Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 Year in Review, Part One

20 Questions About My Year

1. What did you do this year that you'd never done before?
Visited Scotland, got a doctor fired from our local hospital, marched with Cuddles in NC Pride, and pissed off my friend, Daniel.

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
“Do a new comic book review each week [and] write a couple of adventures for a new game system my friend John is developing.”  Nope.
Resolution for 2017:  I’d love to try a do-over on those resolutions… But really, I want to try this project whereby, in 2016, I revisit some of my favorite/most influential books and documentaries more or less in order of how I encountered them from roughly 1993 to 2003.  So I’m going to re-read Dune, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Jung’s Man and His Symbols, etc., and re-watch The Power of Myth and the Day the Universe Changed…etc.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Sir Alan.  We also lost a lot of celebrities this year, from Alan Rickman to Leonard Cohen.

5. Did anyone close to you get married?

6. What places did you visit?
Scotland!  And a fun weekend in DC with Hunter and Loki.

7. What would you like to have next year that you lacked this year?
Well, I didn’t lack a motorcycle this year, but I would love to have a newer one next year.

8. What day from this year will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
All seven days in Scotland (good), and the night they kicked us out of the ER then rushed Kitten into emergency surgery the next morning (bad).

9. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I was a helpful puppy for my Owner and for Poet.  I got the asshole doctor who almost killed Kitten fired from that hospital.  I’ve helped Poet clean and fix up his house to sell.  I tried to be a good tour guide puppy in Scotland.  Helpful puppy was helpful.

10. What was your biggest failure?
Maybe not as helpful to one of my best friends whom I inadvertently pissed off and then there was an unfortunate period of months where he wasn’t really speaking to me.  That was sad

11. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I think I did okay – everyone else was in and out of the hospital!

12. What was the best thing you bought?
Ma’am’s awesome sweater-coat, “Shadow Roses.”

13. Whose behavior merited a celebration?
I’m very proud of my lovely Owner. She began this year after a brush w/ death feeling very afraid and unsure of herself… by the end of the year I had seen her really conquer her fear: refusing to hide in the closet, bite her tongue or “roll over and take it.”

14. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Max’s (now ex-)boyfriend who turned out to be a nasty piece of human garbage. …Oh, wait, that’s the same thing I wrote last year.  How about a certain asshole ER doctor who sent my Owner home to die?  Those are two men I wouldn’t mind seeing bad shit happen to.

15. Where did most of your money go?

16. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Scotland!  Also, we got to see Labyrinth on the big screen, and that was really cool; and I’m also going to add teaching pup classes and doing the mosh and Puppy Olympics at Frolicon.  And I'll add that the CAPEX Pig Pick'n was extra-cool this year: we had our own private island! 

17. What song will always remind you of this year?
I really liked the song “Lost Boy” by Ruth B, “Let’s Hear it for the Dogs” by the Proclaimers, “You Want it Darker” by Leonard Cohen, “Dairy Queen” by Power Bottom, and “Speak When You’re Spoken to” by Spook School.  I think the one that will remind me most of this year will be “You Want it Darker” because I feel like 2016 has been taunting us all with that question since January.

18. Compared to this time last year, you are:
More afraid for the world… and also more of a whisky drinker.

19. What do you wish you'd done more of?
More time in Scotland.  If we had one more day I would have loved to see Loch Lomund and Castle Dumbarton.

20. What do you wish you'd done less of?

Trying to keep the lives of my loved ones from either ending or just going off the rails.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Reality has a Liberal Bias

 This is the third post in, loosely, a series, as I try to process the election on Donald Trump and what I consider to be he most dangerous and fragile state America has been in in my lifetime.  I wrote first about the false equivalence of making Trump the conservative equivalent of Obama/Clinton – i.e. normalizing Trump.  In my second post, I expressed the irritation I have with the Right over its insistence on presenting opinions or faith (or outright falsehoods) as if they are the same as actual, provable facts.  (And I'm not anti-religious and don't de-value faith; but it's a choice and a personal belief and not the same as shared, objective reality.)

