Sunday, December 30, 2012

2012 Year in Review (2)


39 questions about my year (Part Two, 21-39):

21. How did you spend Christmas?
We decked the Treehouse in Griffendor colors (that’s Kitten’s House; last year was mine: Ravenclaw blue and silver), and had some great family and friends up for a day or three, drunk an unreasonable amount of alcohol, and watched the boys cruise on Grinder.  LOL.

22. Did you fall in love?
I fall more in love w/ my fantastic Owner every year!!!  *licks*  (…and this is year 8!)

23. Have any one-night stands?
One… w/ a pretty, young girl at our spring Treehouse party.  Other stands have been more ongoing than one night.  ;-)

24. What was your favorite TV program?
Nothing new.  Ma’am and I have been re-watching Babylon 5 as well as Jeremy Brett’s Sherlock Holmes series.  I also watched the first season of MacGyver, which I used to love as a kid, and I’m happy to say that it’s aged reasonably well (i.e. not horribly dated).

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
Nope.  Although we do have a new (noisy) neighbor that I could live w/o.

26. What was the best book you read?
I never pick one.
The Fragility of Goodness by Martha Nussbaum
Moral Politics, How Liberals and Conservatives Think by G. Lakoff
Assimilation by Bootbrush (winner in the Best Erotica category  I think my rubber fetish is growing b/c of this book)
Urban Aboriginals by Geoff Mains (I like his take on “Leather,” which he defines as “the culture of the forbidden,” being roughly equal to “modern primitive/tribal”… rather than this very formalized, protocol-heavy thing I'm not into.)
I also re-read Huck Finn this summer, for the first time since high school.

27. What was your favorite new music of 2012?
Lots of new musical discoveries this year – notably Adel and Gotye.  Leonard Cohen came out w/ a new CD, as did Poe and Halestorm (whom we saw live).  I’ve always liked Coldplay, but started listening to them a lot more heavily this year, and they are now one of my favorite bands.

28. What did you want and get?
A leather puppy hood
Ink

29. What did you want and not get?
A (much more expensive) rubber puppy hood and rubber suit

30. What was your favorite film of this year?
Best A-list film:  Life of Pi (But I haven’t yet seen Argo which my Owner said was her favorite)
B-movies:  Best was probably John Carter on MarsBrave was also outstanding.  Skyfall was one of the best of all 007 films.  Loved The Avengers and the new Spider-man.
Worst: Crouching Tiger Hidden Vampire… AKA Hypersonic Super-Vampire Ninjas of the Civil War.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
Last year’s answer:  “Thirty-six.  Went to Frolicon, and I got a great tail for my birthday!!!  Then I got beat by Loki.”
This year’s answer: Thirty-seven.  Went to Frolicon and got a great leather puppy hood, and then got accepted into Loki’s pack!!!
I have no idea how 2013 is going to top that…

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
I wish I was introduced to the Pirate earlier.  He and Ma’am were dating for like 6 months before she introduced me to him… which is really, really odd for us and our relationship – not how we normally do things.  That’s been very difficult for me… but it’s getting better.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept this year?
I need to buy a new pair of rubber shorts since Tebow destroyed mine on our first encounter.  :P

34. What kept you sane?
Woof!  Arf. Arf.  Grrrrr… *panting*

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Lizzy Hale.  She looks like she could throw a good punch.  *drools*


36. What political issue stirred you the most?
Marriage equality.  We had a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in my state… but, for the first time, the President came out in favor of it, and it was great to see marriage equality win by popular vote in 4 states.

37. Who did you miss?
Well, I haven’t seen my friend Jay in 2 years now.  (And now that I think of it, he doesn’t have my new email address or phone number… Oops.)

38. Who was the best new person you got to know?
Getting to know Loki better and meeting Tebow!  *Wags*
I’ve also enjoyed getting to know some of the others among their friends and family in Atlanta.
I’m enjoying getting to know The Pirate (Ma’am’s boyfriend) and Mina (Ma’am’s girlfriend).

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2012:
In 2010 I wrote, “In 2011 I want to be less involved in the ‘politics’ of kink,” and then in 2011 I ended up right back on the CAPEX Board again… so that didn’t happen!  (However, I will say that 2011 was a good year on the board – largely free of any stress or drama.)  I was on the Board in 07 and 08, Ma’am was on in 09, then I was back on in 10 (briefly) and 11… but in 2012 I finally managed to keep out of group politics!  Much more significant than that, however, was venturing into a new territory, joining Loki’s pack, discovering new folks and fresh energy which really helped revitalize and re-center me. 

My first 5 active years in the lifestyle (call it, phase 1) I learned a lot, played very hard, and did lots of the grunt-work that our community runs on (set-up, DM-ing, hanging decorations, food prep…).  The next 5 years (phase 2) I was in a leadership role, laying plans, improvising when those plans invariably didn’t work, smoothing ruffled feathers, putting out fires, and trying to keep the train on the tracks.  I still played… but not as frequently.  Then, in June, my community honored me w/ my marvelous tattoo in recognition of my years of service to Charlotte kink.  So now I well and truly feel like I’m in phase 3 of my journey.  The I’ve-paid-my-dues-and-I-ain’t-do’n-no-god-damned-DM-shift phase.  LOL.  No, I’m kidding.  It actually feels more like return to the beginning – a return to fundamentals (entering a new community, negotiating in a new D/s relationship w/ Loki, experiencing new scenes and new play styles, trying to play more… and still taking DM shifts as needed) – but w/ the benefit of all the years of experience.

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
     --  T.S. Eliot

So what’s the life lesson?  Maybe that life is a journey in which you can expect to go through many phases and wear different hats… but you also circle around a lot, too.  Hopefully you grow, learn (and never stop learning)… and sometimes you’re fortunate and your peeps even recognize your achievements.  So here’s wishing all my readers a good journey in 2013.  Keep your tail up!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

2012 Year in Review (1)


I have used this format at the end of each year on my friends-only blog since 2004.  So let the tradition continue here.  I’m going to break it up in two posts.

39 questions about my year (Part One, 1-20):

1. What did you do this year that you'd never done before?
Attended a men-only play party (I’ve been in a few gay bars, but never an all male play party).   Went to kinky karaoke at Wine-up (which was scarier than the gay play party).  Joined a puppy pack, and participated in my first puppy mosh.  Got a tattoo.  Was interviewed by a Pulitzer-prize winning journalist and quoted in Businessweek.

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I refused to make any resolutions last year (b/c the year before I rather ambitiously made five).  For next year: (1) Finish and self-publish the family history book I've been working on for 3 years (which not the book mentioned in #9, by the way)… and (2) sketch in my new leather, hand-made sketchbook at least once a week.  I think I’m going to number them 1-52.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Not this year.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
We lost our 15-year-old cat Cleo.  I believe that was all this year… which was good b/c last year I lost several of my people.

5. Did anyone close to you get married?
Andrew and Mel!!  :D

6. What places did you visit?
Spent a lot of time in Atlanta (and visited the Atlanta Eagle for the first time, and attended SELF for the first time).  We also made it up to DC for a couple of days (and stayed at a very posh hotel, complements of the United Nations)… but otherwise we didn’t do a lot of traveling in 2012 – we had to save money until Ma’am found a job.

