Rule 4 and Social Media

Rule 4 and Social Media

I recently finished 12 Rules For Life – An Antidote to Chaos and reviewed it. Typical of all of my other book reviews, I don’t judge the content so much inside of the review of the book. I might as well be telling you how to think. My main concerns in book reviews are to determine whether or not the book is digestible and useful especially in the context of self-help. When I want to take some of the content and talk about it, i’ll branch that off into another blog, and that’s what we’re doing today.

When I first read rule 4 , which is…

“Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, do not compare yourself to who someone else is today.”

My first thought when I read that was about social media, which not only tricks people into breaking the rule but adds special little nasty tricks of its own. Our phones and other devices absorb us into a kabuki version of reality, where you only see the bright white mask that others want you to see. Everything else is blacked out and can’t be seen in the dim lighting of the theater. People chase likes, re-blogs, up-votes; our most popular social platforms are engineered to get the participants to seek validation from others.

Now I’m not saying these can’t be useful metrics for content creators. Sure, I take a look at where my likes and my follows sit, but I follow rule 4, I only compare those numbers to where they were when the blog started, or where they were a month ago. That was actually a foundational principle of managing this blog. I wouldn’t compare myself to people that already had 40,000 followers, I was concerned about just getting to 5. You’re not going to do yourself any services comparing yourself to pewdiepie the day your YouTube channel starts, but for many of us the comparisons run deeper and more insidious than just numbers of likes, follows, and shares. You compare your real life to the carefully curated profiles of family and friends or even strangers on social media. This is the real life only you know about, not just the darker moments but the darker thoughts. You’re not just violating rule four, you’re comparing yourself against people that don’t actually exist.

Social media profiles are the photoshopped versions of someones life—many times literally. Many highlight only the good and hide the bad. The ones that include the bad nevertheless hide the shameful. There’s a difference between announcing a breakup and announcing that it was your fault too. Generally, when people share bad moments on social media it’s for the same reason they share the good, for affirmation, and it comes with the same filters. Comparing yourself to these people, even people you trust, is like comparing yourself physically to some photoshopped super model on the cover of Sports Illustrated or Vogue or, well, pick your poison.

I can hear some of you now, “but people do compare themselves to supermodels”, I know, that’s the point, it’s ridiculous. If you need to work on your thighs work on your thighs but don’t do it to look like the digitally altered version of someone else. Do it because you want better thighs. That goes for non-physical qualities too. These people don’t have the same life you have. You know what’s important to you, to uniquely you, don’t suppress those priorities to be more like someone else, you’ll just end up not accomplishing the things that are important to you. That doesn’t mean you don’t stop improving, that doesn’t mean you don’t aim high, it means that you should be aiming at your own targets, and not someone else’s.

Maybe you decided not to go to college because starting a family was just that important to you. Maybe you have several wonderful children as a result, and maybe you’re a little jealous of that graduation cap toss picture your friend just posted. Maybe you aren’t seeing the pile of student loan debt behind that cap, maybe you aren’t seeing the adderall abuse that led there that has to be dealt with, maybe they’re absolutely fine and successful cleanly and didn’t fall into those traps, but they may just be looking at your children when they’re 35 and involved in their career and asking themselves where the time went and wondering why they don’t have theirs yet. Maybe they don’t want a family at all. Would that be the life you try to emulate after deciding you wanted several children? Maybe you come to feel sorry for them that they don’t even want a family, maybe that’s pitiable to you. Life is a series of choices. Make sure your choices reflect your goals, make sure the improvements you make to your life are about getting you to where you want to go.

You have things to work on. We all have things to work on. I could exercise more, but I’m better than I was yesterday. I’m 60 pounds better than I was many yesterdays ago, and I did that by comparing myself to what my scale said yesterday and not to someone else’s scale. I did that by ignoring my Fitbit’s explicit pleas to let it compare me to other people—Talk about kneecapping the usefulness of your own product. I celebrate the fact that i’m 60 pounds better off than I used to be, I still look forward to further improvements to my weight, I’m not where I want to be yet, but I can look back and go, yeah, I’m on the way there. I’m not looking at Lou Ferrigno pictures and going, why bother I’ll never be that guy. Well I really will never be that guy, and there are parts of Lou’s life that weren’t so great. I can be happy knowing that my life is getting better on my own terms, I can be happy that Emily finds me more physically desirable than she used to and that it’s the result of my work. Who doesn’t want to be more physically attractive to their spouse? Mission fucking accomplished man, and I get to make it even better in the future? Awesome.

