Sunday, March 29, 2009

Just so you know

Right up until the moment I logged into Blogger to write this entry, I was working on a new induction for myself, which I'm calling "mindwiped." I must be putting myself into trance just writing it, because I feel so deliciously lightheaded right now. I guess this is how it happened for the narrator of Tabico's Sub Routine. Heh. I wish you could see the look on my face as I think about that.

Anyway, I'm designing this induction (which I suppose I'm going to have to share with you all in the end, right along with the robot program *sigh* ;-P) to see just how deeply I can get myself to go, just how much I can get myself to believe I've been totally brainwashed into a white-eyed drone. It begins with me (or, later, you) in a programming chair, watching the black-latex-clad thrall approach, knowing exactly what she's going to do and aching for it with every fiber of my being.

Sadly, I won't get to finish it today. I have other things to do. But I'll be sure to let you know how it plays out in the end.

And now, back to writing. For a little while.

Learning as I go

They say we learn from our mistakes. Well, that's exactly what I did last night: I learned from a big mistake. I'm still tweaking that "bedtime" session I've made for myself, and last night I tweaked it too far and ended up getting the opposite result from what I wanted. Still, the strength of that bad result showed me just how powerful this session can be for me.

For years and years now, I've been playing a certain old '80's song in my head at bedtime in hopes that it would help me get to sleep, because it's just so very, very soporific. Those of you who grew up in the '80's might remember Men at Work. Well, when I was in my teens, I was a huge, huge Men at Work fan. I saw them in concert, and I had all their albums. The first album was called Business as Usual, and the very last track on it was a slow, bass heavy, six-minutes-plus piece called "Down by the Sea." Well, that's the song I've been trying, for the most part unsuccessfully, to use at night for the past I-don't-know-how-many years to get me to sleep.

So once I started experimenting with Virtual Hypnotist, I figured "Down by the Sea" would be the perfect background audio track for my "bedtime" session. I downloaded the song from Zune (and incidentally discovered, through trial and error, that the only way to get it to play during a VH session was to play it through the Zune player at a very low volume while the session itself ran with "audio" de-selected). Then I loaded the "bedtime" scripts with suggestions that this song would make me sleepy whenever I wanted it to, and that any time a stray thought entered my head, I could erase it by mentally playing that song.

Last night was the first time I tried the session out with all the various components in place.

Now, I don't know if it happens this way for anyone else, but when I start to fall asleep, my mind fills slowly with little strings of nonsense, sentences that make no sense but which I've learned to recognize as the first sign of my conscious mind giving up the reins. I know I'm relaxed when the nonsense starts up; and I just let myself drift and not pay too much attention to it, because if I pay attention, it stops. The trick is to let it just play in the background of my mind until it wells up and fills me completely.

Only last night, what was playing in the background of my mind was "Down by the Sea." And I had conditioned myself to let it erase everything else - which turned out to be everything else including the nonsense. Damn, was it effective at that! I ended up wallowing in bed, nicely relaxed - but utterly, achingly unable to take that final step into sleep.

Well, I've learned better now. I've reworded the scripts to let the nonsense through, and in fact to bring it on more quickly and fully. I've also written a much shorter induction piece, since I'm falling under more deeply now. So we'll see how things go tonight.

Oh, and on a semi-related note, I've had what I think is a very cool idea for where to go next with self hypnosis. I'm going to buy a computer microphone, put myself deep in trance, and record myself speaking the various scripts I've written for myself. Then I can use my own voice instead of "Mary in Stadium" during the sessions; and when I hear, "This is the voice of your inner drone, your tiny silver core, currently tasked with...," I'll know it really is the voice of my inner drone. I'm imagining this might make for a great deepener and a much richer hypnosis experience.

Results to follow.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

This is pretty funny

This is a picture I took of my recent blog stats: my visitors since the beginning of March. That spike started right about the time I joined the Yahoo Hypnosis Club and caught Lady Ru'etha's attention. ;-)

Damn, I'm good!

I ran that "silver robot" session again not too long ago. I am getting very, very good at pushing my buttons. :-) One of the best parts (not the best part, of course) was the struggle I felt in my head as a result of the intentionally conflicting commands I had running. I kept triggering myself with the keyword Lady Ru'etha gave me, then immediately telling myself to sit up straighter and keep my eyes open but unfocused so that I could take in the subliminals more and more fully.

Eventually the script was telling me that I couldn't see the screen at all, that my eyes were merely interfaces allowing the subliminals direct access to my subconscious, and that my real eye was my mind's eye, where I was picturing myself being turned into a robot. I didn't manage to become completely blind to the screen, but the result of all those conflicting commands was a sort of unfocused, cross-eyed, deeply dizzy and delightful effect. That was a lot of fun.

Of course, that wasn't the most fun. ;-)

My Hypnotic Adventure Continues

Okay, first of all, that robot program I mentioned yesterday, the one I was modifying for personal use? Well, it's turning out to be pretty damn usable...especially after I tweaked it and re-ran it a couple of times. ;-P And now I've tweaked it even further. I can't wait to see what happens when I run it a third time with even more improvements! After all, I know how to push my own buttons better than anyone else; and how better to push my buttons than with a robot program? I'm not able to go deep enough yet to believe I really am becoming a mindless robot, but the imagery in my head is getting clearer and clearer, and my body continues to out-perform my mind by a long shot. You get the drift, I'm sure.

All in all, I guess I probably tranced myself at least six times yesterday, using different sessions. The special session Lady Ru'etha and Follow the Watch made for me, using her voice, continues to work best. I'm sure that's because Lady R. has such a very expressive voice. The little spins and curls she puts on particular words make all the difference in the world. And I've reached the point now, with that particular session, where I can just let my mind drift and not actually focus on what she's saying. I'm falling quicker and quicker, deeper and deeper, and analyzing less and less.

In my mind, I sometimes picture an empty house with many floors, each pitch dark; and I'm drifting from the attic downward, going who knows how many levels deep in the end? When I'm sinking through the empty space within a level, the downward motion is easy. Then I'll hit the floor of that level and get stuck for awhile. But then something else Lady Ru'etha says - sometimes my trigger, sometimes just a word or phrase - will allow me to melt through that floor and on down into a deeper level. And so it begins again.

