July 19, 2006

So much for Safe, Sane and Consentual

Okay, we're going to switch gears here a bit and talk a little bit about the concept of "Safe, Sane and Consentual." Yours truly had the opportunity to attend a social gathering or "Munch" Sunday evening, and something was said there that shocked and appalled me regarding a blatant disregard for what truly should be a cornerstone, a non-negotiable for those who embrace this lifestyle.

For those of you who are truly lifestylers or who have dabbled in the kinkier aspects of BDSM, you will recognize that phrase and understand it's implications. For the rest of you, the "Vanillas" as lifestylers like to say, it is one of those standards that serious lifestyles believe in, abide by, and demand both inside the home and outside the home when attending what is called a "playparty."

Now I'm sure a lot of you are asking "What on earth is either Safe or Sane about what Mama does with all those leather things and spikey things and hard whippy things?" Well, quite a lot actually.

The Safety comes from knowing precisely how to use each Impliment of Ass Destruction™ properly and responsibily, knowing the limits of the person you are with as well as your own, respecting those limits, and the constant careful monitoring of the physical, mental, and emotional well being of your sub, slave, toy or pet before, during and after your scene or session.

As an example of this, I never use a new toy or tool on another living being until I have either been taught how to use it responsibly and correctly, and have had the time to develop at least a minimal competency with it. I'm well enough versed with a riding crop to use it for all manner of sensation, let's say, but would never dream of sticking on the pads and wires and firing up a TENS or EMT device. Perhaps someday, but not without some rather advanced training.

The Sane comes as a part of always keeping complete control over your emotional and intellectual faculties during a scene, rationally negotiating the course of play and the limits of both parties, maintaining reasonable expectations of both your partner and the level of play that he or she is capable of during your scene, and recognizing that point at which your partner has gone as far as he or she is capable and not selfishly, greedily, stupidly pushing them further merely for your own ego and self gratification.

As an illustration of this, I never scene when either my submissive or I are exhausted, upset about something, unsure of each other for any reason, or physically unfit either by injury or illness. Nor do we ever scene when either of us is in what you might call an "Altered State of Consciousness."

Consentual is a no-brainer for most people. If your partner doesn't agree to it, don't do it. Plain and simple. If your partner is afraid of needles, you don't do needle play regardless of your skill level as a Dominant or desire to either receive or perform needle play. Consentual play extends to both partners. The submissive makes no demands of his or her Dominant that the Dominant cannot meet, nor does a Dominant do the same to the submissive.

"Why," you might ask, "is Mama even bringing this up today?" Good question. In answer to it, let me tell you about an experience I had over the weekend.

Sunday night, one of the larger of the local organizations had their monthly Munch. Now a Munch is a dinner or luncheon gathering of people in the local BDSM community in a Vanilla setting, usually the banquet room of a restaurant, where members and non-members can meet and socialize and conduct a little business. Think "Tied-up Toastmasters" if you will. The board members will make announcements, any visiting organizations can also make announcements pertaining to their fundraisers or upcoming events, and someone will usually lead a discussion on a pre-determined topic.

Well, this Sunday was no different. Raffle tickets were sold for a piece of dungeon equipment that will be awarded at at a leather convention in August. Another 50/50 raffle was held to put a little money in the group coffers. Those who had attended the organization's play party Friday evening regaled us with tales of how much fun they all had and we were all treated to a glimpse of the results of what must have been quite a spirited "Birthday Spanking" that took place during that party. The dinner was good and the wait staff wasn't either intrusive or shocked at the discussion. The discussion was interesting.

Then, after the discussion, as things were drawing to a close, we were all encouraged to join this organization as paying members so that we, too, could enjoy these members only playparties. They said to make sure we brought a few snacks to share, a few soft drinks, and to remember that the parties were BYOB, Bring your own booze.

Yes. I said "booze." At a playparty. At a place where people are entrusting their physical, emotional and intellectual well-being to another person. Where you want your partner to be in complete and total control of their own faculties. Booze.

At first I thought it was a joke on the part of the board member who said it, since he has quite the reputation of being pretty wild. But then it was echoed by no less than three other board members. BYOB. Booze at a playparty.

Those of you who know me know that I am not some tea-totalling prude, no Carrie Nation by any stretch of the imagination. I enjoy a good drink, love to try new things, and survived my first experience with moonshine just fine, thank you.

But I also know that after I have had a drink or three that I have abolutely no business engaging in anything that requires a clear head, a steady hand, and unclouded reasoning. I would not drive a car, operate a chainsaw, or attempt anything that demands coordination or a sharp mind. And I certainly wouldn't participate in a scene or any sort, either privately in my own home or publicly at a playparty.

