A Few Answers To Questions You Always Wondered About

September 13, 2017 | No Comments » | Topics: Interesting, Answers

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What is the inmate “pecking order” in prison?

Jail and prison populations involve people living in very close proximity to one another (in some housing situations, the toilet seat might be only a few inches from your face when you’re lying in bed), so it is natural to expect that a culture and social structure will emerge.

At the top of the heap would be high-ranking members of crime organizations. Old-style Mafia first come to mind. These guys are still powerful, but maybe not as much as they used to be. More likely you’ll find people in what are usually called “gangs,” e.g. Crips, Bloods, Black Guerrilla Family, Latin Kings, MS-13, etc. There are also gangs that operate mainly within prisons, such as the Mexican Mafia, Aryan Brotherhood, United Blood Nation, etc. Most established prison gangs have alliances with “free world” gangs. 

Members of these gangs, the “soldiers,” are the next level down. They are protected by other gang members, as an insult or assault on any gang member is viewed as an act against the entire gang. The origin of prison gangs was for mutual protection, usually against other ethnic/racial factions. Prison and street crime gangs don’t have much of an equal opportunity program.

Below this level are run-of-the-mill prisoners who have no gang alliance. This is the largest group of prisoners. They do their best to stay out of gang politics and disputes. Barring some complications where one runs afoul of a gang member, it’s easily possible for an inmate to quietly do their time. Prison etiquette must be observed, e.g. don’t disrespect others, don’t help the staff with investigations, remain in your own area, etc., but most will not be pressured to join a gang. 

Some prisoners are called out for their lack of confidence and backbone, and made “wives” of other inmates. Some of their duties are housekeeping and other menial chores, and some are sexual in nature. Assuming this role means you have a protector, so you’re safe from other inmates (as long as your “owner” remains powerful, anyway), but you’re essentially the slave of the inmate who co-opts you. This happens, but not as often as prison movies might have you believe. 

Below this are inmates who are incarcerated for crimes even other inmates find reprehensible. Crimes where the victims could be another inmate’s loved ones are targeted. These include rape and sexual offenses against children. Inmates will victimize these people just to act out rage gathered from other sources, because they have no relevant social status. They are throw-away people. Ironically, these inmates can be the easiest ones for the staff to manage. They are often more intelligent and well-educated than the average inmate, and they don’t want to make enemies among the staff. They might get prison jobs where their intellect is useful, like clerking or assisting with educational programs. 

At the bottom of the stack, lower than low, are informants, or “snitches.” You don’t have to participate in another inmate’s rule-breaking or crime, but you never tell staff what another inmate is up to. Doing so often means a semi-permanent assignment to administrative segregation, where you spend most of your time in your cell and have few privileges or diversions. Even if the inmate you informed on is released, goes to another institution, or dies, he likely still has friends on the inside who will waste no time in reminding you that you violated the inmate code of conduct.

Tim Dees



What is Burning Man?

First, Burning Man isn’t a music festival (a lot of people think that it is) – it is an experiment in creating a temporary city devoted to art / having a good time for a week in one of the harshest possible places (a dry lake bed that is almost 200 miles north east of Reno, NV…the middle of fucking nowhere).

Again, this temporary city of 80,000 people is built in the middle of a dry lake bed just for the purpose of having fun / seeing cool things. There’s no official music lineup, no food courts, no beer-gardens…unless that is a person or camp decided to do any of those things themselves. There’s no water out there. There’s just as wide a range of things to do there as in any city; you can get fucked up and party at BM versions of clubs, create art for people to see interact with, or create a camp for people to come to for a service or experience, like salon style hair washing.

There’s everything…but there’s also nothing provided for you with your ticket. The only things you can buy there are ice (so food doesn’t go bad in coolers) and coffee/tea at center camp (a long tradition and the money goes to charity). Every camp / person has to bring everything that they need to survive. You can have a really hard time at Burning Man, I’ve seen people really break down and have a bad time because things just didn’t go right, there’s a lot of stuff that is out of your control:

In spite of all that, it is a really good time as long as you understand those caveats and can roll with the difficulties. The people I’ve seen out there who have a bad time are the ones that can’t accept that things are how they are, and just want everything to be comfortable and easy. Also you learn real fast out there that hell can definitely be other people – if your camp doesn’t have a way of helping make sure that everyone gets along / fosters a good feeling between people, then tempers can definitely flare when things start getting difficult.

Everyone who goes is a participant.

The Burning Man organization only plans the city and manages infrastructure (and burns the man in a great fireworks show). Everything else is created, built, and given for free by the people who attend. Like the Tree of Tenere art installation this year , a life-like tree where every leaf had a set of LEDs that could be addressed to make a giant display.

