Learning How to Let Go

by Lushrain

It took me a long time to learn to let things go and even longer to actually let them go. Even now I still hold on to things.  For me being able to let small things slide and not hold on to hurt feelings has made me a much happier person.

I have found that most of us hold on to these feelings for the following 4 reasons:

The inability to forgive
Letting go isn’t the same as forgiveness. You can let something go without forgiving the person who has hurt you. Holding on to things people can’t change and still hoping that time will turn back and things will be different does no good for you or them. If they have apologized sincerely and you think they won’t do it again, let it go and forgive them. If you think they will do it again let it go and either try to help them not repeat those actions or let it go. You will remember it when you need to.

—–Want to punish those who have done you wrong
The harsh truth is the world has many selfish people who do bad things that go unpunished. Allowing yourself to hold all of this negative energy when it won’t change the situation isn’t going to help you at all. You are giving them the power by allowing their actions to affect your life in a ripple past their misdeeds.

—–Not wanting the same thing to happen again
You think holding on to these emotions will allow you to protect yourself from being hurt again. Where it  that might be true, it is also stopping you from being open again to good feelings and emotions.

—-Easier to hold on to it than to let it go
Holding on to anger/frustration/hurt at someone and not letting it out in any constructive way isn’t helping yourself. These feelings are just making you more angry/frustrated/sad and taking up your valuable time. When we let go of useless anger/frustrations it frees up our mind/spirit for awesome great things to come our way. We are opening ourselves to love and meaningful relationships.

If you notice each of those reasons really feed off of each other. We won’t forgive someone until we feel they have been sufficiently punished. However, holding on to grudges, hurt, anger is unproductive and destructive to your own self. It will cause you stress, sickness, and sadness.

Productive ways to purge these feelings:

—-Talking to the person who has wronged you in a calm matter:
It is easy to approach the person who has wronged you with mean words and elevated voice but in the end it just puts you as the aggressor and them as the victim. You won’t get the response you want with yelling or insulting. Direct and calm approach is usually the most effective way.

—-Venting with caution:
I try to vent to be able to  get these feelings out as quickly as possible and if I can rectify the situation quickly I will.  You also need to realize things need to  calm down to decide an appropriate response. It helps to have someone who is impartial to help decipher what an appropriate response is and if one is even necessary. Venting may help you expunge all of these emotions.  You will also need to be cognisant of yourself when you are using the venting as a way to get yourself more riled and when it truly helps.

—-Choosing your battles
It will take lots of time to figure out the battles to fight. In my personal experience I realize that the battles I want to fight are so inconsequential. When I engage a battle that is just down right silly , I try to apologize to the person who I have gotten angry, and as quickly as possible after I have engaged them. It is helpful to think if  a) coming to them will fix the situation  b)what do you want fixed  c) is there a compromise that can be reached

I am not saying doing this stuff is easy. It is easy to want to crawl back into the negative space.  It is still hard for me to let go of things that bother me or people who do me wrong.

Things I do every day to think positively about my life:

–Daily happy list of things that make me feel good that day. Bad things will happen to me and it may suck and I may cry and feel hopeless. Trying to find the good in a hopeless occasion is usually that one ray that will help me pull through to the happy again.

–Disassociate and not engage with people who cultivate negativity. If I can avoid people who are constantly negative I will. I also will not engage their negative emotions if I have to deal with them. I will try to be as positive and happy as I can around them.

–Focus some of my energy making sure the people around me feel loved and are taken care of. I think most of us do this but I really try hard to let people in my life who may not know (or heard from me in a while) that I am sincerely thinking about them and love them.

I understand that these tasks may be hard for some and it may be easier on me since my head is a bit more logical but I can testify that my life has been filled with so much joy since I have let go of negativity.

Sexual Health and Chronic Pain

by Jules from whatthejules.com

I remember the first time I heard the line “not tonight, I have a headache”. I was too young to have any idea what it meant. Everyone around me laughed, so I laughed too. It wasn’t until much later, when I understood what it meant, that it made even less sense to me. I wished from that moment on I could go back to not knowing what that lame line meant.

I have never, in my life understood making excuses for not having sex. If you don’t want to have sex, simply say “Hey, I don’t really feel like doing it tonight, I’ll give you a have a rain check.” If you are not in a place in your relationship where you can be that open with your partner, I can tell you right now that using pain as an excuse is really not the way to go, trust me. Pain is not your excuse to skip sex. Rather, pain is your reason to have more sex.

Before you write me off as totally nuts, give me a few paragraphs to explain myself.

There is no way I am saying that regardless of your level of pain you should be always saying “yes” to sex. I am not saying that you should ignore your discomfort and say “yes” to sex even if you aren’t feeling up to it. What I am telling you is that there are many ways that sex and intimacy can help you to overcome pain.

I am not a doctor. I don’t even play one on TV or the Internet. I am a person. I am a woman. I have chronic pain, I am married, and I like to have sex. So I speak on those simple levels of authority. I know what I know based on my experience and on some research. This is research you can do too, if you want to.

Let’s start with the silly headache story. Research at Columbia University (and bedrooms all over the world) shows that orgasm releases endorphins which in turn can relieve and often remove the offending headache.

Obviously, I have made a simple statement with far reaching implications. I can take the endorphin releasing orgasm now and apply it to so many different aches and pains across the body. Tiny steps in logic tell us we have some great medicine here in the endorphin. We even know where to get it.

That does not solve another problem: when it hurts enough that you don’t even want to go there.

Ya, I hear you.

You don’t have to start with the full fireworks show, you can start with sparklers. This is especially true if your chronic pain has kept you from intimacy for an extended period. It might be awkward and painful to try it all at once. Many couples that experience chronic pain or any chronic illness in the relationship have grown apart on this level and will have to work to achieve intimacy again. It’s almost like you are a new couple again. Don’t expect that you are going to pick up where you left off before the pain started.