That’s another reason for the rule. You will never exhaust all the avenues available to you to improve. You’re going to have to cherry pick, eventually you’re going to run out of time, everyone does. You can’t be everything to everyone, you can’t even be everything to yourself. Social media can tempt us with the idea that it’s possible. We have this flood of information about all the wonderful things other people are doing. Are you amalgamating all those things into an unreasonable ideal? Pick the things that matter in your life and orient your life and behavior around those, because you don’t get the option of everything, and if you see someone that looks like they’ve got everything I can guarantee you’re looking at a facade. You’re looking at their kabuki representation to the world. Rule 4 will help you stave off the resentment and jealousy that can trap you in the way that you currently are. You can use those emotions to freeze your life, sit still, and then blame others for the lack of improvement. No one is immune to that, I left Facebook entirely for that reason. My only twitter account is the one I use to promote this blog, I don’t use Insta, I don’t keep up with the Kardashians, and I don’t know anything about bad Tinder experiences. I also don’t seem to have problems with unstable relationships or keeping friends around for the long term. Are those related? Heck if I know but I certainly think they are.

Now, I think social media definitely makes these issues more prominent in our lives but this is by no means a new problem. The comic strip “Keeping up with the Joneses” debuted in 1913, over a century ago. The grass was greener on the other side of the fence long before we could use Google Earth to look at thousands of fences. Women were comparing themselves to cover girls since magazine covers were a thing. It’s a really old trap, maybe as old as humanity itself, maybe as old as lobsters, who knows. The Bible is thousands of years old and warns us not to covet all manners of things, especially other people’s wives. That has everything to do with wanting what others have, or at least fooling ourselves into thinking that we do. Problem is we have easy access to pictures of other people’s wives, we have easy access to depictions of all the greatest parts of other people’s lives, it’s everywhere, and they have complete control over whether or not we see the other side of that, and the vast majority of us chose not to. Don’t think of someone’s social media life as anything other than a fiction, a photoshop filter at best. Remember rule 4.

Relieved of Review Duty – And Some Minor Things

Emily and I have been interested in the Satisfyer line of toys for some time, but we hadn’t pulled the trigger on it until just last week. Our impetus for finally making that happen were two fold. Valentine’s day was fast approaching, and we were reminded of their existence by a wonderful review of the Satisfyer Pro Penguin by Ashley Dannielle. I told her we’d just link to her review if we found that our experience sufficiently matched hers and I’m very pleased to say it did. Go check it out, and if you’re interested in the Satisfyer please use her affiliate link and support competent sex toy reviewers. The sex toys tag needs much better content than it currently has, especially in the department of curation. I don’t really have my sights set on monetizing the reviews I’m doing for now or the near future so, no skin off my back, show some love. While you’re there, there’s some excellent erotica to check out too. The penguin is as cute as it is effective.

Bad Dragon recently released a unicorn horn shaped dildo. It looks pretty awesome. The timing of that release amuses me personally for reasons I wish I could share. Nevertheless, I had me a giggle mate. Seriously though, that toy looks fun, and it also looks as if there could be a convergence going on in the silicon toy market. I mentioned before that I thought Tantus was getting pleasantly bolder in their designs with the Magma, and I also wrote an entire post about why Bad Dragon brings value to consumers that don’t share in any fantasy fetish. The unicorn horn dildo—it’s named Mystic—is probably the tamest design I’ve seen from Bad Dragon or if you’d prefer, the most normative. Seems like they’re making an appeal to the broader market, I hope that decision works out for them because it’s a fun lookin’ appeal. I also hope Tantus finds success in their bolder designs and we can all enjoy a really fun middle ground.

Twelve Rules for Life is easily my most popular review and post so far, but not far behind is some original content I wrote for the blog. The readers have spoken, so I’m going to try and bring you more original content, and review books that more people care about in the self-help genre.

Finally, if you sub to this blog or are thinking about it I’d like to hear from you. What content do you want to see more of? What content do you want to see less of? Feedback is always appreciated. Until next time!

Have a comment or a question? Is there a topic you’d like discussed? Let me know through my contact page.

The Many Faces of Valentine’s Day

The Many Faces of Valentine’s Day

So naturally, what would a couple’s blog be without a post about Valentine’s day? It’s easy to forget the many faces this day wears for so many people as you focus in on your partner and their happiness.

Is this the Valentine’s day you’re going to propose?

Is it the first one you’ve spent with someone that really matters?

Is your 7 year-old learning the super wrong kid friendly version in school they’ll have to unlearn in a few years?

Is this the dozenth Valentines day, are you struggling to make it special?

Is it the twenty-fourth and you’ve not missed a beat on any Valentine’s day?

Are you at the supermarket rushing around wondering how it is you keep forgetting?

Did you break her heart today?

