Why Do People Riot?

One of the most puzzling things to many people is the sight of people rioting in cities.  As we see right now (of this writing of May 30, 2020), Minneapolis in particular, and many other cities in the USA to a lesser degree, are seeing rioters burning buildings, overturning cars, looting and causing all manner of chaos in urban areas.  "Why," asks the typical person in their house, watching this on the news, "do people do this?  Why do they destroy their neighborhoods?  What does taking things from a store have to do with calling for justice for a perceived wrong?"

Very good questions indeed.

First of all, we need to decry any form of violence and destruction of property — the solution cannot be in the same level as the cause.  Violence does not mean violent responses are acceptable.  That said, if we want to understand why people riot, we have to look at the conditions that lead to the riots.

I know already a few people reading this are going "well, there you go, you're going to say that rioters are justified in some way."  Not at all.  I'm a sociologist and look at everything via that lens.  If we don't understand the socio-environmental causes of an phenomenon, we will be powerless to do anything meaningful about it.  A good example is terrorism:  "shooting terrorists" will not stop people choosing terror as an act, but finding why people are turning to terrorism, and reducing those causes, will reduce terrorism across the board.  Same with any form of crime.  Same with something like abortion:  why are women having abortions?  Reduce those causes, we reduce abortion.


We cannot justify destruction of property, but we can understand the underlying causes behind it.  If we want to deal with it, that is the course of action that must be taken.



Depiction of a Riot in New York, 19th Century

Depiction of a Riot in New York, 19th Century

First, we need to put rioting into historical perspective. Rioting is nothing new.  The USA has a long history of all manner of riots.  Looking at the Wikipedia Page on Civil Unrest in the United States, there is a list of literally hundreds upon hundreds of riots that have gone on in the USA.  Up to the Civil Rights movement, these riots could be classified into three types, in descending frequency of incidence:



1.  Race Riots, specifically white violence against various minority groups, mostly blacks.


2.  Labor Riots, where workers rioted against their employers


3.  Religious Riots, involving anti-Catholic or acts against non-Christian religions.



Race riots are definitely the most common kind of riots we have seen in US History, as whites went into ethnic neighborhoods to destroy property, burn stores, and hurt and kill people.  It was only in the 1960s, as riots started to occur in ethnic neighborhoods, that riots became associated with minority groups in any meaningful way.  Prior to that, ethnic groups were afraid whites were going to come into their neighborhoods to commit violence — violence that quite often was simply allowed to go on by the police and politicians of the day.


Many times, in fact, power-elite groups used rioting as a means to attack their enemies. Tammany Hall in New York City had many gangs of thugs at their disposal, one of the most notorious being the "Five Points Gang" that they could unleash at racial and political targets as needed.  From the Civil War to the mid 20th Century, any political machine group had their group of thugs, centered in Saloons, ready to go.  The movie "Gangs of New York" gives a Hollywood, ahistorical sheen to this period, but does allow the viewer some idea of the level of gang violence used by power-elite to riot.


By the time of the 1960s, rioting was a ubiquitous form of social action in major American cities that had gone on for all of US history.  The Harlem Riot of 1964, over the death of James Powell, an African-American of Harlem, by a white police officer was one of the first in the USA where minorities were the ones rioting.  After that, many inner city black neighborhoods started to see civil unrest, with the Watts Riots the next year, and then cascading social unrest in inner cities, but now done by minorities, rather than against minorities.


This was the start of a socio-political turn, with rioting going from being seen as either a racist or ethnocentric reaction of the presence of minorities (mostly racial, also religious), or involving labor, to something The Other was doing, dirty people in dirty neighborhoods causing all manner of violence and destruction.  The fact that for decades whites had gone into these neighborhoods and committed acts of violence and property damage seemed to be forgotten.


There seems to be an idea that rioters are all just a bunch of opportunists — they get a chance to go out and loot, burn and hurt people, so riot on!  There are undoubtedly people that do that.  I remember after the LA Riots of 1992, I'd pass by a house in the San Fernando Valley coming home from work that had racks of clothes on one of those round racks for sale, right on De Soto Blvd!  Obviously they had stolen those racks from some store and were stupidly selling them right on the street (I often tell my Intro to Criminology class that "crooks aren't that bright for the most part — if they were, they wouldn't be crooks, or at least white collar criminals.")  I also remember watching TV during the LA Riots, and a helicopter was watching a Porsche that was throwing firebombs at gas stations.  The guy driving the Porsche was white, and he was tossing firebombs.  Obviously he had a lot in common with Rodney King....


If this were the spark that set riots off though, riots would be happening all the time, daily, as bored people who want what others have, or just for the lolz, would go out all the time and commit a river of violence and destruction.   But what we do see is that these kind of street actions are usually tied today to some form of injustice.  Dr. Martin Luther King said this about riots in his speech "The Other America" in 1968 :

Dr. Martin Luther King

[I]t is not enough for me to stand before you tonight and condemn riots. It would be morally irresponsible for me to do that without, at the same time, condemning the contingent, intolerable conditions that exist in our society. These conditions are the things that cause individuals to feel that they have no other alternative than to engage in violent rebellions to get attention. And I must say tonight that a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear 3 of 8 that the plight of the negro poor has worsened over the last twelve or fifteen years. It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice and humanity.

Dr. King was correct in his frame, but when we look at the history of riots in the USA, we can see three things:


1.  Up to the Sixties, riots were mostly the language of the heard white power-elite going into ethnic neighborhoods to remind them who they were, where they were, and that any time they could be hurt or killed and nothing could stop the white mob from doing it.


2.  Labor riots were certainly the unheard working against the unfair system of labor exploitation at that time, but the industrialists had the government and the police on their side.  Police would quell the riots, and even peaceful picketers would be declared by courts to be "restricting trade" and the cops would come to shoo off the picket lines.


3.  By the Sixties to today, the above two had been replaced by Dr. King's point that rioting was now going on in inner city areas as a means to make voices heard.  He didn't say it was a good way to do this - in fact in "The Other America" speech he stresses his commitment to non-violent social change - but he also says that we cannot ignore why these riots are going on.


The riots in 1992 that tore through LA were preventable.  For years, African American neighborhoods were completely ignored.  Policy experts were telling the City Council long before the riots that what was then "South Central Los Angeles," with the complete export of good jobs, crime, gangs, drugs and rampant poverty, was a powder keg waiting to happen.  The problem was ignored until the Rodney King decision caused the city to erupt for days.  It should not be supposed that the decision in the case was the absolute cause of the riots — oh yes, it was the flash point, but simmering problems for years were what led people to commit shocking destruction and property damage after that decision was handed down.


After that, there were changes in the short term:  LAPD was reorganized and put under Federal oversight, community policing became the standard that started to build bridges, attempts to bring jobs and remove blight were begun.


While there have been some improvements, a lot of work is still needed in what is now South Los Angeles.  Is it a powder keg?  Maybe.  Who thought that Minneapolis was a powder keg?  Do not be fooled into thinking that the death of George Floyd is all that is causing this unrest — a longstanding belief that the system is failing people of color, of systematic oppression, and of a government that doesn't really care is what is fueling the anger. "Living while Black" is a real social issue that Black people feel daily, regardless of how ludicrous White people might find that phrase.  But then Whites are not Black, nor do Whites live in the Black world, do they?


No, there is no justifiable reason to destroy property and commit violence.  But when people are forced to live with pent up rage, when a video exposes what black people say happens all the time to them, and only now is it visible, sooner or later that rage will boil over.


Yes, people that destroy property and hurt others need to be brought to justice.  But if we want long term solutions to this, we have to look at the whole system.  A system is only a strong as the parts that make it up.  If parts of a system are broken, the whole thing is in danger of dysfunction.  These days of rage make that clear, but what lessons will be learned?  We will have to wait and see.

DomCon 2018: Notes from the Underground

Last month I attended my fifth DomConLA, I can't believe I've been in the First Life BDSM scene for coming on nine years!

DomCon was started back in 2004 by Mistress Cyan of Sanctuary Studios, who was looking for a way to empower the Pro-Dom/me community that was facing a serious backlash from the lifestylers who feel that for whatever reason, Professionals are some kind of bane to some in the BDSM Community.  Mistress Cyan also does a DomConNO in New Orleans in November, after many years in Atlanta.

DomCon is one of, if not the biggest BDSM themed events on the West Coast.  I imagine that the Folsom Street Fair attracts more people, but that's a one day event as opposed to a five day DomCon, and the Fair is LGBT/Leather themed as well as BDSM.

Friday
As usual, my partner and I got a room at the LAX Hilton for two nights, Friday and Saturday nights.  We drove down Friday afternoon in usual 405 traffic, which meant a 45 minute trip took close to two hours to complete.  After we checked in and got our badges, tickets and swag, it was pushing 5PM so we just took a quick look around the dealer room to see what was available.

The dealer room is full of every toy one can think of, corsets, fetish wear, really gorgeous lace dresses that I salivated over, and lots of kinky esoteric items.  I did find a dealer that had a really nice toy I want -- it's a long piece of leather shaped like a belt with magnets in the "handles" at the ends and a bit of padding inside.  It can be used as a smacker, a spanker, or tied the Bottom's hands together and drag them along.  It was $120 though, more than I wanted to spend for a toy.

We went over to see my friend Paul at Paraphilia Toys -- I've pimped Paul many times here and elsewhere as one of the damn best leatherworkers I've seen, and I've filled more than half my toybag with his well crafted items.  I described the item to him, he went to look at it, and he said he could easily fashion one for me.  I'd rather support Paul and get a very well crafted item than buy from a large dealer that got it from who knows where.  My partner also ordered a leather flogger from him in her favorite color -- purple.  I'll have pics of both when we get them.  Paul takes a while as he's always backlogged in work, but it's worth the wait.

