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I know I surprised myself on that one.

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Myself and Kwan Yin...my friends joked I looked like a tour guide.

A special day in which to ponder…sex.

**Disclaimer and notice: before continuing, if you are easily offended, do not like the topic, or are too conservative, or not 18 or over, please feel free to refrain from continuing to read.**

It began with a discussion with friends about life, death, current events, philosophy, and back to life affirming things, in this case sex. As it is still a special day, why not share a bit of humor or thoughts as a treat then?

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Really though this is more of a blast on Fifty Shades of Grey. If you are a fan of the book, or movie, nothing personal but feel free to skip over this and we shall never speak of it again.

Here is the thing. First, it started as a fan fiction spin off Twilight, a novel for teens and vampire lovers (actually we have to end that digression right there, it would be a whole other post on how sparkly vampires are just the undead I cannot take seriously and writing that honestly reminded me of maybe, maybe, freshmen year of college at best). So naturally what we are left with is the kind of writitng that…well…I know there are some women who got hot and bothered with it, but having read a page I could not go on. I slammed the cover and shook my head, this sold well. There is simply better smut out there.

There is just so much better smut if you are going to read it. Did you know someone wrote an erotica fan fiction of Pride and Prejudice? I grant you, you will be inclined to laugh in parts, but after the giggles subside (the whole Bingley episode though plausible did make me laugh a bit more than it should have), it got rather naughty, and no, not like:

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Although I can see how this might be a turn on.

That Pride and Prejudice fan fiction was better than Fifty Shades. It did get, well, fiery in a good way, and it was much better written.

Now the whole premise of Fifty Shades being some kind of breakthrough, the first of its kind, is also erroneous. The film The Secretary came out before and was much better. It even offered the humorous side to the world of BDSM. Above all, having spoken to many in that community, it at least got a few basics right that Fifty Shades
did not. The bigger issue seems to be what kind of consent was there?

The main character, the female lead, is from what I gather in editorials, gets caught up in a non-emotional relationship (the guy explains he is just incapable) and has no real background in BDSM. So she is just coaxed into trying it and is given a large legal “contract” with, I likewise gather, little discussion. She is left to make sense of the boundaries on her own (who really reads the terms and conditions? ). I guess those good housekeeping issues were just not “romantic” enough? Was it too practical for Hollywood, or did they not consult someone from the community? I mean I guess some felt it may “take away from the moment” but it is necessary for “a moment” happen. So is the emotional intimacy aslo needed if this is a “relationship”, even in BDSM.

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From what I have been told, and read in the following reviews, such open and honest discussions have to happen to keep everyone on the same page, safe, and thereby trust is established. Also, if there is no emotional intimacy the whole thing just went from kinky to abusive in a snap of the fingers.

If someone wants to smack your bum, and you let them, and the whole time you are thinking kinky and they are thinking all women/men should be punished for hurting them…those smacks are becoming less loving and will sour the whole scene. For both parties. Ergo it is recommended, if that is an issue said person is better seeing a professional counselor before doing that sort of kink. Best for all involved, you know logical. How can you be vulnerable with someone if now you cannot trust them? How can you enjoy the moment if you are worried they are in a different space than you?

It also works both ways. Suppose the one delivering the whacks is totally okay mentally, emotionally, etc. and instead it is the sub who has the hangups? What if the person is having a total inner breakdown going back to some past trauma…and they never spoke of it to the dom? Now there they are no longer aroused and just sitting there weeping profusely. That is why those conversations and disclosure issues are up-front.

Also I gather the wrong ropes were used at times etc. Surely, they could have hired a professional consultant?

Though in the main character’s defense he has an outstanding dungeon/playroom…but who wouldn’t if they were a millionaire? He would put Batman to shame…well, maybe not that far. I have faith Bruce Wayne could get a respectable playroom with adult toys if he wanted…but why would he? After all he is Batman.

