A rant in review, three years later

Going through some old notes this morning looking for something, I found this bit from three years ago. I’m happy to see that the Albany community is in a much better place now than when I wrote this in exasperation. My thanks to those on the BoD who have worked this improvement and to those in the community who have supported the change.

Especially after C2K, I’m looking forward to what three more years might bring.


I know none of us are lawyers, but I’ve got one in the family for what that’s worth (nothing…). One thing that really worries me about our stance on the legality of our demos is the assertions that 1) Our demos are breaking laws (I don’t believe that most of them do, but for sake of argument assume they do), 2) That Albany area law enforcement would take an enforcement interest in what we do, and 3) That by holding our demos in non-public locations we’re protecting ourselves legally from that LEO interest.

Not to put too fine a point on it, legally speaking that idea is INSANE.

If in fact we’re breaking laws and if LEO cares about the laws we’re breaking (adultery is illegal in many places, but not something that’s prosecuted frequently), then the venue where we hold our events has no bearing at all on whether we’ll have legal trouble or not. Sufficient details as to what activities are planned to get a warrant are posted on all of our event announcements. If Albany is so small that the police feel the need to prosecute consensual BDSM activities between adults, then there’s nothing at all barring them from getting a warrant and busting up a private party. The “private” location is one subpoena away (and for the record, I’d personally comply with any such location served to me in a heartbeat), and a warrant could easily follow that based on what’s in our public event descriptions.

I truly don’t believe that Albany’s police or the DA care. They have real crimes to worry about. I’ve witnessed things in Rocks that go far beyond anything we have planned for a demo in terms of the level of sexual activity, and as far as I know Rocks hasn’t been busted up, and their plans for downstairs are increasing the level of activity, not curtailing it.

There’s no reason we can’t run events “legit” in Albany. By legit I mean hotel management aware that a private function is in progress and staff refilling water etc. isn’t necessary or acceptable, local police & fire consulted and signed off (if only verbally) that everything we’re doing is okay with them, and any permits, etc secured (not that I anticipate needing any for the one-night hotel stuff we do). All if that is in line with NCSF’s recommendations.

If we can’t at this point in time manage that in the capital of New York State, then why are we even wasting our time trying to put on events? If Smalbany really is that small, it’s just a matter of time until we’re all arrested for something anyways.

We need to expunge APeX of the concept that any of the secrecy we try to maintain is protecting us at all legally. Let’s start with us taking a look at our legal exposure and realistically assessing what we can do to protect ourselves and how effective those protections really are. Once APeX’s leadership can face the realities of our legal position and our status in Albany, then we can have a frank dialog with our membership about what they risk by participating in our events, what steps we can take to protect them, and what ineffective steps we can avoid that would otherwise harm us.

Where was the kaboom?

A yellow tent - the C2K logo

This writing has a sound track…
“Begin Again” • Jason Ross • Anjunabeats Worldwide 06*

I doubt this is true for all personality types, but my own unique breed of braingremlins do not do well when there’s something I’m Responsible For that I can’t actually do yet. Quite a lot of things have to get done to bring a weekend kink event together, and the thought of Letting People Down … Well… Let’s not think about that yet.

The best way to keep the braingremlins from gnawing away is to make a list and get everything done that can possibly be done as soon as it possibly can get done. There’s always a little room for last minute stuff, but if it can’t be fixed with a quick run to Staples or Dom Depot, the gremlins will not rest until it’s out of the way.

A quiet start, but you can feel the energy starting to weave its way in around 1:04.

“Sos” • Ilan Bluestone & Grum • Anjunabeats Worldwide 06

Energy, but flattened out. Square wave bass constrains the maximum amplitude. Interwoven melodies around 0:48, all the things that need doing. Purposeful melody at 1:02. Focus, accomplishment. A moment’s relaxation at 1:15, but the Things are still waiting. They’ll be back. They break through the calm at 1:30. A sharp melody strikes with the background buzz of the squares gone. Just focus. Plenty of time. Knock them out one at a time. But everything else is still looming. Focus gets buried. Forces back through the noise. Focus! Knock down what still needs doing (2:50).

Of course among the numerous things that need doing to run a kink event, there are LOTS of things that just can’t be done very far in advance. Printing name tags before all the last minute sales are done is wasteful and takes longer than just doing it all at once last minute. Oddly, most venues object to showing up with a truck load of dungeon furniture a month before you’re supposed to be there…

So anyone with similar braingremlins to mine probably understands the state of manic calm that falls in the week or two before The Day. Everything that could be finished ahead of time is. All the supplies you need to do the last minute stuff are on-hand, probably packed away in a storage tub ready to go on a truck. The name tag blanks are sitting next to the printer, the design & mail merge spreadsheet are ready. Just gotta paste those last few names in (come on folks… plan ahead a little??? 😉 and hit print. And swear at the printer for an hour because it’s 2016 and still nobody can design a laser printer that’s worth a damn when the weather’s a bit humid…

“You’ve done all you can,” is usually reserved for comfort after an epic failure. The operation was a success (but the patient died). You did all you could, doctor… The week before an event, it’s something of a mantra. You’ve got entire DAYS left you could be preparing, but there’s nothing you can do to advance the cause. You just have to wait it out. Manic calm. I SHOULD BE DOING SOMETHING!!! deep breath You’ve done all you can. For now…

“Alone Tonight (Jason Ross Remix)” • Above & Beyond & Jason Ross • Anjunabeats, Vol. 12

Then go-time arrives. There’s a big empty truck pulling up your driveway and a couple of hundred pounds of stuff on your porch to go in it. Then drive to stop two to pick up more stuff. Then three. rinse, repeat The calm part gets to take a powder, and the manic has full agency to get the job done. Adrenaline is a hell of a drug… No pain, no fatigue (well, not yet…). Just DO.

Self-care is important… I know a lot of people have to force themselves during an event to take a little time, get enough sleep, an actual honest to dog meal. Yeah… The gremlins won’t stand for that.

I’m lucky that I can bank spoons pretty well. I can take a couple of days off before the event, get my head together, do good health things like actually sleeping and eating properly and getting some good runs in. That little pre-cation is saving up for the next few days of self abuse. Once it starts, there’s no time for sleep or band-aids. There’s no bones sticking out. WALK IT OFF! Can’t let people down. I’ll be a little over-drawn on the spool account before the weekend is up, but that’s what the day after is for. Recenter, relax, kick out the manic and get back to normal (whatever that means).

The entire time, I feel Marvin the Martin standing on my shoulder. “Where’s the kaboom?? There’s supposed to be an Earth shattering KABOOM!!” Always waiting for the other shoe to drop. Misters Murphy (no, not The Blue) and Finagle are the ruling law for such things. Prepare all you want, but if anything can go wrong… (It’ll probably be expensive…)

If you’re listening, hit at least 2:02 before continuing. The rhythmic crescendo that starts there & runs through about 2:26 into the bass driven percussion running through 2:57… That’s what it sounds like in my brain when it’s go time.

“Bend Girl” • Kyau & Albert • Anjunabeats, Vol. 12
Relaxed energy. Less manic, but nothing close to quieted down. The race is over, but we’re not stopping yet. This is our victory lap.

So for all the stress and second guessing leading up to an event, it’s a precious gift when everything just falls into place (instead of just falling on the floor). With the help of a few awesome people, I feel comfortable saying C2K 2016 went off about as close to perfect as I could have asked for.

Thank you to everyone who helped. I think everyone had a great weekend, and it wouldn’t have happened without every one of you being amazing. “Whoever comes is the right people.” “Whatever happens is the only thing that could have.”

“Black Room Boy” • Above & Beyond • Group Therapy
This song is me.

And speaking of spoons… If you don’t know the Spoon Theory of mental health, take a minute to look it up. It’s a pretty good abstraction. If someone tells you they’re running low on spoons, you’ll know what they mean and have some idea how to help.