You can start slowly and still get some benefit from our friend the happy endorphin. This is not a “go big or go home” situation. What are you most physically and emotionally comfortable with?

Here are some simple suggestions:

Just One Part: Hands, Feet, Neck, Shoulders. Pick a part you would like touched, or rubbed. Use a lotion or oil you both like the smell and feel of and take turns massaging just that part for each other. There is no pressure to go any further than just that part.

Hair Brushing: I don’t know about you but I love having my hair brushed. 5 minutes of having my hair brushed can be both intimate and calming. Later if you want to combine that with some other things… well ya…

Bathing: Showing or taking a bath together can be fantastic. If this is still too intimate after an extended period of no intimacy, perhaps even some time in the hot tub?

Talking About It: There is a reason that “sexting” and phone sex are so popular. Words are very powerful. Why not create a comfortable environment for your words. Sit together, lay together in the dark and hold hands, or sit in different rooms and text, whatever works for you: now use your words. You never know where it will lead, wherever it goes: let it.

The goal here is also, in part, distraction. Intimacy and closeness with your partner is an excellent distraction from this lousy chronic pain. You are able to work with your body in a way that is pleasurable instead of painful.

I started this project with the singular goal of compiling other articles. Then I wanted to write an introduction for those links, then this happened. My goodness. So, here are some articles by people that are probably a lot smarter and better qualified than I am on this subject:

How People In Chronic Pain Can Revive Their Sex Lives

Sexuality and Chronic Pain: Mayo Clinic

Chronic Pain and Sex: A couple’s fibromyalgia story

Wired.Com: When Sex Is A Pain

What to do when Pain Meds Dull Your Sex Life

7 Reasons Sex Does A Body Good

Thank you @cinnamaldehyde and @beyondempathy for your inspiration

Rebel Without A Pause– s1e5: This Isn’t Happening?

by BrotherDarkness AKA Butch Rosser

You can imagine I was pleasantly stunned when I found out my last column had earned me a fan who asked the justifiable question “What in the world possibly goes on in (my) brain?” (italics and parenthesis mine)  Somebody who cared asked and as usual I feel compelled to answer honestly.

I’m awake.  It’s almost 9:30 am.

It’s too early for me.

And I am goddamned hungover.

If I hadn’t remembered I was hungover, I would know it now, because there’s a facsimile Lincoln hat on my nightstand which is shining a little bit in the early morning sunlight and holding two bags of chips I got at a party last night.  You see, last night somebody I barely knew who didn’t remember the time we met last year was having her birthday party at a hot new club in town.  I spent yesterday doing not much, while things got done: business e-mails for the future, hot tracks I want to play in the club &/or in my personal life, recovering from heartbreak, wondering if I knew the next girl, backtabbing where I’m going to move to later, et al.

But none of those things were my focus yesterday.  They were merely planets orbiting the sun of my main thought: do I go to this birthday party at a hot new club in town where somebody I barely know probably isn’t going to remember the time we met last year?  A Costanzian dystopia spit out innumerable reactions and mudslides of personal humiliation, professional embarrassment, social awkwardness, and acute discomfort in anything from the possibly of badly made drinks made by bartenders new to me to running into an ex-girlfriend or some sort of single-serving friend I’d bumped uglies with a time or six.

In addition to THAT, I knew for a fact that I would be having happy hour two blocks away far before the party and that I would have actual friends at a little dive bar where my friend was singing some jazz standards a block away from this party and would be highly likely to show up at that event at some point in the evening as well.

The thought still centered about do I go to this particular party or not, and you know what choice I ended up making.  But let’s follow that answer with Occam’s Question: why?

The answer to Occam’s Question centers around part of the reason why I’ve been up for mere moments, groaning lowly the whole time, rueing the effect of all the free drinks I downed almost as much as the fact I’m in this bed alone and it occurs to me that while I’m not the only person going through some form of this mindset right now that the only person who really understands me at this moment is James Murphy.

The name isn’t familiar except to music cognoscenti like me, so let me see if I can get more eyeballs into this tent–James Murphy is the founder and lead singer and multi-armed instrumentalist behind LCD Soundsystem.  For the past five years his lyrics have become less things that pass through my ears and more things that’ve wrapped themselves around my heart and brain.  And now, of course, he’s leaving to go on to the next thing in his life.  Maybe a new band, despite all his clucking to the contrary, or maybe just settling back into position in his leadership role guiding DFA Records and the likes of Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Hot Chip, maybe dropping a dope remix banger here or there.  This isn’t going to be a hipster diatribe about James moving on with his life and leaving me in the lurch to sip champagne out of the asses of supermodels on 56-foot yachts; this is going to be a weird, small piece about how he exposed me to a new life before I even got into it, is the soundtrack for it, taught me all sorts of major and minor truths, and now that he’s gone…who’s going to do it?

You see, at first I was just a guy who was borderline obsessive about music (to the absolute surprise of everyone reading this, I’m sure) who admired DJs and went to clubs.  But while I knew top 40 stuff, that wasn’t my world.  Old school hip hop was my world.  Maybe classic rock.  Maybe stuff I didn’t know & knew I couldn’t do, some ineffable sound of the future yet to be realized.

And then somebody dropped Losing My Edge on me, a hilarious seven-and-a-half minute Bizarro World version of Sympathy For The Devil in which the protagonist, voiced by Murphy over beats I could’ve made on a Casio when I was 5 can’t focus on the fact he’s virtually introduced Nico to Lou Reed or Fab Five Freddy to Deborah Harry or started kicking Daft Punk tracks at gigs in the deserted, uncool part of town known as Brooklyn.  I’m losing my edge, he complains.  The cool kids are coming up from behind.  I’m losing my edge to better-looking people with better ideas and more talent.

