Wednesday, October 21, 2009

80s music cures all ills

OK, so ignore the images on this video - it was just the only embed-able video I could find of the right song. I don't know the people in the video, and I'm not implying anything by including the video here.

I adore this song. I can't say I totally understand what it's about, but I get a strangely inspirational vibe. In that screw-everything-and-follow-your-dreams sense. Which is something I could use right now. It's getting grey out here, and I'd love to blame the sadness that I can't seem to shake on Seasonal Affective Disorder, but I think it's more than just the lack of sun that's got me down.

I just wish I could place a finger on what it is, exactly. Last weekend, I was really not myself, and needed to leave suddenly on a night I was hanging out with The Scientist and Nonboyfriend. They hadn't done anything wrong, and the night had been quite low-key, but I suddenly was just so upset that I couldn't stay in the room, or the house, or that part of town with them. I just got up and left. I haven't done that in a long time.

Things are starting to feel out of control again. Work is picking up, and as the holiday season approaches, it means I have an exponential increase in events I'm covering, videos I'm editing, promotions I'm organizing, and, oh yes, when I have a spare moment, articles I'm writing.

I can't control how often I see my friends - none of my closest friends are in the same town. Certainly, it's nowhere near as inconvenient as when I was at school across the country, but it's almost more infuriating to be an hour or two's drive from people who I so desperately want to see.

At the same time, I'm feeling so incredibly drained. I'm back to being tired all the time. There is a part of me that's just going through the motions. I'm feeling like I don't have anything left to give. Which in turn makes me feel worse, because I don't want to not be able to be there for the people I care about. That's what I mean by a loss of control.

Maybe I am a control freak. Actually, I know that I am. I'm a backseat driver, a bit of a neat-freak, and it drives me crazy when people don't use the shortcuts on computers or take a longer route to get somewhere. I get so upset when plans fall through largely because it was something out of my control.

So I need to try focusing on the positive things. The areas of my life where I am in control. And there are a few. I have some concrete plans coming up in the next few weeks about which I'm really excited. Even though they're concrete, I'm still a little scared to say them out loud - or put them in print, as it were - for fear that something will change them. So you'll hear about those events after they happen. Who knows, maybe it'll even bring about a revival of my HNTs. I know they've been absent. But part of the lack of control is accompanied by a lack of feeling sexy. Which, of course, doesn't help my mood.

It's all rather cyclical, isn't it?

"I never took the smile away from anybody's face
And that's a desperate way to look for someone who is
still a child

In a big country
Dreams stay with you
Like a lover's voice
Cross the mountainside:
Stay alive

I thought that pain and truth were things that really mattered
But you can't stay here with
Every single hope you had shattered

I'm not expecting to grow flowers in the desert
But I love and breathe and
see the sun in wintertime.."

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Toybox: Fusion Duality

OK. So Babeland sent me the Fusion Duality to review. The site's description (and the toy's packaging) boasts that the Fusion has "16 different vibrating combinations!" Woo!

Per usual, my nondescript brown package arrived about a week after I ordered the toy. (My roommate has told me she's always curious about what new toy I've acquired whenever I get one of those boxes... hehehe.) The Fusion's presentation was nice - in its own little tin, packed with black foam padding. Certainly seemed promising. And really, who could complain with 16 vibrating combinations! And a curved head to hit your G-spot! And a rounded, bulbous end that's also insertable! Wowee!
Well, apparently I'm that person who could find something to complain about. Maybe complain isn't quite the right word, but I think this toy fell victim to the trying-to-be-too-much syndrome. In my experience, the toys that I enjoy the most do one thing, and they do it well. When toys start to make an effort to be too many different things, everything ends up falling short of the mark.

The hard, phthalate-free material was pleasantly silky to the touch - which is a quality I like in my toys. It's purple, which is fine by me... I tend to be drawn to purple in a lot of aspects of my life. Anyway. The Fusion requires four AAA batteries, which aren't included. I know they're small, but, really? Four? Bleh.

And that much-touted 16 combinations? Well, what they mean is that each side has three settings. Which, with all that fancy math-stuff that's beyond my pretty little head's comprehension, means there are technically 16 combinations. Which is fine. But, of course, if you have one side of the toy inside you, different vibrations on the other side of the toy are going to be pretty difficult to discern. Of course, it's entirely possible that others have more sensitive cunts than I do, but I couldn't feel much of a difference anywhere except in the hand that was holding the toy inside me. Too many things.

I was also excited about the interesting curved shape of the Fusion Duality. The curved end is almost flattened, like a spoon, with a little nub along the shaft of the toy that is, near as I can tell, designed to hit both the g-spot and the clit simultaneously. Which would be awesome. If it worked.
I'm finding this with several different toys, so maybe I just have a weirdly shaped cunt, but this toy wasn't even close to hitting my g-spot. Or my clit. Which was, to say the least, a bummer. If I moved the toy deep enough to hit my g-spot, then it wasn't on my clit, and vice-versa. Again, too many things.

