Monday, September 30, 2013

FMSD 2.0 Has Now Begun

There are people who could explain this better than I can, because I haven't been central to the planning process, but I can summarize:

On Wednesday, September 25, 2013, I handed over major operations of FetishMenSanDiego to a dedicated team of brothers who want to shift things around somewhat, but also to retain what makes us great.

- The Men's Discussions will be moderated by different folks, with various men taking over planning for the topics each week.

- The weekly newsletter has now been shifted to a new, simpler system that will still allow folks to get the news on an ongoing basis on Facebook, on the blog, and via emailed updates.

- There will continue to be a determined focus on making new, shy faces among us feel welcomed and wanted.

As time goes by, adjustments will be made, to better serve the diverse needs of many of our brothers.

FMSD continues to grow as a worldwide phenomenon.  Seriously.  We have followers from all over the world, and our numbers continue to grow at an astonishing rate. There will be an ongoing series of events designed to bring gay FetishMen together in non-virtual space, face-to-face, up close and personal.

For my own part:

- I intend to continue creating social events periodically (such as November's Massive Movie Night) that allow the maximum number of brotherly men to gather together, and share communal joy.

- I will still be writing here on my TribalVibe with Papa Tony blog, and sharing my observations as they occur to me.

- I'm going to continue mentoring the folks who need somebody who gives a damn about their success and well-being.

- Mostly, I will be attending events and being a better friend. Being the Perpetually Busy Head Honcho has kept me more distant from my brothers and sisters than I prefer.

I'm a LOT more relaxed these days, I'm sleeping better, and I'm laughing and joking more. The handover is complete, and I'm glad about it.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Welcome to Papa Tony's Personal Blog

Papa Tony

For a few years now, I have been posting my personal opinions and philosophical viewpoint on the FetishMenSanDiego blog, as I built up a huge gathering of gay FetishMen online and in realspace.  As I step away from day-to-day operation of the group, I'm moving my personal writings, photos, audio and video to the Tribal Vibe with Papa Tony blog.

This is a healthy progression - I never planned to make FMSD All About Papa Tony, but I did, and in the long view, that's actually bad.  It's time to completely shift the group from "me", to "we".

I modeled my writing upon my blogging heroes Dan Savage, Michaelangelo Signorile, John Aravosis and Joe Jervis. I will continue to do that here, where it is appropriate.

I want my brothers who follow me in leadership to succeed and grow, without my overbearing ego obstructing things. There are some great new folks who are taking up the group after me, and it's time for me to clear the stage for them.

So, watch this space for what's new with my thoughts about our community.

Our TWO New Pups

Reggie, the 100-pound Lap Dog. Back when I had hair!

Thanks to everyone who expressed their warm wishes when our old boy Reggie was dying.  It meant a lot to us, and built up new friendships in the process. This article is for our dog-loving friends, to share our happiness amidst the sadness.

My husband Dennis with Reggie, 
on his second-to-last day, in our front yard.

We laid Reggie to rest a couple of weeks ago.  He stopped eating, and he simply had no pleasures in life remaining.  We miss him terribly. 

Reggie coming home for the last time. I picked up his ashes today, and he is going to be buried among the flowers in our yard, along with our other pets from decades past.

Mickey on the left, and Jimmy on the right.  
Named after two Irish bartenders who also 
happened to be Dennis' grandfather and great-grandfather.

Our way of dealing with the dog-shaped hole in our family life was to get TWO new one-year-old Lab Mix puppies (yes, puppies - Lab mixes stay puppies for YEARS). We got them two weeks apart, from Labs and More, which is a dedicated team of volunteers who rescue pets from the local shelters and work extra-hard to find them "forever homes," like ours.

Their efforts were not wasted - Let's get REAL, here - if reincarnation exists, I want to come back as the beloved pet of a long-term gay-male couple. Highest-quality exercise, health-care, grooming and affection for our Fur Children!

The boys are constantly playing (wrestling and scampering), interacting and touching.  You'd think that they were sibling brothers.

Our sweet neighbor (also named Dennis) likes to slide doggie treats through the slats in the fence.

You can't tell, but those tails are WAGGING!

Our girl Shiloh, from twenty years ago.

We are starting to think that Jimmy is a Border Collie/Black Lab Mix, like our own Shiloh from when we first moved into this house.  Jimmy's very, very smart, and always paying attention to our words.  He learns FAST.

Just like Shiloh, he likes to try scaling the gate sometimes, but we have a wonderful neighbor who has been monitoring him when we are out of the house, and scolding him when he tries to jump the fence. He's doing it less and less often now, just as Shiloh did, before she stopped altogether and settled down.

