As I’ve mentioned before, it never really dawned on me until I was in my mid-20’s that I was gay.  I had always attributed my lack of success in relationships with guys to just not being good at it, and/or because I didn’t want to just have sex with them all the time.  Similarly, I attributed the strong feelings I had towards some of my female friends as just being very strong bonds of friendship.  In retrospect, it should have been completely obvious.

There was one event in particular that should have been a giant red flag, except to say perhaps that it was the early 80’s, and — Frankie Goes to Hollywood and Boy George notwithstanding — sexual orientation was still something nobody talked about.  Also, I was 15, and really didn’t know anything about anything.

My sister, who was a year behind me, had a friend we shall name “Christine”.  Christine and I were friends also, in our own fashion — you know how it goes with being friends with your sibling’s friend, there’s a sort of pecking order involved.  She was my sister’s friend first, mine second.  That’s just how these things work.

One summer weekend, my sister and Christine had planned for Christine to come over for a sleepover.  My sister had a tent setup in the backyard, and was planning all the fun things they’d do together.  I really paid little attention at the time.  That changed, however, when Christine came over that Saturday afternoon.  It ended up the three of us, hanging out and having fun.  Christine and I especially enjoyed one another’s company, much to the mounting chagrin of my sister.

I don’t remember exactly the details of how we planned this, but later in the evening I snuck out of the house.  We lived on a farm, and below the house beyond a field was a wooded area with a meandering stream.  Next to this stream was an old sunbleached fallen tree, long since bereft of bark or branches.  I don’t remember if we met there, or somewhere along the way, but in my mind’s eye I very clearly see us sitting on that log.  The moonlight was the most brilliant I’ve ever witnessed — ok, well maybe it’s my romantic look back that makes it seem so, but it was bright enough to give everything a blue-tinted almost-daylight.  We sat talking for what felt like hours, very close together, our bare legs touching in our summer shorts.  One of us reached for the other’s hand, and still we sat, talking and holding hands in the moonlight.  I remember thinking how beautiful she looked, her long hair, her smile, her brown eyes.  We … almost kissed.  We started leaning towards each other, about to .. and then I think embarrassment overtook us both.  It was literally the most magical night ever.  Eventually we went back up towards the house, she back to my sister’s tent in the backyard and me sneaking back to my room.  I didn’t sleep at all the rest of that night as I lay in my bed reliving those moments over and over again.

The next morning, my sister was (understandably) livid.  Things were very stilted and awkward between Christine and I, we really didn’t meet the other’s gaze.  Once she had gone home, I got reamed for “stealing” my sister’s friend.

Almost 30 years later, and it’s quite clear to my adult self what was going on.  I sometimes wonder what happened to Christine, as not long after that we moved a good distance away and we fell out of contact.  And I wonder if she remembers that night, and if it heralded for her the same truths about herself that it belatedly did for me.

I’ve been playing one MMORPG or another for quite a number of years now, going back to when I first logged into Star Wars Galaxies in 2005.  In that time I’ve never really been a roleplayer .. I’ve never seriously conducted myself as and from the perspective of my character while in-game.  No, no, my friend .. the “Pink Wookiee Incident”? .. That doesn’t count.

The games really do start to all feel the same after awhile.  Hotbar at the bottom, character in the middle, click on a monster, then click on an ability button. Your character casts a spell, or swings a lightsaber, or fires a gun. Rinse and repeat until the monster falls over and you can steal it’s stuff. It’s not a bad formula, millions of people spend many hours every day doing just this, and it’s entertaining. But it is formulaic.

In an attempt to mix it up a bit, I’ve been on a quest lately to try roleplaying.  It would be interesting and fun to play with a group of people who are writing stories as they go.  But I’m having a very hard time finding any RP.  I’ve created characters on RP servers in WoW and SWTOR, levelling up enough to go see what the capital city “feels like”.  I’ve scoured the game’s forums searching for the server everyone says is the “best RP server”.  I’ve wandered the city emoting to myself in hopes of someone RP’ing with me.  I would join in with someone RP’ing, if I actually saw anyone doing it.