Did your man make the other girls at the office jealous?

Did you do something that she’ll never forget? Did you set the bar too high?

Is today the day you say yes?

Is it her first time? Is it yours?

Did you put in an extra tip for the hotel staff?

Did you phone it in?

Did you make it everything you could?

Most importantly, did you make it yours?

Happy Valentine’s Day Emily. You’re the reason I keep going. Happy Valentine’s Day to my only daughter. I hope when you’re old enough to appreciate them, they’re all good memories. Happy Valentine’s day to the person who inspired me to actually start this project, you know who you are.

I love you all.

Modern Education – A Few Major Gripes

Modern Education – A Few Major Gripes

I’ve been involved in the education industry for a fair portion of my life, and no, I don’t mean as a student. I think about the only thing I haven’t done in the field of education is educate, ironically enough. My mother was an educator for the entirety of my K-12 experience, and due to living out of county and the transportation issues that entails I ended up putting a lot of volunteer work in her classroom. I got into the field of IT primarily because I was de facto tech support for the classroom computer, which as a concept was newfangled on its own at the time. But I also dealt with a lot of the drudgery. Lemme tell ya if you wanna piss off an educator make them move classrooms every. single. year. Moving into our second home involved less packing.

Anyway, fast forward a few dead end jobs and my early steps into the IT field and I ended up in a support role for classroom technology at a major public university. Man, I miss that job. It simply didn’t pay enough or provide the necessary upward mobility to stay. We didn’t just fix computers there, we actively worked on improving pedagogical experiences for the instructors and through that the experience for the students. I’m still proud of some of the systems I implemented in my time there and if the pay were right I’d go back tomorrow. I’ve saved individual classes, made entire semesters better, and made things possible for instructors that they hadn’t been able to do before, and those are their words. I got to chat with a lot of really top notch folks about what was and what wasn’t working in their classrooms, and one of my colleagues had an advanced degree in instructional design and I loved picking his brain too. Now I’m tech support for our distance learning unit and there’s definitely some nice, and scary, things going on there as well.

So when my son started K-12 there were some things I knew going in. One, that putting a projector in every classroom was superfluous tickbox checking for the people selling the school, whether that’s county administrators or whoever is vested in things appearing better than they are. You know what else that does? It blows the AAP recommendations for screen time out of the water, which we’ve touched on before in this blog. Would you be mad if you learned your kid was getting 4x his recommended daily sodium intake just from his school lunch (they might be you should check)? Well that’s what the tech classrooms do with screen time, roughly. They also let instructors abdicate their responsibilities as teachers. I find it’s rare to give an educator the ability to splatter YouTube on the screen and have them not take it. More importantly, the pedagogical efficacy of such implementations is weakly supported at best. If you were told that your student was spending most his days watching YouTube you might insist that you just do that at home, but this is what’s happening in K-12 schools all across the country, hell it’s being promoted!

We’re also lowering physical activity requirements, even eliminating them. This goes for both structured and unstructured play and exercise. This is harmful to all children but is particularly harmful to young boys. Obesity is a major, maybe the, health epidemic of our time. We’re quick to shame anti-vaxxers and to turn our schools into glorified prisons to stave the threat of school shootings but it seems hardly anyone bats an eye at the road to obesity our public schools are putting our children on. It’s even worse for the boys, and girls of certain temperament. They get fidgety from being pent up so we put them on amphetamines to calm them down.

After we’re done zapping our childrens brains with too much screen time, enforcing a sedentary lifestyle on them, and pumping them up with amphetamines to hide the short term side effects of our school day we also tell them that vocational jobs are for the poor underclass and that it’s college or bust in a world of climbing unforgivable student loans, diploma mills full of trap degrees that will never pay for themselves, and a tradesmen shortage where electricians, plumbers, and welders, just to name a few, can climb to six figure jobs.

Our choices as parents to deal with these phenomenon are limited, but many are choosing to homeschool as they are met with administrators and school boards that are seemingly immune to reason. However, I do encourage you to try that route if you can, talking to administrators I mean. Get involved with instructors, support staff, school administrators, and county officials. Your kid is going to be in that system for at least 13 years, let administrators know in no uncertain terms they can look forward to a peaceful, or tumultuous decade of their lives with you on these matters, and that’s if you only have one child. If you have more remind them that they may be seeing you around for oh, 20 years, and they might wanna do something to make that relationship a peaceful one. If you decide to homeshcool instead, remember that the time commitment is no joke. The curriculum isn’t actually the hard part of homeschooling, the logistics are. Do your research, make a plan, weigh your options.

Have a comment or a question? Is there a topic you’d like discussed? Let me know through my contact page.