7. What would you like to have next year that you lacked this year?
Last year I requested, “A roof that doesn’t leak and employment for Shdwkitten.”  I got both.  However, we’re now back to my answer from a couple of years ago, “a working hot tub,” b/c our 20-year-old hot tub is once again on the blink.

8. What day from this year will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Two good and one bad:  My birthday, when Sir Loki accepted me into his pack, and the day I was gifted my tattoo from the CAPEX community in recognition of 10 years of service and growth (I almost cried).  One bad: Halloween, when Snow and Ma’am split-up.

9. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Wrote a 270+ page draft of a book – my longest piece of writing yet.  (Prior publications have been limited to bloging, comic strips, essays, a children’s book, and the afterward of a graphic novel.  Short stuff.)

10. What was your biggest failure?
Don’t think I had any…  I’m just that good.  :)

11. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Continuing back pains. Well, when your 37 and spend a lot of time sitting on the floor and sleep in a dog kennel, back pain is not surprising…  That and I did flip my happy ass over the handlebars of my motorcycle in ’04, which probably didn’t do wonders for my spine.

12. What was the best thing you bought?
I bought-back Shdwkitten’s old bow.  It was given to her when she was 16, but she thought she had lost it in her divorce w/ Snow.  She missed it terribly.  I secretly bought it back and surprised her w/ it under the ol’ Yule tree.  Making her so happy was grand.

13. Whose behavior merited a celebration?
Ma’am, although she didn’t have much money (having just started her new job), took a little money out of our savings and gave it to a coworker she hardly knew.  This poor girl w/ a kid was living out of her car on the run from an abusive ex (whom she has a restraining order against) and needed help getting her life re-set.  Ma’am told the girl not to pay the money back, but pay it forward once she got on her feet.  About a week later, a friend of ours, Beth-Ann, contacted Ma’am, and, when it came up that Ma’am needs some dental work done, Beth-Ann insisted on loaning Ma’am (interest free) a not-inconsiderable sum of money to get some work done on her teeth as just a random act of kindness.  So kudos to Shdwkitten and Beth-Ann.

14. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
You know… I don’t think anybody this year did anything to appall me; which is good.

15. Where did most of your money go?
Paying Shdwkitten’s bills.  :P  (Just kidding, Ma’am.)

16. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Getting together w/ Max, Timm, and Noreht.  It was the first time in like 12 years for the four of us (who’ve been friends since high school) to all get together at once.  It made me very happy.

17. What song will always remind you of this year?
So many great songs this year (see #27)… but given this year’s break-up (#8), probably “Somebody That I Used to Know” by Gotye:
So when we found that we could not make sense
Well you said that we would still be friends
But I’ll admit that I was kind of glad it was over
But you didn’t have to cut me off
Make out like it never happened and that we were nothing
And I don’t even need your love
But you treat me like a stranger and it feels so rough

18. Compared to this time last year, you are:
… a lot more online.  I started this public blog, a PupZone profile, and a Fet profile.  I’m slowly moving into the 21st century.

19. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Gaming… and attending Trish’s philosophy salon.  Always enjoy both, but never get an opportunity for either more than a couple of times a year.

20. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Honestly… nothing really comes to mind.  Even at work things were pretty fun/smooth this year.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Epic Fetch!


We’ve had a wonderful Christma-Haunna-Kwanza-Yule.  We decked the Treehouse out in Gryffendor red and gold (my Owner’s a Gryffindor; I’m a Ravenclaw, and last year we did my silver and blue), and had half a dozen friends, family, and romantic partners come up for a day or three.  Specifically, that would be: my Owner and I, my best friend Max and his boy Jake (they’re back together again -- yea!), Ma’am’s mom and dad, Ma’am’s girlfriend, Ma’am’s girlfriend’s boyfriend, and a couple of other kinky friends of ours.

I’ve got some petty good in-laws – Dad in particular is a hoot.  They are a couple of old S.C.A.idian, Neo-pagan, sci-fi/fantasy, gamer geeks.  It’s also great that we can be completely out w/ them.  The first time Shdwkitten took me to meet her parents I was wearing my collar and introduced as her pet.  They are very aware of our relationship, our interest in BDSM, and Ma’am being bisexual and polyamourus… and raise no issues w/ it.  Dad always says to her, “As long as you’re safe and happy, then I’m happy for you.”

Before they arrived, Max asked, just to be sure, “Now, what level of filter do we need here?”  We were like, “None.”  Ma’am explained:  “The spreader bars that I have… those were a gift from Mom and Dad; they were a set that they never used any more, so they gave them to me.”  So, when your parents are giving you their old bondage gear… welcome to Shdwkitten's family!

(We do Thanksgiving w/ my bio-family, where we are not so out… although they all know that Shdwkitten and I are a bit odd.  One time, my mom looked at Shdwkitten and, regarding our marriage, asked her, “You’re in charge aren’t you?”  Ma’am simply smiled and replied, “Yes, I am.”  “Good,” said Mom, “He needs that.”  LOL)

But I do treasure the fact that, even w/ my in-laws present, I can bark, whine, lick, be on all fours, sit on the puppy pillow in the middle of the floor…  It’s great.  Now, w/ the filters off at the Treehouse Christmas and an unreasonable amount of alcohol being consumed, we had lots of fun… and the conversations tended to run to innuendo, double-entendre… and outright dirty.  We’re a pretty “adult” crowed to start with, but once you get some alcohol in Max, he’s primed to go way over the line.  Feeding into this was the fact that Max and Jake are both addicted Grinder, and that was providing entertainment for the whole lot of us.  The best part was that once or twice they could both be chatting w/ the same guy on Grinder, but w/o him realizing that the two conversations he’s holding are w/ two guys sitting in the same room… so they could totally play off one-another while this guy thinks he’s having two completely separate conversations.  LOL.  But it turned into a group activity w/ all of us deciding how to respond to guys on Grinder.

At another point we had got to discussing inventing new CBT toys… which led to me pulling out a copy of the JT Stockroom catalogue… and us going through it commenting and joking about the various goodies on each page… which also prompted my father-in-law to comment, “Yeah, I have Stockroom bookmarked on my computer.”  LOL.  (This starts to explain a lot about Shdwkitten…)

One very funny non-“adult” moment came Christmas-eve when we gave the bio-dogs their gifts.  They got very excited when I pulled out the LARGEST rawhide bones they had ever seen.  I deliberately took my time, slowly cutting the bones from their shrink-wrap packaging while the two ecstatic, drooling bio-dogs circled me.  It was hysterical.