This would’ve been a moment to bail on this oddball paranoia until he added the cruelest of poison-tipped knives in the heart with the next line: And they’re actually…really, really nice.

It took me a few listens of Losing My Edge to figure that he wasn’t making fun of the scene he was in or loved it to realize he was doing both, and throwing in some jabs at a mirror, too.  The sloppy Kraftwerkian funk that was propelling the track was intentional, the namedrop binge was as well, the lyrics that inverted and flipped on themselves was all part of the plan, and after I listened to Losing My Edge a few times I realized that the author, whoever they were and whatever fears they had in their head, was far from realizing the title.  I loved the style and lack thereof, was amused by the lyrics, and figured I would never hear from them again.

You know, something along the lines of the same train of thought I had after I heard Yellow for the first time.  Whatever happened to that sleepy-eyed Thom Yorke wannabe, anyhow?

And while LCD Soundsystem proceeded to blow up off of the also-funny but way more funky Daft Punk Is Playing At My House, it was the more inward Tribulations that won the honors on the self-titled debut for me, and explains why I am cursing the light and wishing for the darkness: downtempo as shit and full of wry frustration directed at SOMEBODY (muse?  lover?  ex?  producer?  friend? some mix-and-match combo of the aforelisted?) about mistakes that seem to keep on sticking, the way mistakes can haunt the soul as a ghost, and the seminal line for me off the song and album:

But it feels alright as long as something’s happening.

This hit me between jobs and off a breakup caused in part by being between jobs.  As I was starting to leave the conventional world and starting to build playlists.  As DJing friends would make me their bathroom break at the club and let me get on, a song here, two songs there, a small 15 minutes there while they lit up in the back alley or had their cupcake on the moment spit-polish their theme park in the bathroom.  But I kept the crowd going.  I swallowed down a continent’s worth of nerves and got competent.  I started going out more and watching more DJs.  I played some more here and there and stretched my hard drive to the breaking point with mp3s through all these trials and tribulations and started getting one-off payments from the nation.  I floated through day jobs as a hint of a cypher, but like Wheelchair Jimmy would do with less panache down the road I came alive in the nighttime to see the best DJs in the world, to drop a track here or there, to make other people lose themselves in the sound–well, not exactly the way I got lost in the sound because that way lays madness of psychotics, geniuses, and psychotic geniuses–but that they too would hear something, or something unexpected, and they could leave behind the ex and the bullshit day job and the mounting pressures of bills and the weird mixture of joy and envy that follows engagements, all of that.

I could turn up the soundsystem a little more and let them drop their infernal internal Rube Goldberg Mobius strips like bags on the stoop after a long vacation.

James was right: it always feels alright as long as something’s happening.  This is why I creep the streets at night more often than not, because I know what happens in the darkness of my mind and heart in my own residence–at some point, I have to face the fact I’m alone and 38 in white people years and I may have just blown it again.  No matter what awesome projects beckon in the future, no matter what interesting mashups I work on, no matter what friends reach out to me at the end of it you look into a monitor long enough and all you can see is your face sometimes.  So gimme some mirth!  Let me go out into the streets I’ve been in a thousand times that’ve changed 900 times, let me hobnob people barely a step up from virtual strangers, let me sip horribly overpriced cocktails at a rooftop in a place I hate but I’ll go when I can get in for free because my friend is on the decks, let me make a serious of possibly funny bon mots that lead to me crowning myself “the KING of 19th century assassination jokes” and look at my bedstand in momentary confusion the next day because Something’s Happening.

When I first started listening to LCD?  It feels like 13 lives ago.  That iteration of me bears a resemblance, but that’s all external.  Inside, I feel much different, like I’ve played Face/Off with myself in both roles using the past and the present and the future as the character archtypes. When Sound Of Silver came out as the second release from Murphy & Co. it was feted with the usual rave reviews from all the tastemakers, who pointed to the buyoant fun of the “Daft Punk”-esque North American Scum that was also touched upon in the title track and the epic that closed the album, New York, I Love You, But I’m Bringing You Down.  Those are some of my favorite tracks for all the reasons most people give, but it’s not my favorite track on the album, my favorite LCD song of all the times.

And I’m sure you’ll be unbelievably shocked to find that my favorite LCD song is the one song in the past five years that has made me cry.  In fact, almost nothing has made me cry in the past five years through some really shitstormy times and I can’t think of a counterargument to that.  But this song did it.  Every once in a great while, it still does.

All My Friends is Losing My Edge with every trace of the humor removed to the point where it, too, comes in at about seven and a half minutes, and it described what when I first heard it was Murphy’s average night in New York City, a night that begins around 11, maybe 10:30 since the city never sleeps.  (Oh, those lucky bastards who don’t have to close down at 1:30!  To quote a Hollywood friend of mine, San Diego will never be New Orleans.  Mostly because we see the ocean instead of get choked to death by it.)  But the thing about All My Friends that makes me cry is I feel that in it’s totality it best describes what my life is and has become, for better and for worse.  THIS life.  Not the one I was living when I first heard Edge, but life as I live it this moment down to the annoyingly loud clack that comes from my hitting keystroke to keyboard.  In fact, it’s playing in the background because I haven’t heard it in days, and despite the fact most of my life is looking up and it’s a brilliant day outside now I’m still fighting off tears a bit.

I cannot understate this: everyone would understand me better if they listened to this song.

It begins with going somewhere that isn’t your home to see how people — some of whom are probably your friends or have at least acted that way to your face in the recent past — have ranked you in a list, and then spinning a reaction to their reactions.  It ends with the plaintive hope that probably isn’t coming true of If I could see all my friends tonight. In the middle, it talks about the awkwardness of aging, the 21st century attempt to control fate known as the five-year plan, and the possibility all the fun you’re cramming in now becomes “this is tired” two hours from now, or less–in fact, it’s the underhanging fulcrum the entirety of the song/my life swings upon.

