The Chicken Years

Internet advertising is an odd beast. Facebook seems to have pinned me as a man who likes his golf, his Trump and his new age retreats, to judge from the ads it shows me. From my age, perhaps. Or my maleness. Or the colours and texture of my aura.

But over the last few weeks, a certain ad has been following me around the internet, at least on my mobile phone. Any website containing advertising that I open will, in seconds, be showing me the following advertisement:

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These are chickens. Wearing reflective vests. One is pink. The other is yellow. You know, for those chickens who are picky about their colour schemes.

One question here is why chickens need reflective vests — maybe they’re laying tarmac, or directing crowds to fire exits? Fuck knows. The other question here is why the site lantbutiken.se is apparently so keen to have me as a customer. They sell farming equipment and I am currently not a farmer, nor an owner of chickens.

The ads they show me do push the whole chicken angle pretty hard. Observe:

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This chicken is wearing a camouflage vest. No, I don’t know why either.

It’s possible, I suppose, that I accidentally clicked on an ad for chicken stuff one time. So now lantbutiken.se is convinced I’m a chicken accessory collector just waiting to come out of the coop. Or maybe their calculations show that a 40+ man with an Irish surname simply must be interested in chickens, and that’s all there is to it.

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Here is a water feeder for chickens. And some kind of … chicken-proof apron?

So, lantbutiken, I’m afraid you’re clucking up the wrong tree here. Save your money and advertise to someone who doesn’t live in a second-floor flat, in a city. Although if I ever need to kit out an all-chicken army or building crew, I do know exactly where to go.

/ paddy

Weird And Wrongish Tingles

I found this weird thing on the internet, and you know you’re in for a good time when a blog post starts off like that. So buckle up.

The weird thing in question is called ASMR. Please take a few minutes out of your day to imagine a few disturbing phrases that ASMR could be an acronym of. Done? You sickening pervert. So let’s clean our hands and move right along.

What ASMR actually stands for, we’ll get to later. But what ASMR means in practice is soft-spoken ladies on the internet whispering into a microphone and making all sorts of soft and cosy sounds, using their hands and lips and a variety of objects. Pops and scrapes and crinkles and lip-smacks and hair ruffles are the order of the day here.

Before we get any further, here’s an example:

That’s a head massage.There’s a huge number of other options out there, including lots of odd role-play stuff like going to the doctor or hairdresser or dentist (which we all find relaxing, right?) or watching someone wrap presents. Literally thousands of videos. Shockingly many.

At this point I’d normally have a good old giggle and point at the sad internet freaks who are into this kind of thing. But here is the problem – it totally works on me.

The soft popping and scraping and whispering sends my head into fireworks of tingles. It’s like when I get a haircut (an activity I enjoy way more than I let on to my hairdresser). I can’t really explain why it works, but it does. It sets my brain alight, leaving a calm and slightly numb feeling in my head, lasting for many minutes. Like mindfulness but without any of the boring effort.

Here’s another one. This is Maria, possibly the most popular ASMR video maker. Her top posting has over 17 million hits. This lady does this full time, and makes enough that she doesn’t have to work with anything else. This, people, is her actual job.

And there’s lots more out there. Search and you will be amazed. Or very, very troubled.

The big question is – is it sexual? Maybe, but only in the same way that getting a massage is sexual. The ASMR fan base seems to be equally male and female, and while there are plenty ASMR videos made by men, the majority are done by women. So is it some kind of weird maternal thing? Might be. But whatever, it works for me.

It’s not all whispering and head touching. Here’s Charlotte wrapping presents. She has a lot of videos that are mostly noises. Page turning. Writing. That class of thing.

But enough from me. Get out there and explore. Put a good pair of headphones on. And be prepared for some very odd looks from those in your immediate vicinity.

ASMR = Autonomous sensory meridian response. Or possibly Anal Sector Marzipan Roulette. Does it matter? Not a whole lot.

Extra material: The brilliant Jenny Nicholson does her own take on ASMR.

/ paddy

Vanilla Sex And Chocolate Sex

I’ve always been vaguely irritated by the phrase “vanilla sex” and now I’ve worked out why.

For those of you who don’t ever read anything ever, vanilla sex means “normal” sex. You know, the whole act of putting it in and out and shaking it all about. Making the beast with the two backs. Shagging. Bouncing on the naughty trampoline. And so on.

More precisely though, it means “normal” sex when talked about by people who would really like to point out that what they do isn’t “normal” sex. That the basic act just doesn’t get them off as they are complicated and edgy. Hence vanilla, supposedly the most boring of ice-cream flavours, although personally I find chocolate more boring.

