Archive for February, 2011

26/02/2011

BDSM how it could/should be – The Good Slavegirl

In the first post in this series of blogs I spoke about some of the aspects that go into turning a dominant woman into a good Mistress. In this issue it’s time to turn the table right around and speak about what it takes and what it means to be a good slave. As before the terms I use in these articles are not hardened definitions and should be used more as a guide to your own experience. The simple fact being that every person who enters the world of kink always reinvent it to some degree to suit themselves.

The image most people have of a Slavegirl probably starts and ends with a beautiful young woman, she’s wearing anything from a flawlessly pressed skirt suit (very short skirt with stockings and no panties of course) to a skin-tight latex catsuit. Can’t you see her now? Kneeling at her Mistresses side. The Mistress holding a leash that connects to the Slavegirl’s collar. You can add to this image that the Slavegirl has a rapacious sexual appetite, wants to be displayed publicly in the most humiliating ways and wants nothing more from life than to be serving at her Mistresses whims.

In reality for many real life Slavegirls being in that position is their idea of Heaven on Earth and is often precisely where they aspire to be. And strangely the public image of what being a slavegirl actually contains some elements of the truth. Though in reality Slavegirls come in every age group and every body type imaginable. They usually find the reality of waiting on their Mistresses every whim 24/7 in the Hollywood fashion boring as hell. Oh and the really good ones are rarely all that young.

One of the symbols of submission a handmade slavegirl's leash, complete with the heart string she tugs on.

But regardless the image above does almost nothing to fill in the blanks of  what goes into the making of a Slavegirl. Or more to the point what makes a Slavegirl into a truly good example of the breed.

Being a Slavegirl rather obviously starts from a mentality of submissiveness. The concept of submissiveness gets a an awful lot of bad press. It’s seen as being weak, bendable, pliable, easily led. Being submissive is usually seen as somehow lesser than being dominant. And yes sometimes for some people being submissive in nature is a bad, even dangerous thing. Just think of any victim of abuse who finds themselves accepting it all as simply their lot in life. This is unfortunately a very realistic example of the dangerous side of being a submissive individual.

However in the BDSM context the stronger member of any Dominant/submissive (D/s) pairing will usually be the submissive, the Slave.

Strength is very much at the heart of what makes a good Slavegirl. It takes immense strength of character and even greater strength of will to freely accept the orders of another. To do her Mistresses bidding even when what she may want could well be the very last thing the Slavegirl wants. It takes strength of will to accept and endure a punishment when it is deserved. More still to accept that when the punishment is over that the issue which led to it is now in the past and dead. But it also takes strength for the Slavegirl to stay with her Mistress even when life for one reason or another isn’t so much fun knowing full well that she can leave whenever she wishes.

A Slavegirl has to be brave. Courageous almost to a fault in some ways. If as a Slavegirl you are lucky enough to have met a good Mistress she is going to spend a great deal of time training you. While often that training will be composed of simpler things like learning her perception of proper table manners, it will also sometimes involve doing things that are physically difficult, even painful. Sometimes that training will involve skirting the very edges of a Slavegirls phobias with the intent of helping her to find a safe way past the fears which limit her as a person. Even mundane acts (in a BDSM sense) such as being flogged or caned can take immense courage. A lot the first time but even more so later when the Slavegirl knows precisely what is to come.

A good Slavegirl contrary to what most people might think, including unfortunately a great many Dominants, needs to be a bit mouthy. The little mouse of a girl who sits in silence when she is challenged will seldom be a good Slavegirl. Though in time with caring guidance she may well grow into one. When she has accepted a collar from her Mistress she then becomes her Mistresses greatest partisan. She really should be expected to stand up for her Mistress when needed even when doing so scares her.

From all of this what can we work out? The Slavegirl is of course submissive but she is a person with a strong core, she should be brave and be loud enough to speak up when it’s needed. As her Mistresses property she should, indeed must keep her Mistresses wishes foremost in her mind during her day to day living. As her Mistresses partisan she should be the first to defend her Mistresses reputation and honour.

But these merely describe a common garden variety Slavegirl, what is it that turns the common into the exceptional?

A short story will perhaps illustrate what is needed. A Mistress and Slavegirl with whom I was once acquainted moved to Canada to get married and settle down. Shortly after they decided to adopt an at the time unborn baby. This baby was still snug in the womb of a woman who in addition to having no immediate family of her own was also in the late stages of a terminal illness.

The day arrived when the baby was to come home and the Slavegirl, due to the Mistresses work schedule had to go alone to the hospital to take their new child home. When she arrived the babies biological mother was saying a very tearful final goodbye to her baby girl.

Well to cut a long story short the Slavegirl rang her Mistress and after lambasting her for ten minutes she took both the baby and her mother home.

That Slavegirl and that story is a wonderful example of what makes the difference. Of what makes a Slavegirl a truly good Slavegirl.

From it you can see that while a Slavegirl thinks of her Mistress and her BDSM family (her Mistress and  slave-sisters/brothers where applicable) a good Slavegirl’s thoughts go beyond that. She has the moral strength to do what’s right even if it means going toe to toe with her Mistress when she knows she has to. She has the personal strength to stand by her decisions and is honourable in her dealings with those she can lend aid to.

To me being the Good Slavegirl is much like being a Good Mistress. It’s a way of viewing the world and your place in it. Yes a Good Slavegirl, indeed any Slavegirl will be part lover, part confidant, part handmaid and often enough a living breathing sex toy to boot. But the Good Slavegirl, the one every domina worth her salt dreams of owning is also an honourable, ethical creature. The submissive woman whom you could willingly entrust the fate of a world to, because you know in the end she will act in the best interests of all and make you only prouder to be the possessor of her submissive soul.

