Bye Bye Camera

Monday here was the first day of one of Lhasa’s biggest festivals: Shoton Festival ཞོ་སྟོན་དུས་ཆེན་, the “Yoghurt Feast Festival”. 

The day was wonderful - we left Tibet University at 5:30am to head to Drepung Monastery to see their giant thangka along with thousands of other pilgrims and tourists. After a hectic morning at Drepung and lunch at the teahouse there we caught local buses to Sera Monastery to see their giant thangka too. The weather surprisingly held up for most of the day, only becoming really stormy in the early evening as we were leaving Sera Monastery at last to head home. 

There was however one thing that really upset my day: during the bus ride from Drepung Monastery to Sera Monastery my camera was stolen from my bag. 

Catching the buses that day was crazy, there were sooooo many people all trying desperately to get on each one (we were lucky just to get into the bus and have something to hold onto) and once inside the bus there were so many people crushing me from each side that I couldn’t protect my bag, which was hanging at my hip as usual. It was zipped up closed, and I never would have suspected that someone would steal from me on a holy day such as this among pilgrims, but I guess I was wrong. 


(Photo: People struggling to get onto the bus outside Drepung Monastery.)

Without me noticing them, the person (I have no idea who it might have been) managed to open my bag, take out my lovely big DSLR camera with it’s nice big zoom lens attached, and hide it elsewhere. I never even knew a thing until we were off the bus and walking towards the main gate of Sera Monastery. 

My local friends were shocked and quite upset that someone would do such a thing on a holy day, and especially a local Tibetan person (there were only Tibetans standing around me in the bus), but they also comforted me by explaining that according to Tibetan belief to have something stolen from you really means that there are obstacles being cleared from your path, and it is positive in the long run. 

I hold no grudge against the person who did it: I have insurance so I can get another one, but they must have been so desperate to do something like stealing on a holy day and the action will have generated some pretty bad karma for them. When I made a police report later in the afternoon it was pretty clear that I would never see my camera again or find out who took it - there were just too many people there that day and apparently a lot of belongings went missing. I was sad about losing my photos I’d taken that day, but a friend kindly gave me his to remember the day by. 

At the end of the day it’s more of a feeling of shock than anything else, and now I guess it’s time to get my insurance sorted and get onto finding a new camera! My old precious Canon DSLR had served me well, it had travelled with me to many countries and been by my side for several years, and although it was slowly breaking down it was dear to me nonetheless. 

Earlier in the day my friend took this photo of me taking a photo - a last shot of me with my trusty camera before it was taken away. Farewell camera! 


“If I should steal something from you, you can call a policeman and have me arrested. The law will punish the thief, and the government will return to you the stolen property, if possible, because the law forbids stealing. It says that no one has a right to take anything from you without your consent.

But your employer takes from you what you produce. The whole wealth produced by labor is taken by the capitalists and kept by them as their property.

The law says that your employer does not steal anything from you, because it is done with your consent. You have agreed to work for your boss for certain pay, he to have all that you produce. Because you consented to it, the law says that he does not steal anything from you.

But did you really consent?

When the highwayman holds his gun to your head, you turn your valuables over to him. You ‘consent’ all right, but you do so because you cannot help yourself, because you are compelled by his gun.

Are you not compelled to work for an employer? Your need compels you, just as the highwayman’s gun. You must live, and so must your wife and children. You can’t work for yourself, under the capitalist industrial system you must work for an employer. The factories, machinery, and tools belong to the employing class, so you must hire yourself out to that class in order to work and live. Whatever you work at, whoever your employer may be, it always comes to the same: you must work for him. You can’t help yourself You are compelled.

In this way the whole working class is compelled to work for the capitalist class. In this manner the workers are compelled to give up all the wealth they produce. The employers keep that wealth as their profit, while the worker gets only a wage, just enough to live on, so he can go on producing more wealth for his employer. Is that not cheating, robbery?”