Apple’s FaceTime Exploit – You won’t learn from this one either.

Alright everyone, pull up a chair, get a hot cocoa and buckle up, we need to talk about the latest privacy exploit you’re going to ignore. Parents, you especially need to sit down a moment. I do IT by trade, I have some confessions to make, and you need to hear them.

I’ll admit, it’s been a while since I was in the hardware repair sector of the IT world, but I was there long enough, and things haven’t changed much aside from the hoops companies are jumping through to kill right-to-repair. This month it’s Apple’s FaceTime app giving everyone some all too temporary jitters about what exactly all those sensors on their phones are doing. First, let’s set up everyone reading this into their 2 necessary camps. Camp 1, you guys seriously don’t care if naked pictures or your sex tape ends up on the internet for some reason, who’d recognize you anyway? Camp 2, everyone else, maybe you have some pictures you’d rather the world didn’t see, or you’d be concerned if you thought your phone microphone was listening to you when you thought it shouldn’t be. Camp 1, we solid, you guys know the score and you can stop reading here.

Camp 2, take a sip of that cocoa. You need to stop getting shocked about these sorts of things. You need a new axiom. That dude that puts the sticky note over the webcam on his laptop, he’s got the right idea. Dell and HP certainly seem to think so, they’ve been installing physical ‘off switches’ for their webcams when they’re built into their computers for years. They’re just plastic sliders that go over the lens. Consider your cameras on, and your microphones open, all the time. Not to scare you, but to keep you conscious about what you’re putting on your devices. Camp 1 has the right idea, they know everything that goes on their devices can end up on the internet and they’re at peace with that.

Here’s another thing that hasn’t changed much in the repair industry; technicians that comb your computer over for porn and other compromising pictures. I’ve worked for a couple really strict and ethical shops, one, a national chain at the time, went under. Other shops aren’t so mindful about that sorta thing. I remember one shop that ran an off-grid file server to store images of unsuspecting co-ed customers. Apparently MacBook owners were the most likely to have home movies of themselves. Technicians at that shop also collected pictures of illicit drug use and anything else they considered salacious from customers that thought they were getting a better shake. It seemed to me more laptops had this content on them than didn’t, all told, by the time I got out of that sector of the industry. Dad’s I have some bad news for you. More girls have pictures and movies of themselves stored on their devices than guys have pictures of them, or at least if they do the guys are smart enough to erase them before sending their device in for repair. Surprised? I was too, but maybe we can chalk that up to the availability of that content from anonymous women through pornography.

We’ve seen a lot of high profile data breaches over the last couple years. Facebook had a few breaches by itself. Is it any wonder revenge porn is the problem it is when people just can’t come to grips with the idea that the internet is forever. Well, that’s only halfway there. Uploads are forever, your camera is always on, your mic is always hot. Accept it. If it bothers you, change your habits, if not, congrats you’re Camp 1 now, but stop getting surprised every time this happens and then fret about what might have made it out into the wide web.

Apologies for the tone of this article, but this is a decade long frustration at this point, and y’all need a wake up call bad. I’d love to hear from other technicians or former technicians on this. Drop some truth in the comments if the mood strikes you.

Have a comment or a question? Is there a topic you’d like discussed? Let me know through my contact page.

D-Score Case Study: A Tale of Two Apollos

D-Score Case Study: A Tale of Two Apollos

So we’ve gone over D-score before, how I arrived to the conclusion to use it as a measurement and why. Meet the reason I felt like it was absolutely necessary to have. I encourage you to read that article if you haven’t already, but if you don’t have time, D-score is the percentage difference between the girth of a toy (in area) and the girth of the median penis (1.67 square inches for the curious).

This is Apollo, another dildo from Bad Dragon. Yes, both of them. This isn’t a review however, this is a story, a story of measurement and expectations. We purchased the first one—the larger of the two—while Emily was pregnant with our last son. I don’t know how many of you have ever heard rumor of or experienced the sometimes ravenous sexual appetite of a third trimester pregnant woman at its peak but that was Emily all over and all the time. Emily had some big eyes then, and her vagina was extra cooperative because well, it was getting ready to pass a baby through it. We both immensely enjoyed her large Apollo after it arrived.

Then the baby came, and the six weeks of sexual layover that go with. We didn’t really wanna jump back in to the large toys right away even though we’d been cleared for sex by her GYN. Somehow, neither of us thought she’d be taking into account a giant toy with a 3 and a quarter inch diameter knot. Eventually we gave it a shot. She couldn’t even get the head in. We kinda anticipated this, vaginas are kinda magic and if you wait the appropriate amount of time after having a child well, sometimes it was uncomfortably tight, no complaints. So Emily slowly worked her way back up to being able to take the big boy, and let me emphasize, it was work. We both loved Apollo, I for the aesthetics and Emily for how the aggressive texturing that caused that aesthetic felt inside her, but Apollo was work now, the prep time was pretty lengthy, and we thought we might do better with the same toy but another size down the chart.