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24/02/2011

Movies I wish I could see again and again – Horror Movies.

While there are many movies that I loathe there are far more that I adore.  So as a companion set of reviews to my “Movies I hope I never have to see again” posts I will also from time to time post a list of movies I consider to be wonderful.

There are only two rules to make it onto one of my favourite movie lists an those rules are very simple.

1: The movie has to have had a general cinema release. That’s it.  I’ll end up dealing with straight to television or DVD movies on their own at a later date.

2: They have to be a movie which I have or would have paid to go see at least twice in the cinema.  The would have simply because so many of my favourite movies are significantly older than I am.  Not a difficult feat when you consider that as an art form film is over a century old.

Just as with my lists of bad movies I won’t be giving much in the way of a synopsis with each entry.  If you’re unfamiliar with the movie and interested I will be including in the movie title a link to its Wikipedia page, at least where one exists.  (I will also be adding these links to my older movie reviews also.) These will be about why I think they are the best of their genre.

So we shall begin today with a treat for myself, my second favourite genre.  Horror movies.  I have almost no horror movies in my DVD collection.  This probably strikes the people who know me well as odd when they consider how I truly adore them.  But I have done this quite purposefully.  Horror movies are my illicit viewing treat.  Something which I use very occasionally to reward myself with.  But despite this I have seen a huge number of them.  In this list I will share with you my top five horror movies and though they are numbered one through five in all honesty it’s virtually impossible for me to set them apart.

Enjoy.

5: Alien

Typically unnerving shot from the 1979 classic.

Released in 1979 this is the movie that has gone on to fuel half of my teenage and adult nightmares. It’s set on a huge but somehow incredibly claustrophobic spacecraft where the crew are being hunted down one by one by an alien creature which they have accidentally set on themselves.  Though really if you haven’t seen this movie by now where have you been for the last 32 years?

There are two things which really make this movie one of the best of its type .  First the cast are top-notch.  In there you have Tom Skerrit, Ian Holms, John Hurt and best of all Sigourney Weaver who was a virtual unknown in film at the time.  As a cast they just work.  By the time everything starts to go wrong for the characters you actually care a lot for them.  This is in part due to the great, real feeling of everything said in the script.  But mostly it’s down to the brilliant performances by the entire cast.  Ian Holms especially is wonderful as the sort of villainous Ash.

The second thing that makes this movie unforgettable is the atmosphere of it.  It’s dark, dingy, cramped and vaguely unpleasant throughout. This is not the bright clean future of Star Trek.  Everyone smokes, they swear and while the living areas of the ship are clean, it’s not sterile.  It’s more like the cleanliness of the average home; clean but would you really want to eat off the floors?

Then the planet is dark.  The alien spacecraft is like an erotic nightmare.  Basically to me the whole movie feels kind of like a science fiction film noir set in your worst nightmare.  And that’s without even mentioning the Alien itself and the way it’s even more terrifying when you don’t see it.

This movie is everything a good sci-fi horror should be.  It’s not wall to wall technobabble.  It’s a good human story with a brilliant script, cast and story. And even though the sequels and spin offs  are all far more thriller/action movies the original is pure horror through and through.

4: Nosferatu

A much lampooned image, but imitation is supposed to be the sincerest form of flattery so...

Released in 1922 this is the first, though unauthorised Dracula movie.  If you’ve seen any version of Dracula you already know the story but this movie even ninety years after it was shot is still far more creepy than any of the others.  Not even the great Béla Lugosi could make his Dracula as horrifying to watch as Max Schreck did in Nosferatu.

While the story does deviate a lot from the novel in places, such as in how the vampire eventually dies, I have since my first time seeing it considered it the best Dracula movie to watch.  Especially with Schrecks Count Orlac creeping through every scene, a scrawny, ill-shaped creature who moves in a disturbingly non-human way.

Being silent it has no script as such but what it does have is the ability to make you start feeling anxious from the moment it begins.  And after all that anxiety, the sitting on the edge of your seat when you don’t know why combined with disquieting imagery is at the heart of great horror.

3: Prince of Darkness

The poster for one of the most unnerving movies ever made.

The second of John Carpenter’s trilogy of apocalypse horrors this 1987 release is one that I was so tempted to put at number 1.  It combines classic Satanist horror with some really odd metaphysics to give us the story of Satan’s attempt to escape into our world.  I won’t say too much about this one because it really needs to be seen to be believed.  But I will say that it was all shot through a weird lens that distorts every shot and man does it start to mess with your head eventually.

Also it has Donald Pleasance in my favourite of his roles as the head of a small group of researchers.  He really is at the top of his game in this and so is Carpenter. Leaving us with a movie which I feel is far superior to either it’s predecessor The Thing or the third film in the series In the Mouth of Madness.

2: Halloween 3: Season of the Witch

Nothing in common with the other Halloween movies but to my mind the best of them.

The only episode of the Halloween movie franchise not to include Micheal Myers as a character this one is an often overlooked gem.  It is also the movie that started my love affair with horror.  Sent into the world in 1982 this was the only attempt to make the franchise into what it had always been intended to be.  A series of horror films each of which explored a different horror theme each year.

Yes that’s right Halloween was never intended to be just a slasher movie series.

I have to say that the other Halloween movies leave me cold.  Slasher films just bore me and whenever I try to watch them I always end up drifting away to do something genuinely scary.  Like try to edit the grammar or punctuation in one of my novel projects.

