Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Updates and suchlike

Thank you all so much for your support about my nephew. The latest news is that the reaction is treatable. However, it will take around two years to reverse all the damage. He is currently on a new antiParkinsons medication, hoping this will make the motions slow down or stop. At this point, that has not happened. But we keep on hoping. They're calling in experts in the field for consultation, so who knows what might be possible. I'm concerned, but things are not hopeless.

I also wanted to thank the people who have sent me birthday presents. Since I don't get to go to Dragon*Con for my birthday as usual, this means a lot. Thank you so much!

Copper leaves for his residence in the Arctic tomorrow after being here for nearly a week. It is looking like I'm going to be spending a portion of late September/early October up there, before flying to New York City for a training. I will post details on that trip as I have them, but it will be the weekend of 15-OCT that I'm in the City. No word yet on where within that massive metropolis...

I'll be in Charlotte in December for LeatherFet, a kink event in that city. I'm also going to FFF in Boston in February, and as soon as I get the information for NEEHU2 I'll be posting that far and wide.

In the meantime, keep watching this space for upcoming sales and so forth!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Myth That I Am Straight

Sitting around, waiting for calls, and a couple of things came wandering through my brain.

The first is to thank people for the birthday gifts! I've gotten a couple, and they made me feel all happywarmfuzzy. You know who you are. Thank you!

The second was inspired by reading this bit of lunacy. It made me actually laugh out loud. For extra humor points, imagine George Takei reading it to you, especially numbers 5 and 6. Poor men, I really feel for you if all you can do is grunt out "Me like fuhbawl! Ugh!" and wear wifebeaters and sweatpants around your backyard to "prove you're not gay," AS IF there was anything wrong with being gay and as if there was a need for anyone to prove anything to anyone else about their sexual orientation. (A stance I most emphatically do not take, by the way.) There are so many things wrong with the article linked that I don't want to spend my time deconstructing most of them, because if they're not obvious on the face of them you probably need to talk to someone far more patient than I am.

But the more interesting thing that came out of it was wondering idly what it would take for a woman to show she's not a lesbian. And then, as something like that usually does, it wandered around to how the hell do I let people know I actually am open to same-sex relationships, because it seems a lot of people still don't know.

It's kind of funny, if you think about it. I still meet people who are stunned to find out that not only am I bisexual, but I'm straight down the middle bi. On some levels, I can understand the confusion. Most of my relationships have been with men. All of my current relationships are with men. And yet, the fact is that my earliest relationships were with women, I find women incredibly hot, and I'm attracted to them.

I don't simply do the "For Women" tracks just to have them out there. (Yes, they're lower-selling than the "For Men" tracks, but that's not entirely surprising. It's a market share thing, mostly.) I do them because they turn me on. I do them because I love to imagine someday some unicorn lesbian or bichick might find them and experience that uncontrollable urge to kneel at my feet and join my poly family.

And that's possibly happening now... I have two wonderful subbiegirls on Quest. And I'll be taking them to cons and trancing them into wonderful helpless bliss.

And I bet even with them sitting at my feet, I'll still have someone blink at me and say "Oh... I didn't realize you were bi."

Monday, August 23, 2010

A sad moment of real life

I don't talk about family much here; I think a lot of people have the cherished illusion that professional Dommes are completely attachment-free except for their adoring submissives/slaves/pets and it drives them crazy to hear otherwise. The fact is that I have a warm relationship with my extended family, the majority of the adult members of which know (although with varying degrees of approval) what I am and what I do.

Two weeks ago my nephew, who happens to be autistic and have other sensory disorders, was placed on a new kind of medication - Abilify. Within a week he was having uncontrollable muscle spasms and could no longer feed himself, use stairs, or buckle his own seatbelt. He no longer wanted to eat or sleep. His parents took him to the emergency room Saturday on the advice of a neurologist - not the one who prescribed the medicine, that one was on vacation. After hours in the ER, during which the staff neurologist and resident went out to confer and call the prescribing neurologist, they came back in with the news that they were taking him off the Abilify immediately. A rare side effect (occurring in 2% of the studied population) was causing the issues.

