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from Learning Curve Academy Africa

Learning Curve Academy Africa is Learning Curve's e-commerce store and offers students and educators across Africa Adobe Creative Cloud Software at low prices unmatched anywhere else. Additional products offered include Primal Pictures and SkillShare subscriptions as well as training tutorials for Adobe After Effects, Adobe InDesign, Adobe Premiere Pro and Adobe Illustrator.

https://lca.africa

 
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from Friends Near and Afar


Late November marks the American one

In North America, Canada and the US each have their own Thanksgiving celebrations in October and November. Wikipedia has a good page explaining the significance and history of Harvest festivals :

A harvest festival is an annual celebration that occurs around the time of the main harvest of a given region. Given the differences in climate and crops around the world, harvest festivals can be found at various times at different places.

Harvest festivals typically feature feasting, both family and public, with foods that are drawn from crops that come to maturity around the time of the festival. Ample food and freedom from the necessity to work in the fields are two central features of harvest festivals: eating, merriment, contests, music and romance are common features of harvest festivals around the world

We even have a really pretty Norman Rockwell classic Americana painting, called 'Freedom from Want', based on a famous speech by President F.D. Roosevelt; and nicely presented on a US Postal Service stamp.


And so my letter begins

Hello F.,

Good evening and thank you for the letter. Apologies for the delayed response, but I have been very busy with writing, new blog page ideas and inspiration have found me once again and I am happy. Quite a few new pages and I love that – it had been a two month 'dry period' earlier, and I don't try to force it.

This month marks the one year anniversary of my first ever blog, the Tech themed one, which I created in early December; and learned how to use on my own, with very little documentation available.

Turns out a month later, I was the one creating documentation — an English translation of a French manual, for the Write.Freely blog software I use and love.


Stamp collection news ?

I am sending you a brand new single French stamp, which just came out this week. There's also a french Pâtisseries françaises set, 6 stamps in nice colour and detail. I have both, and can remit them slowly along with our letters, which is the most enjoyable way to build a personal collection.


Slower collecting, more pleasurable and fun

This indeed is a theme I have mentioned before in my blog (on the post about the Hello Kitty stamps, the rarest of them all). I always found it most pleasurable in the beginning of my stamp collection, when any letter bringing a new stamp was a joy.

And we did not have trading and mass mailing stamps like many people do now (and which is also a theme for a blog essay – as I think this devalues the stamps and hurts the Slowly team with the lost sales, as people get whole sets for free, without even writing letters).

Glad things worked well for S. and she is back at school, with more normal activities. Easier, and a rest as the Holidays are getting closer, and maybe exam time? Our uni students here finish their 'semester' (a 4 months period) in December, and a new one starts in early January.


Of Giving Thanks and consumerism

Ah, yes, last week marked the American Thanksgiving, (and the Black Friday huge shopping extravaganza as well; huge and always stressful for people there). We also got a very nice new Thanksgiving slowly stamp for this year, a free one that I am sure was popular with everyone.


400 years from the Pilgrims arrival

A really interesting story – I learned this mostly upon noticing that this year marks the 400th anniversary of their arrival (1620 – 2020), and searching for information, and came across some great info pages. 100 years ago there were beautiful stamps and even silver coins produced to commemorate the 300th anniversary of their landing, and this year there were plans for many things – which were mostly cancelled due to the pandemic.


The Pilgrims Arrival

The Pilgrims (aka Puritans) had a very difficult time in the year 1620 when they first landed in Plymouth County, now part of Massachusetts. About half of the group did not survive that first year, due to starvation and unpreparedness for the very cold, harsh climate in the region.

Their expedition got delayed, they sailed from Portsmouth, England, later than planned; arriving in the new lands late in the season. This was tragic, but due to delays in finishing preparing their ships – they were supposed to use two, but in the end one was judged not sea-worthy, so only one ship, the 'Mayflower', made the trip.

Imagine landing in New England in late November, without many provisions or any shelter already in place.


A hard Winter followed

Their plan was to sail further South, to the Virginia colony, but due to the late date that never happened. And they stayed in Plymouth, unprepared for the colder weather in this more Northern latitude.

With no permanent shelter, poor clothing, it was though. Half of their population did not survive this first Winter, as they also were low in food stuffs.

(Turns out my desired Thanksgiving blog page will happen after all — this letter is inspired and covering all I wanted to write about).

They survived, and in the following year managed to plant and grow crops, with help from the Native Americans in the region. Who showed them local plants, crops and resources they adopted for their own uses. Maize for example, an original American continent crop, like tobacco, potatoes and others which are now so widespread.

After the growing season was over, they had a good crop and food to tide them over the next Winter. In celebration, they made a big meal, invited the Natives to also come join them, which is a fascinating story.


Harvest celebrations are ancient

You mention not having this in Europe, like another friend from Czechia also said – but the fact is, there always had been similar celebrations, the Harvest festivals when a crop is on hand, a huge relief for the whole group as their survival over the harsh Winter is now warranted.

These have been celebrated since before Christian times, and I think it's the best way to look at them – ancient customs, and not a 1621 new custom, coming from a small colony in far out North American wilderness country.

Wikipedia has a good page about them. And so does Encyclopedia Britannica.

My letter is getting long, I am afraid, so I should stop here and send it, with my best wishes that all remains well with you and your family, dear friend.

I will read and reply to the second letter tomorrow, as it's getting late and I still need to prepare dinner.

Be well, salut,

Yann2.

[ 980 words, 5,498 characters — not bad, a nice size. ]


Postcards for Friends | About the Photo

The streetcar passing in front of the Rua Augusta Arch, a gorgeous monument and landmark in Lisboa, Portugal, which is also shown in a Slowly location stamp (Wiki). Nice photo by Arthur Coelho, with thanks.


Famous Last Words

Special Thank You to the folks behind this wonderful app — all the hard working people at Slowly Communications.

Letters we share, with pen pals all over the World, via the magic of the Slowly App. A modern day take in the traditional penpal experience.

Come and join us, if you are not yet using Slowly.


Follow Blog via your Fediverse/Mastodon account :

@friends-near-and-afar-letters-we-share@wordsmith.social

This page created entirely in MarkDown language. Thank you for reading, feel free to comment about this post – reach me at my Koyu account.

... or post a comment in the Reddit thread for it here.

Also available on the new Slowly Forum — in Full Blog Format glory. Free registration access for commenting. Join us ?

@yann2@koyu.space ^—top of page

 
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from Counter Culture Comments

On August 29, 2020, you might or might not have seen a post from a small social media platform, announcing its launch. That social media site is our own platform, CounterFedi, which was created through a collaboration between Counter Points Media and CofeSpace. Why did we create this platform, and what sets us apart? The answers are surprisingly simple.

For over a year, Counter Points Media has been critiquing Big Tech and its methods, and this includes big social media sites like FaceBook and Twitter. Time and again, various big tech-led social media platforms censor their users in an effort to coerce their userbase into conforming to their narrow standards of what one must believe. This is what drove my interest in the Fediverse in the first place.