Earlier in the year I saw Newt Gangrich being interviewed and he kept talking about rising violent crime, and the reporter challenged him by pointing out that violent crime rates across the country have actually dropped during the Obama administration, and Newt countered with, “But people feel less safe.”  And he stuck by that, repeating it more than once in the interview.  Answering actual facts only with subjective feelings, but asserted as if they were of equal importance.

Much more recently, President-elect Trump claimed (with no evidence at all – i.e. incorrectly!) that there were millions of cases of voter fraud.  (There were 4 confirmed cases.)  Mike Pence went on TV and defended Trump’s baseless claim (i.e. lie!) by saying, “He’s entitled to his opinion.”  He said that three times in the interview, and I just wanted the reporter to scream at him, “OPINIONS ARE NOT FACTS!”  An opinion is like, “Mushrooms are gross,” not, “Millions of people committed voter fraud.”  But the mainstream media is so obsessed with “neutrality” (over factual accuracy) that they have created these nightmares of false equivalences where opinions, tastes, internet conspiracy theories (fucking Pizzagate!!), and baseless claims are put on the same level as actual, provable facts.  So still today 60% of Trump voters believe Obama is a Muslim even though there is literally no evidence supporting this ridiculous claim… at the same time, more than that number denies man-made climate change even though there is a fucking mountain of evidence.

You probably heard about the pro-Trump, white nationalists rally in DC at which the audience railed against the “Lügenpresse.”  That’s an old Nazi term meaning, “Lying press.”  The Nazis were (also) always railing against the “lying press” b/c fascism can’t tolerate reality.  Their whole system is built upon a heap of lies, distortions and nutty conspiracy theories, so part of the trick of fascism is to attack the press as liars and facts as “your opinion.”  This is why one of my favorite sayings of late has been, “Reality has a liberal bias.”

TYT Network posted an extended interview with a white supremacist organizer.  He was very articulate and had clearly thought long and hard about his answers… but at some point, of course, his views all break down for obvious reasons.  Watching it, the third false equivalence of the Trump-right became obvious: white Christians (mostly men) feeling victimized and oppressed by liberal “political correctness” – acting like us asking them not to be a bigot is the same as them taking away the rights of LGBTQs, blacks, Muslims, and other minorities.

Newsflash:  Canceling Duck Dynasty because the stars are homophobic bigots is not equivalent to denying same-sex couples the right to marriage.  Nobody has a special right to star in a TV show, but all consenting adults do have the right to get married… or rent an apartment, or be served in a restaurant, or use a public bathroom.  LGBTQ people aren’t asking for special, extra rights; we are only asking to have the same rights straight people have.

I think I first really noticed this trend with Kim Davis, that obnoxious bitch who, as a Court Clerk, refused to sign off on same-sex marriages because (she claimed) it was against her religion.  You had all these asshole Christens (and, no, I don’t think all Christians are assholes) rally around her claming that us asking the not to impose on our rights and pleas treat us as equal was somehow us oppressing them and us discriminating against them… you know, by removing their power to discriminate against others.  This was so insane – and yet this warped resentment, this sense that the white, Christian, patriarchal majority is somehow being oppressed and having their rights trampled on simply by us asking them not to trample on others and treat others as equals, this resentment became, it seems to me, the energy driving the engine of the Trump machine.
In “What Was the Nerd? The myth of the bullied white outcast loner is helping fuel a fascist resurgence,” Willie Osterweil lays out this argument:  “Today’s American fascist youth is neither the strapping Aryan jock-patriot nor the skinheaded, jackbooted punk: The fascist millennial is a pasty nerd watching shitty meme videos on YouTube, listening to EDM, and harassing black women on Twitter. Self-styled “nerds” are the core youth vanguard of crypto-populist fascist movements… The myth of nerd oppression let every slightly socially awkward white boy who likes sci-fi lay his ressentiment at the feet of the nearest women and people of color… The Gamergate movement… engaged in widespread coordinated harassment of women and queer people in the gaming world in a direct attempt to purge non-white-male and non-right-wing voices, all the while claiming they were the actual victims...”