As for the VH scripts I'm now writing for myself, I have a few different goals in mind. Pleasure, obviously, is a big one. I'm going to have a lot of fun over the coming weeks and months playing out some of my favorite scenarios - including, but not limited to, some from my stories - in an erotic trance.

Another goal is to reduce my level of stress throughout the day and to increase my self control, especially over my tongue. I dropped an inopportune F-bomb at work last week and got chewed out about it, and I do tend to shoot my mouth off from time to time. I need to work on that.

And then there's what might be the most practical and important goal of all: improving the quality of my sleep. I came into all this with the expectation merely of playing out my fantasies, but I quickly came to see that hypnosis has many practical applications for my life. Right now I suffer from insomnia to such an extent that I have to take a couple of heavy-duty prescription medications to drop off every night. But thanks to the "bedtime" program I've been writing and refining for a week, I've now managed to cut the dose of one of those two meds in half. Eventually I'd love to be able to get off both of them entirely, and that seems like a very realistic goal at this point. I've proved to myself that I can go very deep, get very relaxed.

Folks, you have no idea just how good it can feel to get that relaxed. Sure, you do it all the time in your sleep; but think how nice it would be to feel that same level of relaxation while you had enough awareness to appreciate it. I personally notice it most in my shoulders. It's almost as if my arms pop painlessly out of their sockets and just dangle like puppet arms at my sides. It just feels soooo nice. I had no idea how much stress I was carrying from day to day until I started experimenting with hypnosis.

Again, I cannot recommend Virtual Hypnotist highly enough. Once you get the hang of it, you can write a script for any kind of session you want. And while the voice synthesizer program lacks all the delightful subtleties of Lady Ru'etha's voice, you can use even that to your advantage. I'm sticking with the Mary/stadium voice, and I have each personalized program begin with, "This is the voice of your inner drone, currently tasked with...." Then I have her tell me how good it feels to be commanded by my "tiny silver core" - a phrase some of you will recognize from one of my most self-revelatory stories. Yes, I'm using a lot of imagery from my stories, entirely on purpose, because those images already have so much resonance for me even when I'm not in trance.

P.S.: The image above is from the cover of Mona Lisa Overdrive by William Gibson.

P.P.S.: At some later point, I might be persuaded to modify some of my personal VH sessions for use by some of you out there. Just let me know if you're interested. ;-)

Friday, March 27, 2009

A quick update re: Lady Ru'etha

Those of you who know Lady Ru'etha to any degree will be happy to know that I've just spoken with her by phone, and her loved one seems to have turned an important corner. It's going to be a long recovery process, but Lady R. has a lot of support both online and in person. She also says my blog entries are an enjoyable distraction for her, so here's another one just to give her a smile. ;-)

I'm still playing with Virtual Hypnotist and have found a preset robot induction which I've, um, juiced up quite a bit (nudge, nudge, wink, wink, say no more). I'm going to try it out in just a minute, so maybe you'll hear more about it tomorrow. Of course, I'll keep the best bits to myself (especially if the session works as well as I'm hoping), but you know what a closet exhibitionist I am. ;-)

Stay tuned.

Just a little something to tide you over

I haven't really had any contact with Lady Ru'etha this week because of an unexpected health crisis in her family (Stop by her blog and leave an encouraging comment, if you like). But I did spend two solid hours on the phone with Jukebox, and we had a great time talking about our shared interests. It would be so much fun to interview him online, either by text or podcast. We'll see what develops.

Meanwhile, I continue to experiment with Virtual Hypnotist and the special session Lady Ru'etha and Follow the Watch put together for me. The short version is that things are going very, very well. The long version will have to wait until Saturday or Sunday, but in the meantime, I thought you might enjoy this new Depeche Mode video. The drugged depersonalization is exciting - at first, anyway. By the end, it's turned into a nightmare. But there's a real message here about being forced to live as something or someone you're not. Anyway, it's a cool song and a brilliant video. Enjoy.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Even More Awesome Random Awesomeness

Even those of you on dial-up have no excuse for not taking the time to watch these 20 seconds of whimpering, squirming, mind-blowing, MC-ish bondage. Come on! How long does it take to load 20 seconds of video? You know you want to. After all, just have a look. ;-P

Monday, March 23, 2009

Random Awesomeness

Just a quickie today: a swooningly sensual shot by mostly-vanilla erotic photographer Michael Helms, a.k.a. Pelicanh on Deviant Art. Every once in awhile he'll hit my buttons just so. This is definitely one of those whiles.

BTW, I've decided to take pity on at least one subscription-shy friend and start linking my adult Deviant Art thumbnails to locally stashed full-sized copies, rather than to the Deviant Art pages that censor them for non-subscribers. *pats a furry head and offers sushi*

Sunday, March 22, 2009

A Great Adventure Begins, Part 2

NOTE: This post is a follow-up to the post just below. If you haven't stopped by my blog in a few days, you really do need to read that one before this one.

Okay, so now it's time for me to stop dangling you and let you drop gently back to earth. I'll start by telling how how I started.

The first mp3 Lady Ru'etha shared with me was "Robotic Transformation 101." I came into this one stone-cold ignorant about what to do or what to expect, and was very much afraid that I wouldn't be able to get over my self-consciousness enough to go under. My mental image of what real-life hypnosis looked like was based entirely on stage shows, and I really doubted I could allow myself to relax that much. Oh, I wanted to, very badly. But I doubted I could.

Well, for some reason that's no longer clear to me, I thought I needed to be lying down for the recording - but I didn't have an mp3 player then (I bought one yesterday), so I had to listen in the living room where the computer was. And in order to really splay out like I thought I needed to do, I had to drag the mattress off the futon, down onto the floor. Now, folks, if you don't own a futon yourself, you have no idea how heavy and cumbersome those mattresses are - especially if you don't have anyone around to help you move them! And putting one back again without assistance is even harder. :-/ But I digress.