Throughout my time on the Fediverse, I found a vast and encouraging variety in different rules and terms of services throughout the network. However, I did notice one flaw; most sites as a whole either censored based on ideology, or were hardly moderated and became cesspools of low quality posts, hateful rhetoric, and at times, harassment. Can a balance be found between the two, allowing for vast ideological diversity, but limiting harassment and hateful speech? I believe so, and that is the mission of CounterFedi.

Our social media site is unique, featuring a bias-resistant moderation structure reflecting both sides of the political spectrum, and rules that, while banning pornography, allow for all ideologies to be represented, so long as they do not call for illegal violence, self harm or suicide. (It has been my experience that, on the Fediverse, a harassing or hateful user will typically wish for any of these things, so this rule is designed to catch the nastier side of harassment in fair and neutral way.) On the ethical code side of things, the colors chosen for the site promote a sense of calm, friendliness, reliability, virtue, sincerity and luxury, employing the main colors of black and white along with an accent color of blue. The goal of this is to depart from the stereotypically bright and brash designs which promote energetic, emotional, and alerted feelings. Furthermore, verification is free and completely open to all users without the surrendering of any sensitive information, and in addition, the platform includes a feature found in the user preferences designed to reduce media anxiety called the Demetricator, which hides various metrics such as like, follower and boost counts. Lastly, CounterFedi is the most transparent social media site on the Fediverse, with its main account posting explanations for every moderation action taken by the mod team. This ensures that our users understand why we take action when we do, and our thought process behind the decisions we make.

These various measures are taken to foster the growth of a wholesome, yet ideologically diverse community of users who merely wish to communicate using the internet. CounterFedi is designed with everyone in mind, and hopes to stand out from all other social media sites in fairness, transparency, and ethical behavior among its users.

For more resources on how you can start your own social media website like we did, check out CofeSpace and learn how you can get started for free!

Written by Casey Rollins.

@realcaseyrollins@counter.fedi.live

@realcaseyrollins@social.teci.world

 
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from Friends Near and Afar


“What achievement stamp has really moved you when receiving it ?” – a dear good friend asked, and here's my reply. A short letter I just sent, and which I enjoyed writing.

Their letter came with the 'You are a Star!' stamp, and asked me which stamp was equally memorable to me. A great idea, a prompt reply, and a possible discussion. So I am publishing it and hope other people will share their own experiences.

What achievement stamp is memorable to you ? Let us know too.


Hi, L.!

re : Your letter with the 'You are a Star!'stamp.

This stamp is really beautiful, and also memorable for me. Especially since it was one of the first stamps I had, in a week or so after I started using Slowly, when I only had the few that came with the app. And someone stood out for me, marking me as Star, and I received this surprise.

I never forgot, and I really think this is a good topic to do at Reddit – ask if people had any experience like this, and what it was. I think I'll create the topic like this – using my answer here as a model.

Sorry for the delay in answering your letters, dear friend. I've been very busy, with a lot of ideas and trying to create the pages while the inspiration is here with me; it's been two months since there was a new blog post. Now I have several, both on Slowly and technology.

It's a new fact, but I wanted to share it. And to ask you: what achievement stamp has really moved you when receiving it?

That's the one I think was the most striking. For me, always in memory. 🙂

Others came, but I always think of the beginning of the collection as the most enjoyable part of all this experience.

I send you here a new stamp from France, beautiful, with Marianne who is the symbol of the French Republic since the days of the Revolution.

Liberté, égalité, fraternitéFreedom, Equality, Fraternity.

Excellent ideas, no ?

Kiss and see you next time,

Y.


Famous Last Words

Banner image is a photo by Chris Barbalis on Unsplash

Special Thank You to the folks behind this wonderful app — all the hard working people at Slowly Communications.

Letters we share, with pen pals all over the World, via the magic of the Slowly App. A modern day take in the traditional penpal experience.

Come and join us, if you are not yet using Slowly.


Follow Blog via your Fediverse/Mastodon account :

@friends-near-and-afar-letters-we-share@wordsmith.social

This page created entirely in MarkDown language. Thank you for reading, feel free to comment about this post – reach me at my Koyu account.

... or post a comment in the Reddit thread for it here.

Also available on the new Slowly Forum — in Full Blog Format glory. Free registration access for commenting. Join us ?

@yann2@koyu.space ^—top of page

 
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from Local SEO services

I am an expert on Local SEO, Organic SEO, On-Page SEO optimization, Google My Business page optimization, have 8 years experience in this field. I have done so many successful SEO campaign and my all clients are happy with my work. I am strongly experienced in Brightlocal, whtespark, moz, yext and ahrefs. I provide the following services for SEO re-seller or digital marketing company: Local Citations Niche and GEO specific Citations Social Profiles web 2.0 Do-Follow and Do-Follow Interlinkable Backlinks No Follow and No-Follow Interlinkable Backlinks Social Bookmarking Maps Embedding Local Citation Audit Website Audit Local Citation Cleanup and error fixing Local Mini Site building Rich Media Citations Maps Pointing Power House web 2.0 building Power House Tired Linkbuilding Content writing Website Design and Development Android Apps Building

https://www.fiverr.com/mamunjuel1

 
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from Friends Near and Afar


A new relationship blooms

...from 13 hours in Time zones away ?

An interesting comment I just found. It's about Slowly, but not on the regular Slowly Reddit place — but a comment in a topic on another, /r/WeMetOnline.

Inserted line breaks for easier reading, the original is a solid text wall, and lightly edited. Thought of sharing here as it is a nice story – and could be a Slowly Stories submission, if the author wanted to prepare and polish it a bit.


Original setting ?

I (22F) met someone (23M) online here in reddit and I don't know if long distance can work and I truly need and advice

That is the topic title, where the comment show here was posted. From that, a short quote, as an introduction?

Well, hi! I've been both sad and happy these days because I met a guy online, and everything is almost to good to are true (yea, like the song)

He is from Europa and I from Latin America, and despite the language, we've managed to communicate almost all day.

...skipping to final paragraphs...

I've never been on a healthy relationship, and I am pretty scared this is just fake.

What should I do? I don't want to run out of ideas of conversation, but I am truly starting to feel like that and I don't want that.

Please, help me 🤔


And the response came :

This topic's author and I are in a similar situation. Although I didn't find him here, or in a dating app. It was a writing app, and I didn't really intend to look for anyone. I was just bored because of this pandemic, and he wrote to me first.

We've written letters, and got to know each other for 2 months like that; and found out we're so similar and we understand each other very well! Then one day, he wanted to play a game with me (we're both gamers), so that's when the instant messaging started.

Been talking everyday for 3 months? But we're 13 hrs apart. Mostly through text too but we do voice call when we're gaming. No video calls yet cause we're both not yet ready.


It's ongoing

So I've known him all in all for 5 months now. But we're also not dating though. We're like a thing 😂, I too am just going with the flow. Don't really know where this goes; we are oceans apart but we wanted to go have a vacation together, in a country we both really like.

