It was a busy, albeit fun, weekend.
On Friday night we were in the Gay Pride Parade, on our Leather Pride “float.”
Our Leather Pride float was the truck belonging to my current Master and slave couple, Steve and kim, with their car trailer attached.
We used bungee cords to secure camp folding chairs back to back down the middle, about a dozen of them. People rode in the back of the truck, too. We had a Fringe Elements banner, and signs for Bluegrass Leather Pride, and a Leather Pride flag.
We also had scented bubbles and cans of silly string.
We met in a lot behind one of the local gay bars, and waited for a bit, then moved into the sort of pre-staging area, which worked out really well for us because it was a very sunny day and could have been unpleasantly hot, but we were under an overpass, so it was quite pleasant. It was a lovely day, clear and dry, plenty warm but by the time the parade was actually starting it had cooled down and the sun wasn’t so bright.
We had quite a few people who were on our float – Steve and Kim, Charles and jacki, Karen, Meg, Christie, Russ, Caile and Ms. Tammy and Ms. Tammy’s goldendoodle, Honey, and Kim’s 20 year old daughter and her friend.
In the truck we had Kody and Jessie and another couple of friends of theirs.
Walking beside we had Daddy Donald and Chris, slave drew, Bootblack Bella and Bootblack Astro, and Jay walking beside, along with Sir Charles part of the time, and his son, Nick, and Kenny drove the car.
All together, it was a pretty good turnout, nearly 25 people.
And, again, I assume because we were near the front, we were also what a couple of local stations lead off with in covering the pride parade.
As the newscaster says, “And it was the Gay Pride Parade in Kentuckiana today…”. you see Nick walking by the camera, then you see Ms, Tammy, and jacki and me and Charles and Kim and Steve. Then the coverage moves on, but you can see us quite clearly.
I look incredibly domme-ly. I have a can of Silly String I am apparently trying to understand how to use.
Not much earlier, they’d been playing with the silly string a bit, making sure that they were all open and caught the attention of a kid, mostly by spraying him accidentally and kind of scaring him, so we had to give him a can after that.
The first thing he did was spray us back, rightfully so, and I got a spotty sort of mist of green Silly String particles all over myself, face and vest both. Poor Charles and jacki were nearly beside themselves trying to get it all off me, saying things like, “I’m sorry I’m touching your boob, Ma’am, I am just wiping off your vest.”
I saw an old lover at the parade, someone who was covering it for one of the local media. I haven’t seen him in a long time, it was a pleasant enough encounter. He still looks fabulous.
The parade had a few protesters, though the only ones I actually saw were a pair of men who looked like Mormon missionaries – short sleeved “dress” shirt, tie, conservative haircuts and dress slacks – with signs.
The signs were great, one had signs that said something like, “Don’t be pitching a tent around my cub scout,” and “FALSE Preachers + Teachers, There is a Hell, You’re on the HIGHWay!!”
The other had a sign that said, “Celebrating STRAIGHT NORMAL PRIDE 365 DAYS A YEAR.” Actually, neither of them looked a bit like they were celebrating anything at all.
There were a couple other ones at the end of the parade, which was the Gay Pride celebration, but I didn’t get out there. I stayed on the back with a few other people as we rode around a few city blocks to get back to the gay bar.
There was a Mary J. Blige concert downtown last night, so between them, us, and the drag queens, there were a lot of high heels than normal on the street last night.
I am SO freaking happy to announce that I finally have my blog up on my own domain, something that has been on my agenda for a couple of months.
If you’re reading this on MsConstanceExplains at WordPress, well, I’m still very glad to have you.
However, if you’re reading this on my own domain, at MsConstanceExplains.com, well then, I’m even more glad to have you.
To give credit where credit is more than due, I had little to do with this.
My good friend Charles did the migration for me. I had tried and played at it a few times, but just never got it to work. I was worried I’d lose everything because I’m not that much of a tech person. I had spent a couple of hours trying to figure it out, and a month kind of playing at it.
I gave Charles the information last night, and he had it done before noon today.
Now THAT’S a geek.
In the best sense of the word.
