very early prototype sex toy designed to prevent its wearer from getting off.

This project is entirely separate from, and shouldn’t be confused with, the prototype sex toy that’s operated by the wearer’s brainwaves, which I’m still working on. The sex toy that is designed to keep the wearer from getting off, which I’ve started calling the “Tormentor,” is a vibrator connected to a programmable controller board that’s set up to run at random intervals with random pauses in between–perfect, in other words, for keeping whoever’s wearing it always aware of it, while not letting that person get enough stimulation to reach orgasm.

The very first proof-of-concept version was basically a bare controller board tethered to a laptop and connected to a vibrating egg. As it wasn’t exactly portable, it wasn’t able to do what I wanted, which is to be worn around while shopping or doing housework or otherwise going about one’s business.

So I started working on getting a more portable, self-contained version set up and running.

Click here for details, schematics, and pictures of the prototype being assembled

Fragments of Frolicon: Operation Wifebeater

I first started hearing rumblings about Operation Wifebeater weeks before I headed down to Florida. Little hints, tiny suggestions of some dark and dire plan being cooked up by joreth and emanix, as vague and insubstantial as a rustling under the bed filled with implications of an unseen monster.

So on the first night of Frolicon, when emanix told me that joreth was already down in the dungeon and it was time for Operation Wifebeater to begin, I…

Hang on, let me back up a bit.

During my time in Florida pre-Frolicon, I did manage to accomplish a bit more than being abducted by emanix and modifying a MindFlex to act as a makeshift EEG. Hidden away in the suitcase I brought, tucked between the floggers and the rope and an abundance of clean socks, was a Clone-a-Willy kit. These things, in case you’ve never seen one, are do-it-yourself dildo kits designed to be used to take a casting from, and make an exact replica of, one’s penis.

joreth had given me this particular kit two (or was it three?) Frolicons past, and somehow we’d never found the time to use it. That’s not as surprising as it might sound; Frolicon can be a very busy time, and this year we were so busy we didn’t have time to schedule an orgy.

She wanted to make a point of cloning me this year, though, so the night before we were to leave for Atlanta, we set aside time to use it.

They’re actually pretty difficult to use. The mold material is fussy and extraordinarily temperature-sensitive, and I’ve experienced sexier things than sticking my you-know into a tube filled with gooey lukewarm mold material and holding it there for several minutes. Even with emanix‘s help, it was a complicated undertaking that was really only marginally successful. Nevertheless, it was successful enough, and the next morning, as we made our way north, we brought with us a replica–a bit misshapen, perhaps, but a replica nonetheless–of my willie.

Once we arrived in Atlanta, I had expected to start the debauchery with alacrity. Fate had other pans for us, however. As it turned out, the first six hours or so of our stay was spent running repeatedly to Wal-Mart and dollar stores in search of things we’d either neglected to bring with us or had deliberately not carried with us, thinking that they’d be easy to procure once we got there.

Two of those things were “a big sheet of foam core board” and “a whole bunch of pins with different-colored heads.” One of the plans I had for Frolicon was to put a poster of the Map of Human Sexuality on the motel room door with a bunch of pins, and let folks stick pins in it showing where they’d ventured.

The foam core was easy to find. The pins took three runs, two to Wal-Mart and one to a dollar store. The result ended up looking a bit like this:

We stuck it up next to the door with a handwritten color key (purple pins for things that folks had tried and liked, yellow pins for things that folks had tried and didn’t like, green pins for things that folks really wanted to try) and left it in the soft, gentle hands of Fate.

Between the late arrival and the bajillion runs to Wal-Mart to get yet another thing we’d managed not to have on hand, it ended up being quite late by the time we settled into the hotel. I stayed in emanix‘s suite as her captive, and joreth went off elsewhere to prepare.

emanix did some preparations of her own, before telling me “It’s time” and leading me down to the dungeon.

The name “Operation Wifebeater” was, as I discovered, more literal than figurative. joreth had dressed the part exactly like you might expect. I don’t know that emanix actually owns a wifebeater, but she came close, in a polka-dotted kind of way.

You can’t tell from this picture, but when I was dragged into the dungeon I soon was made aware that both of these lovely ladies were wearing strap-ons under their clothes. (How emanix managed to hide hers is a mystery still unsolved by your humble scribe.)

What followed was something out of either a B horror movie or a really interesting porn, depending on how you look at it, and gathered quite a large audience quite quickly.

