The State Of The Balconi Address

How Messages Change Priorities

Man, I am borderline broke. Between paying for rehab, fixing my car, and trying to promote my book, I am really running low on funds. I guess I can't take a vacation this year. Too bad though. I was really looking forward to spending the weekend of my birthday up at one of the ski resorts. My birthday is during the summer, so the rates up there are cheap, even for a four star resort. There's great restaurants, beautiful scenery, clean mountain air, all the things any person needs to feel reinvigorated. Oh well, maybe next year.

Person speaking above receives a message via Facebook.

Oh, it's a message about my high school reunion.

Opens the message.

Wow. My high school reunion is scheduled for the weekend of my birthday. There's going to be a family friendly picnic, a service project, and a general party with all the people I knew in high school to be held at the high school I graduated from.

Person thinks for a second.

You know, I really need to take a vacation. If not for my sanity, to inject some money back into our dire economy.

The 2011 State Of The Union Address

The 2011 Utah State Of The State Address

For some time, I have wondered what it would take for a politician in Utah to get national attention. I thought that Chris Buttar's yearly reaffirming of his empty headed bigotry would get attention by now. I thought Sheldon Kilpack's DUI arrest and subsequent defense of his DWI arrest, a defense that may have some merit, would have gotten national attention. I thought that Kevin Garn admitting to a nude hottub encounter on a floor of the Utah State Legislature, a nude hottub encounter when he was twenty-eight and the girl was sixteen, would have gotten national attention. I thought Kevin Garn receiving a standing ovation from his fellow legislatures after admitting to his nude hottub encounter would have received national attention. But nothing. Nothing. Seemingly nothing that happens in the state of Utah can even come close to superseding a golden throated homeless man. Perhaps this can change things. Perhaps what Gov. Gary Herbert said during his 2011 State Of The State address will finally get national attention. I mean, what this address amounts to is a twenty-seven minute long rant about state's rights, rights that the federal government is NOT encroaching on. I have my doubts that this will happen though. I just know that Gov. Herbert's address will be overshadowed by the east coast receiving an amount of snow that amounts to a dusting out here. Either that or Curtis Oda's ferrel animals proposal, or the proposal to appoint a state gun. Ugh.

The Naming Of The Device

A group of people gather around a long table in a conference room in a high rise office building somewhere in America. There are many different kinds of people, all of them dressed in well tailored suits. The man at the end of the table, Derrick Balconi, stands to address the gathered.

Derrick Balconi- Ladies, gentlemen, and people from management-

The people gathered laugh at that joke.

Derrick Balconi- we have come here because another company has asked for our help again. Last year, Microsoft wanted a name for their motion gaming deceive, and we delivered. The name Kinect is now in the lips of every video game aficionado and has become a worldwide phenomena. Now another company has come to us looking for a name. That company is Microsoft's direct competitor in the video game market, Sony.

The people gathered gasp and start to murmur like people do when a monumental thing is said.

Derrick Balconi- People, we need to deliver a name that is catchy, non-offensive, and, most importantly, not currently trademarked. I think we need to consult the bag.

The people gathered murmur again.

Derrick Balconi- Delany, bring in the bag.

A woman, also dressed in a well tailored suit, enters the conference room carrying a velvet bag. The other people in the room look at Delany with much adoration and envy. Delany places the bag in front of Derrick, then leaves the room.

Derrick Balconi- Thank you Delany. My employees, this is where we will get the name for Sony's newest consumer device, but first we need to know how long this name should be. Delany, the die.

Delany reenters the conference room carrying a large twenty sided die. The other people in the room look at Delany with much adoration and envy. Delany places the die in Derrick's hand, then leaves the room.

Derrick Balconi- Thank you Delany.

Derrick rolls the die out on the conference table. It comes to a rest in front of one of the people at the table. Derrick dramatically points that this employee and says-

Derrick Balconi- You! What does the die say?

The employee looks at the die and says-

Employee- Three.
Derrick Balconi- Good, I like three. I hear it's a magic number. Now, to decide the name.

Derrick opens the velvet bag Delany placed in front of him. He digs around in this bag and pulls out three tiles. Tiles that look very much like this.

Derrick places the tiles on the table. Derrick looks at the tiles and says-

Derrick Balconi- Behold! The name that we have come up with for Sony's new consumer device. NPG.

The employee who spoke earlier speaks again.

Employee- But sir, what does that mean?
Derrick Balconi- That is not our concern. We do not attach meanings to things, we only name them. Meaning are for the client to decide.

The people in the conference room disperse, satisfied that they had just done what they have been gathered there to do.


Salt Lake City, Utah

Hunter Red is sitting in his office listening to his iPod. There's a TV on in his office tuned to CNN. They are covering the riots in Cairo, Egypt. Hunter looks at the TV, without taking off his iPod, and says-

Hunter- Huh. Looks like somebody won something. Probably soccer since it's not America.

Crawford, Texas

George W. Bush is sitting in his office at his ranch in Crawford, Texas. There's a TV in his office tuned to CNN. They are covering the riots in Cairo, Egypt. George looks at the TV and says-

W- You're welcome.

Sweet Strawberry Sarsaparilla!

The Buffett

Two brothers, Keith and Glenn, are sitting in the office of their family business, a buffet style restaurant, discussing business. It is not going well.

Keith- I don't understand.
Glenn- Why are we losing our place in the world?
Keith- We need to think hard.
Glenn- To think smart.
Keith- We need to come up with a solution that will lead us back to prominence.
Glenn- Well, not back to prominence, because we are prominent. We need an idea that will keep us in our rightful place and crush the competition like so much insect underfoot.

The two brothers think for a moment.

Glenn- I wonder what grandpa would do.

Keith gets upset at this comment.