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream 500

Now everyone may do whatever the hell they like in the bedroom, as long as it’s done between one or more consenting adults. I have no protest there. What bugs me is the vaguely disguised snobbery, the insinuation that my sex is boring whereas your sex is dark and interesting. I bloody hate snobbery. I don’t like wine “experts” telling me how their drink is superior to beer. Or literary book snobs who look down on science fiction because it’s “far-fetched” while reading every unlikely detective story or magic realism novel that exists. Or music snobs who look down their noses at what other people are enjoying, totally convinced those others are “wrong” but don’t yet realise it.

latex-ponyBut sex is sex. If some people get off sufficiently on “normal” sex – and there’s a hell of a lot to do in that area – that’s fine. But if your senses have become so dulled, and your excitement pathways so hard-triggered that you can only get off if somebody is dressed like a latex horse, then I think the problem is yours and not mine. (Although, it must be admitted, latex is very nice.)

If you think I’m being too sensitive, think about this. Have you even heard the phrase “vanilla sex” being used by a person who isn’t into kinky sex, or used in a way that isn’t sneery or condescending? I haven’t. People who say “vanilla sex” almost always do it with a slight edge of superiority. They may not say it flat-out, but to them I am boring, and they are not.

Well, if you claim I’m boring, I claim the opposite. I claim my mind is expansive and creative enough to enjoy the feelings and act of sex without accessories, whereas your poor deprived noggin requires props and a lot of effort to feel what I feel. Just because I can get off on the basic act of copulation, and you need props or mindsets, that doesn’t make you more “complicated” than me. It just makes you different.

So enough of the “vanilla”. What I enjoy is sex. What you enjoy is sex with an added layer of mind-games, scenarios and props. So fuck away, just don’t look down on how I do. And let’s all try to live in sticky slippery salty harmony.

/ paddy

Mars, Spam, Etc.

I occasionally venture into my spam folder on this blog to see what’s in there. I am rarely disappointed. Let me show you what turned up today:

http://www.popandexhibits.com/page/page/1005742.htm Being married might commemoration wherein a couple might be mixed throughout being married and even a the exact same association. Party manners and also fashions will vary to a great extent from countries, ethnic competitors, belief systems, nations around, and also national kinds. The majority wedding parties throw a major turn related to marriage ceremony vows by means of the several, visualization associated with talent (offering, call(s i9000), sentimental asset, fresh flowers, money), or a common public proclamation related to being married at a specialist think in addition to innovator. Individual marriage ceremony shirts can often be worn, in addition to commemoration may be in addition to a marriage event. Tunes, finery, praying in addition to psychic readings by divine scrolls in addition to articles might nearly always utilized in the main commemoration.

Different countries have adopted the average Conventional specialty of your respective processed marriage ceremony, certainly where a girl wears a good solid processed bridal gowns and also veil. Doing this customs was actually accepted with the marriage ceremony related to Cali king Victoria. Many declare Victoria’s array of a good solid processed dress up may well quickly already been a sign of deluxe, but then may well been recently dependent the main ideals he or she possessed which probably emphasised bedroom love.[1] Around the cutting-edge ‘white wedding’ customs, a good solid processed attire and also veil might be scarce ways for a woman’s next in addition to using marriage ceremony. The concept a good solid processed dress up will imply bedroom love appears to have been often digarded, and is particularly belittled at social grace webmasters just like Judith Martin seeing as undesirable.[2]

I cut it here. There was a lot, lot more than that. It went on and fucking on. What the fuck are they one about? No idea. But I’m glad some drunk copywriters in India are getting some work.

I am kind of flattered that random spam merchants will bother to post such drivel on a blog that gets like two and a half hits per day. Perhaps they think I’m a genius. Or maybe the other Paddy Kelly.

Anyway. I just saw John Carter. And despite it’s general low rating, I thought it was extremely good. It didn’t at all deserve to crash and burn to the extent that it did. On the other hand, I also liked Waterworld. Go figure.

/ paddy

The Lady And The Gadget

I just learned a fascinating fact which is definitely worthy of a blog post, or of a whole film. And luckily, there is actually such a film.

In Victorian Britain, ladies were sent to doctors suffering from “hysteria” – chronic anxiety, irritability and abdominal heaviness. (I’m quoting as well as borrowing from this article in the Guardian). A very common treatment was for the doctor to administer a “pelvic massage”, performed manually with the fingers, until the patient reached a “hysterical paroxysm”. The doctors found this boring and so put their Victorian minds to the task of inventing a range of machines to do the job for them. And in the 1880s the first electromechanical vibrator was created, years before the electric vacuum cleaner or even the electric iron.