The bulbous end was nice enough, but notably shorter than the curved end. And the buttons are on the bulbous side, which means the insertable length is even shorter if you want to change to a different one of those 16 vibration settings. Shocker: Too many things.

Overall? I'd give the Fusion Duality just one star. It might work for some people, and the site suggests trying it as a double-ended toy with a partner (although I'm not sure it's long enough to do that well), but at least for me, it just wasn't the right fit.

But this is the first real strike-out of anything I've reviewed from Babeland. So it should definitely NOT discourage you from going and checking out all of the awesome stuff this women- and sex-positive store has online. Or, if you think it might work for you, go check out the Fusion Duality!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

my feminism trigger

I'm not a feminism apologist. I don't feel the need to assert that "oh, no, I'm not a femi-nazi" before I say anything regarding equal rights for women. Still, I've never really considered myself a feminist. Because, frankly, that's never where my real passion for equality has lay. I've always been passionate about lgbt rights (perhaps as a reflection of which of my own personal identities I take to be more prevalent or important... I don't know.) (Although in a chat a few nights ago, Nonboyfriend's girlfriend pointed out to me that she's always considered me a feminist precisely because I was so adamant about queer rights. She considers them inherently connected, and I think there's something to be said for that... Aside from the sometimes stereotypical feminist disavowal of automatically equating feminist with "man-hating dyke." But that's a whole other post.) So for something to trigger my feminist rage, it generally has to be pretty agregious. Or at least really, obviously, patently sexist.

Which I encountered this evening.

I was pulling into the parking lot at my neighborhood Target. The parking lot was somewhat busy, but my mom's boyfriend (the only other person in the car with me) noticed a spot in the aisle over, so I went to homestead until the SUV parked in the spot finished backing up. Because of the location of the spot and the terrible turning radius of the car I was driving, my first effort at pulling in placed the car diagonally across the spot. (I am admittedly terrible at parking in normal spaces, though I'm an EXCELLENT parallel parker... which is weird, I know.) But I knew I was going to have to back out and 3-point the turn, essentially. So I put the car in reverse but kept my foot on the brake, and looked behind me, and checked both mirrors. On my left, there was a cop SUV, patrolling the lot, but waiting for me to finish adjusting the car before he passed me. On my right, there were two pedestrians who had stopped, a car away from me, to let me continue readjusting. So I pulled the car halfway out and back into the spot significantly straighter. (But still not in the center of the spot. Because, literally, I'm incapable of it.)

And as I got out of the car, I noticed the cop was still idling directly behind my car. With his window down. I made passing eye contact, but didn't really pay any attention. Until he called out at me from his car.

"Hey there, you be careful with those pedestrians, OK sweetheart? We wouldn't want you to hurt anybody."

SWEETHEART?... Sweetheart?! I just stared at him, flabergasted. "Yeah, uh, can do," I managed, without any intonation.

"OK, well just be careful, honey."

I didn't look back as I speed-walked to the door, but my mom's boyfriend pointed out that the slimeball stared at me all the way to the door. As soon as the door shut behind me, I started muttering "Sweetheart? I'm not your fucking sweetheart. Don't fucking call me sweetheart."

Now, I realize this doesn't carry over as well in text, because I can't get the proper inflection. And his words, if they were said differently, could have been a simple caution. (That I didn't need. As I'd checked for pedestrians before I had pulled back out, and even made eye contact with the ones who were clearly waiting for me to finish parking before they walked behind my car.) But this wasn't polite advice. It was the condescending, you-clearly-don't-have-the-mental-capacity-to-comprehend-parking-a-vehicle-because-you-have-breasts kind of tone.

I'm not sure I should need to mention it, but just to prevent trolls, I was wearing sneakers, jeans, a knee-length white peacoat and a mid-cut v-neck sweater. Definitely NOT overtly sexy or inherently bimbo-esque. (As if clothes were a determination of intelligence, anyway.)

But I was steaming about the "sweetheart" comment for a good few hours. I've cooled down a little, and there's a possibility I was being too sensitive... But I was genuinely offended. I haven't had anyone speak down to me like that in a LONG time. And I've been going car shopping lately... which, for my female readers who've done that, I can imagine you know what a point of reference that is. It was just so blatantly condescending. And yes, it DID feel like it was related to my gender. Admittedly, had he not said "sweetheart," I likely wouldn't be so put off. I still probably would have thought it was probably unnecessary to roll down his window IN THE SNOW to caution me against something I wasn't at risk of doing, and might have grumbled a bit, but you likely never would have heard about it here.

