Back / On Apologizing


I. Wow, June 22 was the last time I posted . . . by My own standard that makes this a "dead blog." Obviously standards aren't what they used to be here in #EPB land.

The goal . . . is to post on a regular basis, honest. As with all goals, though, the striving is actually the important thing.


II. It's hard to be "Dominant" when you're apologizing. Sometimes.

In the normal course of life, there are the "trivial" type apologies -- "sorry I ran over your foot" . . . "sorry I washed your red shirt in the bleach load" . . . "sorry I ate the last Dorito." Sometimes we mean them, sometimes we don't, but on some level we understand that the social fabric relies on observance of various well-understood norms. All of us, Dominant, submissive, or neither, follow these norms to a greater or lesser degree, and the degree to which we follow them more or less assigns us our place on the continuum that stretches from "nice guy/girl" to "bastard/bitch." And presumably we're more or less happy with, or unaware of, our particular place.

Then there's the more involved apologies. Those that involve emotions, but not emotions of people we're romantically/sexually involved with. Apologizing to friends can be a sticky affair, but it depends more on the wronged party, really. If the person we're apologizing to wants to be difficult, and we're more on the "nice" side of the continuum, the apology can get fairly long, drawn out, and start to feel semi-humiliating after a while. If the person we're apologizing to is healthy and gracious, well, then, apologizing is a relative snap, because both parties realize that it's not about undoing the wrong -- it's about making the gesture that acknowledges what both parities already know about who was wrong and why.

Sex and love of course complicate the matter exponentially. It's often impossible to keep the current wrong straight from the laundry list of wrongs the wronged party is keeping, consciously or otherwise, in his or her head. And vice versa -- some people don't know what they're apologizing for at any given moment, or much care, in extreme cases.

Bring Dominance and submission into it and there's a very different cast to things. Does a Master/Mistress ever apologize to a slave? Said that way, the entire concept sounds ludicrous.

But this isn't Gor or the Planet of the Blondes . . . real people interacting in real ways can and do, despite their best efforts, give offense.

And I do at times find it difficult to apologize to My girls, even when I really feel as though I should.

Knowing it's difficult, though, helps Me a lot to actually go ahead and do it. I could be kidding Myself, but I don't think so. I think that having the ability to embrace sufficient humility to be able to apologize when it's called for . . . makes Me better, as a Domme and as a person.

If that's a delusion, it's one I totally embrace.

Present!


(Waving) Over here!


I haven't dropped off the face of the earth. But I have obviously neglected the blog for a little while.


I've dropped YouTube Tuesday as an every-week thing . . . it began to feel like real work, it was beginning to distort what I felt this blog should be about, and judging from the response it won't be missed anyway.


It's one of those phases of life when all creative energy seems to simply vanish, and that more than anything is the reason thata there's been so little posted here lately.


"Stuff Happens" is the operating principle of the universe. Stuff is happening. But along with that principle comes the related one, "It will pass."


There you have it.

Ad Nauseum

I watch a lot of TV. So I watch a lot of commercials. Many of them are funny, many are easily dismissible, some are silly, and a very few rise to the level where one's left wondering what's being sold to whom, and why.

Such is the case with the following Cadillac commercial, featuring Kate Walsh of Grey's Anatomy.

There are two spots with the actress. One is the pseudo-clever "when you turn your car on, does it return the favor?" spot -- kind of stupid of basically harmless.

The other one is the "favorite things" commercial. Ms. Walsh is tooling along in her Caddy CTS, and she begins listing off some of her supposedly favorite things.



"Gossip magazines . . . dark chocolate . . . "

All righty then. Establishing Ms. Walsh's "girly" credentials. I had no idea they were in doubt, but OK, for anyone watching the ad who might not somehow know, Kate Walsh is female, and what's more, she's a "regular" type girl -- she reads Us in the checkout line just like you (if she ever actually did her own grocery shopping of course, but you get the idea).

The litany of favorite things continues . . .

"Italian shoes . . . "

Oh, hold on now. She might be a "regular girl" but let's not get crazy here -- you can only covet those Manolos -- Kate Walsh can actually buy them, and does so without calling for a 22% payday advance loan. So, fuck off, regular girls.

Kate! Get back on message! Quick!

"Definitely a Kansas City ribeye . . . "

Whoa . . . a left turn there and aimed squarely at the guys. Fellers, this ain't no shrinkin' violet do your laundry type girl . . . this here's a fire-breathin' CTS-drivin' WOMMIN! Woman enough to fuck you and your best friend, make you look bad in the board meeting the next morning, and . . .

"pulling up to the boys' club . . . in one of these."

Kate looks over at the two chumps in the next car, smiles, then a high-heel-shod foot (Italian shoes, bitch!) stomps the accelerator. The music swells and in no time Kate is doing 117 in a 35 mph zone in her CTS.

While very well-made, and certainly expensively produced, not even counting Ms. Walsh's fee for swearing undying allegiance to a car she doesn't drive in real life, it's a horrendous commercial.

The target market clearly isn't 31-old female stars of hit TV shows . . . that's a bit too small a segment. In fact, like almost all car ads, it's not targeted at females at all. I know a fair number of successful women -- none of them drive high-performance sports sedans (or coupes . . . I'm not bothering to look up how many doors a CTS has). Or, and this is important, if they do they don't identify that way. Meaning, some might drive BMWs or Mercedes, but not because they are "performance" cars per se.

So let's give GM credit and assume they are not selling to a non-existent market. (I realize that I could be assuming facts not in evidence, but let's go with it.)

If this ad is aimed primarily at men, then what exactly is being sold, and how? What does this ad say to men?

1. You're a loser. Look at you sitting there with a boner over a car ad, for Christ's sake.
2. And while you are never getting any action from a TV show hottie like Kate Walsh, drive this car, and who knows?
3. There really are women who like sex. Just not sex with you.
4. But you can dream. Buy a Cadillac CTS.

Most advertising is based on two concepts: Come hither. Drop dead. Mixing the two can make for great ads, but more often makes for a mess. And like most big-dollar advertisers, GM makes the mistake of thinking that production values, name talent, and some oblique form of sex is what weds the two concepts best.

YouTube Tuesday: My Bily Joel Problem

No one's perfect, least of all musical artists.

Billy Joel is a shining example. He can give you the chills with "Captain Jack" . . . then make you shake your head with tired hackwork like "Still Rock 'N' Roll To Me." Brilliant satire ("The Entertainer," "Angry Young Man") stands elbow to elbow in the catalog with "She's Always A Woman To Me," perhaps the single worst song by an otherwise good artist in modern musical history. That the same person created "Scenes From An Italian Restaurant" and "Uptown Girl" is baffling, and somehow sad.

That's My Bill Joel Problem. But the good outweighs the bad, certainly. Tonight's clip is Joel's brilliant "Ballad Of Billy The Kid." The clips from classic Westerns are a little bonus.

"Well, he never traveled heavy
Yes, he always rode alone
And he soon put many older guns to shame
And he never had a sweetheart
But he finally found a home
Underneath the boothill grave that bears his name"


YouTube Tuesday: 80s Rule, Part 7

No compilation of 80s videos would be complete without a contribution from Prince. Tonight's selection is "1999."

It's easy to get caught up in the persona, the outfits, the girls, and the total over-the-topness of Prince and lose sight of the fact that he is an extremely talented and influential musician and songwriter. In a way he was too good for the 80s, but in another of course he was absolutely perfect for them.