The thing about this weekend though…

Usually I’m all-the-fuck-out of spoons after being in a throng of people for three days, being no more than camp-clean (at best), sleeping on a less than ideal bed with nature to wake me up early…

This weekend I was privileged to be surrounded by all of my spoon-positive people. You’re the people I can be surrounded by and actually walk out feeling recharged, not like I had to deal with people all weekend. You all did so much more than just simply be there, but even if that’s all you’d done, you helped.

This Monday, sure physically I feel like Wile E. Coyote after the steam roller came through, but mentally I’m better than I’ve been in a damned long time. Thank you.

“When it’s over, it’s over.”

“I Love You” • O.M.F.G. • Single

I love you guys. I swear, I’m not day drinking. Just high on a con I don’t have to crash from.

Kids are people too…

So I was searching through my writings for a list of things I needed for C²K, and found something that was written in response to @SomebodyNotOnFet’s Facebook link. The link was:
http://www.journal-news.com/news/lifestyles/parenting/physician-parents-youre-doing-it-wrong/np69X/

tl;dr: Doctor Grumpy Pants says you’re parenting wrong if you’re allowing kids to have any kind of self actualized identity or opinions of their own…

My response:

Have to say I disagree with a lot of this. Dear Son is turning out alright…

The idea of using parental dictate as the default teaches children they have no autonomy and must be subordinate to those in authority by default. That sets up a lot of BigBrother state being okay which bothers me to no end. “This is what’s wrong with ‘Murka,” kind of bother… In anything short of a seconds-matter emergency situation, I’ve always tried to explain to Dear Son why what needs to be done and convince him to deal with something that’s for his own good. I can’t think of a good reason to not do that. Certainly, if it needs doing, it needs doing, but don’t start out making demands. Make a request, and sometimes you get the answer you need. If not, explain. If still not, well, that’s when, “You’re the kid, I’m the adult, sorry.” comes in. And even then, it’s I’m genuinely sorry that he has to be forced to do something he doesn’t want to do. I don’t enjoy depriving people of their autonomy, regardless of their age. I certainly don’t treat anyone as if their lack of autonomy should be a default state. It’s a necessary evil sometimes, and that’s life.

I’ve always reserved *demands* for things that are immediate and urgent. “Dad voice,” means you’re about to get hurt or do something supremely dangerous/stupid/expensive, and you need to stop it right now. Never had a problem with getting the required response. I think it’s “crying wolf” to use that in cases where it’s not required. It weakens the effect when you really and truly need them to listen to you without question.

As far as alliance with the school? Fuck that noise. The US public school system should be burned to the ground. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve sided with Dear Son against the school. Granted, the school wins (because BigBrother, in part…), but the alliance is between Dear Son and me, against the school when necessary. Why the hell would I side with the government against my own kid? As collaborators in this conspiracy, we have an understanding that, “Suck it up, get your paper, and GTFO,” is sometimes the only winning play. Pick your battles. But it’s never a matter of do it because the school said so. We talk about their motivations. We try to find a veneer of a reason, some way of understanding the “why” when we can. A lot of times, that’s led to understanding and acceptance, though usually not enthusiasm for the policy. The life skill of being able to understand what makes others tick is FAR more valuable than anything he’s going to get out of school. He’d never get that if the school and I were in an “alliance” and just smashed his opinions into the dirt without question.

For for all the attempted empathy and understanding, I agree with Dear Son in many cases, the school policy is bullshit, completely unsupported by any good reason, and it still doesn’t matter because we’re both powerless against The Man. The good Dr’s position that you should trust the school to know better? Baaaaaaa. Good sheep…

Screens out of the bedroom. Fuck that noise too. You want to be Dr. Luddite, that’s fine. For most of my life, some sort of electronic device has been my exocortex. The part of my brain that usually works better. I’m a fan of transhuman ideas, and I have no problem whatsoever with having a connected device on hand at all times. Again with the autonomy and me not being more-equal, I never leave my own device *anywhere*, and I wouldn’t expect Dear Son to do differently. There are socially appropriate times to be playing with it, so that’s a thing. Have it to look something up at dinner, no problem. Have it to play flappy goat when people might want to converse with you? Nah. That doesn’t fly. Courtesy is a thing.

As far as kids being sleep deprived? No argument there. It’s not the screens though… That’s more a function of adults insisting that children operate on adult and senior schedules. There’s quite a bit of evidence that humans evolved so that different age groups are most alert at different times of the day. Some part of the tribe is always in their alert period to watch for danger and signal the others. We do kids (and teens especially) a disservice to insist that they be alert early in the morning when their bodies are wired to be alert later in the day. File that under burning the US school system, but anywho. As far as staying up late and being exhausted because angry chickens? Autonomy means living with your own choices. Still gotta get up and do the necessary. If you’re tired because you stayed up too late last night? Here… Lemme jam out a little solo for you on my diminutive violin… Don’t do it again, go to school, have a nice day!!!

I don’t think I’m doing anything good by removing the opportunity for bad choices. Obviously there’s limits to that. I’m not going to leave a couple of lines of coke on the kitchen table so Dear Son can choose not to do it. (For the record, I don’t do cocaine. This is literary hyperbole. We all know rope is my addiction…) But for things where the consequences are fairly benign, I’ve no doubt making your own mistakes and learning from them is far more valuable than never having been given the opportunity to make mistakes.

The whole family meals, time with us wins out over everything else… Nope. Again, Dear Son is an autonomous person with his own desires and goals. Just because I’m a parent doesn’t mean my desires automatically trump his. There are family holiday things that I insist he attend sometimes. Courtesy dictates it, even if it’s not your favorite place to be. There are others (recently a party of adults and distant cousins he doesn’t know) where I could fully understand that six hours in the car to eat lunch & drive home wasn’t a thing he wanted to do. I hope he values the time he & I spend together and wants to spend time with dear old dad sometimes, but I don’t feel I get to dictate who he spends his time with. He’ll be young and have friends in high school once in his life. He should enjoy that to the degree he wants to while he can.

Now, there are limits to how far I’m willing to go to to facilitate that as well. I don’t get to dictate how he spends his time, but neither do his desires necessarily dictate how I spend mine. The whole shuttling kids, à la soccer mom? Na… My time’s not more important than his, but it’s not less either. I’m the one with the car keys, so that tips the scales in my favor a bit. Sometimes we’ve driven an hour out of the way to pick up or drop off at a friends to go to an event or something, but no chance I’d ever structure every evening around playing chauffeur…

If anything, a lot of the Dr’s dictates sound like he’s jealous of the young. “You can’t hang out with friends you have meaningful connections, shared experiences, and have fun with because I don’t have that and so I insist you spend time with me so I’m not lonely.” That’s what I’m getting out of it anyways. Not me. Have fun kid. You’ll be old before you know it, and dead not long after that. Life’s too short not to spend time with the people *you* want to spend it with. I’m also a big subscriber to the idea of choice-family rather than blood-family. Some of the people I consider my closest family members have no blood at all between us. Some people I’ve blood relations to, I could squarely do without (and largely do). Blood doesn’t matter nearly as much to me as it does to some, and I’m not about to insist my child choose blood above all else.

Also, not for nothing, but Dr. Luddite there even *looks* like the canonical example of, “That asshole hard ass dad”…

Accidentally Vegan Rice Pudding

Thai Coconut Rice Pudding

If you’ve been to an Albany event and tried the rice pudding, chances are good it was a variation on this recipe. I call it “Accidentally Vegan” because while I normally have no qualms about exploiting and even eating the tasty animals, this recipe happens to be made completely without dairy as it was created for a dear friend who’s a bit of a lactard. 😉


Accidentally Vegan Rice Pudding

  • 3-4 cups (dry) jasmine rice (like this)
  • 2 cinnamon sticks (about 1 teaspoon powdered would work but sticks are better!)
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 can coconut cream (like this)
  • 1 can coconut milk (like this)
  • ½ – 1 tsp. cardamom powder (powder is better here – full pods have unpredictable potency, and this stuff is powerful
  • Spices to taste, including additional cinnamon (powder is okay), allspice, clove, nutmeg.