So, THAT'S what it takes to pull my feminist trigger.


Saturday, October 3, 2009

I should tell you...

I've talked about my Ex by several different names on here. He's been a kind of supporting (or not, as it were) character in the background of many of the experiences you've read about here. The short history - we dated for five years... All through high school, and then for our freshman year of college, for which we went to schools on opposite coasts. We went to a tiny high school where, by virtue of his being utterly likable and my throwing nearly every major party anyone in our class or below went to, we secured a tight group of friends. Many of those people both of us remained close with.

Which of course, made it that much more awkward and painful when we broke up in a BIG way at the end of our freshman year of college. He was the one who ended things - at the time I believed he left me for someone else, and I did, in fact, know who it was. In retrospect, I saw it coming. We weren't right for each other, but he figured that out LONG before I did.

And so we've spent the past three and a half years, essentially, discovering new ways to hurt each other - also known as "being friends." We both took our turns doing and saying terrible, cruel, inhumane things, that managed to affect not just one another, but our mutual friends, who grew to make concerted efforts to keep us apart when we were in the same state. Almost a year and a half, I was in rare form (or not, depending on who you ask), and confessed to him that I'd cheated on him back in high school. I'd like to say I did it to try and make myself feel better or in the interest of honesty, but really, it was my drunken, still-heartbroken last-ditch effort to make him hurt as badly as I did.

Near as I can tell, it worked. There was a single email exchange wherein we decided that we were not going to speak to one another again. We were both still angry and hurting, but it was probably one of the healthier things we'd done for each other since we'd broken up. It was three years almost to the day after he left me.

And we didn't talk. Or see one another. Or communicate in any way. Our friends were already used to avoiding the subject of each other when we were around, but even that became more pronounced. I moved on, dated a few people casually - some of whom were good to me, like Nonboyfriend, some of whom weren't, like Edward. My ex didn't cross my mind much.

And then, this summer, tragedy hit our circle of friends. Without going into private details, a terrible, unfair and unexpected thing happened to my best girlfriend, C. The Scientist and I, specifically, threw as much of ourselves into caring for and loving her as possible, and to her credit - she is astoundingly strong. I'm confident I could not have gone through what she did with such grace, maturity, perspective, and strength.

About a month ago, things culminated in an event that saw all of us who love C together at her house to support her. My ex (again, a good friend of hers) had been flaking on his friends back home, and, in all honesty, I think he was guilt-tripped into it. It was a deserved guilt-trip, though. He should have been there for C all along, but he absolutely needed to be there on this occasion.

Which found both of us back in town. In the same house. Together. I knew he was coming, and I also knew that this was neither the time nor the place to deal with any lingering issues we had. I knew why I was there, and it had nothing to do with him. Besides, I didn't have anything left to say to him.

He came early and I was the first person he saw. He quite literally froze in the doorway. He paled, and I swear I could hear him swallow from across the room. I looked at him, said "Hi," and waved. "Uhm, yeah, hey," he managed, a stiff arm and twitchy-fingered wave complimenting the awkwardness. Throughout the afternoon, he and I were pleasant with one another - I started a conversation or two with him... Just pleasantries. But I think we were both impressed at how we were able to BE so pleasant with one another. I found myself almost enjoying his company. Well, at the very least, not minding it.

As the evening wound down, C asked her friends to stay and party with her. Of course, we would have done anything for her, and this was hardly a stretch for any of us. We ended up going to a concert - C, her boyfriend, The Scientist, myself and my ex. We eventually convinced Nonboyfriend and his girlfriend to come down to town as well, because the occasion called for everyone to be there. (C, the Scientist, my ex and I all went to high school together, and the Scientist, Nonboyfriend and my ex are childhood friends, so Nonboyfriend had been incorporated into our circle early in its creation.) We all had a great time at the show, dancing, letting go of whatever we needed to.

At one point, as I was dancing, I took a step backwards and accidentally backed into someone I didn't know. I turned around to apologize, and the guy started hitting on me. Asking me to dance with him, what's my sign (seriously? people still use that?), and I tried to politely decline, telling him I was just there to be with my friends. He didn't go away. He wasn't doing much more than invading my space, but my ex caught my eye, dancing maybe 10, 15 feet away from me. He mouthed "you OK?" at me, and I kind of shrugged and made an "eh... uhm... sortof..." face. Before I could do anything more, my ex was next to me, put his hands around my waist, and pulled me to dance with him. The other dude vanished into the crowd. And I stood there, rather dumbstruck, staring at my ex. I managed to thank him, but I don't think I communicated how genuinely touched I was. I know looking out for someone in the group, protecting them from a creeper, is pretty standard friend behavior, but for my ex and I, the interaction was the friendliest, kindest we'd treated each other in years.