If you google around the web ("BDSM rules for Play party alcohol" is a good starting place) and look at the sites for established dungeons, or for instructional material on how to conduct a scene or throw a playparty, you will find that almost unanimously they prohibit the use of not only alcohol but of any mood or mind altering substance. To use them before engaging in BDSM play is irresponsible, dangerous, and against everything those who profess to be in the lifestyle claim to believe and follow.

It was very disillusioning to see an organization, one that I respected and hoped to join, completely disregard such a basic precept. By encouraging intoxicants at a playparty, they not only are violating "Safe, Sane, Consentual," they are violating the trust of any submissive they put in restraints and lay a hand on, a strap to, or a paddle against. They are as dangerous to that submissive as a drunk driver is to those on the road.

And these Masters encouraged it.

I do believe this is one organization I will be passing on.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 04:22 PM | Comments (1025) | TrackBack

July 17, 2006

Austin sounds like a good place for a fresh start.

Such a delightful day we are having here today. It's hot as blazes, damp as a sauna, and peoples' tempers are short. Even the cats have been irritable, and they don't go outside beyond the reach of air conditioning.

The dumpster is sitting in the back yard on the driveway. Slowly but surely the Spousal Unit has been going through boxes in what will shortly be redefined as the Progeny's quarters. He actually threw away some, a difficult thing for a pathological packrat to accomplish. When he has completed the first phase, though, I know I will have to go through it again.

Yes, I will be labeled "Evil" and "Cruel" for it. Yes, I know that those 8 yr old scraps of copper (each less than an inch square with no value beyond a few ounces of weight) are far too precious to throw away. There may be a use for them someday! Aliens from Mars might show up in the side yard and demand those fragments in tribute or they'll destroy the entire biosphere of the planet, leaving nothing but a smouldering cinder spinning through space.

And those old paperback books that were located by the cats and blessed with the sacred feline fluids to show their displeasure with the servitude of their humans? Oh, we can't let those go. Forget the smell, forget the Gross Factor involved in holding one of them long enough to toss it in the dumpster, much less read it. It may be a priceless antique someday, enhanced by the aura of cat piss.

Let us not even broach the subject of tattered or broken garage sale and auction finds too wonderful to pitch, or boxes of loose papers and mail and sale fliers from years ago that are easier to keep in boxes than to sort and toss. You know, I can pretty much guarantee that a 5 yr old unopened water bill was eventually paid and can safely be tossed. And we don't even have Roy Roger's Chicken anymore, so those coupons are pretty much worthless now. Don't you agree?

*heavy sigh*

So once again I will be the villan, once again I will be the subject of conversation in an online "Bark" with people who do not know me or who I am. Once again I will have to make a decision that grieves me and makes life difficult for everyone at the moment but will make life easier for everyone in the long run.

And that's just in the trash sorting.

Wait until I get to the sorting of our futures.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 08:34 PM | Comments (5163) | TrackBack

July 14, 2006

A ramble on the growing Israeli fight...

The world in near harmony has made some variation of a statement of denunciation against Israel during this, the opening week of the most recent escalation in Israel's lifetime of war. France, the Vatican, even that bastion of tolerance, Iran, in the company of most of the "civilized world" have condemned the actions Israel has taken to clear the lethal and increasingly agressive vipers' nest from across her borders.l

Israel has been on the receiving end of over 300 Katyusha rockets since Wednesday, according to television news reports this afternoon and early evening on both CNN Headline News and the Fox News Channel. Do not allow yourself to be fooled into thinking that these rockets are the primitive, improvised, and largely ineffective equivalent of oversized fireworks and are somehow nothing more than noisy nuisances. Nothing could be further from the truth. What you are thinking of are the Qassam missiles, of which over 1,000 have been fired from Palestinian positions since their invention in October, 2001.

According to the IRIS Network for Teachers and Schools, the Katyusha Multiple Rocket Launcher, which bears a similarity to our own Patriot Missile Systems, has a 12.7 mile range, is capable of carrying chemical as well as more traditional explosive warheads, and can be disassembled and fired individually using a length of pipe and a charged car battery. The rockets, when fired together in one large volley from the back of the transporting truckbed, pack the equivalent destructive power of all four of the Iraqi scud missiles fired into Israel during the first Gulf War.

Now, imagine more than 300 of them since Wednesday. Katyushas are the favorite of Hizzbulah and have been used against civilian targets repeatedly.

Not the same sort of "Civilian Targets" that Israel has been targeting over the last few days. Where Israel has targeted the Beruit Airport, the highway into Beruit from Damascus, an oil tank farm, airport fuel tanks, and bridges (all of these listed as Civilian Targets), those civilian targets bear absolutely no resemblence to those traditionally targeted by Hizzbulah.