So this is the third big false equivalence coming from the Trump-right.  You have these groups (whites, men, Christians) who have been on top for a long time and now they are pissed off at being asked to let others (blacks, Muslims, LGBTQ, Latino, women) be on equal footing with them… and they twist it around so that THEY feel victimized.  And I think this lies at the hart of the Right’s hatred for “political correctness” – which to them is some kind of oppressive infringement on their rights, and to us simply means, “Hey, don’t be a dick to people, okay?”  Someone points out to you that it’s not cool to make fun of disabled people or use the n-word, and you respond like you are the one being victimized!?

These two things are not equivalent!  If someone with more power and more privilege punches down on you or oppresses you or denies you the same rights and freedoms they enjoy then you are being victimized.  If someone with less power, privilege and clout than you demands that you stop victimizing them, that does not make you a victim!  You do not get to feel righteous anger at not being able to punch down on people; people getting punched down upon do get to feel righteous anger at you for bullying and oppressing them.  Because the oppression you (white, Christian, straight man) feel is in your head (“War on Christmas!?”  Seriously?)  While the oppression and bullying and double-standard experienced by African-Americans, Latinos, Muslims, LGBTQ people, and even the female half of the population) exists in actual reality.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Don't Bring Feelings to a Fact Fight

I wrote in my last post about my intolerance for Trump supporters, concluding that valuing tolerance does not mean tolerating EVERYTHING and that some things remain intolerable.  I still have more to say and think through as I continue to process what I think and how I feel.  I’m going to do these in a series of posts and try to impose some logic and order to it.

Here, I want to pick up the thread that tolerance is not the same as moral relativism and my impatience with Trump supporters drawing this objectively absurd and false equivalence between Trump, Pence and Bannon on the one side and Obama and the Clintons on the other.  (For more on that, I highly recommend this: )  

The moral relativists want to say that all views no matter how extreme and destructive are the same, so the things Trump (“waterboarding and worse”), Pence (advocating for conversion “therapy” to be used on gay kids), Bannon (didn’t want his kids going to private school b/c there were “too many Jews”), Sessions (said white lawyers who defend black clients are “race traitors”), and Flynn (said Islam is a “cancer”) say and advocate is all somehow no worse than advocating for clean energy, a path to citizenship, and universal healthcare.  

The same false equivalency often extends to the kind of arguments these people make.  You get reasoned, fact-based arguments from one side and the other offers false info, goofy internet conspiracy theories, feelings, and religious beliefs.  You've seen it on TV: You have a trained historian, an expert on the Holocaust who has done years of research and written books on the subject... and he's sitting there on TV w/ a Holocaust denier who's practically wearing a tinfoil hat and he wants to be taken just as seriously.

I accept there is a realm for legitimate political differences – stemming from policy differences, questions about the best way to achieve goals, trying to find the correct analysis of facts… but also basic political philosophies about rights, the duties of citizens and the duties of government, etc.

However, taking all of that into account, I can still be a “moral realist,” which means there are actual, objectively right and wrong (or “better and worse”) answers to moral questions – testable and provable based on data-driven, real world evidence!

Let me use homosexuality as an example.  We can prove w/ actual, fact-based evidence that pedophilia is bad: it traumatizes and harms its victims.  But objections to homosexuality are always reducible to misinformation (“Gays are all pedophiles”), or non-provable opinions based in either personal taste (“That’s gross”) or religion (“That’s a sin”), neither of which counts as fact-based evidence.  This is why marriage equality won in the Supreme Court: because they couldn’t offer any evidence based in the real, shared, observable world as to any harm it would cause.

After Texas de-funded Planed Parenthood, the deaths of low-income women from complications in childbirth DOUBLED!  Those are actual, real deaths the Republican Party caused – not kooky hysteria over make-believe Obamacare “death panels.”  That is fact based evidence.