So, I am very pleased to have this done, to be able to check it off my large to do list.
On another note, I started sending out questions to my crew that are planning to run for Leather titles, and I plan to do that daily.
The thing about Leather Contests is that it’s not unlike a job interview. You are, in fact, interviewing for the job of a title holder.
International Mr. Leather, for instance, there are usually in the range of 50 contestants.
IML is a BIG deal. Participants are judged on stage presence and personality (Pecs and Personality), leather image, presentation skills, and physical appearance. To be named as one of the top twenty contestants is a big deal, to be named top three is extraordinary.
I hold a Leather title with slave drew. He and I are Great Lakes Master and slave 2003. We competed at GLLA, where we won, then went on to compete at the International Master and slave contest, where we did not win.
When we ran, there were no feeder contests for the regionals.
There are, for most of the major contests, three levels of competition.
You compete at the state level, then at the regional, then at the International.
I can produce five titles, if I have contestants. I can produce Bluegrass Leather Pride Master and slave, Bluegrass Leather Pride Bootblack, Bluegrass Leather Pride Sir, Bluegrass Leather Pride boy, and Ms Bluegrass Leather Pride. I produce a state contest.
All of my contestants then go on to Great Lakes Leather Alliance, which is the regional contest.
Some of the winners of GLLA will go to specific international contests.
The Great Lakes Master and slave, for instance, will go to South Plains Leatherfest, where they will compete for International Master and slave.
The Great Lakes Leather Sir and Leather boy will go to International Leather Sir and boy Contest.
The Great Lakes Bootblack can choose to compete at International Mr Bootblack, or in the case of a female, International Ms Bootblack, or International Community Bootblack, which is affiliated with the International Leather Sir and boy.
Great Lakes Ms. Leather Pride can choose to go to compete for International Ms Leather, which is called IMsL for short – pronounced “im-sill” – or she can go to compete for the International Ms Olympus contest.
What the regional and state contests endeavor to do is create an experience as close to the international contests as is possible. We basically take the application from the International and use it for regional, and from regional and use it for state.
The more often a contestant going through the same contest, the better they do.
Virtually all contests have some of the same components – an interview, a speech, and a pop question. Some, like the Master and slave, also have a presentation.
M/s couples are also judged on their Master and slave dynamics; those qualities that make them a Master and slave as opposed to simply a dominant and submissive couple.
Some of the Leather contests also have an image or appearance component, but you shouldn’t interpret that as meaning that only traditionally perfect people compete and win. One of the good things about the Leather community is that we tend to have a broader view of what’s attractive, and often, it’s far more about being comfortable in your skin.
So, we are working on preparing people for interviews by asking questions. Next week we will work some on speeches, which is often one of the things the people find terrifying.
So, once again, I hope you visit my new home. I’m very happy to have gotten moved in finally.
We had a Fringe Board meeting tonight, which takes both time and energy.
The good news is, however, that I finally took down the Christmas tree in preparation.
Now, to be fair, I hadn’t done a tone of decorating for Christmas. A small Christmas tree with Scottie ornaments, a few things set out, not a lot. I was not living in Santa’s workshop or anything, but it is the 22nd of January, it was time to take it all down and put it away.
I’ve got things to do on Bluegrass Leather Pride, which I will do some work on tomorrow and the day after.
I seriously need to respond to comments, and that’s on my agenda.
And after 20 minutes, this is all I have, so I think I should just accept that I haven’t much to say tonight.
Tomorrow I feel sure I’ll be more talkative.
We did our first Titleholder Preparation for the new year tonight.
We met at the local pizza joint where we’ve been doing munches for 15 years. They give the basement over to us, and generally let us do pretty much whatever we want to do.
We had four people who are planning to run for my titles, and a couple that are preparing for international contests.
We talked about what good reasons are to run for a title, because you think you have something to say, because you want a platform, because you want to serve your community.
We talked about issues to consider like, can you afford to run for a title financially, can you afford it in terms of the time you have available, can your relationships afford it?
We talked about recognizing that running for a title almost always leads to at least some outing. You may not necessarily have your name on the front page of the paper, but it’s entirely possible that people will learn about your kinks.