I picked up a $25 little spanker from Paul and then we went to the Hilton bar to have dinner.  Then we went upstairs and got ready for the Friday Night Party.

DomConLA has three parties:  The Friday Night Play Party, the Saturday Fetish Ball, and then the Sunday After-Party.  The Friday party is less attended and more low-key, while the Saturday Fetish Ball is the huge, rip roaring play party.  I dresed kinda down -- black stretch pants, black top, enough makeup to look decent, a couple spankers in case, and we headed over on the free shuttle to Sanctuary.

There weren't a whole lot of people there are around 9PM when we showed up, so we were able to walk around well and view the rooms and the scenes.  Really nothing ultra remarkable -- the usual spankings, floggings, beatings, humiliations.  At this point, it's nothing I haven't seen -- or done -- many times.  So it was fun, but I didn't do any play, and the place started really filling up by 11 so we left and were in bed by 12am.


Saturday
In the early afternoon (1:30PM) I was going to go see a panel by one of my favorite people in the scene, Danarama, but he had to cancel, and sent another fellow named "undersea" from Kink.com (at which Danarama is a big cheese apparently) to do a discussion on objectification entitiled Why Object when you can Objectify? It was a really good class.  Some of the highlights:



* undersea talked about three kinds of objectification -- Status, Physical and Emotional.  Status objectification is lowering a person's status vis-a-vis the Top/Dominant, but not in a harmful way.  It would be things like "Stay three steps behind me" or "kneel here at my foot in a Tower position and say nothing unless you are spoken to."  It would obviously be in the realm of what was negotiated between them.

* Physical objectification is turning a person into an object, such as:  a chair, a table, a lamp, a footstool, etc. Again, this is something that is negotiated and accepted.  undersea said that Emotional Objectification is a dangerous road to go into, as it involves the demeaning  and attacking the self worth of the person.  This pretty much will factor as abuse, and even if a Bottom/Sub wants some of it, the Dom/me or Top really needs to tread carefully or psychological harm can be done.

* undersea also talked about the differences between humilation (which is external to the person, and does not attack their self-worth but "puts them in their place" in a BDSM way), degradation (the physical objectification of a person) and then back to emotional objectification which attacks a person's self worth, and should not be done, or if so, only in the context of a carefully controlled scene.  I personally would never get into emotional objectification, as I teach about intimate partner violence, and it all sounds far too much what I have brought students to the nurse for at times.

All in all a very good class!

I had to run upstairs after the class as my SL friend Bonnie (now named Ariella) was being collared to her Master, Sir Joshua, so while my partner went to watch the Petplay show, I supported my friend in SL.  So the next and final class for Saturday was one I've seen twice now, but never fails to entertain, "How to Hit People with Suff" with Sir Nik Santas, Master Eragon and Entropy, the fellow who claims to have invented the "Florentine Flogging" style.  Who knows?

The three gents are funny as heck and they riff off each other well.  Sir Nik showed how to use a cane as a flogging tool in a safe way (a slow stroke with the cane in an arc) and then he said "let's look at paddles, I have a few" and opened a bag with like 50 of different paddles, spankers, and the like and let people choose one.  Master Eragon had one of his cutiepie slaves get on the ground in a whipping pose while he showed proper flogging techniques, and Entropy, with his huge green mohawk, was sort of emceeing the whole thing.  It's funny and informative.

By the time the clases were over, I realized just how tired I was -- the previous two weeks had been non-stop, and I was exhausted.  My partner and I said we'd rather just stay in, so we found a couple people going to the Saturday night party and let them have our tickets.  They were subby girls and were sooooooo appreciative. :P  I should have gotten their numbers!

Ordered pizza, went upstairs, opened a really good bottle of wine, and passed out early.

Sunday
We had three workshops to attend on Sunday, so only a quick look around the dealer room, and saw nothing else I wanted to buy -- or better said, nothing I needed to buy.  We had packed the bags and shoved them in the car so we had the whole day to spend at the Con.

First up was a panel I was really hot to see, "BDSM and the Law" -- as a Criminology instructor at a local community college, this aspect of the scene means a lot to me.  The panel was hosted by Don Burns, who has been in the kink scene for a couple decades, has a Juris Doctorate (but is not a practicing lawyer) and is a paralegal and insurance investigator in Arizona.

I've written on this before, so I'm not going to go over everything, but the gist of the talk was that, very surprisingly to folks in the BDSM scene, there is no legal protection for BDSM activities, even though consent is given and expressed through the scene. The reason being is that under a law, a person cannot consent to an illegal act, and since hitting people (in CA, Battery, Penal Code 242) and hitting people with an object (Assault with a Deadly Weapon PC 245) are a misdemeanor and felony respectively, so even saying "Yes, I want to be hit over and over with that shot loaded red spanker unitl my ass is black and blue" doesn't negate the fact that the bottom is having a crime committed against them.

Burns went over a number of court cases, many of which I am famliar.  A key one is Govan vs State, one from Indiana.  In this the victim, who had cheated on her Master, agreed to being "hurt," was beat over the back with an extention cord and he used a hot knife on her skin to attempt to brand her.  This was according to her testimony consensual, but then she wanted to get away from him, she ran to work, he was arrested, tried and convicted of several felonies.  He attempted to say that as she gave consent, there was no crime, but all the courts agreed that consent is not a basis for removal of criminal culpability.  He was sentenced to eight years in prison.

Now there were factors to this case that made the consent iffy at best (she ended up trying to kill herself and then ran away), but the court was clear that there is no removal of criminal culpability even with highly explicit consent.  So the long and the short is, only do thing with people you trust, keep it SSC, and respect limits and safewords.

The second panel we went to was "The Weight of Humiliation" by a person I know in my community (and will remain un-named for his protection.)  He is a really interesting sadistic person, but isn't into much physical S/M; he prefers mindfucking, training, foodplay and stuff like that .  In this panel he was talking about what he called "reparative humiliation," or taking a person that has a lot of inner demons and learning how to face them and get them out.



He talked about his theory for a while, and then brought up a sub he works with a lot and said he she was a model of how this idea works.  "Goldie" (not her real or scene name, we'll keep it anonymous here) had been very self concious, with very low self esteem, and the idea of being up in front of a room talking to people about her kind a couple years ago would have been impossible.  So the presenter said "Now Goldie today is strong due to the work we've done, but she would never had done even a year ago what she's about to do.  Goldie, tell them about your kink."  She replied "I really like older men, a lot.  Like 30 or more years older than me."  The presenter chuckled and said "Well there's more, Goldie isn't telling you the whole thing.  What do you like to do with them Goldie?"  And she blushed, coughed and said "I love sucking their cocks, Sir."

Then he had five people come up from the audience (I didn't go up) and had Goldie go to each of them and say "I am a slut and I love sucking cock."  He instructed the audience member to say nothing more than "Good Girl, Goldie."  So she went to each of them, took a deep breath and said it, and each person smiled and said what a good girl she was.  By the fifth one she was red as a summer rose but she was smiling ear to ear, and the presenter said "Now, a couple years ago if I had asked her to do this, she'd have run out of the room, but she's faced her demons and is stronger due to it."  We all clapped for her and as I was leaving I told how beautiful she was, and she as still grinning ear to ear.

The final panel we attended was The 1950’s Power Exchange Dynamic in Modern Society. The presenter, a girl named "slavebunny," is a 24/7 slave to a Master with whom she lives in a 50's style D/s relationship.

slavebunny was dressed in what appeared to be a 50's cocktail dress and 50's heels, but her hair was short in a pixie like cut.  She said that she and her Master had gotten into this lifestyle RP a few years before, and she would regularly give 1-2 hour workshops on how to live the 50's life.  She started off by saying that, like many period kind of RPs, there are many different levels of this, and the Top and Bottom can decide how they want to do it.  Some do it just an occasional RP, some live weekends or vacations in this mode, and some, like slavebunny and her master, attempt to make it a day to day activity.

slavebunny went over how she and her Master do this -- they have gone to a great deal of trouble to make their home as 50's as possible when they are together.  They have internet, but they only use it when they are not interacting.  They also do not use cell phones (unless an emergency of course) in each other's presence, they only watch broadcast TV, and have bought a lot of retro furniture for their house to make it look as 50s as possible -- which is surprisingly cheaper than one might think as they go to thrift stores to buy old furnishings.  Some is from the 60s, but they don't care, it's the effort that matters more than the actual items.

She said the most important part of this lifestyle is the gender roles.  In living this 50's lifestyle, he is the breadwinner and she stays at home and takes care of the house and the child they have together.  She is fully his submissive in a loving kind of traditional gender way, and she said it makes them both very happy.  She does have a licence to work at a gym as a personal trainer and teacher, and in the past she did work.  She said that his job makes enough money for them, but were things to get tight, he would be fine with her going to work as well.  Women did work in the 50s, it was not the traditional, expected thing in many middle class families.

slavebunny also goes to great care to be attractive for her Master.  While during the day she will wear "work around the house clothes," before he comes home she will do her hair and her makeup, put on a pretty 50's dress, and greet him at the door.  They also have a greeting ritual she does, but she didn't get into it as it is personal, and that is completely understandable.  She makes sure that dinner is ready, serves him first, and always asks about his day first and lets him unwind.  Then he'll ask about her day and she'll go into details on what's going on.  She's also expected to ask permission before making any purchase for herself or the house that doesn't involve obvious necessities like food and household day to day items.  She doesn't have to call and ask permission to buy groceries, but she does have to ask permission to buy a dress or makeup, or have her hair done, etc.

