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Blog: My Future Boss Is A Robot!?

Image courtesy of Victor Habbick / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Victor Habbick / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Last week, there was this multibillionaire warning the world that the job market will be taken over by ROBOTS! It sounds like a joke, and I think we as a people are hard pressed to believe such a thing, but this mutlibillionaire is adamant about it. This man, is Bill Gates, and it’s hard not to just toss aside what this man has to say. A man who helped make Windows a household name, not just a wall to look out of, Bill Gates is warning governments, businesses, and everyone who’s willing to listen, that many of the jobs we take for granted, will be taken over by robots.

When I first read the article from Business Insider, I freaked out. I mean, I work in IT, and I can be next! Computers that fix themselves. Not to mention all the self sufficient stories out there like grocery stores. There are supermarkets where you just check out the food yourself! Which is not only convenient and keeps me from having to be social, even minimally so, but it’s one less human worker. There’s self serve check out stands and there are iPods that take your menu choices at sit down restaurants. Hell, we have Roombas that will clean your floor for you. It seems the writing’s been on the wall this whole time, and we just kind of laugh it off because we think we’ll always have work, and the world will always be this way.

I’m not trying to panic myself here (but I am), but it’s a strange thought to think that we as humans will one day, soon, be “served” by AI and robots and tablets. Google bought robotics companies and are creating self driving cars. Honda made a robot that could run. We have AI-ish programs like Siri and Cortana. We have search engines that do math for us. We even have robots solving Rubik’s cubes so fast, you won’t have time to wonder why the hell it was invented in the first place!

Not to mention robot fish. So when is this robot apocalypse supposed to happen? Bill Gates estimates it’s 20 years, some commenters think it’s earlier than that. I think it’s freaking scary!

The moment I read the article, I had to go around the web to find out if people were as concerned as I was. People were talking about the possible future like Star Trek or Elysium, about the super rich and the depressingly poor. There was talk of living wages and working on our talents and skills and using that as our contribution to society. Out of all the theories, the mind sets, and the reasoning, my favorite idea so far is the idea of living in a Star Trek world. I often daydreamed, from when I was a kid until now, of living in this weird Star Trek Utopian society. A world where you can just board a star ship and travel the universe, discovering new life and new civilizations, and boldly go all sorts of places. Sure you have to fear for your life when you encounter the Borg, but then you have replicators that can create your food, and holodecks that can let you live out any and every fantasy. Disease isn’t really a thing, because we have medicine so advanced, that you can recover in TV time (in like, a couple of hours instead of days). Humans seemed happy, and thin, and educated. My only problem would be the unitards.

If our future looks like what Gene Roddenberry envisioned, then I’m all for it. But the more people I talk to about this, the more they emphasize that we’re a selfish, greedy people by nature and we’ll all probably end up in an Elysium scenario. The wealthy and privileged business owners will live in their own paradise and the average Joe, who still has to do the manual labor that robots can’t do, stay on the devastated part of Earth. When it comes to the future, the majority of people I’ve spoken with, are not optimists. Maybe they’re realists, but I’d like to think that in the future, we’ll all be happy, peaceful and put together people, no matter our background or socioeconomic status.

Will the dawn of the robot revolution make us a lazier society, more interested in reality TV than bettering ourselves? Will our new robot overlords improve our lives in a way to where we can stop working because we have to work and actually do things that we love and still contribute to society? Will anything change at all? Am I making a mountain out of a molehill? Only time will tell. One thing’s for sure. I don’t think enough people care about or know what’s going on in our possible AI and robotic filled future. In general, I think we’re kind of cool just sticking to our old ways of thinking, or being ignorant, or worse, being apathetic. We like thinking nothing will change, and life will always be this way.

An Interview With Karen Miller

Author: Karen Miller
Author: Karen Miller

Karen Miller is the author of the Star Wars: The Clone Wars novels Wild Space, Clone Wars Gambit: Stealth and Siege. She is also the author of the thrilling novels The Innocent Mage and Innocence Lost part of the Kingmaker Series.

One of the few female science fiction writers Miller believes in stories that focus on the characters and their development not just about the action. She has won several awards such as the Aurealis Award for Empress Mijak and was honored twice with the James Tiptree, Jr Award for both Empress of Mijak and The Riven Kingdom.

Currently residing in Sydney, Australia she still continues to travel, takes care of her three dogs and two cats, and loves chocolate!