Hizzbulah has a penchant for schools, pizza parlors, buses, shopping centers, and other everyday places that most of us think little about as we frequent them every day. They deliberately target theaters and apartment buildings and grocers and hospitals. These targets are not infrastructure, those buildings and facilties with strategic value. These are targets of terror and opportunity.

These are also the targets which instill the most terror and cause the largest loss of innocent life. Yes, I said "Innocent Life" because contrary to Hizzbulah and their sycophantic supporters here in the US, there is no guilt that can be assigned to the target when you are discussing intentionally targeted kindergartners. You cannot sanely believe that infants and grandmothers insinuate their evil powers into the every day lives of Palestinians, causing them huge personal damage and making them deserving of extermination by those same Palestinians. But there are those who do.

So now, as Israel fights hard to keep the jackels from savaging her people, do what you can. Give what you can to Magen David Adom so that they can continue to help the wounded and dying of Israel, be they Jew, Christian, or Muslim. They do not differentiate when a person needs assistance.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 08:01 PM | Comments (734) | TrackBack

July 11, 2006

The New MSM

One of the reasons for the Freedom of Information Act and various local and state Sunshine laws was to expose lawmakers and the multitude of governmental agencies and employees to public scrutiny, lessening the opportunities for abuses be they executive, legislative, judicial or bureaucratic.

And for a while it seemed to work, although I fear it was a false sense of accomplishment, an indicator not that there were no more cockroach politicos to skitter across the kitchen tiles as the light switch was flipped, but that they merely had found dark new paths within the baseboards and dank places out of the public's sight.

True, some of the Corrupts have been caught, glowing-eyed in the headlights like so many possums on the dump. They have been fat, sassy, well connected and rank with the stench of ill-gotten privilege and tainted cash. But after the initial flushing out of these bottom-feeders, they learned not only how to avoid being caught themselves, but how to use the same laws against their rivals to hide their own criminal involvement.

They claim that their right to privacy is more important than law enforcement's duty to investigate. They exert undue pressure on those who would expose them to the glare of public scrutiny. They use innuendo and half-truths, usually with the cooperation of a friendly, axe-grinding and partisan press, to gag their critics with the fear of public humiliation with no concern for their victims.

These vermin act with absolute impunity because they know that the press will hide their identities with far-reaching constitutional protections that have been enhanced by court decisions over the decades into something that bear no resemblance whatsoever to what was actually drafted, debated, passed and ratified two centuries ago. They protect the press and the press protects them in an obscene and self serving dance macabre, each step, glide and turn enhancing the power of both partners and mocking the very people they both profess to serve.

But how do we end this? How do we move the focus away from the irrelevant, newsy trifles they toss like shiny baubles to distract us and back to those who would brazenly take advantage of the darkness of a cooperative press shield?

Some of us do it by using our backgrounds, our intelligence, our education, and all of the resources available through a network of fellows linked primarily by nothing more than mutual respect. We utilize these things to investigate independently of the well funded and powerful media, following leads and posting inquiries for others to find, others who may have the next piece of evidence, the next few inches in what may ultimately be reams of evidence either supporting our investigation or showing it to be invalid.

Others of us do it by turning the light of satire toward those who grow so powerful and self-righteous as to seem untouchable by the law. We set our barbs against those who would hide behind power and prestige and work them like the bulls in a Tijuana coliseum, nicking and bleeding them a little at a time until one of the barbs opens a vein and exposes the bounty of corruption within.

Regardless of how we do it, we need to do it responsibly. We need to do it responsibly because in spite of what those at "Traditional Media Outlets" may tell the unsuspecting and blissfully ignorant public, we are the new media.

This responsibility must come from all sides because there are plenty of whackjobs and nut balls in the ranks of the righties and the lefties, the conservatives and the liberals, members of every conceivable political party, not to mention a sizeable and extremely vocal contingent firmly ensconced smack dab on the proverbial fence of indecision and non-commitment.

But how can we exemplify this responsibility and earn any amount of respect within this massive electronic beast of the New Media?

We certainly cannot do it by demanding new laws to stack like cordwood on the unenforced carcass of the original FOI laws. That only compounds the problem and gives those in the legislative branch with the most to lose the opportunity to build more protections for themselves and their cronies into the existing law, rendering it uwieldy and ultimately impotent.

We do it by leading a few of our own sacred cows down to the abattoir before we begin to cull the herds on the other side of the barb wire. We as bloggers must look hard and long behind the baseboards in our own kitchens and rid them of the cockroaches that others would point out as examples of our own shoddy housekeeping, knowing full well that by doing so we will enrage those disingenuous pure partisans who would rather drink the koolaid than to admit any wrongdoing on the part of "their side" in any substantive investigation.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 07:32 PM | Comments (4361) | TrackBack