It should be noted: some times I go out and it is excellent.  It’s not a P. Diddy video, but it’s a tremendously good time.  It’s like the dinner scene in Goodfellas where Pesci tells the waiter to fuck his mother.  If I were to replay my memories in stillshot or video form the next day, it would be full of weird and interesting conversations, pretty women, drinks flowing (most of which I didn’t pay full price for), good music, broad smiles, no hassles at the door, a possible tumble in a bed (though this has gotten somewhat increasingly unnecessary as time goes on to me), a 24-hour Mexican food place to refuel, the sunrise being the last thing I see as I close my eyes.  You’re probably my friend on Facebook.  You’ve seen that photostream.

When it’s going badly, however, it’s going badly.  I don’t even mean the one time I got a drink thrown in my face (deserved, by the way), I mean the death by a thousand paper cuts where the hype emperor has no clothes.  Things’re just off, egos bruised, EDM, and being so fed up with the scene and your place in it you ditch the scene in media res only to get home and find out, oh, by the way, you’re not happy here either and there you sit in the dark being a vampire.

Being a vampire.

I have new slang to reflect my new life now.

The term “being a vampire” in my eyes when LCD first dropped was really just a synonym for what’s known as goth.  Now, that’s not the term I mean.  When I say being a vampire, it means leading a lifestyle based on being in some way part of the scene.  Photogs, DJs, writers, bartenders, go-go dancers, security guys, ad infinitum.  The people who keep the pulse going at the cost of being connected to a large part of most of the civilized world, all the freaks who come out at night.  All of my friends at nights.   If you’re more reachable at 10 pm than 10 am, if your alarm’s set for the crack of noon, if you look at people in general admission lines and chortle inwardly or outwardly, if you’ve ever had the Serato v. Vinyl discussion for consecutive seconds, VAMPYR!  But again, that’s a vampire in my eyes.  Most people?  Most people are civilians.  And now I’m beginning to refer to them as such, which raises an interesting question: since most people are civilians, most of my friends would have to be civilians, too, wouldn’t they?

And they are.

It’s taking a bit of a psychic toll, honestly.  I want to hang out with my long-time friends.  I want the messy interior of their lives and how they keep marriages going and children alive.  (I want to look at that from the outside, mind you.  Unless you’re ScarJo you probably shouldn’t expect me to be ready for all of that anytime soon.)  I want to remember all the stuff we talked about 13, 21, 45 lives ago and make old, familiar jokes about those times.

The problem is I love being a vampire too much at the end of the day, bad times and self-flagellation aside.  In the choice between the future and the past I am opting for door #1 — not without regret, but firmly nonetheless.  And more times than not, I don’t see all of my friends, or for that matter many of them, at least not with the frequency that I used to.  And it does get frustrating to be awesome in a vacuum and not have a familiar face of a “normie” you call friend lighting up back at you.

It can be punishingly lonely.  But when it’s not — when things, and in my case sometimes myself — when things are on it’s tiger blood wrapped in Adonis DNA dipped in cocaine served off of Scarlett Johansson it’s so good.  Like every other junkie in the history of mankind you chase the hit for the times where all the mental self-laceration and world worry just falls to the wayside and you feel like King Awesome Of Awesomestan decreeing that the Royal Card was BUILT for times like these, serf, and put some more grog on there for me and all the knights and princesses of my realm.

The best LCD Soundsystem lyrics reflect both of these sides of the coin, sometimes in the same song, sometimes in the same line.  Because James Murphy lived it, when he writes about it it’s not surprising it seems to reflect the darkest (or lightest) reaches of my head.

When Drunk Girls came out last year, it got torn apart so fast you would’ve thought it was attached to James Franco’s shoulder in 127 Hours.  I was, and remain highly amused by this.  Of course people focused on the part where DRUNK GIRLS! or DRUNK BOYS! was repeated, the same way everybody ignored the drug use and oral sex in the verses of Semi-Charmed Life so they could doot-doot-doot along to the chorus and the same way people looked at the Genie In A Bottle video and thought “What a cute young woman!” instead of listening to the words and thinking “I could probably anally fistfuck this chick by the fourth date” the way history has proven the larger truths.  Of course they did.  They’re people.  Civilians.  But for a dork like me?  A creature of the night?  A pulse-setter who takes the one of his own emotions every waking moment and most sleeping ones?  I got the undertones, the fulcrum.  As much as I liked the analogy of love being akin an astronaut who comes back but they’re never the same, about 100 seconds in Murphy wrote what’re IMSNHO his best lyrics in his entire discography, lyrics that may’ve made me cry if I’d encountered them earlier in life but now just seem to be an autobiography written by him about someone he’s never met distilled to 8 lines quoted here in entirety:

Just ’cause I’m shallow doesn’t mean that I’m heartless
Just ’cause I’m heartless doesn’t mean that I’m mean
Sometimes love gives us too many options
Just ’cause you’re hungry doesn’t mean that you’re lean
I’ve heard lies that could curdle your heartstrings
A couple of truths maybe burn out your eyes
But drunk boys, drunk boys leave their irons in the fireplace
‘Cause drunk girls give them too many tries

If I wasn’t such a pussy and was built like the Rock I would get this tattooed on my person as a constant reminder of who I am, where I’ve been, and where I’m trying to go to and what to avoid in the new realm.  Especially that last one.  James Murphy’s last album starts with the song Dance Yrself Clean, and leads into this.  The songs Somebody’s Calling Me & Home are also consecutive tracks, and if you think that’s a coincidence the cubicle is cutting off circulation to your brain.  A man singing I can change if it helps you fall in love just gets it, and pretty soon his band is going to knock out four sold-out shows at Madison Square Garden and apparently, that will be the end of them.  I really wish it wasn’t.  His insights have been the bridge I’ve been walking over for a better part of a decade, and now that my own career is starting to go up the stratosphere he’s willingly coming back down to Earth?  I suppose that’s just the way these things go, I guess.