Sam Harris wrote: “Meaning, values, morality, and the good life must relate to facts about the well-being of conscious creatures – and, in our case, must lawfully depend upon events in the world and upon states of the human brain.” (The Moral Landscape, 2010)

Trans rights to access public bathrooms?  Fact:  There is no case anywhere in U.S. history of a trans person molesting anyone in a public restroom or someone posing as a trans person to molest someone in a public restroom even though some large cities and some whole states have had trans bathroom rights in the laws since the ‘90s.  Feeling: “But allowing trans-women to go into the ladies room makes me feel scared or uncomfortable.”  Those two things are not equivalent!  You morally can’t inhibit people’s rights and impose an undue burden upon them just because you might FEEL uncomfortable – not when those feelings aren’t based in any real world evidence… and are actually contradicted by the evidence.  (“I don’t want to share bathrooms and water fountains w/ black people because – ew, gross!”)

Sex education?  Every study has shown that districts with abstinence only sex “education” have higher rates of teen pregnancy than districts w/ comprehensive, science-based sex ed.  How you feel about that or your religious beliefs (or what the Pope says God says) doesn’t count the same as actual, objective evidence.  You’re bringing subjective feeling and opinion to a fact fight.

(Incidentally, as a moral realist, I don’t claim there is only one right answer to a particular moral problem; only that, based in objective evidence, some answers are provably better than others.  In some cases there may be many answers that are good… but almost always there will be some answers that can be clearly shown to be wrong.)

Why am I making a big deal of this?  Because just like the normalization of Donald Trump (trying to make him, Pence, and Bannan look like the conservative equivalents of Obama and Clinton) is a false equivalence, so too are many of the arguments conservatives bring to the table where they try to argue from opinion or feeling.  I am not anti-religion, but what your Bible says (for example) isn’t equivalent to actual real world data about health, happiness and well being.  All that view is, is an implicit moral relativism – b/c if your subjective beliefs and feelings count as much as actual facts… well, then so does everyone’s, and fuck all chance of finding an answer!

In my next post, I plan to address a third false equivalence I’m sick of: straight, white Christians men feeling victimized and oppressed by liberal "political correctness" – acting like us asking them not to be a bigot is the same as them stepping on the rights of women, LGBTQ people, blacks, Muslims and other minorities.

Friday, November 11, 2016

I won’t be Neville Chamberlain.

I’ve written so many pages trying to analyze and process what has happened to our country/world… too many to post.  I think what is most immediately on my mind however, is a question I’ve been wrestling with for a year: How do I relate to my friends and family who support Trump-Pence and their platform?  Ranging from casual friends to my own brother to my wife’s parents…

According to a survey I saw (I think on Vox), in 1964, around 30% of Republicans and Democrats thought the other party was actually a danger to the US.  In 2010, it had risen up to almost 80% of both parties.  That is BAD for democracy.  It’s okay for the parties to oppose and work against one-another.  But when you hate and fear one-another, that can’t happen in a healthy democracy.  We, on the left, should not hate and fear the GOP, and visa-versa.

Seth Myers talked about how, after the election, he felt sadness, anger, and fear, but then he realized that these were the same emotions a lot of Trump supporters felt about Obama and Hillary and, “it would be wrong of me to think that my emotions are somehow more authentic than their emotions.”  I thought about that…

But he’s wrong.

Outrage at the election of Obama is not morally equivalent to outrage at the election of Trump.  Because we of one party should not view the opposition as a serious danger to the country… unless it actually is.  And, therein, lies the rub.

Recently, my Alpha posted this:  “Fuck all this "I don't unfriend people over political views" shit. If your political views include being pro genocide, anti equal rights…, hating gays, hating women, hating immigrants (and are ignorant enough to think a great wall is coming free of charge from Mexico), or thinking "I'm in favor of conservative economic policies, so I'm voting for this asshole who isn't qualified to run a country" [Note: Trump will be the first US President who never served in either public office or the military.], seriously, fuck you. I really want you to tell me if you supported him so I can avoid you forever…  Like, Stein believes in magic crystals and Johnson is libertarian, but I don't mind people voting for them as they aren't terrible, terrible people.”