I'm moving next year (no, this wasn't because of him, but a plan since 3 years ago), to a place that's an 8 hours drive from him. But in the same timezone, or a 2 hours plane ride. At least it's not 13 hours apart on the timezone, like right now, and the distance is a little closer, not thousands of miles. We didn't really talk about feelings, and I think we're both just trying to figure it out as we go.

He said he would meet me, whichever country that is 😀. Just as long as they allow it (Covid restrictions). And like OP, I'm being pessimistic because this relationship, even if its a thing, is really too healthy; he even recognizes the value of give and take. We've twice already had a misunderstanding, and God, was it the most healthy I've ever made up with anyone.


Serious or not

Anyway, I don't want to be in an official relationship with him without meeting first so I've set my mind in that and use that as my motivation to keep this thing (I think that's his motivation too).

I'm very skeptical about all of this but the way he talks to me always has some hint of this being long-term. Like when he says:

I'm sure we will have more fights in the future, its inevitable

Or I tell him “I'm sure you are going to feel tired, always driving 8 hours to see me (when I move), or taking them plane trips” and he just laughs at me, and says “I'm sure” lol.

I'm interested in how your relationship started too.

He was the one person I didn't feel like was pushing me.

...really sounds like him too. Did you become official right away?

The original author's comment appeared here


Famous Last Words

Sincere gratitude from me as a publisher. Your comment at Reddit allows the story to reach a wider audience; users of our Slowly app or not. Thank you for sharing your story.

Banner Photo by Artyom Korshunov on Unsplash

Special Thank You to the folks behind this wonderful app — all the hard working people at Slowly Communications.

Letters we share, with pen pals all over the World, via the magic of the Slowly App. A modern day take in the traditional penpal experience.

Come and join us, if you are not yet using Slowly.


Follow Blog via your Fediverse/Mastodon account :

@friends-near-and-afar-letters-we-share@wordsmith.social

This page created entirely in MarkDown language. Thank you for reading, feel free to comment about this post – reach me at my Koyu account.

... or post a comment in the Reddit thread for it here.

Also available on the new Slowly Forum — in Full Blog Format glory. Free registration access for commenting. Join us ?

@yann2@koyu.space ^—top of page

 
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from Ash Conversions International

Why Does Your Business Need Data Management?

When it comes to running an office and a business, there are many factors to consider. From financial operations to choosing the right printer for the office, it can quickly become overwhelming. However, one of the most critical aspects of business management is data management, and without it, there can be a significant loss.

Data management is the process of ingesting, storing, maintaining, and organizing the data created and collected by your business. Effective data management is crucial to deploying the right IT systems that help run business applications and provide analytical information toward business planning. This is pivotal for decision-making and strategic planning within the course of your business' success,] and used by managers, supervisors, and other leaders. The purpose of data management establishes best practices for organizations' challenges and how they can use various tools and techniques to overcome them.

More often, data is seen as a business asset. Data is any information that a business collects, from payables, target market research, employee information, product testing, and so much more. This corporate asset is used to make business decisions, improve marketing campaigns, optimize business operations, all to make your company more successful. Because data can play such a critical role, data management is equally as important. The lack of data management means that potentially important information can be misused or go unused. And, untapped or new business environments become hard to navigate for some businesses.

How does data management function? The most common platform for holding corporate data is a database. It can be organized, easily accessed, updated, and easily managed. From customer records to sales orders, individuals can manage this information, create data sets, and analyze it as necessary. Database administration is a common data management function, and once a database has been set up, businesses can monitor the performance of the database and fine-tune it. As they use it, they can make changes, change data sets, and make changes to the design so that it continues to work for the company. While the data may stay the same, data management may change to better view the data for what it is.

Other data administrative tasks include database design, configuration, installation, and database security. A critical part of database management is security and keeping your company's data safe from prying eyes and breaches in security. Also, look into database backup, recovery, and application of software upgrades and patches. When you work with a professional, such as Ash Conversions, to set up your database, they can help you understand every administrative task and essential factor.

When it comes to including a database and data management system for your business, it is usually best to work with a professional. There is a range of types of database management systems, such as the relational database management system, and your choice may depend on the kind of data your company collects. They may advise you to update the quality of your data or upgrade your data's security. If you believe that you need data management for your business, work with a professional today.

https://www.ashconversions.com/

Our Social Pages: https://www.facebook.com/ashconversions/ https://twitter.com/ashconversions https://www.instagram.com/ashconversions/ https://www.linkedin.com/company/aci-ashconversions-international https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3dnQjrepU_XAy1pywESznw/about

 
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from Friends Near and Afar


A penpal who had not written for a while

...but who responded to my light touch via a 'hello, how are things' letter recently.

Works in the big local Tourism industry – heavily impacted by the complete freeze in international travel since the early months of this year.

This friend had been silent, months since the last letter came; or went. I decided to extend a hand and sent a light letter. Something to say 'hello friend, write back if you like', but not a heavier, in depth letter like I so many times write.

The friend replied, and this was my reply, mentioning some of the topics they touched on. I like it, and thought it opportune to share with others. No personal info or privacy is exposed, and by making it into a web magazine format (for blog publication), I think it reaches more readers and could inform and entertain others too.

Hope you enjoy reading it.


Hello T.!

And thank you for your letter, I am glad to hear that you are well and healthy — and even running 4 times a week, 5 kilometers each time? well done. 😄

I am sending you this letter with the new 'First Bucket of Gold' stamp, in honour of your dedication of accumulating some for your retirement. Gold and silver are good, specially in times of conflict and uncertainty. I did buy silver coins back in 2008, during that financial crisis, when we were on the brink of a break down in the whole world financial system.

Silver has the advantage of being lower priced and easier to purchase, as you can buy one or a few and the cost is lower than gold coins or bullion.

Silver, for me, is the prettiest, it goes well with my skin tone. And I love the shine and the metal colour. Silver coins are also fun since they produce a nice crystalline sound when you shake them in your pocket. I bought a bunch of older Canadian silver coins, until 1966 they were made with 80% silver content, and also some American ones, which had a higher 90% silver, until 1965.

I am glad you salary is simply reduced — as a lot of people lost their jobs completely. Tourism and Travel are big industries and all over the world they are down to very low levels. I haven't travelled for a while, and it is best to stay put, safer that way. In Europe numbers are high as you mentioned, and in the US probably even higher. The border between US and Canada has been almost closed (emergency travel only) since mid March or so.

I have been writing, reading and working in the computer. I have been an active user in a Forum for Slowly app at Reddit, and since mid July, the moderator there. It's been fun as things have been improving, getting prettier and better, more content for people to read and learn.

Have also been writing some blog pages recently, and I am happy for that – it had been a while since I posted the last one. My Blog for Slowly and pen pal related topics is here

...and you can take a look if you have the time and interest. 🙂😄

Yes, we need to keep in mind to avoid stresses, they just make life more difficult. We are into the Fall season here now, and it's getting colder and darker.

Winter is coming, not my favourite -– but not much we can do about it.