Some readers may remember when 1999 seemed like a long time in the future.

"I was dreamin' when I wrote this
So sue me if I go too fast
But life is just a party

And parties weren't meant to last
War is all around us

My mind says prepare to fight
So if I gotta die

I'm gonna listen to my body tonight
Yeah, they say two thousand zero zero party over

Oops out of time
So tonight I'm gonna party like it's 1999"

Another Lesson

I've been out of touch a couple of days, having been with a good friend for her father's wake and funeral.

Our rituals surrounding death, morbid and unnecessary though they often seem, do have the (positive?) side effect of bringing various emotions to the surface in the observer(s).

These emotions are often surprising.

I watched My friend over the past couple of days and at times I found Myself actually envious of her uncomplicated grief, the crushing sadness of losing her father untempered, unmitigated by any laundry list of confusing, conflicting feelings getting in the way.

I was envious too of her ability to let others be there for her, to accept the sincere concern we offered, to simply and completely sink down into our love and empathy the way one gives one's self up to a soothing bath. Envious of her grace in just allowing herself to be comforted.

I felt vaguely wrong in feeling envious of those things, until the lesson behind it all was made clearer.

During the funeral Mass, I found Myself crying for no apparent reason. I usually tune out during those times when circumstances mandate My presence in a church, but the relative darkness and the solemnity of the ritual are at least soothing.

The Gospel was one commonly used in funeral Masses, Luke 24:1-8. This passage recounts what happened on the Sunday after the Crucifixion, when women came to Jesus' tomb:

But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, the women came to the tomb, bringing the spices which they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. And it happened that while they were perplexed about this, behold, two men suddenly stood near them in dazzling apparel; and as the women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, "Why do you seek the living One among the dead? He is not here, but He has risen. Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee, saying that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again." And they remembered His words.

The words washed over Me but that one insistent question lodged itself in My mind: Why do you seek the living One among the dead?

And I realized that that is something that we do in our lives, again and again: Constantly put ourselves through futile exercises, nonsensical efforts with as much as chance of succeeding as looking for the living among the dead. Death, being and feeling so final, drives the simple lessons home with great force at moments like that.

I cried, and couldn't stop for some time. Normally, even at a funeral Mass, I would've made more effort to stop. This time, though, I didn't feel the need to . . . the more I cried the deeper I could feel the lesson penetrating Me, penetrating to that place where words can't reach.

My friend, in the midst of her crushing grief, understood this lesson much better than I. She sought the comfort the living could provide in the face of the awesomeness and finality of death; her sadness and her response to the efforts of those who love her was complete, rational, and totally of its time and place. It was that rare thing-in-itself that lies outside the boundaries of our reflexive system of reason.

The thought that maybe this time I had truly learned that lesson caused Me to stop crying.

YouTube Tuesday: Coyote

It's a cliche to say "no one writes songs like _____ any more," but no one's writing songs like Joni Mitchell any more, or executing them like her, either.

Tonight's clip is a live version of "Coyote," one of the last great Joni songs before she lost her way in the jazz morass, never to return.

"Coyote," for Me, encapsulates a longing, a sweet pain so intense it defies words, even defies thought at times.

Alleged trivia fact: The "coyote" in question is actor/playwright Sam Shepard.



"I tried to run away myself
To run away and wrestle with my ego
And with this flame
You put here in this Eskimo
In this hitcher
In this prisoner
Of the fine white lines
Of the white lines on the free, free way"

YouTube Tuesday: Cheeseburger In Paradise

Summer's coming. And summer means that Jimmy Buffet, by forces of nature unknown to Me, racks up his customary $100 million or so in concert grosses.

I don't get it and never will. But OK, grab your blanket and your Mike's Hard Lemonade or similar portable intoxicant, pony up your $118 or whatever a Buffet ticket will go for this summer and have at it.

Not to say that Herr Buffet is totally without redeeming social value. I've always liked "Cheeseburger In Paradise." Buffet is as clever as he is shrewd.

"Tried to amend my carnivorous habits.
Made it nearly seventy days,
Losin' weight without speed, eatin' sunflower seeds,
Drinkin' lots of carrot juice and soakin' up rays.
But at night I'd have these wonderful dreams
Some kind of sensuous treat.
Not zucchini, fettuccini, or bulgur wheat,
But a big warm bun and a huge hunk of meat.
Cheeseburger in paradise.
Heaven on earth with an onion slice.
Not too particular, not too precise.
I'm just a cheeseburger in paradise."


(Margarataville(tm) Frozen Dinners are available in your local supermarket. Ask for them by name!)

Knowing and Knowing

Often, I'll say something to someone and their response is "I know."

"I know" is a common deflector. We all use it in response to something that we don't want to hear, something we are embarrassed about, something we actually are going to get around to, something that we have no intention of ever doing, or, most perversely (and perhaps most commonly) of all, something we really don't know at all. It can mean "OK," "I really do agree with you," "screw off," "sorry," "I feel your pain," and a whole host of other things.

But what it almost never means is "I know." Because there is knowing, the way we've come to treat that phrase, and there is knowing.

The distinction is readily apparent in the D/s context. The nature of the Dominant/submissive relationship is often that the Dominant ends up saying a lot of stuff, and the submissive ends up saying "i know" in response. A lot.

And when the submissive says that, more often than not s/he means it. Aside from intentional bratting or in a relationship that is well down the slippery slope to dissolution, the submissive's "i know" is sincere, i.e., s/he really thinks s/he knows.

And s/he might. But most likely not. Not because s/he is incompetent or lazy, but because knowing is available to us all, but knowing is rare.

Knowing, as embodied in the phrase "i know," is a simple cognizance of a fact, generally-accepted principle, or piece of common or uncommon wisdom we've come to internalize.

This brick is red. Beggars can't be choosers. Hitler shouldn't have waged war on two fronts. One might say "I know" in response to any of those, with varying degrees of interest or irritation.

The simple knowing also can encompass desired states. The Mom and apple pie sort of things that we understand and more or less acquiesce to without really changing anything inside us.

You shouldn't care too much about what other people think. Working out will give you more energy. a submissive should serve with passion, always.

And thus "I know" becomes that deflector -- it expresses nothing, least of all any true knowledge. It's offered as proof of our depth and concern and sensitivity, but there is nothing behind it, because "I know" closes the case in our minds. What is usually left unsaid after "I know" is "let's move on to something I can feel better about."

The other "knowing," what I've referred to as knowing, above, is an almost bodily sense of conviction. The common way to refer to this might be knowing in one's head as opposed to knowing in one's heart, but that's a glib definition that's ultimately meaningless.

Knowing is being convinced to the extent that behavior/actions actually change. The cart needs to go before the horse. Change first, "know" second. The result is that one ends up knowing without actually "knowing" how or why. Because knowing is the inescapable result of the correct approach, not the result of any specific actions or procedures.

The first step is being aware that there is knowing and there is knowing. Once one comprehends that, then "I know" can begin to take on a different, much more important, meaning.

YouTube Tuesday: White And Nerdy

Time for a Weird Al Yankovic interlude.

Tonight's offering: "White and Nerdy," Weird Al's re-take on Chamillionaire's "Ridin' Dirty."

Weird Al has the perfect eye and ear for what he does. One doesn't have to be familiar with the original video to enjoy what Weird Al does here. And the lyrics . . . it's worth watching the video again if you don't get them all the first time through.