The real kicker? We'll find out sometime late this week, certainly not before Wednesday, if these symptoms are permanent.

Before putting him on Abilify, my sister did research it, but she does not recall seeing this side effect mentioned.

I'm on the phones taking calls as usual this week, but to be honest I don't know what to write that's sexy. I hope you'll forgive this lapse into the real world. Fantasy is a wonderful thing. It just won't make him healthy again. All I can do is pray that once the medication is fully out of his body, he'll recover a little.

The family is gratefully accepting good wishes, positive anecdotes, prayers, and energy. If any of those are yours to offer, please do.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Upcoming Focus group meeting

Just a little note and reminder that the Focus Group (Minneapolis hypnosis club) is meeting on Sunday at 5pm. The information is on FetLife. This time we're talking about hypnosis safety.

Hope to see people there!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Birthday coming up!

So, yes, my birthday is coming up on September 4. It's not hard to find out what number birthday that is if you go looking. I know people are going to ask what I want. There is, of course, my Amazon wishlist over to the side... If it's on there, I want it.

I am also in the market for a Nook ebook reader from B&N. If people wanted to go in on that, coordinate with Jukebox. :) I want to be surprised. I like the Nook better than the Kindle for a lot of reasons, including but not limited to size, hand feel and the fact that B&N isn't going to pull books I've purchased from it the way Amazon has proven they will. With all the traveling I'll be doing, the Nook fits in better than the Kindle.

Anything purple and dresslike from Holy Clothing is a happy. Their skirts are too long for me, and their tops are almost long enough to be dresses, but I love their sundresses and longer-sleeved stuff. Again, coordinate with Jukebox. :)

And look for a birthday sale soon... ;)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

As Promised: Floatation tank experience

So, um, yeah. About seven weeks ago I posted a brief blurb saying I'd enjoyed my floatation tank experience and that I'd post more later. And then, radio silence.

I'm not going to go into the reasons for the silence, but I do owe you a post on the floatation tank session. So, without further ado, here's what happened.

Seran and I arrived at the shop in the heat of a Chicago summer afternoon. The location is within the building on the ground floor, so it took us a minute to find it. Inside, however, it was comfortable and very clean. We were given a tour of the tank facility. Essentially, each tank is lightproof and you are given earplugs to both dull sound and keep water out of your ears. Each tank is filled to around calf-height with water, and in that water they have dissolved huge amounts of epsom salts. (Don't drink the water, mmmkay?) The solution thus produced has the density of the human body, so everyone floats.

And I mean everyone. To say Seran is slender is pushing the word. I knew I would have no problems floating, but I wasn't at all sure about him. I know he'd probably have to work to keep afloat under most circumstances. No worries: he was as buoyant as a cork.

This solution is also warm. The rooms were, of course, as muggy as you'd expect them to be with huge tanks of warm fluid in them. I was actually even more eager than I thought I'd be to shed clothes and get the shower going.

(Of course you shower before and after. After, because you have an epsom salt crust on your skin at the waterline mark on your body. Before, for obvious sanitation reasons. They may flush and sanitize the tank between every use, but it's nice to make it a little less intense for the sanitizing process.)

The shower was nice and warm and the bathing products provided were high-quality. I put the plugs in my ears, showered, and got into the tank. That's where things went a bit offscript.

Because I'm a kinesthetic, I enjoyed the feel of the water. You go into the tanks naked, in order not to be restricted by clothing in any way. That felt wonderful. The floating was incredible. Despite the shallowness of the solution, it fully supported me. I never felt the bottom unless I deliberately moved that way.

But remember that mugginess? It was multiplied in the closed-door tank by a lot. I don't like breathing hot, damp air. After a few minutes, I realized that sensation was making me feel a bit uncomfortable. I was having a lot of trouble relaxing. I weighed my options.

Part of the point of the sensory deprivation is that it's supposed to replicate the womb experience by floating in total darkness with muffled sound. Whether you have your eyes open or closed is supposed to make no difference. But I knew that I couldn't breathe well enough to be comfortable, so I decided to simply open the door so a bit more cool was let in, and keep my eyes closed.