Alexander Berkman | What Is Communist Anarchism?


UPDATE: Fairyland and Cerberus Project have responded!

Good job, Fairyland! You’re totally setting a standard for your fans and fans of recasts to follow! /s

Pic 1 from Steampunk Tendencies page:

Pic of doll from:

Pic 2 from the artist’s flickr:

If FL wants to stick up for artist’s rights then they need to set a better example.


Mmm, art theft

So I found this, uh, interesting specimen on sale today on Qwertee


It’s traced off an image I drew back in 2004 and appears to have been vandalized by a kindergartner in the process. (I’m actually really amazed that people are still plagiarizing this old thing after so long!)


I contacted the site over several obvious channels, but I have a feeling they’re not going to ‘notice’ my comments until their sales are all safely completed tomorrow.

Normally I don’t make a fuss about people plagiarizing my Pokemon drawings (much less ten-year-old ones) since it’s just silly fanart that I don’t own the copyrights to anyway. But I’m posting about this incident because sites like Qwertee really rub me the wrong way. For those not familiar, Qwertee is one of many t-shirt design sites that allow users to submit potential designs to be voted on. Then, every 24 hours, they swap out their stock and sell a new batch of designs. (So if you’re seeing this post after July 9th, the stolen design will probably no longer be on the front page.)

Why only 24 hours? Well, there are limitless benefits to this kind of setup: a huge influx of free unpaid labor (Qwertee pays its winners better than most, but only the winners—their ‘contest’ business model gives them a huge pool of free designs to pick from without having to compensate the majority of the artists who contributed their efforts), fresh new designs to profit off every day so the stock doesn’t get old, and, most importantly, the ability to get away with blatant copyright infringement and plagiarism—since they have such a small sell window, any stolen designs are already safely sold and off the market by the time people/companies notice and send in complaints. I find it incredibly opportunistic and incredibly skeevy.

So there you have it. Qwertee, supporting unpaid artist labor, copyright infringement, and plagiarism. Normally, I’d say “blame the art thief, not the website,” but in my opinion these kinds of websites deserve every bit of scorn they can get.

Edit: this story had a happy ending. See here for what transpired.

The worst part about the Tumblr shoplifting community is that they try to hide behind a legitimate disorder...

And it’s a disorder that zero of them have. Hear that, Tumblr Shoplifting Community? Zero of you have Kleptomania. This sort of thing is nothing new — people have been trying to pretend they have Kleptomania in order to justify stealing for as long as the idea of Kleptomania has been around. Back then, it was a shitty way for affluent people to get out of admitting wrongdoing when they got caught stealing. Nothing’s changed in that regard, and people are now wearing their fake kleptomania like people do with other disorders, saying it makes them ‘quirky’ or whatever. They give themselves cute little names like kleptokitten.

But it’s not Kleptomania. Kleptomania doesn’t just mean “likes to steal shit”. Some people still don’t even think that Kleptomania is a real thing, but we’ll side with the folks who say that it is. Let’s take a look at part of an actual definition of Kleptomania, from this paper which has collected several of them from the 1800’s to the present millennium:

The essential feature of Kleptomania is the recurrent failure to resist impulses to steal items even though the items are not needed for personal use or for their monetary value. (…) The objects are stolen despite the fact that they are of little use to the individual, who could have afforded to pay for them, and often gives away or discards them. Occasionally the individual may hoard the hidden objects…. Individuals with Kleptomania… are aware that the act is wrong and senseless.

There are two things in common with just about every definition of Kleptomania you’ll find:

1. The people committing the acts often steal anything they can, including items that have no real value to them, and rarely actually make use of their stolen items. The impulse never goes away, and can often strike anywhere.

2. The people committing the acts are often ashamed and try to hide their compulsion because they know that their theft is wrong. Kleptomania is often, for that reason, linked with extreme stress, depression, alcoholism and other mental disorders.

