Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Good, Great and Lousy

What Do We Learn?

In case you’re not as interested in the “rope scene” as other people are, or if you’ve never experienced what it’s like to be hurt (and not in a good way) during a scene, you might be interested in reading about an incident involving Midori and Mistress Tokyo. Both sides have now “come forward” to explain what happened. Many people who weren’t at the event during the incident have put their two cents in. Some people have accused others of being judgmental and unforgiving assholes. A few have used this to look at how THEY view rope and how they are going to plan for the inevitable fuck up. And one, who WAS there, and who has the knowledge to back up his points, made it perfectly clear to me, that there was a serious issue with Midori's skills and the aftermath.

Whichever side you’re taking on this issue (and I don’t recommend taking any side), I hope you’ll at least agree on three things:

a. Something went wrong.
b. Someone got horribly hurt.
c. The divergent reactions of how things were or should have been handled in the aftermath shows that merely being a well-known rope top isn’t good enough.

We all say “rope is dangerous. We all generally get the “pooh-pooh, I don’t put a NOOSE around my bottom’s neck!” But when we say rope is dangerous, we mean it. Ropes break, rigs break, shit happens.

And bottoms break.

While everyone is arguing about the mechanics of what should have been done, what wasn’t done correctly, what they would do in a similar situation- they’re all forgetting that the bottom involved placed an ENORMOUS amount of trust that Midori could do this correctly. The fact that it wasn’t within a scene, but a performance; and the fact that both bottom and top were adept at their craft, doesn’t negate the fact that the bottom got hurt and that it seems to me there was a genuine failure on the part of Midori's handling of the immediate concerns of her bottom.

But what makes this particular instance more troubling than simply an accident or inattention to detail or a top going beyond their knowledge base, is the allegations made that Midori for all intents and purposes- bailed out on her bottom. Yes, she “got her help” after she realized the extent of the injuries and yes, she paid for the medical bills, but the initial reaction of Midori seemed to be to “save face” in front of the audience, rather than cut to the chase and get her bottom the immediate attention she needed. “Dancing off the stage”, whether a few, or several minutes, after such an injury is unforgivable.

If this were the FIRST time, I'd heard about such a well-known top freaking out over a disastrous mistake in which a bottom had gotten hurt, I'd put it up to "it happens so infrequently, it's HARD to plan". But the fact of the matter is, it's NOT the first time. Or the first "rope rockstar" to fall to pieces like this. And what makes it even worse, is that unless someone is wiling to talk (and risk being ostracized in the rope community or called a judgmental asshole) then NOBODY can LEARN from their horrible mistakes. Nobody. Not good tops, not other rockstars, and not bottoms who put their trust in them.

Let me be perfectly clear about my own thoughts: ANY top who CANNOT deal with such a crisis, cannot put the needs of the bottom before trying to “save the scene/performance/their reputation” is a bad top. Any top who instead of making sure that another human being whose trust they’ve broken and whose body they’ve harmed, pretends that "it wasn't their fault" needs to re-examine their motivations for topping. Any top who falls to pieces is not one that is safe to play with, regardless of their “time in the scene” or their “reputation”.

Say what you like, but the bottom line is - a top is responsible for everything- good and bad- that goes on in a scene. If you don't LIKE that responsibility- then don't top. And if you've got a bottom who in fact causes problems or doesn't listen to instruction- then you're still responsible for the aftermath if you choose to continue topping that particular bottom. (and let me clarify here- the top is responsible for everything that goes on during the scene- think of the top as the "commander" of the army. It doesn't in any way negate that a bottom does have an equal responsibility- for the things they're able to control. But it's also unrealistic to think that a bottom "controls" the top's actions, inactions, inattentiveness or self-awareness).

People fuck up. Shit happens. But what differentiates a “great top” from one who is merely fooling themselves, is the ability to foresee potential problems, mitigate as many as they can, face the fuck ups with humanity and decisiveness, and not to foist the blame onto others. A great top puts their reputation on the line every time they top.