Mickey has definitely taken on the role of being Alpha Dog, and he takes his duties very seriously.  This has had the effect of calming Jimmy down, making him less of the "wild boy" we saw on our first meeting. However, Mickey's territoriality makes it hard to pet just one dog - I'm big, but my lap is not big enough for 132 pounds of squirming pooches!

We believe that Mickey is a "Labmaraner" - half Black Lab and half Weimaraner. There are folks online who think that this is a VERY desirable mix, and we can see why.  Mickey seems to have the best attributes of both, with none of the downsides.

Of course, since we took on such YOUNG and untrained dogs, they aren't perfect angels yet… We're working on that, every day.

On the good side, these dogs are wearing us out in a VERY good way, due to the long and brisk walks that they demand every day.  We move like the wind for miles, every evening when it cools down. They aren't so much interested in marking territory, they want to MOVE.  As a result, my blood-pressure is in the Green Zone for the first time in decades.

Mickey has fully accepted our house as his Forever Home, after being with us since August 24th, 2013 (seventeen days to adjust, so far).  Jimmy has only been with us for three days, but he has already made great strides in settling into a happy routine, and learning Pack Protocol from his bossy big brother, who outweighs him with 22 pounds of pure muscle.

We are looking forward to years of happiness with our boys!

Thanks to the superb team at Labs and More, who kept our boys happy, healthy and emotionally balanced until they could find their Dream Home!

Why I'm Becoming a Shaman for the Tribe

I've always been a peculiar guy.  I've never really fit in.  I irritate people because I'm not just outside of the box, I'm seemingly in another dimension.  Sometimes this is not a formula for interpersonal, social and cultural success.

I'm not doing it to be irritating.  I promise.

So, let me lay it all bare:

Not the best role-model.

- I have an IQ of 187 (just like Sheldon on the Big Bang Theory).  Unlike him, I also have interpersonal perceptions that are not only above normal, they are off any scale I can imagine measuring.  I've never measured at less than 99th percentile, even once in my life. I am not bragging.  This is something I don't like to talk about, for fear that it will drive people away.

- I've got really big "antennas," meaning that I can clearly observe what doesn't show up at all for most people. I see patterns everywhere, where others see noise, or nothing at all.  It has been this way my whole life. I love crowds, because I can see the trends in everybody's shared behavior. I can spend two hours observing an event, and then spend six hours (over several days) explaining what I've learned from that event, so that the organizer can gain some outside perspective.

- You know the guy who can play twenty games of chess against other people simultaneously, and always win?  I've been that guy my whole life. That's why you never see me play any form of games or team sports.  It kills the fun for everybody else, so I sip my beverage, hug my friends and applaud the players. That same insanely high level of competitiveness is what irritates people the most about me - I find it really hard to turn OFF.

As a result of these major parts of my nature, I've spent a good amount of time every day of my life, trying NOT to be this way, so that I can have friends who love me.

After decades of being Mister Big Brain, my brain is now working against me.  I'm losing what I had, day by day, and I'm struggling. My careful behavior-modifications in order to "fit in" are collapsing. It's not fun on the inside, I promise.

So, that's why I'm becoming a Shaman… of sorts.

I'm not following the strict definition of the term, so here is what I will be doing in the years to come:

I can still spot talent. One of my gifts is to strike up a conversation with a stranger, and within a few sentences, I can ZERO IN on their nature, personality and special gifts.  I do this automatically. No matter what else somebody may think of me, everybody around knows that I'm an excellent judge of special, talented people.  If I introduce somebody to the Tribe as a valuable person, everybody's head WHIPS around, because I'm never wrong.

I can still nurture talent. As anyone who spends time around me knows, I'm ridiculously generous with my time, and without expectation of any favors in return. As my mind deteriorates, I'm less able to know when to SHUT UP, but I'm still able to help a lot of people to rise and succeed in our Tribe.

- I'm still a Kinky Matchmaker.  I make sure that couples and friends are introduced to each other on a constant basis.

I can still train Tops.  I have made this my life's work, and I don't see this ending any time soon. If we are going to have happy, secure bottoms in our Tribe, then we need to get the Tops "signed off" on various techniques, as well as on interpersonal skills, winning techniques, coping-mechanisms, and confidence-level.  I continue to be enormously successful with this project.  I wish that more of our older, wiser men would do the same for our newest Tops.

I can still remember a large part of our local history. I have been part of San Diego's Leathermen's Tribe since 1977. I've been here the whole time. My memory is the part that will probably go away the quickest, but I still remain ready to answer questions, and provide historical perspective.