I hope to continue the writing, as it occupies me and makes me happy and satisfied.

Time to send, till next time, T.!

All the best, peace and health for you and the family.

Yann2.


Older Silver coins as an investment

A point mentioned in the letter, which I included a couple of reference links to but that also deserves more clarification.

Precious metals like silver and gold are considered good investments, having been reserves of value for thousands of years now. Specially in times of turbulence, crisis, wars, having some of those in hand is a good thing.

Silver is less expensive than gold, by far, and so easier to purchase in smaller quantities. Silver bullion, the investment type of the metal, can come in coins, bars, with various sizes and weights.

They usually sell for the day's Spot price for the metal, which varies hour by hour in the international market, and also an added premium – to cover the cost of minting the item. That can be up to 5 or 6% of the bullion value.


Lower cost bullion exists

And one of the best ways to acquire it with less costs is via purchasing older silver coinage, sometimes called 'junk silver', specially in the US market. They had 90% pure silver coinage circulating there until 1965, in huge quantities, so there is a lot available, selling for the silver content value in the spot for the day, maybe a small dealer commission added.


Canadian Silver coinage

Canadian silver coins up to 1967 also were silver, usually 80% pure, the rest being copper. The higher purity of the US coins makes them lighter colour, and certainly more desirable – but what you can find in your local market will vary.

We are not talking about numismatic, collector's value, but simply of the net precious metal content in a coin. Those are well known, and there are even online calculators which can show you the day's value for any given silver coin – American or Canadian.


When a Quarter Dollar is worth 13 times face value

The face value and purity are guaranteed by them being a Government issued coin, recognized and acceptable everywhere in their countries.

Using the CoinApps Canadian Coinage Calculator, a single Canadian quarter, minted and with a face value of $0.25 CAD, is currently worth $4.55 CAD, since it contains 0.14995 Troy ounce of pure silver.

A Canadian Dollar (1920 to 1967) is worth $13.921 CAD, since it contains 0.6006 Troy ounce of pure silver. That's almost 14 times its original face value.


American ones, worth more yet

With their higher 90% silver content, the US coinage is very close to the Sterling Silver grade normally used for Jewellery, which is .925, or 92.5% purity.

These coins have a bright appearance and a delightful sound when jingling in a pocket – silver bells produce equally nice, crystalline sounds.

Today's value for US quarters are $5.4996 CAD, or $4.1993 USD.

Those older coins are wonderful as a low cost way to acquire some precious metal assets. And they could come in handy in a dystopian situation, if things break down — Gold and Silver have always shined in those times.


Famous Last Words

Special Thank You to the folks behind this wonderful app — all the hard working people at Slowly Communications.

Letters we share, with pen pals all over the World, via the magic of the Slowly App. A modern day take in the traditional penpal experience.

Come and join us, if you are not yet using Slowly.

Yann.


Follow Blog via your Fediverse/Mastodon account :

@friends-near-and-afar-letters-we-share@wordsmith.social

This page created entirely in MarkDown language. Thank you for reading, feel free to comment about this post – reach me at my Koyu account.

... or post a comment in the Reddit thread for it here.

Also available on the new Slowly Forum — in Full Blog Format glory. Free registration access for commenting. Join us ?

@yann2@koyu.space.

 
Read more...

from Friends Near and Afar


A real story. Snapshots from penpal life

Sent, just now, a quick and polite message to a pen pal in a remote land, whom I had corresponded in the past.

Originally posted on a Reddit thread, now lost to Archival status. See the post and some relevant comments here.


Not much return there

It had been cold, for a few months, our interchanges being mostly me reaching out – Sometimes with short messages, little letters telling her about newly issued Slowly stamps, as well as some via instant messaging.


Last message, via fast channel

We had exchanged instant messages in the past, occasionally using it.

My last attempt of a letter contact, sent two days ago or so, is sitting Unread, while the user has been online recently. This is one of the signs you might have been removed from their lists.

So, I took and saved the screenshot above, to add to a possible Blog post – on the subject of Ghosting, a practice that LittleGhost has written extensively about -– here and then some more here too.


A Brief reply came back

There was a reply after some hours, due to Time Zones – we are on opposite sides of the planet.

But it confirms my impression that this is the end, I think. Reply received :

Hi Yann..thanks for remembering me...how are you and your family? Hope all of u are in good health and everything is well.stay safe..God bless

🤔


So, good bye, dear friend,

...may the wind be at your back. So long and thank you for all the fish.


The topic got some excellent comments

Various were posted in the topic. I will reproduce the most relevant here. My replies are in plain text format, the other users in Quoted Block format. Comment authors included with my sincere thanks.

From Draculalien :

I think you were very polite and thoughtful.

If it was me, I'd probably just wait for a while and then just remove them from my friends list. It is frustrating when this happens, though, since you tried to contact them for a long time, and hadn't received any response.

Thank you, I try to be as you describe, I think it can make things better – in the world and in our relationships.

A bit disappointing, and she was the one who approached me, months ago. WE worked on the same profession, and it would be interesting to keep in touch, she is also on an antipodal position to me. 🙂

But, I think we are finished. I did not mention this post, or the possible Blog, which will use the screenshot of the WhatsApp goodbye as the Banner image.

Glad to see you posting today, your comments and dialogue we had were very nice. TY.. 😊


From Pankaj :

I also have some friends who talked to me for a while but now don't reply anymore. Maybe I should write them goodbye letter so I can get closure.

I think it's a good idea – it shows a thoughtful person with some sensitivity.

If you lived thru a ghosting, I think you know it's unpleasant and rude from the other person.

LittleGhost's posts linked above contain a lot of thinking and info, worth a reading as well — I will likely take some points of them into my own Blog post, and link to her topics here, certainly.


From LittleGhost :

Ah, that is frustrating Yann. You went about it in a very great way though, and I look forward to your possible blog post :)

EDIT: Also, before I saw this post, I posted in the Writers Guild about a similar experience I had tonight. Click here if you'd like to read my post.

Thanks, Ghost! :) I think it would make for a great post indeed – and I have a personal goal of trying to keep one new page a day, which I have done in the past; it's best if you stay in the groove.

Weather is wonderful today, I just came back from going out a bit, walked in a nice trail with a friend – and the sun is shining, temp is about 25 Celsius.

OMG, Spring?? 😛


From SatanStack :

I usually don't send that, unless I have to, and I don't delete people for 2 weeks, but since we are in the age of COVID-19, after the letter arrives, this could be in as little as 2 days. I normally give it 5.

I need to copy that.

There was a reply after some hours, due to Time Zones – we are on opposite sides of the planet.

But it confirms my impression that this is the end, I think. 🤔


Famous Last Words

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from Welcome to the Saladhax Blog!