I found this actually replicated what I know of the womb better. You see, the womb is not actually totally dark. Babies in utero are able to sense light. (Playing with a flashlight on a pregnant belly is a good way to have fun with a baby not yet even born.) When I kept my eyes closed, there was the faintest through-the-eyelids glow that much more matches what I know of life in the womb.

Even better, I could breathe and relax! And in no time, without any formal intention on my part, I was in trance. Every so often I'd be aware that somehow, the water level seemed to have crept up on my face. When I got in, it was just over my ears. After a bit, I noticed water almost up to the outer corners of my eyes. It took me two times with this happening to realize that my neck muscles had relaxed to the point that my head had "fallen back." That was really nice, and deepened my trance by quite a bit.

I didn't ever lose track of the world or go to sleep, but I didn't expect to. It was very much the kind of trance experience where the Watcher is active. People who think they aren't going into deep trance because they can always think will recognize this place. I know it's because it was a totally new experience. A few more times in a tank like that and I will be getting very interesting results, as my conscious mind checks out more fully.

Instead, what I experienced was a lot like lucid dreaming. I was always aware of the experience, but was letting the dream unfold. My particular dreams involved people I love and care for, and if a dream started to go somewhere I didn't really want to be, I partly sat up. This "reset" my brain and I could go on to something else.

It was a very, very positive experience. I would love to do it again multiple times and see what else happens.

Eventually, the time was up and the attendant knocked on the door of the room (not the tank - if you don't answer they do come in and do that, but the door comes first) and I let her know I heard her. I got out and showered off. Some of the water got onto my lips and I licked it off... that was a mistake. Ew. Don't do that. I peeked outside to see Seran waiting in the hallway. He was so very fractionated. I could tell just by looking at him that he'd experienced a very deep trance. I let him know I was getting dressed and to wait for me out front.

We relaxed with water afterwards and discussed our experiences. He had no issues with the mugginess, so he'd kept the door closed the whole time. (I really think that might be a me-thing, and urge everyone to do it the normal way, at least at first.) His subjective experience was similar to mine, and we both agree that more experimentation is called for.

I'd be interested in hearing from others as to their experiences, and I think I'm going to treat myself to a local facility someone pointed out in the comments to my previous post for my birthday in a few weeks.

Ah, my birthday... but that's another post. ;)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Same-Sex Marriage and the Poly Slippery Slope

I'm going to stray a bit here and talk about politics. I don't do it often; I don't like to talk about politics much in my day-to-day life and some of my beloved Chosen have very different ideas than I do about the subject. Also, given the international audience I have here, focusing on USian stuff feels kinda like talking from privilege. I am keenly aware there are many places in the world where doing what I do would be a sentence for stoning.

Nevertheless, there's more than one ache in my heart when I watch the agonizingly slow progress of same-sex marriage coming into its due across the US.

I absolutely believe that same-sex couples are entitled to every right and responsibility that marriage entails. At its core, marriage is a contract between individuals. It has always been that; in times past it might have been between a man and his intended's father, but it has always been a contract. The rights and responsibilities have also varied through time. In the current setup in the US leaves no good reason why same-sex couples should be excluded. The judge spoke wisely and truly when the court held that:

"moral disapproval of homosexuality, animus towards gays and lesbians or simply a belief that a relationship between a man and a women is inherently better than a relationship between two men or two women, ... is not a proper basis on which to legislate."
I can't applaud those word strongly enough. My heart aches for those who are waiting to legalize relationships which have lasted, in some cases, for decades.

Yet, at the same time, I am saddened by the same-sex marriage activist community in some very personal ways. You see, one of the grounds often used to attack same-sex marriage is the slippery slope argument that it would, in turn, lead to such perversions of marriage as... gasp... multiple-partner relationships! And the inevitable, invariable response to this charge is a resounding "No! That will never happen! That would be icky!"

And all I can do is sigh.