Or so I’m told. I wasn’t watching. And it probably would have been impossible for me to have seen the audience anyway, given the fact that my face was buried… *ahem* Moving on…

The two of them had their way with me for a while, which was fun, and made just a bit surreal by the fact that joreth was wearing in her harness the clone of my willie we had produced the night before. I’ve heard the expression “go fuck yourself” on many occasions, of course, but I’d never seen its application in quite such a literal way before.

The rest of the con is still a bit of a blur to me.

A few bits stand out. The pet lesbians that zaiah and I had inadvertently acquired shortly after I moved to Portland, though a strange set of circumstances too complicated to go into here, were able to make it down to Atlanta of a visit, which was lovely. zaiah and I are both quite fond of them, and don’t get to see them nearly often enough.

Aren’t they cute?

emanix hosted the Frolicon Darkroom Party in the suite we were sharing the same night that the pets came down, and they helped run it for a while, which was totally awesome of them (and definitely counts as service above and beyond the call of duty).

At some point–I think it was the next afternoon–I had the opportunity to use joreth and emanix as victims lab rats test subjects for another round of EEG sexual arousal testing. The EEG setup exactly fit into a round metal tin, thoughtfully decorated with an Aperture Science logo courtesy of datan0de.

We do what we must, because we can.

For anyone who wants to see what an orgasm looks like from the perspective of Science, the complete data set from joreth‘s session is posted here, just in case you missed it.

emanix looked particularly fetching all wired up and ready to do Science.

joreth managed to squeeze in just enough time at the con to sweep up the top award in the costume contest, in her role of her alter ego, Miss Poly Manners.

There’s a corset under that dress. Yes, she looks hot in it. Yes, I have pictures.

Now, in all honesty, I’ve been going to Frolicon for years and I literally did not know that they even had a costume contest, which might say something about my priorities.

By the end of the con, the poster of the human sex map had been rather heavily used, and was bristling like a porcupine on crystal meth. I wasn’t able to figure out a way to get it home in one piece, but damn did it have a lot of pins in it. I got a crummy low-resolution picture from my cell phone, and some pictures from my real camera that turned out even less well, which is a pity…I’d love to have an accurate record of all the pins, you know, for data-mining.

Which reminds me, at some point I should rprobably do a statistical analysis of all the custom maps people make at the Web site for the map. Might be interesting.

emanix suggested making another foam core mounted poster for next year’s Frolicon, and putting it up in one of the con’s public spaces with instructions to stick pins in all the things that folks did while actually at the con, which sounds like a lot of fun to me.

The trip back from the con was almost as much fun as the con itself, but I have forms to go fill out, so I will leave you with one more picture of joreth in her wifebeater. Enjoy!

Fragments of Frolicon: There and Back Again

It is a fact of life universally acknowledged by sages and fools alike that the best candy in all the world is to be had from strangers.

And emanix is stranger than most.

As long-term readers of this blog will no doubt remember, I first met her at Frolicon in Atlanta in years gone by (well, three of them, at least). Frolicon, for those unfortunate enough never to have been there, is one of the high points of the year; a weekend-long festival of depraved, kinky debauchery the likes of which to make the Marquis de Sade blush and the Pope kick a hole in a plate-glass window. It is also one of the relatively few times of the year when I can count on seeing my sweetie joreth and the various members of my Tampa family.

Lon-term readers of this blog are also no doubt aware that I generally chronicle the various goings-on in my life weeks, or even months, after the fact. So it is with this post.

I didn’t expect to make it to this year’s Frolicon, truth be told. My finances have been a bit of a shambles lately, and it’s rather more expensive to get there from Orlando than from Tampa. However, a certain bunny named emanix, who as I may have mentioned before is rather strange and also has rather good candy, stepped in at the last moment like a leporid angel from on high and volunteered to fly me out there, in exchange for (ahem) certain services to be negotiated later (ahem). Best still, she had opted to arrive Stateside from the distant and exotic land of London-town early, and would be staying with my Florida peeps while enjoying all the hospitality that the United States has to offer (which, this being a declining late-stage civilization, means rather a lot, hospitality being one of the few things that declining late-stage civilizations in general have left to offer), and so offered to bring me out early as well.

Tales of my various exploits concerning mad science with modified EEG toys and sexual stimulation having preceded me, it was decided by joreth (with, I believe, some input from datan0de and emanix and perhaps others) that rigging up an EEG for Frolicon was in order.