Anyway, there I am, turning on the recording and then flopping down on the floor with my eyes closed, trying to relax. And practically the first sentence of the recording is a suggestion that I listen to "Safe Space" for a week before trying this mp3. Damn. I didn't have "Safe Space."

But I went ahead and did my best to listen and relax and imagine. And I did enjoy the sensuality of Lady Ru'etha's voice and the creativity of her language; but when all was said and done, I felt like I'd experienced nothing more than a pleasantly relaxing guided meditation.

So I wrote her back and asked what to do next, but she didn't respond because she was in the middle of a move and a bunch of other things that kept her away from her e-mail. Or so I imagined in my saner moments. In my less sane moments, I wondered if she wasn't answering because she was disappointed in me.

Anyway, long story short, I eventually stumbled across her Realm of Bliss podcasts and saw that she'd given my blog a very favorable review in one of the most recent ones. That let me know she hadn't thrown me out with the garbage. So, newly energized, I went back and hunted for "Safe Space" in a place I hadn't thought to look before, and there it was. Just like Missy/melissa/m finally getting Black Pearl's message in Willing Subject. Not that I think Lady Ru'etha was playing those sorts of mind games with me, but, well, you know. ;-)

The first time I listened to "Safe Space" (sitting upright on the futon this time ;-)) I definitely felt more relaxed - not to mention aroused - than I had with "Robotic Transformation 101." The second time I listened to it, I was resting my hands lightly atop my thighs; and I noticed that the longer I listened, the limper my arms became and the further my hands slid outward. Finally they just dropped right off my thighs and thunked onto the futon. That was a very cool moment.

But I still didn't feel like anything but my body was responding. My mind felt wide awake. In fact, the whole time I was listening - each of the three times I listened to those two mp3's - I was constantly analyzing my sensations, thinking about what I could write on my blog about them, wondering how to get Lady Ru'etha or Jukebox to help me, etc. In other words, the inside of my head seemed to be its usual pinball-machine self.

So now we come to the part of the story I told you in my previous blog entry. I won't repeat myself here; I'll just note that Follow the Watch's "Robot Mode" e-mail and the encouraging words of Lady Ru'etha and several other members of the Realm of Bliss Yahoo group convinced me that I really had gone under and just didn't know it.

Then came Virtual Hypnotist and that special program Lady R and FtW cooked up for me. You know what happened (well, some of what happened ;-)) to me the first time I watched that one. It crashed straight through all my mental barriers so hard that I almost...well, I almost. ;-)

When I fired it up for the first time, I thought the program must be missing an element because there was no sound, only visuals. But then I started to feel my jaw drop and my mind dissolve; and while I was still able to analyze it much, I decided that Lady R and FtW had been very clever to leave the audio out. And once everything was over and I'd had a chance to look back on the experience, I thought I understood their game plan. As you know, I'm a writer and an ex-English teacher. Words are my tools. I own them; they don't own me. So, I figured, Lady R and FtW had just dispensed with words entirely (aside from the subliminals) and taken me beyond all that into unfamiliar territory where I was blissfully at their mercy.

So then I ran the session a second time yesterday evening and had an even more mind-melting experience.

And then Lady Ru'etha called me again and asked if I'd had a chance to listen to the mp3 that went with the visuals.

Turns out there was a missing element, one I was supposed to have downloaded separately and combined with the rest of the program before running it. Hah. Serendipity, I tell ya. Pure serendipity.

Well, a couple of hours ago I ran the session with the mp3 for the first time, and you can take everything I said about those first two times and double it. The recording began with instructions that it was for me and me alone, so I won't be giving you any details about what Lady Ru'etha put on it. But I don't think she'll mind if I hint at a few highlights, like how my eyes dropped shut all by themselves when she counted me down and hit zero, even though I thought I should keep them open to let the spiral and subliminals do their work. So I forced my eyes back open, but then they shut themselves again later on when she drove home the trigger, and I just let my forehead sag completely against the monitor, then down onto my arms crossed atop the computer table. But then I was upright again a minute or two later, eyes wide open and typing like a dyslexic automaton - still completely, deliciously under. And then a minute or so after that I just flopped back into my chair like a stringless puppet. Mmmmm. It was all just as wonderful as I'd hoped it would be. :-)

So now she's implanted a trigger in me. I know what it is, more or less. It's a little hazy and I'm not trying too hard to think about it because I don't really want to. That's my own decision, not something she planted in far as I can tell, anyway. ;-) But I am wondering if it's strong enough yet to really drop me. How many times do I have to hear it before she can just speak the words and send me slumping? Wow, what a thought! I'm just dying to have it become reality.

I told Lady Ru'etha a day or two ago that I feel the way I felt the first time I dated a woman. I couldn't wait for that first kiss, because I knew it would tell me for sure if what I thought was true was really true. But that woman kept me dangling for three or four dates - waiting, I think, to be sure I was as ready as I thought I was. And Lady Ru'etha is doing the same with me again now. She hasn't put me into trance over the phone yet; we've just talked. And that's been a lot of fun all by itself.

I just have to trust her, as the experienced one, to know when the time is right. And in the meantime, I'll keep making myself as ready as I can. Somehow, I don't think it's going to take much longer.

P.S.: Once I post this entry, I'm going to start updating and rearranging the links in my sidebar, so watch that space next. :-)

P.P.S.: Just so you know, the special mp3 Lady Ru'etha made me also stressed, from start to finish, that my loving relationship was with my girlfriend and that the hypnosis was only a way to play out my fantasies.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

A great Adventure Begins, Part 1

So....where to begin? I know I left you hanging Wednesday, and I'm only going to lower you halfway back to earth today; but I promise that by tomorrow evening, your feet will have touched the ground.

But again: where to begin?

My comments in this previous blog entry led to some private correspondence with Lady Ru'etha, which led eventually to my trying out her "Robotic Transformation 101" and "Safe Space" mp3's. I thought they were nicely relaxing and pleasurable, but I didn't think I was really experiencing trance - certainly not the kind of trance Jukebox describes in his hypnosis blog. I never lost track of Lady Ru'etha's voice, nor did I feel much different in my mind; it seemed like most of the effect was in my body. And of course, it's my mind that really matters to me. That's what I want to feel controlled.