"There's no killer app I haven't run
At Pascal, well, I'm number 1
Do vector calculus just for fun
I ain't got a gat but I gotta soldering gun
Happy days is my favorite theme song
I can sure kick your butt in a game of ping pong
I'll ace any trivia quiz you bring on
I'm fluent in Java Script as well as Klingon
Here's the part I sing on"



You Tube Tuesday: Covering the Uncoverable, Part 2

This week's entry: The Stones' classic "Satisfaction." Unlike last week's "I Am The Walrus," "Satisfaction" practically invites "coverage" somehow.

And there's plenty to give it a go.

First, a pretty faithful rendering of the Stones themselves performing the song on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1996. This video is worth it just to see how young Mick looks and Keith and the boys in mod suits. a la The Fab Four. I give this a B for overall cuteness.





Next up, the most satisfying version for Me: Devo's syncopated reconstruction. "Satisfaction's" lyrics might've seemed fairly subversive in the early 60s -- by the mid 70s they were beyond tame. Devo's version, intentionally or otherwise, makes the song subversive again, not by changing the lyrics but by twisting the rhythm.

And those smart yellow decontamination suits never go out of style. A+.






On we go to the Residents, a (purposely) obscure band based in San Francisco. Their cover of "Satisfaction" goes beyond subversive . . . like much of their music it's deliberately distancing to the typical listener. This live version is actually more listenable than their original cover.

I am simply one of those hopeless idiots where the Residents are concerned -- I confess to not getting it. I give it a C.






I have no idea about these next guys, The Roadside BitchBand. Never heard of them, I don't know if they have a recording contract, if they are even really a "band," or what. Their version of "Satisfaction" is adorably sucky . . . it has a garage-band energy that can't be faked. B+ . . . an extra-half-grade for having the unmitigated chutzpah to post this on YouTube.







Then from out of left field . . . Britney Spears performing "Satisfaction" at the 2000 MTV Awards. It quickly morphs into "Oops I Did It Again" and the arrangement is a lot more Vegas than suits Me, but it does show that when Britney has her head on straight, she is an affecting performer. I give it a B.





The last one is a real gem of sorts. This cover is by The Acid Drinkers, described by the person who posted the video as "one of the best Polish bands." All right . . . I'll take your word for it.

Their "Satisfaction" is fast and punky. It's actually pretty good -- the singer's accent alone is worth the price of admission. I was giving this a B+ until I heard some weird semi-yodeling noises at the very end. B.


Fiction: The Taking of anni, Part 7

1. Casual Suggestion

I’ve found that introducing anything new and big is usually best accomplished by starting with a small thing, a casual suggestion that arises out of an innocuous conversation.

We’d just finished dinner and I casually asked anni how things were going at work. I’d been bitching about My job a bit lately and making noises about how I wished I could quit. Nothing overly serious . . . just the same mildly disgruntled employee stuff you’d hear at any one of ten million American dinner tables on any given night.

For her part, anni was doing fine at work and liking it pretty well. I told her I was glad to hear that and that she needed to stay on top of things and be a good girl for Me in all aspects of life. I ended the conversation with a joking promise to someday take us both away from office drudgery. We laughed and moved on to something else.


2. Two Months Later

Another after-dinner conversation.

“I’ve done it, anni. I’m going into business for Myself and I’m going to need your help. I want you to give notice at work tomorrow. Two weeks from Monday we start a whole new thing.

anni looked at Me excitedly. “Really, Miss? Wow, i guess i never really . . . “ her voice trailed off, realizing what she was about to imply.

I was in too good a mood to get angry. I laughed, and said “you never thought I’d actually pull it off?”

she blushed wildly and stumbled for words. “No, Miss, never . . . i didn’t mean to imply that . . . i . . . “

I hugged her tight and then looked in her eyes. “It’s all right, anni, I’m teasing. Honestly, I never thought I’d pull it off Myself. But I have, and it’s going to be a fabulous new venture. I’ll be My own boss and I’ll make more than you and I are making now, combined.” I hugged her again.

“What exactly is this new venture, Miss? Um, if I may ask?”

“Oh, don’t worry about that, sweet girl,” I said, holding her. “I’ll fill you in on all the details at the right time. For now, let’s gets to work on converting the spare room into a home office.”

3. Rainy Days and Mondays

We had a nice weekend following our last day as office drones and Monday morning rolled around before we knew it. Normally I hated Mondays, especially drizzly ones like this one, but this Monday morning I was bursting with excitement. I couldn’t wait to get this new venture off the ground.

anni was bursting too, with curiosity. I still hadn’t filled her in on the details of our new business. she had been such a good girl, not pestering Me about it these past two weeks.

We ate and I told anni to get showered then come see Me before she got dressed. I could see that she wanted to question Me but she was excited to get her day going and simply complied and ran to get the shower going.

I sipped My coffee as the freshly showered, naked anni stood before Me. I took a long moment to savor the sight. anni did her best not to betray her nervous excitement, mixed with sudden consternation – she obviously hadn’t expected to be standing here naked at this moment.

I got up and left the room, returning a moment later. I laid the black thigh-high stockings and the black patent leather stilettos on the table.

“Put these on, anni. Then do your makeup . . . make it dramatic, but elegant. Don’t overdo it but don’t try to look innocent, either. Then put on your black raincoat. I’ll be ready by the time you’re done.”

I thought I heard a tiny gulp. I swatted anni’s cute butt playfully. “Run along, anni, time’s a-wasting!”


4. We Deliver!

We drove in silence until we reached the Financial District, all steel and glass and marble skyscrapers. Lots of wealthy men with low-down needs. I pulled up to the Bradstone Building and looked at anni . . . she seemed to still not know. Or perhaps she was just desperately trying not to know.

I looked at her. “32nd floor. You are there to see Mr. Randolph Wiggins. You will have to sign in at the elevators – use the name “Brianna Mason.” Off the elevator, the receptionist will direct you to Wiggins’ office. He’s expecting you.” I laughed. “Well, he’s expecting Brianna Mason, I suppose.”

I had her repeat all the information to make sure she had it right.

“Good girl.”

I opened My daybook. “Now, Wiggins fancies himself King of the Universe, so for you it’s a simple job. He’ll want his cock sucked while he sits in his chair with his commanding view of the City; he’ll probably take a call or two while you’re doing it. He might ask you to take off the raincoat – that’s OK. It’s $500 -- he’ll pay you in cash, but probably won’t tip – he sounds like a cheap bastard.”

I handed anni a cell phone. “Take this. Anything goes wrong, or he won’t pay, or won’t pay enough, or anything at all, you hit 99-SEND. If you are not back in 30 minutes I’ll know something is wrong and take appropriate action.”

She looked at me . . . not angry, not scared, not anything really, except maybe surprised. I took one last look at her and smiled. “You look perfect, anni. Now go be a good girl and make My new business a success.”

“Yes, Miss,” she said, and got out of the car. I watched her walk up the steps to the doors of the building.


5. The Rewards of Entrepreneurship


I’d been lucky to get the parking space I’d found . . . with any luck anni would be back before I had to feed the meter. I read a magazine and found Myself lingering longer than usual on the Lexus and Mercedes’ ads.

About twenty-five minutes after I’d dropped her off, anni came back to the car. I watched her approach and the look on her face was at once shocking, revelatory, and deeply pleasing to Me. She didn’t look sad or humiliated as she moved towards the car. If I had to apply just one word to how she looked, I’d have to say “serene,” of all things.

anni got in the car and hugged Me tightly. “I did a very good job, Miss,” she whispered in My ear, then pulled out six new $100 bills and handed them to Me.