You don’t have to be rich to be a good dom, another issue we all discussed at length. It almost made the film seem more like Taken but without drugging the girl.

Here is an example of what I found if you wanted to know more:
Huffington Post Dominatrix take on Fifty Shades
This is more about the book itself
From the Daily Beast another not happy dominatrix

There are of course those that felt it was at least nice that the BDSM community was being looked at as being more societally acceptable, and those who decried and said no, this is making it worse. In the end though, only time will tell.

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Maybe not quite the role playing they had in mind...

This novel and this film has made millions. Bad writing and stereotypes aside, it sold and it sold well. Imagine if it were well done, it may have been something we would laud instead of criticize. Still it made me think of two things.

First: It made me once again rally for just better writing.
After all:

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Second: If all of this was too serious, or you cannot see the humorous side of sex at all, maybe this will help you loosen up a bit:

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Now About That…

I realize a bit of posting today…but there was cause. Friday threw me a bit and now here we are and I also had this on my mind.

Brief but my thoughts.

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Somewhere out there, a social anthropologist is having a field day. Never mind war, grief, starvation…oh no. Pause all of humanity, as we do not all see the same way…literally and for reasons of evolution.

Anyone who works with witnesses, or psychology, will look at you and say something mire professional than what I have, which is, “Duh.”

Here is a more put together look at it. Great information and perspective. Amber’s thoughts

True, perception is a highly unique experience, and as such no two people see things the same way. The only issue is when we get to defining reality…that would be a whole other post. I refuse to accept reality as purely based upon perception as if that were true, were I to then tricky myself into perceiving that I am a millionaire then I would be…wait for it…maybe a little longer…what? That didn’t work? Aw, Reality, though art a harsh mistress.

Yet, peope were losing their minds online. Family rifts were created and mended. Friends for decades are no longer on speaking terms all because of the colors of a dress.

You know, aside from a few happy doctoral candidates who now have topics, and data, to write about as they hope to earn a PhD, the breadth of the Internet was likewise clogged with uproar, apathy, and humor. God bless Photoshop.

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I am just sitting back and wondering if at moments like this, is the Internet a blessing or a curse? One thing is for certain, as a world we are now much more connected. The miracle of the Internet.

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A Moment of Silence

Today many in the nerd community, specifically the Trek community, will be observing a moment of silence for the passing of Leonard Nimoy today as he is laid to his final rest.

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I have many friends who are among the communities, myself included. Many have spoken about this great man, and have put together their words so much better than I can muster on the subject. The New York Times had a great piece trying to encapsulate his legacy.New York Times article.

He was more than Spock. He was a mentor, a philosopher, a leader, an artist, a singer, and above all I admire the man for his compassion and his humor, and above even this his humanity.

His thoughts always remind me of finding center, even in a turbulent time.

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It must also be noted he was not only Zen, logical, he was also cool.

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Like many I feel this way as well:

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May he be at peace in a garden that is like no garden any among the living have seen. A place so serene and sacred the poets find themselves at a loss for words and blush in frustration at language’s limitations.

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Transitioning to Laughter

I appreciate all of the warm thoughts and comfort. Thank you all.

Given the Taoist nature of the world for every down there is also an up. That is where I found myself reflecting on family still, and then loving comedy…film to be precise.

First, a bit of humor while I was in Philly. There was this gem:

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At City Tavern.

A historic tavern, City Tavern, where for all the tourists to see the staff dons the old Colonial wear as the establishment is rumored to have been host to the early authors of the Constitution. It could be hype, it could be real, either way they were lovely people and they had an outstanding Colonial ale selection and food as well. (It is a long story, but to be brief when I flew in we had to go directly to the viewing and as then we were too early my mother, stepfather, and I, had to bide our time until we could go…and of all places this church was right by Indepence Hall and the historic district. So there we were at the historic City Tavern and the host was so nice we stayed and waited there for a bit by the bar.)