A final thing she went into is that we have a very rosey, stereotyped idea of life in the 50's, based on nostalgia rather than reality.  She was rather clear that in the 50s, while everything was presented in a very clean cut, whitebread way, there was this seething underbelly of lust and rather perverse things going on.  She showed some pictures in a powerpoint of Betty Page, John Wayne spanking Maureen O'Hara in a movie poster, and other examples of obvious S/M things going on between married couples. She said that in the 50's, "maintenance spankings" were a pretty common thing -- a spanking given to the wife to simply remind her of her place in the house and who she belongs to.  slavebunny said that she is given this "maintenance spankings" weekly, and they are apart from either kinky stuff they do in playtime, or any kind of punishment given to her for an infraction.  I remember watching I Love Lucy and in some episodes, Ricky would spank Lucy for some dizzy infraction she did.  As a child I never thought anything of it, but now with my BDSM eyes wide open, I can see how incredibly kinky that really was, and it must have been not only going on a the time, but considered utterly normal!

I have to say that while I am a person given to female empowerment, I see a real sexy charm to the whole thing.  I don't think I'd want to live an entire First or Second Life in this, but I could certainly entertain the idea of an extended RP involving me in a gingham dress, chained to the unburning stove or fridge, getting spanked or hit with a cookie sheet.....

All in all a very interesting class for something we have talked about at Xaara and got to see in First Life!  For more information, yoy may want to click on this link to an article on SubmissiveGuide about the 50's Household and how to get into RP involving this.

After that it was 6PM, we were tired, so we drove home, fed the cats, unpacked and zoned out.

Overall Thoughts
I always enjoy DomCon, as I get to be around a buttload of kinksters all doing their thing.  I love looking at toys, watching the kinksters hang out and do their thing, watch the scenes at the play parties, and just let loose after a long academic year.

Now, eight years plus in the scene, I feel a comfortable sense of belonging, and the level to which something really needs to be at in order to "shock" me is very high.  I don't just watch the lifestyle, I do the lifestyle, and it really informs everything I think about when I'm at the club, at DomCon, or hanging in SL.  I enjoyed this DomCon very much as it had classes and workshops I found really interesting, and the learning has overtaken the wide eyed wonder of my early days in the scene.

I hope you enjoyed my overview, comments are welcome! :)

BDSM 101: Part 2 -- Masochism

Sexy girl having her hair pulled by a Dominant.

Ok a little more than a week, but here is part two of my ongoing series on the mechanics of BDSM.  Today we discuss the M in S/M -- Masochism.

Masochism as defined by our old friend Merriam-Webster as:





" the derivation of sexual gratification from being subjected to physical pain or humiliation by oneself or another person.   Pleasure in being abused or dominated : a taste for suffering"

The term "masochism" was coined by Austrian psychologist Richard von Krafft-Ebing,  He took the term from a literary acquaintance of his, Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, an Austrian writer of utopic and more lurid essays, with Krafft-Ebing claiming that Sacher-Masoch often made use of what he termed the "perversion" of masochism in his writing, so he used Sacher-Masoch's name to create the term "masochism."  As you might imagine, Sacher-Masoch was less then enthused about this, but the term stuck.

Masochism in the BDSM variety has to be differentiated from sexual masochism disorder, which is a psychiatric problem that refers to “recurrent and intense sexual arousal from the act of being humiliated, beaten, bound, or otherwise made to suffer, as manifested by fantasies, urges, or behaviors” ONLY if these urges are causing some kind of functional impairment in social, occupational or other areas of one's life.  

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With the preliminaries out of the way, let's talk about what masochism in the healthy, BDSM sense is NOT:

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BDSM 101: Part I -- Sadism

Foot stepping on a bug....

For the New Year, I have decided to write more again, and this will be the first in an opening six part, and then continuing series, on the nature of BDSM as I see it. Please note the 'as I see it.'  One of my guiding principles in life is the old adage from Usenet and IRC chatrooms in the '90s which went:

YKINMKBYKIOK (Your Kink Is Not My Kink But Your Kink Is Okay)

Therefore anything on this blog, and in particular any post like this where I give my ruminations on BDSM, is to be seen as Vanni's viewpoint only, and never should be seen as me saying what things should be negotiated between Tops and Bottoms.  That would never be my intent.  I'm just one kinkster among many! ;)  However, as far as safety, consent, and care, there are universal norms in the BDSM world that must be followed, so that we can certainly discuss these kinds of acts as "proper vs improper."

BDSM is an acronym for three levels of relationship -- Bondage/Discipline (BD), Sadism/Masochism (SM), and Dominance/Submission (DS).  While not every BDSM encounter or relationship will experience all three of these, they are very implicit in the order of the connections we make in this lifestyle.  Today, we start with Sadism.

Merriam-Webster gives a general definition of Sadism as "the derivation of sexual gratification from the infliction of physical pain or humiliation on another person."  In a more specific definition related to the BDSM take on this, we find this reference to Sadism in the online Dominant Guide: 

Within the BDSM community, the Dominant is most often the sadist, and the  submissive is generally the masochist (who derives pleasure from receiving pain). Also in the BDSM community, unlike most societal descriptions in the medical and psychological community, sadism is widely accepted as a healthy expression of inflicting pain in a safe, sane, and consensual manner to a masochist who seeks such activities as a form of emotional release or sexual pleasure.

This definition has an important highlight in it, the fact that in the BDSM community, acts of Sadism are not frowned upon, but rather are considered to be part and parcel of the lifestyle and a typical scene in a dungeon.  This is what separates the acts of sadism one will see on a Friday or Saturday night at a play party from an abuser doing an act of harm to a victim.  Even where there appears to be what is colloquially termed "Consensual Non-Consent", there will still be negotiation of anything to be done, and clear boundaries.  Over the coming weeks I hope to clarify these things further with additional posts, but for now, let's move on to Sadism and how this is seen differently between the First Life world and the way it's expressed in SL.

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Acts of Sadism seem to puzzle a lot of vanilla people in First Life -- "why do you get off hitting people?"  The answer to this varies from person to person, but in general, the feeling of power, of letting that desire to cause hurt to a person channeled onto a person that is willingly allowing it (nay, deeply desiring it!), and the lovely marks that are left on the willing Bottom with the hands, the paddle, the whip, etc, are the charges that drive the Sadist.  Yes, it's harm, but done in a willing, risk aware way.

Sadism does not need to necessarily involve physical hitting, by the way.  Sadism may involve humiliation of the willing Bottom, mixed with physical pain or completely in place of it.  Different things turn on different Bottoms, so one Bottom might like being hit with a paddle until his or her ass and thighs are black and blue, while another may not want any physical pain at all, but really gets off on being totally objectified and humiliated in front of people.  Either way, any Top administering the pain and/or the humiliation is expressing Sadism, albeit in different ways.

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In Second Life, this seems to bother some people quite a bit, including those allegedly in the "lifestyle."  One time at Velvet Thorn while we were chatting at the Circle, I related a story that I heard from a Top at DomConLA.  His girl really enjoyed being humiliated in public, and so he would go to a restaurant with her, order for himself, then order something for her but referring to her as "IT," as in "IT will have the chicken pasta primavera with a Caesar Salad, but IT doesn't want any croutons in ITS salad."  

This kind of act would make his sub squirm with glee, but a couple of the VT Dommes got really annoyed with it, saying it was inappropriate, that it was degrading to her, and that he had no business doing such things in public with people that aren't in on the act.  One thing about SL people in the "lifestyle" is that unless they've done this in First Life, they just don't get it.  I just said "well that's your opinion, but they enjoyed it," and they still seemed upset with me.  Oh well.

When it comes to physical pain, that also seems to drive some SL "lifestylers" up the wall, and they say "Oh, I'd never do that.  I'm just into D/s."  What they mean to say is "I'm not a Sadist," which is fine -- not everyone is a Sadist, and not everyone enjoys seeing people rolling around, shrieking in glorious pain.  But apparently the gold standard in SL is "the D/s relationship" that everyone is looking for, and any kind of Sadism is seen by many as at best out of place, at worst just horrible.

Then you have the other extreme -- people who sort of like Sadism but don't get the norms of it.  These are the ones who sit around in BDSM sims and try to harass and act rude to any Bottoms/Subs/Slaves they see sitting around.  Apparently their take is "I'm a Sadist, so I get to ask like an asshole to everyone that is wearing a sub tag here."

Sorry, darling, no you don't.  All that is showing is your total lack of really understanding all this "D/s" philosophy you espouse, and it also shows that you don't get the fine art of negotiation.  Unless a sub brings it on themselves, by acting like a jackass first toward me, I do not get to act as a Sadist to anyone that I have not discussed the matter with, negotiated the terms of the S/M, and made sure I kept on target with what we discussed.  Being a Top does not equate to being an asshole to everyone around, but that's the state of BDSM in SL for many alleged "Tops" and "Dom/mes."

-- 

So what makes a good, healthy Sadist?  A few points:

1.  The healthy Sadist always, always, always understands the principle of consent.  They will never act in a Sadistic way toward anyone that has not agreed to it.  And a sub simply kneeling in a BDSM sim in SL is NOT giving explicit consent to whatever a Dom/me might have in mind -- the Top or Dom/me must ask first and see what the sub wants.  Maybe they just want to sit there and chat, which means they are not a target for a Top's aggression.