A couple of hours later, Branwen was passed out under the tree w/ her giant bone beside her.  :)

But they best part of the holiday came when we went to open our presents… and my Owner found something under the tree which she never expected to see (again).  Ma’am was a military brat; she grew-up all over the world and moved every few years… so she has very few possessions she feels any sentimental attachment to.  She’s an anti-hoarder.  One of the few objects she has held on to for most of her life is the bow that was given to her for her 16th birthday.  Well, long-story-short, she thought she had lost the bow in her divorce w/ Snow, and it really broke her up that’s he would never see that old bow again.  What she didn’t know is that her hound had surreptitiously arranged to buy her bow back.  She was so surprised… and sooooooooo happy.  She said I had performed an “epic fetch,” said it was the best Christmas gift she ever received, and declared this the best Christmas she’d had since our first Christmas together 7 years ago.  She was glowing!  Seeing my Owner so happy was all I wanted for Christmas.  *wags*

Tomorrow we’ll spring one more holiday surprise.  Ma’am’s boyfriend, The Pirate, was supposed to be w/ us for all this… but his grandfather in Chicago died and he had to go up there for the funeral.  He gets back home tomorrow (Christmas day) evening.  Ma’am and her loyal hound are going to throw a little surprise for him.  Tomorrow, we’re going to clean his apartment, decorate, set-up a Christmas tree that Max and I picked-up today, and leave him some unexpected presents under said tree.  :)

Best wishes to all of my friends, family, and anonymous readers!  Have a great holiday, everyone.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Lessons Learned from Pup Play

GPup posted something on his blog, The Happy Pup, that I liked enough to re-post part of here -- both to pass his words along to others and to preserve this for myself.  He's writing about lessons he learned through puppy play, and I couldn't have said anything better myself.


I’ve learned to trust. Trust in my master & handler, trust in my pup brothers and most importantly in myself. I feel safe, nurtured and yes even owned. I feel safe with my pack, I know I can express my animal side without worry of “human” repercussions. Living in a world of day to day “consequences” taking time for human pup play has opened the door to a peaceful paradise of dog and handler, training and animal headspace, of joy without regrets.
I’ve learned to view my world though a different set of eyes. Eyes while sitting on all fours encased in leather or rubber gear, eyes that encompass my canine soul, my masters pet. A soul that is simple without the complexity of human form. A world of my owner to whom I am collared, playing, caring, supporting. While part of my dog like drives are base, in reality it’s the mateship, the companionship, the animal trust and connection that brings me such joy.

Source: http://thehappypup.com/my-journey-of-human-pup-play/

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Old and New


I recently found another good puppy blog.  http://puppyaven.wordpress.com/  Puppy Stryker is relatively new to the BDSM/fetish/human-puppy world, and I love reading about how new pups come into the lifestyle and find their path.  His story is interesting and his writing is very honest.  I recommend you take a look.  Highlights include this too cute video of a puppy taking a bath:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KZl58Y6IB5Y&feature=endscreen&NR=1 

Reading about his first couple of years in the lifestyle provided yet another angle for me to reflect on my journey in the lifestyle (which has now lasted over 10 years).  It’s funny b/c in some ways I feel very much like a veteran of the community (if, at 37, still not an “elder”… just a grumpy old fart in-training), but in other ways this is all still new to me and there are so many things I haven’t done.

On the one hand, it’s fun and exciting to know that there are still so many great things I have yet to experience!  On the other hand… the fact that’s taken me over a decade to get this far and I still have so many things not checked off my bucket list also makes me feel like I’m running behind the curve or something…

I first tried puppy play (something I was always curious about) in 2005 (already several years after I entered the BDSM community), and I’ve identified as a “pup” since about ‘06 or ’07.  I only bought my first tail last year and my first hood this year.  I only got to play in my first (and really only) proper mosh this year – so we’re talking 5 or 6 years after becoming “Pup” Emrys.  I played w/ other pups prior to that, but only one-on-one.  I’ve been to several kink conventions, but I’ve yet to visit one of the really big puppy events like IML’s Woof Camp or CLAW, or even International Mr. Puppy (either one); that’s still on the bucket list.

One thing that’s slowed me down is that my home community (Charlotte, NC) and home club (a pansexual group w/ mostly het-male-Top/female-bottom, Master/slave, S/m players… consequently I do have a lot of S/m experience) has never had a general interest in puppy play.  For many years it was basically just me.  We used to have several littles in the group, and they were fun to pup-out with, but even the littles are gone now.  Even at Frolicon and Fantasm, for years, I was the only pup there… but now they seem to be coming out of the woodwork down there in Georgia.  It’s been fantastic for me, in 2012, to start sniffing around the Atlanta community this last year and find it (now) crawling w/ puppies!  I’m not alone any more.  *wags*

The other factor that has slowed me down some is that my Owner doesn’t have the same level of interests in puppy-associated fetishes.  We’re very compatible in many ways… but one thing that has slowed me down from buying puppy gear (I’d love to one day have a rubber pup-hood and latex “cat”-suit; I think I’d look pretty fetching) is my Owner doesn’t really have a fetish for rubber and she doesn’t like masks.  To me, masks are very spiritual.  Having read a lot anthropology and mythology, I associate masks w/ shamanism, and I think of pup play is very much a shamanistic transformation.  (And I think skin-tight rubber looks hot!)  But, for my Owner’s part, masks and hoods just creep her out.  And that’s okay; it’s just an interest we don’t share.  Of course rubber masks and suits are also pretty expensive, and so I’ve never yet been able to justify the expense… as much as I want to.  Maybe this will change in 2013 as I now have a new venue (Atlanta’s bi-monthly Dominion parties) where such gear would be appreciated.

As I said, in some ways it’s fun and exciting that (after so many years and so many cool experiences… and, yeah, one or two not so cool ones) to once again be feeling that newbie energy.  I’m now building up a wish list of what I want to do in the upcoming year (or two).  I have some puppy-life catching up to do.  *wags*

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Going by the Numbers (Why Open/Polyamory?)


Recently somebody posted this comment on Tebow’s blog:

“You know, having a kinky long term, romantic relationship is not an easy thing. It is a challenge to find. I got extremely lucky with my partner, but I'd gather it's one of the reasons many couples in the kink world are open... because of the difficulty in fulfilling both requirements at once.” 


I found this to be a very interesting observation… and not a way I had really looked at it before.  I’ve always just thought that the reason why so many of us kinksters are open or poly is b/c we are, by our nature, “sexual rebels” and monogamy just seemed like one more convention to ignore.  There’s probably some truth to that – once you open that door by questioning why human sexual/intimate relations has to fit into one, small, vanilla box then everything (safe, sane, and consensual) becomes a possibility.

(Note: I am NOT one of those irritating “kink evangelists” who thinks that everyone is really kinky but most of them are just too repressed to know/accept it.  I find that very condescending.  If you don’t want vanilla folks thinking of you as sick then don’t insult them by thinking of them as repressed.)

I find this suggestion about the difficulty for kinksters to find one relationship that fulfills both romantic/partnership needs and sexual/fetish needs interesting.  It makes sense in terms of pure numbers.  If kinky people are a sexual minority, then that narrows your range of potential partners you can hook-up with.  An Australian phone survey of 19,000 anonymous participants found kinky sex interests – BDSM, fetish, and sexual role-play – common to only 2%.  An American study found that only 2-3% engage in BDSM… while 20% admit feeling arousal at some BDSM imagery.  (Okay, so some people are repressed.)  When dealing w/ a community that is such a small minority of the population then it naturally will be very tricky to find someone you are sexually/intimately compatible with (someone from that 2-3%) who is also romantically compatible and works as a life-partner.

