Posted at 23:53 on 25 Apr 2013 by Pandora / Blake
I arrived home from eight days in the US yesterday and I've done very little so far except eat, nap, and fall asleep in the bath. Attempts to reset my body clock so far have failed dreadfully. For the last week I've been sleeping for 3-5 hours out of every 24, at times of day that feel utterly random due to the time differential. My sleep cycle is now so screwed I wouldn't even know how to start mapping it, let alone fixing it. I arrived home at midday UK time, after snatching a couple of hours on the plane. My initial intention was to struggle through to the evening and reset everything, but I couldn't do it; I crashed out from 5-10pm, which is how I came to be up until 4am last night cuddling the cat and writing this.
During that five hour nap I dreamed of the party; of having breakfast with everyone on the last day, of hugging Alex and Vincent and Jade. In my dream we were all unable to tear ourselves away from each other, and everyone decided to stay just one more day. Wishful thinking. Strangely, over the last couple of days the people I've found myself thinking of the most aren't those who were closest to me or who provided the best memories, but the people I didn't get to spend as much time with as I wanted. The ones I wanted to play with, but the timings or whatever didn't work out. Cee-cee and Jerry, Ten and DrLectr and JC.
Here's the brief version of my week in Atlantic City:Boardwalk Badness Weekend was the best kinky event I've ever been to, and I think one of the best weeks in my whole life. I was glowing from start to finish. The event was well-organised, with thoughtful, creative events. Newbies such as myself and Jade were well looked after by organisers and veterans alike. The daytime events were fun and entertaining, and the night time suite parties were just amazing spaces full of vibrant energy, laughter and conversation. I fell in love with a dozen people, and spent the whole week floating through a euphoric, loved-up haze, talking and laughing and hugging more than playing, moving from conversation to stimulating conversation, forming strong new personal bonds. At times I looked around me and just basked in the happy energy and relaxed vibe; surrounded by beautiful, happy, like-minded people, feeling at home and amongst family.
I'm still high, I think, fully charged up and nourished by so much kinky stimulation. I wish every part of my life could be this full of acceptance, intense play, high spirits, mutual care and support. I'm so grateful to the organisers and everyone who hosted the suite parties, for their warm welcome, hard work and generosity in providing drinks and snacks, and opening up their space to all at the expense of their own sleep all weekend. From this newbie at least, it was very very much appreciated.
I've read tonnes of spanking party reports over the last couple of years about events I wasn't at, and I know they aren't for everyone. Arguably these post-party play reports are more for the sake of easing the pang of separation from the other attendees than anything else, a sort of social aftercare. But I've found myself missing those who I wished could have been there - particularly Erica and Caroline, among others - as much as those who were.Anyway, if you didn't go and don't want to read it all, don't worry, I've been there.
As well as my kinky brothers and sisters, I also find myself missing America more than I expected. This was my second visit to the US, and I want a record of this week as a step in my new relationship with that country, as well as a memorable adventure in spankingland. It's going to take several posts to tell it all.
I. Going to America
This was the week I felt like I started to "get" America for the first time, and the week I fell in love with it a bit. I saw a lot more of the country than I did in Dallas last summer, where I didn't really venture out beyond the hotel and the organiser's homes.
Here's what Bill Bryson has to say about America on returning to the country after 20 years in the UK:
The many good things about America took on a bewitching air of novelty. I was as dazzled as any newcomer by the famous ease and convenience of daily life, the giddying abundance of absolutely everything, the boundless friendliness of strangers, the wondrous unfillable vastness of an American basement, the delight of encountering waitresses and other service providers who actually seemed to enjoy their work, the curiously giddying notion that ice is not a luxury item and that rooms can have more than one electrical socket.Things I learned about America on this trip, in no particular order:
- Clearing your plate is not compulsory. It's not just Texas: food is cheap and huge everywhere. Potatoes and bread come with every meal as standard, and if you eat everything in front of you, you will feel crappy before too long. I discovered that ordering salads and vegetables most of the time, and stopping when you're full, was essential to keep feeling good.
- American snacks are delicious. If, like me, you enjoy salted chocolate and peanut butter, you'll be in heaven. I found chocolate peanut protein bars, salted chocolate caramels and mini pretzels with peanut butter chocolate coating that I am still craving right now.
- The Atlantic ocean. I loved seeing how far out the waves start, and how the horizon just blends into the sky. Would it be as impressive a sight if I didn't know my country was on the other side of it, how long the journey would be to cross it by boat? Would looking down along the coast be as compelling if one didn't know how long it goes on for, how huge this continent is? I learned that on the east coast left is north and right is south, always, and on the west coast it's the other way round. Something about that idea made me feel like I understood something about America in a way I couldn't quite define. The Atlantic is grey and flat with small white-capped waves that leave foam and oil on the beach. There's a strange psychological connection between two places that share an ocean. I haven't seen the Pacific yet, and now I want to.
- The famous friendliness of strangers and service staff may be a clich, but it really is true. Constantly bombarded with warm, open friendliness I found myself responding in kind, becoming more open, more sociable, more relaxed. I found myself greeting everyone I met with a sincere "Hello, how are you?" as a matter of course.