Then there is the lighter side of the family, my godmother and Aunt Karen trying to give either a peace sign or bunny ears, we shall never know. Bubba, my grandmother was not quite ready for the flash but she smiled a second later.

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All of the girls.

When I got home it was work, work, work…and then more hectic scheduling. Meh, as my friend Jessica would say.

While processing all this I find myself snowed in a bit, your snow Amber has us in a bit of a state which is sad really. Colorado should be used to this…I blame a lack of practice from last year. As I was working, not much headway sadly, I became distracted by what has to be the best of the Cornetto trilogy: Hot Fuzz.

My sister, (best gift evah!), got me a signed copy from Simon Pegg! I needed a pick me up of good laughs, and well it worked so well.

If you need a good laugh, and like British humor, watch this! I know everyone loves Shaun of the Dead, I do too, but blasphemous as it is I prefer and adore Hot Fuzz as the best of the trilogy.

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All star cast (even the original cop from The Wicker Man talk about shout outs to cops films), hidden wit, just about every cop movie joke and reference you could make. If you watch the special features…okay my film nerd is showing too much now and the Oscars are on I know. I often do not agree with them though…however NPH and Benedict Cumberbatch could get me to cave and watch it…or wait til it is up on Youtube. Meh.

Trust me, Hot Fuzz is worth it though! The lines, “He’s not Judge Judy and executioner!” Timothy Dalton debonairly uttering, “My, my, here comes the Fuzz.” He would have made a great Muppet. :)

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He Played Zither

Well, I am back…again.

I sit back thinking of the odd serendipity of sorts, how it happened. It was like he timed it himself or something. I guess in a way he did.

You see prior to my grandfather’s passing my mother arranged to have a family reunion of sorts, her children all gathered at her home with son-in-law, daughter-in-law, and grandchild on the way. It was the last weekend my sister’s doctor would let her travel via airplane, and she just wanted to see us all together…and off season is easier at times to arrange.

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(My sister-in-law, brother, sister with one on the way, myself, and my brother-in-law at my mother’s home for the mini-reunion. )

They flew in Thursday night and we were to all get together Friday (I live in the same town so I was at my place). My grandfather passed away around 3:30 am Friday. When my mother found out later that morning, she had all of her children with her.

Another odd and eerie fact, it was also two days from the time the War Department sent my great-grandmother a telegram informing her that her son was killed in action on Feb, 8th, 70 years ago. Clearly, they were wrong. Still we thought that was odd too…like you could hear the Twilight Zone music in the background but not in a creepy way.

Then I reflect on how it is, at least with my grandfather’s generation, we overall seem to know so little of their life story until their passing. My aunt Lisa explained that for him, he would often say, “it will not help you.” In other words why burden you with his stories…but in reality they were such treasures. He was so humble at times I confess it feels a bit intimidating being his granddaughter.

So it was that when I got to Philadelphia, attended the viewing I began to hear all of the stories that were hitherto kept back…and I will leave it at “wow.” Seriously, I need to write more about this.

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(My grandparents are in the center with two friends at their sides at the Hoffbrau Haus.)

I will share though, aside from a brief war story, he also was proud of his German heritage. He was a president of the German Society of Philadelphia for approximately 19 years (and yes he fought the Germans during the war…he may have been German, but he was also very much American and he could not stand Hitler). He was very active in the German-American community, most importantly he was a lover of good food and music.

My grandfather’s mother insisted he play the zither (traditional German folk instrument). He played it until his fingers would no longer let him, and then people played it for him. He would sing along, in German of course.

Even though his passing is something we have been expecting for some time, it still hits you. As my friend Cassie said, “you are never truly ready to say goodbye to someone you love.” She was right, but he had led a good and full life, 96, and that does help to have in my mind as I say goodbye.

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(My brother, mother, self, and stepfather in front of his portrait at The German Society by the Tower named after him. He was very proud of it since the elevator helped the older folks get to the library, and books were very important to my grandfather.)

