Tuesday, July 29, 2014

New Bio-dog and New omega Human-pup

We lost one beloved bio-puppy.  We acquired a new bio-puppy who now has a funny name.  And I picked up a stray human-puppy along the way.

Our weekend began on a sad note regarding one of our bio-puppies: Branwen, our 9-year-old white lab/husky mix.  Poor Branwen was bit by a venomous spider (probably a brown recluse) a couple of weeks ago.  She was back a forth to the vet a lot the last couple of weeks, staying over night a couple of times.  We'd try some things and she'd start to recover but then relapse.  The toxin apparently caused her to turn anemic (her white blood cells were attacking her red blood cells) and some ulcers opened up in her stomach causing more blood loss.  Finally, after trying almost everything, and with her too weak to walk anymore, we had her euthanized early Saturday morning. :(

Because our wolf-dog Thunder has such bad separation anxiety and goes bananas if he's ever left alone without a pack-mate, we knew we had to get another dog right away.  We went to our local no-kill rescue on the way home from the vet Saturday and adopted a beautiful Great Pyrenees whom we named LeeLoo Dallas Multipass - or just LeeLoo for short.  She's three years old.  I think she's around 70 lbs right now (?) but underweight.  She is very beta; she has the sweetest temperament.  She's an extreme snuggle-bug who will try to crawl into your lap.  So far she is getting on with Thunder.  He snarls at her from time to time, but hasn't been at all dangerously aggressive.  I think they'll soon become good pack-mates.

It was very nice though this to have the support and love of our friends and chosen family.  Friday, we had Poet up here and my human-pup pack-mates: Bishop, Gwynn, and Alpha-pup Loki; and we were also joined by my new omega puppy Cuddles.  Cuddles is fairly new to the BDSM lifestyle (under a year still, I think) and has only identified as a pup since 2 weeks ago – but I think he’s an innate human-puppy much like myself.  He’s a pug and (as the name implies) he’s a snuggle-bug.  He was curious about puppy play and joined our first mosh at SELF last month and we puped-out at CAPEX after that.  Then he came down to Atlanta Dominion with me, and I gave him one of my old dog collars to wear or he weekend, figuring it would help him feel more comfortable and get into the pup headspace.  He had a great time and really liked the collar… so we agreed that he could have that collar as his own first puppy collar and I’d make him a tag:  “CUDDLES omega of beta pup Emrys”  *wags*

So, if you’re just familiar w/ traditional M/s dynamics this is maybe a bit confusing especially because I am not a Dominant.  How, you ask, can someone wear your collar if you aren't dominant!?  Well, basically, think about an actual dog pack:

When you have human (i.e. non-puppy) Dominants in charge, they are commonly identified as Hander or Trainer… or Owner if they actually own the pup as their 24/7 property.  (e.g. Shdwkitten is my Owner.)  At least that’s how I look at it: Hander/Trainer is more like a Top role during a scene while Owner implies a relationship status.

Then, as w/ a real dog-pack, you have Alphas: human-pups who are Dominants… and usually sadists who enjoy biting and clawing and hurting the other puppies.  (e.g. Sir Loki is our Alpha-pup – and he often also takes the role of Hander during a scene when we want to play and mosh.)

And then you have your beta and omega pups who relate to one-another kind of like senior and junior submissive – or as I often like to use, big-brother and little brother.  Hunter and I started to identify as beta/omega this spring at Frolicon.  It’s hardly a heavy-protocol D/s thing – I get to hold his leash sometimes and he’s usually quick to fetch me a drink or something like that if I need something – but he’s my mischievous “little brother.”  And now (bringing this rabbit trail full circle) I have another omega: Cuddles.  Yay!

So Cuddles got to wear his collar and shinny, new tag at CAPEX Saturday, and I was very proud of him.  He’s such a good, little doggie.  Other highlights included an awesome dinner at a super-authentic Italian restaurant, Ma’am wearing a sexy black mesh dress, playing w/ my new puppy while Poet stuck porcupine quills in my electrically charged Owner, Sir tying Gwynn and I together and beating the hell out of both of us, I got to give Bishop and Gwynn their breed pins to go w/ their pack vests (Bishop actually got a button b/c nobody makes Hyena pins – but it looks great on his vest), fun in the Jacuzzi tub w/ puppies and littles, finishing the night w/ more sexy fun time w/ my omega, and finishing off the weekend by curling up w/ the family to laugh and watch Peter Sellers in A Shot in the Dark, the best, classic Pink Panther flick.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Fire and Ice… and a few Films

This weekend we watched some movies, saw people on fire, saw liquid nitrogen used on people, I got to pup-out w/ my Owner, and Jesus watched over us all.