1. What inspired you to become an author and why fantasy novels?

I honestly don’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be a storyteller. I’ve been a mad story consumer my whole life – I used to walk to school reading a book!- and all through school my favourite subject was English/composition. Then I fell in love with history — ancient and medieval, not modern – which probably explains my drift towards fantasy. I mean, I’ve always loved reading speculative fiction – both sf and fantasy – and it’s always been my favourite fare in tv/film. So I guess in that sense it was inevitable that I’d end up writing speculative fiction!

2. Your first novel was The Innocent Mage which is the first book in a series of novels in the Kingbreaker Universe, can you describe what the novels are about and what to expect for those who have not read them?

There are 5 books in the Mage series. Four are immediately linked as two duologies: Kingmaker, Kingbreaker (The Innocent Mage The Awakened Mage) and then Fisherman’s Children (The Prodigal Mage The Reluctant Mage). Standing a bit to one side is the standalone prequel novel A Blight of Mages, which was written last but can be read either first or last. For what it’s worth, I think leaving Blight till last works really well … but that’s up to readers to decide.

Kingmaker, Kingbreaker is the story of Asher, a young fisherman who breaks from his family and strikes out alone to make his own way in the world. That puts him on a collision course with a future that some people believe he was born to bring about. He ends up crossing paths with Gar, heir to their small kingdom’s throne, and also with some of those people who believe he was born to save the kingdom from destruction. To say that he’s not enthusiastic about being hailed as a hero-in-waiting is an understatement. His journey towards that future forms the spine of the story. There’s magic, treachery, love, friendship, betrayal, and many many surprises.

Fisherman’s Children picks up several years after the conclusion to Kingmaker, Kingbreaker. I don’t like to give too much away. Let’s just say that just because you think you’ve won doesn’t necessarily mean that you did.

And A Blight of Mages is the story of the two people who set in motion the cataclysmic events of the first 4 Mage books.

3. You wrote several Star Wars: The Clone Wars novels; The Clone Wars: Wild Space (2008) Clone Wars Gambit: Stealth (2010) Clone Wars Gambit: Siege who and how were you approached to write these novels?

I’m ageing myself here, but what the hell. *g* I was in high school when Star Wars was originally released. On the urging of friends who’d come home after seeing it on their trip to the US, I went — and fell in love. In some ways my life changed because of that film. So many years later my first fantasy novel came out, and I contacted the Star Wars editor at Del Rey publishing to say, I really love Star Wars and if you’re ever looking for new authors I’d love to be considered. Subsequent to that, the wonderful author Karen Traviss (who’d become a friend in the meantime) told Del Rey that she was happy to write a new Star Wars novel series provided I co-wrote it with her. So I owe Karen a huge debt. She’s a marvellous writer, and was a wonderful guide through the happy madness of Star Wars fandom.

4. Your novels are character driven; how did you approach the characters in Star Wars: The Clone Wars?

The same way I approach every novel — by asking myself Who are these people? What makes them tick? What do they love, who do they love, who do they hate, who hates them, what do they want, how far would they go to get it and what do they believe they’d never do? And then what happens when they do it? For me, it’s always and only about the characters. Space battles and speeder chases and all that action stuff means nothing to me if I don’t care about the people taking part. Books aren’t a video game. For me, books are all about the heart and souls and minds of the characters. It’s my chance to get inside these people, turn them upside down and shake out their psychological pockets.

5. Did you become an avid fan of the animated series on TV?

I have to say, not so much. Animated stuff isn’t my thing. I really appreciated the amazing work that went into producing it, but for me Star Wars will always be about the real people.

6. What are your thoughts of the cancellation of the animated series?

That all good things must come to an end.

7. Would you consider writing any novels based on the upcoming Star Wars: Rebels animated series?

Right now, because of my mainstream work, I can’t even let myself dream about writing more Star Wars of any kind. But after this new series is done, who knows? I never say never!

8. You have written so many amazing novels, how do you defeat writer’s block?

You’re assuming I can defeat it. *g* I always think that the term is in fact a catch-all cover phrase for a variety of self-inflicted road blocks with which all writers must contend. Sometimes it’s actually a good thing — your subconscious is waving a red flag at you, letting you know you’ve taken a wrong turn in the narrative. Or, when you have trouble getting started, it’s letting you know that the story isn’t quite cooked yet. Sometimes it’s fear that gets in your way. Writing can be intensely confronting, stirring up feelings of inadequacy, or painful memories. Sometimes writers let the enormity of the task overwhelm them. Deadlines help. So does the fear of letting people down — my editor, the fabulous readers who support my work. And not writing, at the end of the day, is more painful than writing, even at its most demanding and challenging.