Preparation:

  1. Prepare rice according to rice cooker instructions. Add the two cinnamon sticks in with the rice/water as well as the salt.
  2. When rice is done, transfer it to a heavy bottom pot on the stove. Add coconut cream & milk, and spices.
  3. Simmer over low heat stirring constantly until rice absorbs nearly all of the liquid. Remove from heat and serve warm or cold.

Quantity on the rice isn’t that critical — I’ve done this with 3 or 4 cups, depending on what my rice cooker at the time could make in one batch. Usually you want one cup water more than you have cups of dry rice. Close the lid, start the rice cooker, and walk away. Don’t open the lid to stir or otherwise disturb it until done! You definitely want jasmine long grain rice. Anything else will be lacking. Don’t rinse the rice before adding it to the cooker! You need all that tasty starch attached for the pudding to gel properly.

What if you don’t have a rice cooker? Buy one. Seriously, they’re cheap, and perhaps second only to the food processor, they’re one of the most useful and cost effective kitchen appliances you can buy. You can get an effective one for well under $20 at Walmart. The number of one-dish dinners you can make in a rice cooker boggles the mind…

For the spices, cardamom is the main one that gives it that perfect rice pudding flavor. The stuff is powerful juju, so add with caution. The line between tasty and “OMG what did you do to this!?” is razor thin. Start with a ½ teaspoon or less and add additional to taste. If you over do it, you can’t fix it. The entire batch will be blech!

The other spices (allspice, clove, nutmeg) are optional, and I’ll include or omit them depending on what I’m in the mood for. Clove & nutmeg are also very powerful, so add sparingly and taste before adding more. Nutmeg I’m especially light handed with.

The salt in the rice is NOT optional. If you’re watching your diet so much that you can’t afford a teaspoon of salt in a dessert that serves 6-12 people, just skip the dessert. It’ll be healthier for you… Salt brings out the subtle flavors of the jasmine and the spices, and leaving it out results in a flat tasting, bland dish. Life’s too short for low-sodium desserts!

You can serve the pudding warm or cold. It’s different but tasty both ways. If you do go cold, put it in a metal tray and into the fridge or even the freezer for a bit to get it cold as quick as possible. All of that coconut and starch in the “danger zone” isn’t good.


(So what’s this got to do with kink you ask? I bring the stuff to kink parties all the time. Some people have threatened to start a FetLife fetish over it…)

Gagged…

(Mirrored here in case FL takes offense at implementing a sponsors’ perk on the client side…)

Assume the following:

  1. There’s someone on your friends list who you’d like to keep as a friend.
  2. They post status updates more frequently than you’d like, or perhaps containing content you’d prefer not to see (triggering, etc.).
  3. You prefer not to support FetLife in order to receive the “gag” function as a supporter’s perk. (Whether you’re cheap, broke, or just object to the way Baku runs things to the point that you’re unwilling to monetarily support him is up to you.)
  4. You have no qualms installing extensions into your browser of choice and accept that it’s legally Fair Use under US law (or under similar doctrine in your own home jurisdiction) to modify a website for your own viewing pleasure in any way you see fit.

Solution:

  1. Install GreaseMonkey (http://www.greasespot.net/) for Firefox or the compatible TamperMonkey (https://code.google.com/p/tampermonkey/) for Chrome.
  2. Install the following script, replacing the “FL_ID_TO_BLOCK” part with the ID of the person you’d like to read less of. You can get the ID by grabbing the number from the end of the URL to their profile page.
  3. Profit! Well, no not really, because that would belie your modification being Fair Use. This is acceptable for personal, non-profit use ONLY.

That’s it. Refresh your news feed, and it should be less cluttered. Currently this script blocks only a single user and only status updates. Comments, Love’s, etc. aren’t blocked. Modifying it to block multiple users is left as an exercise, at least until such point as two or more people trip my annoy-o-meter; and I have to hack it up to block them all.

Extra credit: Modify this to support the semi-standardized format of tagging triggering posts à la: “#tw #whatever”, then blocking any posts with a collection of trigger words.

Extra extra credit: Get a critical mass of FL users to adopt Tumblr-like trigger word tagging as standard practice. (Good luck with that…)

IMPORTANT: This script is provided without any guarantee. If it breaks, you get to keep the pieces. The author is NOT prepared to provide any kind of support in its use or installation.

SPECIAL EXCEPTION: If I’ve personally seen you naked and/or tied up, I’m probably willing to help you install it. All others, please see the Googles…

// SCRIPT START - REMOVE THIS LINE
// ==UserScript==
// @name Block_FL_User
// @namespace fl
// @description Block unwanted status updates
// @include https://fetlife.com/home/v4#everything
// @version 2
// @grant none
// ==/UserScript==
// This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify
// it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by
// the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or
// (at your option) any later version.
//
// This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
// but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
// MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the
// GNU General Public License for more details.

function gag() {
var posts = $('tr.status_created a[href="/users/FL_ID_TO_BLOCK"]');
posts.parent() .parent() .remove();
}

/*--- waitForKeyElements(): A utility function, for Greasemonkey scripts,
that detects and handles AJAXed content.

Usage example:

waitForKeyElements (
"div.comments"
, commentCallbackFunction
);

//--- Page-specific function to do what we want when the node is found.
function commentCallbackFunction (jNode) {
jNode.text ("This comment changed by waitForKeyElements().");
}

IMPORTANT: This function requires your script to have loaded jQuery.
*/
function waitForKeyElements (
selectorTxt, /* Required: The jQuery selector string that
specifies the desired element(s).
*/
actionFunction, /* Required: The code to run when elements are
found. It is passed a jNode to the matched
element.
*/
bWaitOnce, /* Optional: If false, will continue to scan for
new elements even after the first match is
found.
*/
iframeSelector /* Optional: If set, identifies the iframe to
search.
*/
) {
var targetNodes, btargetsFound;

if (typeof iframeSelector == "undefined")
targetNodes = $(selectorTxt);
else
targetNodes = $(iframeSelector).contents ()
.find (selectorTxt);

if (targetNodes && targetNodes.length > 0) {
btargetsFound = true;
/*--- Found target node(s). Go through each and act if they
are new.
*/
targetNodes.each ( function () {
var jThis = $(this);
var alreadyFound = jThis.data ('alreadyFound') || false;

if (!alreadyFound) {
//--- Call the payload function.
var cancelFound = actionFunction (jThis);
if (cancelFound)
btargetsFound = false;
else
jThis.data ('alreadyFound', true);
}
} );
}
else {
btargetsFound = false;
}

//--- Get the timer-control variable for this selector.
var controlObj = waitForKeyElements.controlObj || {};
var controlKey = selectorTxt.replace (/[^\w]/g, "_");
var timeControl = controlObj [controlKey];

//--- Now set or clear the timer as appropriate.
if (btargetsFound && bWaitOnce && timeControl) {
//--- The only condition where we need to clear the timer.
clearInterval (timeControl);
delete controlObj [controlKey]
}
else {
//--- Set a timer, if needed.
if ( ! timeControl) {
timeControl = setInterval ( function () {
waitForKeyElements ( selectorTxt,
actionFunction,
bWaitOnce,
iframeSelector
);
},
300
);
controlObj [controlKey] = timeControl;
}
}
waitForKeyElements.controlObj = controlObj;
}

waitForKeyElements('tr.status_created', gag, false);

// SCRIPT END - REMOVE THIS LINE

History:

  • v1 : Initial release
  • v2 : Internalize waitForKeyElements script since loading from github seems to time out

Changing FetLife Browsing Habits

Once upon a time, I might have been innocently (cough) browsing around FetLife and happened (just happened, mind you…) across a pic of a hot lady (or gent) attached to some kinky looking bit of furniture, perhaps with some dom(me) near by making hir life interesting.  And I’d be all, “Hey, that’s hot, let’s see more!” *clicky, clicky, clicky, download pic-y*…and let my inner perv run wild.

Lately, though…  I’ll be browsing around FetLife, just minding my own business and stumble across a pic with some fetching creature attached to some kinky looking bit of furniture, and I’ll be all, “Hey, that’s hot, let’s see more!” *clicky, clicky…*  Damn, that girl’s in the way!  I can’t see how that bit’s held together!!  Come on…  Give me another angle, yeah!  That’s it!  Show me those struts, baby!!!