But I owe Murphy more than I can state, or maybe will ever fully realize.

So I sit, and listen to the piano, continue to comb the lyrics and the sound like Temperance Brennan, and wonder who will step in and be my bridge into the next life or four.

And that, in part, should be a horribly detailed answer to the question “What in the world possibly goes on in my brain?”

LUBE “RHI” CATION

by Blondeinred

With Blondeinred the naughty Aussie with her finger on…. The pulse of the adult novelty industry.

I’m the Blondeinred – KATG devotee (more about devoteeism in a later addition) and adult store worker here in Brisbane Australia. Each edition I will bring you a toy review and some cheeky ways that you can spice up your “self love” or raise the temperature of your partner play. My ethos behind toys is that every toy you invest your hard earned cash in should have at least three ways of using it, so as to get more bang for your buck, yank for your yen or pounding for your pound. So lets rock this out lets Lube-RHI-cated.

The We-vibe II- Not just for the ladies.

You would be forgiven for thinking that a toy, that’s rechargeable – wearable and shaped for female comfort would be just a toy for the ladies. Well here’s the surprise, the WE-Vibe II is a multi-speed vibe that boys love!

Too often the brothers are left out of the game when it comes to toys, but the we-vibe is truly the first vibe that is completely unisex in nature. So when she is out, pop into her naughty drawer, grab a awesome quality Digital Playground DVD and place the wevibe around the base of your penis. Lube is optional but it will make they whole experience more slippy, exciting and much less grippy.

Whilst giving yourself manual stimulation cup the we-vibe around your hand and slide away. Using the we-vibe as such leads to intense orgasms and is a fantastic way to get used to vibrations when you go for gold during partner play. Ladies using the we-vibe on your boy is just as easy. Avoid those “Girls don’t give hand-jobs arguments”, cup the we-vibe in your palm and start stroking that gearstick of LOOOOVEEE. After your session of sexy self-lovin, please ensure that you clean her we-vibe with a quality all-natural toy-cleaner and pop that little dynamo on recharge for later use.

Quick Tip:

Don’t prod her with plastic – pleasure her with a passionate press of your bunny ears.

A quick and favorite tip as to the best way to use a vibe on your partner – Don’t poke at her with that plastic like your tapping out morse code. Hold your vibe in your hand and extend your fingers out like bunny ears and then make gentle circles on her place-of-passion and bring her up to a slow intense orgasm. The skin against skin contact feels amazing and much more natural that Rubber Lovin.

This has been Blondeinred getting LUBE-RHI-CATED for the RhiPost, please forward your toy questions to blondeinred@hotmail.com

Inspiration

by Rhian, Editor

Everyone has someone that has impacted them in some way. I used to run in fairly high-profile circles, and people of celebrity or such status never phased me. We are all just people. As long as you aren’t a jackass for the sake of being a jackass or hiding the true you to harm others, we’ll probably get along. At least I will go in with the intent to like you. Cross me though, no matter who you are, we are done.
There is one inspiration for me that has inspired me my adult life. We have a connect, and I cannot believe I have not met her yet. Today, I had to take a chance – something I can’t pass up – Oprah is having Stevie Nicks on the show. I submitted an essay and 3 pictures of myself to the show. It is not something that I would usually do, however I would like to share a bit of someone very special to me with you, and in my hopes to thank her in person for what she has done for me.
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Stevie Nicks has impacted my life in so very many ways. I was a professional dancer and teacher (ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, hip hop etc) Sometimes I was compared to Cyd Charrise. I lived for singing, dancing and made it my life and career. Stevie was a huge part of my inspiration, on the stage and off. Her words and music, stories and truths are incredible to hear. She has shared her gift of life with us all.
As anyone, Stevie has had her many struggles. She taught me that it is okay not to be strong for all of the people all of the time – but that it is not a weakness, it is human. Besides having ethereal beauty, and a voice of no other it is her presence. I was lucky enough to see her in concert twice.
I have since had to quit working as a dancer, and stop working altogether. Four years ago in April, my life that I knew it stopped. I was diagnosed with the potentially fatal auto-immune disease Lupus (SLE). I became progressively worse quite fast. From owning the stage, I can barely walk now more than a few steps on my own, and the pain is incredible. I am from Canada but I spend the winters in San Diego due to the harsh Ottawa winters. Simple things are such a challenge. In the scary moments, I went to Stevie. Rhiannon, Gold Dust Woman, Rock a Little…her lyrics help me keep fighting in a fight that is is too easy to give in. I have lost all income, means, not on any social assistance – but I have Stevie’s music, DVDs, books, history – as much as I can allow with what I can manage.
I would love the chance to meet Stevie, to thank her in person for the gifts she has and continues to give me. And maybe we can compare ballet stories…Thank you for this possible opportunity.
http://rhian-smokeandmirrors.blogspot.com

The Method

by Dean from Australia

Every now and then, there are certain books, films and/or music, which I have always enjoyed, that I return to whenever I am feeling in an emotional trough. I often hit these troughs…perhaps more so lately because, as I approach my middle 30’s I find myself feeling less sure of myself than ever. I can’t explain what it is…well…perhaps I can. There have been a number of critical incidences in my life that I can relate that have surely shaped me into the person I am now. It is the books, the movies and the music that I have grown up with that serve me well as a therapy. They lift me up or, alternatively, they allow me to wallow for a time in my sadness or otherwise. Even sadness can be therapeutic…to a point.

The ‘Rocky’ series of movies are just one example.