Unfortunately, it turned out to be a bad time to get hold of Jukebox or Lady Ru'etha themselves; so there I was, dangling just as I'm about to leave you dangling, when I happened across her Realm of Bliss podcasts. In one of them she interviews a guy by the name of Follow the Watch, who has created a freeware program called Virtual Hypnotist. The program itself sounded fantastic - you can hypnotize yourself in the privacy of your own home, either with preset scripts and visuals or with things you create on your own - and Follow the Watch said he had some simple mp3 inductions available for download on his site, as well.

So I stopped by there and downloaded the VH program and an mp3 called "Resistant Induction" (To find it from the main VH page, just click the link called "other hypnosis stuff" and scroll down a little). I could only try the mp3 that night because it was in the middle of the week and I didn't have much time before I had to go to bed. But that induction worked better for me than "Safe Space," and it made me even hungrier for more. So the next day, still not having heard from Lady Ru'etha or Jukebox, I joined Lady R's Realm of Bliss Yahoo group and sent out a desperate plea for advice.

Well, folks, by the following day I'd heard back not only from Lady Ru'etha and Jukebox, but also from Follow the Watch - who turned out to be a member of the group and one of Lady Ru'etha's special "pets." She actually had him e-mail me in "Robot Mode," just like one of the characters in her joint story with Jukebox, I Can't Wait, to prove to me that even an analytical mind like mine can be drawn very deep, under the right circumstances. Ohh, I can't tell you how blindingly, squirmingly awesome it was to get that e-mail! Of course, I didn't know how to respond to it any more than newbie RandomAccess in "I Can't Wait" when shylittlekitten wrote him in trance. Fortunately, Follow the Watch wrote me a second e-mail as himself right afterwards, and we struck up a conversation.

Well, long story short - and this is where I'm going to leave you dangling, I'm afraid - I've fiddled around a little with Virtual Hypnotist throughout the week in the scant hours and half-hours I had available, with increasingly good results. I've been sharing everything with Lady R and FtW, and a couple of days ago they cooked up an induction designed especially for me, which I've only had the chance to try once so far, but....

Holy. Fucking. Shit. They did it, folks. They totally did it. It's like they built the biggest, baddest battering ram they could and just slammed right past my mental gatekeeper, straight into my subconscious, and then headed directly toward my favorite buttons and started pushing. Hard. I'm sure some of you have read The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and will be familiar with this description of what it feels like to drink a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster: "like having your brains smashed out by a slice of lemon wrapped round a large gold brick." Yep, that's pretty much what I experienced. I just sat there, sagging in my chair, leaning closer and closer to the swirling screen, watching the subliminals pop in and out all over the fricking place and only catching a handful of them before they disappeared, feeling my mind melt and my body...well, I think I'll keep that bit to myself. ;-)

I only stopped the program when Lady Ru'etha herself called me. Yes, I'd given her my phone number by then. I made that decision before I ever started listening to or watching anything, because everything she's said and done online, and everything others have said about her, has convinced me that she's extremely ethical and respectful of personal boundaries. I wanted to be able to experience the bliss of trance in an erotic but safe way; and when I discovered someone online who was willing to give me that experience because she was as intrigued by me as I was by her, well, basically I just started jumping up and down until I got her attention. ;-) She knows I have a girlfriend and is entirely respectful of that. I'm not going to be her pet in the same way Jukebox is, but I am going to let her play with my mind a bit, maybe implant some triggers my girlfriend can use on me. She's hinted at things she has in mind.

But as of right now, she hasn't put me under, herself. We're getting to know each other a bit better, and I'm devoting the whole rest of the weekend to learning how to use Virtual Hypnotist. I already have some ideas for scripts I might write for myself, and I've run them by Lady R and Follow the Watch. They've both been very encouraging.

So here I go now, off to start experimenting in earnest. I'll write a more detailed blog entry sometime tomorrow evening, after I've had more of a chance to learn and play with VH properly. And experience that tailored session again...and again...and again. :-D

Watch this space.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Fill in the blank

Just a quickie today; I'll have more to say this weekend, after a week of trying out one of Lady Ru'etha's hypnosis recordings to see if I can finally experience the ecstasy of real-life trance (Lady Ru'etha and/or Jukebox, if you're reading this, please check your e-mail; I'm dying for some feedback). In the meantime, I'll just share a couple of pics I found recently on Deviant Art in the gallery of an adorably pouty young goth/punk named Porsylin (apparently, "Porcelain" was already taken, so she had to get creative). The MC scenarios practically write themselves, don't they?

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Reptilian Rapture

Yep, I changed my mind about the title since this morning. ;-) But I didn't change the basic idea, which came to me last week when I was hunting for pictures to go with my Statuesque Beauties post for Wednesday. I was poking around D4rkw00d.NeT, and as I browsed the Boris Vallejo and Julie Bell galleries, I couldn't help noticing that Hajime Sorayama (pic at right) isn't the only artist out there with a snake/dragon fetish. Then I thought back to my "Peek Beneath the Duct Tape" on Spellbound, in which I hinted at an earlier version of the story (never written, alas) that involved snakes, and noted that Callidus understood the attraction there. And then I had my blog entry for the weekend. :-)

The easy explanation for this sub-fetish, and the one I always bought myself until I really started thinking about it last week, is that snakes and dragons are phallic symbols. Certainly that's what was foremost in Boris Vallejo's mind when he painted the third picture above! (BTW, that whole row is his; everything beneath this paragraph is Julie Bell's.) But in my case, at least, I don't think that's all or even most of the story. Honestly, I'm not into penises (no offense to those of my readers equipped with them). What excites me about the idea of sex with snakes and dragons is the alien-ness and, even more importantly, the danger. We fear real-world snakes because they can kill us and because, hell, they just look so freaky with their slitted eyes and forked tongues and sinuous, limbless movements.