Friday night, Poet and I did some home improvements for the Treehouse (yea… pluming…), before the three of us settled down to watch Alfred Hitchcock’s Rope.  Rope is generally considered to be one of Hitch’s lesser films: experimenting w/ the idea of doing a film in (what appears to be) one, continuous take.  I think it’s a pretty good movie w/ some great, witty dialogue penned by Hume Cronyn, and great performances by the two lead actors – and also by Cedrick Hardwick (whose son would later play my favorite Dr. Watson opposite Jeremy Brett).  To me, the biggest weakness of the film is its miscast star James Stewart.  The film is inspired by the Leopold and Loeb murder of 1924 in which two cerebral homosexual lovers who misread too much Nietzsche murdered a 14-year-old boy just for intellectual kicks.  Hitch’s film introduces the character of Rupert Cadell (Stewart) as the mysterious, charming, witty, genius, rouge philosopher who (it is implied) once canoodled w/ one of the murders when he was in prep school and who unintentionally inspired the murder.  Hitchcock wanted Cary Grant for the role of Cadell and Grant would have been prefect.  Stewart (a great actor) is completely miscast and doesn’t come off as charming or mysterious or even a genius – even if he has some very witty dialogue written for him.  I give it a B-.  Fun but flawed.

Saturday we drove down to SC for Columbia TNG’s Fire and Ice demo w/ Mr. Vanilla and Dr. Tactical.  This was one of the best demos I’ve seen recently!  First Mr. Vanilla did fire play.  This was actually the very first thing I ever tried my first time at a CAPEX party long, long ago – and led to me being asked to be a fire play demo bottom at CAPEX two months later, which led to me becoming one of the regular demo-bottoms at CAPEX back in the early-mid 2000s.  But what made this demo stand out was really Mr. Vanilla’s sense f humor.  He’s a very entertaining presenter.  Dr. Tactical is also lots of fun, and his liquid nitrogen demo has been a big hit at Frolicon.  It’s fun and very unique.  After they each did their things, they then did a scene/performance together co-topping one bottom w/ fire and liquid nitrogen at the same time – and just for fun they threw in a little electricity, too.  It was way cool!  My Owner is working on booking them to do this at CAPEX next year, which is part of the reason we went down there to see this.

One other fun fact worth mentioning: This event was held in a Catholic men’s fraternity hall (“Yes, they know what we’re doing.”) w/ Jesus on his crucifix hanging over the demo/dungeon space.  That added a whole other level of comedy to the event, as you can imagine.  One that sticks out, when the guys did something that got their demo bottom to go, “Oh, god, oh, god, oh, god, oh, god!” and Mr. Vanilla just turns and gives Jesus a thumbs up.  LOL

The play party… wasn’t as great.  They had one big, open space w/ no separate space for socializing, so (1) most of the play furniture was being used by people sitting on/around it talking, and (2) when you played, there was no way not to hear all the surrounding conversations.  The other issue was that they only provided water – no snack food or soda – and we each had varying degrees of blood sugar drop.

Those issues aside, we had fun.  Ma’am beat me up, and then I got on my pup gear.  I chose my PVC suit.  I love how sexy this suit is, but it doesn’t breath, so it’s not great for heavy moshing.  This evening, there were no other pups to play with, so I figured it’d be good.  Ma’am and Poet were planning on playing next, so I was just going to hang out near their feet while they played and follow them around on all fours.  But my Owner really surprised her hound by asking some folks to clear off the mat where they were sitting and talking so we could use it.  Ma’am got down on all fours and romped w/ her puppy.  That was an unexpected treat – especially since I had my hood on, and Ma’am generally isn’t crazy about my hood.  She’s still not crazy about it, but afterwards she did complement how much it brings out my green eyes.  So Shdwkitten and I played on the mat w/ one of my fetch toys while Poet went outside to smoke a cigar.