And even if you find another kinky person you “click” with, odds are still good that your kinks won’t be 100% compatible.  Kink/BDSM covers such a wide range from S/m, to gear fetishists, to bondage, to role-play, to D/s dynamics…

I’m very fortunate that my wonderful Owner and I are like largely compatible.  She’s a heavy S, and I’m a heavy m.  We both like a very primal style of play (tooth and claw).  She likes to be in charge w/o having to micro-manage; I like her being in charge but don’t want to be micro-managed.  But there’s still an area where we have different needs.  For Ma’am’s part: (1) She’s very bi and enjoys sex w/ women, (2) she’s also a switch-masochist, and (3) she likes to “bottom” sexually (i.e. put in bondage, aggressively fucked, etc.)  Those are three things I obviously can’t help her with.  For my part, I’m more of a fetishist (blindfolds, gags, hoods, masks, gear, bondage…leashes! I love to be on-leash!) than she is… and I have greater needs for “pup time” and puppy interactions.  (She enjoys watching these interactions but insists that she doesn’t “get it.”)  So we satisfy that area of incompatibility by being w/ others.  At present, Ma’am has a boyfriend and a girlfriend (in addition to me)… and I’m building a good relationship w/ my Alpha Pup and my “little brother.”

So these considerations (based on the size of our little 2-3% slice of humanity) would kind of incline a lot of us in the community to tend toward open or poly relationships – getting different needs met w/ different individuals.  That makes sense… especially when you combine it w/ my original point about the fact that we are sexual rebels and explorers already… so for us monogamy is just one more culturally-imposed norm to break.

Monday, December 10, 2012

My Type in Men (or "Eye-candy of the Male Variety")


Saturday afternoon:
Ma’am:  “He’s a good looking man, isn’t he?”
Me:  *shrug*  “Arf. Arf.”  [I guess so.]
Ma’am:  “If he weren’t very straight would you have sex w/ him?”
Me:  “Um… No.”
Ma’am:  “Not your type?”
Me:  “Not my type.”
Ma’am:  “I don’t know, what is your type in men… other than Loki.”
Me:  “It usually involves motorcycles.”

Thus the question has come up, and thus it should be thusly answered… and  provide an excuse for me to post some eye-candy of the male variety.  Since most of my readers are bi or gay, I should, after all, be ecumenical.  (Hold on, we’ll get to the eye-candy.)  (STOP scrolling straight down, Tebow!  I saw that.)

So here’s my thing: Looking at guys, as a rule, doesn’t do anything for me.  Whenever I’m out in public w/ my gay friends, I know they spend a whole lot of time checking out the surrounding male “scenery.”  Me, I just don’t “notice” guys that way.  I’ve also seen (vanilla) gay porn and generally speaking it does nothing for me.  It doesn’t turn me off… but it doesn’t turn me on either.

That said, I do get excited looking at guys when it taps into certain fetishes that I have.  Fetishes are such odd things.  I know of guys into shoes, sox, sports uniforms, neckties, and other various random things…  Who knows why our brains choose to attach sexual excitement to certain odd things.  For me, there are two obvious instances: motorcycles (sport bikes) and human-pups.  I think nearly everybody knows that I have a bit of a thing for sport bikes.  I tend to bark at them whenever I see them – something I do reflexively irregardless of whoever is around me, which makes for an occasionally awkward moment.  *sheepish grin*  And sport bike gear has very much the same effect.  I don’t know – all that Kevlar padding and pretty colors…  Yum.  For that reason, here is a pic (of a guy) I found somewhere on the internet (GearFetish.com I assume, since that's what it's labeled... although I don't recall ever visiting that website) that I find super-hot.  This just drops me right into sub-space…

[photo removed]

I can build such a dirty fantasy around this guy… him punching and kicking the hell out of me and choking me half senseless before he bends over his bike and… er...  …

Okay, sorry.  Had a moment there.  *cleans up mess*

You may also have heard somewhere that I’m into puppy play.  I get a couple of different erotic energies from pups.  Most pups are snuggly, and scritchy, lick-able and hump-able, and just fun to romp with.  Then you have your Alpha Pups, and that taps into that whole primal, bighting and scratching thing I’m into.  Every time my Alpha Pup chomps his teeth into me I get all kinds of yummy-spacey.  (Well, except when he bights my nose; that’s just weird!)

Anyway, I have one picture here that combines puppy play and motorcycle gear for double hotness points.  


This time I do know the source: http://derrickpaul.blogspot.com/ and he has a lot of other hot rubber-pup photos on there... but this one w/ the helmet and riding gauntlets was my favorite.  *grrrrowl*  I’ll be in my bunk… 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Jumping the Shark... on a sexy bike


I love the first Die Hard film!  The concept (and execution) was great: the idea of an big action-adventure movie where the hero was not 007 or Indiana Jones… but just some normal goof in way over his head.  The first film is really well structured in that, at each stage, McClain does the minimum response that he has to do.  He’s not trying to be a hero... just to make it through his day.  And when you watch it (unlike Indiana Jones or 007) it allows you the indulgence of saying, “Well, that’s what I would do there.”

The second film was okay if a bit redundant.  (To some extent they made that work by having McClain directly comment on it himself: “How can the same shit happen to the same guy two Christmases in a row?”  LOL.)

When the third came out, I was skeptical… but it worked!  But really only b/c of the great chemistry between Samuel L Jackson and Bruce Willis.  (Still, the illogical ending was a bit stupid.)

Then they came out w/ a forth… and I was very skeptical.  And this time my fears were correct.  They had clearly jumped the shark.  They had turned McCalin into a superhero… and thus totally undermined what was so great about the original concept.

Now there’s a Die Hard 5 coming out.  I have NO desire to see a Die Hard 5.  Except…

If you check out the trailer, 35 seconds in there is an OH MY GODS sexy girl dismounting an OH MY GODS sexy Yamaha sport-bike.  Woof!!!  *panting and drooling*


Okay, it’s probably not enough to get me to sit through the stupid movie (Hans Gruber Jr!?  Seriously!?)… but I can enjoy watching the trailer over and over!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Wolfhound on TV

This is also how I greet my Owner after she'd been away for a while...


Saturday, December 1, 2012

Family Snapshot

Here's a painting I finished recently.  It's (sort of) my lovely Owner, Shdwkitten, and I.



Thursday, November 29, 2012

Puppy Play... Why?


I tend to be rather Aristotelian in my philosophy, and Aristotle was very interested in the end, or goal, or purpose of things.  He used the Greek word teleos.  So I was interested in a recent post-and-response by Pup Boss Jyan and Gpup on The End Result of Pup Training and What I get from Human Puppy Play.

For myself as well, it’s not just one thing but a collection of things.

(1)  Getting hard and getting my rocks off.

Probably at the lower end of the spectrum, for me, is the gear fetish and sex fetish aspect.  I have some of that – I get turned on by sexy pups and sexy puppy gear.  And during sex and a heavy S/m scene I do tend to get pretty non-verbal most of the time… if not outright pupping out!  The sexual fetish is an aspect… but for me not a big one.

(2)  Puppy Zen

Maybe more interesting to me is the “puppy Zen” headspace.  I used to practice Zen meditation years ago… then I found myself better able to enter the “no mind” or “beginner mind” headspace through pup play than sitting meditation.  (And it’s sexier.)