I first saw Rocky back when in first premiered on television in the early 1980’s. Testament to the impact the movie had on me, I still have the VHS recording I made of it, complete with the 1980’s era ads which are an absolute tripper to watch even now, some 25 odd years later.

Last Friday night, after the family had packed themselves off to bed and I found myself with free reign over the lounge room, I rifled through my DVD collection looking for something that I could indulge my ‘lost in the wilderness’ mood. I happened upon ‘Rocky 2’ – the one where Rocky wins.

For, like an hour and a half I was transported yet again – back to a simpler time where the world wasn’t so complicated. There was Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky, arguably his most successful creation, fresh from his monumental bout with Apollo Creed – basking in the glow of heroic recognition, of having gone the distance with one of the greatest heavy weight boxers in the world.

Rocky 2 sees Rocky Balboa on a journey of seeking his identity. Following the climatic bout from the first movie he is thrust into a world of celebrity. He marries his sweet heart, Adrian. He is about to become a father. He wrestles with trying to make a life for himself beyond the boxing ring but finds the world an even harsher, unforgiving place. All of these events serve as sign posts for Rocky to discover who he is as a human being. Though he encounters conflict from everyone – especially those whom he loves the most – Rocky comes to the realization that his identity is that of a fighter and to try and deny this is to deny a core individual truth.

And no matter how distasteful that may be to some, the importance of himself, knowing who he is becomes paramount in this hero’s journey. Without having that jewel of knowing who he is, he cannot be the successful husband, the lover, the father.

This quest for identity is one factor that lifts Rocky up and helps him to prevail in the emotionally charged re-match at the end of Rocky 2.

Through my tears of getting wrapped up in the hero’s journey of Rocky 2 (I mean c’mon! Men are allowed to cry at movies!!) I began to recognize the significance of the choice I made last Friday night in selecting Rocky 2 over all the other films in my collection.

The themes portrayed in that film mirror the emotional point I find myself at right now. I find that worthy of discussion…so I will discuss it!

In 2006, DK books put out a fantastic companion piece to the Rocky series on the back of the release of the (?) final movie ‘Rocky Balboa’.

By the time the final credits had concluded with that ubiquitous dedication to the memory of Jane Oliver, I had plucked the book out and was examining it in my newly charged reflective state of mind. It was then that I made the exciting assertion that the Rocky films 1 through 6 encapsulate what I regard as my 5 stages of man.

These are maturing from youth, the quest for identity, identity challenged, relationships and the dignity of relevance.

I should stress here that these 5 stages of man are not to be confused with the 5 stages of man from Greek Mythology. And I should also add here that in discussing these stages, I have the works of Joseph Campbell, particularly ‘The Hero’s Journey’, in the back of my mind.

‘Rocky’ (or Rocky 1 – as the purist will call it) can be regarded as a metaphor for the hero maturing from his youth. In the beginning we see Rocky Balboa as a young man from Philadelphia, a two bit club fighter with limited resources, limited education but a limitless (if unrefined) skill in the art of boxing. He emerges from a disadvantaged youth with potential but no means to focus that potential. It becomes the role of the wise sage – in this case, the grizzled boxing coach Mickey Goldmill – to refine Rocky’s potential and then to focus it towards a transcendental event – once in a life time shot at the title of the Heavyweight Boxing Championship of the World.

During this stage of his journey Rocky deals with the truth that he has to leave behind the reckless attitudes of adolescence and mature into a more considered human being. That, in order to achieve you have to work, to sacrifice, and to grow. Getting by on a front of smart arsed charm will get you nowhere because despite what you think you know, you actually know nothing.

For some, this maturing from youth takes a long time to realize. Rocky Balboa, himself, is a young man in his late 20’s when we first meet him. I came to the realization of my limitations a few years earlier in my 20’s. At that point I began a process of sitting up, taking notice and pulling my shit together.

Rocky goes the distance with one of the most unforgiving boxers in the world against all the odds. And despite losing the bout on points Rocky attains a new level of respect from the crowd his opponent and his manager because he has, in his struggle, matured beyond the callowness of youth and become a man. This milestone of maturing from youth hits a critical point in the early years of manhood but the stage itself persists throughout life.

I have already explored the quest for identity as it relates to ‘Rocky 2’ so the natural progression of this is the identity challenged as is portrayed in ‘Rocky 3’.

With the “Hero’s Journey” in mind we explore the notion of identity being challenged in ‘Rocky 3’. Challenged by success, by celebrity and adulation, by loss and grief and finally by rediscovery and redemption.

Celebrity and adulation, the spoils of success can be seen as a blessing and a curse. Rocky’s success brings with it the nobility of being able to provide for his family, to invest in a future and to indulge in the finer things. But in doing so he becomes complacent. Rocky, perhaps unconsciously, leaves important career decisions to others – to his manager Mickey Goldmill, to his accountants, to his wife even. For his own reasons Mickey, in particular, takes it upon himself to protect Rocky by vetting his opponents. By only putting Rocky up against men whom he’s sure Rocky can defeat easily. Because he knows there is, out there, a challenger who can defeat Rocky, a challenger who possesses a clearer sense of self than Rocky does at this moment.

Rocky himself embraces the celebrity he has achieved. He uses it philanthropically and thus admirably in making life for local youth better than his own youth. But Rocky also indulges – training for his bouts in swanky hotels, in front of cameras and fans that lap up his avarice.

All the while we watch a new challenger, Clubber Lang as he studies Rocky, watching how complacent Rocky has become.

Rocky’s identity is challenged by complacency. He has lost focus of who he is – a fighter, a man whose greatest skill is embracing challenge.

When the wise sage, Mickey, falls critically ill prior to Rocky’s first confrontation with Lang, Rocky realizes that he is faced with awful truth that he has neglected his identity. That because he has allowed others to carry his ‘self’ he has put at risk that quality which he struggled so much to covet.