Yes, I have mental issues.  Some might say subscriptions…  What can I say?  I get off on making sawdust…

Kettle? I have the Pot for you on line one…

I’ve been posting rather more than I would have expected on FetLife’s dieting & exercise related groups.  If you’re reading my profile having come from one of my posts on those groups, I feel like I should provide some kind of credentials to backup my otherwise uninformed Internet ramblings.

For most of my life, taking dieting advice from me would have been a bit like taking sobriety tips from a guy guzzling from a large brown paper bag on the street corner.  I was without any equivocation FAT for most of my adult life (and most of my childhood for that matter).  It’s only in the last two years that I got the figurative kick in the tush I needed from an old friend and decided to get my shit together.

At my heaviest, I tipped the scales at about 435lbs on a 6′ frame.  (In fact, I tipped the scale so hard I had to buy an industrial shipping scale to weigh myself since most “standard” bathroom scales top out some where around 300-350).  I’d dieted “a bit” on my own, and by the time aforementioned gluteal kick came around, and I really started getting serious about losing the weight, I was down to 420lbs as of 02-Jan-2011.  

I started out with diet alone and no exercise to speak of, mostly because I simply was in such bad shape that I couldn’t realistically do any kind of exercise.  Walking up the stairs broke a pretty good sweat…  I followed a protocol known as a protein sparing modified fast which in its most simplified form is 750-1000 KCalories of protein per day, zero fat, zero carbs (other than fiber), and a ton of vitamins to make up for all the nutrients not present in the diet.  Appetite suppressants are almost mandatory to get through it (either prescribed by a doctor or OTC ephedrine).  It’s a hard plan to follow, you’re hungry most of the time for the first few months, but I lost anywhere from 3-6 pounds per week consistently.

Fast forward a bit to early April, 2011, and I was down to about 350.  With the weather in Northern New York finally starting to warm up a bit, I started walking.  My first “official” exercise walk was about 2 miles and took me about an hour.  When I got home, I was trashed…

I kept at it over the next few months and finally started jogging a bit by the end of April.  At that point, I was using the “Ease into 5k” iPhone app and doing walk/run intervals.  Keeping up with the initial set of intervals was killer, and it took me a few weeks to catch up to the app.

The intervening year & change that elapsed until I’m writing this was pretty much more of the same.  I slowly got to run further & faster, started going to the gym to lift weights and hit the treadmill religiously three days a week over the winter.  As I write this, I’m down to 230lbs, I can run 5k in about 34 minutes, and I’m a week away from doing my third sanctioned 5k event: Warrior Dash (the second time I’ve done that particular event).  

Comparing how I feel now to two years ago without using cliches like “night and day” isn’t possible (or at least is beyond my own limited word-art).  I have more energy, I look forward to doing things socially outside the house without dreading how exhausted I’ll be just trying to move around.  I’ve found that a runner’s high is almost as good as a good pain-fueled endorphin rush, and nobody thinks you’re sick & twisted for doing it (no, who am I kidding… People still think I’m sick & twisted for getting up early to run or going out in 90ºF heat…).  All positive improvements, to say nothing of increased *ahem* stamina…

When I do post on the FL health groups, I try to be compassionate, because I remember being fat.  I remember how hard it was to get started, how many false starts I had over the years.  For me, the kicker was seeing a friend who was half the man I’d last seen and learning from him that he’d done most of it in just over a year.  The promise of that kind of result (and seeing it with my own eyes) was what I needed to get going.  

Starving yourself to lose 5lbs a month and having to do that for 5 years to get to a reasonable weight isn’t sustainable.  The payoff for a nice slice of cheesecake really is better than seeing a tenth of a pound lost on the scale the next morning.  Losing 20, sometimes 30 pounds a month, seeing amazing results in just a few months & knowing that I’ll have a body that resembles the one I’ve always wanted in just over two years start to finish…  That’s what it took for me.  It’s not quite instant gratification, but it’s damn close.  That’s more rewarding to me (now) than that slice of cheesecake, and I can usually manage to pass up the “goodies” and enjoy my payoff on the scale in the morning.  The better part of a pound a day is nice to see.

That said, for my compassion, I don’t take BS very well.  When I read someone say, “I’ve tried everything, nothing’s worked,” I remember my own whining over the years.  And I remember that every time I said those words, I was so full of shit it was running out my ears.  It’s easy to half-assed diet.  It’s easy to cheat “just this once” three or four times a week.  Unfortunately, that doesn’t work if you want to lose weight and get healthy.  So if you read one of my posts and it seems like I’m being harsh, please forgive me.  It’s not that I don’t appreciate how difficult it is to find the motivation to get healthy; but I remember that what I ultimately needed was someone to kick me, not coddle me.

So…  My dieting strategy has been unconventional.  I’ve done numerous things that established medical wisdom would call unhealthy, ineffective, or just down right stupid.  The thing is, it’s worked for me.  It’s also worked for my friend and is still working for my significant other.  And for all three of us, all of the established medical wisdom over the years (eat lots of small meals, you can’t lose weight without exercising, low fat/high carb is good for you…) didn’t help us in the least.

Desperate times call for desperate measures…  At least for someone who’s young and fortunate enough to have not started accumulating all of the obesity related secondary diseases, PSMF can work and can be safe.  That said, do as I say and not as I did and consult with a doctor before beginning any diet or exercise program…

Trying something new

I’ve never been a fan of using third-party hosting for anything that’s at all intimate to my life.  Starting with some poor editorial decisions at LiveJournal ages ago (not decisions against me personally, but things that offended my principles in any case), I’ve largely eschewed any type of community site for hosting my writings, pics, etc.  It’s not a matter of privacy concerns per-se.  I don’t mind having my content posted to those sites or visible on the Internet, but I’m not a fan of relying on them to store the only copy of things that have emotional or other significance in my life.

Once upon a time, I used LiveJournal for blogging, Flicker (or sometimes LJ) for photo hosting, and pretty much trusted that they’d never have a server failure, censorship nazi hack attack etc.  Since making the decision to not rely on LiveJournal over a decade ago, I’ve hosted my own blogging software on my co-located server (once WordPress on a box at my then-employer, these days Moveable Type on a Mini hosted at http://www.MacMiniColo.net).  I still post photos I want to share to Flickr (mostly to use their “free” bandwidth instead of my own), but I maintain everything on my own server in a Gallery instance, just in case.

When I recently started actually *using* FetLife for writing about my life (account holder since August 2008, actually posting for four months…), I kind of back pedaled on my no-third-party-hosting standards and have left a few posts here that I would be rather disappointed to see evaporate into the ether some day.  Now to be clear, I have no complaints about FL’s editorial policy, I have no particular information that leads me to think their platform is insecure, unstable, etc. (though those 503/nginx errors have been getting annoying lately…).  Still, I prefer to host things on hardware I can backup, have full editorial control over, and ultimately can delete and completely remove from the Internet should I ever need to make that decision.

My vanilla friends & family read my “normal” blog (if you know my real last name, feel free to hit http://www.the<lastname>s.org/blog/ to see.  It’s mostly geeky stuff, so be warned…), so posting kinky things there isn’t the best of options.  Security options in MT could provide some kind of control, but I wouldn’t expect all my FL friends to create accounts and login there.  So I figured it made the most sense to grab yet another domain name, setup another MT instance, and just post links on FL.  I used to do similar on LJ to auto-post a link to LJ when I posted to WordPress.  I don’t think it’s easy to setup an auto-post link to FL, so I’ll just have to remember to do it manually.  On the upside, my MT instance provides ATOM feeds, so if you really care about my life, feel free to follow the feed in case I forget to post links.

http://www.pendorbound.com/

For now, I’ve copied the few writings I had from FL over to MT.  I’m in the process of writing up detailed construction plans for the various furniture I’ve been posting about recently, so if you’re really a masochist, stop by in a few days for a pile of trig and algebra for figuring out Saint Andrews Cross angles…

For now, I’m probably going to continue to only post pics I want to share on FL as having the FL login check in front of them gives me just a tiny bit of a sense of (false) security that I’ll lean on for now.

