Friday, September 23, 2016

Friendly Sextortion

Today'a post is about the highlight of my friend project for the week. It offers a cautionary tale.

A few weeks ago I received a 'poke' on Facebook. I don't get many of these, and, following Horchow rule #1 - "reach out to those you don't know"  - and rule #8 - "Be vulnerable", I responded. The young lady poking me turned out to have quite a number of mutual friends, including some of my closest professional colleagues. She represented herself as a child advocate, working with a non-government organization helping homeless kids. Given my work, I take an interest in such organizations, and was certainly open to learning more about her.

I first messaged her to ask how she knew them, and she sent back a convincing answer.

 I checked with one colleague, who said he didn't know her personally. He added "she's ok". So I accepted her friend request.  And when she suggested we chat on skype I agreed.    

The next day she messaged me on FB, saying that she was free to skype. I said ok. She said she'd call, and a few minutes later she did.

Following Horchow Rule # 24 - "Minimize Small Talk," she wasted no time. Asking me if I were alone, she asked whether I wanted to have a little 'fun.' I asked 'what kind of fun do you have in mind?' She said, in effect, that she would masturbate and  could watch her and masturbate until I climaxed. Her language was too colorful to include in a blog intended for mixed company.

I said: 'you have the wrong fellow. I am sorry, but you are wasting your time.'

The screen went dead.

Following Horchow Rule # 36 - Use Tech to Reconnect," she called back on skype a few minutes later. Foolishly, I answered. She was now stark naked, caressing her breasts and pleading for attention. "Please, she said. No strings attached." I said 'no thanks' and the screen again went dead.

At that point I finally blocked her. I felt invaded and very upset - and also hyper-stimulated. It took several hours to leave her behind.

When I discussed the incident with my wife Veronica and son Sjoma,  Sjoma said he had recently read an article about young women in the sex industry. He found the number and variety of attractive young women working at different levels in this industry startling. Many are tied to criminal enterprises.

A bit of googling around led me to a host of accounts of skype sexploitation.

Here is one  account:

"In the last hour or so I met a girl on chatroulette who after 2 minutes wanted to skype, so we swapped skype ID's and began skyping.

Basically she/he wanted to "have some fun" obviously being the idiot I am, I happily agreed and after about 4 or 5 minutes of me exposing mysellf, he/she disconnected and 5 minutes later called back and played a video of myself. After the video was played of myself the hacker then demanded I pay £300 into a paypal account. I told the hacker I had no money to pay him with so he then told me that he will share the video to a list of my friends and family. 5 or 6 of these names of my friends and family had their Facebook links next to their names.

After being threatened several times I deleted the hacker from my Skype list and blocked him from my account.

Since then I have been very scared and very worried, I can't even begin to imagine how horrible this will be if the video gets leaked. (he also sent me a link to the video to prove its authenticity).

I have also changed my privacy settings on Facebook.

I am so scared this video will get sent to the list of friends and family.

Can anyone help me with this!!?!?"


Lesson learned: I need to practice Horchow rule # 18 "Practice Exit Strategies."

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Friends with Chickens

When I moved to suburbia in 2008, I thought it would be cute to raise some chickens. But I didn’t know that I was allowed to raise chickens, and the thought of hosting chickens in a pen in my dining room was impractical. (I did seriously consider one pet chicken in a corner of my house.) Then I started fostering children and forgot about the chickens.

However, some years later, I was hosting a foster child who loved birds. When some local farmers brought chickens to the community garden, the lively birds with their colorful feathers enchanted me and this teenager. The chicken farmers invited us to visit their home to see some newly hatched chicks. Always eager for fun activities, I said, “Yes.” But, I told Graham, “We’re not taking any chicks home with us.”

The chicks, of course, were even more delightful than the adult chickens. The owners invited us to buy some. They informed me that residents of my town could raise up to six laying hens. Then, they proceeded to overcome every single objection I came up with. I didn’t have a coop? “No problem,” they said. They chickens could live in large boxes in my house for months! I didn’t know anything about raising chickens? No problem. I could feed them leftovers and brown rice. We didn’t know if the chicks were male or female? No problem. We could bring back the males and exchange them for females once we knew their gender.

We ended up taking six chicks home with us. In the morning, Graham and I woke up eagerly to play with the chicks. We were always holding one or two. So many things I learned about chickens: chickens love each other. They become friends, stay friends and hang out together. If one chick escaped from the box, he would make a mournful chirping sound in an effort to find his friends. The chicks also became friends with us. Sometimes we would let all the chicks out of the box and let them run around the kitchen. The chicks would inevitably find their way onto our laps and the crooks of our arms and fall asleep. I learned the difference between a happy, contented peep and an alarmed tweet. Chickens experience the same emotions we do: fear, surprise, curiosity, contentment, love.

Graham went back to live with his biological family, but the chickens remain with me. My flock has grown over the years. One chick hatched in the coop when I let a hen sit on some eggs. But because she didn’t have siblings, and wasn’t safe in the coop, I took Penelope into the house. Knowing about the sociability of chickens, (in fact, it’s illegal in Connecticut to sell fewer than six chickens) I didn’t let her become lonely. I took her to the library and Home Depot in my pocket. Any time I drove on a short errand, I took her with me. When the time came (the time being the time she discovered the delicious taste of my house plants) to put this chicken in the coop with the other chickens, she resisted. She liked people, not chickens. Two times, the other chickens pulled out her tail feathers despite all my measures to introduce Penelope to the other chickens gradually. Both times, I took her back in the house to recover. The third time that I put her in the coop, she finally assimilated.
Today, I still take Penelope on trips to Home Depot or the library, although she doesn’t fit in my pocket any more. She sits on my lap in the car and looks out the window regally, surprising other drivers.

When I take her out of the coop, Penelope looks at me, snuggles up to me, follows me, talks to me and definitely loves me. She’s a friend for life.

Raising chickens opened a whole new aspect of life to me. I had always related primarily to people.  The animal kingdom, except for the birds outside my window and the occasional deer in my backyard, remained remote. Bringing chickens into my life added an unexpected dimension of friendship and delight. I’ve learned that not just chickens, but all animals respond to love and can become friends with people.

Graham and I stay in touch. When we talk, we always talk about the chickens.