Heading Into 2021

I hope everyone had a nice time over Christmas and Hanukkah. Christmas was quiet for me but still a pleasant day. I did a zoom call with my family earlier in the afternoon (before dressing!) There are only four of us now, and while I love my family very much, they are, well, family, and can sometimes drive me crazy. I find with zoom calls I often tend to shut down emotionally and mentally edit what I share with them, which brings me down. So this time I tried to make a point of talking more about what was really on my mind, without being a jerk about it.

At one point my sister in law suggested we all have another zoom call on New Year’s Eve. In the past I might have just reluctantly gone along with it, but this time I basically told them, “Well, I’m going to be dressing up and wearing makeup so maybe we should do it another time.” My brother and sister in law just laughed, and I have no idea what my Mom thought, as she didn’t say anything at all, but at least I spoke up. Sometimes it’s best to just tell the truth and be done with it – and if I did that all the time I’d probably be a lot happier – but it sure ain’t easy!

In any case I’m feeling a bit uncertain about what the new year will bring. I always wonder at the end of the year if I’ll still be regularly shooting new material for Trannies In Trouble this time next year. Most likely I will be, but with this year we’ve just lived through anything is possible. In any case it’s coming up fast. I hope you all have a fun and relaxing time Thursday night – Happy New Year!

Pornhub’s Reckoning

For years I’ve wondered how Pornhub can keep doing business year after year without being sued into oblivion. My complaint has always been about the widespread piracy and unauthorized posting on the site. They’ve been an ongoing frustration for me for years, with lots of my videos uploaded without my permission, for which I don’t earn a dime. And while I can get them removed, they make producers jump through hoops, requiring me to give them my personal and business information and to click off a bunch of boxes swearing under threat of perjury that I’m the copyright holder. And this is for my own videos! Wildly frustrating.

This week though things changed dramatically. I’d heard that something was going on but didn’t look into it in much detail till an online friend wrote me. A recent article in the NY Times outlined numerous cases on the site of child porn, revenge porn, and non-consensual sex videos, plus illicit bathroom and shower cam videos. Some of the accounts of the consequences suffered by victims are truly horrifying. A few days later Visa and Mastercard dropped Pornhub and Mindgeek, their parent company which owns numerous other “tube sites” as well as porn production companies such as Reality Kings and Brazzers. Pornhub has since deleted about eighty percent of their videos and is now only allowing uploads from verified accounts, a change that many have asked for for years.

Not surprisingly, there’s been lots of talk on social media, some from people way more informed on the subject than I am (a particularly good thread here). While no one is downplaying the horrible reality of how prevalent child sex abuse material (CSAM) is online, some online voices question the wider anti-porn motives of some anti-trafficking groups, as well as the impact of Visa’s and Mastercard’s actions on legit performers and models who use Pornhub to make a living (selling videos and camming and so on). Obviously those avenues for earning an income are gone for now.

There’s also the question of how much the credit card companies will now start scrutinizing other websites. Certainly other tube sites such as xHamster (where some of my videos are also reposted without my permission) must be sweating bullets right about now.

There’s also legislation being considered in Congress to clamp down on online porn in general, banning downloads, for example, and other measures which could have a devastating impact on the business. At this point I doubt that these actions will end in numerous sites (such as mine) going offline but I’ve always known it’s possible the tide could turn against adult websites. If billing companies such as CCBill were to lose the use of Visa / Mastercard that would be it. And that’s basically what happened to the old Insex website, where Homeland Security allegedly talked to the billing companies, claiming that Insex was laundering money for terrorists – an absurd charge. Once Insex lost the use of credit cards though it was all over.

The thing about Pornhub is that they’ve brought all this on themselves due to their lazy approach to moderation and self-policing. Their approach has always been, “Hey, we’re not the producers – we’re just offering a platform.” All the checks that Pornhub uses to vet their content come after the fact, whereas anyone can make an account and immediately start uploading. A well-written article from the Oxford University student paper points out that while “pre-publication checks…are integral to ensuring the platform is abuse-free, they are incompatible with the business model upon which Pornhub has built its success.”

Obviously I have no affection for Pornhub. It will be interesting to see where all this goes. I suspect Pornhub / Mindgeek will weather this and hopefully clean up their act and adjust their business model to be more ethical, though I’m not holding my breath. What the wider effects will be on the porn / fetish industry, we shall see. More to come, I’m sure.

Seventies Movies: Klute

First off, let me acknowledge that Jane Fonda is controversial. A lot of people hate her for her politics and past activism. I get it. But regardless of what you may think of her as a person, as an actor she’s always had that indefinable spark of a movie star, someone who’s interesting to watch even in a bad movie, stunningly attractive, and with a unique energy and an immediately recognizable voice.

The other night I watched her and Donald Sutherland in “Klute,” where she plays a semi-high-class call girl who gets involved in a murder plot. One online critic said it’s a thriller without any thrills, which is kind of true as they give away the identity of the killer in the first forty-five minutes.

But for a crossdresser like myself watching Jane Fonda in this movie is hypnotic. The movie itself is really dated now, made in 1971, and the pacing is of the time, that is to say, very slow. There are also the kinds of scenes that were probably edgy at the time and now just seem funny. The party scenes especially are a bit squirm-inducing, as they were probably intended to be wild and shocking but by today’s standards they just seem kind of silly. There’s also that tendency for overacting which is so common in 70s movies. I remember as a kid watching movies back then and a character would get really angry over something that didn’t seem to me like that big a deal, as though the script just demanded, “Be angry now!” Jane Fonda does this a couple times, letting out with a loud “Damn You!” I just had to laugh. It’s like, why is she getting so angry?