9. You have traveled and lived in so many different places including Canada, England, and Australia. How did you end up in so many different places?

Well, I was born in Canada. But I didn’t stay there long, my parents first relocated to England, where my mother’s from, then eventually came here to Australia, where my father’s from. But I always wanted to travel and see other places, so after uni I relocated to the UK for 3 years, where I learned a great deal about life, the universe and everything. Since I returned to Australia I’ve travelled every chance I can, and of course now with all the research that I’m doing for my new fantasy series I’m getting to see even more amazing places in Europe and elsewhere. I love it!

10. Any place that you would love to see but have never been to?

Oh, so many. I’m aiming to get to Prague next year. I want to see Malta, and Cyprus, and the Mediterranean. I want to visit Scandinavia and the Loire Valley in France. I could spend the rest of my life doing nothing but travel. I want to see m
ore of the US, Boston and the South. The great national parks. Ireland. So many places!

11. A few episodes ago on Naboo Brew we discussed the lack of main women characters in the Star Wars universe, what’s your take on that?

Oh, it’s a vexing and contentious and frustrating and explosive subject. The entire field of speculative fiction is skewed towards the male demographic by so many of its producers, because they believe (ignorantly, I think) that spec fic is a genre created by men and for men, in which women function almost exclusively as victims or objects of sexual conquest/desire. And there is no getting away from the unpalatable fact that in many areas of the spec fic genre women are treated with hostility and resentment – both as characters and in person. It’s also sadly true that a fair proportion of men out there won’t engage with stories told by women, or which feature women characters as anything but passive sexual objects, or who die to provide the male hero a reason to go off and have an adventure. But that’s not universally true. Far from it. I get a lot of mail from guys who enjoy my books, both Star Wars and mainstream fantasy. So it’s a case of chipping away at the sexism – both conscious and subconscious – and the adolescent resentment of girl cooties that sadly does permeate all facets of the spec fic genre, not just Star Wars. But until society at large drags itself out of the stone age, then spec fic will always struggle, since it’s only a microcosm of the greater world around it.

12. Any particular favorite female Star Wars characters?

Well, Leia, of course! And Ahsoka. At first I didn’t like the idea of her at all, since she was just sprung on us out of the blue. But Karen Traviss did a great job with her in her first Clone Wars book, and then the more I thought about her and wrote about her, the more I came to really appreciate her. I also love the Padme of the first 2 prequel films. Unfortunately I have serious issues with how the character was written in the 3rd prequel film, Revenge of the Sith. I thought that was pretty disgraceful, and did not reflect well on the franchise as a whole.

13. You also wrote a few Stargate SG-1 novels; Alliances and Do No Harm why do you think there are so few women authors tackling the Science Fiction Universe?

Well, as I said, there is serious resistance to the idea of women writing ‘science fiction’ because apparently, if you have ovaries, then your brain malfunctions if you step three feet out of the kitchen or the bedroom. It’s utter rubbish, of course, but it can’t change until the male reading audience actively supports women writers by buying and reading their work, and talking about it positively in the places where readers hang out. It also requires that male film producers and tv showrunners recruit women to write for them, since the visual mediums exert such a strong influence. It ends up becoming a very very frustrating self-fulfilling prophecy. The power brokers and gatekeepers are men, they hire men, tell male-centric stories, then use that as an excuse for excluding women from the process because women don’t have the experience. Not all do it, but most. And that’s a very hard battle to wage, as women, because we are routinely and systematically silenced and denied any access to the process. And then when women point out egregious examples of discrimination or sexism, they are bombarded with hate mail and rape threats and death threats and so forth, to silence them and make them go away. Which means it’s up to the men who aren’t so backward-thinking to step up and demand that their brothers act like grown ups and not spoilt, nasty brats. And that’s not happening enough yet. The key, I think, is to remove the societal stigma against women. If the worst, most insulting and humiliating thing you can say to a man is that he’s like a girl, what hope do any of us have? Don’t get me wrong, some men do stand up and step up. But we need more. We need to create a world where someone being a sexist is as damning and unacceptable and shameful as being a racist — and that’s going to take men and women working together.