The story we talked about was a couple of years ago when we had a Leather Pride float in the Gay Pride Parade. As it turned out, we happened to be the first float in the parade because we were where we were supposed to be. We were using a truck, with titleholders just standing in the bed.
As it happened, the Master and slave couple, Charles and jacki, were in the front and, because we were the first float, we were on most of the local and regional news feeds.
Meaning Charles, who is, while not narrow, very straight, was on the opening footage of the Gay Pride Parade.
He got some calls, he got some questions from friends and family, and it was a situation one couldn’t have anticipated, either.
We talked about what to expect if you win, what happens to your life. We talked about the components of contests, and what matters about those components.
We talked about the kinds of questions you should absolutely know the answer to, including, what are your best qualities, what are your worst, what will you do if you win, what will you do if you lose, and why are you running.
We talked about how to answer a question, how to prepare for the actual contest, what to do – get rest, be on time, make sure you are organized, and what not to do – don’t drink, don’t hide in your room, and, the standing joke, don’t sleep with any of the judges.
We’ll do more preparation, but it was nice to get that started.
I also spent my day working on my Bluegrass Leather Pride website and registration, and I have that nearly ready to go live. I expect it will be up tomorrow. Hurray for me.
I’m also going to talk about Kinky Bloggers tomorrow, I believe. Stay tuned!
My day has been pleasantly quiet, generally.
I had a late breakfast with a submissive male who is a friend, too, and is always interesting. We chatted about art, about the current political debates, and compartmentalization in our respective lives.
After that, I came home and spent the rest of the afternoon going through email, answering emails in my normal account and my Fetlife account, making some reservations for upcoming events, and working on my Bluegrass Leather Pride contest.
Then I joined a group of friends to celebrate a birthday, which was fun.
Working on Bluegrass Leather and some on Great Lakes Leather Alliance is going to be my day tomorrow, too, and I hope to have many of the details ironed out tomorrow.
This is, then, going to be short and not that exciting, because I need to pop back to that.
I also want to thank everyone for the nice comments regarding the passing of my half brother, they have meant a great deal to me. I’ll have some time over the next few days to catch up on comments, too, so I’ll respond individually, but I did see them, and thank you all for them.
Ever have one of those days?
It began with a LARGE dog mess that had to be cleaned up. A mess that spanned two rooms. First thing.
I’ve worked on laundry all day, which I honestly don’t mind, but it’s been a lot of steps up and down stairs, since the laundry is in the basement. There has also been moving the clean clothes up to the upstairs, another flight.
I feel as though I’ve been doing a stair master all day, and while that’s not bad, my joints are beginning to protest.
I had another mess to clean up when the big plastic container of liquid laundry detergent somehow fell off the dryer, breaking the screw top, and spewing a certain amount of soap over the dryer, the washer, and some of the clean clothes.
Then there was the large pool of detergent on the floor.
I got it cleaned up, and now I have washcloths that are going to function as laundry drop-ins, since they are saturated with soap.
It has rained. ALL DAY. I know, I know, we’re getting rain and I should shut the fuck up and be grateful, but it’s rained ALL day. Drizzled. Steady, drippy, boring rain. Gray day, not a ray of sunshine to be seen.
Dogs can’t go out, or when they do, they track in astonishing amounts of mud. There are puppy footprints on the floor where I swept up the puppy footprints yesterday from the rain yesterday.
I don’t know how much rain we’ve had over the last few days, but it’s been a lot. The pool that we’ve never gotten around to draining for the winter because we’ve barely HAD a winter is about to overflow.
And for those of you who know about sub drop, let me tell you, event drop is just as real.
One is on and being all charismatic and upbeat and everything and it went well, but there’s a price one pays, too, in terms of the internal batteries, as well as external.
I’ve not done some of the things I wanted to do, and that’s ok, there’s time, but I feel unproductive, and that is never a feeling I like. Bluegrass Leather Pride looms, GLLA is on the horizon, and Fringe Elements is always there.
