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The Best Free Stuff in the World

The dream of many lonely, hormone-spiked adolescent-types loose on the web is sites with a certain type of free image. The nightmare of people including parents, and those who have to keep the system used by said overhormoneloaded adolescents in a good security condition, is those same sites, which usually have adware and spyware, and every now and then your trojans and your viruses.

And most of those sites have features you don't even want, if you just want something fairly mainstream and you know what it is that you're looking for.

I found the geek-approved back door for computer safety and user satisfaction some time ago. Google Image Search, safe search turned off. Put the right (or wrong, depending on the viewpoint) keywords in, and one has no few images to poke through, all absolutely free (disregarding the cost of computer, net access, and electricity). They're small images, but they're there, and they're even occasionally what the user was looking for.

I must admit, it was a godsend for me. Events proved that for the well-being of all concerned, leaving my brain to construct its own fantasies was not such a great plan, being more than potentially invasive of certain privacies. So that left me with fanfic, to concentrate on the emotions of characters sufficiently far-removed from reality as to only have incidental similarities with those whose privacy must remain inviolate, or the focus on my own sensation.

That last is more difficult for me, because without some prod to get the mind involved, the body reacts slowly, reluctantly. I found, through experience and coincidence, that images got me focused not on a dialogue-and-courtship fantasy, but on the rich sensation of touching and being touched. Instead of real skin beneath my fingertips, light from a screen; instead of my body yielding to another's touch, the body of an actor -- but it was enough of a cue. The brain engaged, the body responded.

I prefer courtship. I prefer my mind to be wooed with words and symbols until my body is forced to associate all those symbols onto the ultimate goal, and once that union is made within me, complete the union without. To court me is to play Jenga -- a false move by any can topple the structure, but when done right, a pattern made up of elements from earlier moves emerges. But sometimes, the illusion of that brings with it too much pain, and I can't betray mind and body into accepting courtship if it's a passing fantastic lie in the pursuit of pleasure and release.

It's then that I hit Google.

I have distinct preferences that sometimes surprise me a little, when looking for material that will engage me. My fingers typing the search terms know how I wish my body to be courted, even when my mind goes blank. The preliminary courtship of the body is taken as given, and it has proceeded. My eyes take in, and I half-feel myself being touched; my fingers do their walking. With any luck, the batteries are fresh. Once won't be enough, but once I'm satisfied, it should stave off the hunger for touch another little while.
Gone away, gone ahead,
Echoes roll unanswered.
Empty, open, dusty, dead.
Why have all the Weyrfolk fled?

Where have dragons gone together
Leaving weyrs to wind and weather,
Setting herdbeasts free of tether;
Gone, our safeguards, gone, but whither?

Have they flown to some new weyr
Where cruel Threads some others fear?
Are they worlds away from here?
Why, oh why the empty weyr?

-- "The Question Song", Anne McCaffrey
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