On that note. Here’s the chart.

Diameter of HeadDiameter of Knot
Large Apollo3 Inches3.25 Inches
Medium Apollo2.25 Inches2.5 Inches
Apparent Difference+33%+30%

So lets talk about that apparent difference. When we look at numbers like that, our brains tend to think linearly, it’s really just natural, even if you know that’s a geometrically scaling number, your brain just compares how much bigger one number is than the other. It’s a thing. We don’t think in volume like that.

We decided we were going to participate in the absolute madness that is the Bad Dragon Black Friday sale. If the company needs to improve anywhere it’s here. The event is always marked by frustrated customers who could never get the site to load as everyone makes a mad dash for the literally one-of-a-kind creations at 60% off and the site breaks under the load. Emily and I had three computers going just to make the attempt. We saw an Apollo in medium with an adorable coloration and we pulled the trigger immediately. Somehow we got it in the cart and hit purchase before the hold timer expired on the item (if that happens it goes back on the website and other people can grab it).

A little while later, our medium Apollo arrived and….what? I spent a lot of time trying to get the true difference in size to show up in the photo, but it has to be seen to be truly appreciated. I ended up weighing them just to try and communicate this to our readers. The medium Apollo is 500 grams (1 pound 2oz), the large is 1.2 kilograms (2 pounds 10.5 ounces).We thought we might have been the victim of some sort of mix-up, surely this was actually a small. We broke out the tape measure and sure enough, this was a medium. The length, head, and knot circumference all matched perfectly. The large sat there, dwarfing it, and we were concerned it might have been a bit too small to give Emily the feeling she’s accustomed to from that toy. It almost was. It takes a few days of regular use and gratuitous amounts of cum lube for Emily to hilt the large Apollo, and it’s a fun couple of days let me assure you, but with the medium, double penetration is on the table. Not complaining, but those are worlds apart experiences and it didn’t meet our expectations (Fortunately the medium Crackers we got in the same sale was the perfect size for this, more on that toy in the future).

This occurred during the planning phases of this blog, and I knew I’d need to come up with something to save any potential readers from the same trap. And that’s when we came up with D-Score. Let’s try that table again, comparing the two toys, but with D-score instead of diameter. We’ll throw the weight in as well.

Medium ApolloLarge ApolloApparent Difference
Head D-Score2.44.2+76%
Knot D-Score35+70%
Weight500g1200g+140%

Now that conforms with our experience a lot more closely. The difference in those two sizes is huge, and if you just look at diameter you could be tempted to think it was a minor bump, just the slight reduction we were looking for, but the D-score makes it clear, this toy is flirting with being twice as large as it’s medium counterpart in felt size.

You might not be as interested in the process of making dildo reviews this nerdy as we are, but I hope you at least had some fun with this post, if not got some useful information from it.

Have a comment or a question? Is there a topic you’d like discussed? Let me know through my contact page.

Book Review – 12 Rules For Life, An Antidote to Chaos

Book Review – 12 Rules For Life, An Antidote to Chaos

I’ve been looking forward to picking up 12 Rules For Life for a while now. I’ve enjoyed Jordan Peterson’s online lecture series off and on for a few years in distracted moments that needed a bit more productivity than gazing at the outdated popcorn ceiling or watching things explode on YouTube. After I started this blog 12 Rules moved up in importance on my reading list but stayed behind books that seemed to be more about addressing direct problems to relationships and marriages that were in trouble and needed immediate fixing. Those books just seemed to fit the mission of the blog better though I had a feeling 12 Rules could potentially be just as efficant in the long term. 12 Rules surprised me in some ways, conformed to my expectations in others, and disappointed me in ways I should have predicted. So let’s dive in.

One axis I use when recommending a book in the self-help space is the opportunity cost for reading it. There are other books you can read, they might apply to your situation more directly, or you may be able to grab 2 helpful books for the price of a different singular one. This is where books that are more comprehensive, like say Marriage, A History run afoul a hesitation to recommend simply based on the fact that you could get two points of view from potentially two different but related subjects for the price of the one deep dive in both time and cost. Being too short and lacking comprehensive qualities is bad, but being too long and failing to get to the point is equally as bad—I’m giving you an example of this right now. 12 Rules seems to ride the line here for me. It’s inexpensive, no issues there, you can currently pick up the hard cover—my preference—on Amazon for like 17 bucks (or is that buckos). The length however is a bit of a double edged sword. It’s not that 12 Rules is entirely too long, the meat of the book is approximately 350 pages and I was able to clear that in a day. Much like Marriage, A History my reading speed was slowed by the fact that many of the sentences weren’t exactly skip-able, skimming is a bad idea with 12 Rules. But I felt like each rule took too long to get to the point, and let me explain that a little bit, because that’s really worth a breakdown.