- People laugh more easily. It's like most people are inclined to see the funny side in things, and you don't have to have a razor-sharp wit to get a laugh. This sounds like an insult, but it's actually a good thing. It's nice to be considered hilarious when your jokes are mediocre; hilarity breeds hilarity; and laughing a lot makes everyone feel good.
- I was totally spoiled because of my accent. I got discounts in shops, and it seemed like everyone wanted to be my friend. This was initially embarrassing but did not at any point get old, even when I could hear my words start to lengthen and intonations start to take on that singsong mid-atlantic pattern. Even when I sounded American to myself, I still sounded British to them, and whenever I noticed my accent start to shift I became self-conscious, and it snapped back.
- Every hotel I've seen so far in America has been fucking ridiculous. In Atlantic City each hotel is like its own little resort with casinos and shops and restaurants and swimming pools, and even the standard rooms are luxury apartments by London standards. Whenever I thought I'd already seen the height of luxury, I went somewhere that was bigger, glitzier, more expensive, more well-appointed. You quickly lose your sense of proportion and start to think of your own hotel room as "nothing special" compared to bigger, better decorated suites, even when your room is as big as your whole flat back home, with marble tiled floors and floor to ceiling windows.
- This wealth is immediately - obviously - not universal. Even in Atlantic City the first thing I noticed were the ubiquitous cash-for-gold shops and the peeling, dilapidated buildings that tell a different story; as does the continued success of the casinos, with their capitalist myth of hope. We drove through downtown Philadelphia and I saw some of the poorer areas - tellingly, these crammed-in, run-down, multicultural urban spaces were the only ones during my entire trip that felt familiar to me. But in America it felt like wealth is judged on a different scale. Resources, space and food all seem cheaper and more abundant. America is really big: when you're used to floorspace being the most expensive thing of all, there's a sense in which everyone in America seems rich.
II. Philadelphia and Punished Brats
I flew out from Heathrow last Tuesday, April 16. I was up late the night before packing and finishing work on Dreams of Spanking updates, and got only four hours sleep. Still, I arrived at the airport in good time, and spent a while with my laptop charging, drinking tea and getting more work done. It was only when I was settled in at Costa that I realised I'd left home an hour earlier than I needed to! Still, better to be early than late; punctuality is something I'm working on at the moment.
The flight was pretty restful, although I was too excited to sleep. The plane was fairly empty so I was able to spread out across two seats, and even edit some spanking images on my laptop without anyone looking over my shoulder. I also watched Life of Pi, read my book, and read through my notes from the Texas Spanking Party last summer. I did a little work on the next blog post in that series, although I'm not sure if it's worth posting at this late stage, nearly a year after it all happened. Perhaps I'll finish posting about my 2012 TASSP adventures during TASSP 2013.
It was good to review my diaries and remind myself of mistakes I made during that party that I didn't want to repeat; such as gorging myself on all the cheap, fatty food which left me feeling tired and bloated, and overfilling my schedule to the extent that I became totally frazzled. This time I promised myself better self-care.
As the plane landed and we all got up to collect our stuff, I suddenly recognised Mike from Correction Collectiona few rows down from me. We'd been on the same flight all along! We had a hilarious catch-up conversation in front of everyone, with crucial keywords missing:
"Are you bringing your ____ with you?" "Yes, I've got a lovely two tailed _____ which I want to show you, I think you'll like it."
I have no idea what people listening thought we were talking about. Small mammals?
I learned that Mike was vending at Boardwalk Badness Weekend, which was good news for me as I'd bought some of his products at the World Spain Party and they'd served me well since then. He told me he had decided to declare all his products at Customs, which was of interest to me as this was always something I'd been told not to do. (I later discovered that the border officials react very differently to copyrighted materials such as DVDs than they do to leather toys, so it's a good job I didn't try it.)
I was in front of him in the queue, so I went first. Here is how my conversation with the Customs official played out.
Her: "What are you doing in the US?" Me: "Oh, I'm going to Atlantic City for a party this weekend with friends." "Atlantic City. And what state is that in?" "New Jersey. Um, the same as this one?" "No, you're in Pennsylvania. So these friends, how do you know them?" "From the internet, we have some mutual interests and talk a lot online, and every so often we get together for a party." "I see you were in Texas last summer, was that the same friends?" "Yes." "But that wasn't for work." "No."
At this point she's looking suspicious.
"So what sort of party is this exactly?"
"Just a party." She's not convinced. I've had four hours sleep and don't know what to say. The longer the pause, the more suspicious she gets. "Look," I say in the end with an embarrassed laugh, "the reason I'm hesitating is just that it's sort of TMI."
"Okay. It's a fetish convention."
Suddenly she couldn't move me along quickly enough. "OKAY here you are all sorted there you go thankyougoodbye!"
I had no idea if my truthfulness was going to get Mike into worse trouble, but apparently she just asked him if he was going to the same party, and then said she had no interest in investigating his "commercial samples" thank you very much, so he was waved through just as easily. Compared to some of the stories you hear, it was a doddle.