TES Fest 2012 Core Dump

So we’ve been home for 24 hours or so, the pretty blue
wrist band is hanging from my monitor, and there’s still a collar around
my neck (LOT!WUT?? Read on…) TES Fest 2012 was absolutely
positively an awesome couple of days. Next year’s already on the
calendar.

@FeistyJess & I hopped in the Yaris Friday morning & headed
off for Jersey. One nicely uneventful 3½ hour drive later, we beheld
our first clue that this weekend was going to be something a bit
different: A man in a pink frilly dress riding a tricycle around the
parking lot (might have been @SissyBobbi?). Definitely a good sign.
After parking and heading inside, it was clear we were in the right
place. Fabulous fetish glam in every corner and an ever-so-slight tang
of leather in the air. We’d managed to arrive a bit ahead of the
official start time, so we deposited a Yaris-load full of assorted gear
in our room and headed for the vendors area to see what shiny things
might be on offer.

They had some nice things… Two-handed floggers that looked more
fit for bludgeoning, heavy floggers that had about ¾ of a cow worth of
leather each, wonderfully pervy clothing (some of which would even fit
us…) assorted medical gear, paddles, canes, rope, and pretty much
you-name-it. I could easily have left a month’s salary behind in that
room. I managed to show some restraint, but the credit card definitely got a good spanking…

Over the course of the weekend, we picked up a simple rattan cane, an
evil stick (they called them Sadistix), a set of gorgeous leather
cuffs, another hank of hemp rope (need to look up the vendor we found at
the Flea in NYC last month ’cause the braided stuff they had was much
nicer), and another leather snap clip to match the one we stupidly only
got a single of at DV8 in March.

After our first purchase of the weekend (cuffs), we headed off to the
first class. Or tried to… The session labeled “Event Intro” turned
out to be an empty room, and the other sessions didn’t really appeal to
us. We took some time to wander around the venue instead, checked out
some more vendors, and eventually found our way to session number two.

“So you wanna tie people up?” with Murphy Blue (@BlueRisk). All I
can say is if you ever have the opportunity to see Murphy teaching or
just playing, freaking do it! Murphy’s energy and enthusiasm about rope
is contagious, and his skill at wielding it is inspiring. His intro
course walked through tying basic 1- & 2-column ties and a basic
chest & crotch harness. I’d played at tying most of those in the
past, but seeing them done, and having someone to point and say, “Not
there, there!” was incredibly helpful. Under the
guidance of Murphy and the lovely @bombergrl (at times hopping about as
she was tied herself up herself for most of the class), I think I’ve
managed to get all of the above ties down pretty well. I’ve still some
practice to do in terms of making everything lie nice & flat and
pretty looking, but I’ve definitely got the mechanics down. (I’m
thinking we should probably do the duct tape dress form trick for Jess
soon. She needs to learn to sew, and when she’s not using her
self-styled dummy, I can do kinky things to it with rope to practice.)

This was also my first chance to play with the braided hemp we picked
up at the NYC Flea. General opinions of hemp? Why oh sweet Jebus WHY
did I ever bother fucking around with anything else. MFP has it’s place
(mostly lining the bottom of the toy bag…), but working with hemp is
an absolute joy. Murphy also mentioned his love of jute which has
similar properties to hemp with a slightly higher weight & density.
Might have to grab some to compare…

We grabbed dinner with one of our fellow Kapital District Kinksters
at a local pizza joint then headed back to catch the evening meet &
greet’s. Alas a gathering that sounded like it might resemble a
Player’s Party without requiring all that pesky fruit or cloves didn’t
actually materialize, so we spent the evening chatting with random nifty
folks while I proceeded to measure, cut, and whip the ends of the
vastly over-sized pieces of MFP that Jess got me for my birthday about a
bazillion years ago. Trimmed down from two 75′ lengths to four ~5m
lengths and two left-over shorties, they’re now MUCH more useful &
came in handy later in the weekend.

Once the main dungeon opened, we headed over to see the sights &
play a bit. We found a nifty saw horse-based spanking bench and tried
out the new cuffs. Jess said they were very comfy, though the new
paddles we got in NYC last month, no so much. =P I got to watch Murphy
at work for a bit (Jess was blindfolded & ‘dorphed at the time…)
and numerous other fun things before heading off to the pool area to
check out the jello wrestling and to relax a bit before bed. We ended
up meeting a few of our lovely organizers at the spa, chatted for a
while, and headed off to our room in anticipation of an early morning.

Saturday morning, I headed down to the gym and was delighted to find
we were in a hotel that actually had a working (more or less) treadmill.
I couldn’t figure out how to reset the computer on the thing, and the
LCD screen was half smushed, but it was in good enough shape to show the
speed read-out, and my iPhone clocked the time for me. Managed between
6-7 MPH for ~25 minutes. Not too bad, and good to get back on something
that enforces a steady pace after a few months of road running. Back
upstairs, I woke up my sleeping dragon, and headed for breakfast.
Managed to meet a few more folks from TES as well as the cutest of boys
who’d been walking around Friday evening in some delightfully pervy
rubber and had briefly joined us in the spa.

Off to the first class of Saturday, and what a decision. I’d thought
we might like Yoga for Kinksters or a spanking oriented class, but
after the awesome time with Murphy Blue the night before, we just had to
go for “So you STILL wanna tie people up?” Here Murphy took the basics
from the previous class and put them together to make some slightly
more complicated ties. Jess ended up in the first
(non-complete-garbage) hogtie of her life, and we had a blast just
soaking in Murphy’s love of rope.

Next class, and even more conflict… If we’d known then what we
knew by the end of the weekend, it would have been even worse as having
seen other presentations by several of the presenters in this slot, we
could certainly have done with more of their work. As it was, we were
stuck between Flogging 101, Bondage for all Bodies, and Mistress Trish’s
CBT class. We went off to see Mistress Trish and had an interesting
time. She pushed her demo bottom a bit too hard at one point, and he
had to rapidly excuse himself. When she asked the audience for
volunteers Jess threw me under the bus, and up I found myself before a
room full of strangers being de-kilted and trying on a Humbler. An
interesting sensation, though I think I already stretch out a bit more
than “average.” It wasn’t the complete debilitating “crawl or tear your
nuts off” routine it’s billed as being, but it did slow me down a bit.
Mistress Trish then proceeded to thwack my balls with a rather
disturbing glee. “Don’t worry: they’ll grow back,” was one of her
favorite phrases for the class. She did mention that she thought I took
rather a lot of abuse, so I guess I’m satisfied with that. The first
of many surreal experiences for the weekend…

Re-kilted, it was time for lunch. Neither of us were starving
(breakfast was huge…), so we wandered the courtyard a bit before
heading back to the room to munch some chicken we’d brought along and
some farmers market goodies we’d picked up on the way down. In the
courtyard we managed to catch the tail end of a waterboarding demo. A
bit intense for either of our liking, but the level of trust between the
two presenters was pretty amazing. The next session called for a bit
more rope than I had on hand, so we headed back to the vendors area to
grab a length of dark blue hemp to match the red I already had.

Next session was again a decision between @Dov’s Hogties Workshop and
Flogging 201. Having seen Dov work at the NYC Flea, I couldn’t pass up
the chance to see him work again & perhaps learn a bit from him.
Alas, poor Dov managed to injure himself since last we saw him and was
hobbling about in a rather huge foot/leg cast. Still, even one leg
down, he proceeded to tie the lovely @danielle_dv8 in an incredibly
strict hogtie. Danielle is a rather remarkable masochist. As Dov tied
her tighter, she simultaneously screamed in pain & moaned in
pleasure. The girl’s flexibility is amazing. Dov’s skill and dexterity
even with an injury were also amazing. Using some of the ties I’d
learned from Murphy and some interesting additions from Dov, I managed
to get Jess in a slightly different hogtie, albeit not nearly as strict
as Danielle. I was impressed with Jess’ flexibility (yoga FTW!).