But Halloween 3 is different.  It feels almost like a 1980’s attempt at an American Hammer horror set in the modern age.  Though this really is more in feeling than anything else.  The story is a bit silly, the sets vary from very normal to overblown and the villain of the piece is almost Brian Blessed-like in his over acting.

But this is all good stuff because it leaves you more open to the rare and never really expected moments of intense gory, violent horror.  This movie gave me nightmares for a year after I first saw it and to this day I still get unnerved when I see people wearing those rubber hood type Halloween masks.

1: The Omen

Simply the best.

I am speaking here of the original 1976 version here.  The 2006 version while a good movie with a strong performance by Julia Stiles just doesn’t have the same impact as the original.  But anyway this is simply the best horror movie ever made.

It was shot on a small budget with very few special effect shots.  Though the impalement and decapitation scenes are both spectacular to watch.

But this movie is not about horrific violence in the scenes.  The true horror in The Omen is all in your own mind.  Everyone involved in this movie created a piece of cinematic perfection where everything from the script to the score, the casting to even the weather winds the viewers anxiety levels up and up from beginning to end.  Speaking of the score it is the most disturbing but most beautiful collection of pieces of music ever written for any movie.

I think this is Gregory Peck’s greatest work.  Through out the movie he becomes the rock your control over your own fears is built on.  You just know that somehow he will win in the end and good will prevail.  Of course he doesn’t but that makes the ending all the worse emotionally to watch.

The Omen puts you through a ringer and leaves you in the end with a deep sense of dread that takes an age to go away.  And isn’t that what a good horror should do?

So I guess there’s only one thing left to say;

Damien, it’s all for you Damien!

22/02/2011

General Elections: What comes next?

So after the election is over and done with the drama is finally over.  You’ve cast your vote and watched the results roll in.  Maybe your chosen candidate and party won.  Maybe they didn’t.  But sooner or later two questions are going to hit you.  “Is that it?” and “What comes next?”

Most of the people who even bothered to vote will usually say that nothing much comes next.  After all for many people the only direct involvement that they ever have in politics is to vote.  And in truth for a lot of people that is genuinely where they see the end of it.  After all once the government is in office that’s the end of the common peoples involvement in how their country is run.  Isn’t it?

In my last blog post I mentioned that election day is the second most important day to be a good, interested and most of all involved citizen.  Which leaves the unanswered but obvious question “What is the most important day?”  The answer is that the most important day to be involved is every other day of your governments term of office.

On election day and perhaps even during the full election cycle your country may essentially have no government.  Most will have a caretaker government of some kind in place. But they will be caretakers with no mandate from the people to exercise much in the way of power.  On that day you go to the polls to choose the next government.  But you are giving people who at that moment in time have no power your voice.  After election day when they walk through the corridors of power be it Dail Eireann, the Senate buildings or the Houses of Parliament those people will be speaking with your voice.  They will speak on your behalf and make decisions based on the mandate to rule which you have gifted them with.

Those newly elected people whether they acknowledge it or not then have a duty of care to all the people of their nation.  But it is up to the common people of that nation to keep their government honest.  Too many people walk away from voting with an almost smug  self satisfaction that they have done their civic duty.  Completely missing the point that voting should be nothing more than the very beginning of fulfilling that duty.  Once you put someone in power you have a moral duty to yourself, your family, your friends and your fellow citizens to confront them at ever turn and in fact to seek out opportunities to confront them.  The nation and the individual citizens who make it up  should quiz them at every turn on what they’ve achieved or failed to achieve so far in their term of office.  Clear answers must be demanded of them on why they may have reneged on election promises.  Your rulers should be forced to be honest in their dealings with the people whose welfare they’ve voluntarily to taken responsibility for.

It is all too often heard on news and current affairs programs that some government body or other hadn’t enough oversight ensuring it did what it was originally intended for.  Unfortunately those reports are all to often true. A prime example of this in Irish politics is the controversy caused by expenditure of public money by FÁS over the past few years.  These reports are often proven true because ordinary citizens don’t demand the information and the answers that they are entitled to before the molehill is injected with steroids.  The freedom of information acts which are in place in most democratic nations exist in part for this very reason.  So that the ordinary citizens of a nation may be a significant part of their own nations oversight.

Never forget that the vast majority of politicians do not start out as self-centered, grasping creatures.  But power or even proximity to power can and does corrupt.  Worse still corruption is contagious and it takes a strong statesman to maintain his or her immunity to this corruption.

As citizens of whatever nation we are responsible for demanding the best from our leaders.  Not a few of us, not just the academics or the more ethical lobby groups, but all of us.  We each have a part to play in making sure that our politics represents the will of the people and not the will of the vested interests.  The part we play is representative of our individual natures and gifts.  Whether that part is to go over a small segment of the nations laws  to help weed out inequalities or just confronting a politician in the street and calling them out when they’ve decided they can get away with playing silly buggers.  We all can play a part in helping ensure our leaders hold the course that will be best for us all.

Best of all this direct action in the day-to-day political sphere can be a huge help in maintaining the stability of a nation.  Simply put a citizenry who have a genuine and appreciable effect on policies are going to be more supportive of their government.  A better supported government can make better decisions or at least feel supported in making the best available decisions.  Which pushes a horrific spectre further away from us all.

What spectre?  Civil disobedience or worse still civil war.  By being our own nations oversight.  By makng our politicians constantly aware that we expect them to keep politics honest, honorable and above all else of the people we ensure that the people need never take up arms against their own leaders.  It is rightly said that eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.  Well it is also the price which must be willingly paid by any populace for good government, honest representation and to have any claim as a nation to true greatness.