So, once I arrived in Florida, I was tasked with soldering…

No, wait, I take that back. Once I arrived in Florida, I was kidnapped from the airport, blindfolded, bound, and tossed in the back of a car by emanix with driving assistance from datan0de, and brought in a severely sleep-deprived and jetlagged state to an undisclosed location, whereupon I was subjected to the most appalling of sexual torments which I shall not disturb you with, Gentle Readers, on account of the fact that they might…disturb you.

I was then transported, also with emanix, to joreth‘s place, whereupon I was tasked with soldering together another Arduino/MindFlex toy EEG setup for doing a bit of Mad Science.

Having had the experience of doing this once before, I opted to make some changes to the hardware, by rigging up a switch which could be given to the victim guinea pig experimental subject to depress on the occasion of orgasm, which would write “Orgasm Switch Depressed” into the datastream upon such event and “Orgasm Switch Released” upon its conclusion, the better to have exact markers which would tell us later exactly at what point said orgasm occurred.

I have, as a side note, now made exactly two Arduino projects myself, the first of which has an orgasm switch and the second of which has a sexual torment LED. That probably says something about me…but I digress.

When the Mad Science rig was tested and known to be working, it was time to be off to Frolicon.

There is a Christian group in the United States which has several times in the past predicted the end of the world and the second coming of Jesus. The destruction of all creation in the final battle at Armageddon have thus far failed to materialize, though that has not prevented that particular group from continuing to predict its exact date.

This time around, they were certain enough of their predictions–which, as near as I can tell, are based in equal parts Bronze Age mythology, numerology, marketing hucksterism, paranoid schizophrenia, and interpretation of Sarah Palin’s fame as one of the signs of the End Times (that last of which, I do have to admit, is hard to argue with)–to spend a huge bundle of money on a billboard campaign advertising the end of the world, though what one is supposed to do with the information is a mystery which escapes your humble scribe.

One of the billboards in question was located in Orlando, near to joreth‘s house, so I snapped a picture of it for the lulz.

I have no doubt that it will keep getting funnier and funnier as time goes on. zaiah and I actually hosted a party on May 21, which is in fact the second end-of-the-world party I’ve hosted (the first in 1988), and it just never gets old.

Picture taken, we were well and truly on our way.

The drive up to Atlanta is pretty grueling under the best of circumstances.

The best of circumstances don’t generally involve a high-speed blowout on interstate 75 in the rural north of Florida. This particular trip, which emphatically was not the best of circumstances, did.

We replaced it with the little Go_kart thing that automotive manufacturers laughingly refer to as a “limited service spare” and were soon back on our way, searching for a service station that was still open and staffed with folks who wouldn’t kill and eat sexual deviants such as ourselves.

We found such a place without a great deal of fuss and with no casualties…

…whereupon we learned something new and unfortunate. Well, two new and unfortunate things…no, wait, three new and unfortunate things, now that I think about it.

The first was that another tire was quite frayed and ready to explode with little provocation, rather like any Middle Eastern country with Internet access these days.

The second of those three things was that the size of tire on joreth‘s car was exotic and not easily available in the backwoods of rural Florida.

The third of those three things was that such tires, which could be procured in a few hours’ time from a nearby town which had such newfangled amenities as electricity and running water, were hella fucking expensive.

The fourth of those three things was that small service stations in rural Florida are not generally the normal habitat of the European carnivorous candy-bunny.

But such ordinary garden-variety trials are not to stand between a gang of seasoned, veteran perverts and debaucheries the likes of which to make a Roman emperor weep, so we bucked up, walked to a local fast-food establishment, and waited.

The fast-food establishment in question, whose name is now long forgotten by your humble scribe, offered tea, which evidently is a beverage quite popular in London-town, so the bunny was soon in (moderately) better spirits.

It was also connected to a small store where one could buy a wide range of goods of dubious merit, such as police radar detectors, small plastic novelty items designed to be affixed to one’s dashboard, and inexpensive DVDs of movies that came and went in the theaters in less time than it takes a B meson to decay into J/ψ mesons in the Large Hadron Collider.

The store also sells Southern Pride stickers, which I was quite amused to note are made in China. Guangdong province, I reckon.

There is a rule of the Internet, called Rule 34, which says that if anyone anywhere is interested in something, there exists porn of that thing on the Internet. (There is another, lesser-known rule, Rule 36, which states that if anyone anywhere is interested in something, there exists a knitting pattern for it on the Internet.)