So far, every server I’ve seen really isn’t any different from the normal PvE servers I’ve always played on.  I’ve actually noticed a higher incidence of Barrens Chat on several RP servers — chat trollery and asshattery of apocalyptic proportions.  Maybe it’s the time of day, or Jupiter in alignment with Venus. I don’t know why.

I’m pretty much ready to go back to my normal server, and abandon my search for the mythical RP’er.  How about you? Any tips for finding RP?

It was one year and one month ago that I published the last post on Vanilla Bri.  Since then, I really didn’t have much that I felt I wanted to write about.  Eventually, I made my blog private, out of embarrassment over linking a dead blog.

Well, I’m going to try this writing thing again. With encouragement from my friend Erika over at Be Gay About It, I’ve moved my blog over from Blogger to WordPress (not without some pain) and made it public once again.  Bear with me as I try out some new themes.  There will be some links to old blogspot posts, I don’t really know of an easy way of fixing those except manually so at some point I’m just going to have to go wading through one by one.

I’m still learning WordPress, and I linked my Twitter account, so hopefully I don’t unintentionally start spamming out blog links.

In the meantime, please feel free to browse my old posts, some of which are even still relevant!  Some of my favourites:

The man moved through the crowded streets with purpose.  His contacts had informed him of recent occurrences in the Mos Eisley cantina:  There was purportedly a fight in which a lightsaber was used.  The reports mentioned an old man and a young boy, so the man didn’t think it was his mark.  Another incident, in the same cantina shortly thereafter, left the grisly charred remains of a Rodian bounty hunter named Greedo.  Sloppy, thought the man remorselessly.  Greedo was known to boast that he would extort money from his marks before killing them, on the false promise of dropping the mission.  The man had only heard rumours regarding the identity of Greedo’s mark, but if they were true then Greedo should have fired at the legendary gunman first, and asked for money later.  Han Solo would make a good Bounty Hunter, the man mused.  He has a cutthroat instinct.
He walked into the cantina and slipped quickly to the bar.  Several stormtroopers milled about, trying to look alert.  The bar was quieter now, many of its patrons left for establishments with fewer Imperial eyes and ears upon them.  A glint of light caught his eye from beneath a seat.  A blaster.  The man waited for an opportunity when the stormtroopers seemed distracted, sidled over and picked the weapon up, secreting it quickly away to an inner pocket of his tunic.  As soon as he could without appearing suspicious, he left the cantina and headed to his ship nestled deep within the bays and docks of the starport.
He loved the look of his ship, always slowing to marvel at its lines as he approached it.  It looked mean.  A sleek body with stubby atmospheric control vanes, its forward-looking cockpit black and shiny.  Weaponry bristled, from the twin blasters affixed below the nose to the bulge of a battery of seismic charge launchers.   He circled the docking port several times, stopping to pretend to admire a couple of other ships as he clandestinely surveyed the groups of spacers for a possible tail.  At a low ebb in the crowd he walked quickly to his ship and boarded.
Once aboard, he wedged himself into a chair in front of the workbench in a small maintenance bay.  He placed the retrieved blaster on the workbench and selected a fine set of weaponsmith’s hydrospanners and magwrenches from a locker above his head.  He carefully removed the fairing from the triggerguard and bolt assembly.  There it was.  A fine marking on the inside of the receiver:  J’Tann Blasterworks, Jammy Town, Dantooine.  He delved deeper into the inner workings, whistling softly as he came upon what he had been searching for.  The man touched a datascreen mounted in the wall, and quickly brought up several detailed technical schematics, flipping through them quickly, glancing down at the exposed innards of the blaster in between pages.  That’s the final clue, then.  He reached up and clicked off the glowing screen, the technical detail of a Jedi lightsaber crystal mount fading to a black screen as he moved towards the craft’s cockpit.