Dragons at least started out a fantasy extension of that fear, though writers of the last couple of centuries were turning that notion on its head well before Vallejo and Bell began painting. And since dragons are much less obviously phallic than snakes, I have to think I'm not the only who's more attracted to their alien/danger quality than to their resemblance to penises. They're monsters, and submission to monsters implies at least perversion and at most mind control. Again, see Callidus, obviously channeling a moment of early MC imprinting for many of us: The Jungle Book. ;-) That, I think, is what I really like about the idea of reptilian sex: it's yet one more example of being so deeply enthralled that you end up reveling in what should send you screaming.

BTW, for those of you who don't know, Vallejo and Bell are married and have a joint website here. Most of the pictures above can be found both at D4rkw00d.NeT and at their official site, but the versions at D4rkw00d are much larger and sharper. Where I could, I got the titles from the official site and the pictures themselves from D4rkw00d.

Just because it's beautiful

Ulorin Vex's blog is continuing to yield great things. Today it led me to another blog by photographers Trevor and Eve Yerbury, who do a lot of work with her. No, I don't think it's Ulorin in this particular photo, but who cares? It's just beyond gorgeous, isn't it? Once I saw the thumbnail of this pic a few pages back in the Yerbury blog, I had to keep paging back further, all the way to last October, to find the full-sized version.

Yes, I am planning a more detailed post for either this evening or tomorrow - one I think I'm going to call "Serpentine Sensuality," if that piques your interest. But I was just puttering around when I found this pic a moment ago, and I knew I had to pass it on right away. I hope you like it as much as I do.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Statuesque beauties

In my Peek Beneath the Duct Tape on Octopus Vulgaris, I mentioned Clark Ashton Smith as a contemporary of Lovecraft whose work I'd enjoyed in my teens. I also noted that I hadn't read his stuff in years, and that I wasn't sure whether it would stand up to my adult scrutiny or not, but pretty nearly his entire oeuvre was now available online for free at The Eldritch Dark.

Well, some time after I wrote that post, I did stop by and re-read a couple of stories I remembered liking. I found myself as intrigued as ever by Smith's imagination, but also very turned off by his language. If you think Lovecraft is bad with his "cyclopean" this and "eldritch" that, just take a look at how many esoteric adjectives Clark Ashton Smith can pack into a single sentence! I only read a couple of his stories, then gave up and left the site sadder but wiser.

But then last week, totally out of the blue, I remembered another story of his that I'd liked, remembered it name and all: "The Maze of Maal Dweb." And what I remembered fed so nicely into my current fetish fantasies that I decided to go back and read that one again, too.

I'm glad I did. The ridiculously baroque language fades into background noise after awhile, and then you're left with a story queasily reminiscent of certain half-remembered nightmares - but with that good squick edge that Lovecraft lacks but Smith owns in spades.

The basic plot is this: Tarzan-like Tiglari sets out to rescue his (unrequited) love interest from the clutches of the sorcerer/dictator Maal Dweb, who periodically summons beautiful young women to his keep for unknown purposes. Oh, you think you can guess what Maal Dweb wants with his captives, but you're wrong. This is what Tiglari sees when he finally makes it inside the sorcerer's keep:
The doors on either side of the hall, with cunningly mated valves of ebony and ivory, were all closed. At the far end Tiglari saw a thin rift of light in a somber double arras. Parting the arras very slowly, he peered through into a huge brilliantly lit chamber that seemed to be the harem of Maal Dweb, peopled with all the girls that the enchanter had summoned to his dwelling. It seemed, in fact, that there were hundreds, leaning or lying on ornate couches, or standing in attitudes of languor or terror. Tiglari discerned in the throng the women of Ommu-Zain, whose flesh is whiter than desert salt; the slim girls of Uthmai, who are molded from breathing, palpitating jet; the queenly topaz girls of equatorial Xala; and the small women of Ilap, who have the tones of newly greening bronze. But among them all he could not find the lotus-like beauty of Athlé.

Much he marveled at the number of the women and the perfect stillness with which they maintained their various postures. They were like goddesses that slept in some enchanted hall of eternity. Tiglari, the intrepid hunter, was awed and frightened. These women — if indeed they were women and not mere statues — were surely the thralls of a death-like spell. Here, indeed, was proof of the sorcery of Maal Dweb.

However, if Tiglari were to continue his search, he must traverse that enchanted chamber. Feeling that a marble sleep might descend upon him at the crossing of the sill, he went in with held breath and furtive leopard-like paces. About him the women preserved their eternal stillness. Each, it seemed, had been overcome by the spell at the instant of same particular emotion, whether of fear, wonder, curiosity, vanity, weariness, anger or voluptuousness. Their number was fewer than he had supposed; and the room itself was smaller: but metal mirrors, paneling the walls, had created an illusion of multitude and immensity.
I think you can see how this passage has influenced at least a couple of my own stories, whether I remembered it consciously or not. And then there's this one, when Tiglari finally spots his beloved again while fighting his way through a maze of monstrous plants:
With the senses of one who drowns in nightmare, he heard the startled cry of a woman. Above the tilted flowers he beheld a strange scene which the hitherto impenetrable maze, parting as if by magic, had revealed. Fifty feet away, on the same level as the onyx pavement, there stood an elliptic dais of moon-white stone at whose center the maiden Athlé, emerging from the labyrinth on a raised, porphyry walk, had paused in an attitude of wonder. Before her, in the claws of an immense marble lizard that reared above the dais, a round mirror of steely metal was held upright. Athlé, as if fascinated by some strange vision, was peering into the disk. Midway between the pavement and the dais, a row of slender brazen columns rose at broad intervals, topped with graven heads like demoniac Termini.

Tiglari would have called out to Athlé. But at that moment she took a single step toward the mirror, as if drawn by something that she saw in its depths; and the dull disk seemed to brighten with some internal, incandescent flame. The hunter's eyes were blinded by the spiky rays that leapt forth from it for an instant, enveloping and transfixing the maiden. When the dimness cleared away in whirling blots of color, he saw that Athlé, in a pose of statuesque rigidity, was still regarding the mirror with startled eyes. She had not moved; the wonder was frozen on her face; and it came to Tiglari that she was like the women who slept an enchanted slumber in the harem of Maal Dweb. Even as this thought occurred to him, he heard a ringing chorus of metallic voices that seemed to emanate from the graven demon heads of the columns.

