|OK... what. I'm listening. Go ahead.|
Those of you of a certain age will remember the old Perry Como TV show, something my parents watched regularly in the late 1950s. One of the regular features was a segment preceded by some of his cast singing "Letters... we get letters... we get stacks and stacks of letters" with requests for him to sing a song they wanted to hear.
That snippet of song lives on today as a dust bunny that skitters around my aging brain when I read email with questions in them. While I do my best to be prompt with replies, only a couple of them have been noted here. I thought I'd reply to a few I've received over the past six months or so, hoping that maybe they may be of interest to you all. It may be a fool's errand, but I run enough of those in my everyday life, so why not add another to the list?
I've paraphrased the questions, in the interest of time.
What's with the watermark on all of your photos? I don't like them.
A couple of attorney friends advised me to add those if I didn't want my pictures pinched and used on other - mainly commercial travel and/or "for profit" - sites. While they'd help pro bono if I was getting used too blatantly they (naturally) don't want to do so if it's not absolutely necessary. I used to put the watermark closer to the center to avoid them merely being cropped out, but I know if someone's hell-bent to use them, they will. I don't care to see watermarks on other sites, myself, so I moved them down. So far it's worked.
You used to post seven days a week. What happened?
Life happened, I guess. Although I was fortunate enough to have retired rather early I've found a wide range of things to happily occupy my days - and that doesn't always allow me the time to post as I'd like, but I try. Yes, I could just Google some fluff up - God knows others do - but that doesn't show much respect for you regulars, so I choose not to do that.
Do you really take all the photos on your blog?
Yes. Naturally, maps, brochure scans and a few rare exceptions appear, but I make an honest effort to credit the source. Far too many other blogs borrow pictures, but with close to 50,000 images of my own I have plenty to work with. I've posted just under 2,000 so far, so I've got a ways to go. I'll leave that "borrowed" grey area for others to lurk around in.
Do you have permission to post pictures of the people in your photos on your blog?
Not if you mean "do you have a model's release form?", no. Not a one. If I'm in close proximity or can make eye contact with the subject I almost always ask - usually just by pantomiming taking the picture and asking "OK?", and 99% (by my guesstimate) smile and say yes. If someone shakes their head or waves their hand, I respect their privacy. People in public, in parks, markets or on the street are fair game, I feel. It's really a matter of intent, I believe.
The two folks who've criticized me for taking people's pictures and posting them without true permission regularly do it themselves, oddly enough. Strange world we live in, isn't it?
I've said often enough that people seen in photos around places like Soi Twilight or other spots where an insinuation could be made about their personal lives should not be judged by the reader - that's the most unfair of all. If readers choose to do so, though, that's on them.
I have photos of all of the club folks I've interviewed, for example, but I wouldn't identify them as such without their approval, even if I did use them. Identifiable photos of my personal friends aren't posted, either. They wish their personal lives to remain private.
What I hope you will notice is that I don't pull "racy" photos taken in clubs or by individuals in private from other sites and re-post them. I find it difficult to believe people's iPhone photos were intended to be spread around, for example, and I have little respect for sites that do that. That brings me to another often-asked question...
Why don't you show more nude/semi-nude photos of sexy young men or women? You must have them.
Yes, I have some, but nothing pornographic - that's just not my style, nor the tone of the blog. I appreciate the adult male figure, and sometimes the opportunity arises to take shots some might call "artsy," but I don't take anything I couldn't show my family or anyone else while coming through US Customs.
Bao-Bao's Blog has always been my place to share stories, pictures, travel tips and ideas and tell others about my experiences in Thailand. I don't post anything that I would feel uncomfortable with my family seeing or reading.
There are plenty of other sites that feature erotic stories and pictures. I don't condemn any of them (other than as mentioned in the previous question) but that's their stock in trade, not mine. I wish them all the best of luck, and hope they enjoy counting their page views.
My stories about go go or bar boys have never been posted for prurient interest; they're just glimpses into the lives of people I've come to know over the years. Some I'm still friends with, some have drifted away - as people do throughout life.
Do you speak Thai?
Nope. My usual reply is "just enough to get myself into or out of trouble". I think it's a sign of respect to know some things in the language of any country we visit, but if you at least make an attempt (and keep a sense of humor about you) it works in your favor, I've found. You may disagree, but I've had many entertaining "conversations" with locals using a small phrase book or cheat sheet I sometimes carry with me.
Are the stories you post really true?
The short answer is yes. Completely. I do, however, reserve the right to make the occasional change of a name, place or other identifiable information to throw off the trolls and one or two loonies I hear from occasionally.
You say "email me with questions", but do you actually reply?
Yes... to every single one, unless it's obviously spam of some sort. Email me and see. If you give me permission I'll even reply here on the blog, if you wish. Comments are public, but email is not.
So, there you have it. Figuratively killed a small flock of birds with one stone. Thank you for asking!