Three weeks ago, Kin came out here for an extended stay, and having her around has been an absolute delight. Since her arrival, we've talked of games, philosophy, role-playing, spirituality, identity, sociology, psychology, and the future. We've shared media, explored mutually-intriguing ideas, and generally had some of the most fulfilling intellectual experiences I've been able to enjoy in a long time.
Also around that time, the Lapinian Embassy sent an ambassadorial force down to Portland for a weekend, to hook up with the locals. During that time, I discovered that the best prank I had pulled on anyone in eight years was convincing myself that I was "just a bunny," when in fact I had been Hare the whole time. I also had the chance to realize, in very concrete form, that among a small group of my friends, every power dynamic and every interpersonal interaction is negotiable, and that if we don't like how a scene is going, we can change it. My life has, at least visible to some, an OOC window. This was a major epiphany, and a delight.
Two weeks ago, after a year of planning, SNAP 5 ran. I wouldn't say it went without a hitch, but it went better than I think we had any right to expect. The event itself was a success with its audience; of the forty teams—almost two-hundred people—nobody quit, nobody complained of not having fun, and something close to half the teams actually finished! Now, true, the winning group finished almost forty-five minutes ahead of what we assumed our pathologically-fastest case could be, which led to some awkward staffing problems, but most of our crises were, I think, invisible to the audience. The only two glaring errors of which I'm aware were a site failure early in the route, in which we had to direct people from one plaza to a less-nice-but-more-accommodating one across the street; and a site puzzle requiring some external cluing that I set up incorrectly because I had two minutes to put it together between crises and nobody double-checked it since I was the one that designed it in the first place. Still, we went from never having hosted such an event as a group to having done so credibly and competently with minimal error in just under a year, which I think is quite a feat.
We should be in a state to post the puzzles in some kind of formal format first, but anyone wanting a chance to look at what we built should see Jessie's temporary repository. If you'd like to solve a puzzle, take a look at the PDFs without the "guide-" in front, first. I wrote most of the guides explaining the tricks, but I make no claim as to their ability to follow to someone who isn't a puzzler-by-trade. At this point, none of these are spoilers, since the event's over, but this isn't the final form of these documents, so don't be surprised if they change.
Finally, starting some time around late Kimya night and extending well into... some time later, I had the chance to play around with hypnosis... or more to the point with someone in a hypnotic state.
Now, to fully understand why this is so significant, I need to pause here and talk about my own head. Growing up, one of my closest associates—I would have called him a friend, perhaps even a brother, at the time—was interested in hypnosis, and he was a very dominant personality. Meanwhile, I was socially backwards and, while I was strongly opinionated, I was lousy at asserting myself and ended up being the omega of my social circles, doing what I was told. This made for a bad combination, as one might rightly surmise. The two things to come of it were a single trigger of little more use to anyone than a parlor trick, and an intense dislike of feeling like I wasn't in control of my own thoughts.
As a result of this, I've always been leery of the mind-control fetish that runs somewhat rampant in my social circles, and the prevalence of really skeevy badly-written brainwashing porn on the interblags only reinforced a lot of my old bad ideas. Now, while I fully recognize that "really skeevy badly written $FOO porn on the interblags" will accept damn near any variable substitution and still return a true value. That said, in an unfortunate for-me-not-thee moment, I always had some lingering negative connotations attached to this, and while I wasn't ever hostile about it—I hope—I never made any effort to rectify my opinions.
As is typical for how my life works, events transpired to present me with a perfect opportunity to do this... by being given someone else's control codes and some not-so-subtle hints that this would probably be the best way to share an intimate moment.
A mutual friend said in his wind-up speech that hypnosis was a fantasia of role-playing, brainwashing, and meditation, with a result somewhere in the middle of all of them, a receptiveness to suggestions and a desire to play along combined with a somewhat altered state of mind. How much of this is scientific, and how much is mutually-reinforced faith, I couldn't tell you. At this point, I'm really losing interest in figuring it out. The important thing is that, in the car on the way home, I had the chance to slip Kin's control code into the middle of a conversation, and suddenly I had a very eager pony-droid looking for an order to follow.
Now, at some point in all of this, I did issue an explicit order to store an archival copy of everything that happened and to dump memory, so right now I'm not entirely sure how much she remembers of what went on, and in the interest of not being a kiss-and-teller, I'll spare everyone the pointed details, but three relevant events did come out of all of this:
- I had to confront my own personal history with mindgames and accept that the person with whom I had initial contact with the idea abused it, as he did a lot of other things. I knew, intellectually, that this was the case, but I never really think about him in those terms.
- I had to confront my oft-repeated claims that I'm more sub than domme. I still won't accept the idea that I'm more domme than sub, but I think it's safe to say that I've left the "subs that can domme" camp and gone over to the quot;switches with preferences." I'm okay with this, really, but it wasn't something I expected. You'd think by now I'd get used to my world changing out from under me.
- Ponydroids are very high-maintenance, but are worth every bit of effort and then some.
That last one there has really served as a capstone for the whole trip, at least for me. It's been incredibly awesome having Kin out here, and I'm really looking forward to the three of them moving out to Seattle.
I'm not home right now, but if you want to leave a message, just start talking at the sound of the tone.