Note: I do not have internet at home at the moment. Being a college student I figured I could save some money and just do my stuff at the library or a coffee shop. When you're a student who supports yourself (instead of Mommy and Daddy's dime) you make these kind of decisions.
I started going to Slate Coffee Roasters regularly in the University District, Seattle, two weeks ago since it has good internet and few people use the upstairs area. Though it is a bit on the expensive side for both the coffee and the pastries, it has a decent atmosphere and I can sit for a few hours working on things.
It is clearly a far left coffee shop. There are gay coffee baristas, with one or two being transexual. They also wear a lot of black and dress like hipsters. They talk about left-leaning issues. They're also all white. And like most Millennials, they don't have a very good education. To make small talk once, I asked them what a prominent decoration holding the coffee shop door open was. They didn't know. I inspected it closer. It was some super old resistor about the size of a small coffee table, and super heavy. It said its purpose right on the item. And it was built by the Edison company. (If I had the money I'd offer to buy it. I got a hard on for history.) I also asked them about the history of the shop since some of the design details were clearly before the shop was made. They didn't know that stuff either.
I started coming here to work on my blogs for Minds due to the privacy. I've not written one article detailing my Classical Liberal beliefs (a political position many on the left consider Far Right these days) but I have contributed to many political discussions on the website. Occasionally, someone would come upstairs to check the bin where people dumped their used dishware. They'd slyly look onto my computer to check what I was doing. I just smiled back and asked them if they wanted to look, kind of laughing. Never had this treatment from any other coffee shop.
Then an odd thing happened.
I come to the coffee shop this morning around 10 AM and order my usual, but my favorite pastry is gone so I order something else. The transexual barista is smirking slightly, but looks away when I make eye contact. I'm tempted to ask what's so funny but the girl making my drink next to him/her is also smiling. I figure they have a joke together about something so I don't bother them, just smiling courteously back. When I get my drink and pastry I thank them and go upstairs to check my email and work on my screenplay. I also want to see how my views on Minds is doing since I've got at least 25,000 now and quite a few tokens.
The website can't be reached. Odd.
I check around other websites. Facebook works. So does YouTube. But Minds doesn't. Nor does Reddit. I turn off and reset my computer, thinking it's an issue with Windows since this sometimes happens. Nope. I check Internet Explorer. The websites don't work on there, either. I try to Google up the DNS error: 'server IP address could not be found, DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN'. But the websites with the possible answers, not all of them work, not even Microsoft or its answers section. Very strange. Flush the router? Can't. Flush my cache? Did so. Still nothing.
I try opening Apple iTunes and try updating my podcasts. That doesn't work either!
Of the few websites I could reach it says there are two things that could be causing the issue: either it's something with my computer or it's being blocked at the router. Since I've ruled out every possible solution on my computer I could find, and that some websites work while others don't, I can only conclude it's happening on the part of the coffee shop.
I don't know the exact reason they did this. It seems like it has something to do with me, since they're blocking Minds. Did I download too much data? Do I sit around too long (sometimes until closing)? I'm a college student and I'm working on assignments! Is it because of Minds? I did have to scroll past scantily clad Asian beauties. And maybe I downloaded a few. Did they think I was looking at pornography? Do I not fit in with the whole social atmosphere and they want to discourage me from coming by? I'm wearing black and I have a beard! Were those grins earlier aimed at me?
Seeing as I need to use more websites than just Minds, after I spend a few hours in here today I will probably stop going to the coffee shop. Not because I want to make a statement, but because I need to use other websites during the day. Especially if I need to do research for my screenplay or college assignments.
I don't know what the reason for blocking the websites are, or if they have to do with me. If it's because of the Asian beauties, then I guess I'm guilty as charged. But if it's because of using a Free Speech website, or downloading too much data, than I'm also guilty as charged. What a quandary. Guess I'll just resort to using Starbucks or the local library until I find a place with a better connection again.
Addendum: I may have figured out why they're blocking Microsoft. I was playing Microsoft Solitaire like a motherfucker during my breaks. I tried accessing it and it's a no-go. I think I will stop going by the coffee shop for a couple of weeks and then come back to see if they removed the restrictions, assuming the restrictions are real and not a problem on my part. Wish I had an extra person with me to test this so I can determine if it's just my computer, or me being specifically targeted.