2.  The healthy Sadist will negotiate any scene before commencing it, and that includes with regular play partners or collared subs/slaves.  Simply because I have a collar around some person's neck, that does not give me 100% unfettered access to them.  Sure, a sub, or especially a slave, should not be saying "no" on a regular basis, but on the other hand, if they're suddenly not into a thing they usually are at playtime, or some night due to the stress of the day they aren't into anything Sadistic, I need to be flexible, stop, and make sure they are OK.  Pushing Sadism on a person that is not in a space to handle it is abuse, plain and simple.  And of course, as I said above, I'm not allowed to do anything Sadistic to anyone that is not open to it, however trite it might seem.

3.  A healthy Sadist knows the limits of their partner, and will respect them.  With a trusted person they may gently push a soft limit to see how it goes, but if it's not going right, will slow down and go back to what was negotiated.  When I am Topping someone for the first few times, I wouldn't ever think of pushing a soft limit -- we are just getting to know each other and trust is building.  After a few play sessions we can talk about pushing things, but guess what?  That goes back to Number 1 and Number 2 above.

4.  A healthy Sadist knows this important trick -- never give a Bottom/Sub/Slave all they want.  They want to hold back a few things, keep a few aces in the hole.  One thing that turns me on the most in an S/M way is watching a sub crawl across the floor, begging for more.  I'll give them a bit more, but I always want to leave a bit of their desire unfulfilled.  Then they crawl back for more....and more....

5.  A healthy Sadist checks in during a scene, enjoying what they see, but making sure their Bottom is enjoying this as well.  That means not simply waiting for a safeword, and going to town on the hapless Bottom, but looking, checking, slowing down a bit, caressing, and then when sure all is well, ramping the lovely smacking around even more.  Done right, the Top can easily get most Bottoms into subspace by going steady, then faster, then slow down, then speed up a bit, go fast, slow down, and then start over, with more "oomph."  The Bottom needs time to get the endorphins flowing well.  (This is learned directly from Mistress Defie, thank you for the mentoring, Mistress Mine!) :)

6.  Finally, the healthy Sadist understand that this BDSM act is a dynamic -- they are both receiving and giving at the same time, as the Bottom is both receiving and giving.  Head case Dom/mes, a good number that populate First Life BDSM communities, and exist by the bushel in SL, think it's all about them.  Sure, that's fine to say to show off one's Dom/me badge, but in reality, the Sadist is getting from the Bottom exactly what that Sadist needs to get to their own level of high:  Consent.

You see, what makes an unhealthy Sadist the way they are is they just spread about their Sadistic self to everyone around, making them miserable.  The unhealthy Sadist feeds off the misery of others, and enjoys making them feel horrible emotionally, psychologically, and possibly even physically.  They have no consent to do what they are doing, so they are an abuser by definition and deed.  And by that very lack of consent they feed their pathological urges.

The healthy Sadist feeds off the consent the Bottom is giving.  They still like causing pain, and maybe humiliating a person, but the healthy person looks for the proper dynamic to do this.  Minus that, they control their urges and keep their Sadism to themselves, at least until Saturday night when the paddle comes out....

I hope this has helped to explain the nature of Sadism and how the healthy Sadist is going to act.  For up and coming Sadists out there, this will give you some basics on what to do to explore your Sadistic self in a healthy, controlled manner.  And for Bottoms and subs/slaves, it gives you something to look for.  If a Top ever says "you will do this even though we never negotiated or even discussed it, I'm the Dom/me!" you know to run, not walk, to the exit.  You never have to do anything you did not negotiate -- EVER.

Next week, we look at the M in S/M -- Masochism.  À bientôt!

Samhain: History and Customs







Samhain is the most sacred on most Neo-Pagan calenders, and some see it as a “Pagan New Year.” Pronounced “SO-wen,” this is the day that signals the actual death of the Sacred King. Samhain is the final harvest, but not so much of plants and vegetables, but of something more sacred.

The full moon of October has long been known by the name the “Blood Moon,” as during this month animals were selected to be slaughtered for meat for the winter. It was often said that if an herd animal made it to Wintertime (the day of Samhain marks the start of Wintertime), then it was going to live to next summer. Animals would be slaughtered and the cut meat put into a pit of snow to keep more or less fresh. Remaining animals would be driven between two bonfires to bless them for the winter months.

On Samhain, the town would extinguish the fires in the houses, and then take fire from the sacred bonfires and kindle fresh fire in their homes. Auguries and divinations were also done at this time of year to read the fortunes for the next year. While popular etymology suggests that Samhain means "end of summer" (from Sam Fuin or "summer end"), the word is probably from an Indo-European root *saman- which means "assembly" and is found in the same word in both Gothic and Sanskrit, "Samana." It would be a more fitting understanding, as the town would stand in assembly to mark the end of the harvest.

Irish Mythology tells us that at this time of year, it was believed by the ancient Celts that the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead would become incredibly thin, and the spirits of the ancestors would come to visit. It was common to carve a turnip (they didn't have pumpkins in the good old days) and put a candle in it to mark to the spirits of the dead where the house was. A skull or even a whole skeleton of a person might be put in a window to act as both a mark to the spirits and also to symbolize the death of the earth. A place would be set at the table for the spirits of the dead, as they expected hospitality.

It was only later, in the Middle Ages, that the day of Samhain went from being a holiday to commemorate the dead to one of fear and superstition, and the belief that evil spirits roamed the earth. This was actually based on the Roman Festival of the Lemuria, a set of days to placate the evil spirits with offerings. The Roman Catholic Church, which had placed All Saint's Day on the 13th of May to coincide with the Lemuria moved it to November 1 as the Lemuria faded out as a holiday but the festival of Samhain was well known in the British Isles.

Even in Christian Ireland, the concept of placating the Aos Si (the fae folk) at Samhain was done, leaving treats out for them to win their favor in protecting the herds during the winter season. Also, as this period was a liminal time, other spirits, not quite so nice, would be roaming around during the period of Samhain. It was common among Celts in the Middle Ages to walk around after sunset either with one's shirt turned inside out, or wearing a mask or some kind of hiding robe to keep the spirits from seeing them

As you can see, the idea of costumes and treats given out at homes on Halloween come from these older ideas. And of course, if the house didn't provide the Aos Si with the treats, who knows what tricks might be played out. By the late middle ages, people were going door to door dressed as the Aos Si and asking for food, which then became the whole modern "Tricks or Treats" we have today.

One last historical note: in ancient Ireland, there did not seem to be a single day devoted to Samhain -- each town celebrated the end of the harvest and the coming of winter when their harvest ended. By the 8th Century, however, with the standardization of the calendar in Britain and Ireland via the Church, Samhain was celebrated on the last day of October, and the Church, as mentioned above, placed All Saints on Nov 1 and All Souls on Nov 2.

In the cycle of the Sacred King, on the day of Samhain the King dies – either as an old man, or is sacrificed for the good of the people. This puts the Sacred Female into a state of grieving from which she will not emerge until the next Imbolc. The earth goes fallow, the sky dark, and the gods “depart the earth.” Again, from Irish Mythology, kings such as Diarmait mac Cerbaill and Muirchertach mac Ercae died on Samhain, so the concept of "the king that dies" was firmly implanted in Irish folklore at that time.

The Harvest is done, the time of Manifestation is complete. Samhain marks the end of Autumntime and the start of Wintertime it the old Celtic and Brythonic marking of time. We now enter the period of dark, rest, and reflection on what we have made manifest. Rest is necessary before the seeds of our next cycle begin metaphorically at Imbolc, which marks the start of Springtime. We must see what we have, before we can deduce what we need.

A blessed Samhain and Wintertime to you all, friends.

Treating Transgender Children is Child Abuse. Please.......

I was just brought to attention about an article written by Dr. Michelle Cretella on transgenderism and youth, in which she likens treating children just entering puberty with puberty blockers and hormones as "child abuse."  The article, written in the Daily Signal, lists her credentials as such:

Michelle Cretella, M.D., is president of the American College of Pediatricians, a national organization of pediatricians and other health care professionals dedicated to the health and well-being of children.

Dr. Cretella is also an ideologue, as this page on the "Family Life Today" website notes:

"Dr. Cretella has been an active prolife advocate for over twenty years, and she has been published in several lay publications. Avocations include personal training, youth ministry and serving as a certified abstinence educator for her local Catholic school. She lives in Rhode Island with her husband of twenty years and their four children: Christopher, John, Michael and Marianna."

While well spoken, she obviously has a bone to pick with transgender issues, and this article appearing on the pro-Trump "Daily Signal" speaks to that. Also, when I see people talk about the "X Agenda" (just fill in the X with the disliked group), that pretty much throws me off from taking anything they are going to say very seriously, or at least with the proverbial grain of salt.

Some of the points she brings up are absolutely valid -- there are serious issues of physical development that are being affected when kids are given puberty blockers. Also, lack of fertility is a real issue as well when given such blockers accompanied with hormones of the biological opposite sex.

However, I have serious issues with Dr. Cretella’s article.   First of all, she's a bit disingenuous, lumping in gender non-conformity with gender dysphoria The difference between these two is that a person who is gender non-conforming does not feel their body to be "wrong" and has no desire to make major physical changes. People are transgender (as the word is used today) have feelings of gender dysphoria -- they dislike their body and wish to make changes. To bring in a little evidence based material from the APA and their fact sheet on adolescent gender issues:

Prevalence of gender diverse and transgender adolescents has been difficult to estimate given barriers to research, treatment, and disclosure. No systematic epidemiological studies have been published on the prevalence of gender diversity or transgender identity in youth. Gender diverse youth are thought to be more prevalent than transgender youth and may make up 5 to 12% of birth assigned females and 2 to 6% of birth assigned males. Transgender youth may be as prevalent as 0.5%.