Next up, you guessed it… Another tough decision. Fisting with a
tiny ball of feisty attitude who calls herself Button, Spanking with
Intensity, or a nifty looking hip suspension harness demo. Again, if
we’d known then… it would have been worse as we had a chance to see
Button later on in the weekend, and she is indeed a tiny little
firecracker. We ended up going with Spanking with Intensity where Uncle
Ed proceeded to slowly work his demo bottom up through a wide array of
implements. Jess was pleased/terrified by the proceedings. evil grin
Among the many implements demonstrated, were a number of canes, and
Jess surprisingly found herself interested in trying what was at one
point a hard limit.

Off to dinner… There was a catered BBQ dinner tonight which we
headed for along with all the other Kapital Kinksters and a number of
folks that the several of us knew. Dinner was so-so, but the company
made up for it. We met a couple who were extremely into canes and
numerous other implements, and they offered to let us try out some of
their toys later in the evening should our paths cross.

After dinner we headed back to the room to unwind for a bit. We
unfortunately missed Fist-a-Palooza where I’ve heard Button again
exploded in orgasms far greater than her small stature would suggest
could be contained therein. We headed down to the dungeon to play for a
bit and had surreal experience number two of the weekend.

I’ve alluded to this in previous wall posts, but a number of members
of the local police force were wandering about the place observing. We
ended up in the dungeon with Jess tied down again (using some nifty new
knots I’d learned!) and slowly working through all of our various
implements to leave her bottom a rather lovely shade of pink. Mid-way
through our play several officers had situated themselves about 10 feet
away & were taking in the sights. Never quite expected to flog my
Love whilst LEO was watching. That said, the cops were perfect ladies
& gentlemen while they were there. Having ascertained nobody was
being abused without their consent, they headed off and weren’t seen
again for the weekend.

While Jess was still attached to the bench, the couple we’d met
earlier happened by with an impressive collection of canes, and the
lovely lady of the pair (with permission of course) gently introduced
Jess to a number of them. (“Hey Mikey, I think she likes it!”) We
finished playing while the police were still there, and Jess managed to
flirt a bit with one of them in her post-spanking dorphed-state. We
headed out to the court yard to relax a bit, caught a bit of the lube
wrestling match then soaked in the spa a bit to unwind. Murphy was at
it again outside, and we watched rapt for a bit before calling it a
night.

Sunday morning brought breakfast and Yoga for BDSM with Danielle.
Seeing her tied the day before, we kind of had an idea she might be
rather good at yoga. Yeah… She was… She walked us through a half
hour beginners class. Jess has been doing yoga for a while care of The
Gym Box on the Roku, but this was a first for me. I think I might like
it… Kind of a nice warm buzzy feeling in my muscles for the rest of
the day. I was pleasantly surprised at my own flexibility. Definitely
would like to improve in that area.

From yoga, we had to pass up another Murphy Blue class (Multi-Person
Bondage or, “Sure, you can get tied up too!”) and headed for Sensual
Massage with Chris Marks instead. The class was what was certainly a
very superficial introduction to massage therapy techniques &
relevant anatomy, but it was a pretty good primer. I think we both
learned some good tricks for relaxing each other. Jess managed to work
most of my kinks out (well, the muscle kinks anyways… The other kind
of kinks grew quite a bit this weekend), and Chris’ lovely partner (also
a massage therapist) showed me some techniques to work the stiff bits
out of Jess’ couple of trick vertebrae. We both left the class quite
relaxed.

Massage let out a few minutes early thankfully and with the built-in
half hour spacing between classes (TES organizers: THANK YOU for
that!!!), we had JUST enough time to dash up to the room and grab a
quick shower. Next class was a toss up between “Playing with Orgasms”
with Mistress Trish and “Interrogation Play” with Dov. While the
subject matter of Dov’s class was a bit strong for our liking, seeing
Dov at work is a joy. Still, we headed back to Mistress Trish to see
her torment and deny her male demo bottom (which admittedly wasn’t that
impressive. I don’t think he’s as much into public performance as would
be necessary to make such a thing interesting. Definitely feel for him
in that regard…), and then to wrench one orgasm after another out of
the lovely Button. Here’s where some of the hind-sight comes in as
seeing more of Button earlier in the weekend would have been nifty.
She’s cute, she’s feisty, and she comes like a freaking banshee! =)
Part of Mistress Trish’s thesis was that orgasms aren’t all fun &
games and so after forcing a nearly painful number of them out of
Button, she actually cunt-punched the poor dear just as her final
would-be orgasm was beginning to take hold. Button nearly flew off the
massage table where she lay, and thus ended the demo. Having a bit of
time, we hit the vendors room yet again to pick up a simple little
rattan cane and chatted with @WaltAlbany a bit about APeX & such.

The next session was probably the only one that wasn’t a challenge to
decide on. We’d passed up seeing Danielle give her Deep Throating
class at Purple Passion in the past, but couldn’t pass it up this time.
The girl knows how to handle a cock, and proceeded to give tips for
dealing with various fellatio-related challenges whilst alternatively
demonstrating her skill on none other than Dov (her original demo
::ehem:: unit was called away at the last minute) and also on a lovely
young lady who had what was undoubtedly the most impressive penis I’ve
ever seen matched with an also lovely pair of natural breasts on a
single person. Surreal experience number three came care of the fact
that TES’ exclusive hold on the venue had begun fade at this point in
the afternoon, and so there were families and children literally on the
other side of a smoked glass door by the end of the demo. (Don’t worry,
it was smoked enough to be opaque, and Danielle was setup in the corner
out of line-of-sight anyways…) We had a bit of time before the final
session, and so Jess “dragged” me upstairs (kicking and screaming
dontcha know) to do some “homework” from the previous class. The
sacrifices I make, I tell you….

For the final class of the weekend, the toss up was between another
Mistress Trish session (“Ball and Cunt Busting”) and “Belts & Welts”
with Master Valentine. Mistress Trish again proceeded to abuse the
lovely Button, and from what we could hear from the room next door,
Button was shown a grueling time yet again. Instead, we checked out
Belts & Welts where a pair of stunning young ladies were worked
through a wide variety of implements while Master Valentine explained
their relative merits and gave tips for wielding. Throughout the
weekend there was a stunning young lady walking about (whose name I
didn’t catch but I believe Jess did). On the way to class, we passed
her, and Jess summoned an impressive quantity of Chutzpah and
complemented the girl on her beauty and her outfits throughout the
weekend. After Jess was invited to briefly partake of the girl’s very
lovely charms (Mmmm… Boobies…), she mentioned that the Belts demo
would feature one of her own submissives as demo bottom. Said bottom
was lovely and feisty (whack “Is that all you’ve got, Master?” *WHACK “Mmmm. Thank you, Master!”), and thus ended the formal classes of TES Fest 2012.

We were staying the night so we could enjoy the play space Sunday
evening and drive back freshly rested rather than tired & bleary
eyed. We headed out briefly to find dinner (some okay wings at a
near-by bar), then headed back to change & head down to the dungeon.
It had been decided somewhere along the way that I should get to
explore my submissive side a bit and switch for the evening. Jess was
rather taken by Mistress Trish’s various demonstrations, so with me in
collar (and somewhat apprehensive of exactly what kind of a monster I
might have created), we headed down to the play space.

Being Sunday night, the play space was much less crowded than the
previous nights. The number of people was just about perfect for the
space. The buzz of a crowded dungeon on Saturday was fun, but Sunday
there were just enough people to occupy most of the equipment with no
lines waiting for everything and a reasonable number of observers
mulling about to satisfy my inner exhibitionist. There were several
duct tape mummies created before our eyes, some various fire play,
numerous assorted flagellations, and at one point Danielle getting
positively medieval with a strap-on versus the nicely endowed lady from
her demo earlier in the day.

I found myself first cuffed to a St. Andrew’s Cross (I have so
got to build myself one of those…) while Jess proceeded to hit me
with things, clamp various bits of me, apply Mistress Trish’s
suggestions Re: my balls, and attempt to flog clothespins from my
nipples. I was at various points led on a parade around the dungeon by a
leash attached to my collar. Being a budding sadist, Jess insisted I
stay at a distance that would leave the leash taut rather than remain
closely heeled by her side. As we walked about, we received several
compliments by observers who enjoyed the scene.