Likewise, I can have friends who supported Bush-Cheney or voted for Romney or McCain. I disagree with them – but those fall within the realm of normal political disagreements.  Trump is NOT a normal case!  Trump is a dangerous narcissist with obvious sociopahic tendencies (total lack of empathy) who has casually talked about murdering innocent people (killing the families of terrorists), bragged about committing sexual assault, said he will have people tortured (“waterboarding and worse”), and praised totalitarian dictators as examples of great leadership.  Trump is NOT the conservative equivalent to Obama or the Clintons (that would be more in line w/ Romney, McCain or George H.W. Bush).  No, Trump is such an extreme case that the Left equivalent of him would be like Mao or Stalin.

To those who say:  “To all posters... Please STOP trying to put this country in Civil War... Don't try to divide this nation more”…  You are basically Neville Chamberlain.  People who are posting junk like, “Apparently tolerance and compromise only applies to others,” are making a (deliberate?) false equivalence.  Asking for tolerance for the views of a typical, centrist left-moderate like Obama or Clinton (universal healthcare and family leave, for instance, are common, ordinary things throughout most of the civilized world) is not equivalent to asking to tolerate the views of a man who talked casually about murdering innocent people, said “laziness is a trait in blacks,” argued for greater nuclear proliferation, said Mexican-Americans are drug dealers and rapists, said he will order torture, ban all Muslims from entering the country, etc. Fighting for tolerance does not mean fighting to tolerate EVERYTHING. Tolerance is not total moral relativism. Some things remain intolerable.

I will not be tolerant of your support of Trump.  That has moved too far outside of the normal political disagreements that are actually (usually) healthy for democracy.  I won’t be tolerant of it any more than I would tolerate white supremacists, fascists, or ISIS.  There is a line beyond which you are no longer welcome at my table.

Monday, June 20, 2016

There's No Smiling in Old Guard!

For my friends who are interested in leather history and protocols, I recommend the latest episode of the NoSafeWord show.  Their topic is Old Guard vs. New Guard, and its discussed by two, young puppy-boys who have experience in both settings.  It's very good.  The only thing I dislike is the use of "Old Guard" - I'd rather say "Traditional" Leather, meaning that type of style that developed among guy men in late '60s and '70s, whereas "THE Old Guard" refers to specific (and mostly mythical) group of men from the '50s and '60s.  But, that aside, I think this is a great conversation about the traditional vs. modern leather scene.  The big difference being whether or not you're allowed to smile in photographs...

The conversation on Old vs. New leather starts about halfway through the episode , if you want to skip to it. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Frolicon 2016

Time again this year, as I have traditionally done each year, for my Frolicon post.  I always have to, first, re-state that this is always our favorite con of the year!  There’s just nothing else like Frolicon!


Thursday was my 9th wedding anniversary with my lovely Owner, Shdwkitten!  She was already down in Atlanta w/ her boyfriend, Poet, a day ahead of me.  So Thursday I joined them, with my omega pup, Cuddles, in tow.  After the omega and I got checked in, the four of us hung out in Ma’am and Poet’s room – and started drinking… and playing with squeaky toys!  *wags*

The four of us went down to a party in the Presidential Suit and hung out w/ a couple of old friends… and I gave away my squeaky ball to an adorable, little bio-doggie someone had brought to the party.


Hunter, our Alpha-pup, arrived Friday morning, joining me and Cuddles in our room.  Also, our pack-mate Loki was in-town, so he and his brother, Nitro, joined us at Frolicon for the day.  We all went out for breakfast: Alpha, beta, omega, Loki, Nitro, my Owner, and her boyfriend.  It was a fun time.  I love this new hotel location; so many food options w/in walking distance (and a liquor store right across the street).