Rule 34 has let me down, though, for it would seem that there is in fact no Viking kazoo porn on the Internet.

However, datan0de and femetal own both a Viking hat and quite a startling number of kazoos, and I own a camera, so we resolved that we would make use of the London candy-distributing carnivorous rabbit and these things to fill this much-needed gap.

Alas, this photograph is the closest thing that exists to Viking kazoo porn, as we simply did not have time to do as we had planned to do. We arrived at the convention rather later than we had expected, and scarcely had time to settle ourselves before it was time for joreth and emanix to put Operation Wifebeater into effect…

…but more on that later. I would write more of Operation Wifebeater, a carefully-choreographed conspiracy of obscenity the like of which would make a Greek god shudder, but I have four-week-old kittens to play with.

Welcome to Web 2.0

I don’t read TechCrunch.

For that reason, I’m always the last to know about hot new Web 2.0 dot-com startups. I usually don’t find out about them until I start seeing their names in Russian pill spam, or run across them when someone posts a link to a virus downloader promising hot free young Latvian girls in one of my blogs. I look at the spam link, Google the name of the company hosting the spam, and invariably discover that it’s the trendiest new dot-com property this side of the Great Firewall of China, with $42 million in venture capital in the bank and table tennis on the roof.

Some of these companies are more over-the-top than others. There’s a brand-new startup called which is–I swear I’m not making this up–offering new hires a years’ supply of beer to go with their $10,000 signing bonus.

What these companies never advertise for, it seems, are folks with a background in security.

And so, they get pwn3d, like the has-been startup founded by Marc Andreessen of Netscape fame called “Ning.” Ning was supposed to revolutionize social networking. After burning through all its capital with virtually nothing left to show for it, Andreessen bailed, and it is now little more than a shell for Russian virus downloaders, as I’ve mentioned before. The virus droppers I talked about a year and two months ago? Most of them are still active. Lights are on, but nobody’s home.

So it is with companies like and, started with equal parts naïveté and hope. I didn’t know about either company until I started getting pharmacy spam advertising URLs on their servers, and discovered with a quick Google search that they’re overrun with it.

Right now, as I type this, has about 40,000 Russian pharmacy redirectors living on its servers. I have a bit of a soft spot for, because I wrote them an email to let them know they have about 3,800 spam pharmacy redirectors on their site, and actually got an email back from a person who, according to her company profile, went to the same little liberal arts college I went to in Florida…but they still haven’t got a handle on the situation. I’ve been checking over the past few days, and the number of spam redirectors on their servers is, according to Google, increasing at the rate of about ten an hour, which probably means there’s a whole lot more that Google isn’t finding.

So in the efforts of public service, I’ve created this handy-dandy flowchart detailing the life cycle of a hot new Web 2.0 startup. This seems to be about the way that nearly all of them go–at least the ones that create a lot of buzz by spending a ton of investment capital and getting written up in TechCrunch before they even go live.

You can click on the picture for a much bigger version. Enjoy!

How to Tell when Something Isn’t Science

The process of science–the systematic, evidence-based, rigorous, controlled exploration of the processes of the natural world–has produced an explosion of knowledge and understanding. Since the Italian Renaissance and the Abbasid period in the Persian empire, both of which saw enormous gains in scientific thinking and with them huge leaps in technology and understanding, science has been the beacon of light shining in the darkness of superstition and ignorance.

So it’s probably not too surprising that many folks who seek to embrace all sorts of non-scientific ideas try to claim that their ideas are science. Calling these ideas “science” gives them a stamp of validation. If an idea is scientific, that means it has greater legitimacy in many people’s minds.

And the world needs to cut that shit out. Not all ideas are science, yet everything from phrenology to metaphysics to “crystal energy” tries to clamber onto the scientific bandwagon.

Most recently, the cry of the pseudoscientist has become “Quantum mechanics says!” Folks who can’t actually define what quantum mechanics is are nevertheless eager to fill New Age bookstores with books that claim to “prove” that quantum mechanics validates their ideas.

So here’s a handy-dandy, more-than-pocket-sized guide that will help you tell what science actually is and is not. Ready? Here we go!

RULE 1: If it doesn’t make a precisely defined, testable, falsifiable claim, it is not science.

This is the first and most basic premise of this whole “science” business. If someone claims “Science shows us that” or “Quantum mechanics proves that” and the next thing out of their mouth isn’t a testable, falsifiable claim, then what they’re saying is probably bollocks.

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