I have had to do some bottoming for the community lately, and that’s not my favorite thing. Sometimes we do things we find repugnant because it’s what’s required for the better of the community, and those are never the things that anyone notices. One throws oneself on the sword at times.
I’m tired and probably hungry – dinner is bean soup I thankfully started this morning, and frozen biscuits. I’ll survive, it’s not anything serious, but I would be much happier if tomorrow were a sunny day and the dogs could stay out longer than five minutes without bringing in so much mess that it feels like mud wrestling preliminaries.
I hope your Sunday is more cheerful than mine.
Had I been smart, I would have written a blog post before heading out to the Fringe Elements Taster’s Choice party last night.
I thought of that about the same time I realized that I had forgotten the mascara. It was too late to go back and do it by then.
So the party went well. We had about 120 people, which is a good sized party. Our class lineup was Rope Bondage by Robyn, Boot Massage by Bootblack Bella, Therapeutic Massage by Kristin, Intro to Canes by Ms Constance – yours truly – Intro to Flogging by GypsyPony, Hot Safe Sex by Leather Queer, Intro to Electrical Play by Sir Russ, Intro to Knife Play by Sir Charles, Rough Body Play by Walter Sobchak, Intro to Needles by Ms Tammy, Intro to Littles Play by Johnnie and Maggie, and Massage for Doms by Shawna the Dead.
Most classes ran about a half hour – the theme was Taster’s Choice, a chance to give people a taste of a skill or activity, and introduction to it. A couple ran longer because there was too much to do in so short a time, but I was very pleased.
I actually did my cane class twice, and was surprised at the attendance both times. I probably had about 30 people all together.
I’m always surprised at how many people are interested in canes. I think it’s like anything else that people are afraid of, they’re also fascinated by.
I do a longer class on crops and canes both, and this was an abbreviated version. I also caned probably a half dozen people who were interested in the experiencing how canes feel, so that was fun, too.
It was a good event, but the end result of such things is always that I am fairly exhausted the next day. I actually didn’t stay as late as I usually do, because I wanted to check on slave drew, but I left for the party about about 5:00 or so and got home about 1:00am or so, so I was still gone about eight hours.
Now I need to really start focusing on Bluegrass Leather Pride, which will be my work this week.
If you were there, I hope you had a great time. If you were not, and could have been, then you missed out. If you couldn’t make it due to distance, I forgive you.
I am sitting in bed, with slave drew, watching television and generally hanging out, something we rarely do.
He is playing on his Kindle, surfing and at this moment translating a German phrase of some sort. He tells me it says, I am very cute, smart, clever, sympathetic, pretty and arrogant on top of it.
I think you have to be German for it to make sense.
We are watching Midsomer Murders, one of our BBC mysteries, about which it always strikes us that so many people could be murdered in these sleepy English villages and there still be enough to put on the next year’s church fete.
I am drinking a lovely tea, a black one made with rose petals and tiny buds. It would likely be too flowery for most people, but I’m quite fond of it. It smells like a bouquet of roses.
I spent some time today working on Bluegrass Leather Pride, which will be my focus for the next few weeks. I’m getting there.
I hope to have a bit more focused and structured time tomorrow to get some emails sent, some schedules created, a program drafted. We shall see.
In the meantime, though, it’s past my bedtime.
Tonight slave drew and I had dinner with aisha and her Sir, and that was lovely. Dinner was fabulous, surpassed only by the conversation, and now we are home again.
I have goals for the next few days in particular. I need to get my kitchen and dining room back in order after the festivities of the holidays. I have a return or two to handle.
I have 89 unread messages in my inbox, and another 20 that are read but not responded to. I need to go through that and get that cleaned up.
I need to finalize some things for the next Fringe Elements, here: https://fetlife.com/events/139972
I need to do some work for Bluegrass Leather Pride, and also for Great Lakes Leather Alliance. I need some desk time, basically.
There are two munches this weekend, so there’s that, too.
Maybe I’ll get those last couple cards done, too.
For now, though, it’s past my bedtime.
The year 2012 is winding down.
There are three days left and then this year will be over. I can’t say I will be unhappy to see it in the rear-view mirror.
