The east end of Dundas Street has become famous or infamous for its signs and billboards, cheap motels and roadside architecture, echoes of a time before the 400-series highways. Back then, it served as one of the major routes in and out of the city. People still use it, depending on their point of departure or destination. We were returning from a small town about a half-hour away. We spent the evening ignoring unpleasant world and virtual world news and enjoying a dinner at an upscale place now allowed to seat people inside once more. On the return we noticed a sign one wouldn't have seen in the 1950s, a movable letter type advertising an "End of Summer Sale" for an adult novelty shop.
It struck us as just, you know, wrong.
It's not so much because August 1 seems a little premature for end of the summer, even granting that the Christmas season now starts before Halloween. The question is, why does a place specializing in sex toys and adult novelties require a sale for, specifically, the end of the summer? Do people get hornier in spring and stock up in anticipation before bleak reality sets in? Do they clear the shelves in anticipation of new stock, more suited to those colder nights when people stay inside more often? Are there, as my wife suggested, summer-themed adult toys, perhaps ones shaped like starfish or sea cucumbers? What sort of sexual novelty sells really well in June and July, but, you know, if you've still got'em on your shelves in August, well, better lower those prices?
I'm afraid I'm a little lacking in the appropriate marketing background here.
Yet another board seemed a little past due, one at the Board of Education congratulating graduating students.
"Did they do anything for graduation this year?" my wife asked. Online graduation? Virtual prom night? I suspect that varied quite a bit, but I know that one school nearby had some sort of gift bags available to graduating students who came in to return their books and other school resources borrowed for virtual learning during the pandemic.
"So, like a.... What do they call those things kids get at birthday parties?"
"Loot bags. I finally graduated from high school and all I got was this loot bag. Kind of an anti-climax."
In addition to the signs, the weekend delivered a different kind of cryptic message. It found its way to my spam folder, so it was only a routine check that revealed:
Your Google Account is disabled
The Google Account... is now disabled. It looks like it was being used in a way that violated Google's policies.
I assumed it had to be a phishing email of some kind. My Google account and the accompanying YouTube channel seemed fine and functional. And yet, it was the same sender as all of those emails I received when the algorithm decided my account required two-step verification.
I logged into my "disabled" account-- not through the email! No obvious notices. Nothing indicating that the account was affected in any way.
I dug a little deeper. It appears I had notices that had been negated: one indicating that, indeed my account had been suspended for "being used in a way that violated Google's policies," and one a short time later indicating my account had been reactivated. I hadn't even noticed. I pondered as to why this might have been. My YouTube account consists mainly of nerdy events like SF cons and Free Comic Book Day, and a whole bunch of videos with relatively few hits, shots of things I've seen, leaning heavy towards nature footage. Had one of the wild deer complained? One of my videos of a Pride Parade had some incidental nudity, but I had age-restricted that one. I had a few copyright violations for my use of music, but I had acknowledge those, and YouTube had added appropriate links/ads for the relevant copyright holders, noted that the music could be taken down in the future if the holder complained, and that, of course, I couldn't monetize such videos. If something had been amiss, why the instant suspension and form rejection? Why not send a message warning me that the account could be suspended due to.... You know, whatever got some bot in a huff.
I sent a message, knowing full well I'll never hear anything back. Why did the Google overlords consider me worth disabling?
At least my channel received a speedy, if secret, trial, and was cleared of any wrongdoing.