One, there’s a bias alert here. If you watch the bulk of Peterson’s online lectures like I have a ton of the material in this book is remedial. Secondly, I think Peterson made the right choice in the persuasion tactic. Sure, you could arrive at the points a lot more quickly with a few short facts, but then why have the book at all? 12 Rules could be a Buzzfeed style list article if you weren’t going to take the task of expressing the very real-life, highly emotional and devastating consequences of breaking the rules. The intent here doesn’t seem to be giving you a list of guidelines, it’s a list of rules and that takes a little extra convincing. Rightly so! if you just willy nilly accepted the rules because they were in a book you’d be just the kind of non-existent doormat of a person Peterson is warning you against being in the first place! There’s also the point that I was reading the book front cover to back cover with no priority to the order of consumption. I did not skip rules I was already following and I didn’t skip ahead to rules I found more intriguing. That’s probably actually how this book is supposed to be used, but for the sake of the review I read it cover to cover and that may have not been the best way to enjoy it.

Here’s what I did enjoy. A lot of these rules have immediate application. If there are any parents here I highly recommend picking up this entire book just for Rules 5 and 11. If you argue a lot with your spouse or friends a lot you’re gonna wan’t to read 8, 9, and 10 first. I don’t think there are many people around who don’t need to read rule 3 every now and again.

The prose is easy to read, and while Jordan Peterson takes himself seriously he doesn’t take himself too seriously, though his writing voice isn’t nearly as fun as his lecture voice. They’re similar but it’s just not the same when you can’t get the inflections. Peterson’s skills at oration are just flat out superior. Peterson also makes sure to assure the reader he isn’t speaking from some high-horse position either and I found that quite nice. As he says in one of his lectures…

“I’m full of snakes and so are you…”

So what’s the conclusion here. Ultimately when I sit down and I review one of these the central question I ask myself before all others is “Can this book help you”? As with most good self-help books, the answer is, if you let it. Peterson’s book however deserves a special call out here. It’s tough love, love, but tough love. If you want help from this book you will get it, but you have to want to let it help you, I’d say more than other books I’ve reviewed here. Given that prior, I think it’s as close a thing as you’ll get to a “Classic” in the self-help genre and you can’t beat the price right now. Get 12 Rules, and get it in hard cover, have your children read it when they’re old enough. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

When Facts Don’t Matter – How Trust Shapes Reality

When Facts Don’t Matter – How Trust Shapes Reality

One of the pleasures of reading John Gottman’s book What Makes Love Last was how it gave articulation and voice to an idea I had been holding onto for a while about trust, and that idea was when it comes to getting into an argument with your significant other or really anyone else is that the amount that the facts of the situation matter is entirely dependent on how much trust there is between the two of you and the severity of the situation.

Of course this idea has functional limits. If your wife walks in on you ankle deep in another woman all the trust in the world isn’t going to undo the facts of what she saw. But trust has a lot to do with other less extreme situations, like not being where you said you were going to be. However, I find that the extreme situations are where it’s easiest to illustrate this whole trust as reality idea. Suppose you’re just sitting there minding your own business in your bedroom with your spouse. Some wrong number text comes your way telling you what an awesome time someone had sleeping with you last night. Now suppose your wife was quick enough to read the push notification. Has your behavior with other women in the past been virtuous enough that she’ll believe it was a wrong number? And further more has she had enough trust in you to begin with to establish that pattern of behavior?

That last idea is kind of critical and I want to expand on that one a bit more because part of the exercise of being in a relationship is that you have to trust the other person in it enough that they’re in a position to hurt you and let them prove themselves or fail you, either way. Let’s say your wife in the example above never even lets you be around other women as a rule. Well how in that situation are you even supposed to build the trust in the first place that you can use it to soothe her into the reality that it really was a wrong number? Well you can’t because she hasn’t let you, and so in this example the reality doesn’t even matter. Low trust begets low trust because it turns innocent pieces of reality into guilty verdicts. It’s a negative spiral that you can subject yourself to accidentally by allowing your low initial trust to prevent the behaviors that are necessary to build it up in the first place.