14. Any advice for aspiring authors?

Writing novels is a marathon, not a sprint. Having a great idea is barely the beginning. You must love stories and study them, think about them, think about the structures and purposes of narrative in all its forms. You must write. You must rewrite. You must rewrite again. You must be ruthlessly critical of your own work, and seek out beta readers who will tell you truthfully how you can improve. You must never be satisfied, always think of ways to improve. You must remember above all else that publishers don’t exist to make your dreams come true. They’re in the business of keeping their doors open by consistently publishing well told and entertaining stories. Your business is delivering a story that ticks all the boxes. Writing is a solo effort. Publishing is a team sport. And readers are the final judges of your work. If they like it, they’re right. If they hate it, they’re right. All reading is subjective. If it’s okay for you as a reader to complain about a book or a film or a tv show you didn’t like, then as a writer you must accept that some folk won’t like your stuff and they might well say so where others can hear them. They get to do that. They forked out their money and with it they bought your book and the right to say whatever they like about it ( short of deliberate and/or malicious misrepresentation, that is.) Finally, love the process. If you don’t, you’ll never survive the journey.

15. When you’re not writing; what are your favorite hobbies or activities you like to do?

I’m involved with my local theatre group, where I act and direct and do publicity. And soon I’ll be getting back to my sword fighting classes. I love research!

16. Any upcoming projects that we can look forward to from you?

Right now I’m in the throes of completing the first book in my new epic fantasy series, The Tarnished Crown. The Path to Power releases next year, and it’s the biggest, most challenging and sometimes overwhelming story I’ve ever started. The series will span 5 volumes, cover multiple locations, many years and lots and lots of characters. I love it, but it scares the crap out of me!


Coming Soon...2014
Coming Soon…2014

Naboo Brew thanks Karen for such an amazing interview! Check out Karen Miller’s work and her website at http://www.karenmiller.net/

Star Wars: The Clone Wars - Wild Space - Published 2008
Star Wars: The Clone Wars – Wild Space – Published 2008
The Riven Kingdom Published 2008
The Riven Kingdom Published 2008
Empress of Mijak - Published 2007
Empress of Mijak – Published 2007

Star Wars – The Old Republic – Revisited

via – Got GameMMORPG. Maybe you’ve heard the acronym before. If you haven’t, just know that it’s a bunch of people playing a video game in the same world, fighting all manner of beasties and fighting each other, while gallivanting around the virtual world gathering weird objects for non-playable characters. Star Wars: The Old Republic is no different. Well, maybe it is a little different. Most MMOs have you reading dialogue, watching your avatar stand there, expressionless, as it interacts with the characters around it, and puts you in a story that everyone else pretty much experiences…verbatim. Oh, and most MMO’s aren’t set against the backdrop of what could be considered one of the greatest Scifi franchises in history.

Star Wars: The Old Republic (aka SWTOR) came out in 2011 to acclaim, fandom, and positive reviews. There was a lot of love for the potential this Massively Online Roleplaying game had. Gamers were excited to jump back into the world of the Knights of the Old Republic, a game lauded as the best Star Wars game created. And as a result, people knew there was the promise of an excellent story, the ability to make choices for your character in that story, and the chance to follow the path of the Light or Dark side. And as if that weren’t enough, you had the chance to play as a Jedi or Sith. It was easy to see why this game was so popular and had so many jumping in to swing that Lightsaber or dual wield some blasters. How could this game possibly lose?

Fast forward a year and a half later. SWTOR was seeing a drop in subscriptions and servers were emptying out. People found it hard pressed to stay around when end game content was sparse, and the game mechanic was something they’ve seen on every other MMO. The Star Wars name wasn’t enough to fight off the juggernaut known as World of Warcraft or the subscription free Guild Wars. STWOR was in trouble, and it needed to find a way to crawl out of the gutter and bring in new blood. It took a chance, and it might have paid off.

EA and Bioware rolled the dice and reworked the game in a Free to Play model. No subscription required. You get the chance to play the main game in its entirety, but with drastic limitations. But, if you were so bold, you could pay a monthly fee and enjoy the game restriction free. In the end though, for me, it was the Free to Play option that got me started. It was a chance to try out the game and see if it was worth paying fifteen bucks a month. I figured, I did so with World of Warcraft for ages, if SWTOR was up to par, it deserved my cash. So I left WoW with it’s latest expansion oversimplifying everything, and an overall experience that was getting dull, and I wanted to try something new, yet something similar to WoW. As a result I downloaded SWTOR the day it became Free to Play, and I found that I liked it…then loved it.