Just because I’m in that kind of a mood, I’m going to do one of those “things you may or may not know about me” posts.  I don’t know if the rules governing such blog posts say I need to do 50 or 100 or whatever, so let’s see how far I get, shall we?  In no particular order…

  1. I’m gay. Lesbian. Queer as a $3 bill. I may have mentioned this before.
  2. I’m over 40.  That makes me about 900 in Internet Years (take that, Yoda!)
  3. My hair is brown and most often in a ponytail, like the avatar.
  4. No, I don’t post pictures of myself on the Internet, sorry.  It gives me the screaming heebie-jeebies just to think about it.  Call it a hangup.
  5. I’m Canadian, living in Ontario.  No, not Toronto.
  6. My favourite lesbian band is T.A.T.U.  “All the Things She Said” has a wonderful emotional undercurrent.
  7. My favourite listening-at-work is video game soundtracks.  World of Warcraft’s music is very evocative of the world of Azeroth.  Currently listening to the new Portal 2 soundtrack.
  8. Speaking of work, I work in IT.  Exciting is not a word I’d use, but it pays the bills.
  9. I’ve been playing and working with computers since the days of the 8-bits: the TRS-80’s, the Commodore Vic, the Apple ][.
  10. I spent 8 years in the military.
  11. 6 of those years I was posted in Germany.
  12. I drive a Honda Civic.
  13. I’ve been a computer gamer for as long as there’s been home computers.  I was a FPS player for years, playing Unreal Tournament in a sniper clan, before playing MMORPG’s.
  14. I’m kind of between games right now, none of the games available to me excite me enough to want to play them.
  15. I’ve never owned a game console.
  16. I’ve always been a PC gal, but a few months ago I bought an iMac, and I’ve never looked back.
  17. My iPhone is the most stupidly useful gizmo on the planet.
  18. Something I’ve never told anyone: I have a ridiculous head-over-heels crush on the woman I sometimes share an office with.  I’m afraid telling her would ruin an amazing friendship though.  Besides, I think she knows.
  19. Sitting on my butt in front of a computer for a living was turning me into Fatty McFatterson.  I’ve lost 42 lbs in the past five months.  Yay me!
  20. I hate to run, but I love to walk for miles and miles.
  21. I have a Facebook account.  None of my real-world friends do, they all still think Facebook is for college kids.  As a result I use Facebook very infrequently.
  22. I hate phones (talking on them, that is).
  23. I love to barbeque.  It takes all my effort to grin and nod when someone proudly shows off their barbeque prowess by presenting little lumps of charcoal smothered in Bullseye.
  24. I hate it when guys think I can’t barbeque.
  25. My favourite movies of all time are Star Wars.

Think I’ll stop there, 25 is a good number.  I’ll put it out there and say that if you have any questions, please ask in the comments.

Happy Friday!