(3)  Playful-submissive role

I’ve wrote before about the fact that I have problems w/ “submissive” as a label.  I don’t think of myself as “submissive” in some generalize way – to any and all!?  Really!?  No.  There are those I submit to.  Sometimes in an ongoing relationship (i.e. Shadowkitten and Loki), but mostly just in the context of a scene.  A good Top can put me in a submissive headspace for a scene… but if they expect me to continue to address them as Ma’am/Sir afterward and fetch shit for them, they may be disappointed.  (A line from a CAPEX party many, many years ago: “I am not a service bottom; you can pour your own damn drink.” LOL)  For years my Owner has told me, “You are not to lower your eyes to anybody but me.”  (Now it’s “me and Loki.”)

The thing is, even when I am in a submissive role, I am NOT a protocol heavy “slave.”  My Owner would not put up w/ a sub who needed to be micro-managed… and, as my Alpha Pup put it at SELF: “I have very few protocols, but one of them is you do what the fuck I tell you!”  (And no, he wasn’t saying this to me but to guess-who.)

Part of the pup role for me is about being submissive and also playful, creative, loose, unstructured…  I’ve always thought there’s a spectrum that roughly runs:
[structured]  slave … boy … pup … brat  [unstructured]

(4)  Physical affection and emotional openness

This sort of overlaps w/ the sex/gear fetish thing… but for me, what I really enjoy isn’t even so much the “I’m hard and I want someone to fuck me” (although that can be good too) as just the physical intimacy and relaxed displays of affection.  I’ve written recently about how I can tend toward the stoic side… but when I get around other pups I tend to get very open, very touchy and cuddly…  This brings very welcome balance to my psyche.  Usually, even other forms of BDSM don’t put me in this kind of “touchy-cuddly” headspace.  Actually… I think they do, but not in the same degree I go there when I’m w/ the pups or in pup-mode.

(5)  Pack

Finally, one important thing that I (now) get out of pup play specifically is being part of a pack.  Maybe others get this through their “leather family.”  Shdwkitten and I, for years, were never part of anybody’s leather family in the strict sense.  (We’ve joked that in the looser sense NCMaster’s leather family covers roughly all of the Carolinas.)  But this year, by becoming a part of Loki’s pack, I really feel like I now have a couple of “brothers” that I feel very close to… even though I don’t see them as much or have known them as long as some of my Carolina friends.

While some people may form leather families or households, I think pups are even more geared towards forming “chosen family” bonds – the whole dog pack mentality.  I have always kept a small but very tight group of close friends (most of us have known one-another for 24 years… since I was in the 8th grade)… so I think I’m very much wired this way.

So that is what I get out of puppy play.  *wags*

Monday, November 26, 2012

Bad Headspace


A week or so back, a fellow pup posted a question on pupzone.com about having trouble getting back into pup play b/c a bad experience left him w/ a bad headspace.  I am cross-posting my response here... for those who may find my $0.02 of value:

I think it depends on what the particular source of your bad headspace is.  The two most common, I would suppose, would be being too self-conscious and being too on-guard.

I think many pups have one time or another faced the overly self-conscious headspace.  “Do I look stupid?”  “Am I doing this right?”  “Why can’t I get into my pup headspace?”  "Does this harness make me look fat?"  It’s self-defeating b/c pup-space is completely un-self-conscious and not-analytical.  My usual advice for this problem is, “Fake it until you make it.”  Just get down on all fours and pretend you’re a puppy w/o fretting about the headspace.  This grows out of the same kind of magical “let’s pretend” we all did as children (before we turned into hyper self-conscious pre-teens).  My theory is that if you push through the self-conscious, self-critical “talk” in your head and just play – just pretend – then in time your mind will start to relax and you’ll come to find that puppy-Zen headspace you want.  (One thing the Buddhists say is that you can’t find the “no-mind” headspace by wanting it, searching for it, analyzing what you are doing, and checking your progress… such things move you in the opposite direction.)

I would also point-out that not every pup-play scene needs to be about the puppy-Zen headspace.  I was very surprised at my first mosh pit to find that many of the pups were talking, making wisecracks, and laughing throughout the play.  For some pups it’s just an excuse to be silly, mischievous… or to wrestle w/ mostly-naked guys!  ;)  Don’t ever feel like there’s a right or wrong way to pup-out… so long as everybody is having fun and reasonably safe.

Which brings up the second hang-up: being too afraid, untrusting, on-guard, etc. to let go and pup-out.  You definitely can’t pup-out if you don’t trust your environment or the people you’re playing with.  This is a much tougher situation… b/c often if you feel unsafe, if something is just not sitting right, then you need to listen to that feeling!  All BDSM activity is built on a foundation of trust; if you are submitting to someone in any fashion, then you are making yourself vulnerable and trusting them to protect you (physically, emotionally…).  Just some general thoughts I have:

Safety in numbers.  If possible, play with a pack or at a mosh.  If there are multiple pups and handlers about then odds are nothing will go too wrong, and that may help you relax.

Check references.  In the Southeastern U.S. (unless you are very new) if I don’t know you, then I know somebody who knows you.  From DC to Atlanta, from Nashville to Wilmington, I doubt there are many lifestylers more than two degrees of separation from me or my Owner.  And it is always acceptable to ask for references!  If any Top/Dom/Handler/Alpha finds that rude, walk away fast!

Take your time and get to know Handlers and Alpha pups outside of a scene.  Have a dinner or coffee date.  Go to a movie.  Get comfortable around them.  It’s okay to get to know the people you play w/ before you strip and let them shove a tail-plug in your ass.


 Above all: relax, have fun, find people you can trust and then let go... and enjoy life on a leash.  :D

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Almost half the world’s population lives on less than $2.50/day
1 billion people can not read or write
2.6 billion people lack clean water and sanitation
Almost 30% of the world’s children are underweight and malnourished
UNICEF estimates that 22,000 children die every day from poverty

This week is a good opportunity to reflect on all that we have in our lives to be thankful for... all those things we usually take for granted... and to remind ourselves that, for most of us in this country, our worst day is 10 times better than the best day of almost half the world.

Best wishes to all my friends, family, and tribe!  *Arf! Arf!*


Monday, November 19, 2012

Crazy Neighbors


Some more of my crazy neighbors are in the press again.

"Last month, a 22-year-old man who grew up in Word of Faith said he was beaten and held against his will as church members tried to rid him of the demon that they believe makes him gay.  Michael Lowry, as with others before him, described a church atmosphere of suffocating conformity, shunnings and a deep distrust of the outside world."

Over the summer a church a few miles up the road made national news when its preacher suggested we put all gays and lesbians in concentration camps.  (See here for more.)  Now another local church has made national news over the above story and various other similar incidents.  You have to laugh at this part: "All Word of Faith members are required to sign a waiver, found on the church website, releasing the church from liability for any injuries suffered during worship."  LOL

But other parts of this story are not so funny:  "Critics, however, call it a form of shunning in which children may be separated from their families and friends and subjected to blasting, paddlings or other forms of discipline.  Carmona says his sin was staring into space while daydreaming. The church called it “witchcraft,” he says, and he was forced to read the Bible and watch videos of Jane Whaley’s sermons for up to nine hours a day.  Each day ended, he says, with him “writing notes to Jane,” pleading for her forgiveness."