19/02/2011

General Elections: it’s time, it’s Election Day.

Election day is a special event.  No really it is.  It’s the one day in an election cycle when the people of a democratic country get to overthrow the government in a (hopefully) completely peaceful and legal manner.  Or if their government has proven to be effective in its leadership the people have the opportunity to keep a good situation going.  Well anyway the point is that as the citizen of a democratic republic or constitutional monarchy or union of federated states it is the second most important day to be a good, interested and most of all involved citizen.

What’s the most important day?  Well we’ll get to that in the next post.  Patience, is a virtue.

It is every bit as important to prepare to cast your vote as it is to have prepared for the inevitable arrival of those half remembered canvassers at your front door.  So with that in mind here are some important points of information to bear in mind.

First of all no-one can or should tell you how to cast your vote.  It is after all your vote.  That means that just because your parents both vote for a particular party does not mean that you have to.  It also means that no-one has any right to pressure you into voting one way or another.

Next remember that it is a secret ballot and so you can always do that very traditional thing of voting right-wing while claiming to have voted left-wing or vice versa.  After all who will know?  You will be voting alone.  And that is to me one of the most intrinsically beautiful aspects of modern democracy.  Once every few years you are given the chance to make your voice heard and while what you say is utterly private the result of your say will quite literally be heard across the globe.  No-one can say that politics is completely devoid of a poetic soul.  So anyway back with the plot and the point is your vote is secret, nobody will ever know how you voted.

If you’re voting for the first time ask for help.  Actually if you’re voting for your tenth time ask for help.  Yes I am deadly serious about this.  A simply stupendous number of ballots are spoiled in every election.  For example in the 2004 European Elections in the Cork area (Ireland again, sorry non-Irish folks but I am a proud Irish lass after all) somewhere in the region of 20,000 ballots were spoiled out of 500,000 total.  Many of those spoiled ballots are ruined by first time voters who don’t understand what they’re doing.  But more than a few votes were wasted by people who thought that they knew what they’re doing making a mess of things. There are people at every polling station specifically to help you understand what you are about to do.  Or if you would find it too embarrassing to ask in person how about using the internet?  Look up how to go about filling out a ballot in your country.  This link leads to a great basic guide on how to cast your vote in Ireland.

After the long run up to election day you should have a pretty good idea who you want to vote for.  Or worst case you’ll have a really good idea of who you don’t want to vote for.  Either way before you go to the ballot box it’s a good idea to sit with your thoughts  for a few moments and make a firm, informed, final decision.  Then stick with your decision.  If when you get your chance to vote you find yourself wavering for whatever reason just remember that something affected you strongly enough to make you choose to vote that way to begin with.  What ever reason that may have been it’s a reason you found while you sat and though hard on the subject.  So it’s probably a better reason to vote for your original candidate than realising that “yer one standing for (insert name of party) is a bit of a ride and sure wouldn’t it great to watch her on telly”.

In the last election I genuinely heard someone say this while I sat behind them on the bus.  Now in all fairness she was a bit of fox, but that is not a good enough reason to vote for anyone.  You’re voting for a bloody government, not whoever sang some bad rendition of some crappy song on some glorified karaoke contest last night on the television.

So after everything the canvassers, the thinking, the wishing the whole annoying political show would wind up and go away you’ve done your patriotic bit for your nation.  Well done.  Go home and have a beer. You’ve earned it.

But never ever forget that as a citizen your vote is your most precious right.  You pay for it with your taxes.  You pay for it by submitting to the laws of your nation, even the ones you don’t agree with.  So use your right, use your vote and for goodness sake make sure you don’t waste your vote Don’t waste your chance to make a difference by filling out the damned ballot wrong.

17/02/2011

General Elections: Interrogating the Candidates

Here in Ireland we are now a mere 8 days from probably the most eagerly awaited general election since the founding of the state.  But many Irish people are still quite naive about electioneering. About how to use their voice and above all about their place in the grand scheme of things.  So over the next three posts I will hopefully help a few people both here and in other countries to get the most from any election.

In any election all the parties will bring out their manifestos to immense fanfare.  These booklets are meant to be a road map to what a given party will attempt to achieve while in office.  Typically they’re not worth the paper they’re printed on.  The unfortunate truth is that whether the new boss is the same as the old boss or indeed ends up being the same old boss the winner in any election campaign will quickly run in to one very solid brick wall.  The last guys will have left some sort of political mess that with even the best intentions in the world will still take a couple of years to clear up.  This is the charitable reason why election manifestos are worthless.

It's important to give everyone their say, even those who let us down in the past.

The uncharitable reason is that they are to put it simply nothing but lies told to a hopeful and sometimes desperate populace to get a party elected.  So if you can’t trust the party manifestos how do you choose who to vote for?  Well you take your brain out of neutral use it and then use your voice.

Start by looking at the history of actions taken in the last decade by all the parties and even the independents.  In most nations most of the talking heads of any political party will have changed surprisingly little in a decade and their past actions will provide you with a good litmus test of their future conduct.  Ask yourself and their histories a few simple questions…

Did they live up to their election promises?

Did they protect the vulnerable in your nations society?

Were the taxes they gathered on your behalf spent wisely?

Did they put the best people for a given cabinet position in the right place?

Did they do a good job at protecting your nations interests both at home and abroad?

Is the country better off because of them?

Did they act with honour?

All of these questions (barring the taxation one which only applies to the last ruling party/parties) are just as important to ask of either the government or the opposition.  Though for my money the most important of those questions is the last.

“Why,” you ask “is their sense of honour so important?  After all we all know that politicians are self-serving snakes.”