There are reasonable, laudable objections to multi-partner legal marriage, but all of them could be worked through with thought and planning. Chief among these are the abuses of women by some polygynous religions, of course, but people ignore something in this: these women will be abused anyway, no matter what the legal status of the marriage is, because the people committing these abuses are scofflaws to begin with. It doesn't negate the idea of contracts between multiple individuals for such things as childcare, insurance, visitation rights... in short, all of the things that those in hetero marriages now take for granted and same-sex couples are fighting to be able to enjoy.

But Jukebox or Copper being able to make medical decisions for me absent my input? Easily leave me property, or the other way around? Maybe even make immigration easier?

It won't happen in my lifetime, I am sad to say. Whereas same-sex marriage is almost on the verge of possibility in the US within a decade, I know I'm going to have to do more legal wrangling than anyone should have to in order to make sure everything works for me and my loves to do what we need to be able to do to care for one another, as committed partners should.

So, my beautiful same-sex-coupled friends, I am excited and hopeful for you. Almost nothing would make me happier than to be able to dance at your weddings.

Almost. I'd really like to be able to dance at my own, too - with both of my husbands.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

My Jukebox's birthday

Yesterday was Jukebox's birthday.

It's so hard to grasp that, despite being together in one form or another for the best part of a decade, this is the first time we've ever been together on his birthday. Then again, he was at GenCon for quite a few of them, and we weren't even in the same state for the vast majority.

This week on the EMCSA his story is "Enter Sandman," which is in my top three favorite pieces he's ever written. (I like the others more only because I cherish the memories that inspired them so much it feels like a betrayal to put them lower on the list.) It's an incredible piece of writing - funny, sexy, and amazingly complex. It can also be found in the collection Past, Present, and Future on Lulu.com in both paperback and ebook form. You have to read this one to believe it.

Naturally, he got a new hypnotic mantra for his birthday. It's one I've been pondering for a while, but the look on his face when he began to chant it makes me glad I kept it back for his birthday...

He's still looking for work, folks. Buy a $5 download and give him a late birthday present. Seriously, he's earned it. And that's not the biased Domme talking.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Robotics 1.03: Skins is out!

At long last, I finally get around to posting this. Yes, Robotics 1.03 is up and going at CDbaby! It gives me warmfuzzies to think that I'm only two CDs away from completing this series. Then I can just do software releases as I think of them!

Upcoming releases include two Jukebox CDs (each with bonus track!), Sleep Ray for men and women, and Intoxication for men and women. I also have a lot of script ideas, and more keep coming.

Travel plans for the remainder of this year and next are beginning to solidify. Definitely on the agenda: LeatherFet in Charlotte, Fetish Fair Flea in Providence, NEEHU II in New England somewhere, Poly Family weekend in Atlanta, and Winter Fire in DC. I am also going to try to make Transcending Boundaries in Boston, 2011 Kinkfest in Portland (Oregon, not Maine), and Shibaricon - the latter for my own enjoyment rather than to present.

Local folks might be interested in knowing that the next Focus Group (that's the MN erotic hypno group) meeting is 15-AUG at 5pm CDT. Email me or log into Fetlife and RSVP to the event.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Dialogue (fiction)

The woman wound her way between the standing stones. The hem of her dress was ragged and blew around her ankles in the autumn breeze. Her hair looked like it hadn't been combed today, though there was still beauty in its wildness. The stones themselves were overgrown with moss, vines beginning to twine up the solid grey. Here and there she paused to pull a brown weed, murmuring an apology. The action was halfhearted, slow, but the expressed regrets were real. As she entered the center of the circle, she brushed a lock of purple hair back and looked around her with a sigh.

And stopped. "I should have known I'd find you here," she whispered, then spoke with more assurance. "Welcome, Lady. Forgive the condition of the temple. I... haven't been here as much to take care of it."

The other woman brushed a sun-browned hand over the surface of the altar, sprinkling dried flower petals onto the ground. Copper-colored hair shifted enticingly around her shoulders as she nodded without a trace of anger in her green eyes. "I'd noticed, but I'm not offended. I knew what you were doing."