'The maiden Athlé,' announced the voices in solemn and portentous tones, 'has beheld herself in the mirror of Eternity, and has passed beyond the changes and corruptions of Time.'
Pretty fantastic, eh? And that's not even getting into what happens to Tiglari himself. The poor guy could hardly have fared worse in one of my stories. But you'll have to read The Maze of Maal Dweb for yourself to find out about that. Enjoy.

Oh, and by the way, the pictures in this post really don't have much to do with "The Maze of Maal Dweb" because I just couldn't find any pictures that illustrated the story...well. So instead I chose some pics I found at least evocative of the story. The first two are by Boris Vallejo and come from the the same site where I get most of my Sorayama pictures, if you want to go exploring: D4rkw00d.NeT (And if you do go, I also recommend the galleries of Julie Bell, Arantza, and Jacek Yerka). The third is a Sorayama pic not from that site, but one I've had on my hard drive for so long that I no longer remember where I found it.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

More free fetish stuff

Last year I wrote a post called Free Fetish Stuff, in which I noted a number of different online sources for quality free fetish images. I always knew I'd make at least one follow-up post at a later date, and here one is - the first, perhaps, of many.

Several of my favorite models and photographers display free samples of their wares in various places, in hopes of drawing more people to their pay sites. Model Mayhem and Deviant Art are two popular outlets, as I mentioned in my first "Free Fetish Stuff" post. Since then, I've discovered another one: online journals. I picked up the image at left at Christine Kessler's blog, and believe me, it was hard to choose just one shot to represent her work here. She always has something new to share - and I've shared many of her gifts with you already. I chose today's pic almost at random, based mainly on the fact that the model is so delightfully depersonalized - and loving it.

Christine Kessler's blog is also notable for being the only one I've found so far that's consistently worth reading. She's smart and snarky and cares about the same issues I do, and sometimes she posts stuff that bears no relation whatsoever to fetishes or photography just because it's cool or funny. All in all, Kessler comes across as someone I might actually like if I met her in person. I can't say the same for all the other fetish bloggers on this list.

Oh, Ulorin Vex seems cute and bubbly enough, but I only discovered her blog last week, so I haven't had time to decide whether it's worth reading or whether I should just stick to the pictures and the links - of which there seem to be at least three or four in every post. That's the best thing about her blog so far, I think: the places it takes you beyond her blog - which is lovely enough all by itself, but once you get started on those links, you never know where you'll end up!

And now for a couple of lesser blogging lights that are at least worth the occasional visit (Note: Sadly, this group does not include Kumi Monster, whose blog is mostly a pictureless mess). Darenzia's blog is clearly nothing but bait, blatantly advertising her pay site. Nevertheless, she does give you pics for free, so as long as you can keep your temptation to purchase in check, it's still worth a look.

And then there's Apnea. Ah, Apnea: what to say? So cute and childlike, and yet so clearly...damaged. But she does give great trance face, no matter what the underlying cause. I just keep feeling like, if I were ever to meet her in real life, all I could say to her would be, "Check yourself into a hospital, honey."

Anyway, I'm not dumb enough to act like I visit these blogs "for the articles," nor do I expect you to. You visit these blogs because of the free fetish stuff; and if you find something interesting to read while you're there, well, that's just icing on the cake, isn't it?

Christine Kessler gives you that icing; with the others, the cake is rich enough all by itself.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Intentionally Avoiding a Pun on "Watching the Watchmen"

Or maybe not. ;-)

So anyway, what's my verdict? Pretty damn awesome is my verdict. Not perfect, but pretty damn awesome. This is a movie made by fans of the graphic novel, for fans of the graphic novel. Whether or not anyone else will appreciate it is open to debate, but I certainly proved to myself that I'm more of a fangirl than a critic when it comes to this particular adaptation. So let me see if I can write this review as a fangirl rather than a critic, and tell you some things that you won't hear anywhere else. I'll start with some observations that are appropriate for anyone who might want to see the movie, regardless of whether or not they've read the graphic novel, then follow with a bracketed spoiler section for those who've read the graphic novel and who have heard about the change to the ending. If you skip that section, do stop back in at the bottom of this entry for a few final thoughts. ;-)

Okay, first of all Jackie Earle Haley rocked my world...and Patrick Wilson gently set it back on its axis.

Now, Rorschach is such a meaty character to begin with that I can imagine a number of fine actors who might have nailed the part. But Haley is a particularly fine actor, and his non-movie-star looks work to special advantage here. Plus, he's got that great underdog/comeback-kid story going for him in real life. I was primed to root for him from the start, and he absolutely did not disappoint. His final scene, in particular, will hit you like a punch to the gut. And the prison scenes - hoo boy. Haley is 100% convincing as a brilliant, badass psychopath.

As for Patrick Wilson, he's one of those challenge-taking character actors who don't rely on their good looks, and I've been enjoying him for years in a number of widely divergent roles. Here, he's nicely nerded-up for the early scenes, then masterfully demonstrates how thoroughly a cool costume changes Dan's Dreiberg's persona. The image at left (borrowed from an io9 page stuffed with similar joke Watchmen products, the most hilarious of which is too spoilery to post here) conveys that perfectly. Wilson is the kind of actor who can turn even a simple line about why he named the owl-ship "Archie" into a rich display of character. Damn, I love that a totally platonic way, of course. ;-)

Billy Crudup, too, is his usual awesome self. I like the fact that his Dr. Manhattan voice is still that of the science geek he used to be, for all that he looks like a blue-glowing god with a body that would reduce Conan to jealous tears. Jeffrey Dean Morgan is great as the Comedian, too, capturing him in all his gleefully sadistic, nihilist glory. And Carla Gugino blazes across her limited screen space. Her big scene with the Comedian plays out exactly as it should.