Well they’re not all snakes.  Any group of people will have its demons.  So yes politics will draw the sort of people you wouldn’t trust to count potatoes.  But it will also draw true statesmen and women who wish only to act in the national interest.  So yes I do believe their individual and group sense of honour is vitally  important especially when you intend to ask some of them to speak for you for.  After all if we can’t trust them to be honourable no-one else will either and that will only be bad for your country or mine on an international stage.

Once you’ve done your research into their pasts you need to think about the various parties futures and what you as a citizen would like to see them do for your country if they’re elected.  To this end you need to sit down and really think.  Think about what the last government both failed and succeeded to achieve in their term of office.  Think about what your country needs first and foremost, then your county, then your town (or whatever your local regions are broken down into).  Try to think beyond what we Irish call “parish pump politics”.  You are after all going to vote for a national government, so try to leave the knucklehead local stuff for local politics.

This is where you decide who gets the job. Make sure you give it to the best candidate for your country.

Once you’ve decided what you want from your future representative and the government in which he or she will sit, write a shopping list.  I am absolutely serious about this.  Write a list of them.  Group them logically, with social, taxation and political reform wishes all grouped in a logical and easy to follow way.  Put your name and address to it.  Print it off, a minimum of one per party representative and when they come to your door go through it with them.

Don’t take no for an answer.  These people want to be elected.  That means they want you to give them a well paid position in the national company.  They want to work for you and the election campaign is their job interview. Make them give you an answer on each and every point.  Make them take their copy of your list with them.  In fact mail it to their political headquarters and if you can even get your townsfolk to do the same.  Remember that politics is not a science it’s an art-form where the art is produced by national committee, so its quality is dependent on everyone giving their best effort.

In closing I’ll repeat the core point of this post.  The election campaign is nothing more mystical than a job interview for political candidates and parties.  Never forget that and never let them forget it either.

15/02/2011

The Good Ole Games – Elite

I last played the masterpiece that is Elite 14 years ago.  I was running it in DOS mode on my first PC and I was loving every second of it.  Somehow this simple game which was even then 12 years old itself, ended up holding me captive for three months in the face of Unreal and Quake.  How could this be?

Elite, still the best after all these years...take that Freelancer!

Released on the BBC Micro in 1984 Elite was a first.  A three dimensional space combat and trading simulator.  I always find the simulator part hilarious, I didn’t know there where space traders around to simulate the lives of…but perhaps I’m just being cynical.  Regardless this game was very nearly a genuine Genesis event (the true Genesis moment came in 1974’s Star Trader) and every last space-simulation since owes it a debt of gratitude.  Whether you’re playing Freelancer or one of the X series what you are in fact playing is a bastard child of Elite.

So what do you do in the game?  Well you fly a ship around one of 8 galaxies, shooting at anything that moves and trying to land on anything that doesn’t.  Oh and you buy goods at as low a price as possible to sell high.  Of course I am oversimplifying.  In truth it’s actually quite a deep game.  It has an over all set of bad guys named the Thargoids.  It has bounty hunting, asteroid mining and even missions for the Galactic Navy.  But for myself and I imagine most players the real goal was to reach the exalted combat status of Elite.

Sitting here writing this it’s difficult to explain the power of this game.  Of course for the time and the machines running it the graphics were exceptional with wire-frame ships which might or might not be colored depending on the machine you played it on.  The gameplay was nice and straight forward.  It was basically the very best game released for quite a few years both before and after.  But even with that it’s extremely difficult to say what it is that makes this 27 year old game which was programmed for now long extinct machines hold such a special place in the hearts of old school gamers.

I think a huge part of its hold over us older gamers is the fact that it was very much a shared experience for the first two or even three generations of home computer gamers.  If you owned any computer from the Commodore 64 through to the Acorn Archimedes you in all likelihood played Elite.  Which meant that you had something to brag about with other gamers in an age before MMORPG’s.  Everyone had their own Elite story, like the time they beat the Thargoids in Witchspace armed with only a single pulse laser and no missiles.  Or how they made 10,000 credits in 1 hour by finding a real fluke of a trade route.

The start screen from the original BBC Micro version.

Whatever the reason for it’s longevity in the hearts and minds of gamers the world over the fact that it is still firmly lodged there says a great deal for the genius of its creators. It probably also says a lot about the nostalgic soft-hearted natures of certain gamers who are now in their thirties and forties but we won’t talk about that.

So now I will leave you now with this personal information.  After 14 years of a gap, while writing this post I downloaded the Archimedes port of Elite to play on my laptop.  Goddesses help me I think I feel the need to be ranked Elite again and just in case you feel like taking on the galaxy here’s a link to help you on your path to being Elite.

http://www.frontierastro.co.uk/Elite/arc.html

12/02/2011

BDSM How it could/should be – The Good Mistress

*this was originally printed in BOLT magazine and is reposted and somewhat rewritten here with the consent of BOLT’s Editor in Chief.

The paddle, beautiful, functional and it saves a Mistress from getting a really sore hand.

BDSM always seems to get a lot of bad press, literally.  Usually when it’s seen in the news it’s because someone was horribly abused by someone they trusted with their lives or even because someone has died in weird, very kinky, sexually fueled circumstances.  And there’s no denying that abuse does happen in BDSM relationships.  People do get hurt in ways that run counter to what they have given consent for.  But then again that is far too often also the sad reality of completely vanilla relationships.  The sad fact is that all walks of life are filled with abusive assholes no matter how kinky or not you and your lifestyle may be.