As patient data is confidential, and data concerning children even more so, these numbers are anecdotal and come from generalizations with doctors.  That said, cross-sectioning these data with what we know about adult populations brings no surprise. The actual number of children that would desire to seek medical interventions is very low, while kids that express their gender in various non-conforming ways is much higher. Simply put, Dr. Cretella's anxieties are the proverbial tempest in a teapot.

The idea that the "Trans-Agenda" (which has conveniently replaced the "Gay Agenda" as homosexual acceptance has increased over the years) wants to have every kid that questions their gender on puberty blockers and on the hormones of the opposite sex immediately is patently absurd. Activists want those avenues discussed and open to families, along with doctors, that feel that such is the best choice for their kids. Are there some pushy activists?  Sure.  But the idea that doctors can’t decide what is best for their patients, and must bow to some PC line of thinking and treatment plan, is hyperbole.  The same is said of college professors, and I an attest, as a college professor, there is no systemic, PC line of thinking that all professors must hold or be removed.

Even if there is a decision made all around that such medical intervention is the best course, the other problem is the cost -- a cost that is most of the time not covered by insurance. As this much more balanced PBS Frontline article points out:

The cost of puberty blockers is approximately $1,200 per month for injections and can range from $4,500 to $18,000 for an implant. The least expensive form of estrogen, a pill, can cost anywhere between $4 to $30 a month, while testosterone can be anywhere between $20 to $200 a vial.

While well to do families might be able to afford this out-of-pocket treatment for their kids, this is out of reach for many, if not most, non-middle-class families.  The fact that most children would not want such changes doesn’t alleviate the fact that even if warranted in the small number of cases, such treatment would be out of reach.

As this article posted in the peer-reviewed journal for pediatricians, Pediatrics, points out concerning children who are having gender issues:



The pediatrician or family medicine doctor should be on the lookout for the child who is gender nonconforming. Sometimes during the physical exam the issue is revealed. The male child with gender nonconforming behavior will sometimes indicate that he wants his testes and penis removed or that he wants breasts. Likewise, the female child may be complaining of breasts and menstrual periods. The pediatrician who observes gender nonconformity should address the issue straightforwardly and look for a number of associated psychosocial problems including abuse, PTSD, difficulty in school, depression, or increased anxiety. Referral to and working with the mental health professional provides a good safety net for the child as he/she struggles with exploration of gender orientation, gender, and gender role as well as the related conditions. If indicated, adolescent patients might be referred to a pediatric endocrinologist for help in getting a better long-term physical outcome.

Telling kids that are having gender issues to just “deal with it,” that they’ll “grow out of it” and the parents will just “pray this sickness out of you” is not going work.  The APA fact sheet above clearly states that children that go from pre-pubescence into puberty questioning their gender will very likely NOT desist in their feelings, but those feelings will grow, and if not resolved could lead to a slew of self-destructive behaviors, family abuse, and potentially suicide.

The medical issues involved in these decisions are many, and they must be weighed carefully against the psycho-social needs of the child.  I would agree that in many, perhaps most cases, such medical intervention would not be necessary.  But for the small number of children that are increasing their gender dysphoria as they go into puberty, these things must be discussed, and the pros and cons carefully considered.  Simply labeling this as “child abuse” is short-sighted, and doesn’t consider the real needs of a small number of kids that are feeling more and more frustrated with their bodies vis-à-vis their gender.

This is an issue that is emerging.  I understand that ideologues such as Dr. Cretella will react strongly against it, just as Conservative activists did when the thought of discussing homosexuality with pubescent kids was considered to be proof of the “Gay Agenda” trying to convert children into “sodomites.”  Society needs a new boogie man, so now it is Trans issues that replace the Gay Plague.

Prologue to an old fiction story based on the TV Show "Millennium"

Being a fan of the X-Files, I was also a fan of Chris Carter's other TV show, Millennium, running from 1996 to 1999.  The show starred Lance Hennriksen, and was about a former FBI agent who was investigating strange, paranormal-tinged cases in the Seattle area, working with a shadowy consulting agency called "The Millennium Group."  I really enjoyed the first two seasons, and the third was ok, but by then it had undergone a very large number of writing and directing changes and never really hit a full stride.

I'm not much of a fiction writer, but I found this prologue to a story that I had started writing based on the TV show in a very old directory as I was changing computers.  It's supposed to be supernatural horror, with a demonic creature that preys on prostitutes and other marginalized people to feed its sick desires.

I'd thought I'd put it up to see what anyone thinks.

--

By the Numbers
Seattle, July 10, 1999, 175 Days Remaining
10:14 PM

Lisa was tired.

Pulling tricks in Seattle is no mean feat, even during summer.  Rain still comes down, and the nights get downright chilly even in July.  Lisa, in her barely there skirt and halter top felt the night wind run a chill down her spine.

Lisa was 22, and had been a hooker in this city for nearly three years.  The money was decent, but she wanted to get out of this life.  She was almost done with her classes at the community college, and was even accepted to Washington State.  The student loans would arrive in September and her life could finally change for the best.

A car was pulling up, and she glanced at it.  A new BMW, nice.  This one could be worth some cash.  She walked up with that strut she had, the one that made men take notice of her long legs and flowing blonde hair.  The car had stopped and the window rolled down, so Lisa walked right to up and bent down, showing lots of her ample cleavage.

"Hey honey," she purred.  "You looking for something?"

In the dark it was hard to see the fellow driving.  She saw hair that went down to his shoulders, a goatee, and... sunglasses?  No, tinted perscriptions. Strange.  But she had long ago come to the conclusion that the ones with money had the most quirks.  He was looking straight at her, but saying nothing.  The other girls were moving up to the car -- she had to snag this one before the competition took him.

She came closer to the car, and moved her overly made-up face just inches from his, smiling.  "You looking for something?" she repeated.

"Yeah."  he said.  Finally.  "Get in."

She went around the car as he hit a button and the car doors unlocked.  She tumbled in, closing the door and looking at him.  He turned forward, not  returning her stare, and hit a button on the stereo.  Music started playing off a CD.  "Sympathy for the Devil" by the Stones.

Uh huh.  Another freak, she thought.

He hit the accelerator and the car moved into the street.  The guy was driving fast, too fast for the street that was still wet after the recent rain.  He took a couple of turns, then went straight for quite a while. He was going into the run down business sector.  No one around on the street here.

Lisa looked at him again.  He was staring straight ahead, not saying anything, and showed no signs of being nervous about this.  Either he was an old pro at the john game, or something was wrong.  Luckly, she had her .38 in her purse, a gift from a friend who used to walk the street with her.  Marie had gone straight last winter, and Lisa was hoping to make it just the few months more to join her.  She felt better about getting there knowing that she had some protection from freaks nearby.

"Hoo hoo....hoo hoo" said the radio as he took a turn into an alley, and parked just a few feet from a trash bin right in the middle.  He turned the car off and for the first time since picking her up, he looked at her. The dark perscriptions made his face look like he had no eyes at all in the already dark car.

Lisa held her purse close to her, ready in case something happened and she had to get the gun out.  "Fifty bucks, in advance sweetie" she cooed at him, hoping he wouldn't notice the tremor in her voice.  He reached into his jacket and threw a bill at her.  It was a hundred.

She glanced up at him and said, "Do I look like a bank?  I don't give change."  He just started at her.  "I'll take extra," he said.  Still no smile, or tremor.  Lisa began to get he feeling that this guy was trouble.  "Listen," she said, "why don't we go somewhere with a little more light?"

Why?  Are you afraid to look at me?" he asked.  She looked down at her feet, and replied "No, it's just dark here and --"  She glanced back up at him, flashing a smile that she knew would charm even this freak.

Lisa screamed.

The face of her client had changed.  No longer was the goatee there, nor the sunglasses, nor even the hair.  Instead it was a face with bulges on the forehead, a long hairless jaw, and the shoulder length hair had disappered, leaving a bald head with what looked like..horns...on the top.  Lisa screamed again and, opening her purse, fumbled around until she found the gun.  She pulled it out, but as she brought it up to shoot, she saw a knife in the...thing's...hand, coming at her....hiting her.

Where had that knife come from? she thought as it sliced into her chest. She tried to scream again, but found she couldn't.  She couldn't even breathe.  It was funny, she had always been afraid of being stabbed, but it hardly hurt.  She couldn't breathe at all now, and everything was dissolving as she saw the knife come down again, and again, and again....

If someone had been there to watch, they would have seen a man come out of the car, pull the body of a young blond woman out of the care and carry it next to the dumpster, and with the blood still pooling on the chest, mark a "#1" on the forehead.  They would have then seen the man pick the body up and throw it in the dumpster, go back to his car, start it, and drive off playing "Sympathy for the Devil" by the Rolling Stones.

"Hoo hoo....hoo hoo....hoo hoo...."

But it was a damp, dark night in a secluded alley in the old business sector, and there was no one around at all.

DomConLA 2017 Unravelled


Another year, another DomConLA has come and gone.

Background for those that have not read one of my reports previously:  DomCon was started by Mistress Cyan, owner of the professional oriented Sanctuary Studios in Los Angeles, right by LAX.  With the creation of the World Wide Web in the 1990s, the BDSM lifestyle was moving out of its rock cover from the 80s and before into the actual daylight world.  As a well respected Domme in my RL community, who has been in the lifestyle well over 40 years, likes to say, "It was easier to find the smack dealers than the kinksters back then."