These little snowflakes clearly don’t fit into the first part of the definition. Picking and choosing the stores they steal from and taking a haul that they carefully selected beforehand isn’t kleptomania. An actual Kleptomaniac wouldn’t walk into Walmart and walk out with three of their favorite t-shirts and a bunch of their favorite foods. Their haul would look more like a candlestick, a pair of boxer shorts that aren’t actually their size, and two bananas. They have a compulsion to steal whatever they can get their hands on, and it very rarely is something they wanted going in. They wouldn’t go for the most expensive stuff they could find, and they wouldn’t have a shopping shoplifting list.

They don’t fit the second part of the definition either, and you can see that by all of them having a ‘community’ in the first place. They have no shame, they wear their shoplifting as a badge of honor, and they gleefully tell each other about the ‘hauls’ they managed to accomplish that particular day, and chat about what they hope to grab next time out. Adding ‘oh, but this darn kleptomania!’ at the end doesn’t make any of it excusable.

Just come out and admit it, Tumblr Shoplifting Community. Admit that you’re thieves and lawbreakers. Admit that you’re folks who care more about obtaining goods without working for them than you care about the people who lose jobs because of you. Come out and admit all that, and be proud of it instead of trying to hide behind your fake disorders (and your pseudo-anarchy, but that’s a whole other post). If you don’t want to come out and admit that, then I’m willing to bet that you’re well aware that what you’re doing is wrong, now aren’t you? 

- Kaa

tbh i dont get why peoples first instincts is to kill on the purge like you realize you could steal anything youve ever wanted??? new laptop? check. brand new car? check. a good fitting bra????? check.mate. why the fuck would you murder someone man wtf is wrong with you


some of you may already know of my past issues with tumblr user softwaring (previously meancutie) who also runs jubileethemes and naturalpalettes, which have been going on since october of last year.

long story short, shes previously stolen tons of coding AND art from me, and went as far to try to illegally sell photography that did not belong to her from her naturalpalettes blog. sadly theres still harassment and shit going on so it would be cool if you could unfollow any or all of her blogs, and blacklist all of her urls, and spread the word (and of course reblog this post).

you can read up on all of this stuff (with some examples still in tact, as its an old archive) by clicking here, this article is updated when and if i get incidents of theft/harassment submitted to me, or if i find them myself.

This Guy Will Organize the Perfect Robbery for You

Fixers are the consultants of the criminal underworld. Paid to organize crimes without actually getting involved in any of the hands-on stuff, they’re capable of earning large sums of money purely for advising the bank robbers and smash-and-grabbers who employ them.

A couple of years ago, while trying to make a name for myself as a writer, I ghost-wrote a number of true crime autobiographies. One of the people I wrote for was a guy named Colin Blaney, a former member of a Manchester, UK gang called the Wide Awake Firm, who introduced to me a highly respected fixer. “Mr. C” was responsible for organizing a wide variety of crimes, and agreed to talk to me on the condition of anonymity.

VICE: What exactly is the role of a fixer?
Mr. C: A fixer is a person who can influence or set up a time and a place for the perfect robbery. He can organize a person or group of people so they get the job done, so it happens as planned, so it goes off to a tee. The term applies in the same way in the drug world; it’s somebody who’s behind the scenes, organizing the movement of drugs. Drug cartels will trust the fixer to plan how they move the drugs, how the money is laundered, when the product’s coming through, how much of it is coming through, which countries each bit’s going to, and so on.

Talk me through the process of fixing a robbery then. What does it entail?
Well, I’ll give you an example. I know of a job that was done where a load of expensive watches were stolen. The guys had a car and a motorbike stolen in advance. On the day of the robbery they went into the shop, took all of the high-priced watches out and bagged them up. They knew that they only had a certain length of time before the helicopters scrambled, so they did it quickly and then jumped into the car, knowing it would be spotted right away and the police would be looking for it. They then drove to a set of bollards. A motorcycle was positioned there. The police can’t go through bollards, so the robbers could escape that way.