But I believe, no more than that I know that BDSM can be a force for immense good in a person’s life.  It can be the source of incredible strength and the catalyst that triggers vast personal growth.  Aspects of it can give some people a reason to live when suicide seems all too attractive to them.  It can be a framework for deeply intense, loving and above all mutually respectful relationships.

In other words it can be something worthy of respect and praise.  Every bit as much as the traditional vanilla monogamous relationship.

So that said it’s time I started to explore the world of BDSM that I see and share with the world a vision I hold dear in the hope that it will entertain all, educate some and help at the very least a few.

But before continuing please note that the definitions and terms I use in any BDSM blog are not by any means meant to be definitive in their nature.  The meaning of  words such as slavegirl, Mistress and even kinkiness are ephemeral at best. The way I use them in these articles reflects my own personal experience within the lifestyle so I hope you have safe, sane and above all consensual fun finding your own definitions

So now if everyone is sitting comfortably we’ll begin with a simple question.  What is a Mistress?

Hollywood would have us believe that a Mistress is a cold, dark, seductive temptress.  Who in a huskily sexy voice hand out stern commands which must be obeyed or else you, the poor powerless submissive, will suffer an uncertain future of punishment and humiliation.

Hollywood as is usual gets it mostly wrong.

Some Mistresses are dark and seductive, some of them even have the sort of husky voice that can melt a spinal column at fifty paces.   But most aren’t, most are just incredibly normal women who happen to be domineering as hell and joyfully embrace that dominant nature.

The key to beginning to define what a Mistress is starts with the word dominant.  Mistresses are all to a greater or lesser extent what the rest of the world would call, bossy bitches.  They love to be in control, more often than not, of almost everything in their lives.  Now that doesn’t mean that they’re necessarily kinky.  Most Mistresses are kinky and do in fact have a toy bag somewhere in their house filled with pretty leather things designed to make a bold submissive’s bottom hurt.  But there are some who are content to just control day-to-day life in their own homes with a razor wire tongue and a vicious, flesh rending wit.

Where Hollywood does get it mostly right is that if you don’t obey your Mistress your future will more than likely be filled with interesting punishments.  Anyone  for picking up a kilo of rice, one grain at a time with a tweezers?

So Mistresses are dominant.  Good start and for an awful lot of women that’s all there is to being a Mistress, being dominant.  I am dominant therefore I am a Mistress.  Aha, right, does that come with a secret decoder ring?

Would you guess that I am not one of those women?

Being dominant is to my mind, and to the minds of the better Mistresses I have known in my life, simply one aspect of the mind which can sometimes lead a woman onto the path of becoming a Mistress.

The title of this article is “The Good Mistress” for a reason.  I don’t intend to flood the pages of my blog with horror stories, though I have far too many I could share.  I do intend to paint a picture of what the BDSM lifestyle can be and what I believe it should be.  Yes there are bad Mistresses, just as there are bad doctors, bad drivers and bad politicians. But there are also amazing Mistresses who walk through this world as wonderful examples of how you can be a Dominatrix and a beautiful, loving, weirdly gentle person.

What is a good Mistress?  A good Mistress is complicated and if she is truly good cursed.

She is of course dominant.  But that dominance instead of making her little more than a bully  makes her the sort of person who wants, even needs to lead.  She is the one who when she looks at her slavegirl asks the most important question that any Mistress can ask.

“How can I guide her in becoming a better person than she already is?”

The good Mistress is the one who when she sees a talent that is unused by her slavegirl makes sure that talent gets exercised.  She is the Mistress who takes the time to very carefully compose a code for her slavegirl to live by.  A basic set of rules that will help mould the girl in to what she might become with a firm but gentle hand guiding her.  The good Mistress is as much a surrogate big sister to her slavegirl as she is a kink fuelled lover.  Though thankfully without the risk of jail time that would be the cost of a truly incestuous relationship.

For the better Mistresses their lifestyle is more often a journey of personal growth than a way of getting some housework done by someone who will also be a source of hot loving on demand.  This means that being a Mistress should most of the time be not so much about giving difficult tasks and expecting them to be done or punishment will ensue.  Rather it is usually about giving lots of small relatively easy commands that gently guide the submissive on to what the Mistress, and often the submissive also, perceives to be a better path for them.

I haven’t mentioned latex, leather, whips, chains, shibari, strap-ons or even gags.  They’re nothing more than props.  Quite frankly having a great toy-bag doesn’t make you anything more than a collector of kinky sex toys.  What makes any Mistress good or bad is what resides inside her head and especially inside her heart.

And unfortunately for any Mistress who even aspires to be good at what she does that is where the cursed part comes in.  This is something which in the last few weeks has been very painfully brought home to me personally.  Just like so many other Mistresses I had a wonderful slavegirl who loved me and I loved her.  When we met she was a broken thing, her heart scarred by the sort of abuses the world seems to take so much joy in inflicting on those who are to any great degree submissive.

For two long years I protected her as best I could while we laboured together to make her stronger.  Her life was given a greater degree of structure to make sure she had time to do everything she needed done.  Her best efforts were always rewarded with little gifts, my arms wrapped tight around her and of course by being loved.  The aim was always to help her realise she could be a better person then she ever thought possible.  A person who could if it was needed stand alone, a person she could be proud to live her life as.  We succeeded and no longer needed for her to be safe or happy and though it has shattered my heart to do so I had to set her free.

The curse of the Good Mistress is that so very often all her effort and love ends with her no longer having a slavegirl.  But instead with the world having another strong woman in it proud of her past but looking to a future she now feels able to mold herself.  Meanwhile the Mistress who to be any good at all can never truly be cold nurses a joyful but broken heart.