As online BBSes and Discussion Boards were giving way to websites, Mistress Cyan found that Pro-Dommes were not welcome on any of these things.  As she said about an incident that led her to the creation of DomCon in 2001:

“One day I tried to log in to one of the BDSM discussion groups I was a member of and couldn’t log in”, she recalls. “I emailed the moderator of the group to find out what was wrong and was shocked when I was told the I was banned from the group because it for people in the lifestyle, not professionals.”

DomCon was born of out Mistress Cyan's desire to bridge the gap between the lifestyle world and the Pro world, and the first DomCon was held in April 2004.  The first 'Winter DomCon' was held the same year in November in Atlanta.  The two DomCons have been held regularly since, with "Winter DomCon" moving to New Orleans starting in 2016.

I have been going to DomCon since 2014, and this is my third writeup on it out of four.  Our adventures went from Friday to Sunday.  Let's start!

Friday, May 19
Believe it or not, I still had work to do in the form of final grades when I woke up that Friday morning.  We had just finished finals, but as I had Department Chair duties I still had to do, I had one final class that I had to finish grading.  So in the morning I slogged through it, and after packing and getting ready, we were finally on the road to the LAX Hilton around 1:30PM.  Traffic to LAX was as hideous as usual, but it "only" took an hour to get from where I live down to the Hilton.

The Hilton is a very nice hotel and we do enjoy staying there.  I got an "upgrade" on the room for $24 extra a night, but was rather surprised to find that this "upgrade" gave us an extra chair and a small coffee table -- I won't bother with that next year, I can assure you.  After checking in and getting to our room, we met up with my colleague "Jenny" who teaches Psychology (yes, I do use pseudonyms for people from where I work, to protect the not so innocent.)  We looked over the schedule and didn't see any presentations we were interested in, so we went over the well stocked dealer room instead.


We connected with Paul from Paraphilia Toys who was supposed to have a red and black, ball bearing loaded spanker for me, and he very apologetically said he hadn't had time to make it as he had been slammed with a large order from the Stockroom in the Silver Lake area of Los Angeles.  I was a little disappointed as I'd been begging him for this thing, but as he's running a small business literally by himself, with his slave/wife doing the bookeeping while he makes the items, I can be a bit more patient I guess. ;)  I did buy a couple items from him though:















The one on the left is a very flexible leather smacker, similar to the tawze that I have, but more flexible and has a "padded" side that delivers far less of a smack than the finished side.  The one on the right is a small paddle made of clear polyurethane.  This was a prototype toy that Paul is working on, so I got the spanker and the mini-paddle for $90.  I think a great price!

Paul does amazing work, and literally half my toybag is made up of items he created.  I can't push his stuff enough, it is the highest quality work I've seen in my time in the lifestyle.  I also picked up this funny little gem for $25:



I am a teacher, right?  It only makes sense to have a ruler.  I plan to have this at our FemDomme party coming up -- I'll be in a pencil skirt, white poplin top, heels, hose and lots of red lippie....I will report what how the bottoms and subbies react. ;)

There were some other thngs that caught my eye, but I was actually pretty frugal on this trip.  I went with $600 for food and toys, and was resolved to put nothing on a credit card just because I wanted it.  I came home with $100, so I did better than I had imagined, and made no real impulse buys.


They had some shows and demos going on the stage in the dealer room, so we watched a couple of those.  One was some nice rope work and suspension, and one was a burlesque dance by this ultra cute, ultra petite Asian girl wearing this amazing purple wig.  Lots of fun!

There were no other shows we wanted to see, so we went to have dinner in the Hilton Bar (great food!) and then went upstairs to get ready for the Friday Night play party at Sanctuary Studios.  We all went in black dresses and black heels, and while I had no real intent to play at this party -- too many people, too loud -- I did bring a couple toys just in case. A good Top is always prepared, right?

Sanctuary has undergone some renovation since the last time we were there.  They have six themed rooms, each with a name, and the back one called "Hades" due the red paint on the walls had the most change.  It used to have a huge stage on the far side of the room from the entrance, but the stage has now been cut in half and a large cage has been put in the middle.  On each side of the stage where this is now room is a set of stocks.  The other rooms have had items moved around.  Also, the Friday night party is usually less crowded than the Saturday night "Fetish Ball," but the place was really rocking and there were lots of attendees.

The play itself was rather unremarkable -- people getting spanked, flogged, smacked, what one would normally see in a dungeon.  There was a very nice scene with one male Dom using two whips on his female bottom on the floor.  People gave him a lot of clearance as he swung them around and sent the tails flying at her.  I noticed that actually very few of the tails hit her, but the Dom was expertly smacking the ground and cracking the whips, leaving her in a frenzy.  Of course, with this kind of play, it's more what could happen rather than a large number of actual hits on her.  They also had a nice waxplay demo on the stage in the center area, with a female Domme covering a male bottom with all kinds of different wax from various candles she had burning.

We looked around a lot, watched a series of scenes, but got tired and headed back before 12AM.  Cleaned up and in bed by 1AM.

Saturday May 20
Because I am a Hilton Honors member (their "points club") we were able to go up a story and get a free breakfast in their lounge.  Doing that two days in a row saved us a good chunk of change from eating much the same food from the deli they have, or even more in the sit down restaurant.  So after breakfast and getting ready we went downstairs to meet Jenny as  we had a couple panels we wanted to go see.


The first one was Dr. Susan Block, the fairly well known media star and self proclaimed "Sex Therapist" that moved from public access cable show to HBO specials and a series of books.  This presentation was on her book The Bonobo Way: The Evolution of Peace Through Pleasure in which she talks about Bonobo chimpanzee mating habits and how, as our closest cousins in the natural world, we might learn their way of peace through the incessant sex they seem to have.  During her presentation she had a projection of Bonobos in the wild and captivity having lots of sex:  other than humans and cetceans like dophins, no other species seems to have sex for recreational purposes.  I guess the whole point of the presentation was "Make Love, Not War!"

Dr. Block is a funny, dynamic speaker, and I thought Trump mask with a dildo in its mouth on the table was a rather humorous sidebar -- she would occasionally yell at the mask, telling Trump via the mask to "suck on that!" and that his mindset was inimical to her philosophy of life.  There wasn't any real anthropological information given out in this, but her speaking style (and copper latex outfit) were a lot of fun.

She gave out copies of her Bonobo book to the first 15 people that signed up on her mailing list, and I did and got a free copy.  She was also signing them and offered free spanks with the book, so as she was offering I took that as well.  She doesn't hit hard, and thankfully Jenny did not snap a picture of that to show around the college....I hope.....

After that we went to lunch, and then went to our next session, "The Science of S&M:  Neurology of the Kinky Brain" presented by Mistress Tara Indiana, a well known ProDomme and speaker here in our community.  I should point out that Jenny teaches Behavioral Neuroscience at the college, so she was looking forward to this presentation a lot, and at lunch had rattled off the kinds of things she expected to hear.  Mistress Tara started the presentation by saying she is not a neuroscientist, and has only a lay understanding of the discipline, but takes what she has read and connects it to her 20+ years of Domination experience.  Jenny chuckled a bit, but sat and listened.

MIstress Tara went over the Limbic System, which is highly devleoped in the brains of mammals (and humans in particular), and deals with emotion, learning, memory, and is directly connected to sexual drive and pleasure sensation.  Her main point was that kinky people gain pleasure through painful stimulation that produces mostly dopamine and oxytocin, and in the case of the Top/Dominant, desire for higher levels of adrenalin.  It was an interesting discussion, and after it was over I asked Jenny what she thought.  Her reply was "Ehh....maybe 70% right, she needed help in areas, but not bad for a lay person."  She was thinking of going over to offer some idea and critical commentary, but Judy and I suggested maybe emailing her some of her thoughts.

Jenny needed to head home after that, and the class that Judy and I were thinking of attending, "Birching" was cancelled, so we said bye to Jenny and went upstairs to have a glass of wine and get ready to go out before our next session and then the Fetish Ball in the evening.

At six, going down dressed and made up to the nines, we went to see the last panel of the day, "The Art of How to Hit People with Stuff!" presented by the same group of male Doms we saw last year:  Sir Nik Satanas, Master Eragon and Entropy.  We saw their class on flogging last year, but this was a more basic presentation on how to use various toys.  There was very little exposition, but the three had some funny interplay with each other and then brought people up to try various toys on various bottoms/subs that were willing to be "crash test dummies" for them. They then split the room into three sections:  whipping (with Sir Nik), flogging (with Entropy) and "other things" with Master Eragon.  We decided to watch Master Eragon show how to use canes, spankers and paddles, and I must say he is a very good teacher.  He would bring a person up, ask them what they wanted to try, show them what to do and how, and then let them go while he watched carefully and gave points and tips on what to do.  Very good presentation!

After that we went back to the bar to have dinner and then boarded the shuttle back to Sancutary for the big Fetish Ball.

I will say that this year there were fewer people at the Fetish Ball than the previous few years.  I'm not sure why -- maybe money is tighter, maybe the Age of Trump is having something to do with it.  It was still packed, but it never got to the "cannot move at all" levels that we've seen the Fetish Ball in previous years.  Whereas the Friday party is more casual, this is much more of a Fetishist paradise, with leather and latex outfits everywhere, near nudity to total nudity, and kinksters all over doing their thing.