We returned to the hotel about 11:00, and I went up to our room to change and prep for my 1:00 Pup Play 101 class… and got a frantic call telling me, “You class is RIGHT NOW!”  So Cuddles and I grabbed shit and rushed downstairs.  Apparently they changed the class time (but didn’t update the website), so I arrived about 20 minutes late to my own class.  I felt bad about that – but there was a large turn-out, and somehow I managed to cover almost everything in my outline in just an hour.  And I had Cuddles and Hunter in pup mode while I talked, and they were great!  And Hunter only knocked one person out of his chair (Nitro) and only injured himself a little.  So, despite the late/frantic start it was good class.

After that, we changed into gear/costumes so we could do family photos in the dungeon.  I got into my new latex Dainese suit.  They always take good photos at Frolicon – the shitty part is that it takes like 6 months before you get your photos (if ever).  Still, it’s a tradition…

I soon had to change out of my latex skin because we were hosting a puppy mosh at 4:00.  So it was out of latex and into spandex.  The mosh was fucking pawesome!  We had 11 or 12 pups and one kitty cat.  It was very high energy.  Every time it started to collapse into a cuddle pile some pup would rush and pounce, and it would explode into activity again.  It really was one of the most fun moshes I’ve ever been in!  Hunter, in particular, was in perfect Hunter-like form.  By the end of the mosh all the Handlers (except Loki) were scared of him.  He was a terror!  LOL.  I really can’t overstate how fun this mosh was. 

After the mosh, I grabbed food with my packmates before we went to the swimming pool to meet up with friends and fellow pups.  The pool was fun – but cold, so we didn’t stay in it long.  (Atlanta was unseasonably chilly.)

Friday night arrived and that meant more alcohol and room parties!  Cuddles got into his sexy Robin costume and I got my Nightwing on (didn’t realize the Bat-Dance party was Saturday night), and we each grabbed a bottle of rum-and-coke, and, along w/ our Alpha, we headed down to the Ren fair party first and then up to the jocks’ “frat party.”  There was a bed w/ restraints at the frat party, so Alpha chained me down and teased me for an hour.  He’s had me locked in chastity for almost a year, and at this point it’d been 12 days since the last time he allowed me to cum, so I was very horny.  Alpha edged me for about an hour, and also invited others at the party to touch, pet, and stroke me.  (There’s something very hot about being tied down, helpless, in a room full of strangers and hearing the words, “You can touch him if you’d like.”)  At one time I had four different people touching me.  It was so wonderful!  Woof!  And so it was a very horny Nightwing that Hunter led back to his hotel room… and locked back into chastity.  :o


We had to get up painfully early for the Puppy Olympics at 10 am.  I got into my sexy rubber gear for the dog show.  The Olympics we great – especially considering this was our first time doing this.  It came about because last year our friend Gator had a laugh playing w/ my pack when we stopped by his booth in the vendor’s room, and he was inspired to put this together for the pup community.  We had 11 pups compete in the contest.  Everybody got an engraved doggie bowl to take home.  I won first place in the appearance and trick category and my pug, Cuddles, won second place in agility course.  Congrats to the fantastic Archon who won first place!  The obstacles Gator had built were really cool.  The whole thing was lots of fun.  *wags*

After that, I walked over to the mall for sandwiches w/ Poet, Kitten, and my two packmates.  We returned to the con hotel and wandered.  I was stopped a few times so people could get pictures of/with the pretty rubber pup.

The afternoon brought my Pup 201 class, which Hunter helped me with.  I like the material we cover in this class, but it was a little rocky b/c only two of the people in there had been in the 101 class, so…  And we somehow sacred away two “vanilla” couples.  I call them “vanilla” b/c I’m not sure they were in the right con…  I don’t know… Hunter said something about pouncing his Handler and having sexy-fun time, and something caused the four of them to look scandalized and walk out.  Maybe they were homophobic or just prudish, I don’t know…

Ma’am didn’t make it to the 201 class b/c she was getting the make-up done for her Famine costume.  She looked amazing!  Actually ALL of my Owner’s outfits looked great.  Every time I saw her she had changed into a different costume, and every time she was beautiful!  She is a stunner, and I am a lucky wolfhound!  *wags*

The 201 class was the last of my pack’s obligations, so I finally felt “off duty.”  We did some wandering w/ my Alpha keeping me on-leash.  I was still in full rubber, and a couple of more people asked for photos.