Back on the cross again, I got to experience our new purchase from
earlier in the day (ouch…), was gifted with and subsequently relieved
via flogger of a number of clothespins, and was generally made to
whimper squirm and yelp for a bit longer. Clearly, FML… 😉 Taken
off the cross, I was moved over to a rather nifty buns UP
spanking bench arrangement that would give Jess unfettered access to
further apply what she learned from Mistress Trish. Before being
attached, a leather stretcher was attached to me, and my leash attached
to a D-ring thereon. Once again I was led about the play space, this
time with strong encouragement to remain at a distance which left no
slack in the leash. Back to the bench, I scrambled up, leaned into the
chest rest at the front of it, and sunk into one of the deeper bits of
sub-space I’ve found myself in.

Usually when I do bottom, I’m all about topping from the bottom. I
like certain types of pain play, but historically I’ve been in a mindset
where I’ll “stoically” take the kind of pain I like anyways but turn
into a whimpering ball of patheticness for anything I don’t actually
like. As it happens, Mistress Trish is exceptionally good at figuring
out what her bottom doesn’t like and was more than sadistic enough to
enjoy inflicting same upon me the previous day. I think Jess was taking
notes… She was in a similar state of sadism Sunday evening (still is
as I type this… Sacrifices, I tell you…), and so proceeded to
inflict things upon me that really hurt. I normally like
gradual squeezing, and as Mistress Trish discovered quick sharp impacts
really get my attention. Jess was all about getting my attention
tonight… For the first time though, I sucked it up, quit being a
whining pansy (the audience helped… I kind of enjoy showing off.),
and just took what she was dishing out to me. So this is subspace…
Kind of a neat place. @Wheeeeeeeeeeeee….

Speaking of audience, if you told me there was an 800lb pink gorilla
watching us, I’d have to take your word as I wasn’t exactly there
by this point. Still Jess tells me that a number of rather stern
looking lesbian ladies were watching gleefully as my bits were tormented
as were a number of gentlemen who had been in Mistress Trish’s classes
earlier in the weekend. One of them said something to of the effect of,
“I thought I was into CBT until I saw you two playing.” proud/dopey subby grin

All told, I was the center of Jess’ attention for a bit over three
hours. We headed back upstairs shortly before the play area was
scheduled to close for the night, and I was finally allowed to enjoy an
orgasm whilst attempting to drive the air out of our Sleep Numberâ„¢ bed
by way of driving Jess into it. At that point, it had been since
Thursday that I’d been teased (admittedly mostly at my urging at least
prior to Sunday) while Jess was periodically taken care of throughout
the weekend. I kind of like being denied from time to time whereas Jess
hates it…

And that was about the end of TES Fest 2012. As we were staying the
night, we had the luxury of a leisurely checkout Monday morning. I was
up ridiculously early as usual so headed down to the spa (albeit a bit
more conservatively suited than earlier trips) to relax out some of the
kinks from the previous night. My various joints were in an oddly mixed
state at that point. Sleep Number beds are truly awful things, so I
was less than well aligned after three nights in one, but the yoga &
massage Sunday morning had done a reasonably good job of loosening me
back up. Strapped to a St. Andrew’s for an hour or so put a whole new
set of twists in my spine, while being hunched over the spanking bench
actually allowed me the leverage and gravity directionality to work a
lot of the twists back out. The hour & change on the bench also
worked new muscles in my thighs & calfs that were feeling kind of
interesting the next morning. Kind of like the “I need to run” twitch,
but in slightly different places. Of course when I got around to
finally running again Tuesday afternoon, same muscles tried cramping up
on me within the first quarter mile. Hateful muscles were informed that
they could just cut that out right now please & thank you, and I
managed to set down a good running time for two miles, but I digress…
Soaking in the spa for 20 minutes or so loosened almost everything back
up again, and a bit of auto-chiropracty care of the the railing bar in
the spa let me twist just about everything back where it belonged. Back
upstairs, I yet again woke my dozing dragon and we proceeded to pack
up, checkout, and drive home.

On the way back, Jess said the weekend at TES Fest actually managed
to beat out the time I surprised her with two days at Disney World in
terms of awesomeness. We both immensely enjoyed three days of being
“out” and just reveling in our kink, freak flag flying and all that.
I’ve found that even back in Smalbany, my cup of Give a Fuck seems to be
mostly empty with regard to censoring myself or otherwise being
vanilla. We picked up a simple dog collar for me (in red to contrast
the blue one Jess has for herself) at the pet store near home, and I’ve
been wearing it since, even to go running this afternoon. I’m obviously
not going to wear it to work or near family or anything like that, but
it’s still nice to not play the usual “stow the leather thar’s vanillas
near by” game I’ve tended to in the past. Not a single fuck was given
today…

While we were out getting my collar, we also stopped by Dom Depot
briefly and picked up a nifty looking set of lawn attachment points
(steel screws that auger ~8″ into the ground and have a ring at the top
for attaching things). Less than $20 (for four) worth of pervertable
gear. I’m hoping to make good use of them at the next outdoor event to
stake down some willing squirming “victim.” Whether that’s me or Jess,
only time will tell.

As far as our relative top/bottom statuses, I suspect Jess’ topping
will probably run out again for a while in the next day or so. In the
past switching has taken a bit of a toll on her in terms of being a
needy ball of, “I’m sorry” in the days following her beating me. Given
how much Jess has enjoyed the couple days on top (and how much of a
sadistic bit…^H person she’s been), I wonder if she’s at a point where
she’ll be ready to switch more readily with less of a drop afterwards.
Should be interesting to see.

All told, TES was an absolutely amazing experience. I’d have to call
it the kinky atheist’s equivalent of a religious retreat. We can’t
wait for next year, and of course I couldn’t resist signing up for the
GKE this morning. Hoping the same venue will bring the same awesome
vibe in November!

(Edit: Wrote this last night, but finally edited & posted this morning. Adjust relative date references appropriately…)

Fun shopping trip, a few reviews

So FeistyJess & I made a pilgrimage to NYC last week,
ostensibly to acquire fixings for my kilt for an upcoming Scottish
wedding. We did in fact acquire said fixings (See profile — Pics: it
happened!), but the other reason for the trip was to do a bit
of “fun” shopping. We stopped at no less than 20 assorted toy, kink
wear, etc. shops on Manhattan Island. Alas, a trip out to Brooklyn for
Babeland was out due to time restrictions, so that’s an experience we’ll
have to save for another trip.

Of the various places we browsed, a few went above & beyond the
call in terms of service, pricing, selection, or just plain awesomeness.
While I need to break this omnibus review up & post a few of them
to Yelp, I figured fellow kinky folk here might derive some benefit from
the lot in one convenient (if sizable) post.

Travel:

I hate driving in general. FeistyJess curls up into a small
whimpering ball at the thought of driving in the city. The effect is
similar to that of menacingly wielding a stalk of ginger or anything
pointy. It’s cute, but clearly driving was out…

Amtrak is convenient & reasonably comfortable, but EXPENSIVE!
Would have been over $200 round trip for two. So Megabus rode to the
rescue. We bought way in advance (about six weeks I think?) & ended
up paying $10/each for down, $15/each for up. Duration was the same as
Amtrak, though the ride is a bit more bumpy, the clientele a bit..
lower rent?.. and with no reserved seating & usually full buses,
getting there at least an hour in advance really is a requirement. That
said, for cheap, hassle free travel (no strip search required…),
Megabus is a big win. The bus deposited us in front of the Fashion
Institute of Technology from which we proceeded to walk about 20 miles
around the city in two days…

Chelsea District:

Since we were only a couple of blocks from Chelsea proper, that was
the natural start. We hit Purple Passion, Nasty Pig, Universal Gear,
The Blue Store, and at least one other place we stumbled on & didn’t
catch the name of.