The bright Dantooine sunlight streamed in, catching the inner fire of the Force crystal on the plain low table in front of J’Tann as he meditated.  The events of the day before on Tatooine had left him uneasy, not to mention the recurrence of his nightmare, and he allowed himself to slip deeper into meditation, the Force molding his thoughts and feelings, directing them in a way that was soothing.  He could feel power returning to his fatigued body, invigorating and revitalizing, like a hot shower on a cool morning. 
It has been many years since the Purge, the destruction of the Jedi Temple and the birth of the Galactic Empire.  J’Tann allowed himself to reflect back briefly on that time – he had been a youngling when Anakin Skywalker trained at the Temple, marveling like all of them at how effortlessly young Skywalker mastered the Force, at how old Anakin was compared to the other younglings.  Later, J’Tann had been on a covert, solo mission against Separatist Forces, deployed far from Coruscant to the Outer Rim when Order 66 was put into effect.  He felt the fabric of the Force rent asunder as Jedi Masters were slain indiscriminately, received the order to return to the Temple and the confusing change to the signal sent by Master Kenobi, indicating to him to cast off his robes and go into permanent hiding.  J’Tann took his skills at lightsaber crafting and adapted them to weaponsmithing, allowing him to eke out a modest living;  yet wary, bearing in mind always that to be unmasked as a Jedi would certainly lead to torture and death at the hands of the Imperial government.
An insistent beeping from the door annunciator broke J’Tann’s meditation.  He looked up at the holo on the security panel.  A client with an appointment for this afternoon stood at the door to the shop.  Good. J’Tann thought.  Better to get his mind back to the present where it belonged.  He went to the front of the building to keycode the maglock and activate the anti-blaster security field before allowing the Rodian inside.  They bowed and greeted each other, and J’Tann fetched the special order for the Rodian.  The blaster ordered was one of a kind, the focusing crystal mounted in a manner that if only the Rodian knew it, was reminiscent of the way a lightsaber’s crystal is mounted.  This was done to accommodate the client’s special requirements – he had indicated that the blaster must be capable of a very high rate of fire, and it must have a firing mode that allowed a far greater amount of blast energy to discharge with one shot – J’Tann knew the only way to accomplish this would be by mounting the crystal in this manner.  J’Tann wondered what the Rodian wanted with such a weapon.  A blaster like this one could only be used for one thing, and that was an assassination, quick and messy.  Man, he could take out a Wookiee with this blaster, one shot.  The Rodian keyed his signature from his datapad to transmit the credit payment to the weaponsmith’s account.  Double-checking the transaction, J’Tann idly noticed the client’s name in the computer record.  Greedo.  He inwardly shrugged, not recognizing the name.  He wished the client well and hoped to see him again.

The nightmare always came the same way…
J’Tann picked his way carefully through the boulders that littered the arroyo, making his way to the small camp several hundred metres up ahead.  It was a straightforward assignment:  Help to settle a dispute over mineral rights between two neighbouring clans on Talus.  The hidden camp was a designated meeting point, and the two leaders were on the verge of tentative agreement.  He hoped an agreement – one he had helped broker — could help lessen the hostilities that lately had grown ever more violent and brutal.
J’Tann’s mind reached out, sensing the trepidation and nervousness of the young Padawan learner who followed carefully in J’Tann’s steps.  He was a good Padawan, a quick and mindful student.  This was one of the Padawan’s first field missions.  A good mission to get his feet wet, the Jedi Council had felt.  J’Tann allowed himself to focus his thoughts towards his Padawan, calming the boy through the Force.
Without warning, the arroyo lit up with the snap of blaster fire as the miners laying in wait sprung their trap.  Red and blue beams of energy snarled though the air, seeking their Jedi targets.  Instinctively, J’Tann’s lightsaber appeared in his hand, the blue blade of pure energy hissing in fury as he expertly swung the weapon to deflect several blaster bolts aimed at him and back at his attackers.  He heard the signature hiss and hum of his Padawan’s saber, as the boy reacted to his master’s actions.  J’Tann silently cursed himself for not detecting this, he had been focusing too hard on his Padawan and had been complacent.  He leapt directly towards the attacking miners, the Force unerringly guiding his saber to it’s mark.  NOOOO!!! J’Tann heard the screams of his Padawan as the boy’s body was shredded by blaster fire from one of the remaining miners.  With blinding speed, J’Tann threw his saber at the miner, rending the man’s body in two.  He spun and caught the saber hilt as he dodged, sweeping it down and behind him in a flashing arc that removed the legs of one miner and bisected the torso of another, engaging them simultaneously and without conscious thought as the Force channeled raw power through his body to his saber arm.
Only seconds after the attack started, the bodies of the miners slumped to the ground.  In the air was the acrid, ionized smell of smoke, blaster fire, and burnt flesh.  The only sound was a low hum and occasional angry crackle from J’Tann’s lightsaber as he held it in a two-handed ready position, searching for new targets, reaching out with the Force for new threats.  Only when he had satisfied himself that the area was clear did he allow himself to relax slightly and deactivate his lightsaber.  He ran over and looked down at the body of the boy, his white Padawan robes sundered and burned where the blaster fire had struck.  J’Tann slowly knelt as he struggled to absorb the loss.