"Yes," sighed the first. "Of course you did. You always do." She took another step forward into the circle. "What brings you here, Goddess?"

Blonde, short-cut hair blew in the breeze as the woman by the altar answered, the tilt of her head exposing a long, slender, kissable neck. "Because I knew you'd be here. And I wanted to hear you out. You're very angry at me right now."

That brought the purple-haired one up short. She opened her mouth, closed it, and looked down. "I'm not entirely sure I even believe in you any more," she finally said. "It's not personal. It's just how it is."

Mahogany eyes crinkled at the corners with suppressed laughter. "Come on, child. Even you know better than that. You've always known I was there. And you know better than to think I'd believe you. From the moment I first came to this circle and met you here, you've known you were mine. Being away from the temple you built with your own heart doesn't change that."

Humiliated, the first woman looked away from the searching gaze of the black woman standing by the altar. "I remember. You never look the same way twice, but I always know it's you. Every time. So you're right, that's not it."

One short, sharp nod. "So what is it then?" Gently asked, but not to be dismissed, the question hung in the air.

"It's just... I keep questioning these days. I don't know if I'm the right one to serve you. Not this way. Not this life. It gets harder all the time, Lady, and every time lately I think I have it figured out something else happens. It would be so easy if I could just scream out what I'm thinking, but that's something that I know better than to do."

"Oh. I see. You don't want to take this role now because you're not perfect?" The purple-haired woman looked up to behold the silver-haired, sun-worn queen holding her scepter. She was as beautiful as the Lady always appeared, but there was a blankness in the blue eyes that gave no hint of the emotion behind the question.

"You would put it that way, wouldn't you? I prefer to say that I'm wondering if I have my shit together enough to do what you want me to do. I have to: it's my responsibility. And yet I keep getting thrown off course."

"But you believe in me. Even if you don't believe in me as a force, you believe in what I am." That wasn't a question at all.

"Yes..." She drew out the sigh and took a few more steps closer to the altar. "I believe in what you are. How can I not? When I look in the eyes, hear the voices of the ones who are still with me, how could I deny that? I don't even know how to tell them what they are to me. I just want them to know, to intuit it. But that's not fair to them. So I try to show them, but I'm poor at that, I think."

"Let them be the judges of that. And remember, I didn't ask you to take care of everyone in the world." The Lady beckoned. "Come closer, child. I won't strike you down."

With those words, the purple-haired woman closed the space between them and knelt at her Lady's feet. "I wish you could understand, Goddess... it's nothing one like you would ever have to experience. You never doubted yourself."

Raven locks swept the grass as the Lady shook her head. "Of course I did. That's half the bad press I got in mythology, you know. But you miss the point. I didn't choose you because I was looking for perfection."

"Why did you choose me, then, Lady? If it wasn't to improve myself for you, do everything you asked?"

Warm, callused hands cradled the purple-haired woman's chin. "I chose you because you have the power to be strong, and the strength to admit it when you're wrong if you need to. This role isn't for everyone. It's not even for most strong women." She paused. "You can improve yourself, but the fact is that you will always be human. And that means having a softness to you. For all your love of turtles, you can't always hide in your shell when times are hard. You know that."

A glance down, a flush. "I was in my shell, wasn't I?"

The only answer was a simple nod.

"Fair enough, Lady... I will do as you ask. I will serve this role. But tell the universe to ease up a bit?"

"It's hard to feel the strength within when your body hurts, when the hormones surge and fall, when you are finally realizing what people are telling you when they tell you who they are. Even if that's not who you so very much wanted them to be. Release that, child, and grieve your dreams... but don't grieve long. You have too many other dreams to bring to reality." The Lady kissed the purple-haired woman on the forehead and faded into mist on the autumn breeze.

The woman knelt for a long time, staring at the violets blooming on the ground by the altar, a little cluster of blossoms everywhere the Lady had stepped. Finally, she tossed back her hair and looked around.

"Well," she said to the waiting stones. "It looks like I have work to do."