The rest of the nutty story is at:
http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2012/11/17/3673039/word-of-faith-fellowship-sees.html





Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2012/11/17/3673039/word-of-faith-fellowship-sees.html#storylink=cp"

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Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2012/11/17/3673039/word-of-faith-fellowship-sees.html#storylink=cpy"

Friday, November 16, 2012

Showing Affection


It was suggested on the Taboo puppy play episode that one big reason for pup play is that it allows pups and Handlers to openly display affection in a way that might normally be hard for them.  I’ve heard others say that they are rather stoic by nature but found an ability to be more emotionally open through BDSM in general or puppy play in particular.

Speaking of myself now… I can run somewhat towards stoic.  I’m a very analytic thinker – INTJ.  “Personal relationships, particularly romantic ones, can be the INTJ's Achilles heel ... This happens in part because many INTJs do not readily grasp the social rituals ... Perhaps the most fundamental problem, however, is that INTJs really want people to make sense.” —Marina Margaret Heiss.  INTJs tend to be pragmatic, logical, individualistic, and creative and have a low tolerance for spin or rampant emotionalism.

Nature or nurture?  As I grew-up, the people in my family are not huggers – not given to overt displays of affection or emotion.  I wouldn’t say we’re “stiff-upper-lip” b/c we laugh and joke very freely (although Max once said that on his empathic radar I was all stealth)… but we don’t (as I said) hug… we don’t say “I love you” very often – almost never; I can’t think when the last time was I said, “I love you, Mom.”  I was probably seven.  I’m not a “physical” person normally.  Hell, I generally don’t even like to shake hands!  Being a puppy is a way I can just let go of all that armor (if that’s what it is) and be very affectionate and loving in a way that, outside of that space, doesn’t come naturally.

Getting in-touch w/ my pup-self has been a process over the last 6 or 7 years that has made me better able to connect w/ my own emotions and display my feelings (particularly feelings of affection) more easily… especially w/ regards to my Owner (obviously).  She says that I’ve become more emotional from when she first met me... when I had the emotional range of a salad fork.

I particularly find that w/ other pups I can be more affectionate, more physical (cuddling, scritching, licking… occasionally making-out), and… “open.”  And I find this particularly true w/ other pups (and my Owner) more so than in any other kind of BDSM activity that I’ve engaged in (which is a pretty extensive list, by the way).  My puppy headspace is very much about physicality (touch, smell, and taste), affection, and loyalty to my Owner and pack.

I’ve written before about my home club, CAPEX, and for all its wonderful points its most significant drawback has been that it doesn’t really cohere as a family – due to the high turnover rate.  Most people in CAPEX come around for 2 or 3 years and then don’t come around anymore.  NC Master and I are about the only two people who attend regularly now who attended regularly 10 years ago.  So nobody knows the club’s history… so there’s little sense of shared identity… and so many people come and go that it often feels like, w/ CAPEX, if you skip a few months and come back then the room is full of strangers (i.e. new people).  So it’s a good club… but it’s not a "leather family."

I’ve found, in 2012, that after 10+ years in the lifestyle, my puppy pack has helped fill a void that was there by providing a feeling of brotherhood that just isn’t there w/ CAPEX.  There are folks in the community I’ve known longer and know better than the pups… but it’s not so much about knowing as feeling.  It’s a headspace I find myself in when I’m w/ the pups.

My best friend, Max, has an almost-black belt… and one thing he’s said is that there are two types of martial artists: thinkers and feelers… and that to become a black belt, tinkers have to learn to feel and feelers have to learn to think.  Recently he and I have talked about how this can be extrapolated out to a general life lesson.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Sirius Pups of Australia


I found a great resource on the net for human-puppies.  “Sirius Pups” is a pack down in Australia which has a great web presence.

http://siriuspup.net/ is their pack’s blog site – mostly posts by their Handler, Pup Boss.  Many of the posts have great information about training pups, discipline, headspace…  Lots of good food for thought to be found there.

http://thehappypup.com/news/ is their alpha pup’s blog, G Pup.  He also has some good info about safety, gear, and such… including several short videos where you get to hear a German shepherd speak w/ an Aussie accent.  :)

Those into pup play should definitely check out what they have online.


Monday, November 12, 2012

Every Dungeon Needs a Motorcycle in it!


Yesterday, I got to make a surprise appearance at Dominion (Atlanta’s men-only BDSM play party).  I technically never RSVPed so my peeps (and pups) didn’t know I was going to be there.  I do the same thing at CAPEX – I don’t think I’ve properly RSVPed for a CAPEX event in 5 or 6 years…  I know it’s bad etiquette; 'bad doggie.'

There was a new piece of “play furniture” added to the dungeon – somebody had parked an R6 in there.  For a puppy like myself who was has something of a sport-bike fetish (I ride an FZ6 myself) this was like instant hard-on.  They soon had our prize-winning Dalmatian puppy in a hot motorcycle suit and tied him to the bike.  Yummmmmmmy!  (I didn’t do anything w/ the bike, myself; I don’t know who it belonged to – some friends of Hunter’s obviously… but I kept getting semi-hard just walking around it…  Sex on a motorcycle is definitely in my top 5 fantasies.)

They had a charity gear sale at the event that raised like $600 for Lost-N-Found Youth (an organization to help LBGT homeless/runaways)... and I found a new toy for myself: a strap-in butt-plug harness.  *wags*

The Alpha Pup is out of the country… which meant more (relatively) unsupervised time for the beta pups.  I really wanted to gear-up, pup out, and just reek havoc in the dungeon (sometimes the chaos gods just need to be appeased *evil grin*)… but the beagle didn’t seem to want to go for it.  Instead he chained me to the floor and edged me a bit… NOT long enough.  Bastard!  I paid him back by setting up a scene w/ he, Max, and Jake – Max shrink-wrapped the boys together (to a pole) and molested them w/ tickling, spanking, kissing, bighting… and ice which I kindly provided for him.  Always trying to be helpful.  :)

It was kind of voyeur-mode for a while after that… I drifted about and watched some others having fun…  Max borrowed a violet wand (his favorite toy) to use on Jake (his other favorite toy)…  A couple of folks took turns getting strapped to this crazy EMT stretcher that our crazy husky found god-knows-where… and of course Tebow got tickled some more.