I smiled brightly. “Oh My, anni! I was wrong about Wiggins not tipping! Good girl!”

I started the car and drove off. All right, I’ll stop at home. You have time to freshen up before your 11:00 at the Baxter Building. After that we’ll go for a nice lunch. you might not be as hungry as I’ll be, but . . .

I giggled to Myself as I heard anni’s voice catch in her throat a little. I glanced over at her and our eyes met for a moment. I could see in her the absolute happiness at having served well, and she could see in Me the absolute pride and pleasure I felt.

“i love You, Miss,” she whispered.

“And I love you, anni, so much.”

We say that to each other a lot, but never were the words less necessary, or more deeply felt, than at this very moment.

Warnings

nina recently wrote about the recent surge in Blogger blogs that have been recently "flagged,' resulting in one seeing a "content warning"page before one sees the actual blog in question.

Of course, these newly-flagged blogs all deal with some aspect or other of sex, to no one's surprise. In My comment on nina's entry I (jokingly, I think) suggested that some form of guerrilla action was called for -- I had the idea that we should organize an army of people to visit all sorts of "normal" Blogger blogs and flag them until they receive warning labels. Quilting? Badminton? Brazilian pop music? Flag 'em all. The theory being that the backlash would result in the end of the warning label system as Blogger got inundated with hundreds of thousands of complaints.

Well, up the revolution and all that, but it's not practical.

What I see more and more (and what nina advocates in her post) is leaving Blogger for other alternatives.

Just today I went over to Stiletto Diaries and found that the lovely shasta had moved to her own domain. As I was updating My link list to take this change into account, I realized that
Blogger wants all the sex bloggers to go elsewhere.

Blogger wants blogs that are going to connect to AdSense and generate revenues. And since "adult" products even in this enlightened age reside mainly on the margins, the AdSense opportunities in that arena are much more limited than they are for more mainstream blogs. Plus, not having any sex blogs would free Blogger (now a unit of deep-pocketed Google) from any fingers pointing in their direction along the lines of "your sex blogs made my son a rapist" and the like. However remote that might be, corporations always seek the path of least resistance, especially in the perception-is-reality-and-then-some area of children and anything remotely sexual.

So My advice to Blogger sex bloggers is: Stay. If people want to read you, a content warning screen isn't going to stop them. Stay. Because they want you to go.

There is no revolution. There is just a long series of tiny "no's."

YouTube Tuesday (+1): 80s Rule, Part 6

Tonight's delicacy: "Sex As A Weapon" by Pat Benatar, from 1985. No idea what brought this song to mind today, but I'm glad I thought of it.

Pat Benatar exhorts the guys to "stop using sex as a weapon." The video also points up how sex to used to sell products. That Pat Benatar, whose entire career and professional persona were based precisely on using sex as a weapon/marketing tool, made this song/video, is either unintentional irony or chutzpah of the highest order.

Ah, the 80s. Not only was no message too ridiculous to deliver . . . it stood a good chance of being swallowed whole without complaint.

The quality of this clip isn't great but I was impressed by how sophisticated the video editing is for 1985.

Tagged: The Six-Word Memoir

saratoga tagged Me to participate in the six-word memoir meme, after he was tagged by nina.

The rules are as follows:


-Write your own six word memoir

-Post it on your blog and include a visual illustration if you’d like

-Link to the person that tagged you in your post

-Tag five more blogs with links

-And don’t forget to leave a comment on the tagged blogs with an invitation to play



What I consider My life to is a struggle to know and embrace reality, both the real but not all-encompassing "real world" we are presented with every day, and the other nature of the world, those parts of the world that are withheld from us by almost insurmountable perceptual barriers.


To be in a position to someday break those barriers requires a lifelong commitment to reclaiming one's true self from the myriad of foreign energies that have been layered upon us over the years, the process so subtle and continuous as to go unnoticed.


Getting free of all that is an equally long and slow process.


So My six-word memoir, My commitment, My life is:


Freeing Myself in continuous tiny increments.


Five is a lot of commenting I have to do . . . I'll keep it to three:

YouTube Tuesday: A Classic Done Over (and Over and . . . )

There is something sacrilegious about the mere concept of covering certain classics. For Me, The Beatles' "I Am The Walrus" is one of the least "coverable" songs ever.

But most covers are meant in homage, so while I might fault the results, in the long run it's done from the right place.

So here goes.

First, the original in all its glory, from the Magical Mystery Tour film. What was playful and weird in 1968 is still playful and weird, the silly visuals nicely softening the song's relentless and undeniable ominous edge.

And forty years later the song still stands up beautifully.



Next we have a version by Oasis, from 1994. Something one might expect, given that Oasis are unabashed Fab Four worshippers. This version features Jools Holland (of Squeeze fame) and frankly, it's a waste. They steamroll through the song as though they want to hurry up and get finished before someone catches them in the act. Nice work by the orchestra, however.

Not Oasis' finest hour. Unfortunately embedding is disabled for this video so you have to click here to see it.


Moving right along to a version Frank Zappa(!), live, from 1988. I didn't know what to expect but this one surprised Me -- Frank kept it reverent (difficult for him at the best of times), the musicianship and arrangement are flawless, and Frank uses some different instruments nicely.

The cons: Horrible singer, a little too up-tempo, and the video ends about 2/3 of the way through the song. Embedding disabled (grrrrrrrrr) . . . see it here.


Next up: A version by a group I confess to never having heard of, Carey Ziegler's Expensive Hobby. This was recorded live in 2005 and they do a creditable version -- more blues-rocky, using some sort of synthesizer for the string parts. It almost rocks out . . . it works. Excellent drummer.




Then, perhaps the most surprising and audacious cover -- by Styx. Yeah, those guys. Apparently from 2005 and I've no idea who from the old Styx is still in the band (Dennis DeYoung is not).

I was actually scared to watch/listen to this. But the result is all right . . . Styx takes the song to an arena-rock place that somehow doesn't come off insulting. They decided to sing the string parts, which, while disconcerting at first, ends up working in an odd way. The video is crap --2005 trying to be 1968-- but that's excusable. Overall a much better result than one might think when "Styx" and "I Am The Walrus" are juxtaposed.

Once again, no embedding (what exactly is wrong with people?), so click here for the video.


Then there's the Bono version from the movie Across The Universe. It's . . . OK, I guess. But it's too "Bono-fied" . . . and if I have to explain that further we're both out of luck.




And finally (whew!) Spooky Tooth's cover from way back in 1970. Supposedly John Lennon said he liked this version best. It's interesting . . . Spooky Tooth forgoes trying to incorporate the strings/orchestral touches and lets a languid rocker ooze out. The singer is a little too soulful for the song, to My way of thinking, but in many ways this is the most adventurous cover of them all. Sometimes the best time to cover a classic is before it becomes a classic. An A for effort for Spooky Tooth.



Thanks for sticking around for all of that. Conclusion? Nothing touches the original, but in the end trying to cover what can't be covered ends up all right. It was fun discovering all these and getting to see what each artist wanted to bring out in the song.

Four


Today is four years that storm is with Me.


Thank you, storm, for loving and serving Me so well all this time . . . I love you.
Happy Anniversary . . . I look forward to all the days and years to come.