But the other two key players, I'm afraid, are tragically weak links. Matthew Goode is every bit as shallow and foppish as I was afraid he'd be: very definitely not "smartest man in the world" material. Plus, someone really should have hired that boy a dialect coach (assuming they had to hire him to begin with. Damn, they really should have spent the money they saved on special effects to get Jude Law). He can't hold onto an American accent to save his life. Why didn't they just let him use his natural English accent to begin with? After all, it would be just one more bit of stereotyping for a character that the movie already stereotypes too heavily to begin with. Yeah, the graphic novel hints that Ozymandias' sexual energies might not flow strictly AC, but - and let the record show I was the first to notice this Easter egg - not only does the onscreen character come across as moderately flaming, but there's a folder on his computer desktop labeled "boys."

And then there's Latex Laurie. *sigh* What a total fucking waste. Admittedly, Laurie is not the most riveting character in the graphic novel. But an actress of depth could have really done something with her, could have made her more than just "the girl." It absolutely boggles my mind that the same people responsible for casting Haley, Wilson and Crudup apparently just flicked through their résumés of available ingenues and stopped at the first one that said "will do nude scenes." They should have taken a harder look at the actress who played Janey Slater. Now, there was a woman with depth and charisma. I'll have to keep an eye out for her in future films. She did more with her little handful of scenes than Malin Akerman did with two hours and forty-some-odd minutes.

Still, aside from these two glaring character problems, the movie as a whole was excellent. From the moment the final trailer ended and the screen went solid yellow, I felt totally immersed in Alan Moore's alternate 1985 with its rich history of costumed vigilantes and its present of impending nuclear doom. Some reviewers have complained that they couldn't really buy into the threat that plays such a big role in the story because in our real world, the Cold War ended peacefully. To those reviewers I say, if you don't have enough imagination to buy into an alternate-reality story, then you've got no business reviewing it in the first place. Once again, this is a story by SF nerds, for SF nerds.

And I, being an SF nerd, totally bought into it. I imagine most of you have already heard about the fantastic Watchmen opening credits sequence. It sets up this world so perfectly, and condenses so much backstory into so little space. You can find it described in full elsewhere, so I won't go into much detail in this entry. I'll just tell you about my favorite little snippet which, once I buy the extended edition DVD with the "Black Freighter" and "Under the Hood" features and who knows what other goodies, I'll be rewatching and slow-motioning and pausing for days on end.

You know that famous old photograph taken during the celebration of the end of WWII, the one where the sailor dips a nurse backwards into a passionate kiss? Well, picture Silhouette stalking through that crowd of revelers like the proud dominatrix she is, spying the nurse, and closing in with a smirk. The nurse has just a moment to look startled, smitten, and helpless before Silhouette sweeps her into her shiny black arms. Mmmmmm. :-)

And now on to the spoiler section - but don't forget, if you skip this bit, to scroll down for some final parting thoughts.

[Okay, first, the filmmakers allayed my earlier worries about revealing Rorschach's identity too soon; they kept Haley hidden on the fringes of crowds or had him turned so that you couldn't see his face...except for one brief, scary moment in an alleyway. On the other hand, they made almost no effort whatsoever to hide the fact that Ozymandias is the true villain of the piece. He practically has "Bad Guy" tattooed across his forehead, and the fact that they've made him so obviously gay or bisexual just makes this fact even more frustrating. You've probably heard that Zach Snyder's previous film, 300, was both homoerotic and homophobic. Well, I sense some of that homophobia coming out again here - which is especially shameful when you think about all the parallels the graphic novel drew between costumed vigilantism and non-mainstream sexuality.

But I guess what you really want to know about is the change to the ending, eh? As my favorite pic at that io9 link above has it, "Squid not included." Did it matter? Ultimately, no. Let's face it: the squid in the graphic novel did make for several pages of outrageous Lovecraftian horror...but didn't it seem a little out of tune with the rest of the Watchmen universe? Okay, sure, Veidt wanted it to look like something that did come from another universe. But wasn't the whole concept of such a creature too over the top even for "the smartest man in the world" to come up with?

*shrug* I missed seeing the squid, and I thought the nuclear-holocaust-like devastation that replaced it was a bit underwhelming; but intellectually, it made sense, and it didn't change the outcome of the story. Besides, as Snyder has pointed out, keeping the squid would have required a lot of backstory about missing artists and decapitated dead psychics, and the movie already runs nearly three hours. Isn't it better to concentrate on the characters who really matter? Heck, even Hollis Mason's death got cut from the theatrical release, though it'll show up in the extended edition. If that didn't make it into the movie, then surely the shipful of bit characters who get blown to bits would have been a waste of film.

And now back to spoiler-free territory with a couple of parting thoughts.

First, My Chemical Romance's cover of Bob Dylan's "Desolation Row" plays over the end credits. You might have heard it on the radio, too, or seen the fantastic video. MCR has punked it up just right, but unfortunately that means you can't really make out the lyrics without a cheat sheet. Now, Watchmen graphic novel fans know Alan Moore used a quote from "Desolation Row" as the title of one of his chapters: "At Midnight, All the Agents...." However, there's another line in the song that plays more clearly to my (and I presume your) personal fetishes:
Here comes the blind commissioner
They've got him in a trance
One hand is tied to the tight-rope walker
The other is in his pants
There, isn't that lovely? :-) And I'll leave you with another lovely image: a rather ordinary-looking woman walking out of the theater at dusk after watching a movie about people who get off on having secret identities, getting off on the fact that no one around her knows her secret identity. Her smirk is clear for all the world to see, but no one can interpret it but her.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Wolverine vs. Rorschach

I've seen a few of these before, but I agree with io9: this one's by far the best.

Sorry for those of you on dial-up. Maybe someone will be kind enough to transcribe it for you. ;-P

And as for me, I'm taking a day off work tomorrow to catch an early showing of Watchmen on premiere day. Nobody tell my boss that's why I asked off, okay?

Review over the weekend, plus another "Free Fetish Stuff" post.

A riddle for you

Question: You've got three collaborators of three different orientations and two different genders working on the same story. Which of them is most eager to write some men into the piece?