Deepin 20: My new favorite distro

screenshot

I've been looking around for a new Linux distro to use on my laptop. Don't get me wrong, the distro I used at the time, Zorin OS, was great, but I was in the mood for something a little more interesting, and with a fresh coat of paint. Most of the distros I've used have felt more or less the same. Yes, I can just go and install a new desktop environment, but most of them either just looked like Windows, or were Gnome. And while those are great desktop environments, they felt a bit stale. Then, Apple released their new Macs alongside Mac OS Big Sur. Now, I'm not the biggest fan of Apple and their products, but there's something about the look and feel of Mac OS that's always intrigued me. And while I thought the design of Big Sur was kind of stupid at first, it quickly reminded me of a distro I tested earlier this year: Deepin 20. I absolutely loved it, but as it was still in beta, I couldn't use it as my main OS. But after installing it this time around, it quickly became apparent that all of the problems I had before had been fixed.

The Deepin 20 community distro is based on Debian, so all of the software I used on any Ubuntu distros works perfectly. It has all of the software you would expect from a modern Linux OS: a software download center, an office suite, text editors, etc. but it also has a fresh coat of paint to tie it all together. I feel like this takes the polished user experience of Mac OS, and mixes it with the efficiency, customization, and open nature of Linux. Because of that, Deepin 20 has quickly taken its place as my new favorite distro.

This is post number 9 of the #100daystooffload series. If you want to start doing this yourself, go to 100daystooffload.com to get started!

 
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from Welcome to the Saladhax Blog!

Moving to Wordsmith

I've been writing on my blog for a while, and while one of the reasons I haven't written on it as much as I would like to is the fact that I maintained my own website. this meant creating a whole new HTML file to write a blog post, and even just copying the post into a template and uploading it was more tedious than I would have liked. But now, I've decided to officially move my blog to the Fediverse with Wordsmith! So far, its been really easy to set up, and writing this post is a lot easier! I also like that it still gives you control over the site's CSS code so I can still give it the classic “Space Jam” style I love! I think this will make it so much easier to just sit down and write in my free time.

This is post number 8 of the #100daystooffload series. If you want to start doing this yourself, go to 100daystooffload.com to get started!

 
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from We The Anthem Photography

I use natural light in all of my sessions and have a relaxed documentary (storytelling) style. My aim is to have you feeling as relaxed as possible during our session together so i can capture you and your loved ones when you are just being yourselves...easy smiles, natural body language, candid interaction and raw connection. I am always chasing that honest and emotional connection between people. Family sessions are held in your own home or at sunset or sunrise at a location of your choice.

We The Anthem Photography 0403179668 48 Woodend Road, Woodend Brisbane, QLD 4305 Australia

https://www.wetheanthemphotography.com.au

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from Rent.is

Rent.is was founded back in 2012 with aim of offering an outstanding experience for those who choose to travel around Iceland in campers.

Business Name: Rent.is

Address: Reykjanesbær, Keflavík, Iceland

Phone Number: 3545673000

Website: http://www.rent.is/

 
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from elilla’s untitled blog i hope wordsmith.social stops breaking the unicode in my posts

Dear enbies, ladies, eunuchs & everybody who’s curious about what does an orchiectomy look & feel! I have made you 〜illustrations〜

Content warnings first: This is personal, diary-like, with me going on and on about my own feelings and experiences; because I think that’s, in a sense, more informative than a bare objective report, and it’s the kind of thing I missed when I was researching to decide whether I should do an orchi. This text has nude photos, including detailed images of convex genitals. I am (mostly) not dysphoric about my genitals, and will use positive words about them. There’s a discussion of genital dysphoria, marked. I’m not posting lewd videos in this space, and I tried to make the photos illustrative rather than erotic, but some stuff came out somewhat lewdish anyway because I love my body and what can a girl do? There are close-up photos of the healed scar, and broad discussions of surgeries; but no pictures of blood or graphic details about medical stuff. I will discuss sex stuff in a clearly marked section at the end. The list of topics is: looks and anatomy, panties & tucking, dysphoria & walking, hormones, sex stuff.

For the purposes of this article I’ll use the expression HRT (hormone replacement therapy) to abbreviate feminising HRT, in the sense of making the body estrogen-dominant.

And here’s an unrelated picture so that scrapers won’t put a photo of my genitals in preview thumbnails.

Changelog:

  • 2020-12-04: Added note on experience with vibrators.

A completely random photo of a woman using scissors to cut off her cherries.

Looks and anatomy

Depending on the angle and position, the appearance doesn’t change much.

A standing, frontal photo of post-orchi girldick

The scrotum is still there, and viewed in a frontal angle as in the photo above, it doesn't look so different as what it used to look like in a cold day, with the gonads retracted inside. (Incidentally, do you know those visible undulations on the skin as the size changes to adjust gonadal distance and temperature? These movements still happen, even though there's nothing inside to adjust lol). There’s plenty of skin left for transdermal application of estradiol spray, and for an eventual vaginoplasty if I ever decide to go that route.

But the difference to the touch is tremendous. It feels flat, and below girldick there’s a most delightful nothing. Perhaps stretching the skin as in this photo gives an idea. At this resolution you can't even see a scar; that's representative of what it feels like to me in the mirror.

Scar

The appearance will depend on the type of surgery. Inguinal orchiectomy cuts at the lower abdomen and remove the entire spermatic cords, leaving two super cute pride scars in the bikini area. I left the choice to my surgeon and he opted against it because 1) he could hide the scar better down there, and 2) I will be doing a vaginoplasty on the whole thing anyway. But they couldn’t really get their minds around what I meant when I said I maybe would do a vaginoplasty; and I failed to make it clear that I wouldn’t mind scars up in the groin, and that I’d rather have left the scrotal skin intact; so I regret not having talked more and insisted on it. (In my defence, the surgeon in this hospital didn’t even talk to me directly before the operation, there was little space to intervene, plus my German is terrible so it’s hard to explain things.)

So the incision was directly at the scrotum (a normal bilateral orchiectomy), removing just the gonads themselves, which were donated to science. Scrotal skin is precious to vaginoplasty, and to prevent damage, this surgeon cuts along the raphe (the dark vertical line that bisects the genitals, where the vagina was supposed to form before mistakes were made and it closed up). The scar barely shows.

Close-up of bilateral orchiectomy scar along the raphe

Note how dark is my raphe at the bottom of the photo above; it tends to darken under estrogen. See how the darkness disappears midway up? And the line gets kinda wobbly? That's the incision. Even in this high-resolution photo, it’s hard to even notice at a glance. The biggest wobble, at the bottom of the scar, was from a small complication – one stitch opened during recovery, and I had to tape it up with normal bandages until it was healed.

Close-up of post-orchiectomy genitals from below

In this position you can see the raphe disappear at the incision, then resume at the top. Plus, without stretching, an horizontal fold is visible. That's all for visible marks from this operation.

Incidentally, my surgeon was Dr. Heß from Uniklinik Essen, who also does vaginoplasty in the Schaff method. I chose him because he’d knew how to preserve skin.