YouTube Tuesday (+1): I'm Bad, I'm Nationwide

Sometimes, you've just got to have the song. The real song, not any one of 22 lame-assed live versions. No 1/3-length version set to a huffing 10th grader playing air guitar. You hope you can find it paired with some sort of halfway-decent video. And not a slide show. A video. But, above all else, you've got to have the song.

Tonight is that night. I had to have "I'm Bad I'm Nationwide" by ZZ Top. And there it was. Good audio. And here it is.

The video is, to be polite, boring. A completely uneventful car trip. Comments ranged from "idiotic -- a complete waste of bandwidth" to "absolutely the worst video ever posted on youtube."

Yeah.

So?

"Easin down the highway in a new Cadillac
I had a fine fox in front, I had three more in the back
They sportin short dresses, wearin spike-heel shoes
They smokin Lucky Strikes and wearing nylons too
Cause we bad, we nationwide
Yeah we bad, we nationwide."

Not The Usual Thing, But . . .

I'm not a big fan of joke sites, joke e-mails, etc., as a rule, but I do love cats and kittens and I'm not without a sense of humor. Really.

So I thought this was funny.

Humorous Pictures
see more crazy cat pics

The site has like NINETY PAGES of these things. A fun, SFW, time-waster of the highest caliber.

YouTube Tuesday: 80s Rule, Part 5

I hadn't intended another 80s video tonight, but stumbled upon this gem . . . "Word Up" by Cameo, from 1986.

Pure dancability and hilarity. The prominent red codpiece is just, well . . . words fail Me. LaVar Burton (!) pitches in as the detective. The hyper-nasally voice, the ridiculous lyrics, the butt-shaking groove, and the pure 80s milieu make "Word Up" a big winner.

"Now all you sucker D.J.’s
Who think you’re fly
There’s got to be a reason
And we know the reason why.
And act real cool
But you got to realise
That you’re acting like fools.
If there’s music we can use it
We need to dance.
We don’t have that time
For psychological romance
No romance
No romance
No romance for me mama
Come on baby tell me what’s the word.
Ah – word up,
Everybody say when you hear the call
You got to get it underway."


Fear Works

This post, about Doms and Dommes and what we present versus what we really might be/want, generated a couple of comments.

nina commented, in part

" . . . is the idea of fear itself. Fear of who and what we are and the difficulties in confronting that very thing which makes us essentially who we are."

I thought about this a bit and it's certainly true. Many who want to submit present as Dom/me, and fear is part of the reason for that. Fear of physical or emotional harm, fear of looking foolish, fear of giving offense, fear of insert-your-worst-nightmare here. And I wouldn't necessarily disagree with the notion one might infer from nina's comment, that the more strongly submission represents what one is, the more intense the fear.

Why should this be, though? Why fear? We're talking about embracing one's true self (or at the very least, sorting out a very important aspect of what isn't one's true self). That should be an activity that one approaches with glad anticipation. Fraught with butterflies, surely, but fear?

OK, I asked a question I already knew the answer to. Anything that might touch on the "real us" is of course drenched in fear. But it should it be that way?

In thinking about it, the answer is a somewhat surprising but resounding yes. Much as we might hate it, or feel the burden of it, we need fear. Fear works.

Fear makes us stop and consider angles we wouldn't bother to consider otherwise. Fear steps in and forces us to either summon all our strength and meet the thing we fear, or to reconsider, to think it out some more, to try again another time.

And when the stakes, particularly the emotional stakes, are so high, as they are in D/s, that pause that fear can create in us is a very healthy thing indeed.

There are big negatives of course. Fear can hold us back forever, it can warp us and make us timid, withdrawn. We can end up surrendering to fear in a way that is not at all healthy.

As in most other things in life, the healthy approach is one in which fear is just another item in the inventory -- it's not overpowering nor is it dismissed without a thought. Recklessness might feel better in the moment but in the long run it is as damaging as timidity.

Fear works. Respect it, submit to it, without surrendering to it. Fear is there for compelling reasons. And those reasons matter.

YouTube Tuesday: 99 Problems

Fast-forwarding to the (almost) present, tonight's clip is "99 Problems" by Jay-Z.

Jay-Z bangs rap up against metal here and the result is powerful. Lyrically he mines a lot of well-trod ground but it's solid enough and raw enough that it sounds fresh.

I'm not sure how long this version (with the lyrics not bleeped) will stay up there; the edited version sounds so chopped up it's almost unlistenable.

On Doms and Dommes and Everything Else

saratoga wrote here on the topic of dominant Males. The post and the comments are worth reading in their entirety. At one point, saratoga writes:

My personal belief is that it's the least secure males who outwardly express themselves as 'dominant' to Females.

Among the commenters was a Gorean Master and well, you can imagine the fur flying, so to speak.

In My experience, there is just no one way about things. I have met many women presenting as Domme who were in fact looking solely to submit. They used a Domme name/persona for protection (from, among others, some of the more aggressive "Doms" out there). I've met many a man presenting as Dom who, likewise, wanted mainly to submit. Rarely would those presenting as submissive be truly Dominant, although obviously many were switches, and others had an idea of "submitting" that, to be kind, needed a lot of work.

But the one constant is that confusion, "deception," etc., are not sex-defined. Are men more prone to a more aggressive approach? More likely to adopt the "best defense is a good offense" style of D/s? Very much so, as saratoga points out. But neither sex has any monopoly on unintentional or intentional deception caused by fear, inexperience, misplaced emotions, narcissism, sociopathy, or confusion. We shouldn't get led astray by the differences in surface manifestations, which are essentially chemical in nature.

We're all in this together . . . a thought at once inspiring and frightening. But fewer arbitrary lines can only help us all.

Governor Fido

New York Governor Eliot Spitzer has admitted to having used a $5500 a night call girl. And while I wish no one ill, and I feel horrible for Mrs. Spitzer (more on her later), part of Me can barely contain My glee.

See . . . before he was governor, Spitzer was New York Attorney General, and in that role he was no clock-punching time waster with a badge. No, Spitzer was a self-styled Eliott Ness, crusading for truth, justice, and the (Spitzerian) American way. It didn't matter if sometimes no actual crimes were committed. Wall Street executives making too much money? Spitzer the Caped Crusader, calculator and phone taps in hand, was ready to swoop down and set the world to right.

Which is fine, sort of. I personally detest law enforcement agents who draw that kind of attention to themselves, but in career advancement terms it works. Guiliani parlayed a stint as a mob-busting, grandstanding US Attorney into a long and successful run as mayor of New York City. Spitzer moved up from top cop to governor.

But if you're going to be a cop-star, rule number 1 is don't break the law. To be safe, don't even jaywalk, because nothing sells newspapers like hypocrisy in high places. And nasty perverse people like Me eat it right up.

And Governor E-Dawg didn't just use a high-priced call girl . . . his incompetence at criminal behavior got the whole ring busted!

According to ABC News, some time ago a bank reported to the IRS a suspicious-looking money transfer by Spitzer's office. The IRS got the Department of Justice involved and an investigation was opened, since it was suspected that the funny transfer might've been an attempt to cover up bribes. One thing led to another, wiretaps were obtained (does it get any better?) and lo and behold --it wasn't anything as crass as bribes. It was high-class nookie for hire. So down comes the entire operation. Smooth move, Governor.

Yesterday Spitzer met the press and apologized. His wife stood there with him, looking about how you'd expect a woman in her position to look in front of 100 reporters and cameras.