There’s just something about playing an MMO with a Star Wars paint job. I got to fight Mandalorians, swing a lightsaber, fly a starship, and follow a story where I get to choose (for the most part) what I say or do in the main story. And that story, I find, is well written. There’s deep lore, surprising twists, and call backs to the previous games that are clever and at times, jaw dropping. Then you have the voice acting that was well done, believable, and had scope and depth that you’d expect from a Star Wars title. Compare that to WoW, where I didn’t have the patience to read every dialogue box that appeared, so I never knew what was happening. I just followed the quest arrow. In the end, I came for the talent trees and robes, but stayed for the immersive plot and interesting characters.

SWTOR also does some things that I hadn’t seen in other MMOs that I’ve played, and I’ve honestly, only played a handful. The Legacy mechanic is fascinating, as it encourages the player to have more than one character to play. Adding too and growing your legacy gained power ups and unlock extras you normally wouldn’t get just playing a single character. Then there was the introduction of Companions. I think this was a genius idea, as it allowed players flexibility on how to play. If you prefer to play solo, you have the option to have your companion by your side and fight your way through the story. These Companions aren’t there just to help you on the battlefield either. Your Companions can help you gather resources for crafting and even craft the items you and your Legacy need. Also, this is a beautiful game. Well, when it comes to the character models and armor, as well as the weapons and accessories your carry. There’s so much variety and detail for an MMO that fit so well in into the Star Wars universe, you’ll find yourself spending an hour putting together gear that both looks and feels good. Unfortunately, the NPCs get a little less polish and the environments are bland. With the vast desserts of Tatooine and the empty ice plains of Hoth, you get very few photo opporunities and even fewer breathtaking vistas. But, it sticks to the Star Wars style, as really, Star Wars wasn’t known for its aesthetic beauty. Despite the fun and familiar gameplay, the Star Wars Universe, and the involving story, what sold me on this game, and what got me to switch over to becoming a subscriber, was the community.

The entire STWOR game can be played alone without having to interact with another player. If you’re willing to play for free and do this, great. But there are missions with greater reward, stronger villains, and a more challenging experience, that need more than one person to complete. At first I avoided all of this, remembering the trolls from World of Warcraft, but I knew I wanted to play these areas at some point. I’ve largely ignored the big blue chat window, jaded by previous games, but figured I needed to take the plunge eventually. And I was pleasantly surprised. I found that the other players were uncharacteristically nice and extremely helpful. Those who’ve played WoW know that people can be ruthless, mocking, and argumentative over irrelevant subjects just to mess with other players. There was also the constant pestering to join a guild or buy gold. With SWTOR, there’s so little of that noise, and such a loud contingency of helpful players, that it’s actually a joy to interact with the people in this game. People went out of their way to give useful information, help new players, and engage in conversation about lore and plot points. That was the final sign I needed. I knew that this game…needed to take my money.

Now I am seven months into the world of the Old Republic, and I haven’t gotten bored yet (sort of, as I’ll explain later). But that isn’t to say that its all Ewoks and rainbows. With the influx of new, free players, and the adjustment to the new Free to Play model, there’s been an emphasis on SWTOR’s in-game market, the Cartel Market and less on expanding the game and universe. I get it though, these companies need to make money for this game to keep bringing out new expansions and worthwhile patches in order to help keep this game interesting and fun. Sadly, this emphasis on the Cartel Market has soured the game for me, as a paying subscriber.

With the latest patch, we are introduced to a new race, the Cathar, and the ability to modify armor to whatever color scheme our hearts desire, for a price. This brings into light the in-game economy, where people who are willing to fork over the real world cash to buy Cartel Coins and in turn Cartel Market items can then put up said items on the Galactic Trade Network (which is this game’s auction house) for in-game credits. It’s a pretty sweet deal as millions of credits are spent every day to get the much sought after Cartel Market items. I can appreciate that. It’s when you can’t access features like the armor color mods and the new playable race without spending real world money, that rubs me the wrong way.