Then Ma’am left me w/ 3 or 4 of the Columbia TNG kids to pet me and play a little more fetch w/ me while she checked-in w/ Poet.  I love having new people pet me and play w/ me while I’m in pup-mode!  That’s a lot of the joy of being a puppy and going out to events in pup-mode.  I’d have stayed in pup-mode longer (although I was about ready to just curl up and puppy nap for a bit), but when Ma’am came back she was concerned about how hot I was.  Literally hot - she didn’t want her puppy to overheat.  So she took me out of my gear… I sat w/ her and Poet in the cigar tent for a while where we met a cool kid from Asheville who recognized us from the Domination events we go to up there… and then we decided we needed to head home/go find snack food.

Sunday, Kitten made us breakfast, and we decided to have a lazy day in front of the TV.  We watched the Lego movie.  It’s really good.  It starts out okay and gets better as it goes – and the ending is really perfect.  After that we watched Kelly’s Heroes, a fun, classic comedy/war movie w/ a great cast that came out the same year as M*A*S*H (which also stared Donald Sutherland)… Then Kitten cooked a fabulous dinner and we finished off our evening w/ a really good BBC Shakespeare documentary.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

More Plugs, Weekend Highlights, & Pack Plans

Sir Loki interviewed on KinkyCast, a pug falls in love with an electric chair, and 2014 looks good for plenty of puppy time…

First, a few more plugs:

The KinkyCast was at SELF this year and recorded about a dozen very good, quick interviews w/ the likes of Flossie, Dr. Clockworks, Laura Antoniou, and Orange:
(Laura’s interview, in particular, is great!)

And I especially want to highlight one.  They did a quick interview w/ my Alpha, Sir Loki, during our second (more subdued) puppy mosh of the weekend.  Sir talks about what pup play is, where it came from, different types of pups, misconceptions about puppies…  You should check it out:

I also want to pre-plug an upcoming podcast dedicated to puppy play being put-together by Pup Dante in North Florida.  It’s “The Mosh Pit.”  Episode 1 isn’t out yet, but he has an episode 00 preview up on podcastgarden.com

I’ve plugged them before, but I’ll mention again the NoSafeWord podcast – it’s the funniest and most well produced kink podcast I know, and they are very pup friendly!  I think they’ve had more pups on as guests than anything else… AND they will be recording a live show at (this is a double-plug) Southeast Black & Blue (where my pack will be, and my family is teaching a couple of classes).  Looking forward to that – but if you don’t have your ticket yet, act fast b/c they are w/in 20 tickets selling out!

Okay, plugs aside, what else is going on?

So last weekend was Atlanta Dominion, our all-male play party.  And I’m just going to do the highlight reel thing this time around:

We had Bishop as our houseguest for the last week.  It was nice to spend time w/ him.

Got to spend some more fun time w/ a brand new puppy, Cuddles, and I’m really enjoying getting to know him and seeing him explore new things.  He’s a natural pup: a snuggly pug lap dog.  And he has that new puppy smell.

Saturday night, we had a fairly well assembled pack at 1763 (one of Atlanta’s dungeons), and that was great: Sir and me, Hunter, Bishop and Gwynn.  I’m a lucky wolfhound to have such fantastic pack-mates.

During an Atlanta Bound rope demo, Sir started to occupy himself by tying four of his pups together wrist-to-wrist-to-wrist-to-wrist.  LOL.  What could possibly go wrong?

That night (Saturday) we got to see Sir give Bishop his pack vest, and Bishop got just a little teary eyed.  Sir gives all of us in the “core pack” (those of us who recognize Loki as our Alpha) a leather vest w/ the puppy pride flag patched on the back, a bone-shaped name tag, and a breed pin (for which Bishop poses a unique challenge b/c he’s a hyena, and hyena pins are hard to come by).  So, congratulations again to my laughing pack-mate!

And the Saint Bernard tied me to a cross and beat the hell out of me – using only his Florentine floggers and one paddle… well, and his teeth and claws.  As usual, Sir and I have awesome energy when we play together, and he leaves me high as a kite.  Woof!

Sunday, Dominion was fun.  We got a mini-mosh going: Me, Cuddles, MadeIn88 – and then Ace and Soma got on the mats as we were winding down.  One of the things I love about Dominion: there can be 6 or 7 of us in the dining room talking and suddenly someone points out that everyone in the room is a puppy!  I got to introduce Cuddles to some people, and he got affectionately petted, humped, and groped.  There was sexy-fun-time w/ the pack on the smoking patio.  And I enjoyed watching Cuddles fall in love w/ the electric chair – and he hasn’t even been in it yet, LOL.