So after all this what is a Mistress?  She is dominant yes but she is also warm, caring.  She takes broken birds under her wing to heal and while they heal she teaches them.  She is sometimes a lover, often a surrogate big sister, always a fierce guardian.  But especially, she loves strongly enough to willingly let her slaves go when it is time for them to live free.

10/02/2011

The next OPEC, but in a good way.

It’s doubtful that there’s anyone in the western world who hasn’t heard the acronym OPEC.  For those who don’t know it is a group made up of oil rich developing nations including Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Libya.  With the ability to strangle oil supplies to much of the world it’s also one of the most politically potent forces on our planet.

But let’s be clear here, it’s days are numbered.  Oil is a limited resource and that resource is dwindling.  Once the oil, in whatever form it may take, is gone, it’s gone and so for all intents and purposes is OPEC.  But nature, societies and politics abhor a vacuum.  Something will replace oil and who ever becomes the greatest net producer of the new oil will replace OPEC.  But that leaves the questions of what, how and who.

Like a great many people I believe the most logical replacement for oil is hydrogen.  It’s plentiful, can be produced in large amounts and once a suitable  infrastructure is in place, can easily take the place of oil for power generation.  So that’s the what.  What about the how?

An Icelandic geothermal power station

Well I think certain countries right now are missing a trick.  Countries like Iceland, Ireland, Japan and many of the pacific ring nations have vast amounts of freely available energy.  For some this is in the form of the geothermal energy which is already tapped in Iceland for heating homes.  For others it’s the immense energy stored in the ocean such as along Atlantic shorelines of Ireland.  This energy, once harnessed, can be used to desalinated sea water, which is then, using more of the same energy source, broken down into hydrogen and oxygen.

This isn’t science fiction.  Geothermal energy and desalination are real.  Look at any shuttle launch and you’re watching the result of industrial scale hydrogen production.  Even wave-farms exist, and will only need some political will in the countries that can support them to make them a more viable reality.

So finally the question of who needs to be answered.  and in that answer is the explanation of why the title of this piece is “The next OPEC, but in a good way.”   There’s no reason why virtually any country with a large but undrinkable water supply can’t produce hydrogen for themselves.  The who could be everyone.  Drill a hole deep enough, approximately 3km, and you’ll get access to geothermal energy.  Use the appropriate technology which can either be homegrown or bought in, and you have your own personal source of commercial fuel.

Part of an honest to goodness real life wave farm in Portugal.

Of course some countries would become large-scale exporters, and some might only be able to produce an internal strategic reserve.  But for the first time in modern history the fear of petrol pumps running dry due to a fit of pique on the other side of the world will cease to be an issue.

So there you have my personal idea of a green energy future.  Just like the start of the oil era it will take money, effort, and a somewhat adventurous spirit to make it a reality.  But as a species we have to find some solution before we consume ourselves into another dark age.

(regular anger riddled, caffeine fueled blogging will resume Saturday)

08/02/2011

Why the Irish shouldn’t riot.

 

Not the actions of real citizens who deserve the title.

An ongoing theme which I have seen on the internet as well as print media is the seemingly vexing question of why the Irish haven’t rioted in response to the betrayal they have suffered at the hands of their government. After all the Greeks rioted so why haven’t the Irish?

First of all do the people asking this question know what a riot is?  A riot is not a group of angry protesters screaming defiance at an injustice.  It is not an orderly procession of hundreds of people, peacefully and legally showing their dissatisfaction in a unified and legal manner.

No, a riot is chaos itself given flesh, wearing boots and taking a stroll through a formerly peaceful city’s streets.  A riot is typically a large group, or multiple smaller groups of people clashing violently with the police and sometimes even the army.  A riot is fear and anger unleashed.  Literally unleashed, as in all restraint removed.  Or to put it another way people rarely die in a protest, people often do die in a riot.  Riots have other very dangerous attributes, they don’t have a knowledge of geography so they tend to spread.  Rioters usually stop caring about other peoples property.  The end result being smashed windows, torched cars even physical assaults on the uninvolved.  As I said chaos given flesh.

Well now we’ve explained what a riot is without using legal jargon  let’s look at this from four angles legality, social, economics and political shall we?  Oh and more importantly show why we Irish must not riot.

While Irish men and women absolutely do have the right to protest they do not have the right to riot.  Rioting is by it’s nature a violent action and violence off the G.A.A. or rugby pitch is not allowed in Ireland.  I mean for goodness sake strictly speaking it’s considered assault to spank your lover here.

Socially a riot would lead to fear stalking the Irish streets in a way it hasn’t in decades.  That much violence let slip in one place in one day would quite simply make some of the citizens of Dublin too scared to leave their homes for days, maybe even weeks.  Yes I did say weeks.  Riots as shown many times in other countries can have a lifespan far in excess of what anyone might have expected them to have.

The fear given flesh by the actions of rioters would keep people from going about their lives.  That means that people may well stop shopping for anything beyond the absolute essentials.  Nights out on the town would be skipped for as long as the violence runs through the streets.  Tourists and business people seeing on their local news what’s happening on Dublin’s streets would cancel trips and rightly so, visitors to our shores should be greeted warmly, not with raised fists and voices.  In short  a riot would tear at the heart of what  remains of Dublin’s day to day commerce.

Of course that does not even touch on the cost of the post-riot clean up.  The cost in insurance.  Health care for those injured.  Danger pay for police and army personnel.

And what good would all the anger and violence do politically?  Have you ever heard the phrase “not a sausage”?