The digital era can really highlight this phenomenon in some really nasty ways that I think a lot of us have experienced. If you’ve ever had someone take something in your text history out of context to beat you over the head with it in a way that makes no sense you’ve been there. If you’ve tried to prove your innocence with exculpatory evidence from the same and have found it lacking the efficacy it ought to have had you’ve experienced this too. You may have even done this to someone in the past and not realized what you had done until it was too late.

I can’t really tell you how to avoid having this done to you by someone else, you can’t control other people so much. The only thing I can really tell you about what to do with other people is to exhibit behavior that builds trust and to demand the freedom required to establish those behaviors. When it comes to doing this to other people though I think I have a little bit more useful advice. Don’t get attached to what you think the facts are when you feel you’re owed an apology or recompense. Fundamentally it’s not the facts you are interested in anyway, it’s the recompense, you’re just using what you believe are the facts to extract that because you think the situation is a bit more rational than it actually is. The problem is when you tie these two things together and someone gives you evidence that you’ve been mistaken then you would also have to admit that you aren’t owed the apology, but you feel that you are! So what you’ll do is perform these fantastic denials of reality and really distrustful and manipulative things to maintain this narrative in order to get this apology or change in behavior you want. You’ll move goal posts and gish gallop and all sorts of abusive behaviors to keep this false narrative going because you’ve linked it so tightly with your need for your feelings to be acknowledged.

Now I’m not talking about ignoring things like I talked about in the beginning. Don’t allow someone balls deep in another woman to gaslight their way out of it, that’s dumb. But for other things what you should do is ask yourself if you trust this person, and if you think they care about you, and if that answer is yes all you have to do is let them explain their actions and deal with the reality of them, and it’s okay to still want an apology even if they’ve done something reasonable. Sometimes reasonable things hurt, like when people put their own well being before yours. Don’t get it all mixed up in some accusatory fantasy you created to extract a guilty plea. No one has to be guilty of a moral wrong to hurt your feelings. Furthermore making someone apologize for something they didn’t feel they did is abusive and if they’re willing to be insincere because of your badgering you’ve damaged the relationship to begin with. On the other side of that coin if you really care for somebody and their feelings were hurt by a reasonable thing you did acknowledge their feelings and you’ll find you can both move on a lot more quickly. Don’t let someone extract an apology out of you for something you didn’t do either, for the reasons mentioned above, that’s abuse, and if you find that you’ve done that to someone and you care about them you’ve got a lot of repair work to do.

Anyway, I hope that’s given you some insight in why you shouldn’t get too caught up in the ‘truth’ of a situation when dealing with it in an argument, whether your the accuser or the accused.

Have a comment or a question? Is there a topic you’d like discussed? Let me know through my contact page.

Vibrator Review – Shibari Mini Halo

Vibrator Review – Shibari Mini Halo

Vibrators have really come a long way in the last decade or so. Several factors in the sex toy market and society have converged to put us in a pretty good spot when it comes to the choices and functions of vibrators.

When I was much younger, Amazon was not a thing, online shopping was hardly a thing, and the local porn store was about the only place to get anything resembling a dildo or a vibrator. Emily, like many other young women, resorted to the few household items that would work for such purposes, like the end of a hairbrush. Inside the stores weren’t much better, most vibrators available to us were incorporated as part of insertable toys made of unsafe/toxic materials like ‘jelly’. There were a few wearables but they were tiny low-powered bullet vibrators inserted into more unsafe plastic housings in the shapes of things like dolphins, butterflies, and rabbits. The Hitachi Magic Wand existed but there was a somewhat negative social stigma around it—such as shameful stereotypes indicating that users of such a device used it because they were otherwise unpleasurable.

Fast forward several years and we have open, online, discreet market places full of toys made of body safe materials. Womens’ orgasms are a thing that’s discussed and considered now and the stigma around it is less. In this environment wand style vibrators have made a resurgence.

The Shibari Mini Halo is one of those wands. For those of you who’ve already been in the wand market the Mini Halo may not need much of an introduction, it has thousands of customer reviews on Amazon and several reviews and articles on it already printed. So we’re going to do two things with the review this time. One, I’m going to talk about Emily’s experience with the wand and our experience with it as a couple. Two, I’m going to talk about why to have a vibrator at all and how it fits into your war chest, as this is our first vibrator review.

So let’s go over some basic features. The Mini Halo comes with 20 different speeds and 8 vibration patterns. It’s a cordless water resistant entry-level wand with an entry-level price of just under 30 dollars US on Amazon. I find most of the pictures of the wand don’t really convey the size properly. It’s a lot bigger than it appears in the promotional material at approximately 8 inches. Wand style vibrators are meant to only be used externally so we won’t be assigning a D-score here. You get one button to cycle through intensity levels, and one button to cycle through patterns, both only go in one direction and then cycle back to the beginning, there’s no ‘oops no that one!’ back button. These settings aren’t remembered when the wand is powered off either. Speaking of powering off, the wand requires an extended press of the power button to turn off and it can be sorta clumsy.