There were no real memorable scenes, just lots of the usual canings, whippings, etc. I did watch one scene where two Dommes had a cross-dressing subby male tied down, and one was using a vibrator on his legs and genitals while the other was screwing his ring-gagged mouth with a huge dildo.  While all the play was fun, that was the one that stood out as a bit more interesting.  The other thing I did notice is lots of Dungeon Monitors around -- at least three times the usual amount we'd see, and they were watching the play very carefully.  This is a good thing, because the past few years I felt there was not enough of a DM presence.  Maybe something happened and Sancutary is being more careful than before.

Lots of nice outfits, lots of fun play to be seen, but nothing too outrageous.  By 11:30 we were getting sleepy and my feet were hurting from the pumps I was wearing.  I don't wear pumps that often, so my feet are still not used to being in such torture devices...er...shoes.  When we left, no new people were coming and no new people were waiting at the shuttle to go to Sanctuary, but the shuttle was full to the max going back.  Definitely the crowd this year is smaller and tamer than the past three.  Upstairs and in bed before 1AM.

Sunday, May 21
We got up, had another free breakfast upstairs courtesy the Hilton, and then packed up and got the suitcases in the car.  We had about an hour before the next panel we wanted to see, so I looked around the dealer room and found a gorgeous purple flogger with a finger grip.  I tried it out on Judy and we both agreed it was nice, so I got that and a metal crop with a leather top that was in the clearance bin for $10.  Picture of both below:

We then went to our next panel, Kinky Crafters, presented by Mistress Molly.  You may remember I talked about her last year, the Mistress from Ireland now living in the Northeast.  She was a Mistress of Honor at DomCon 2017, and had won first place in the Pet Play competition the day before.  This class was on how to use household items for BDSM play, and how to find simple things at the store or thrift shop to use.  She had two tables loaded with every day household items, and then had us go into two teams and create a scene using the items.



One Leather Dom allowed us to use his cutie pie girl as the bottom for the scene.  Using the items, we were able to do the following:  bind her arms with a sling, tie her with some jute rope Mistress Molly got at Home Depot for $5 for a roll, blindfold her with a scarf, scratch and pinch her with a salad fork, and flog her with a wire puller she also got from Home Depot and was perfect for it.  Mistress Molly was quite impressed with our scene.

Then she had us come up individually, handed us an object from the other table than the one we were using, and explain what we could do with it.  When I got up there, she handed me a metal nutcracker.  I looked at and said "well, it has an obvious use" and put it down to where a crotch would be for some "nutcracking."  MIstress Molly said "Don't be sayin' that, ye' wee nut, or they'll be puttin' me arse in the jail!"  We all had a laugh, and then I said "well, what about putting it in the freezer, and then using it as a form of cold play?"  Everyone went "ooooooooo," and Mistress Molly said "Now ye're thinkin' correctly, ye wee git!"  LOL.  She's not the greatest public speaker, but she's funny as hell, speaks from the heart, and goddess that accent......raaawwwwrrrrrr.

Our final panel after lunch was Playing and Working with Gender Variant People.  As I am a sociologist, incredibly interested in gender expression, and my regular play partner is a Latina Transwoman, this is one I really wanted to see.  The crowd was very small, only at the height about 10 people, some of whom came in late.  The presenters were a Mistress named Sera and her Transwoman submissive, Veronica.  They started the panel asking anyone if they knew what "gender non-conforming" means, and I was the only one that seemed to have the proper answer:  "a person from whom their psycho-social presented self presented in society does not match their assigned birth sex."  They seemed utterly impressed I knew this, but I chalked it up to be a sociology professor.  Hee hee..education pays!

There was good and bad in this panel:  the good was that the crowd that was there asked a slew of questions on issues of gender non-conforming, Trans issues and what the day to day life of a Trans person is like.  Veronica made an excellent point,she said "Ignorant people worry about what a person like me will do to them in a bathroom....but what they don't get is I'm far more scared of what will happen to me in a bathroom.  All I want to do is pee, and I have to be scared that I'm going to get outed, harrassed, beat or potentially arrested."  She's so right about that, but it's only when a Trans person puts it on those terms that Cisgendered people might actually get the real issue.

The bad was that there was almost no talk of play with gender variant people.  This is because the discussion was more about gender issues themselves than play, as the Cis folks kept asking lots of questions.  That's a good thing, but we never really got to the point of the panel.  Veronica and her Mistress did say negotiation is incredibly important, to ask the Trans person what they want to be called during a scene, how would they like their genitals to be referred to (Veronica said another Trans play partner of hers that she tops likes to have her post gender affirming surgery vagina to be called a "coin purse") and to be more sensitive about where they like to be touched.  I would say out of an hour long panel, we spent less than 10 minutes talking about actual play.  That said, it's good for people with little to no knowledge of Trans and gender issues to be given this kind of information, so it was not a "bad" bad.  I just wanted to hear more about play with gendered people!

After that we didn't see other panels that interested us, and I was getting really wiped out, as I had been going like crazy for weeks and had not really "rested" at the Con.  So home we went, and it was again an hour getting back.  The fuzzy masters (aka the cats) greeted us coldly, but warmed up when I gave them some wet food.  We unpacked, new toys in my bag, and was asleep early Sunday night.

Overall Thoughts
The main thing I noticed about this DomCon is that I wasn't as impacted by it as I have in the past. It's not that there was anything bad, but I guess now that I've been in the scene for a good five years full time (and a few years before that "part time,") it doesn't have the same overall "shock" that it used to years ago to see play, or hear people talk about kink or sex.  My first DomCon was an amazing experience, as it was the first time I had been around that many kinksters at one time.  Now, it's kind of old hat, LOL.  I also noticed that I watch scenes with a much more critical eye, like "that Top is not checking in enough....does she really know how to use that toy.." etc.  Education and experience is ruining me!

That said, it's always fun being around kinksters.  To be able to be open about myself and my desires, and to be around people just as open and accepting, is a great thing.  It's like when I hang around Pagans and tell them about my encounters with Venus in my crystal ball, or some ritual I did, and I get head noddings and "that's great!" rather than "You're insane," so being around like minded kinky folks is refreshing.

So I had a good time, and I have some new toys to hit my bottom and some other lucky folks with.  I'll definitely go back next year -- it's just the thing I need when a busy academic year ends!

Look the F**K out, I'm INTJ!

*Dusts off the mic and the sound equipment*

For good or ill -- I'm back!  My life has been crazy this last academic year, but now it's coming to a close (last week of instruction is this week -- yay!) and then I get a few weeks off.  Next week is finals, and the weekend of the 19-21 is DomConLA 2017, and I will be reporting from that!

My topic for my grand return is people that use their Myers-Briggs personality type as a warning device.  A bit of history on this first:

In 1921, Carl Jung wrote a lengthy essay entitled Psychological Types, and postulated that there are four main aspects of personality:  Thinking, Feeling, Sensation, and Intuition.  A person may experience these rationally or irrationally, and as an introvert or an extravert.  This was a large theoretical piece, not to be taken as a researched, empirical set of dogmas about personality.  At least, that's how I take it....I've always liked Jung, but I also understand that he was not much of an empiricist, but a theorist that that bordered on metaphysical thinking (which I quite like, to be very honest!)


In the 1940s, Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers worked on a personality test, based on Jung's types, which was first published in 1944 and then republished in 1956 as the "Myers-Briggs Type Indicator"  I should point out that neither Briggs nor Myers were psychologists, nor did they have any formal training in the field, only being self-taught in Psychometrics, a related field fo Psychology but distinct.  Were they to publish their ideas today, minus any actual formal education, they would be taken as crackpots and accused of misusing Jung.  However, as anyone that knows anything about the Myers-Briggs typology is aware, people take this whole idea as Gospel, and anyone challenging the validity of the test to a Believer will be burnt at the stake.  Myers-Briggs is an interesting way to learn things about one's personality, but it's not the end all of human personality.  Hey....who are those fine folks over there with the pitchforks and the torches?  And here I always figured I'd be burnt for being a witch!

I'm not going to get into the whole M-B paradigm as the link in the above paragraph to the Wiki article on it is more than suffficent for anyone wanting more information on it.  Now that these preliminaries are out of the way, I want to talk about people using this as a warning device.

For a reason about which I've never been sure, M-B typology is very popular in Second Life.   I've seen lectures on it, finding love via understanding the types, finding subs/slaves via the types, D/s and the types, etc, etc.  I imagine as people are so ideological about the M-B typology, it shouldn't be surprising that it's very popular among the denziens of SL.  And, just as people are dogmatic about it in First Life, so they bring their disturbed understanding of M-B to Second Life.

Which leads me to people use this as some kind of warning tool.  I'm sure if you are the kind of profile hound I am, you've seen people put their "Warning" about their M-B type in a profile pick.  Last Christmas, this guy that was then a member of Velvet Thorn (unsurprisingly gone now, although I don't know if he left or was kicked out) tried to pick a fight with me.  He didn't like my use of the word "sociopath" in describing griefing activity, and so tried to take me to task for "misuse" of a word.  Interestingly, he claimed no actual degree in any form of Psychology, experimental or clinical, but apparently, like the M-B founders, he also believed his lay understanding of Psychology gave him the ability to take me to task.  Really, he was just a troll, but that's neither here nor there.  As I was looking at his profile, I found that he had a big, giant pick about his status as INTJ.along with this warning:

I do not like stupidity, redundancy, small talk, clicking noises, dishonesty, emotional outbursts, illogical arguments, incompetence, disorganisation and manipulation..  Do not be surprised or offended by my sarcasm, dry humour, blank stare, debate and confrontation (normally due to another person's stupidity and lack of logic/supporting facts), bluntness, independence or lack of emotion.  Do not try to change me. Do not cross me. Do not hug me. Do not surprise me.