We went to the petting zoo – which we ended up having to jump in and help with, back “on duty.”  We helped them move in floor mats, we provided treats and water, Hunter acted as Handler making sure the human-animals stayed hydrated and helping facilitate interaction between the human-animals and people.  Cuddles and I were there in pup-mode, along w/ a couple of other dogs, some cats, a donkey, and a lizard. It was fun.

After the zoo, I went up to the room to peel out of my latex.  I went and found my Owner, and then she, Poet, the pug, and I went to the lip-synch contest.  That was so much fun!  Next year Hunter and I are going to do it and already know what song we are doing.  This is exactly why Frolicon is our favorite con.  It’s got a dungeon, it’s got theme parties, it’s got a burlesque show every night, it’s got other silly (adult) shows like stand-up comedy, stage magic and live music, it’s got great classes (kink and non-kink), it’s got a round-the-clock gaming room, the vendors' room has a guy selling comic books right next to a guy selling floggers, there’s cos-play, and it attracts a super-diverse crowed…  It’s just the best!

So, after the lip-synch contest, Cuddles and I were going to go to the Bat-Dance party.  We had just changed into out Nightwing and Robin costumes – but then Hunter comes into the room and announces that we are going to the American Horror Story party in the jocks’ room instead.  Yes, Sir!  So we changed clothes.  I pulled on my rubber skin w/ the green racing stripes and a leather gimp hood… and Hunter got into my old PVC body suit and my rubber gasmask.  Woof!  I mean WOOF!  Super-sexy Alpha-pup.  Our pug pulled on his blue zentai… and Hunter leashed us and took us downstairs.  This time it was the omega’s turn to be on the bed.  We held him down and teased him and invited a couple of other people to join us.  It was fun and sexy!  I kept one paw petting Cuddles and one paw petting Hunter.  Officially: The stupidest thing I’ve ever done is to not lend that PVC suit (which is a little small for me – I’m 6’3” and I think Hunter is 6’) to Hunter years ago.  I haven’t worn it in 2 or 3 years; it’s been sitting in my closet.  What the fuck was I thinking!?  He was hot as fuck!  Woof!  Between Hunter in that and Cuddles in his zentai, I was horny as all get-out.  And still locked back into chastity and not allowed to cum…  :o

Aw, well.  That night was a fine ending to a great con.  The event was great, the hotel was great, the puppy track was a success, I loved spending time w/ friends – new and old – and most of all being w/ my wonderful family and pack who I love.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

I am Not a Switch, Dom, or Top... I'm a beta!

 Recently, I was at a kink community dinner party w/ my omega, Cuddles.  Nothing formal, just a bunch of kinky friends and chosen family having a pot-luck, but before we started, our host explained the protocol would be for Doms to get their food first (either get it themselves or send their slaves to fix them a plate) and then the subs could get their food.  And then, our host turned to me and said, “You can… go whenever.”

I was actually confused for a moment.  Being a sub, I was already taking it for granted that I’d go as part of the second wave, after the Doms all had their food on their plates.  Then, in a second, my brain caught up.  Oh, I have a collar.  But I’m here w/ Cuddles and he’s wearing my collar.  So, they think maybe I’m a switch, and I’m his Dom…?

However, I’m not a switch, Dom, or Top.  I’m a beta pup!

“Puppies fuck up everything.”  That’s the running joke Justin St. Clair (author of Bark!) started, by which he points out how most of the usual M/s and Leather rules get thrown right out the window as soon as pups arrive on the scene.  It’s true.  Most everything that is a given in M/s-Leather world is all screwed around in the pup community.