Upcoming 2014 pack plans:
We’re going to have a mini puppy invasion at CAPEX this month.
Next month is the afore mentioned Southeast Black & Blue at the Atlanta Eagle
September is Dominion again
October is the big CAPEX Halloween floor party, and I know Sir, at least, is going to make it up for that
November, my family will be at the Upstate Steam con in SC, and then it’s Dominion again
December: Chrstma-Hanu-Quansa-Yule gathering at the Treehouse

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Two Plugs in Want of Pun

I tried to come up w/ a clever pun b/c one of these plugs is about keeping your tail in, but I got nothing, so leave your own pun in the comments and the best one gets a no-prize.

So, I want to plug a specific post by GPup-Alpha: "Why I Want to Bite Some People."  He starts: "A good mate of mine wrote to me very upset, he was in pain, and worse he felt humiliated. The night before my friend had decided to head out to his local leather bar in his pup gear. He was really proud, he looks great and he wanted to give his new tail (one of the new colored SquarePeg tails) a spin."

Like GPup's unfortunate friend, most of us pups have had to face the issue of some jackass wanting to tug our tail.  GPup's post explains why that's uncool, and he gives some good advice for pups who want to wear their tails out in public.  (Plus it has a fantastic photo of his really amazing ass wrapped in some kind of neoprene suit - seriously, go look.)


My second plug is for a blog one of my best friends started late last year called Thoughtful Mirth.  "Serious reflections about the world of entertainment."  He writes very smart and fun pieces about classic rock, video games (history and industry), movie reviews, entertainment theory, and hidden gems.  If you have an interest in any of that stuff, check it out:


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Leather, part 3 – AIDS, the Internet, and the Myth of the Old Guard

I’m not an expert in leather history or culture, but I play one on TV.  I’ve always found leather itself a turn-on (the smell of it makes me hard), but I don’t make it into a whole “lifestyle.”  I have a problem w/ how history has turned into myth and myth has turned, for some, into a kind of religion – and some of these leather people are obnoxiously fundamentalist about their Leather religion.  Most of you already know what I’m talking about: the worship of and identification w/ a mythical Old Guard, the adherence for “traditions” that are mostly only a decade old, the formalization of rituals, protocols, and creeds, the exclusivity of setting yourselves apart as just “too cool for school,” and (worst of all) the religious attitude which Doris Lessing labeled “we are saved; you are damned” (i.e. an attitude of placing yourself on a pedestal w/ the “good people” and judgmentally looking down on all the others – in this case furries, pups, dipper fetishists, age players, etc.).

In part 1, I looked at the evidence we have regarding the Old Guard.  What we really find is that there were some masculine, gay, WWII vets who were into rough sex who saw Marlin Brando in The Wild One, thought he was hot (and… yeah, young Marlin Brando was pretty fucking hot, let’s be honest) and went out to buy the leather outfit.  But fundamentally these guys were sexual outlaws cruising as loners or in small bands, deep in the closet (this was the 1950’s for gods’ sakes), and basically their only consistent “creed” was: I’ll leave you alone to what the fuck you want; you leave me alone to do what the fuck I want.

If you want to a slice of "late-Old Guard" caught on tape, I highly recommend Kenneth Anger’s 1963 experimental short film Scorpio Rising.  From IMDB: “An army of gay/nazi bikers make their engines roar and ride the way to pain/pleasure as sexual and sadistic symbols are intercut into the dazing chaos and rhythmic experiences of this underground film by cult director Anger.”

In part 2, I looked for the real emergence of Leather culture and found it more in the late 1960’s and 1970’s – a generation after the mythical Old Guard – w/ the emergence of gay publications, porn, biker clubs, leather bars, and title contests… the emergence of media that began to allow isolated men and isolated pockets to start to hook-up and communicate.  And what I found was less about protocols and M/s dynamics and hierarchies of rank and a lot of that stuff that gets labeled as “Leather” nowadays, and had a lot more to do w/ cruising, drinking, fisting, and fucking.  Raunch was bigger than rank.  Poppers were more prevalent than protocols.  M/s didn’t seem to be a big thing.  Leather was still a fetish, not a “lifestyle.”  If leather was gifted/earned it was often for performing sex acts: get fisted, earn your boots; take a hard beating, here’s a vest for you; blow a guy in a jacuzzi and he gives you chaps.  Leather was primal; leather was tribal; leather was hot; leather was fucking werewolf sex!  Growl!