I prefer to remember him at his 90th birthday, happy and singing.

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(At his 90th, my sister and brother beside him as I snapped a quick photo. There was a lot of singing and good food that day.)

To that end, I hope to have a video of what a zither sounds like. Aside from a beer garden in Bavaria, I do not think it common to hear a lot though I did growing up. He always played it. And now the sound will always remind me of him. It would be sad if the instrument goes out of use altogether, he would be sad too. As it stands he left behind four at his home, and his only request was that they be put to use, to be with someone who would play them and not sit somewhere collecting dust out of sentiment. That was the kind of man he was and I am proud to have called him Pop-pop.

Being At Peace

I may have more to say…

But for now I am more wrapped in the following, dealing, flying at some point: My grandfather has passed (my mother’s father). It is of no surprise in that we have been prepared for some time. He was 96, bedridden, it was only a matter of time. After all, humans are not as of this time immortal. Having read some tales on immortality, there are definite downsides.

The more I learn of his life, the more I think…wow…and then, I am one of his granddaughters (actually on this side of the family we are the only grandchildren compared to the Irish side–so there is my brother, myself, and my sister). Then I wonder…am I worthy? I have fought in no war per se, I have a similar career so far, I do try to live honestly with compassion for all (it can be trying at times with some people), and this above all–to thine own self be true.

Current things I am working on makes me wonder especially. I wish I could write more about it but I have to wait to before I can declare what I have been working on. Modern era after all. Discretion can be a good thing from time to time.

Meantime, I am reflecting on his life as I prepare to go to Philadelphia. Such a life…I remind myself I have yet 60 years left to write my story should I live as long as he. And truly I hope to be a good addition to the tale of family he wrote.

The Phoenix

No, not the university, though I have recently taken a class, virtually of course, and no, not the stadium where the Patriots apparently threw down with the Seahawks (I lost five dollars on that game and my Seattle relatives are still grieving), no, I mean to draw attention to the mythical and symbolic creature, the phoenix itself.

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First, before going on and speaking of fire, of course I blogged for Imbolc…I just have it on my other page. Fire musings to be found here Mistress of Myth.

Second, I still go to Isis (said metaphysical store my friend introduced me to a ways back) on Sundays (not all though or as often but still do a bit) and that is when I learned a good friend of mine was making a big life change–much like the Phoenix (mythical creature reborn out of its ashes, a fire bird of sorts symbolic of great change, power, and renewal).

Namely, my friend Kami will now be at the store, Isis Books, more often as she has quit her regular day job and now has gone in to business for herself. She is the owner and operator of Firebright Wellnes (her site is hereFirebright Site), as a reiki healer, and a tarot reader, as well as recent breast cancer survivor/mentor. Kami’s experience with cancer was profound and she noted in her journey how nice it would be if those of an alternative spiritual path had the same kind of support other faiths have for such a traumatic experience. Likewise, she credits her work with Reiki as integral to her recovery and survival.

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Kami's company logo. I like the art myself, done by her husband, Will. He has talent with graphics and runes.

I know, Reiki is one of those topics that is a bit controversial in the health industry. Tests and studies have both proved and disproved its effectiveness. Considering my friend and her journey I edge toward belief. I also admit my bias. At times there is something in Western medicine that I feel we miss, and that is the “humanity” of the science of healing. We are more than body parts and systems. I will defer from digression on energy, soul, and philosophical nature of reality and what it means to be human.

Anyway, Kami is venturing into the unknown armed with faith, talent, gifts (spiritual and mental–she is quick and makes me laugh a good deal) in this world of small business ownership. Also, I confess she did read my cards for Christmas and she was quite accurate so far…I will let you know how it goes. :)

So this post is a bit of a press release and a bit of a homage to change as both Kami and another friend of mine has embraced a new course in life.

And the emblem for her business? A phoenix.

It fits perfectly in so many ways.

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The phoenix can be so beautiful...from templeofthephoenix.org.

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