As a paid subscriber you get an allowance of Cartel Coins every month, which is nice, because you’re already paying a monthly fee, it’s cool to get a few bones thrown our way in Cartel Coins. But then, when new features are introduced, you still need Cartel Coins to unlock them and for subscribers, at a discounted rate. I’m already paying a monthly fee. EA and Bioware are already getting my money. I don’t see a reason why they need to take more of it. I realize it’s all cosmetic, but I feel that they’re taking advantage of those who are willing to pay the subscription. Personally, I think the best way to correct this is to provide a larger stipend of Cartel Coins to offset the high prices for these items, but…again, they’re mostly cosmetic and don’t really add or subtract from the game. It’s just the principal. If you’re a free to play gamer, great. Pay the extra cash, because you’re more or less getting all the same content, for free, and because there are no ads, these companies need to make the money somewhere. But if you’re all in, like I am, there shouldn’t be these limitations.

Then, there’s the boredom factor. I mentioned earlier that I’m not yet bored of this game, but really, there’s not that much for you to do in game. I really liked the WoW factor of being able to fish and craft and cook, because it was something to do other than kill, kill, kill. Sure there are the space battles, which I personally like, but I feel like there should be more. Granted, I’m not whining that I can’t farm for things, because it’s AWESOME that my crew gets to do all the heavy lifting, but it would be nice to be able to play a card game for credits, or hunt for stuff, or have some podracing or even expand on the space battles. Anything other than the usual kill, kill, kill. That’s honestly my biggest complaint. You can have big dungeons to fight in or PVP maps to run around and gank people in, but that’s it. Nothing mundane and cute to do, no pet raising, no starship interiors to upgrade and customize, to make it your home. Just fighting. Now, though I have the latest expansion, I haven’t played through it yet, so I don’t know if there are a ton of things to do in Makeb. But it would be nice to see some variety to add to the longevity of the game.

Star Wars the Old Republic is a fun game that hooks you with deep story telling and an entire galaxy to roam, but this is by no means a perfect game. It’s hard not to love that it’s the Star Wars universe with the ability to shoot lightning out of your fingers, wield a lightsaber, brandish some blasters in each hand, like a cowboy, and pepper unsuspecting foes with a barrage of missles. That is just plain fun. But there is still the lack of variety of things to do and a spotty in game economy. Luckily it is off set by an immense story, companions with fun and varied personalities, fighting animation that looks almost choreographed, and a supportive and friendly community. So if you love Star Wars and are looking for a good MMO, it’s hard to go wrong traveling to a long time ago, in a galaxy far away.

Geek Love Radio Presents – Spoiler Alert Theater: Iron Man 3, Star Trek Into Darkness, Doctor Who Finale

Download the episode here.

This week Geek Love Radio is proud to present the Junk Food Podcast: Spoiler Alert Theater, talking about Iron Man 3, Star Trek Into Darkness, and the Doctor Who Season Finale. Featuring the Knights of the Pod Table. Jason Clark, Anthony Bachman, Chris Ferrell, Josh Hawkes, and Francis Fernandez. BE WARNED, there are spoilers for these films (and tv show), as we dissect each show, give our opinions on key scenes and look at what we loved and hated. So sit back, grab some popcorn and enjoy a little SAT.

Jason Clark, the Jedi Ras (@The_Jedi_Ras): http://anelegantweapon.podbean.com/

Anthony Bachman (@anthonybachman): http://thenextelementpodcast.podbean.com/

Chris Ferrell (@roundtablenerds): http://allthingsgoodandnerdy.podbean.com/

Josh Hawkes (@303_Ninja): http://www.pointsofinterestpodcast.com/

Francis Fernandez (@sortageek): http://geekloveradio.net

Let's Mix Some Business With Some Power!

Written by Lei – Nerdlicious Podcast

Dear friends,

I rsquo;m sorry I rsquo;ve been MIA. My father passed away, so I rsquo;ve been taking a break from everything. I rsquo;ve slowly been getting back into the swing of things, and hope to be writing regularly, as I said I would.

Today, I rsquo;m going to write about a question I received. Essentially, a gentleman wanted to know the difference between financial domination and professional domination. This is a very good question, as it rsquo;s one of the things many people- even kinksters- don rsquo;t really understand.

A professional dominant is somebody who provides a service for money. D/s (Dominance/ submission) is not always about sex, and many professional dominants will not have sex with customers. Of course, some will. Somebody who works as a professional dom/me may or may not be a lifestyle dominant. That is to say, some professionals are acting in order to get money, while others have an sincere appreciation for D/s.

There are various reasons one might see a pro-dom/me. Some people are curious about whether or not this is their ldquo;thing rdquo;. Some are between partners, and need the release of submitting to another person. Some are in relationships with partners who are unable or unwilling in providing this sort of lifestyle. If you decide to see a professional, it is important to know what you want, and to ask questions to make sure you get what you rsquo;re looking for. As I always stress, communication is very important.