What I know, I gladly share, and will continue to do so, until I can't any more, or until everybody turns away. I've been actively working on gaining wisdom from my efforts as a community leader since 1981, and as a man who has been actively seeking useful wisdom my entire life:
Wisdom (from Wikipedia): Wisdom has, in the Western tradition, been listed as one of four cardinal virtues. As a virtue it is a habit or disposition to perform the right action under given circumstances. This implies a possession or seeking of knowledge of the given circumstances. This involves an understanding of people, things, events and situations, and the willingness and the ability to apply perceptions, judgments and actions in keeping with an understanding of what is the right course of actions. It often requires control of one's emotional reactions (the "passions") so that universal principles, values, reason and knowledge prevail to determine one's actions. In short, wisdom is a disposition to find the truth coupled with an optimum judgement as to right actions. Synonyms include: prudence, sagacity, discernment, or insight.

- I can still coach new leaders as they show up. I've been thoroughly successful with helping our newest and most talented young folks understand the changes that they will need to cope with as they rise in prominence, influence, visibility and effectiveness.  These are not built-in skills.  If anybody EVER needs a mentor, it's when they change their status in a big way in the larger Tribe.

I am dedicated to ecstatic Tribal experiences.  The Flog Swarm, the Movie Nights, the Hands-On Demos, the Men's Discussions, and the newer, upcoming "Occasions for Tribal Joy" are all part of a larger plan to establish interpersonal trust, release us from our pasts, and build a Tribe that can last for decades to come.

I can't innovate so much any more. However, I can rest easy, knowing that I've left behind a life of accomplishment and effective change.  I will be easing rather quickly into my next phase, so watch for further developments.  I'm working on something I'm calling the Tribal Vibe Project.  Today's article is a preview of my intentions.

Text Article Archives

Over the last few years, I've written any number of articles that cover a wide range of topics (over 550 blog entries, in less than three years, as of April 2013).  I've decided to gather the "keeper" articles together here, in one place, so that they can easily be found:

Community-Oriented Opinion

Community Cookbook, Part One: Introduction.

Community Cookbook Part Two: Honey Traps.

Community Cookbook Part Three: Boy Scouts, Traffic Cops and the New A-List.

How To Build Real Community in the Internet Age:

Nov. 2012: Part One: The Guiding Philosophy

April 2013: Part Two: Men in Crowds

FMSD-Specific Help and orientation

Orientation for New FMSD Members

How to Get the Most Out of the FMSD Calendar of Events

How YOU Can Add New Brothers To FMSD, Any Time, Anywhere.

Proper Protocols of Acceptable Behavior for Events

Review of FMSD Movie Night, August 2012

HARNESS Party - What It's Really Like

Going Deep, Gaining Friends, Blossoming Forth

Rare, Yet Numerous… SWEETIE PRIDE!!!

Gear, Toys, Boots and Garments

Recommended Fetishwear Resources in San Diego County

Inexpensive, High-Quality Flogger Review

New, Inexpensive and SUPERB Toy - The Tommy Tomcat

Get Your Feet and Legs Measured for Free!

My Custom-Ordered Kinky Boots

My New Master's Cap

Butch Cuffs for Sale Online

Review of My Newest Whip

Travel Tips

Gay-Friendly Hotels in San Diego

Major Resources For California Gay FetishMen

Folsom Tips for Newbies

Around San Diego

In Praise of the San Diego Eagle

Brians' Is Dead, Long Live Lil' B's!


Bootblack Etiquette

Book Recommendations

Looking for a Sir? Advice From One Who Knows

Running For A Title: What's The Payoff?

Mar. 2013: How to Be An Effective Top, Part 1Being a Man of the Community. I was speaking one-on-one with a younger man who is earning his Master's cap. We had my willing slave nearby, to act as "training wheels". I chose to record my introductory talk.

Community-Oriented Opinion

A Brutally Frank Message to My Fellow Older Gay Leathermen.

Community Cookbook, Part One: Introduction.

Community Cookbook Part Two: Honey Traps.

Community Cookbook Part Three: Boy Scouts, Traffic Cops and the New A-List.

Calling for a Ten-Year Time-Out on Olde Guarde

How to Attract and RETAIN Younger Men in the Gay Leathermen's Community

How To Build Real Community in the Internet Age:

Nov. 2012: Part One: The Guiding Philosophy

April 2013: Part Two: Men in Crowds

April 2013: Part Three: Constituency vs. Bossiness vs. Title Vest vs. Leadership

Audio Archives

Don't forget to also cruise by the constantly-updated Audio Archives page.  They are our biggest success these days, and are listened-to in many, many cities!

More will be posted here as time goes by.