Answer: Aw, come on! You don't really need me to spell it out for you, do you? ;-) I just hope my co-conspirators make at least a few of their secondary characters guys, or my own bits will stand out like, well, bits.

Yes, the the collaboration is still coming along, though it seems I was a bit premature in strapping myself to that rocket back in January. Sickness, overwork, and the ebb and flow of inspiration have slowed us down a bit. I'll let you know when things pick up again.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Jukebox Jealousy Continuing Unabated

So...Jukebox recently informed me that Lady Ru'etha had requested/encouraged/commanded him to move his hypnosis blog to a more accessible location. Heck, I didn't even know he had a hypnosis blog; but boy, does he ever!

Most of my own MC fiction is non-consensual, and most of it is pretty dark (though you have to admit, my heroines always do end up happy, one way or another). But my deepest personal fantasy is for a romantic, consensual relationship with a hypnodomme who knows all the best ways to push my buttons - and all the best ways to make them even more pushable. Lady Ru'etha seems to be just that for Jukebox.

As I've said before, I've never been hypnotized, myself. Oh, I've seen a few hypnosis stage shows, but I've always been too embarrassed to go up onstage...which is funny in a way, because under any other circumstances I'd have no problem speaking or performing in public. I just don't get stage fright. But succumbing to my fetish in public would be a little too close to stripping in public; and sorry, folks, but I'm just not that kind of gal. Never have been, not even in college. Besides, even if I did find the nerve to volunteer for a hypnosis show, I'm sure I'd be too self-conscious to go under.

Still, I dream about the kinds of experiences Jukebox describes in his blog. Thank goodness he describes them so vividly that I can almost picture myself in his place. In fact, in some ways his blog entries are even more appealing to me than most of the stories on the EMCSA, because they're real. He's actually getting to live out my fantasy.

As for me, I suppose I'll just have to be content with living it vicariously through him.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Share and Enjoy

As I've said already, last week was pretty frantic for me, work-wise. I couldn't do much e-mailing or blogging and only had time to read/watch random snippets of news on the topics that interested me most. But somehow many of the little things I got to do seemed to coalesce around the same theme.

First, there was the Academy Awards. No, I didn't get to see them, but I did read a little bit about them afterwards, including the magnificent acceptance speech from Dustin Lance Black, the screenwriter for Milk. I'd like to reprint the most relevant part here because I think his message is just so important to all of us, both GLBT and straight:
When I was 13 years old, my beautiful mother and my father moved me from a conservative Mormon home in San Antonio, Texas to California, and I heard the story of Harvey Milk. And it gave me hope. It gave me the hope to live my life. It gave me the hope one day I could live my life openly as who I am and then maybe I could even fall in love and one day get married.

I wanna thank my mom, who has always loved me for who I am even when there was pressure not to. But most of all, if Harvey had not been taken from us 30 years ago, I think he'd want me to say to all of the gay and lesbian kids out there tonight who have been told that they are less than by their churches, by the government or by their families, that you are beautiful, wonderful creatures of value and that no matter what anyone tells you, God does love you and that very soon, I promise you, you will have equal rights federally, across this great nation of ours.
All I can say to that is "Amen."

Then I found this wonderful video response to the current California proposal that all the gay marriages which took place during the brief period between their legalization and the passage of Proposition 8 be nullified. The great thing about this video is that it shows all kinds of gay couples: stereotypical and non-stereotypical; young, old, and middle-aged; people with kids and grandkids, people with parents and grandparents; even coworkers. The more you watch, the more you are struck by the fact that GLBT's are just ordinary people: sweet, loving people with family lives every bit as wholesome as those of straight couples. Breaking up their marriages would just as tragic as the passage of Proposition 8 was to begin with. I encourage you to watch, to enjoy, and to share this video with others. May the people who most need to see it be open to doing so.

"Fidelity": Don't Divorce... from Courage Campaign on Vimeo.

Finally, there was a little conversation I had with Lady K during one of those brief periods when I had time to answer some e-mails. We'd been discussing hatemongering in the name of religion, and I wondered what ol' Jerry Falwell would have to say about that subject these days. Lady K imagined the following scenario, which I want to stress is not included in the "Share" part of this "Share and Enjoy" post unless you ask her permission first. ;-)

Open scene: Pearly Gates, with St. Peter's desk. A confused looking Jerry Falwell walks up to the desk.

FALWELL: UM, hello?
ST. PETER: Rev. Falwell! Welcome, we've been expecting you. Ah, hello Mohandas, good to see you. I'll see you later. Right this way, reverend.
FALWELL: Wait, was that ...
ST. PETER: Gandhi? Yep, that was him. He's in my poker group, great guy.
FALWELL: But how did he get in?
ST. PETER: How does anyone get in? God sorts through their lives and comes up with a decision. It's actually based on an incredibly complex algorithm. Gabriel says he understands the math but Michael says that's nonsense.
FALWELL: Gabriel? Michael?
ST. PETER: The archangels, you know. Gabriel's a bit of a blow-hard but I guess that comes with the territory. Get it?
FALWELL: Huh? Sorry?
ST. PETER: A blowhard? Gabriel's a horn player. Get it?
FALWELL: Oh, yeah.
ST. PETER: No one appreciates my sense of humor. Namaste, Siddhartha.
FALWELL: Who was that?
ST. PETER: Siddhartha Gautama.
ST. PETER: The Buddha.
FALWELL: He's here?
ST. PETER: Of course, he's a prophet. Where else would he be?
FALWELL: But there was only one prophet.
ST. PETER: Oh, that's right. You're fundamentalist Christian. It's so hard to keep all of you and your beliefs straight. There have been quite a few prophets down through the ages. Moses, Siddhartha, Joshua, Mohammed ...
FALWELL: My head hurts ...
ST. PETER: It'll pass. Ah, here they are. Gentlemen! Reverend, allow me to introduce you to your guides; they'll show you the ropes up here, basically be with you all the time until they feel you're ready to go solo. May I present Harvey Milk and Matthew Shephard. They asked for you specifically ....