With the death of Mickey and his crushing defeat at the hands of Lang, Rocky has lost himself. He grapples with the realization that all which he has achieved is nothing without a surety of self. He feels alone and unsure of how to proceed.

A chance for redemption comes in the form of his former opponent Apollo Creed. Creed recognizes during that disastrous last bout that Rocky’s identity has been challenged to brink of total loss.

Apollo begins the process of Rocky’s rediscovery of self by helping Rocky to see that they now share a common experience – that of their identity being challenged by complacency.

In order to redeem himself Rocky must deconstruct himself, to relearn that which made him a champion to begin with. He must go to the dirt, the filth and the sweat of the old school gym. By stripping away the complacent layers of himself Rocky can confront the truth of why he lost himself.

And it is during that quest that Rocky realizes that he can longer rely on the wisdom of older, father figures like Mickey to guide him as a man. It is his contemporaries, his friends Paulie, Apollo, his loved ones – most significantly – his wife Adrian who provide counsel. But where he had been guided before, Rocky can only consider their advice now and make decisions himself. He realizes that he alone must confront the greatest challenge to his identity – fear – in order to redeem it.

Rocky Balboa endures these challenges as part of a process of continued personal growth. He ultimately prevails because he recognizes that his identity – his sense of self – is more important than materialism and celebrity. His victory over Clubber Lang at the conclusion of ‘Rocky 3’ represents not so much a victory of endeavor but a victory of identity.

This is the salient truth which I have applied within my own experience.

I’ll skip over Rocky 4 because, in my mind, it has little to offer this discussion.

Rocky 5 though regarded as the weakest film in the series, nevertheless offers useful material with which to explore my fourth stage of man.

The relationships that we form throughout our lives are pivotal in helping us to define who we are. Though it can be said that the importance of relationships is a theme that carries through the entire Rocky series, Rocky 5 valiantly, if somewhat unsuccessfully, attempts to focus upon the familial relationships that sustain Rocky Balboa.

Rocky’s son, Robert has grown up in the security of wealth. He has never wanted for anything. He has been given the kind of parental love and attention that was so sorely missing from Rocky’s own childhood.

When an unfortunate turn of events see the collapse of Rocky’s wealth and security, he is forced to move his family back to where it all began – the mean streets of Philadelphia’s south side.

For his son Robert, this represents a seismic shift from that which he is accustomed. The relationship with his father becomes paramount in this unfamiliar environment as he tries to adjust to a harsh school, limited friends and an uncertain future.

For Rocky, the loss of prestige and wealth are devastating but, as always, his embrace of the struggle, the fighting instinct allows him to find a path forward. He returns to the gym that was left to him by his manager Mickey, one of the material assets that he hasn’t lost. Rocky searches for meaning once again in the sweat and the leather and finds it in the form of a promising young boxer Tommy Gunn.

Rocky takes it upon himself to train and manage Gunn and they quickly forge a bond reminiscent of that which was held between Rocky and Mickey. They travel the country, spending long periods away from the family. Success comes to this new duo and Rocky indulges in the limelight of it. It is a chance at redemption though this redemption is more material than soulful.

Rocky’s son, who is struggling at school with fitting in and dealing with bullies, is desperately trying to reach his father. Robert is at that tender age where his father is his hero but with Rocky completely absorbed with the protégé Gunn, Robert begins to feel neglected. He begins acting out in a vain effort to reach Rocky, but Rocky fails to understand the significance.

Gunn on the other hand is growing restless. Despite achieving an unprecedented level of success under Rocky’s tutelage, he is growing ambitious, impatient, and arrogant. Gunn wants more than he feels Rocky is able to give him. He begins to talk to a rival management that offers riches and prestige beyond that which Rocky is able to provide. Again Rocky is blind to these goings on.

Inevitably events take their turn. Gunn walks away from Rocky and Robert confronts his father. Rocky finds himself at a cross road. In trying to capture a past glory he has jeopardized one of the most important relationships in his life. It was always Rocky’s wish to have the kind of relationship with his son that he himself had missed out on. He realizes that, in focusing all his attentions on Gunn he has neglected Robert at perhaps one of the most impressionable times in his life. It is with heartfelt humility that Rocky bows before his son and acknowledges his failure and seeks forgiveness.

Of all the relationships that we have throughout our lives it is the relationships with family that endure. They may not take the form that is represented, admittedly through celluloid rose colored glasses, in Rocky 5 but they are the relationships that shape us, define us and indeed sustain us throughout our lives.

We live in a time where the issue of age is consistently talked about and debated. We are told that we should value our older citizens and allow them to continue to contribute to our society if they can do so. Yet the statistics do not bear this out. Age-ism has become a part of the modern vernacular. Older people are consistently passed over for jobs in the pursuit of younger people – even if those jobs end up never getting filled. The opinions of older people are often discounted as the rantings of ‘old farts’. Society tends to treat its older citizens with a certain degree of condescension.

In that vein it is useful to explore the notion of the dignity of relevance as my fifth stage of man using ‘Rocky Balboa’ – the final film in the series to provide context.

In it, we see Rocky several years on from his boxing career. He is older, wiser and more serene. Adrian, his beloved wife, has recently passed away and for the first time in almost three decades Rocky finds himself alone. Though his son is still around, the interceding years has seen a sort of distance develop between them. Robert has had difficulty defining himself in the shadow of his legendary father and that has been a wedge that has not totally come between them – but it has caused tension. Rocky owns a local restaurant ‘Adrian’s’ – monument not only to Rocky’s illustrious career but to his wife, his greatest support and confidant.

Rocky is dignified in his station in life. He is productive, he is a provider, he is successful. But there is something missing. Rocky knows deep down that his journey is not yet complete.