In the Jedi Council chamber, J’Tann felt the eyes and minds of the Council members upon him.  Master Yoda peered at him wisely, seemingly able to see into the young Knight’s soul.  Yoda understood.  He always did.  J’Tann gazed at the circle of seated Jedi Masters, each in turn.  Unwavering yet not unkind eyes looked back, gauging him, measuring him, judging him.

This is the first chapter of some short Star Wars fan fiction I’ve been working on.  “The Blasterworks Incident” is just a working title, I haven’t come up with anything better.  I’ll be posting more chapters, trying for one a week to pace it out a bit.

Suggestions and feedback welcome!

The Blasterworks Incident
Chapter 1

Dammit!  Where had he gone wrong??   The thought raced over and over through J’Tann’s head.  
The trip had started well enough.  J’Tann was on Tatooine on business, picking up some Tatooinian copper ore from a dealer in Anchorhead, ore needed for his modest weaponsmithing business.  He had packed carefully, choosing clothes and robes that would both shield him from the desert heat as well as allow him to blend in as best as possible with the Tatooine locals.  You could never be too careful in places such as he was traveling to.  He had met the mining dealer and, over an excellent lunch of smoked and marinated nuna salad sandwiches, had sealed the deal and arranged transport of the ore to Mos Eisley, where it would be loaded onto his waiting ship.  He was pleased with the price he had haggled for on the ore, he could make a tidy profit once he could process the ore and fabricate it into the pistols and rifles he produced for Trandoshan and Rodian big-game hunters back on Dantooine.  Walking back to the Anchorhead shuttleport, he noticed a human lounging near the ticket terminal, seemingly engrossed in reading his datapad.  The pattern of stains on the man’s well-worn travel cloak, the confident manner in which he sat straddled across the back of his chair, triggered an almost-unconscious recognition in J’Tann.  Déjà vu?  Quickly, he purchased his shuttle boarding pass from the terminal and proceeded to the boarding area.  Good, the shuttle was here and on-time.
After making stops in several small towns and communities to pick up and drop off passengers, the shuttle landed in Mos Eisley.  It was a short walk from the shuttleport behind the Artisans’ Guild Hall, past the Med Centre to the starport proper.  Part way there, J’Tann had to keep himself from physically doing a double-take.  It was him!  The guy from Anchorhead!   Or was it? J’Tann wracked his brain to make the connection.  The clothes were different, the boots were different.  A metallic glint from beneath the man’s tunic belied the presence of lightweight blast armour, a slight bulge under the armpit which may or may not be a shoulder-holstered scatter pistol.  The man looked up from his datapad, making brief eye contact with J’Tann.  A slight smile, almost a smirk, came to the man’s mouth as he noticed J’Tann looking at him, and he nodded almost imperceptibly before returning his gaze to the small screen.  The eyes.  The eyes were the same, soulless and dark.  Years of paranoia took over as J’Tann broke into a full run the moment he had rounded the corner out of sight from the man.
No time to think, he raced and dodged through the busy starport district of Mos Eisley.  An Ithorian freighter pilot stepped out of a doorway in front of him as he ran, causing J’Tann to almost bowl him over in his haste.  A stream of incomprehensible Ithorian trailed behind him, the tone of voice leaving no doubt as to how the pilot felt about the dubiousness of J’Tann’s parentage.  The streets and alleyways were becoming even more crowded now, and J’Tann slowed to a walk; No need to attract any Imperial attention.  I think I lost him.  He ducked into a nearby cantina, knowing the dim lighting and miasma would offer a level of anonymity.  For the moment, J’Tann thought.  The respite allowed him to catch his breath and muse upon the events of the past hour, as he purchased a drink from the gruff bartender and moved to a dimly-lit booth near the back, close to the back door.  He felt the reassuring heft of his weapon, snugly invisible on his belt beneath his long desert jacket.  An eons-old meditation mantra, older that the Republic itself, came unbidden to his mind and helped to clear his thoughts, offering comfort in familiarity.  Moments later, his mind quieted and focused, he slipped noiselessly out the back door of the cantina.  Through the searing midday desert heat, he carefully tracked around the lazy stormtrooper patrols as he made his way back to the safety of his ship, and the peaceful promise of deep space.