When it’s all over the politicians will tut and scold the county in the news bulletins shown in every country in Europe, and more than a few beyond that.  Our vampire banks will still suck us dry.  The IMF will still be here with the cash the country needs to pay it’s bills, though they won’t be quite as willing to believe anything we say ever again.  The E.U. will be polite and use what happened as even more leverage to force even more concessions we can ill afford from our nation.

But worse than all that is that as a nation we’ll be a laughing stock worldwide. Right now our political elite is rightly derided internationally.  The same goes with our bankers and all the others who dragged us all into penury.  But so far the ordinary Irishman on the street can only be viewed as the picture of restraint, the good citizen and admittedly in some corners I’m certain as mere sheep being shorn.

Well anyone who looks at Irish history, or even anyone who walks through Dublin City at closing time will see the one thing we’re not is a herd of placid sheep.  Give the Irish a reason to act with violence and we will.  Like any nation violence is always just beneath the surface of our civilised veneer.  But the painful truth is that we as a nation are acting responsibly.

For the sake of everyone be a good citizen and use your vote.

Yes I said responsibly.

Even as I have never been more ashamed of our country’s leaders I have never been more proud of our ordinary citizens.  I have never been more proud to be Irish than right now.  As a nation we could have gone Greek and lashed out violently against those who have stolen our futures from us.  But we haven’t instead we have as a nation waited with patience to have our say.  And on Friday the 25th of February we will overthrow our government legally, peacefully and in the only way that responsible citizens of a functioning democratic republic ever should.  At the polling booth.

So in the end putting aside the legal, social, economic and political reasons not to riot the main reason is this.  By being responsible for these many horrifying months we have shown the world how a civilised nation acts in times of trouble.  And by voting and thus legally overthrowing the government which has let us down we show the world how democracy must work.

So why haven’t the Irish rioted?  I’d like to think it’s because somewhere deep inside our cultural subconscious we Irishmen and woman have decided to set an example to the rest of the world.  Not bad for a nation that’s really only 80-odd years old.

For an alternatice take on this subject check out this article over on Consider the Tea Cosy

05/02/2011

Angry bowel pixies and how to cope with them.

After over two decades of suffering from severe ill-health a doctor a few weeks ago finally told me that I won’t be getting better.  So for the last few weeks I’ve been processing this and tonight I realised something.  That while I won’t be getting better I do have a wealth of knowledge about how to cope with the symptoms I suffer from.   Everything I mention below is based on my own personal experience so if you do decide to use any of it please temper it with what you know about your own body.

Chronic diarrhea is a nightmare to live with.  Imagine not being able to go anywhere unless you plan out in advance where you might be able to reach a toilet. Or knowing that no matter what you eat a few hours later it will make a commanding appearance in a form more associated with Real Ale. It’s revolting, humiliating, smelly and it doesn’t exactly have a wonderful consistency either. But believe it or not the worst part of suffering from this for me at least is a combination of the post attack burn and feeling dirty all the time.

The latter is at least easily managed with a few simple pieces of forethought.  Carry baby-wipes, most of them are medicated which helps a lot and some even moisturise.  Wipe with toilet paper first to get rid of as much fecal matter as you can and then do a final polish with a wipe.

The post attack burn is a little tougher to deal with.  The only thing that I’ve found which helps is what I think of as a micro-douche.  Yep thats right a very small squirt of clean water up the jacksie.  Now here’s the thing about this, it has to be a very small amount.  You’re not cleaning your anal cavity out, only the first couple of centimeters so that the material causing the burn there is cleaned away.  This is something I use very rarely and only when the burn is keeping me awake or incapable of sitting.

The next biggest problem is the painful ache that seems to run from somewhere under the ribcage all the way to the rectum.  Seriously for anyone who hasn’t experienced this imagine a rope dipped in ground glass which has been sawed back and forth for an hour and you’re getting close to what this feels like.  I have never found a painkiller that touches it but I have found a trick that can help a lot.  Take the common garden variety hot water bottle.  Then put it in the sort of hollow made by where your bum and thighs meet.  I don’t know why but the heat seems to radiate up through the body in the most soothing way.  The bonus though is that it also makes cramping much more bearable.

Speaking of which cramping is a real pain in the…well you know.  They can be anything from just uncomfortable to being so profoundly painful that they drive you to your knees, literally.  To illustrate one day when climbing down out of a bus I got a really bad random cramp.  When it had passed I realised I was lying on the ground with about fifty people staring at me.  I’m afraid there isn’t much I’ve found that can help here. But being aware of what’s around you so you don’t slam face first into a marble countertop if one hits is a good habit to develop.

Some people occasionally soil themselves when they suffer from these symptoms.  Often this is purely because it’s very hard to hold onto something that’s totally liquid.  Well luckily there is a way to make it a little safer when you’re out and about. Maternity pads it turns out aren’t just useful for pregnant women.  Just position them so they will intercept anything that tries to execute a great escape.  It might just give you those few moments you need to run to the nearest ladies room.

Unfortunately the most insipid symptom is exhaustion. It is almost mind numbingly exhausting to sit on the toilet for hour after hour.  It wears at your soul and body.  The only advice here is to rest when you can. Learn from arctic explorers, when there’s nothing to do, do nothing and conserve your energy.  In essence have a nap or read a book, hey if you want you could even watch a soap-opera but really haven’t you just had enough drama in your life?

Apart from all this if there’s one piece of advice I can give its carry a small tube of Savlon everywhere with you.  It’s soothing and promotes healing of the skin, neither is to say the least a bad thing.

So I hope this might help someone out there to survive a really bad day with a severe bowel problem. Ah hell I’ll be happy if it helps someone out there survive the morning after a night in the local Indian.

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