Tebow and I finally ended-up behind a closed door for some heavy making-out.  Apparently Sir gave his pup permission to cum three times while he was out of the country, and Tebow used cum #3 grinding w/ me… which feels kind of flattering that he would use his last cum w/ me.  Unfortunately for the wolfhound, he did not get me off, which he is now taking as proof that he’s a meaner Top than Loki.  Okay… We’ll just have to see where this leads once the top-dog is back in town.  Who wants to lay odds as to whether the beagle gets to cum again before MAL?  :-P

In unrelated news… my home group, CAPEX (Charlotte, NC), has published the very exciting 2013 presentation schedule.  (I need to talk to someone at CAPEX about getting a motorcycle for our dungeon…)  For all who may be interested:

February 23rd - (Floor Party) - Archer and Elegant – Endorphin Soup
March 23rd – Loki – Puppy Play Dynamics
April 27th – Omegaman & Miss Monica - Bondage sex/rope presentation
May 18th - TBA
June 15th – Miss Ann – Vagina 101
July 27th – Pup Nitro - Breathe Play
August 24th – Wicked Mistress - Chains
September 28th – Master Dan and slave melissa – M/s Power Exchange
October 26th – (Floor Party) Bootpig and WhipMasterBob – Face Sitting
November 16th - MasterSgt and Mstersgtpvt - Branding
December 13th – Holiday Event


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Two Videos by Corbijn

Another fun YouTube discovery to share!  I've been a huge fan of U2 for many years, and have thus been familiar w/ the work of Anton Corbjin who did the photography for many of their albums and directed several of their music videos.  He also directed one of my favorite non-U2 videos, Depeche Mode's "Enjoy the Silence."  Today I discovered a video he directed for another of my favorite bands, Coldplay... in fact, "Viva La Vida" is my favorite Coldplay song.  What makes this even cooler is that the video Corbijn did for "Viva La Vida" is a tribute (or sequel?) to "Enjoy the Silence."

I like the fact that where Dave Gahan ends up alone at the end of "Silence," Chris Martin is joined by his fellow band members at the end of "Viva."  The way he smiles and acknowledges them seems to add an optimistic twist to the end of the song -- a song about a man who lost everything... he lost everything (but still has his friends).


Here are both; two of my favorite music videos:





Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Fragility of Goodness

Martha Nussnaum is a favorite philosopher of mine.  I have, since I was 18 or 19 years old owned the text collection of Bill Moyers' "World of Ideas" in which this interview takes place, but I had never seen the original interview... until I found that the full half hour interview is now on YouTube.  How cool!

Nussbaum talks about Greek Tragedy and what they teach us about "the fragility of goodness" -- that even a virtuous person can have their life destroyed and their character polluted by bad luck -- and that it is inevitable that even good, wise people will find themselves from time to time in no-win dilemmas.


Monday, October 29, 2012

Progressive Bishop on NPR

While I'm not Christian myself, I though this was a pretty good interview on NPR w/ a progressive Anglican Bishop.  His topic is "Can Christianity survive the prejudices of Christians?"  He talks about anti-science, antisemitism, and homophobia in the Church.  You can hear it at:

Status Changes


So… my family has undergone a significant change as of Saturday evening.  Some of you reading this blog who follow Shdwkitten on FetLife have already seen the note she posted, but I’d like to re-post it here for those who haven’t:

“As the seasons must change, as the leaves on the trees must accept change, so must we as people accept change.  Sometimes it is bad, sometimes it is good, and other times it is just something we must do. It is neither good nor bad, but it is necessary to continue.

“Snow and I have come to a cross road in our journey where we must decide to accept that change is occurring for both of us.

“For two years I have been blessed to call her my partner, for over a year I have had the honor of calling her my wife and I hope for the rest of my lifetime I will be gifted with the pleasure to at least be able to call her my friend.

“Snow and I are changing. We both have new journeys facing us and we both must embrace those new journeys. Sadly though, these changes mean that we can no longer be married at this time. This is not an ending for us though as much as it is a set of changes.

“I love her dearly. Snow is an amazingly beautiful woman inside and out. I remain fiercely protective over her. I hope she will always allow me a place in her life.

“Please respect both her and I through this difficult time. Please don’t cover us up with a thousand questions or speculate on what may or may not be happening. This is hard, painfully so for both of us as we try to figure things out.

“Instead of rumors and negativity, I ask that you provide love and support and happiness for us as we undergo our necessary changes right now.”

I thought that was beautifully written.  One of her friends who is twice divorced contacted her to offer comfort, and he said, “I wish either of my ex-wives spoke of me that way.”  Snow and Ma'am are both wonderful people.  I love them both and want to see them both happy.  As I understand, they mutually agreed that they will be happier as loving friends than as wives.  Of course it’s a difficult transition.  My Owner is still processing, and she’s having her ups and downs… but (as she put it herself) sometimes change is necessary, and the goal is for everyone to be happy.

As something of an aside, only days ago my best friend underwent a similar shift in his relationship status.  He and his boyfriend of one year decided to shift to being friends (w/ benefits) and date other people.  They had been living together, but my friend moved out.  It’s another situation where they are both wonderful people, and I wish them both happiness.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

SWAT K9

Here's the sensational Shdwkitten and I at the CAPEX Halloween party as a sexy SWAT officer and her K9 puppy.  :-)


Friday, October 26, 2012

Puppy Play on Nat Geo's Taboo

Nat Geo's Taboo did an episode "Private Passions" a couple of weeks back that had a segment on puppy play... and (and this is kind of weird) featured the famous philosopher Peter Singer as a talking head.  The treatment on puppy play was really good, I thought.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=av94AbXPNAQ&sns=em

And part 3 had a segment on zenti that was kind of cool, too:


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

New Tattoo for Shdwkitten

A1       `

Our wolf-dog just came by and stuck his big nose on my keyboard and typed the above message.  I assume that means he wants a steak…?

My lovely Owner celebrated finding a job (after a 10 month search) by getting a new tattoo.  She’s a huge Alice in Wonderland/Looking Glass fan, and she’s always wanted to get the original Cheshire Cat illustration inked on her.  So we went back to Eric, the guy who did my wolfhound knot.  This brings up an interesting bit of serendipity.  When we went to have my ink done, we had picked Eric totally at random.  Afterwards, we found out that he is an old friend of a friend of ours, Mystrys, and did some of her ink.  Mystrys was actually the first person to Top me in a BDSM scene – like 10 years ago.  Eight year ago next month she threw a housewarming party, and that is where I met Shdwkitten.

Well, while Eric was working on Ma’am’s ink, we discovered that he was also at Mystrys’s housewarming party… and he now remembered Shdwkitten, and she remembered him.  She actually wanted to get a tattoo from him then at that party, but her asshat fiancé wouldn’t help pay for it, and they had a fight about that at the party… where she then met me, we hooked-up, and she subsequently dumped Asshat, collared me, and moved in... and then 8 years later I took her to get the tattoo from Eric she wanted.  It’s just weird how serendipity can bring things full circle.

So, w/o further ado…



I love the contrast between Alex (her little tiger cub kitten who looks so cute and cuddly) and the Cheshire Cat (who looks so sinister).

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Horror Movies Kill!

It’s true; watching horror flicks kills… but so does everything else you watch on TV.  Apparently, every hour you spend watching TV over the age of 25 shortens your life expectancy by 21.8 minutes.  (Source)  (By comparison, every cigarette you smoke shortens your life expectancy by 11 minutes… so it’s two smokes or one hour of TV.)  So, now every time I sit down to watch a movie, I have to ask myself, “Well, I want to watch this, but is it worth trading off 44 minutes of my life for?”

Well… this week I killed myself 100 minutes sooner by watching James Whale and Boris Karloff’s Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein and Stephen Spielberg’s Duel.  All three are great movies, so I think they were probably worth the 44 minutes. 