At the same time, I did like the movie, as silly as it is in spots. And the real draw is just how beautiful Jane Fonda is and her style and energy, and especially that iconic shag haircut that she made famous – if I could make my own hair look like that as Sandra I could die fulfilled. The metallic dress with the long sleeves that she wears is pretty terrific too. So all in all, an interesting, if flawed, movie that saw Jane Fonda at her peak, and for which she also won the Oscar.

This Strange Year That Went by So Fast

Like many I’ve had a lot on my mind and too much solitary time to think about this strange and awful year that we’ve been living through; some of what I’m writing here may be overly reflective, so if you prefer to just check out the bondage pics below and skip the text that follows I won’t be offended.

I just read an interesting article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune online asking, is 2020 the worst year ever? They point out that 1918 was pretty bad with the devastating flu pandemic of the day, and that 1968 was a bad one with the assassinations and riots, and – one I’d never even heard of! – that 536 was maybe the worst of all, “the year a volcano erupted in Iceland and the sun dimmed for a year and a half, leading to a catastrophic global cold spell.” But still 2020’s been pretty bad.

I’ve been pretty lucky and haven’t really had too many major changes to deal with, aside from the lack of parties and events to go to, and a break from shooting with other models that I took in the spring and early summer. For someone like me though who often deals with low moods, in a weird way this year has had moments that have been almost reassuring, as though the world now reflects back to me how I often feel (and by no means do I mean to diminish the loss and suffering of others by saying this.) But it is something I’ve noticed. I’m always half-expecting things to fall apart, and in some ways this year they did.

There is of course the tendency for some to say, “Hey, this pandemic is overblown and it’s not that bad.” I would answer that there are plenty of people whose lived experience would argue otherwise, and that the tendency to minimize is a normal, if self-deluding, impulse for dealing with tragedy. There have been so many stories reported, and one of the best I’ve read was in Time Magazine last May, describing the efforts in New York City to bury the dead. It’s very sobering but if you enjoy good writing it’s worth the time.

Conspiracies – I mentioned earlier too my Mom’s love of conspiracy theories. The events of this year have made it harder to talk about things with her, as there’s always some story to explain the pandemic and the political situation here in the States – 5G, background radiation, the Satanists and pedophiles, the Reptilian overlords, the hollowed-out space-station moon, the deeply offensive “theory” that Michelle Obama is really a man, and so on. It’s exhausting. So we often limit our phone calls to small talk and to the weather, which is kind of sad but you take what you can with family.

I have been shooting again with other models lately, though the number of shoots has been limited compared to last year. I’ve shot a couple times recently with Star Nine, who’s SO good at playing the devious femme fatale (in fact she’s about the only one who’s tied me up since March – not that I’m complaining!)  I’ve also seen my friend Milf Jeanne a number of times and have shot some really fun and sexy scenes with her, including an outdoor one coming up in the next few months.

I have been dressing up more often this year too, just because I like to even if there is no place to go! And when I check in to hotels for photoshoots I usually dress up in my “casual” Sandra mode. There’s something about showing up at the hotel already dressed that I prefer – it just feels more honest – and with everyone wearing a mask it actually makes it very easy and no big deal at all. Being a germ phobe even before the pandemic I’ll probably be one of the last people to stop wearing a mask, especially when checking into a hotel – can never be too safe! ;-) Besides, I wouldn’t be surprised if another pandemic were to hit within five years of the end of this one – I fear it could become our new normal. And I also suspect that getting back to normal is going to take a lot longer than many expect. I’m bracing for it to be a long haul still. Then again, who knows? I’ll be perfectly happy if I’m totally wrong on all this.

Elliot Page – One interesting bit of news was seeing Elliot Page (formerly Ellen Page) come out as trans and non-binary. It’s totally cool that they’re expressing themselves and being who they are. But I’ll admit – and I kind of feel like a jerk for saying this – but when I heard the news I was also a little saddened by it. When Elliot was Ellen they were so cool and cute and adorable that a part of me thinks, “Please don’t take the male hormones and totally change your looks!” Of course it’s none of my business, but as a crossdresser who has had yearnings and desires to be a woman for decades now part of me can’t help but think, “Oh no, what a waste!” Of course this is totally my own reaction filtered through my own “stuff.” But still. I do wish them the best though with whatever path they take.

In any case, just last week I saw Star Nine again in Anaheim and shot four new videos with her, both of us getting tested for Covid beforehand. I knew the stay-at-home order in California was coming soon, and after Star left I stayed over at the hotel, my legs sore and shaky in a good way from the afternoon’s bondage. The next morning I got up wondering why the room smelled slightly smoky and why my throat felt tight. I didn’t think much of it so I did my makeup, dressed in my casual Sandra mode, and finished packing. As I went outside to load up the car I realized that there had been more wildfires nearby overnight and there was now a huge orange cloud over the city of Anaheim. It seemed almost fitting pulling out onto the freeway and heading home, the orange glow overhead and the fires in the hills receding behind me as I drove away. Let’s hope things are a little better next year.