Was it really necessary to parade her out there? Was the tiny PR lift that might provide justified, in human terms? In a way Silda Spitzer standing there was a bigger crime than anything the Governor did with any call girl. My only guess is that having the Mrs. standing there was an indication that Spitzer doesn't intend to resign.

He may not have a choice . . . Albany Republicans, historically some of the most brutal and vindictive politicians there are, are salivating at the thought of an impeachment proceeding.

Not to mention that possibility that Spitzer will be indicted, either under the Mann Act, or under obscure statutes that prohibit "structuring," a fancy name for moving money around in an attempt to conceal illegal activity. If he's indicted I'm sure in practical terms if nothing else, Spitzer would have to resign or at the very least take a leave of absence.

Don't get Me wrong. . . . while I am perversely gleeful that a self-important, holier-than-thou, Mr-Law-and-Order elected official turns out to be just another dog, I don't really want him to get sent to jail. Prostitution shouldn't even be illegal, in My view. So I can't be as big a hypocrite as the Governor and want him jailed for something that I personally think should be legal.

But I do hope as part of some non-jail-time plea, he has to stand up in court and say it all. And get a judge who's in the mood to explain to the Governor about how pride goeth before a fall, and all that.

YouTube Tuesday: Back In The Day

Still in the hip-hop vein, tonight's clip is "Mistadobalina" by Del The Funky Homosapien.

This video dates from the time when hip hop still had "the shock of the new" going for it. Before it was about your Escalades or your hos or how many gazillion dollars your last record/tour made. When it sounded, looked, and felt fresh and new.

"Mistadobalina" is (very) loosely based on "Zilch," an a capella experiment by, of all people, the Monkees.

"take a little tip from the tabloid
because I know I'm not paranoid
when I say I saw ya tryin' to mock me
now you and your crew are on a mission tryin' to hawk me
but it isn't happenin' ya fraudulent foes
you used to front big time now I suppose
that everything's cool since the style of apparel you adopted
you used to make fun of but now you wanna rock it
so you gotta kick it with the homies"


YouTube Tuesday: Hillary's Farewell?

I was in the hip-hop frame of mind tonight, and found this excellent clip: Rockstar (Remix) by N.E.R.D. The director decided to create an editing showcase and has taken clips from other music videos and put them together.

It sounds and looks great. But as I watched, some of the lyrics made Me think about Hillary Clinton's campaign, apparently hanging in the balance tonight.

You think the way you lives OK
You think posing
Will save the day
You think we don't see
That you're running
Better call your boys
'Cause I'm coming

You can't be me

I'm a Rock Star
I'm rhyming on the top of a cop car
I'm a rebel and my .44 pops far
It's almost over now
It's almost over now


YouTube Tuesday: Picking What Can't Be Picked

Tonight's clip is a compilation of one youtuber's top ten all-time "Seinfeld" moments.

I give the person credit for even trying . . . there's no way I could begin to limit My favorite Seinfeld moments to ten.

But all these certainly belong up near the top.

Snow Day Musings

The predicted snowstorm actually came to pass, and is actually a bit worse than the forecasters predicted (which is rare -- the trend these days is for weather forecasters to irresponsibly overpredict snow amounts and storm severity, leading to the moron in the checkout line in front of Me having her cart stuffed with nine gallons of milk and 22 pounds of ground beef).

Anyway, I took the opportunity for a well-deserved, totally justified, cosmically-mandated snow day!

I've been visiting blogs on My link list. I'm making an effort to keep it clean, removing dead links, moving inactive blogs to the "Emeritus" section, etc. There is more work to do, however.

1. When you make your blog invite only, bear in mind that you are leaving no way for readers to reconnect with you. Is that really the intent? The net result is that I have to remove all these blogs from the list.

2. Some blogs I just have to get rid of. Their authors are either so clueless, so self-absorbed, so ridiculously full of themselves, or just so immensely self-important that deleting them from the link list seems the only reasonable choice.

Part of Me wants to call these people out, and in fact, I've come very close to leaving comments on those blogs from time to time, and I've started and then trashed several posts here addressing the topic. But confrontation serves no purpose -- the on-line universe is already too plagued with rants, call-outs, threats, and simple obnoxious stupidity for Me to add even one direct drop of venom to. Does anyone remember restraint? Self-editing? Simple manners?

The saddest part is that these delusional bloggers are all women. I'm sensing the world was better off when men had the monopoly on crass egotism. One more item to file under "Unintended Horrible Consequences of Feminism." Yikes, that file is getting gigantic! Oh well.

It's still snowing. Yay.

YouTube Tuesday: Something Else Again

I have a subversive streak -- I take great pleasure in a commercial product put to unintended uses for the sake of art, or for juvenile fun, or for both. Such perversion of concept, when successful, I find highly entertaining and even strangely uplifting.

Tonight's video clip is a great example -- the music is Sal N' Pepa's classic "Push It," and the video features characters from the The Sims 2 dancing along and generally acting strangely. [You might recognize the song from its appearance in the Amp Energy Drink ad in this year's Super Bowl.]

The director pulled off some very nice choreography and the result is funny, and cool.

(No Sims were harmed in the creation of this video.)


Happy Valentine's Day


I've written before, more than once, about how love can complicate D/s, and how the Dom/me has to be careful of all these things and bla bla bla . . .

Sometimes, a day like today, especially, it's good to forget all the intellectualizing and the theories and to stop and remember why any of it matters in the first place.

Not only to remember that, but to express it.

iris, storm, tasha: I love you. More than I know how to express or really to even understand. Today and every day I'm amazed and grateful beyond words that you are Mine.

Thank you for being you, girls. There is no better way I can say it.

Happy Valentine's Day.

YouTube Tuesday: Beautiful Disaster

There are few things more satisfying than the perfectly put together, two and a half minute rock song.

And here's one: "Beautiful Disaster" by American Hi-Fi. It's a song that I need to hear again as soon as it stops.

There is a good official video on YouTube, but apparently Vivendi/Unidersal would be irreparably damaged by My embedding said video here, so in lieu of the official video is a nice little anime video. Good job by the director.

"Break it down now
What you want anyway?
Right about now
What you want anyway?
I'll fuck it up again
What you want anyway?
We keep fallin' in love
What a beautiful disaster . . . "

YouTube Tuesday: Anthrax

Thrity years ago a sub-genre of punk sprang up in Britain, featuring what can only be described as Marxist punk/funk.

The best of the lot were Gang of Four, from what I can dig up. Their album Entertainment is brilliant (politics aside).

Tonight's clip is Gang of Four's song "Anthrax" set to some eerily-modifed 9/11 footage (fittingly enough).

Powerful song, and a strangely powerful video.

Sports Interlude: How Good Does It Feel?


If you happened not to have seen the Super Bowl last night, the New York Giants, My New York Giants, beat the previously-undefeated, perennial recent Super Bowl winning, ready to be crowned best team of all time New England Patriots, 17-14.

My girl iris is a huge Giants' fan too, and last night we talked a little about where this win ranks compared with other big wins by our teams in our memory.

I told iris that "this feels as good as 1994." That's the year that the Rangers (that's hockey -- sheesh, keep up here!) won the Stanley Cup after a 54-year drought. It's hard for anyone but Ranger fans to understand how big 1994 was.

I told iris that this was "bigger then 1996." 1996 was the first year the Yankees won the world Series in almost two decades, and it was big for Me since it was the first win I could experience and appreciate as a thinking adult. 1996 is huge for Yankee fans, young and old.