Panties & tucking

The effect of orchi on panties is a bit overrated; you won’t go down a size just by not having gonads, and by and large the panties that were comfortable to me (as a non-tucker) are the same as before. Still, orchi does open up some possibilities. Here’s a video that I made showing some movement to illustrate the difference, but it turned out more erotic than planned, so don’t click if you aren’t comfortable with that. I had fallen in love instantly with these girldick-pride banana slips, but even the largest size turned out a bit too snug for my body. This kind of tightwear was uncomfortable most of all because it pressed on the gonads. Now I forget I even have them on. The flat base at the shaft doesn’t need any room. Notice at the start of the clip how my legs are fully closed together (more or this later), and when I move them, it feels like there’s nothing at all nothing at all~

I’m personally put off by tucking for several reasons, but I know how important it is to many people, so I wanted to try it out how it could work post-orchi. It becomes quite trivial: just pull your genitals down and back, and support them with something tight. Any snuggly panties will suffice for most clothing, but for failsafe universal tucking, specialised underwear works best. Let's see how well it fares with my super mega revealing bodycon skirt that I never could use!

A skin-tight body-con black skirt over tight panties with girldick resting in standing position. A bulge is quite visible.

I'm wearing the same tight panties here as in the video clip above, with girldick nonerect, out to the front and pointing up, which is the position I prefer her to be. This absurdly tight skirt clearly shows too much bulge (along with hip bones, tummy, specks of dust etc). Personally I think bulges are super cute and I'm pissed off that I have to hide mine, but society feels otherwise so let’s try to offset it. (I mean, IRL I still won’t wear this skirt, but for science.)

Same as before, but with genitals tucked back. A bulge from the base of girldick is visible, though small.

Above, girldick is now tucked down and back with the tight panties. This would suffice to hide the bulge for almost all clothing pieces, but with bodycon skirt, and if I push my hips forward like this, you can still see a small mound.

A Black tucking thong.

Now changing to tucking panties! These are from Stripitback on Etsy; they’re snuggly, thick and soft (like me uwu). Not much to see here but that's the point I guess! Note the empty space under genitals, even though I’m not at all thin.

The same skirt over the thong. You can see my navel on it, but not a genital bulge.

And presto – even pushing the hips forward in the skintight skirt, no bulge! No tape, no uncomfortable gonads to push inside, can be set up in seconds. If you think you can see the hint of a salience in the upper bikini area – that's actually the top of the panties where the fabric begins, that's how revealing is this skirt.

Dysphoria & the unexpected magic of walking

Some dysphorias are conscious. I always knew I hated my facial/body hair, spent hours plucking them on bed depressedly. I knew I didn’t like having muscles or a male bodyshape, and wanted it all gone. But for some stuff, I didn’t even realise that the dissonance was there. Shortly after starting cyproterone, one day I noticed that my skin scent was gone. Just like that, one day I woke up smelling like girl. And it was such, such a relief. I never thought too much about my scent; it was just my scent, clinging to my clothes and having to be washed away. Only when it disappeared did I realise it had been weighting on me all my life (well, my postpubertal life).

I remember, as a little girl, hiding my genitals between my legs, trying to feel what it would feel like to have a vagina. The idea of it remains positive to me. But at the same time, I’m not overtly dysphoric about girldick; in fact I have very positive feelings for her, which have grown stronger as HRT made her look and feel and act distinct from boydick.

I never much liked my testicles, but didn’t actively hate them either, not how I felt about my facial hair. They were unappealing, pointless, just kind of in the way. The night before surgery, I touched them a bit awed at the notion that this part of my body wouldn’t be there tomorrow; but the thought only brought me scientific curiosity, not the desperate urgency of conscious dysphoria. The single major reason I wanted to do an orchi was to get rid of testosterone, completely, irreversibly, forever; for that, yes, I was more than eager. I also liked the idea of having a custom bodymodded girldick, but I thought of it as just a bonus.

Orchiectomy is a simple operation, and many people go home in the same day. I felt too dizzy, and opted to stay the night in the hospital. On the next day, when I managed to stand up and walk, I immediately noted that I could keep my legs very close together while moving. It’s a tactile thing, hard to show in videos, but the difference is incredible. There’s your estrogen-thiccened thighs, and between them, a nothing. You move one foot forward, swing – you don’t have to pull the thighs apart at all. I’m a country girl, grown accustomed to walking with feet pointing outwards, but suddenly pointing forward was more natural than ever, making it easy to move from the hips. Kneel, and you can comfortably have your knees together. Cross your legs, lie down in bed – thigh on thigh, and between them, at all times, this conspicuous absence. This palpable nothingness.

And it feels. so. correct.

I walked back from the hospital like that, marvelling at the feeling of body consonance. I never stopped walking like that, and never will.

It turns out I had unconscious dysphoria about the testicles themselves, about their shape and physicality. Which has forced me to reëxamine feelings. Because if changing the base from convex to flat already feels this proper, if my body had been expecting to be like this all along, then what are the chances that it will feel even more relief and consonance from concave genitals?

I’m not in a hurry about a vaginoplasty, I’m happy with the current configuration (proud, even), and I intend to maintain it for the foreseeable future. But I will keep observing my feelings, exploring possible bodies in the imagination, trying to check if this is affecting my psychology without me noticing.

Hormones

Content notice: This section deals with possible avenues of masculinising effects, and may cause enduring fears of things that are quite unlikely to happen.

Short story: T at 18ng/dL, life is good.

Long story:

After you remove the gonads, your body still produces some androgens (‘male’ hormones (kind of), T included) via the adrenal glands, to the same extent that cis women do. How much depends on the person. Some people doing HRT report symptoms of post-surgical masculinisation (stronger skin scent, oily skin, body hair thickening/head hair thinning, libido changes etc.). There are many rumours of ‘adrenal spikes' shortly after surgery, as if the body was trying to compensate for the sudden drop on T levels (though if you're already on good blockers, there may be little or no drop in the first place).

Orchiectomy is often studied in the context of cis men treating for cancer, who need to get rid of androgens urgently. In these contexts, adrenal T or androgen spikes post-orchi have proved hard to find.[^1] The chance of occurrence should be even lower for trans people taking high-dose estrogen. But, even if the reports are anecdotal, several trans ppl online say they had higher T levels for two, three weeks after surgery. At least one trans woman says she had to continue taking T blockers even a year later. Some cis women have high T levels too, so it may be just cases of individual variation.

One further worry is ‘backdoor DHT’. DHT is a more potent androgen than T, known for causing both male-pattern hair loss and growth of body hair. It is normally derived from T, so that if your T levels are low, you usually are safe from DHT. However, in cis men with prostate cancer, DHT has been found to be made directly in the cancer tissue out of a different androgen, androstenedione (A4), which survives orchiectomy well. I have no idea whether this may affect trans people in normal, non-cancer tissues, or if it can do so any more than in cis women; discussion on the reddits is disputed right now, with many conflicting theories and little reliable evidence. Some trans people are said to have high serum DHT paired with low T post-surgery; if this shows in a blood test, it should be treatable with bica. If the DHT is made directly on tissues I don’t know what to do; cancer patients take abiraterone, but it’s expensive and has bad side effects and drug interactions.