There’s a camp making fried chicken at 2am, camps that build elaborate stages for music, sex camps, camps that sponsor daily games of Scrabble, a camp that sets up a giant tent with a ton hammocks for people to rest in after grabbing a margarita from the bar / singing karaoke, a camp that has a giant plastic box that can let like 60 people have a big naked group shower, yoga camps, a camp that sets up a gym every year…on and on. Yes, there are camps of rich people who pay like $20k to the camp so that they don’t have to do anything. They show up and have a place to stay with air conditioning, showers, and food (notice I said “to the camp” – rich camps are still organized by 3rd parties…it’s not the BMorg). Some burners hate that the BMorg tolerates these camps, but even the most obnoxious ones still usually give back – they create some of the larger sound camps / sound cars that serve as clubs.

There are also art cars, which are cars or buses that have been transformed into something else and are allowed to drive very slowly around the playa. Some are essential giant motorized sound systems (some like Mayan Warrior are seriously impressive laser / light / sound platforms that cost at least a couple million $) that throw huge dance parties. Some are mobile bars where you can cruise around and have a drink in the chaos riding inside a Jawa Sandcrawler. There was one that got retired that was a giant set of bleachers that people would sit on and it would drive around laughing at stuff with people on a mic making jokes.

So for a week you get to experience a different world. There’s no money changing hands. People cooperate as camps to supply each other with the basics for survival and then they also bring stuff (food, alcohol, activities, art, etc) that they think other people would enjoy and then give it away with only the expectation that if they walk around the city people will do the same for them.

It’s NOT a bartering economy like some people who have never been think. You just bring stuff that you think other people would like, and give it to them.

Then you have the fact that literally no one cares what you decide you want to be out there. Want to dress up in old timey women’s clothes all day? Go for it. Want to just walk around naked? Not a problem. No one cares. It’s an incredibly freeing feeling that you can’t get anywhere else. Free to be who you are, free to do fun stuff and not have to think about cost, and yes free to get fucked up / fuck people – if that’s what you want to do.

Also people play up the drugs thing a bit much, alcohol is by far the drug of choice. Every place you go has a bar set up and is mixing some specialty drink / handing out beers. The alcohol flows like water…in fact, easier than water because people will gladly give you alcohol but not water unless you are in need. But you need your own cup as there’s no guarantee that a camp will have any, and disposable cups are in general frowned upon because you have to take out all the trash you created.

The ticket cost goes to infrastructure that is involved with putting on the event, which is far bigger and more well planed than you’d imagine – Here’s what the city looked like in 2016 . The organizers have to deal with:

The BM organization is a mini government for a city of 80,000 that has to run all year long just to plan this event that lasts a week, and that isn’t cheap. They publish the expenses of each year on the website so everyone can see what the ticket fees were spent on: http://burningman.org/expenses/

Until you go you can’t quite imagine the scale of the event and the level infrastructure. Then on top of that the 80,000 participants bring and make even more and all that comes out of their own pocket and yet people build and make the most amazing things for other people.

So you want to go now…?

Start talking to people to find a camp to join, ideally one where you know people, friends of friends. I feel it is really important to go with a solid camp, one that does something for the community / really has their shit together, when you go for the first time. The amount of planning needed to go is insane, and for a first trip you really shouldn’t be worried about all the details of how you are going to survive, be comfortable, and have a good time. It helps to have people around who can give you tips and tell you what not to worry about. Don’t try and do too much the first time.

Yes, I said “sex camps” earlier…

If you are gay, sex is a lot easier. Camps like Comfort and Joy make it easy to find a hookup. If you are straight things are harder unless you are already there with a person you are fucking. The big mostly straight sex camp (but everyone is welcome), the Orgy Dome, requires you to be there with a partner, and are proactive about kicking creepers out.

Picking up girls there as a single guy can be very difficult, or somewhat easy. Difficult because everyone understands what douchy single guys are after, so shields are up a mile high and a mile thick, and everyone is with a group, so you have to deal with all of a girl’s friends looking out for assholes to keep their friend safe.

Easy because if you aren’t a needy sleaze-bag looking to just fuck, and can actually interact with women like the human beings that they are, you’ll find that they are also people who are there wanting to have fun. You know…like in normal life. If you go as a single straight guy – just don’t plan your trip thinking you are entering a non-stop bone-zone. More than likely you are just going to end up jerking off in your dusty tent, crying yourself to sleep thinking about a girl with amazing tits you rode your bike past earlier that day.



What’s it like to go through a situation knowing you’re about to die?

I’ve been in a somewhat comparable situation, where I had an expectation that I would probably die. It was unreal, I think about it often. I’m definitely still a little fucked up from it. This was for 30 minutes or so, so I did have some time to ponder my situation. It was during a hiking accident, where I was clutching a wet rock in the middle of a river, over a thousand foot certain-death drop. I was in the mountains, far from people or civilization. Nobody saw me fall, and I was totally at the mercy of luck.