If you can deal with the above, we should get along just fine.​


Here is the problem with this line of thinking:  1) Jung wrote a theoretical piece in Psychological Types, and gave exactly zero scientifically tested examples of his typology, 2)  M-B were untrained in any form of Behavioral Science, and used a lay understanding of Jung to create a more ambitious typology, and 3) neither Jung nor Myers-Briggs themselves saw this as a system that was creating hard and fast types, but rather explaining a set of generalized personality traits.  The idea of this system is to give us some insight into our own personalities and where we can find self-improvement (or give actual therapists clues as where to work with a client.)  As Renni Jefferson, an actual trained Psychologist, says in her SL profile:

For all the armchair psychologists out there, a quick lesson:  The Myers-Briggs was designed to help people understand their own social tendencies.  It was NOT designed to be used as a banner to wave above your head as a caution sign to those around you to handle you with care.  It is for YOU to learn about you.  It is NOT a how-to manual on the care and feeding of you for others.  It's just....NOT.

Brava!  Well said, and thank you for that!  What I've found is that people take the M-B typology and try to fashion it as a tool to use against others ("I'm INTJ, what did you expect out of me?")  In other words, they use the typology to create a mechanism for why they insulted a person, or left their collar one day after it was put on, or took on 20 subs and didn't pay enough attention to them, but it's not their fault for that because they are ENFP or some such rot.  "I just crave attention as an ENFP!!  I just needed you then!  Try to understand!" as they're locking three more collars on desperate subs.

If a person wants to talk about their M-B type and how it affects them, that's fine.  I have a small blurb about my INTJ to ISTJ status [1] in my First Life area, but that's it.  I don't use it to hammer people over the head  And I think anyone that wants to use their M-B type to insult people, or use people for their own gain, or act like a drama queen, are simply trying to justify their own wretched behavior.  I have no problem telling them they are being an idiot and a pain in the ass.  Maybe it's the INTJ in me! :P

----
[1]   An issue with the M-B Typology is that Believers say once a person's personality type is located in the matrix, it's unchanging.  The theory is that the type flows from an inner set of core parts of the person and inner archetypes, and so the type should be stable over one's life.  In actuality, M-B testing has no reliability, as a person will often test differently when taking the test again and again.  I've fluctuated between INTJ and ISTJ when I've taken the test.  It's really better to see the M-B Types as four spectra such as "Extroverted---------------Introverted" rather than a binary dichotomy.  People change over time, so seeing the types as idealized points on a continuum is more meaningful in my opinion.  Oh shit...I see the pitchforks and the fire again......AHHHHH!!!

Where the Hell Has Vanni Been?

The last two months have been a whirlwind of crazy activity.  Now that much -- but not all -- of it has calmed down, I thought my return to blogging would be a catch up on what has been going on.

Let's start in August and move to October:

1.  Scheduling: The fall semester started back in August, and one of the first things I had to do was get the fall schedule into the Dean by the end of the month.  I am the Department Chair for four different departments, Sociology and Psychology being two of the biggest.  Between us, we have about 90 sections of classes that need to be put into rooms.  The other two I work with have department leads I work with to create schedules, but I'm still responsible for making sure it all gets done and put together correctly.

Scheduling is a problem for several reasons.  First, we have a limited number of rooms to use, and of course the favored times for both students and our full time faculty is between 10am and 1pm.  We can get students into earlier or later classes, but the more popular teachers have to staff those, and as you might imagine, the more popular teachers are the full time ones that want to end their teaching days at 1PM.  So the second problem is getting teachers into classes they might not like.

Finally, we have to repsect lists for senority and the number of classes that everyone gets.  Full time instructors have to teach five classes a semester, plus they can request to teach up to two more per semester.  Part time adjuncts get one, two or three classes, which is figured out by a rather arcane formula based on the last eight semesters they have been teaching.

I had to start working on the schedule as soon as the semester started, but it had to be endlessly adjusted based on demands from the college, the Executive VP, and what the Dean thought we should be doing.  It finally got into shape in early September.

2.  Curriculum Update:  Every five years the State of California requires us to update all our curriculum.  We have to go over our Course Outlines of Record, update books, update the course objectives, the decisions over the last five years that the State has implimented, etc.  So it takes quite a while to go over them.  Once they are updated, they need to be sent up the food chain and approved by a group of people such as the Dean, the Executive VP, the Articulation Officer, the Chair of the Curriculum Committee, etc.  Then once they approved they go to what we call "Technical Review" where they are proofread carefully by a group.  Finally, after all that, it goes to the Curriculum Committee that approves the Outlines, or sends them back for some further work.

For most of September we've been working on the courses, getting them all approved by the food chain.  Yesterday, October 6th, we went to Tech Review and worked on the little details that still needed to be done.  Now we go to Curriculum on Tuesday and get the final blessings.  I'm sure they will go through as they're all in very good shape.

3.  Accreditation: Every seven years we go through an accreditation visit from the State.  Some people don't realize that accreditation is not a requirement for any college to operate.  That said, minus accreditation, degrees granted from that college are suspect, and most universities will not take transfer students from colleges that have no accreditation or lost it for more than a year.  Ergo, while it's not an absolute requirement, every college that isn't some kind of diploma mill goes through this process every 6-7 years.

This is not a small undertaking.  Over the past three years we have been working up to the frigging three day accreditation visit.  We start gearing up three years before the visit by looking over the huge, arcane bible of "Standards" the accreditating body comes up with that covers every possible aspect of what a college does:  teaching, distance education, finances, faculty, classified staff, buildings, transfer, outcomes...everything.  Down to the smallest, finest minuta.

We start with what we did before, and then do a long "Gap Analysis" that looks at the changes in the standards and what we need to do.  Then after amassing all that data we have endless planning meetings to figure out how to fill the gaps, how they're being filled, and how the filling is holding up.  LOL.  Then we have to write a giant "Self Study" that is handed to the accrediting body six months before their visit that details what we doing in relation to those standards.  They also want something they call a "Quality Focus Essay" that lists where we feel we are coming up a bit short and what we plan to do about it.

About three months before the visit, everyone goes into a panic and we have even more endless meetings, endless reports, and endless you name it.  Yours truly, who knows how to write bureaucratic bullshit extremely well, was called on to write part or all of several reports, a couple at nearly the last minute.  At times I felt like I was chained to a computer being forced to write at gunpoint!

Then the team showed up at the end of September, takes our self study and essay, and goes into every crevice and cavity, looking at everything we do.  They get down to looking at hundreds of syllabi to make sure they have all the State required material in them.  I had to go to several meetings with the body that showed up to talk about things I have done and been part of the last few years.  Of course, I came armed with a slew of handouts and what not, and my Dean said he heard through the grapevine that I was one of the best prepared people to meet with them. *beams*

Oh and I wore heels all day for two days for these meetings.  That alone should get me some kind of Nobel Prize.

The end result was that we passed with flying colors!  The body had a few "suggestions" (that is, strict orders) on what we need to do, but they found precious little to write us up about, and said this was one of the easiest visits they've done in the past few years.  Hooray!  The body is made up of faculty, classified staff, and administrators from colleges around California.  One day I might be asked to be on one of these visiting bodies -- it's a lot of work and gives zero pay, so I probably will find a way out!  Hee hee

4.  Tenure Committee Work: I am the chair for two of my colleagues that are going through tenure (a four year process), and it's my responsiblity to call meetings, chair them, get people to go do observations, collect the required work from the faculty going through tenure, and then write up reports for each.  I'm also on the review committee for a third colleague, but I am not her chair so I just do an observation, write a report, and look over her tenure portfolio.

5.  Teaching: Did I mention I also have to teach?  Ha ha!  So on top of all the above, I have to teach five classes.  That's a piece of cake compared to all that!

There are also meetings galore I regularly have to go to, and as the Co-Chair of the Student Learning Outcomes Committee, I'm also one of the two bigwigs that helps to get instructors to do their required outcome work that they all hate!  It's a good thing I'm so cute and warm and loving...and have a big, giant spanker....

Now Accreditation is over, schedule is done, one more fairly short meeting to get through for curriculum update, and that work is in the past.  What's coming up you ask?

Hiring!

We are hiring a new Sociologist to replace my colleague that retired last spring, and a new Psychologist to replace a colleague that retired there.  As I'm chair of both departments, I get to be on both hiring committees.  Starting next weekend I'll have to start reading 150+ applications between the two disciplines and have them done by the 25th of October.  Then we have interviews ALL DAY on November 2nd for Sociology and then do Psych interviews ALL DAY on SUNDAY November 6th, plus a few other potential interviews up to November 9th.

I'll know next week how many applications we are going to have to look at.  The first step is a "pre-screen" to make sure that each application is complete and that the person applying meets the minimum qualifications for the position, which are set by the State Academic Senate in Sacramento.  After that, we have to do a paper screening of each one, and then gather to figure out who we want to see at interviews.  I do have to go to the final interview with the President for Sociology as I'm the chair of that committee (of course..).  But I'm done with Psychology once we end our oral interviews.

After that, I have to write up the final reports for the two colleagues going through tenure, and finish my classes.  But the worst will be done by Veteran's Day.

So there you go.  Where has Vanni been?  WORKING!  And more to come!  But that's what I make the "big money" for, right? :P  At least now I can finally get to a few play parties and get out all this pent up aggression on a few cute bottoms....

A Bientot!