I also found an article somewhere that SHBG spikes can be prevented by keeping the E2 doses the same post-surgery, but I can’t seem to find it again (sorry).

Based on this information, I decided on the following action plan:

  • Refuse to reduce E2 dosage.
  • Stay on T blockers for 3 weeks after surgery.
  • Quit blockers, watch closely for signs of masculinisation.
  • Rub finasteride on scalp just to be safe.
  • Wait >5 half-lives for body to be clean of blockers.
  • Test for E2, T, A4, DHT, SHBG, FSH (high FSH→take more E2).
  • After 6 and 9 months, test again.

The latter timeframe is for cyproterone (CPA). In cis men, it takes this long for T levels to stabilise after CPA discontinuation (furthermore, their T only goes back to like 80% of the original value). I don’t know how much CPA affects adrenal androgens, or how long would it take to ensure your no-blocker levels are stable. Cypro is primarily an (excellent) antigonadotropin – it prevents your gonads from producing T, basically a temporary chemical castration – but it’s additionally a weak anticorticotropin (affecting adrenal production), a general androgen synthesis inhibitor, and a receptor blocker, so it will also have some effect against non-gonadal androgens generally.

Sadly my current lab only tests E2 and T, and finding better tests under insurance has proven to be tricky. But ~2 months after surgery, I have noticed no signs of masculinisation (except if you count erections, which see below), and T levels at least look fine. Compare with pre-orchi:

  • March 2020, cypro 10mg/day, E2 9.18mg (6×) spray twice daily on scrotal skin, progesterone (P4) 100mg rectal: E2 395pg/mL, T 26ng/dL
  • November 2020, post-orchi 47 days, off cypro 22 days, same E2 spray, same P4: E2 307pg/mL, T 18ng/dL.

All tests taken >12h after doses, at the nadir right before next dose.

Sex stuff

This should probably be clear by now, but just as a final content notice: This section will be explicit. I’m using sexual/erotic language, else there’s no fun to it. I also describe sexual behaviour related to convex genitals, including erections, in positive terms. And there’s a discussion of concerns about libido being possible related to hormonal issues, which includes mention of bodily dysphoria.


I think the sexual effects of orchiectomy will be bigger for people who had partial T blocking, because of the change in hormone levels. If HRT was already in the lower half of the feminine range, there will be little change.

For me, girldick may or may not have shrunk (I think she looks smaller but it may be wishful thinking, I didn’t measure); the skin is softer, thinner, gets hurt more easily, the scent got neutral; I don’t have hard erections, not enough for penetrative sex; I mostly orgasm dry, sometimes a few drops of clear, sweet liquid. However – all of this was already the case before orchi, from cypro+E2 alone. The surgery caused little appreciable change in sexual function or anatomy; maybe erection behaviour, discussed below, and the mechanics of having a flat base. The photo I showed at the beginning, stretching the skin up with my hand – that’s what the base looks like when girldick is erect, by her natural stretching. The overall appearance ends up a bit like a sex toy; just a shaft, nothing hanging underneath (when erect, not even skin).

Libido, orgasm and erections

Libido is a complex thing to evaluate. Orchi could lower your libido if it was relying on T, and the surgery lowers your T below what your HRT did. Or, conversely, the exact same scenario could give you more of that slow-burning, day-long estrogenic horniness, if the orchi helps you get better feminising HRT than you did before, and your body is sexual on it. If the surgery makes you feel more gender-consonant about your genitals, like I did, it may increase your libido psychologically simply because you’re happier about your new body (never underestimate the importance of this).

Post-orchi, I do find myself hornier, but my recent sex life has hitched up a notch for unrelated reasons, so it’s hard to say how much of that is from the hormones in themselves. One thing that feels physical to me is that I went back to having ‘fast‘ erections – I mean getting hard from words or thoughts, a text message or a memory, rather than having to stimulate girldick physically at length. I also had my first wet orgasm (though only a couple drops) in like ten months or so. This could all be due to my girlfriends pushing my body further and further, but somehow it feels like something has changed internally.

This effect got me a bit wary of high T levels, but then the test results came, and it’s almost ideal. I think hidden DHT could theoretically affect something directly on the genitals – I know of no studies on this – but so far I don’t feel any other effects of hormonal masculinisation, and DHT is a powerful beast to do only 1 thing. Sometimes I get paranoid – is my cleavage hair growing faster? Will my body become like that again? But people who know my body well assure me there’s been no changes so far, and comparing photos etc. I can’t see anything bad either.

One speculation I have, based on what ppl report online subjectively, and I want to make it clear that I’m going totally on a limb here, is that cypro may affect erections beyond just low T levels. That is, if you’re at 20ng/dL T on cypro, you may have less erections than you’d have at 20ng/dL T on bica or from castration. Good for the erection-dysphoric, bad if you want function. If I’m right, then the change I noticed could be from the absence of cypro and the myriad little ways it affects androgens all over the place. As long as I don’t get any other androgenic effects other than faster erections, I see it as a complete win. Please don’t take this theory seriously, I studied dialectal Japanese linguistics not endocrinology.

Flat base feelings

I know that the scrotum is an erogenous zone for many, but it never did anything for me. Dunno if out of that unconscious testicular dysphoria or what, but I much disliked the tactile sensation of gonads being touched, even by tongues etc. (One more reason I never liked tucking, and never succeeded in muffing).

While now… I found out by accident that a shower stream will give me the oddest erotic ticklish sensations. Lewd nerves in the area working better than ever, is what I'm saying. This is good news, since these are the same nerves that would be used for the vaginal lips if I ever decide to digievolve girlcock one step further. Mounting atop a girl and rubbing the base of the shaft on her groin feels pleasurable to me now, like not just because it’s hot visually, but as an erotically stimulating physical sensation.

2020-12-04: Vibrators are interesting. I’m very much into magic wands, but for me they work best directly on clit glans; using them on the orchid nerves is pleasantly ticklish, but nowhere near as powerful in sheer sexual stimulation. (There’s a sweet spot to it, without pressing too hard, but even then). Except, somehow it feels like if girls spend some time stimulating down there, then return to clit tip, the sensation up there somehow gets extra doubleplus good ✨ I have done,,, extensive testing, on what I’ve taken to call the ‘hold down to charge up mechanic’; it’s quite noticeable and seems to work reliably. Dunno what’s this all about anatomically, but I’ll continue to experiment with it in the interest of scientific inquiry.

Muffing

Will have to leave y’all hanging on this. The holes feel tricky to find, and I’m wary of messing with stuff so soon after surgery. At least there’s no unpleasantness from the gonads anymore.

I wonder if inguinal orchi would be better for muffing, due to removing the cords out of the way. If I ever manage to get the hang of the thing, I’ll rewrite this section describing what it feels like.