Nasty Pig:

For anyone who’s friended me here, there’s a non-trivial chance that
you’ll eventually learn of my tastes in under garments. Let’s just say I
don’t do boxers nor tighty whities… With that in mind, a trip to Nasty
Pig seemed like a good idea. In a word: disappointing… The decor
said, “Leather daddy,” but the selection said, “Third world Wal*Mart”… I
don’t even think they had the entire NP line on display much less in
stock in any sizes. While we did get to enjoy a half-dressed, rather
chiseled patron modeling leather jeans for his boyfriend, all told, a
waste of time…

Universal Gear:

This was a late Google find, and I admit I was a bit skeptical as
their website was more like Abercrombie than The Stockroom. Pleasantly
surprised, they had a decent selection of underthings, swim suits, and
the like; and even a bonus 25% off sale. Prices before the sale were
all MSRP, so a bit pricy, but with the sale, not too bad. Staff seemed a
little put off that I had a breast-baring-person-type-thing (IE not a
gay man) in tow, but not a bad visit.

The Blue Store (& the other place I can’t remember):
Meh… The later had a decent selection of suits & undies including
some interesting ones from a Chinese brand I’d not heard of (name on the
label in Kanji…). Prices were high, and both places had video booths
in the back. If that’s your thing, okay, but… Ick…

Purple Passion:

We hit these guys second, but I saved them for last because they were
just plain awesome. Selection & pricing were quite good. Sizes
for non-anorexics were available with some consistency. A reasonable
selection of assorted rings, cuffs, paddles, crops, floggers, collars,
rubber, leather, etc. FeistyJess was in the market for a corset, and
that’s where Purple Passion went from pretty good to just plain awesome.
A fabulous gay man (Keith) helped us with fitting a corset, showing us
what was available off the rack in FeistyJess’ size and showing off a
few that are custom made for the shop to whatever size you like.
Customs were absolutely amazing in look & quality, but given that
we’re both mid-way through dropping some serious poundage, custom work
isn’t sensible right now…

Keith set us up with a lovely under-bust in blue satin. The fitting
was an interesting experience as he helped FeistyJess into the corset,
latching the front, lacing the back, and liberating her of her bra. I
was somewhat shamed as a self-identified gay man showed far more
proficiency than I in unclasping a bra…

Keith’s demeanor made the experience far more comfortable than
stripping down to your undies in a public place generally has any chance
of being. Well-timed humor and clearly warning & ensuring consent
before diving in to unclasp or poke anything were well appreciated.
FeistyJess is a bit modest at the best of times, and an NYC sex shop
with people just around the corner & a random male stranger watching
is far from the most relaxing of settings. That said, Keith managed to
put us at ease, perform a very professional corset fitting, and sent us
on our with a fabulous under-bust at a very-not-bad price. If you’re
in the market for a corset, I’d say Purple Passion should be your second
stop (see below for first). For any other toy needs in Manhattan, stop
here first!

Christopher Street area:

For gay mens’ leather wear, you can do worse in NYC than Christopher
Street and the surrounding few blocks. Several shops with decent
selections (and a few more sleazy ones) give you quite a few options.

London:

Tiny little basement shop with a BDSM flag hanging outside. Some
interesting costumes, a number of rings, toys, basic electro toys (think
TENS, not Erostek or wands), and some alleged insertables that could
easily be used to bludgeon an assailant to death should the need arise…
Prices were on the high side, and we didn’t end up getting anything.

Tic Tac Toe, Pink Pussycat, Pleasure Chest:

Bog-standard adult toy shops. Tic Tac Toe had a pretty big selection
of stripper gear & belly dancing costumes upstairs, but sizes
didn’t go into the double digits.

Wonder Wear NY:

This was another last-minute addition that was so incredibly worth
it. The shop has (gay) mens clothes & undies in a range of sizes.
Our timing here was perfect as they were in the process of liquidating
for upcoming renovations at the store. 75% off all stock! I think I
managed to get one of everything… I should probably update my fetish
list, cause… yeah…

The Leatherman:

This was technically the place we made the trip for. They have a
reputation of being the best place to get a belt, custom fit if
necessary. Kilt belt was acquired, and it looks fabulous! They also
have a pretty huge selection of leather, neoprene, harnesses, paddles,
crops, rings & things, real electro toys (to walk into a
shop and see an ET-312 & ET-232 on display in a cabinet? Yeah… I
Love New York =) We arrived in the midst of energetic preparations for
the upcoming Black Party over the weekend. FeistyJess was treated to a
brief view of a rather well endowed, heavily chiseled young man between
trying on pairs of jeans. Brief because he realized there was a girl
in the store, squeaked, blanched, and dove back in the fitting room.
Alas, I missed the view as I was in the other fitting room switching
from jeans into my kilt & shiny new belt. Spent the rest of the day
prancing about NYC in a kilt. It was good kilt weather. =)

Orchard Corsets:

This was a bit removed from Christopher Street, but the only shop in
the area (Orchard Street) where we stopped. See the reviews for this
place on Yelp. They very accurately describe the (slightly surreal)
experience. To summarize, a large Orthodox man (kippah & payot
included; we’ve since learned his name was Ben) asked us if we wanted a
corset for fun, for support… And the brain kind of went sproing
at that point… He called out to Elise to come do the fitting. Elise
took one look at FeistyJess, one look at the corset proffered by Ben,
and uttered a single word, “Smaller.” Another corset was acquired, and
FeistyJess was quirky & efficiently stripped, latched, and laced.
Perfect fit the first time on just a two-second eyeball. Quality is
very good (steel boning!), and price was unbelievably reasonable. If
you’re in the market for a corset (or a bra) this place should be stop
number one. They ship online as well at www.orchardcorset.com, though I
don’t think they can ship you Elise to do your fitting…

The Baroness:

Rubber wear in a variety of styles including custom work. The
Baroness herself was a rip. =) All Domme, all the time, and had the
bawdy/sarcasm mix that leaves every other word dripping with innuendo.
Alas, off the rack sizes were all smallish, and as mentioned above,
custom work isn’t on the menu right now. Still, the Baroness was
wonderful to talk to. She enquired where we’d been, what we were
looking for, and suggested a few other stops that we hadn’t found yet.
She did introduce FeistyJess to a rather neat looking blue rubber
half-cape, but as we were already up to a two corset trip, regrettably
nothing on offer from the Baroness was in-budget at this point. We’re
both still a little unsure about rubber as a material, but we may well
come back to visit the Baroness again.

St. Mark’s Place:

The Baroness sent us over here to two places: Trash & Vaudeville
and Gothic Renaissance. The former was so goth, even the heating system
was by Reznor… They had some interesting offerings, but mostly small
sizes, and probably not things we’d wear, even though they were
fabulous. They did have a few stunning full-length black coats
that I’d love to be able to rock. Not sure I can exude enough, “I
don’t care go fuck yourself,” to properly wear something so gothy, but I
think I might like to try at some point… Gothic Renaissance had some
fabulous shoes & gorgeous (if fragile looking) masks, but prices
were more frightening than the huge gargoyle guarding the door.

Times Square:

The Bag Man:

Completely not kinky, but worth a mention. Rather large
department/discount store specializing in luggage. At this point in the
trip, our “travel lite” concept had been dashed to bits by a
progression of can’t-say-no sales, and our initial two-backpack carrying
provisions had long since asploded with all the things… For less than
$25, a huge soft-pack rolling bag was acquired. We sat in the shadow of
David Beckham’s captivating two-story package (underwear ad on the side
of a building), and transferred all of our luggage & purchases into
the one new bag, then trundled off towards the garment district.

FeistyJess is a bit of a poly-craftual, and we hit several bead,
yarn, and assorted textile stores in the garment district. It’s all
kind of a blur to me. I write code, not stitch… After that, we grabbed
some mediocre pizza & got in line for the bus home.

All-in, it was a pretty awesome couple of days. We ended up crashing
with a friend of mine from high school, so total travel overhead on top
of the shopping was $50 travel plus food & such. We actually hit
the vast majority of the places the first day (and could hit all the
good places easily in a single day), so as day trips for kinky goodness
go, Capital District kinksters might give it a try!