I think for most of the community, the easiest protocol to understand is: if a boy has a collar on then he is owned by someone.  He is property.  However, most puppies regard a dog collar (and sometimes the dog tag as well) as part of their gear.  It’s something that helps w/ headspace.  Many “stray” pups who are un-owned wear collars, and some pups wear “pack collars” even if they don’t have an Owner. 

One convention that is somewhat common in the pup community – although hardly universal – is that a collar w/ a lock signifies ownership.  Personally, I really like this approach.  In my pack, two of the six puppies wear locked collars, me and Loki, and we are also the only two who are owned property.  The collar Cuddles wears was a gift from me to him, beta to omega, but it’s not a “collar of ownership” like I wear or like Loki’s locked chain.  It's more like a collar of protection and mentoring.  I consider him my omega, but I don’t consider Cuddles my property.  I don’t own him… I just surpass him in the pack order and have a very close beta-omega relationship w/ him.

 omega pup Cuddles, beta pup Emrys, and Alpha pup Hunter

Which brings us to the whole Alpha/beta/omega thing.  Typically, this is how modern pups sort themselves out.  Traditionally puppy play began in gay leather bars and clubs as a way to punish and humble boys.  So the boys were submissive bottoms, presumably owned and collared by a Daddy or Master, and puppy play was an activity they were “forced” to engage in.  In this traditional leather model, the relationship dynamic fit w/in the usual definitions of M/s or D/s… and some pups still fit this mold.  (We call them “curs” or “slave-pups”… and I tend to find them more common in the hetro-FemDomme community than among gay pups.)   However, the majority of modern puppies sort themselves out by Alpha, beta, and omega and doesn’t really fit w/in this traditional M/s or D/s mold… and part of the issue is that, while M/s and D/s exist as diametric poles, Alpha/beta/omega exist as points long the same continuum.

I used to define Alpha pups as pups who are Dominants/Sadists/Tops.  In the course of the last year, now having the irrepressible HunterGreenee as my Alpha, I’ve come to re-think this.  Today, I think of Alpha more as pack leader.  So f you ask me if a lone pup who is a Sadistic Top is an Alpha… my answer would, now, tend to be, no.  Because now I see this title as more of a relationship thing, so I think you kind of have to have beta pups under you to be an Alpha.  In much the same way that (e.g.) you can’t call yourself an Owner if you don’t have property you own, right?

So, Alpha is the dog in charge of the pack, the leader, the one who makes the decisions and issues the marching orders.  And, yes, he’s probably also a Dom and a Sadist – but that’s not, I would argue, the defining trait of an Alpha.

Hunter being all in charge

A beta, like me, is often involved in training and caring for the omega and then may also offer advice to the Alpha.  Sometimes betas step-in for Alpha and then sometimes betas haul the luggage up to the hotel room along w/ the omega.

Some define omega as the most submissive of the pack… but I see it just as often as the one who is low-pup-on-totem-pole more by virtue of being youngest, newest, or most inexperienced.  I like to explain my relationship w/ my omega as being like big brother/little brother or mentor/mentee.  We’re both submissive.  Neither of us is a D-type, but I’m the more mature dog, the more experienced, and higher up in the pack order.

My FetLife profile makes it clear enough.  It says:
owned and collared by shdwkitten
Protecting CuddlyPup
submissive of HunterGreenee

“Protecting” Cuddles is a pretty accurate translation, in my mind, of the beta’s role towards his omega.  (I also offered Cuddles, as an option, “mentoring” – he chose “protecting.”)  I am looking out for him.  I do appreciate it, as a courtesy, when people ask me, “May I?” before they do this or that or whatever to him… but I don’t require that or get bent out of shape if I don’t get asked.  (As long as they ask him!)  Likewise Cuddles doesn’t need my permission before he plays w/ someone or hooks-up w/ someone.  That’s all him.  I offer advice, I try to steer him in a positive direction and foster his growth, and I do look out for his safety… but he’s not my property, I’m not his Owner, and we’re both subs (although I’m a much better behaved submissive than he is - pugs are brats!)… and, at least in bed, he’s actually more of a Top than I am.  (Thank goodness b/c my pug is hung!)