Constriction

A funny little side effect: You know how when you’re tired af but also horny like a bitch in heat and you pull girldick out of panties without bothering to take them off, and the tubes get pressed by the elastic and it’s kinda uncomfy and bad? Yeah that doesn’t happen with a flat base. Unsure how the mechanics of this work, but there’s nothing there being strangled anymore. Between that and dry orgasms, it has never been so damn convenient for a girl to pleasure herself lol. The same works for sex, of course; if girldick is going into somewhere, the panties can easily stay there for added cuteness.

An idle question in my mind is whether this would affect rings. The guides I see for rings loop them behind the testicles, not in front, which makes it feel like they rely on this constriction effect of the gonads. On the other hand, the same rings used for boycock are also used for straps, including purely cylindrical dildos and vibrators, so I’m guessing a ring of the proper diameter will still work. Should test it any of these days…

Epilogue

The gallus [ancient trans priestess of Cybele] throws off her clothes, rushes to the center with a great shout and takes up a sword, which, I believe has stood there for this purpose for many years. She grabs it and immediately castrates herself. She rushes through the city holding in her hands the parts she cut off. She takes female clothing and women's adornment from whatever house she throws these parts into.

Lucianus, De Dea Syria 50-51

I’m annoyed that nobody told me I could have redeemed them for outfits >:(

Refs

[^1]: Parker et al., Orchiectomy does not selectively increase adrenal androgen concentrations, PMID 6235240.

#transgender #mtf #grs #srs #orchiectomy #hrt

 
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from Roche Limit

The exam regulator debacle last spring, when summer exams were summarily cancelled across England and Wales, was an avoidable mess.

From the beginning it was clear that was quite possible to run essential exams even with coronavirus in the ascendancy. A Levels could have been saved by scrapping all GCSE exams, except perhaps English and Maths. GCSES used to be a school leaver qualification, but now that every student has to attend some form of education or training until they are 18 their usefulness has declined until they are mostly just a distraction. Exam boards would have held two sittings for each A Level, making use of the alternate papers they hold onto in case the primary papers are compromised, which would have allow socially distanced exams to take place. Students in exam halls are already spread out for obvious reasons, so only a little extra space would have been needed to keep the whole process covid-safe. But then the government panicked, although it is hard to criticise them given the uniqueness of the situation.

The result of the rushed arrangement was that the national averages were very little different last year, while a very large number of students were awarded grades far from those that their teachers had expected. After a national outcry raw teacher predictions were used unmoderated, leaving final grades inconsistent from school to school.

Was it possible to make a better fist of awarding estimated grades? It was always going to be difficult to award grades that were trusted as much as normal without the evidence of actual exam results, but the government made a big mistake. The nominally independent Ofqual quango which regulates qualifications explained the risks of each option, recommended that exams were scrapped and replaced with a certification of performance, to avoid damaging comparisons with genuine A Levels. This would have allowed students to progress to university on the basis of offers, and it would have allowed for the necessary grade inflation as exam boards sought individual fairness.

But Ofqual came under pressure to issue actual A Level grades from the government which was also keen to avoid politically damaging grade inflation. This was a fine aspiration, but the complexities of the statistical model which was needed to assign grades placed that desire in opposition to the reliability of individual awards. Forcing the grades to fit the same distribution as previous years meant the model risked introducing inconsistencies at the individual level. The government ignored the warnings and went for issuing moderated simulated exam grades, with the instruction to focus on the average results at the expense of individual variations. Students missed their university offers by the thousand. Students who had never received anything other that top grades were awarded several grades lower, and others failed their courses, much to the surprise of teachers who had firmly predicted good passes. Small independent schools had class sizes too small to moderate, so their high predictions went through without reductions, a likelihood also predicted by Ofqual and ignored by a blinkered Education Secretary.

And the rest is history. The government of Scotland cracked and switched to the unreliable, unmoderated Centre Assessed Grades from the teachers, followed inevitably by England two weeks later, introducing an whole new set of irregularities, now brushed under the carpet. One can only hope that if exams are cancelled in 2021 there will be a more informed plan in place.

 
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from MLM BLOGS

How Does Direct Selling Software Bring Better Business Opportunities?

Direct selling is a business model in which the sales agents directly take the products to the customers. There is no lengthy distribution chain that connects the business to the customer. The agents use their network to bring customers to the business. Direct selling is famous in the market as it creates a win-win situation for all parties. This led to more entrepreneurs starting direct selling businesses.

They see success during the in How Does Direct Selling Software Bring Better Business Opportunities?

Direct selling is a business model in which the sales agents directly take the products to the customers. There is no lengthy distribution chain that connects the business to the customer. The agents use their network to bring customers to the business. Direct selling is famous in the market as it creates a win-win situation for all parties. This led to more entrepreneurs starting direct selling businesses.

They see success during the initial days but the graph either stays straight or goes down over time. Quite a few businesses ended up in losses. So how can entrepreneurs prevent this from happening? How can they improve the business and get more opportunities to expand and grow?

Technology is one answer. It shouldn’t be surprising, right? We do live in a world that heavily relies on technitial days but the graph either stays straight or goes down over time. Quite a few businesses ended up in losses. So how can entrepreneurs prevent this from happening? How can they improve the business and get more opportunities to expand and grow?

Technology is one answer. It shouldn’t be surprising, right? We do live in a world that heavily relies on technology. Using the right software can help a business in many ways. And since direct selling following a unique business model, it needs unique software. This, of course, is not a problem. Entrepreneurs can easily find Direct Selling Software in the market. Many software on services as well.

The software helps the business in the following ways-

Managing Inventory, Orders, and Shipping

When agents sell the products, they either do it from the stock they own or ask customers to order online through the website link they provide. With a bunch of agents bringing sales in different ways, it is crucial to keep track of the inventory. If a product is running low on stock, it has to be refilled soon, especially if there is more demand for it. Similarly, tracking orders, checking if the shipments have reached the customers, etc. will keep everyone up to date. The software makes it easy to manage these aspects.

Ecommerce and Payment Gateway Integrations

Customers prefer to order online most of the time. Given an option, they would rather buy from the website at their convenience instead of taking time to meet the agent or asking the agent to bring the products for a meeting and choose from them. The software not only makes it easy to create a website for the business but also allows ecommerce and payment gateway integrations. Customers can pay online, and the money will be sent to the bank account of the business. Agents can also get their commission the same way. It simplifies the business processes and gives entrepreneurs more time to focus on expanding the business.

Creating Agent Profiles and Customizing Them

Agents should be able to track the business they generate. They should be able to check their network status, the commission they will receive, the number of customers they added, the pending referrals, and other related information. They should also be able to customize their profiles by adding their personal details, the payment information, etc. The software allows agents to do all that and more. It creates an efficient platform for the agents to stay updated at all times.

Data Insights and Reports

Direct Selling Software creates a centralized database where all the information is stored and updated. This data is presented to the entrepreneurs in simple, easy-to-understand language and graphs. Business owners can print the reports to see the exact status of the business. This will help them to make better decisions regarding their policies or procedures.

Entrepreneurs can contact the leading software provider in the market to get more information about the software and request a demo. The software can also be hosted on the cloud of the provider so that they can easily offer 24x7 technical assistance.

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