I don’t know how my experience would compare to people who had absolute certainty of death. And I don’t know how different it would be with a few hours to contemplate rather than the 30 or so minutes I did.

It’s a crazy fucking feeling. It was a mix of surreal disbelief, panic, and some resignation (“I guess this is it, huh?). I was thinking about earlier that day and the small steps I could have taken to not be in danger at that moment, if I had just done things differently.

There was a lot of “this can’t possibly be happening, this can’t be happening, this isn’t how it goes for me.”

The visuals and the feelings of when I slipped, couldn’t catch a handhold, and then got tumbled downstream on the mountain are so emblazoned into my memory. The first few moments was the most rapid emotional shift I’ve ever had– from total peace and contentedness to pure surprise and then terror. It was honestly so surreal at first that it wasn’t even scary, just bizarre. And as I got rolled down the mountain, I fully expected to feel either crippling injury or just death at any moment.

I felt a brief amount of relief when I finally got a handhold at the last possible second, right before the hysterically action-movie-style unsurvivable waterfall precipice. OMG, I’m still alive. My eyes and skull didn’t get punctured out by a rock. I’m still conscious. I don’t see tons of blood. But then the quick segue to more terror when I realized my current situation wasn’t necessarily any more survivable.

So for a while I was basically continuously contemplating ways to try and escape from my predicament, and weighing the risks. I knew if I stayed too long I’d get hypothermia/lose my strength/lose my grip and definitely die. I couldn’t see my lower body or torso, so I didn’t know if I was critically wounded and whether or not I could actually move, or if my legs were totally shattered. I was too afraid to reach into the water to feel my legs, because that involved loosening my grip on the rock, and there was strong current. Maybe my first move would be my last. I figured I was highly unlikely to be able to get myself to safety without assistance. So it was this continuous weighing of the risk of doing nothing and waiting for somebody to hopefully stumble upon, vs the timer in my head of how long it would be before I have to try a last-ditch attempt at rescuing myself before I lost too much strength to hold on any longer. I almost just went for it a couple times, but chickened out (thank goodness), and opted to wait a little longer.

I am very, very good at not panicking in stressful and dangerous situations. But this situation was so terrifying that despite remaining calm and rational, I actually had to fight this surprisingly strong and growing urge to just fling myself off this cliff, just so I didn’t have to deal with the situation. It was like… an urge to resign to my fate. The situation was so surreal and dreamlike that my mind was entertaining the idea that maybe I would just wake up.

I was also thinking a lot about how devastated my loved ones would be. I wondered where my body might turn up if I got washed over this massive waterfall in the middle of nowhere. If there were any dams or generator turbines downstream, and if my body would even be recoverable (which is interesting, because I’ve never really wanted/cared about having a grave or a formal funeral). I was thinking the typical stuff about what things I had left that I wanted to do, that I’d never done.

Later on, my group of friends and my boyfriend managed to get to me (I had been travelling with them, but I’d been off doing my own thing away from them when I fell and got washed way the hell away). Turns out one of them saw me when I fell, and they eventually figured out how to climb across the super dangerous rocks to get to where I was. I almost got more stressed, because I was so worried that my boyfriend would see me get washed to my death and get all traumatized by it. I wished that they hadn’t found me.

– glassFractals



What’s up with the Japanese obsession with tentacles?

Though it’s understandable that different cultures have different taboos and fetishes that manifest themselves in adult entertainment, Japanese porn can be quite the culture shock. After all, why would someone want to watch a young, often underage girl get banged nearly to death by a tentacle monster, usually against her will? While there isn’t a clear reason why young girls or rape fantasies became popular, beastiality, in the form of tentacle porn, was caused by one thing: censorship.

In one of the biggest backfires in pop culture history, some of Japan’s most depraved and strange genres of pornography came about in response to the country’s decision to censor the naughty bits of real-life porn stars.

According to Kotaku, Japan restricted pornography way back in the early 1900s in an effort to make the country seem more appealing to the Western world. Under these new laws, people were banned from making uncensored porn unless it was meant for immediate export.

After World War II, when the U.S. swept in and changed many of Japan’s laws, they kept the strange pornography law intact for some reason. According to Washington City Paper, these laws remained in place all the way up until 1993. Despite the law no longer existing, much of Japan’s porn still features pixelated genitals today.

So what does any of this have to do with tentacles? Well, according to Vocativ, Japan’s tentacle lust started in 1986 when Toshio Maeda, a famed manga creator, published his hentai novel Urotsukidōji, which featured graphic sex acts involving tentacles and supernatural beasts. Basically, Maeda was able to subvert the censorship laws by replacing penises with things that resembled them. Though everyone could tell that the tentacles were supposed to stand in as male genitals, the censors were powerless to stop it.

From there, the strange pornographic subgenre took off and became quite popular in Japan and around the world. Eventually, it got so popular that Japan obtained a reputation for it, which goes everything that the censorship laws were put in place to prohibit.

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