It hasn’t been a bad year, in many ways.
In February, my own Bluegrass Leather Pride contest went well, despite having lost two venues in the last month or so before. We ended up doing it in a private home and the upstairs of a local restaurant, and while it wasn’t ideal, it worked. My contestants didn’t end up competing at GLLA, but that happens sometimes.
I was also in Indianapolis in February for Beat My Valentine, an event sponsored by IMAS, Indiana Masters and Slaves.
In March I drove out to Dallas, to South Plains Leatherfest, to watch Charles and jacki compete for International Master and slave.
In April, we went to Fort Lauderdale for Beyond Leather, for the International Power Exchange contest. I presented there, including a brand new presentation on crops and canes. slave thomas also came and met us there, which was particularly nice. We spent a bit of time in Sarasota, and in Sanibel Island, one of my favorite places on the planet.
In August, we had another very successful Great Lakes Leather Alliance, despite some curves thrown at the last minute. One of my scheduled cocktail parties didn’t work out, but I had anticipated the possibility and made arrangements for an alternate plan.
I also presented there, one class that I always do, a class for newcomers to the event, and events in general, and another new class, So You Want to Be a Titleholder. I also played more at that event – three times – than I ever have before all put together.
In September, I was in Atlanta to present at the International Transgender Leather contest. I did a humor class there with Ms Tammy.
In October, slave drew and I went to Chicago for Kinky Kollege, and had a very good time there. Chicago has never been my favorite city, but we had a better time there than I had before. We really enjoyed it.
I worked to found the first Masters And slaves Together chapter in Kentucky, MAsT: Derby City. It is running successfully now and I’m proud of that.
We started creating Fringe Elements, a 501C3 Queer Community Center. We’re close to finding a physical venue, which has always been our goal. I took the Executive Director position, and I’m comfortable there. I’m good at running things, I like all sides of it.
I started this blog. I wasn’t sure I’d keep up with it, but I have. I posted for the first time on May 26, which was 216 days ago. This post is the 210th, meaning I’ve missed a total of six.
I’ve only really forgotten to post once, I know once was a power outtage issue, and I didn’t post for several days while I was at GLLA, but I think missing less than 3% is a pretty good percentage. I’ve seen the number of people who read, and comment, rise, too, and that’s been really gratifying.
It was the 15th anniversary this year of the Louisville Munch, an impressive run for any group. I added three new people to my formal Leather family by presenting Earned Leather to Gabriel, to Cerrin, and to Shane.
We all lived through an apocalypse, or should I say, another apocalypse. It reminds me of a line from my favorite episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a musical episode called, “Once More with Feeling.”
“What can’t we do if we get in it?
We’ll work it through if there’s a minute.
We have to try. We’ll pay the price.
It’s do or die. Hey, I’ve died twice!”
How many apocalypses have there been and, so far, we’ve lived through them all.
There have been the usual problems and challenges. Issues with people, the usual things one encounters when one is involved in groups, the usual struggles there.
I’ve been profoundly disappointed in a few people this year, which is also part of living, I think. People disappoint us. Other people have stepped up, risen to challenges.
I’ve gotten closer to a few people, and that’s been nice. I’ve met other bloggers, both face to face and virtually, and that’s been an experience as well.
I lost at least two awards this year, and was “presented” one on a stage in front of a couple hundred people that turned out to be for someone else, though I wasn’t made aware of it until the award handed to me had another person’s name on it.
I know, I know, you should be flattered to be nominated, and I was – one was a Pantheon Lifetime Achievement award, which is a very significant award in the Leather community. The final result, however, was that I lost.
I turned 55 this year, and I have not liked that at all. I know, I know, I’m aware of all the things that are good – experience, wisdom, a level of acceptance, my health is good, and it’s far better than any alternative, but I don’t like it. I doubt I ever will. It is, however, what it is.
So, three more days and it’s all just one more memory. I suspect that our New Year’s Eve celebration will end up being a quiet one at home, us and the pups, probably one of those years in which we don’t even stay up late enough to greet 2013 officially until the morning.
And I’m ok with that.