So why is last night bigger than either of those two?

1. It was unexpected. The Giants were double-digit underdogs. They kept winning road playoff games, despite the odds. They were playing a team that was 18-0, in a game that the "experts" with few exceptions were billing as the Patriots' coronation.

And the road here wasn't so smooth. The Giant's started 0-2 and looked bad in the process. They then reeled off six wins but mostly against inferior teams. Then it got a little rough again, and Eli Manning looked fair to bad, with a couple of very bad games too. Entering the playoffs as the #5 seed at 10-6, everyone said they needed to win one playoff game or the season was a failure and the questions about Eli would intensify.

2. The game itself was a classic, as a football game. It was an incredible, involving, thrilling game to watch, irrespective of rooting interest or lack thereof. Arguably the best Super Bowl ever and certainly in the top handful. That adds to the intensity, the joy of having won it.

3. The Boston thing. Lately, Boston (Foxboro, where the Patriots play, counts) has been leading a charmed sports life. The Red Sox have won two World Series in four years -- they are the new Evil Empire. The Patriots had won three Super Bowls in six years, and this year had as dominant a season as could be drawn up, especially early on, crushing everyone in their path en route to an 18-0 record. The Boston Celtics made some key acquisitions this past off-season and are currently terrorizing the NBA and looking very good in the process.

So, lately in professional sports it's all about the Bostons.

Until last night. And it's impossible to convey how good that feels, that the Giants, out of nowhere, threw a monkey wrench into the increasingly arrogant and distasteful Boston sports juggernaut.

How good does it feel? Words fail me.

Go Big Blue.

Helpful, Powerful, Cliches

I'm constantly amazed at the utility and power inherent in certain cliches.

The other night I was talking to someone who wasn't in a very good way. Her concerns were real, and serious -- she wasn't exaggerating or making things up. There were good reasons for her to be upset and depressed.

And I found Myself eventually saying something along the lines of this:

On any given day, there are 244 reasons to be depressed, but only one reason to be happy. The trick is to embrace the one and to reject the 244.

She of course asked what the one reason to be happy was.

The only reason to be happy is that today, you wake up, alive and healthy (presumably), and you have an opportunity today to feel, and to be, someone different from the you that you're unhappy about/unhappy with.

I have no problem saying those things, corny as they might sound. Because I honestly, totally, unreservedly believe them to be not only true but also incredibly important. I strive (not always so successfully, alas) to live that way. That they are much easier said than done in no way lessens their value.

But the surprising part is that those statements helped My friend a lot. Not because she had never heard them before -- I'm sure she's heard them in similar forms a hundred times. But there are times when, reminded of something simple but undeniably true, the simple cliche takes on a meaning far beyond the surface sensibleness being communicated.

I don't attribute that amplified effect to any wonderful magical abilities I might have, certainly. I attribute it to the fact that we are constantly in a torrent of emotions, thoughts, and feelings, both our own and countless foreign ones as well. It's not unlike diving into a pool heavily packed with objects of various consistencies -- some bounce off of us, some buffet us and change our path, others are capable of truly injuring us.

And in that environment, when we lift our heads up and focus on something not in the pool with us, it has the capability to really reach us, quickly, deeply, and efficiently. And when that thing we "run into" in that state is something that does have underlying truth and value and a certain inarguable quality to it, its impact is magnified greatly.

The utility and power of certain ridiculously simple ideas truly can be staggering.

You Tube Tuesday: The Perfect Pop Song, Crossover Funk Division

Tonight's entry is "Brick House" by the Commodores, a brilliant little jewel of a song -- every time I hear it I just have to hear it again.

Now, about the video.

I love how many crazy creative people there are out there. Someone got the idea of trying to match up the lyrics of "Brick House" to mouth movements in clips from the Star Wars movies!

To call that non-obvious is the understatement of the decade, but the video is really pretty funny in parts. If you are one of the 12 people on Earth who has never seen any Star Wars movies, um, never mind and just enjoy the song.

Goin' to the chapel and . . .


News Item: Piper's Gettin' Hitched!

Congratulations of course to Piper and Steve.

I wonder, though, what becomes of Piper's crazy poly adventures now. While theoretically, marriage doesn't have to change anything, in reality it often changes everything.

I'll still love reading about whatever you choose to blog about, Piper -- and while I know you said you don't want it to become an "all things wedding" blog, don't go too far the other way and starve us of all the good wedding-related stuff.

All the best to you and Steve and however you work things out, I can't wait to read about it.

YouTube Tuesday: The Cowboys Have Fans Allllllll Over, It Seems

I love football, specifically the New York Giants. And one of the best parts of making it to the Super Bowl (coming up a week from Sunday) was beating the highly-favored, #1 seed, Dallas Cowboys in the process.

Some Cowboy fans in high (low, really) places were not pleased. The first time I watched this the tears were literally running down My cheeks from laughing so hard.

Discipline and Motivation and the X Factor


One blog I look at regularly is Submissive Journal Prompts.

Every week there, luna posts five questions/topics/quotes, intended to spur the reader for the reader's own journal. I find it's handy not just for submissives -- I use it to sometimes get unblocked.

This week, the following quote is listed:
The secret of discipline is motivation. When [one] is sufficiently motivated, discipline will take care of itself.” -Sir Alexander Paterson

Taken at the first level, that's certainly true. Many of us have experienced the phenomenon as children, with musical instruments. I liked playing the piano, so practicing wasn't an issue -- My mother never had to nag Me about practicing. I had many friends who went through every instrument in the orchestra and failed at all of them because they were being forced to do it by well-meaning parents. Almost no amount of cajoling can overcome a lack of desire.

It's the same in D/s. If a girl is a bratty bottom, let's say, no amount of punishment or lecturing is going to make her into a submissive (and will likely be counterproductive). she will either become something other than she is as a natural consequence of time and experience, or she won't.

So on the level of raw desire, yes, certainly motivation creates discipline. We are drawn to what we like and want.

Taking up the case of Me and the piano again, My devoting time to practicing wasn't an issue, but a funny thing happened. I never really got very good and over time My interest eventually waned and disappeared. This was frustrating and hurtful because My desire to play well was no less than it had been; I just ended up feeling as though I wasn't capable of it, that perhaps I lacked the appropriate artistic temperament or "God-given gifts."

All of which, I later learned, was nonsense. The reason I hit a wall and eventually lost momentum was because I had teachers who did not help Me to practice correctly. Thus much of My practice time was wasted and might even have been hurting My progress. I of course was in no position to understand this at the time, nor were My parents. It was no one's fault -- a classic case of the operating principle of the universe: Stuff Happens.

submission is not so different from learning to play the piano. Desire to succeed fuels the investment in practice time, and the presence of a knowledgeable teacher is extremely important. Not so much (but partially) to ensure that "practice time" is efficiently used, but more to provide a clear and consistent groundwork for the submissive to follow and refer back to. To help the submissive understand that progress is going to be so slow as to sometimes be imperceptible in the short term. To set the submissive back on the path when s/he falters. To not tolerate sloppiness or laziness and to immediately correct those. And to properly reward achievement.

That outside influence, in the piano, in submission, in many other human endeavors, is the X Factor. Motivation may create discipline, but often too late we discover that for long-term success, discipline will sometimes create motivation, and said discipline often must come from outside ourselves.

How terrible, and how absolutely wonderful, is that?