Several years ago, I used to frequent Second Life quite regularly.  I enjoyed the ability to explore myself and my interests in a safe, non-threatening, non-commital way.  You can be pretty much anything you want to be, in the virtual space.

I found myself drawn to D/s (potentially NSFW link), domination and submission.  My interest wasn’t from the perspective of a bondage kink (though that can be fun too!) but to experience the relationship dynamic of the power exchange.  The submissive (not a slave, there is a difference) chooses to hand over complete control of themselves and the relationship to their Master or Mistress.  It is the Dom(me)’s responsibility to care for the emotional and physical wellbeing of her subs, and that consideration should guide all of her decisions, and to cherish and honour the trust their sub has given them.  I became a member of a community in which I felt very much at home.  It was an atmosphere I can only describe as “Old World”, where common respect and courtesy towards both Dom(me)s and subs was the hallmark.  I and the other Mistresses and Masters would sit in the common garden, our subs at our feet, and all of us, Dom(me) and sub, enjoyed company and conversation.

Life got busy and I was able to login less and less, until finally I stopped logging in at all.  I recently reinstalled Second Life and tried to find my old haunts, my old community.  After teleporting to the new location and walking through a giant mall area (I should expand on this — one used to teleport to the garden, with the mall underground and out of sight, now you’re forced to walk through it.) I came to the garden, just as beautiful and compelling as it had been.  But gone was the community I had loved.  It was deserted, and several times I came back during what was always a peak period, only to find one or two others, mostly AFK.  Gone was the respectful atmosphere; replaced by a more casual and familiar attitude, which, while not unpleasant, served to highlight the vacuum left in the absence of what had drawn me there in the first place.

I visited as many other of my favourite places as I could find and still existed.  Everywhere it was barren, lifeless — a post-apocalyptic silence, devoid of life and movement as neon signs blinked and shops advertised their wares to nonexistent customers.

I guess you can’t go back after all.

(Note:  To clarify, I do not nor have I ever engaged in D/s in real life. I don’t think I ever could.)

Yesterday I read a very funny blog post over at Geek Curious by Heidee.  Go ahead and read it, I’ll wait.  In it she lists 10 ways to absolutely destroy any chance of a second date.  In the comments we agreed that dating is hard, which lead to me thinking back to when I was first trying to date after I came out.  I mean, how many people get to go through first-time dating jitters TWICE in their lifetime?  You only wish you were me.

My first lesbian date ever was with a woman for whom it was also her first date.  We met each other at a local coffee shop.  We sat and chatted, but it was very clear we were both extremely nervous, both of us glancing furtively towards the door every 15 seconds hoping nobody we knew would walk in.  Because, you know, two women having coffee together are obviously lesbians.  I think it was that nervousness that ruined any chances of a second date, I was pretty embarrassed at how nervous I was, and I suspect she was the same.  Too bad, because she was a very nice (and attractive!) woman.

There was the “lezzie” date.  We’d been introduced via a mutual friend, so I’d not actually met her before the date.  From the pageboy haircut to the piercings to the boisterous way she talked, everything about her mannerisms proclaimed her sexual orientation from the rooftops and dared anyone to challenge it.  I’m a fairly conservative blend-into-the-crowd kind of gal, and at this point in my lesbian education-by-fire this mortified me.

There were a few of what you would consider normal dates, coffee, dinner, a movie, a walk in the park.  The first time I held another woman’s hand in public, the first kiss, the first intimate touch.  I got to experience all of those “firsts” a second time too, so I guess it’s not all bad.

Yeah, dating is hard.  But when you get it right, there’s nothing more intoxicating.


Error: Please make sure the Twitter account is public.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.