These are restrictions and caveats you’d expect on any entry level wand, but how are the vibrations!? You know, the part we really care about. The wand feels pretty powerful to me, and Emily is very satisfied with how the vibrations really seem to penetrate her anatomy. This is definitely on the rumbly side, so it’s comfortable to use for long sessions and isn’t prone to numb your hands or vulva if you’re sensitive to that sort of thing. When Emily uses this as part of couples play I can definitely also feel the vibrations and they’re not weak, so keep that in mind if you plan on using this as a couples toy. I find in those situations that if she uses it straight away it makes for a quick session, but if she waits until we’re both almost already there it makes fireworks happen. The Mini Halo is also water resistant and is regularly Emily’s shower buddy. It also comes in three colors, pink, purple, and black—we got purple. Emily finds that the cyclical selection modes means the best way to handle intensity and pattern is to feel it out and to not change when you find something that’s hitting the spot.

So as far as entry level wands go I’d say the Shibari Mini Halo is well worth its reputation and its price. It’s a great first wand that doesn’t disappoint in the performance department or leave a gaping hole in your wallet. If you’ve never tried a wand style vibrator before you can’t go wrong with the Mini Halo. If you decide later that you need to upgrade features—like phone app integration—or performance there are many options out there, but a beginner may not know enough about their preferences to make those choices right away and the investment is larger. We highly recommend this vibrator to the wand beginner, and to the toy beginner as well.

So what’s the use of these things, as a couple. A lot of you will think that’s self-evident, some of you will wonder why that’s even a question, and the rest of you are nervous about putting a toy into your bedroom to begin with, especially something as purpose built as a vibrator. Well for one thing a vibrator and especially a wand vibrator can stimulate your clitoris in a way that a man just simply physically cannot do. For a lot of men this is actually a source of insecurity so don’t forget to talk to your partner about these sorts of purchases always. If they’re insecure about it you may have to walk them through those feelings.

I think the best way to kinda illustrate that is with some of our more extreme toys like the Chance I got Emily from Bad Dragon. Chance is a toy that resembles a horse both in shape and dimension, the thing is humongous if you order it that way and we did. I get questions about this that essentially boil down to “How can you let your wife use that thing knowing it’s so much larger than you, you can’t compete with that!”. Well that’s kinda the idea and when I tell people that they’re surprised. First of all, competition on a scale as one dimensional as size is wrong-headed to begin with. There’s things I can do both physically and emotionally for Emily that no toy ever could. No toy is ever going to make Emily not want me and given those priors the only thing I’m doing by saying no to any sort of toy is denying Emily at best a harmless experience and at worst a stellar orgasm.

So that’s really the start and end of that line of thought. “I can’t do the things that does”. Yes that’s the point of it, if you could do those things and you could do them on command with life never ever getting in the way no one would buy them. It’s the sexual equivalent of telling your wife you’re not to go to the sushi restaurant because you can’t make sushi as well as they can.

Anyway, hope that clears up some things on the philosophy of toy use and why it is we dedicate a large portion of our content to that. Hope you enjoyed the review!

I am not a paid reviewer. My content comes from me and I was not solicited in any manner for this review. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Have a comment or a question? Is there a topic you’d like discussed? Let me know through my contact page.

Collection of Small Stuff

It’s that time again, a collection of small blurbs that are worth sharing but not worth their own post.

It’s February, and you know what that means, the 14th is coming. My e-mail has been getting blasted for days already with offers from various sex toy stores and other Valentines day related business like lingerie stuff.

Bad Dragon has released their valentines day colors, the pink has caught my eye, but I think I’ll be skipping this round.

Tantus also has some valentines day deals going and has released a new item that I’m tempted to take for a spin. It looks like Tantus has realized that they can get away with doing more interesting shapes. Magma looks genuinely tempting.

Don’t forget to check out your favorite shops for bedroom and romance items, because I bet if they’re going to do sales they’re already doing them.

The whole house has the flu. Just thought I’d throw that out there.

A new book review is coming but I can’t decide which one I wanna read first. It’s either going to be 12 Rules for Life by Jordan Peterson or Getting to Yes by Roger Fisher and William Ury. I’m leaning towards Getting to Yes.

Our next toy review will be this weekend so look out for that.

Until next time.

Have a comment or a question? Is there a topic you’d like discussed? Let me know through my contact page.