There are people who disapprove of others earning money through domination. Typically, such people express that they think it is wrong to charge money for something the professionals enjoy doing. Personally, I think this notion is much like saying chefs shouldn rsquo;t be paid if they enjoy cooking, or that doctors shouldn rsquo;t be paid if they care about their patients.

Just as with any other business, there is overhead. Professional dominants must either purchase or rent space, as well as equipment. The work often requires the use of costumes, or at least specific attire. There is also sanitation to consider. People are often surprised to learn this, but many professionals also take classes and acquire study materials in order to provide experiences that are safe for everybody involved. In order to network, many travel to conventions, as well as monthly meetings called munches (these are usually lunch meetings at restaurants).

In addition to all of this, there is the time the pro-dom/me invests. Preparing the space, supplies, and himself/ herself can take just as long as the appointment. Then, after the appointment, the space must be cleaned. Any supplies that are used up must be replenished.

The argument presented by those opposed to paying is that this is equally true when people are involved in non-commercial kink experiences. However, regardless of whether the experiences involve money or not, there must always be an investment for anything worth having. Even outside of kink, investments may be financial, emotional, or some sort of physical/ mental labor. Sometimes, they are a combination of these.

When people interact in this dynamic, there is an exchange of investment. This is true regardless of how personally the people are involved. As we forge and carry out vanilla relationships, we invest time, emotions, and often money. Even if the money is indirect, we often must pay for travel, meals, etc. We may not see these investments the same way we see paying a professional for a service, but it exists, nonetheless.

Financial domination, on the other hand, is a horse of another color. It is not about earning a living, as it can even be carried out between a married couple in which each partner works. When one person dominates the other financially, it is not so much about money as it is about power.

Many people do not love their jobs, or at least they don rsquo;t love certain aspects of their jobs. They would rather be doing many different things. However, work is something we are required to do. If we do not work, we do not get money. Without money, we cannot provide for ourselves or for others in our care. Not only would we lack for necessities, but without money, we cannot pursue our interests.
When one person surrenders control of their money to another person, it is a very intimate and real surrender of power. They are giving the other person the ability to completely ruin them. If you do a little research, you rsquo;ll find that it rsquo;s certainly happened.

More often, however, it works similarly to how many vanilla couples handle their financial responsibilities. For example, a submissive person might turn his paycheck over to his wife. She would act as an accountant, budgeting their joint bank account to ensure everything is handled. This sort of interaction happens in many households. The main difference is that when a couple does this because they especially enjoy it as a fetish, there is more focus on this aspect of their relationship.

Of course, there are many who prefer an exaggerated version of this kink. As somebody who appreciates financial domination, I can tell you that it rsquo;s a bit of a rush. I wouldn rsquo;t want to do this in a regular relationship, but financially dominating somebody with whom I have no emotional ties is exciting. He becomes an insignificant source of entertainment.

It rsquo;s fun to be pampered, and I enjoy the gifts of money and material items I have received so far. However, what I enjoy more is the thought of this guy working hard to earn his cash just so he can surrender it to me. On days he doesn rsquo;t feel like going to work, the possibility of earning the opportunity to bask in my smile will drive him to go, anyway. When he rsquo;s having a rough day at work, he rsquo;ll remember that it rsquo;s all for me, and carry on. So not only is it that a financial dominant is given the money, but we become incredibly important to the submissive. We become almost god-like in the mind of this person.

Personally, I have a great sense of responsibility and I am very careful. Some clients become caught up in the fantasy and forget that they have obligations. They will even allow themselves to become bankrupt. I always determine the amount of money my clients earn, and learn their monthly expenses. In this way, I am able to refuse to accept certain gifts that I know they cannot really afford. I know many other financial dominants are equally conscientious. However, some are not. So if this sounds like something you rsquo;d like to explore, I urge you to use caution.

I hope you enjoyed reading this and that you learned something interesting. Feel free to write in and ask any BDSM related questions you have in mind.

Smooches!

The Date

There is a song that I absolutely love by the Bluetones that seems to get my mind going. There’s this scene that always plays in my head when I hear this song, called “Sleazy Bed Track”. I ask that when you read the following that you play this song on low. Well, after the ads of course, because we can’t play a song anymore without ads. But once the song starts playing, please start reading and picture that person, whomever it is, there with you. Because this is the date. The date with you and that person, you’re thinking about right now. Disclaimer: It’s 1am…I’ve had a very interesting day…and I’m not used to writing this way. Please be kind with your hate and generous with your love. Thank you.

