Denial of Service

29 02 2016

About a week ago, I woke up and did my usual routine which includes breakfast and checking social media, which is something we do a lot of these days, often with the former being skipped.

I read messages that people had left me on Twitter as I slept, mostly responses to things I had posted the night before.

Then I went on to reading Facebook, except I couldn’t.

Instead of seeing my usual timeline, I had been greeted with a banner which suggested that I have apparently posted “underage nudity”, and had been blocked for 72 hours.

Now while I have been known for posting some outrageous items, underage nudity is not within my range of interests, so after reading the banner I had wondered what might have set things off.

Nudity itself doesn’t bother me at all, as far as I can tell, we all have bodies. Guns bother me a lot more than nudity ever will. and also the fact that gay people can’t marry in Australia, The TPP, War, Religious nutcases and people who shoot animals because they lack a decent sized cock.

I’m a (left-leaning) activist at heart, and I suppose that posting a story on something I detest causes certain heartless Facebook users quite a lot of angst.

And somewhere along the line, someone has worked out that they can “game” Facebook.

If you cheese someone off, there’s nothing stopping them from reporting your photo as underage nudity, even if it is just a photo of a three day old kitten.

The system seems to be automated, and once you’re reported, you’re done for three days.

And worse, how many further reports and suspensions will have your page removed permanently?

Nobody seems to check to see if you had actually posted anything offensive, the system simply trusts that you had.

But surely you can get in touch with Facebook and report this?

Well no, you can’t. If You’ve ever tried to contact Facebook, you’ll find┬áthat it’s an almost impossible task, can any other company do as well as Facebook without active customer service?

There is also no indication of which post was the culprit, not that any were offensive and certainly none would fall under the description of “underage nudity”.

Last week the suspension was lifted, but early Friday morning, it happened a second time.

All it amounts to is a denial of service attack by, most likely, someone who doesn’t support my views, and rather than dispute me directly, would rather act in a cowardly fashion.

The only hint I have of anyone feeling grumpy with my posts, is one comment about my banner image being offensive. It’s a poster of a cartoon wolf holding a microphone… He has pants on.

When I went to the person’s page, there was nothing there, no title, banner or anything.

Wolfie Rankin.

* Not that it stopped me, multiple accounts are definitely the way to go.

 

 

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Second star on the right

28 02 2016

Lay down in the back yard at night and look up at the sky, find the faintest star that you can see.

Ponder on the thought that there’s a Planet circling it, a good sized Planet, with an atmosphere sitting right in “The Goldilocks Zone” where it’s not too hot, nor too cold.

And there are Aliens, keeping in mind that We are Aliens to them too.

Perhaps they aren’t ugly to us, like they often are in movies, perhaps they’re beautiful, but even if they’re not, maybe they’re not horrible inside like Humans often are.

Perhaps they have families, and the same sorts of problems and frustrations that we have.

Their technology might be better, or worse, it doesn’t really matter.

There’s one Alien, Let’s call him Fred, They might have Freds, Who knows.

Fred is a kind hearted, soft spoken person who’s having a rough time. His mate isn’t well, Her health has been up and down recently. Let’s call her Mabel, Mabel is the Mother of two kids, and one only recently started going to their version of School. Like all Mothers, Mabel had to cope with that and her problematic health.

But She’ll be ok, really, Fortunately their medicine is the best, it’s just that Mabel has something that isn’t seen that much, it’s curable.

And her Child, Ben, Will love School, and meet someone who will be a lifelong friend of his on his very first day.

Unlike us, they have multiple sentient species, who mostly speak the same language, and get on well with each other. They would find our hatred of another skin colour or sex very strange.

If they knew you or I, they would invite us to their home and offer us food and drink which would be something like what we have here, and the flavours would be amazing… sometimes the taste may not agree with us, but Fred and Mabel won’t hold it against us.

Fred and Mabel, and their Children could be our dearest friends.

They would send us cards during holidays, or send us photos of places they’ve been. We would send them gifts at Christmas and phone them now and then for a nice long chat.

Except we can’t.

Fred and Mabel live so far away that we could never know them, even if we wanted to.

Science has told us how vast space is, but even science doesn’t know what’s way out there, perhaps we only know a grain of sand, when there’s an entire beach.

Fred and Mabel are out there somewhere, it’s mathematically implausible that they’re not.

I think of my versions of Fred and Mabel quite often, and my heart aches for them.

 

Wolfie Rankin.

 

 






Tribute

26 02 2016

It’s late here, and I have rested and got up to eat when I probably should have fallen asleep for the night.

A thought has been popping up now and then, and I had considered writing about it, but had just been letting it go, as late as it is, I think I should type it out.

When David Bowie died, quite a few people rushed to pay tribute, most notably Nile Rodgers and Lady Gaga at the recent Grammy’s and Lorde with Bowie’s Band at The Brit Awards.

Some heaped scorn on one, and praised the other.

I have a story.

My Sister, Janice (No, it’s not pronounced like that), Was, unlike Me, The traditional sort.

I love my Sister, never “loved”, She’s not with us now, She died of ovarian cancer in 2010.

But she was so traditional, and patriotic, She was a bit like Margaret Hoolihan from M*A*S*H, Say the wrong thing and there’d be a scream, and on another level she was Mrs Bucket (Boo-kay) from Keeping up appearances.