A lousy one puts their reputation in front of everything else.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Internet BlackOut Day: January 18, 2012

End Piracy, Not Liberty
Websites Joining the Strike
EFF Blog
Where Your Representatives Stand

"████ ██ ██-██ ██ ██████ ██

████ ██ ██ ████ ██ ████ ██ ██████ ██ ████ ██ ████ ██ ██████ ██"

Friday, January 6, 2012

Trash Talking Squirrels

When I moved in with Septimus a couple of years ago, we negoitated division of tasks. I explained that I would be happy to do the dishes, the laundry, the shopping, and almost anything else that needed to get done. But I told him that the one thing I didn’t do was taking out the trash to the curb on trashday. Usually I’m dressed in my work clothes and getting dirty at 6 am isn’t my idea of fun. We do have a woman who comes in to do the floors and bathrooms- as Septimus fondly puts it “nothing kills a relationship faster than arguing over who cleans the toilets”.

For the most part, he’s done an admirable job at keeping that end of the bargain (and yes, he has done dishes and laundry too). But as to the trash- sometimes he’ll ask me for help if it’s a particularly heavy recycling week, and sometimes I just stick around and help him because it’ll get done faster (not to mention that I always get a really awesome kiss and snuggle before getting into the car to drive to work). Sometimes though, I let him sleep and just do it myself. Especially if he’s had a late night. Especially more if he’s sleeping soundly and peacefully (he really is adorable when he’s sleeping).

What does this have to do with D/s? Nothing really. Except that not everything in a relationship (even one BASED on D/s) is written in stone. And nothing except that sometimes, taking out the garbage once in a while, dressed in work clothes, and letting your boyfriend sleep, even though it’s “his job” is just one small thing I do to show him that I really do want to make his life easier.

A partnership isn’t always about clear divisions. One based on a power exchange relationship even more so. Lines get fuzzy, things have to get done, people have personalities, needs, desires and responsibilities. Not everything in a D/s relationship fits neatly into the box. Being flexible and having a relationship outside of that box is absolutely necessary. It never has to be an all or nothing proposition in D/s. As long as you have a connection to it, it’s existence can be subtle and therefore seamlessly merged into a relationship.

When I think about taking out the trash and how that fairly mundane chore, which I dislike doing enormously, is a metaphor for the give and take that can happen even when He Is The Dom, it makes me laugh. It’s the little things, those mundane tasks, those private jokes, and those small thoughts that we have about each other, that connect us so that when we do have to spend time living outside of that box, we remember that it’s always a place we can go back to.

This morning, while I got ready for work, and he took the trash to the curb, I got my own reminder that he also thinks of the small things and does silly things to make me smile. My windshield was obviously defaced by a deranged squirrel with an odd symmetry fetish. Good thing I love deranged squirrels who take out the trash for me, huh?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Do Not Run with Twitterers

I REALLY (seriously really) wanted to write a nice upbeat New Years post about something fabulously insightful. Instead, I decided to get something off my chest that has been bugging me for a while.

I’ve long wanted to write a post about a few of the things that make me (as one good friend says) “BATSHIT CRAZY” about Twitter. I love Twitter generally, but there are a few things that I'm not so keen on, and in fact, will drive me away from it for days (or longer). In this case, I've been relatively absent from Twitter for the past couple of weeks because of a large amount of the following behaviors.

Twitter Peeve #1: Begging is Totally Non-Consensual

Look. I get it. People run into hard times. Medical emergencies, family emergencies, getting arrested for flashing a cop you thought was just a really cute girl...but setting up funds, tweeting about fundraisers and begging for money (especially for yourself) on twitter is, well...lame. I understand that giving to charity and things that are special to your life is cool, and I completely understand about needing help if stuck in a strange place without Yelp or a map, but coming on twitter and begging for money to help you in your “Run for Mr. Universe”, or to help you fund your next “Trip to Visit my Sick Grandmother” that just happens to coincide with, and in the same location as, say...Shibaricon isn’t fooling anyone. And in fact, it detracts from real, ACTUAL people who need legitimate help. I’d like to visit MY sick grandmother every year on Memorial Day weekend in Chicago, but it’s not realistic. I have to settle for visiting my crazy aunt in Providence at Valentine’s Day instead.