The puddles shimmer and ripple on the dark, wet pavement as falling rain drums a quiet tune. Street lamps, with their dull orange glow, cover you and her in a warm blanket of light. The sounds of the city swim around you, but you can barely hear them. Even the loud conversations in the cafe and the passing cars on the street, fade into a sing song of unintelligible words and steady rhythms. And it’s with those rhythms, you feel your heart beating, as you look at the woman before you.

The conversation has stopped, but only so you and her can sip your warm cups of tea and coffee, it’s aromatic steam heating your nose, lips and cheeks. The chill is slight, but comforting, and you relish these quiet moments with her. It’s those first dates that can seem so awkward. Where you’re learning each other’s like’s and dislikes, loves and hates, and looking for any sign that she’s interested in you or not. But this is not your first date, nor your second, nor your third, nor your fourth. Those pleasantries lead to laughs, talk of your favorite things, and bold kisses at the end of the night. This was a new day, a new evening, and a realization that this could be more.

A smile spreads across her lips as she holds the hot cup of coffee close to her face, skin pink from the heat. She tells you about home, about her life, and about the adventures she’s been in, and you listen intently and revel in her joys. You share with her your dreams, your aspirations, and your passions, and her eyes reflect your excitement. It’s that moment, when you realize that this was more than just a date. She sees in you a man she could be with, and you see in her a woman you connect with. You hesistate before leaning in closer to her, and you watch her mimic your movement. You reach out your hands to hers and encompassing them with your palms. The touch is familiar, but no less electric than the first time you felt her skin on yours.

You beging to speak of the adventures you and her could have, the world you can see, and you weave a story as your fingers into hers, working them away from the hot mug and into your warm palms. You find each her hands fitting into yours like two puzzle pieces fitting into place. It is as if no other hand had ever felt right in your grasp.

A nervous laugh escapes her lips, as she gingerly rubs her thumbs along the knuckles of your hands, as if testing to see if they felt right. You return the favor, taking a moment to remember the very bone structure of each finger. Your eyes look up to bask in the way her hair tumbles down along her shoulders, and her eyes so bright and affectionate, staring back at yours, her lips that utter sweet words that touch your heart, and you find only one word to describe her. Beautiful.

You can feel the beating of your heart grow stronger, as the admiration you had for her turns into a fondness you weren’t prepared for. You stand and she stands with you, your drinks forgotten, the rain, just an afterthought, and world around you just a blur.

She looks up at you with curiosity and excitement as you move her around the table and into your arms. Her frame presses up against yours, and you feel her head turn and lay delicately against your chest. Your heart beats faster, and you can feel her giggle. You hold her for as long as you can before you pull away to focus on that face you, so love to see. A grin spreads across your lips as you wink.

Her surprise is brief as you run away from the cafe laughing, her hand held tight to yours. Rain coats your face and clothes and you don’t care. You look back to see her hair matted down along her cheeks and it does not diminish that loveliness you’ve become so enamored over. Splashing and laughter fill the air as you dash along the streets to your home, it’s protective auning proving both of you a much welcomed relief from the rain.

Wet and cold, you brush the strands of damp hair from her face to look upon her elegance. No longer is it mere infatuation, you feel an actual closeness that you hadn’t felt in a long time.

You feel drawn to her as you try to reason out this urge that comes rising from within you. You’ve kissed her many times before, but this moment felt different. This moment held with it something that took time time to develop, to grow, and to mature to something that felt real.

No more time for thought, you lean in and close your eyes allowing your lips to touch hers. Timid at first, your kiss is soft and tender, giving you time to take in her scent, her body heat, and her very presence. It feels surreal that this woman before you is returning a kiss with the same affection you feel for her.

You feel her embrace around you tighten, and you become emboldened to kiss her more fervidly, your mouths to dancing in a passionate flurry of emotion.

You part for a moment to take in her presence, your heart and mind swimming. She tenderly wraps her arms around your neck and leans up to kiss you once more, but you gently push her away. Her face is painted with confusion, but you smile and take her hand into yours, squeezing it in reassurance as you lead her to the door, to a place where her heart could feel safe with yours, and a place where love might grow.

~fin~