She loved bagpipe music, and she kept her house spotless… totally spotless, and her eyes would travel around the house here, looking at the great piles of dust or dishes or what have you.

Don’t get me wrong, she wasn’t totally hopeless, we laughed a lot and in many ways she was a lovely person, she just had her… things.

When she died, I was sitting behind her Grand Daughter at Jan’s funeral

 

 

who had asked to play a song for her, and when I heard it, I was a bit miffed. it was some teen pop idol from the noughties.

And while it wasn’t bad, it was totally unsuitable for my Sister, Speaking more about my Grand Niece.

It seemed like she hadn’t put much thought into it, but then she was only a kid, there was that.

But recently I wondered if they had listened to the song together. My Mother and I had listened to Pop music that I had bought into the home, she liked some of it, she loved a bit of it too.

The day before Mum died, she thanked me for bringing music into the home, and now I try to keep the music going, even if I don’t really feel like it, it helps me too.

Funerals are awkward things, we attend them with the best of intentions, but emotions rise from nowhere, and sometime cause regret.

There are the slips, the faux-pas, the feet sliding into mouths while some would like to slide theirs up the backsides of others.

It’s a delicate balancing act where everyone tells their side of the story, and it doesn’t always sit right with some.

I have come to a realisation which is to allow things to be at those moments, to be less critical, and to be patient with ourselves if our feelings lead us astray.

Everyone’s a critic when we hear music, watch a movie or read a book… and you might be silently critical of what you’re reading now, which is fine.

When a musician dies, other musicians will pay tribute by playing music, playing music is what musicians generally do best.

They know and understand that they are merely the imitator, and fervently wish they were in the audience watching the original artist or performing along side them.

They’re doing their best, and should they not live up to the standards of the original artist, we should not punish them for it.

Wolfie Rankin





In Glorious Mediocracy

19 02 2016

Have you ever walked into a second-hand shop which is filled with Kitsch? Ceramic kittens, people made of shells, prints of sunsets over the ocean… You know the kind of thing.

It’s all perfectly saccharine sweet, and “nice”.

That’s Facebook.

Oh look, I follow a bunch of you who are raging against the dying of the light. Among all the mindless puzzles that a five year old could solve in seconds, the usual rounds of “Which is your elf name” and barely funny mock horoscopes, you people at least try to break the mould.

You post issues of the day, you post about politics, fairness, activism, now and then you post something a little raunchy of off putting, a bit daring, something that activates the brain cells, and I love you for it.

But being daring comes at a price when you’re on Facebook.

Post something that offends someone, even slightly, and you’re suspended, or worse, your page is removed entirely.

This has happened to me about five times before, Twice it was about my name, which is the name I use in public life. And according to what I’ve read, if you start using another name in public, that, by law, after a while, becomes your real name. In Australia anyway.

A couple of other times something had been flagged as offensive, and I was suspended for a day, but then they found that it was nothing and sent me an e-mail to tell me that the suspension had been lifted.

A friend of mine likes her erotic art, it’s not x-rated, it’s just slightly more than suggestive, perhaps it’s a chubby woman reclining on a bed, with boobs akimbo.

I’m a bloke, and have never understood why parts of the body offend people, beautiful, healthy, genitals or nipples. I’ve had cancer, I’ve seen what bodies are like when they’re not healthy, if normal bits and pieces offend you, then I hope you don’t have to face cancer as everything is one hundred times worse then.

Let me give you an image: Three in the morning, your bag is leaking, and while trying to change it your stoma erupts and sprays wet faeces all over the vanity unit, I hope it never happens to you.

Anyway, This friend of mine has been suspended for her tubby ladies, which let’s face it, cover the walls of our finest art galleries.

Another friend told me that she was once suspended because she had posted a full frontal nude photo, of a man… sure, the man was carved from stone, but he still had naughty naughty male genitalia, the tiny kind that statues have, probably because they’re so cold, I don’t know.

And recently an Art Gallery was blocked because they had posted a photo of one of their paintings, which was a Woman licking an ice-cream. I’ll let your imagination decide why they received a suspension.

And there’s another thing that doesn’t worry me, sex.

If sex is the sort where nobody is being hurt, then I have no problem with it.

“But what about the kiddies, what if my kiddies see it”

How about taking your fucking kids, and fucking fuck off? That’s what’s going on in my mind, but give me time to take a few breaths and I’ll calm down.

Kids aren’t allowed to see genitals, but guns are just fine, isn’t that a crying shame? Everyone has genitals, not everyone has, or wants, a gun.

I’d rather my kids saw an ejaculating penis in all its glory, than some arsehole shooting a lion any day.

And there’s a thing, Why do we get smacked down for single posts, when there are entire pages on Facebook dedicated to shooting wildlife, to racists, misogynists, bigots and collections of religious arseholery which people have flagged hundreds of times because they are doing real damage, yet often, they are allowed to remain?

You know, I was a Moderator once, I kept things neat and clean, I was strict and was happy with my work.

I found that I spent too much time worrying about it, when I should have spent more time hugging my dog.

So I began to relax and it was better for everyone, me included.

I’m going out to hug my dog.

Wolfie Rankin.