Twitter Peeve #2: Blocking and Cutting; or “Do Not Run with Twitters”

Threatening to “cull my twitter list” or “remove some of my followers”. If you want to remove people or followers, just do it. Warning people that the price for finding you entertaining or relevant is removal and/or blocking is rather like inviting them to confirm that you’re a jerk. Trust me, most people really don’t care one way or the other if you remove them or block them. Twitter especially has enough variety and action that it’s probably going to be months before anyone notices (if they ever do). But tweeting about doing it just makes people wonder why you’re so full of yourself that your PRONOUNCEMENT will be taken with anything other than a ho-hum, seeyalater, buh-bye.

And on the same note, asking people to tell you WHY you should continue following them before blocking them should they not provide an answer to your satisfaction. I look at those tweets and always wonder if my life would be better off without following you (or you following me) if that’s the way you really feel. Don’t follow me back. Block me. I’m ok with either. For the most part, I don’t even notice. For the other most part, did you ever stop and think that I might have LIKED what you posted but really had no desire to participate in your online conversations? Online voyeurism is part and parcel of living your life online. If you don’t like it don’t do it.

Twitter Peeve #3: Once (maybe Twice) is Enough; More is Always Too Much

Posting and reposting and reposting and posting some more your daily blog activity. People blog. I get it. Heck I do it myself. But posting multiple times about your latest blog post is not going to get people reading it any more than they already do. And really? Whining that people “aren’t showing you any love” on your blog? If you blog, do it for yourself and not because you want to be stroked by people telling you what a perfect absolutely marvelous person you are to have written such an insightful and well drafted post. If it IS those things, and you ARE an absolutely marvelous person, people will post blog comments. Stamping your foot (or the equivalent- blasting dozens of times on twitter) about it is more likely to get you dropped from my blog roll.

Twitter Peeve #4: Don’t Shit Where You Eat.

Whining about being paid for presenting at cons, classes, events or whatever. Bitching about how unfairly you were treated by organizers. For most people, we’ve never heard of you. Having Lee Harrington presenting holds about the same weight as having Joe Schmuckatelly presenting. While more experienced kinksters get to know the “superstar names” (a few who are actually a draw and can put butts into chairs) most people coming into these events for the first time don’t have a clue who most of the presenters are. And while you may make your living as a professional kinkster teaching other kinksters how to do things in the one twue way, and while you expect to be paid for your insight, please be aware that complaining about the lack of compensation on social media is a major faux pas and makes you look ungrateful that there are actually people who might want to hear you, but will now likely look at that event as “defective” because YOU’RE complaining about it. For most presenters, no matter how great they may be (and there are a ton of great ones out there); they’re still a very small fish in a very large pond.

Twitter Peeve #5 Sometimes There IS such a Thing as Too Much Information
(and What That Is Varies)

I can't truly be more specific with this one without calling out specific examples- which I'm not going to do. Suffice to say that I find few things more distasteful than totally disrespecting other people's boundaries or privacy. Thinly veiled references and passive aggressive tweets should come with a warning. And even more specifically- photographs of your cunt rash du jour should NEVER be tweeted without appropriately warning people that what you're about to tweet might be considered "TMI".

There's more, but I just can't think straight right now. But not to worry- I'm gonna break one of my own peeves even as I finish this post. I've dumped most of the worst offenders from my stream this week.

Sorry about that- But on the bright side- I'm sure it'll be a while before you even notice.

PS: This is solely my own opinion and not necessarily shared with "The Management" ie. Septimus- if you have a snit- talk to me, not to him.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year

Dee Dennis and I were talking a few weeks ago about how many shoes I actually owned. Frankly, I stopped counting because I was deathly afraid I was becoming one of those hoarder people and that someday, I'd be found buried beneath a mountain (Everest??) of shoes, boots, and sandals. For the few people who have been privileged to peek in my closet- they have no doubt I'm a shoe whore. For the rest of you- I'm beginning my year in pictures for 2012. Every day I'll be posting a picture of me wearing one pair of my shoes. I'm curious if I can do it, and frankly- I'm even more curious to know if I've reached over 365 pairs.

So, here's to my shoe whore life in pictures for 2012. Happy New Year!