(Still) On The Way There

Daddy's lil pig wrote:

i have debated heavily as to if i was going to write this post. For a number of reasons i have gone back and forth as to if i should or not. One of those reasons, is that i think that i will come across as a bore. Once again the silly slave lamenting about her woe's of life...i really hate coming off like that. Also, another reason is that as i reread portions of this blog over the past year, i find these entries that were written months, even over a year ago..that strongly resemble how i feel now. And that frustrates me, because it give me the feeling that i have not grown much, or that i am sinking, or that i am just floundering.

I think the things she worries about are fairly common among submissive women. [This is one of those rare areas where I draw a strong distinction between male and female in D/s terms -- for whatever reason, in My experience male submissives always feel entitled to their feelings, in a way that female submissives often don't.]

Her first concern, that she will come across as a bore, is almost universal. Few of us are narcissistic enough to never wonder whether the minutiae of our lives and emotions are as fascinating to others as they are to us.

For Me, it's not boring. How a submissive deals with his or her role, the struggles, the triumphs, the sidesteps, missteps, and backsteps, the glories and horrors of this life, are endlessly intriguing to Me. I learn from what I read of others' journeys, and since submissives blog more, and with a greater degree of heart-on-the-page intensity, I learn more from them.

Then lil pig mentions the concern that she hasn't moved or grown, or has even gone backwards, because her emotions today seem so similar to emotions she wrote about a year ago. I can certainly understand the concern -- personally I have a hard and fast rule that I never go back and read old posts. Some things I'd rather not re-discover!

But here again, that the emotions are similar isn't a sign of lack of progress, necessarily.

The process of touching one's submission, then wading in, then finally jumping into that vast ocean isn't predictable. There are rough road maps, guides of sorts, but no one can really predict for a given person what will come easily, and what will be a monumental struggle. Certain activities, certain ideas, will need to be learned 100 times before they fully "sink in." Given that, should it be surprising that one finds one's self feeling the same way (or close to it) over and over?

It's very difficult to come to terms with that. There is a natural tendency to feel that we need to be constantly moving ahead -- and when the "competition" is with our own idea of ourselves, or with an abstract idea, the self-flagellation can be truly frightening.

The truth is that there is no linear path to or through submission. Heck, there isn't even a destination, really, in the sense we've come to know that word in other walks of life. It's a narrow, rocky, dangerous, shaky path, full of rickety bridges, lava pits, enticing detours, and things that go bump in the night.

Remember to enjoy the ride, especially when enjoyment is the furthest thing from your mind.

YouTube Tuesday: Volcano Girls

Tonight's clip is a very well put together montage of clips from Buffy The Vampire Slayer, featuring Buffy and Faith, the show's two poles, set to the snappy "Volcano Girls" by the late and lamented (at least by Me) Veruca Salt.

Intentionally done or not, it's a nice fit. The lyrics talk about pressing on and giving up both, just as the protagonists in Buffy often seemed caught between their committment to their increidbly important mission and the gnawing, growing possibility that it's all for naught.

Leave me Lying here
cause I donlt wanna go

Tell me tell me what you really want from me
Youve got me let me know
I'm falling off and I need you terribly
One down and one to go
Volcano girls we really cant be beat
Warm us up and watch us blow
But now and then we fail and we admit defeat
We're falling off we are watered down and fully grown

Leave me Lying here
cause I donlt wanna go

A million miles of running and I hit the wall
I bounce back and I run some more
But this is it, Im giving up, Im calling quits
So get down and meet me on the floor
Way to go to flip off everyone
I steal your thunder then I try to bolt
But I could stand a little pity now and then
I'm falling off I am watered down and fully grown

I told you bout the seether before
You know, the one thats neither or nor
Well heres another clue if you please....The seethers Louise

Leave me Lying here
cause I donlt wanna go
Go I donlt wanna go
I don't wanna go
I don't wanna go
I don't wanna go

Keeping A Lid On It

The often-repeated old saw about how a Dominant must exercise a great deal of self-control came up in conversation the other night.

It's been on My mind.

It is, 100% true of course. But as with many simple, well-circulated, and non-controversial concepts, a funny thing happens: We stop thinking about the idea in question, and assign it to some convenient but not necessarily primary part of our brains, somewhere between the times tables and the lyrcis to the theme song from Cheers.

In this particular case, letting the idea of Dominance and self-control sit unused in the attic does us a disservice -- there is a lot of value hiding, or at least not obvious, there.

And what's hidden is this: The value of self-control for a Dom/me lies not only in controlling the negative emotions but in controlling the positive ones as well.

Sounds . . . ridiculous, perhaps. It fairly easy to see how not reacting in anger is key for the One in control, but why should One ever hold back any positive emotions?

Because . . . everything is temporary. Anger fades, as it should. And when angry we rarely put forth what is truly deeply inside us. But euphoria is equally temporary; I have seen many more bad decisions made when people get caught up in the moment (of intense happiness or closeness) than when people are angry. We seem to have (most of us, anyway) a certain innate recognition that anger will soon cool, but no corresponding warning flag that suggests to us that our current state of absolute happiness is not likely to last in its intensity either.

Both anger and intense positive emotoins create states in which decision-making and judgment are impaired.

The Dom/me shouldn't trust any intense states when deciding on reward, puinishment, or certainly any "big issues" concerning the state of the Owner/owned relationship. Who each person is, is shown, over and over, every day, in the mundane, otherwise unremarkable, ebb and flow of a being in each other's presence. And that real person is known to us, without words, without having to think about it.

The rest might look good and feel great (or look really bad and feel horrible). But in the end it doesn't matter so much an hour later.

YouTube Tuesday: Dani California

Great song, and a cool video, wherein the Peppers channel various bands starting with Elvis and working their way forward.

And more insight into the Peppers' love/hate relationship with the place they call home.

"She's a lover baby and a fighter
Shoulda seen it coming when it got a little brighter
With a name like Dani California
The day was gonna come when I was gonna mourn ya
A little loaded, she was stealing another breath
I love my baby to death
California rest in peace
Simultaneous release
California show your teeth
She's my priestess, I'm your priest"

YouTube Tuesday: Happy 2008

This post and video have nothing to do with New Year's, specifically, but New Year's (which I pretty much loathe) gets Me thinking about the obvious stuff -- what's old and what's new, but also about how starting over really means pulling the best out of the worst, sometimes be recovering what we once had and sometimes by being something completely new. Of course. we're no different just because the calendar changes, but we cling to the possibility that we can be, that we might be.

That's the brilliance, and the hopelessness, of humanity both at once.

But, you might rightfully ask, what's a video of the Beatles performing on a rooftop got to do with any of that?

The rooftop concert was a completely spur of the moment thing; basically they said let's do it, got the equipment hauled up to the rooftop of the Apple Records building, and played a few songs before a growing crowd of midday Londoners.

It took place in 1969, very close to the end of the group. Too much fame, too much money, too much infighting, too many drugs, and too much of everything had long since determined the outcome -- that the Beatles actually stayed together as long as they did is surprising. By all accounts that last eighteen months of the Beatles' existence was a living hell for all concerned.

And yet, out of that morass of negativity, rising straight up for a brief moment out of that vortex of fear and loathing, four guys from Liverpool who never expected to do much more than make enough to get by on rose above, and just made music, like they used to, what it was always supposed to be about. With a sense of fun, with reckless abandon, with no tickets, no agents, no contracts, no groupies, none of it.

And we get to go along for the ride, on film.

Happy 2008 to all. Get back to where you once belonged.