A chance event put on by a sports television network – a computer simulated fight between the current Heavyweight Champion, Mason ‘The Line’ Dixon and Rocky himself – determines that, statistically, Rocky would defeat the Champion. This touches off something in Rocky but he initially pushes it away. He is approaching 60 years of age. Though he is not entirely unfit, Rocky acknowledges that the likelihood of him ever stepping into the ring again is remote.

The simulation however generates interest, burgeoning at first but it quickly develops into fever pitch as the nation begins to become fascinated by the possibility of translating the simulated fight into the real world.

Rocky is approached by representatives of Dixon to participate in what will essentially be an exhibition bout. The offer becomes too irresistible to refuse. Rocky’s decision to accept the challenge is met with derision and ridicule by almost everyone – including his son.

“You’re too old”, “You’re way past it”, “You’re a senile fool” are the refrains the Rocky encounters.

Rather than submit to the consensus opinion, Rocky begins to ask the question – why should age alone be an impediment to endeavor? If a man feels he still has something to give, should he not be free to contribute? “You think you ought to stop trying things ’cause you had too many birthdays? I don’t.”

In his journey towards the ring for his final bout Rocky asks us to consider the dignity of relevance – the idea that human potential should be an inalienable right of us all, no matter what age we are. It is this notion that encourages his son, Robert, to rediscover his father as the heroic figure he always was and allows him to shake off his own selfish shackles to embrace the pride he has for his father and for himself.

When Rocky steps into the ring for the emotionally charged final bout he becomes the personification of the dignity of relevance writ large. He carries an initially skeptical crowd along with him through 15 rounds of a bout that becomes a serious battle to prove to them, to the Champion, Mason Dixon, and to himself that he still has “something in the basement”.

At the end, though he loses the bout on points, Rocky wins the battle of hearts and minds because of the fighting spirit that has defined him throughout his life. Rather than having been defeated Rocky imparts an important lesson – that is we can all contribute, prevail and achieve no matter what age we are. This lesson is not lost on the young Champion Mason Dixon who realizes what it is to be a real champion. He honors Rocky with the respect that the dignity of relevance yields and he has grown himself because of it.

I have long had an affection for the Rocky series of films because of their ability to inspire. But it has only been recently that I have come to the realization that, as a sociological document, Rocky Balboa’s journey is a powerful exploration of man’s journey through life that can be used as a template to understand what it is to be a man – indeed what it is to be human.

My five stages of man – maturing from youth, the quest for identity, identity challenged relationships and the dignity of relevance – provide for me a contextual basis from which I can understand myself and how I fit. Though I find myself in the third stage of this journey, I feel a sense if peace in knowing that I can face my own continuing journey with a direction inspired by continuing self reflection…

Dean from Australia is a pediatric ICU Nurse and author of the best selling novel “The Hambldedown Dream”. Dean from Australia keeps his own interweb apartment over at http://www.deanfromaustralia.com

The Rhi-Post – Edition 1

Welcome to the first edition of  The Rhi-Post! This will be a collection of editorials from my friends, who I have come to know very well and are from a wide and varied background. I hope that you will enjoy a peek into their lives as I do and I am excited to share their thoughts, editorials and expertise.
If you have questions for our contribitors please send to therhipost@gmail.com and follow me @Rhian73.

Please be free to follow on twitter and/or facebook, or other social media if our authors shared their links. Thank you for being a part of The Rhi-Post!

-Rhian


In this Issue:

Tales from My Shame-Ber : Why I like the Twilight Saga
by Lushrain

This will be a  recurring column highlighting the items in my Shame-ber. If you are not familiar with a Shame-ber* it is a room with no windows in which you can enjoy your deepest darkest guiltiest pleasures.   Each time I will let you learn about the things I love that I shouldn’t love but are oh-so-awesome.

Read More….

 

About bitheadturnedtrader
by bitheadturnedtrader

I’m an Information Technology (I.T.) Director for the Canadian division of an international business process outsourcing company. Essentially I’m responsible for everything technical in Canada – networks, desktops, servers, software, and programming – to support the day-to-day operations and future growth of the business. I’m the interface between business and technology.
Read More…

 

Lament for the Loss of my Big, Fat Camera
by Shaughnessy

Like a favourite traveling buddy, my 38 – 105 mm Samsung zoom camera accompanied me on treks across North America, China, Hong Kong, Spain and Ireland. It, or its earlier versions, were always at hand for generations of family events, occasions and just for nothing moments. It documented my nature walks, adventures and trips to find beauty in unexpected places.

Read More…

 

Heartagrams
by  Andrea Costanzo aka @TheJunkenstiein

In troubled times, when black waves of depression are hidden behing every corner, daily, one needs to keep his emotions alive. And my personal and addictive emotion inducing drug is music. Its the direct language of the heart and soul, translating the bursts of adrenaline, tears, passion and laughter that made the grey routine less desperate into a sound that can move with you and wrap you in its comforting blanket of vibes.

Read More…

 

Handmade Revolution
by Kataish

Hi. My name is Kata, I’m 28 and I’m a craft addict. Ever since I was a small child, I’ve been obsessed with making things and “crafting”. It all started with drawing and taking art classes, and through the years turned into sculpting, pottery, beading, doll-making, crocheting, and then knitting. Currently my main hobby/obsession is knitting.

Read More…

 

Photography by Uncast


Rebel Without A Pause
by BrotherDarkness AKA Butch Rosser

s1c3: You Can Lead A Club To Culture, AND You Can Make Them Think (A Costanza’s Goodbye)
Dear Planet Earth,
If you’re reading this, I hope somebody has had the decency to cut me down from the ceiling fan this note was placed under.  It should be noted per previous discourse that everyone get their crying out at the wake and that Christine has her choice of who to sleep with at the afterparty.

Read More…

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