David Pierson, the owner of Punished Brats, met me off the plane, which was a huge relief as I hadn't heard anything from him until I was already on my way to the airport, and hadn't been sure what would happen when I arrived. It was at this point that I learned that Leia Ann Woods was sick and couldn't make it to our shoot. I was disappointed: I'd been looking forward to working with her.
David drove us to Doylestown, PA, which took a couple of hours, and he thoughtfully bought me dinner even though it was too early for him to want to eat (I however had been up for 18 hours by that point, and needed nutrients). I had salmon and broccoli, which was extremely welcome after a day of aeroplane food. I discovered that broccoli in the US is so much nicer than in the UK that it is practically a different vegetable. I don't know why; perhaps it's grown differently, or simply fresher? I clearly need to try growing my own and see.
Finally David drove me to the hotel, where I went to bed almost immediately and slept for over twelve hours. Not all in one go, admittedly - for some reason I woke up every hour and a half - but still, bliss.
David returned the next morning with Veronica Bound, the regular Punished Brats top with whom I was working instead of Leia Ann. She'd stepped in on short notice, and we talked and got to know each other as we drove to David's house for the shoot. The weather was warm, very welcome after grey London, and his place was a large, lovely house in the woods, surrounded by chickens and sunlit trees.
Everywhere I was amazed by the scale of the houses and the space between them. Suburban Doylestown blew my mind: small businesses and shops all looking like large, detached country villas with shutters and porches. The "high street" was actually a long, broad, gently winding road of very posh houses, each surrounded by garden, hedges and with their own parking lot, only a wooden sign hanging discreetly above the door marking this one out as a hairdresser, that one as a clothing boutique or an accounting firm. I was told that this was an unusually historical part of town, with some buildings around a hundred years old. I definitely was not in England any more.
The shoot was great fun. Leia and I had initially been scheduled to do five short scenes each as a bottom and five as a top, but since Veronica doesn't switch we were only doing five in total, so the day was a lot more relaxed. We opted for the maid storyline which had been written with Leia in mind as my employer.
David had bought me the uglest, baggiest, most shapeless housekeeping uniform in hospital green, and a grey green apron to go with it. "You can keep it!" he promised, all generosity. Lucky me. It made me look like an escapee from a mental asylum.
I don't have any photos of it to show you yet, because Pixie and David have been kind and only posted the most flattering shots, in all of which I happen to not be wearing the ugly green tunic. Funny, that. We may have put our heads together to come up with scenarios that gave me a reason to take it off...
Still, the hideous uniform did give me some great opportunities for bratting. I played a haughty post-grad temping until she found a university job. "You want me to do what?? I have a Masters degree, you know!"
I complained at length about the housekeeping outfit, and insisted on accessorising it with elegant ("slutty" according to Veronica) lingerie and heels. These were duly confiscated, and I was forced to wear plain knickers and flats.
In the storyline, my employer and I got off to a bad start. Veronica was so rude she said afterwards she wouldn't have worked for her, and I thought I was so rude I wouldn't have hired me! In the first scene, she spanked me for putting her white top in the colours wash and turning it pink. After that, my character apparently shaped up for a few days, but when standards started to slip I was spanked again.
When I complained about this mistreatment, and bitched some more about the uniform, Veronica told me to take it off, and then proceeded to spank and paddle me kneeling on the wooden steps and wearing only the apron. The position was a challenging one, and being mounted on the steps made me feel particularly vulnerable. Then I was left to dust her office with my red bottom on display through the back of the apron. HOT!
In the third scene I was caught nosing through Veronica's spanking implement collection; of course, I ended up over the bed getting the strap for going through her things. In the fourth scene, she accused me of breaking an antique family clock and took me over the knee. Throughout these episodes my character became increasingly vociferous and the hostility between us ramped up. By the end of this fourth spanking, throughout which of course I protested my innocence and the barbarity of my mistreatment, I told her I quit.
So it was that the last scene took place during my notice period, when I was still angry about being spanked and had nothing left to lose. While Veronica was out, I opened a bottle of her wine and ran myself a bubble bath.
Of course Veronica arrived home early, caught me, and I got caned naked and dripping with bubbles. Again I say: HOT.
Long-time fans might remember this scenario from my second ever spanking shoot, with Girls Boarding School. That was nearly seven years ago now, and it was fun to revisit the bathtub theme.
I had a blast working with David and Veronica. The shoot was such fun with a really great energy, and they didn't mind me offering ideas and suggestions, which really helped me get into character and develop the storyline into one that made sense to me. I loved Veronica's spankings and we shared some good hugs afterwards. She even let me brat her - well, I couldn't help it, she kept bending over between scenes in ways that made her delectable behind such a tempting target!
Thanks so much to David and Veronica being so cool to work with. You can read David's blog posts about the shoot here and here, and there's a Pixie's Previews too. I think the first scene might be up soon, so keep an eye on Punished Brats if you want to see how ugly that uniform really was. Trust me, it was something special.