Bride is certainly an amazing and film.  The first Frankenstein is quite good, but the sequel surpassed it… largely b/c Whale didn’t want to do a sequel, so to get him to do it the studio gave him carte blanche.  He took it and ran w/ it.  Bride slips an amazing amount of sacrilege past the 1930s censors.  There’s plenty of religious imagery in it… but even the structure of the plot is an inverted Passion Play: First the Monster is resurrected, then he’s crucified, then imprisoned, then he eats a last supper where he says “Bread good! Wine good!”  Then he meets the Mephisto-figure, Dr. Pretorius, who successfully tempts him by offering him a wife.  Pretorius offers the famous toast: “To a new world of gods and monsters!”

For something a little more recent, I traded 33 minutes of life expectancy to watch Duel.  It’s a great thriller built around the urban legend of a mad truck driver who runs down randomly selected motorists.  Midway through, the protagonist utters a great bit of monologue:

“Well, you never know...you just never know. You just go along figuring some things don't change ever, like being able to drive on a public highway without someone trying to murder you. And then one stupid thing happens. Twenty, twenty-five minutes out of your whole life, and all the ropes that kept you hanging in there get cut loose, and it's like, there you are, right back in the jungle again.” 

That’s the essence of the of the Hitchcock-style thriller: the ordinary everyman suddenly finds the bottom falls out of normal, predictable, civilized life… and you’re “back in the jungle again.”


Duel I had to watch on my own (this saving my Owner 33 minutes of her life).  Ma’am won’t watch that movie w/ me.  The Kitten once got hit by a semi – her car crushed between the semi and a guard wall, totaled the car and cracked her sternum.  She still tenses up when she drives next to a semi (mild PTSD).  So for her watching Duel is, I guess, like guys who've seen combat watching a war movie.  She watched once w/ me years ago and said, never again!

Outside of the Halloween film fest... it's been warm enough to do some motorcycle riding, and I'm going to go out again today.  Not sure how that effects my life expectancy...  I'll try to avoid any mad truckers.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Halloween Horror Fest


My Owner and I have started our annual Halloween film fest this week.  The couple of weeks before Halloween we like to watch some of our favorite horror/suspense flicks.

Monday night we kicked things off w/ Alfred Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train.  We’re both big Hitchcock fans (we own almost all of his films… including a lot of his very early British films) and Strangers is one of Hitch’s best films… with one of his best villains: Bruno Anthony.  I don’t know why exactly, but Hitch frequently used gay characters (especially villains) in his films (Leonard and VanDamm in North by Northwest, all three principle characters in Rope, possibly James Stewart’s character in Rear Window…), only hinted at given the Hollywood censor codes of his day.  Maybe he just felt it added and extra undercurrent of tension.  In Strangers it works particularly well b/c there’s a hinted-at sexual tension between the hero (Guy) and villain (Bruno).  I think Fight Club drew some inspiration from Strangers.


 Last night we watched the Bela Lugosi Dracula (1931).  Always a good one.  It’s seems a bit campy now… but that’s mostly just b/c Lugosi did such an amazing, iconic job that he’s forever lodged in everyone’s brain as THE baseline Dracula/vampire.  Most of the stuff people picture when you say “Dracula” or “vampire” comes more from Lugosi than from the Bram Stoker novel.  You could say that Lugosi deserves credit as the co-creator of the character.  In addition to Lugosi’s performance, the movie has some other nice technical aspects (great sets and great lighting)… although Kitten and I agree that it’s anti-climactic.  Almost all of the best scenes are in the first third of the film (at Castle Dracula and the shipwreck scenes), and when they destroy Dracula you're kind of like, "That's it?"


Not sure what we’ll watch next.  I’ve got a pretty extensive DVD collection, so we have plenty to choose from.  The Cabinet of Dr. Calagari, The Cat People, Bride of Frankenstein, Freaks, The Bat, Night of the Living Dead, The Terror, Masque of the Red Death, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Let the Right One In…  I want to watch Duel again this year, but I’ll have to watch that one myself.  That’s the one film that my Owner is too freaked-out by.  She watched it w/ me once and swore, never again!!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

She Kissed a Girl, and She Liked it


My Owner and I along w/ her boyfriend went to Carolina RenFair Saturday.  We almost always make it out opening weekend.  We ran into other friends there... including the guy who sold me my puppy hood at Frolicon six months ago.  How he recognized me ("So, how's the puppy hood?") I can't imagine!  I'm really bad w/ faces, so it just blows my mind that some people can do that.  We saw no Klingons or Stormtroopers this year... but there was one furry there in costume w/ his collared boy w/ him.  He said they usually do Atlanta FWA, but we told them they need to also come to Frolicon.

We had a great time, but one particular story needs relating.  We were standing in the periphery watching one of the comedy shows (the Tortuga Twins) and this guy and girl approach Ma’am, and out of the blue he asks, “What do you call it when you’re sword fighting, but not really fighting?”

Shdwkitten says (just to mess w/ the guy), “I’ll tell you if you give me a dollar.”

He forks over a $5 bill (all he had).  Ma’am says, “Sparring.”

“No,” says the stranger, “I don’t think that’s right.”  Then he asks for his $4.

“I don’t have change,” Ma’am says.

“Well, give me my five back then.”

“No.  You gave it to me.”

“Well, what do I get for my other $4?”

Ma’am thinks a moment.  “I’ll kiss your girlfriend.”

Said girlfriend cocks an eyebrow and smiles.

“Okay,” agrees they guy.

Ma’am gives the girl a friendly kiss.

“Aw,” groans the guy, “That wasn’t worth five dollars.”

Ma’am looks at the girl again, shrugs, and then gives her a very passionate kiss.

Girlfriend looks at her guy and says, “You should give her another $5.  She kisses better than you.”

Guy walks off in disgust.  Girl waves goodbye and follows.

This is life w/ Shdwkitten.  :-)

Sunday, Ma’am and I drove into TN.  We had some time to kill in Knoxville, so I showed her around the campus where I went to collage.  The McClung Museum had a great exhibit of Zen Buddhist art.  It was very nice.  It was also fun just to show the Kitten around a little where I used to live and go to school 15 years ago.  It really hadn’t changed much.  Nobody paid us for a kiss Sunday.



Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Long awaited good news.


Three years ago, my Owner lost her job doing data entry for a furniture manufacturer b/c they had the bright idea of closing the factory and sending those jobs overseas so that way they could help tank the American economy so that no one would be able to buy their cheaply-made furniture.  Anyway… she took an opportunity to go back to school and picked-up a degree (w/ a 4.0 GPA b/c my Owner is one smart Kitten)… but then she’s spent the last 10 months job hunting.  It was a rough search; there’s just nothing out there, and there’s a lot of people looking.  She looked day after day and applied for jobs every week, but w/o any luck.  Fortunately, we had some money in savings, and that’s kept us from having to raise our debt level b/c of her being out of work… but our savings were about to run out.

So just in the nick of time (Why is it the nick of time? Nick who?), she got a call today w/ a job offer!!!!!!!  So that has been some of the (long awaited) best news we’ve had all year.  It’s about an hour drive from home, so she'll have a bit of a commute… but it’s a job!  Yeahhh!  *happy puppy dance*