It became a huge hit and was advertised freely with ads like this one, from a 1906 issue of Woman’s Own magazine:

“It can be applied more rapidly, uniformly and deeply than by hand and for as long a period as may be desired.”

The vibrator remained in doctor’s offices (and the doctors were rather busy) until the 1920s when it became obvious what was going on. The vibrator went underground, then emerged again in the 60s. But, as the article points out, even in the 60s:

“… only 1% of women had ever used one. This was perhaps unsurprising, given that most vibrators by then were modelled on a very male notion of what a woman would want – a supersized phallus – replicating, in other words, the very anatomy whose shortcomings had precipitated the invention in the first place”

This is brilliant stuff. The most interesting things being that:

  1. The past is full of unexpected surprises.
  2. The past is very rude.
  3. The Victorians were nuts.

What a filthy and excellent world.

/ paddy

The 31 Inch Irish Dilemma

So I’m back from ten days in Ireland. I could say a whole deal about that, and I might even say some of it shortly. But I thought I’d start with this one.

Buying men’s clothes in Ireland is a pain in the arse. I went to Listowel, the closest big town to my parent’s house, and attempted to buy jeans (taking advantage, as you do, of the crashed Irish economy). This was a mistake.

I saw about eight or nine clothes shops in Listowel. Only one of them had men’s clothes. The others sold women’s clothes only and had names like “Young Trend” and “Infinite Style” and “Mortifying Blouse”. I made those names up. But you see where I’m going.

The explanation I was given for this by my family is that men in country towns in Ireland don’t buy clothes for themselves, and when they do, they don’t think about it much. I’m not sure who does buy their clothes. Santa, maybe. Or sartorial leprechauns. It’s an open question.

Anyway, I ventured into the clothes shop in question (and I’d like to link to it but they have no website). It wasn’t a goldmine, let me say up front. It was very much a cheap-suit-and-sweater kind of establishment. The kind of place a greasy country politician might shop. I anyway had a look through the trousers on offer. Where I made an astounding discovery.

Men’s trousers in Ireland come in even sizes only. As in 30, 32, 34 inches. 31 inches doesn’t exist. I asked the man who owned the shop and he told me so. You just don’t get them. In fact he’d never even thought about it. It’s just the way it is.

I confirmed this in several shops in Dublin. Size 31, despite existing in every other country I’ve shopped for clothes in, doesn’t exist anywhere in Ireland. Even for pricey brands like Wrangler and Diesel and the like. Not there, and never has been.

I was advised to buy a 32 and wear a belt. Lovely.

I wonder when this was decided in Ireland. And I wonder why Irish retailers are unaware that odd sizes exist in the world at large. Maybe it’s some kind of conspiracy to prevent men wearing jeans that fit them. I suspect the Catholic church are involved somehow.

And yes, I bought a 32 and wore a belt. Happy?

/ paddy

Three Tiny Things

As a counterweight to last week’s meaty rant, here’s a few casual thoughts:

1 – Why do many couples have a shared email? As in “john-mary@troutmail.com”? You see that kind of thing all the time on internet buy-and-sell sites. Do they think it’s too expensive to have separate emails? Do they feel compelled to prove to each other just how little they have to hide? Or show their undying love through sharing an inbox? Perhaps they feel that everything – bank accounts, friends, jogging outfits – has to be shared otherwise they aren’t a “real” couple? I have no idea. Maybe somebody else does.

2 – There was a docusoap in Sweden called “Expedition Robinson” where a bunch of people go to a tropical island and get slowly humiliated and starved in their quest to win … something or other. Each contestant was allowed to bring a “personal item” which was usually something like cigarettes, or Valium, or shampoo, or chocolate. Then they were left to fend for themselves, and occasionally taunted with food and drink for our entertainment. The men’s beards grew long and lush. However, despite nobody bringing a shaver of any kind, none of the women’s underarm hair grew long and lush – or, in fact, at all. Apparently women, in their natural state, have no armpit hair, and it’s just our stressful modern life that makes it grow.

3 – Does anybody else dream a lot about subway tracks? About climbing off the platform and walking into the train tunnel, finding things and people in there? Or is that just me? And is there anything else that you people (dwindling in number as you are) dream about on a regular basis? And can you tell me so I can nick it for a book I’m doing? Cheers.

/ paddy