Then came AIDS.

My own theory is that it was a reaction to the AIDS crisis that largely created the myth of Old Guard Leather.  You had three things happen.  (1) So many of the older guys who were active in the Leathersex scene in the 60’s and 70’s and early 80’s died.  You ended-up w/ a lost generation – which is ripe for mythologizing.  (2) Raunchy sex became scary as Hell.  In order to survive the Leather scene had to “clean up its act,” so to speak.  So, I think, in the late 80’s and 90’s, this is where you get greater emphasis on M/s dynamics and slave protocols.  People start to say, “It’s not really about sex,” – a staminate that (I imagine) would be laughable in 1975.  “Power exchange.”  “Energy dynamics.”  “You can’t play if you drink.”  “Have a safe call.”  (3) The scene starts expanding into the het community and you get more women coming into BDSM.  In evolutionary psychology there’s a joke that makes a point about women and men in regards to sexuality:  You put 1 man on an island w/ 100 women and a year later you have 1 man, 100 women, and 100 babies.  You put 1 woman on an island w/ 100 men and a year later you have 1 woman, 1 man, 1 baby, and 99 rotting corpses.  Ho, ho.  Up until modern times, back when many women used to die in childbirth, sex was always riskier for women than men (and still is for Hobby Lobby employees).  So, I think that as the Leather scene began expanding into the het community, this also contributed to a toning down of the raunchy, primal sex.  Even today, as someone who moves in both worlds, I find the gay BDSM scene tends to be a lot more sexual than the het scene.

Mind you, I think it’s good that we did some of this “clean up.”  Let’s face it, some of the unsafe shit that was going on in the late 70’s and 80’s… well, we saw where so much of that ended for so far too many.  It’s mostly better now that we are finding ways to get our kink on w/o putting one-another at so much crazy risk.

Then came the internet.

More influx of new people and diverse fetishes and subcultures.  I think the internet starts to create these never-ending, jerk-off debates about slave vs. submissive, SSC vs. RACK, Old Guard vs. New Guard, inclusive vs. exclusive, twue vs. false, Leather vs. everyone else.  Catherine Gross, producer of Southeast Leather Fest said (paraphrasing b/c I don’t have the exact quote) that when she started SELF 19 years ago nobody talked about “leather vs. fetish” or anything like that; back then it was all under the umbrella term “Leather.”

Somewhere in here is where Leather becomes a mythology (w/ fables, signs, symbols, legends, folk stories, sacred places, pilgrimages, rites, rituals…).

Somewhere in here is where some folks become fundamentalists in the fucking Church of Leather.  Around 2005-2008, is where I started seeing the emergence of these high protocol, paramilitary rigid, stick-up-their-butt, “You have to earn the right to wear leather by jumping through hoops A-Z,” “Leather is about honor, integrity, service, duty, honesty, thriftiness, cleanliness, and being a good boy scout,” “Fetlife is ruining Leather,” “Puppies are ruining Leather” (apparently someone actually said that to Laura Antoniou), “We’re the real deal and you are just a fetishist” – we are saved; you are damned.

At the same time, you have TNG emerging, and not surprisingly, most of the under-30 crowed (for whom coming out is a lot easier, the AIDS crisis of the 1980’s is something that happened in history, and safe sex is common sense) was rather turned-off by a lot of the BS the fundamentalists were preaching.  Many of them turned away from the whole distasteful stigma (as they saw it) of “Leather.”  Others (sometimes under the umbrella “New Guard” – although that’s probably a misnomer too) have sought to re-claim the correct history and demythologize Leather.  Listen to TNG leader Philip (Boymeat) Wolf from his “Future of Leather” speech: “Leather is not the fabric of your clothing…Leather is not your protocols. Leather is not Master and slave, or hard core SM…  Leather is not the rules you keep... Leather is not your gender, or your sexual preferences, top, bottom, Dominant, submissive... Leather is all of those things and then some. Leather has no gatekeeper; it has no board of directors, no leadership committee, and no dictionary definition. Leather is in the hands of the individual, the sexual outlaw, meeting up with other sexual outlaws and doing what feels right to them at that time.