As the concert ended, we took several cabs to various places, some of us stopping at cars on the way, then all of us ending up back at Nonboyfriend's house. For a portion of the trip, it was just my ex and I in his car, after we'd dropped off C and her boyfriend so they could go in their own car. There were some awkward silences, but we did agree that it was, surprisingly, nice to see one another. We both seemed scared to make that assertion... like it might ruin the good we'd managed to accomplish that night.

But back at Nonboyfriend's house, my ex began playing guitar. And I realized he was playing songs that used to be ours. The rest of the group trickled back into the house, leaving just he and I on the patio. Him still playing guitar.

And then we started talking. The conversation started off slow, hesitant, cautious. But soon, it became open, and honest. He started the conversation. He looked at me, tears in his eyes, and said "It killed me, to not speak to you for so long. I hated it. I tried to be angry at you, I really did. But I can't. You are such a part of who I am, and that will never change. You ARE important. You always have been." It broke my heart and healed it all at once.

We kept talking for almost an hour. There were tears shed, but I think more than anything they were a form of release. The most amazing part was that there was no anger. I think we've finally used it up. We were able to talk about what had hurt us, but also what was good. We were able to appreciate how utterly and completely and honestly in love we were with one another... once upon a time. And we were able to move forward.

He hugged me several times that night. And it was good to be back there, my head buried in his chest and his arms wrapped around me. It was sincere. It was necessary. But it wasn't inappropriate. There is no romance left. The fire that once burned so bright for him nearly consumed me... and now all that remains is warmth.

I can finally truthfully say that I no longer have any ill feelings toward him. There are still traces of the boy I fell in love with almost 10 years ago inside him. I needed to know that. I can look back on what we had fondly and without pain. I can wish him well and happiness with his girlfriend, and mean it. And I can mean it when I tell him I'm looking forward to seeing him when he's back in town.

So while I've called him many, many things over the years, and even over the course of this blog, really, the way I should refer to him is as my First Love. Because he was. And he deserves all the import that title commands. Part of who I am today is because of him, and that experience will always be a part of me.

And, finally, thank god, I no longer resent that fact.

"I should tell you
that you were
my First Love..
So it's Christmas time,
It's been three years
And someone else is knitting things for your ears
I have come to know I'll only see you
Interrupting my dreams at night
But that's all right
That's all right
I should tell you
that you were
my First Love
And it's all right
And it's all right
We were seventeen again together,
We were seventeen again together,
We were seventeen again...together."

Friday, October 2, 2009

Toybox: The Divine Vibe

Sometimes, you just want something simple. Sometimes, all the bells and whistles and buzzing patterns and multiple heads and all that jazz are a little too much. Sometimes, you just want something that will get the job done. That will do the job well, and consistently, and perform exactly as you expect it to.

So sometimes, I absolutely crave my Divine vibe. The folks over at Babeland sent me one of the Doc Johnson toys (in black, no less!), I was stoked to try it out.

The Divine is made of ABS plastic, and as such is HARD. It takes three AAAs (which, I'll admit, I had to go out and buy), and has three settings, switched by the press of the only button on the toy, about halfway up the bulbous base. The settings are simple: low, medium, and high. No frills here.

But again, sometimes that's what you need.

The vibrations are consistent, and while not weapons-grade, to borrow a phrase, they escalate nicely from one setting to the next. They do have to be buzzed through sequentially, though, which is sometimes annoying... If you have it set on medium, for example, and want to turn it off from there, you'll have to go to high, then off. Likewise, you have to cycle through "off" each time. Which, again, can be annoying.

But the best part of the Divine vibe? Its shape is PERFECT. At least for my body, the curve of the toy fits my cunt like it was made for it. And I love the way it feels in my hand - the notches line up great with my fingers, and the curvature means I can have vibrations on my clit, all the way down. Which is AWESOME. And, the way the Divine feels in my hands isn't entirely unlike a cock - so there's some easy fantasizing there... Either about having someone else's cock so close to me, or, yeah, having my own.

The Divine vibe has become my go-to sex toy. It's not especially intimidating, and can (and has) work easily into play with a partner. Or it's awesome solo, obviously. It isn't complicated, but it IS reliable. It will get me off, every time.

And sometimes, that's exactly what you want.

Rating: 5 stars. I love this toy.

Want your own Divine vibe? You can get one at Babeland, the super-awesome, sex-positive, body- and women-friendly sex store online and in New York and Seattle.

The absence

I feel like I am always apologizing for being absent.

Yes, indeed, I've been a very bad blogger. I should probably be punished,

Any volunteers?

I have reviews to publish, I have stories to tell, I have comments to make.

So thank you to those of you who are still reading. I'm going to try to get a backlog going this weekend, so perhaps I won't be quite so absent. So bear with me, if you will. There are updates coming.