Keith- Oh no. Not this again.
Glenn- What?
Keith- This mindset. This way of thinking. This notion that we can solve all of our problems if we just do what grandpa would do in this situation.
Glenn- Hey, Grandpa Jefferson founded this buffet style restaurant. Through his hard work and agile mind, he built this business into what it was when our father took over. Our father left this restaurant in our hands, but we failed to live up to the legacy that this business had. We need to go back to the old style of business. We need to go back to the way things were run at our founding.

Keith takes a second to put his argument together.

Keith- Glenn, Grandpa Jefferson operated in his time. He built an institution that has stood the test of time, but he didn't do that by blindly sticking to the past. Grandpa Jefferson brought together the best ideas of the past, developed some new ones, and left enough room to allow for change when necessary. If Grandpa Jefferson had not developed a new way of business, a revolutionary way of business, he would have been overrun by that British place within months.
Glenn- True, but just because times have changed does not mean we should abandon our principals.
Keith- I am not proposing that.
Glenn- That's what it sounds like to me. To me, what you are proposing betrays the principals that our grandfather founded this restaurant on. Principals like letting the people decide what they want to eat, and what amounts of food they want to eat. Principals like letting the people be free to visit the buffet table as many times as they want, even if they visit the buffet table three, six, hell, even fifteen times if they so desire. And drinks! Have you even thought of drinks? The very drinks our grandfather loved and adored.
Keith- No, I love drinks as much as the next guy.
Glenn- Well, I don't believe you. I bet you can't even name Grandpa Jefferson's favorite soda, can ya!

Keith gets up from his chair in a huff.

Keith- It's Sweet Strawberry Sarsaparilla. The same kind of Sweet Strawberry Sarsaparilla we serve to this day! But we aren't talking about Sweet Strawberry Sarsaparilla, we're talking about keeping this buffet in business. If we don't start turning this place around, and do it fast, we're going to be taken over by that Chinese place across the street. Is that what you want?

Glenn contemplates what Keith has just said. Keith takes a deep breath and sits back down across from his brother.

Glenn- Perhaps we can make slight alterations. Not anything too drastic, we don't want to lose our loyal customers. Maybe something cosmetic. Like pulling out the carpets in favor of some hardwood flooring.
Keith- Some green hardwood flooring?
Glenn- No, regular hardwood is much cheaper. We could stay open later.
Keith- Yeah! The chinese place makes a killing late at night with the stoner community.
Glenn- I bet those pot heads would love Sweet Strawberry Sarsaparilla.
Keith- Of course, everybody loves Sweet Strawberry Sarsaparilla.

The two brothers continue discussing things, eventually coming to a common understanding about a way forward for their family business. The business flourishes once again, untill the Chinese place sees it as a threat and blows it up.


Red Impressions: Fable

Not too long ago, I started playing Fable. Not Fable 2 or Fable 3, the original Xbox release of Fable that I've owned since the game was released. I've tried playing this game several times in the past, but this time I was determined to play this game through so that I could go on to play the other games in this series which I have also owned since release. I tried this, I really sincerely did. I played Fable for about a week before I decided to stop.

I've been trying to figure out why I decided to stop playing Fable. I'm not an RPG hater, games like KotOR, Final Fantasy XII, and Mass Effect rank among my favorite games ever. Hell, I even named a character in The Hawk: Consequences Of Mayorust after two characters in Final Fantasy VIII. So why didn't Fable hook me like other RPGs? I think I know why.

I ran into a similar problem with Oblivion, which, while I still think is great, also didn't hook me in. It's not a problem you can avoid, this problem lies at the very essence of this game. Some would argue that the problem I have with Fable is this game's charm. The problem I have with Fable is all the medieval aspects in this game. The weaponry, the clothing, the cities, the speech, the chairs that people sit on, it's all medieval and I don't like it. Truth be told. outside of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, I dislike anything with any medieval elements in them.

So, that is why I stopped playing Fable and probably will not be playing any other games in the Fable series. Perhaps if they drastically change the game environment, I might play Fable 4, but I doubt it. Hopefully, the game I play next will hook me in better. Let's take a look at Dragon Age Origins and see if that's possible.


So, this is a real thing? Not a parody? Really?

The Events Of Friday

The first piece of this blog post, entitled "The Buffet", is a political satire about the debate going on about how we should be making decisions in America. It is a comment on how people on the left and the right side of the isle disagree on how relevant the feelings of America's founding fathers are to our governmental decisions. The grandfather referenced, named after Thomas Jefferson, is supposed to represent the founding fathers. The right wing stereotype was named after Glenn Beck, former host on Headline News and current Fox News host. The left wing stereotype was named after Keith Olbermann, who, as of Friday, former anchor and host on MSNBC.

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I wrote "The Buffet" on Tuesday. It's based on an idea that I had over the previous weekend that I started to put together on Monday in it's current form. It is not meant to be a tribute to Keith Olbermann. I used Keith's name because he's one of the persons people think of when they think of a prominent liberal. It's who I think of when I think of a prominent liberal.

There are three shows that I value more than any other to give me my information of the world. The first is Radio From Hell. This radio show is proof to me that liberalism is alive and well in the state of Utah, even in the face of the very conservative people in power. The second is The Daily Show. Cable television shaped the person I am today, and The Daily Show is among those shows that shaped me. The third was Countdown with Keith Olbermann. Truthfully, Countdown shaped the way that I articulate myself as a liberal. I no longer go absolutely completely berserk about the things that conservatives do that aggravate me any more. I am calmer, more well reasoned now in my outrage. Countdown taught me the value of not saying that something is fucked up, but to show that thing and let the audience figure out that what they are seeing is fucked up.

And now it's gone. Now Countdown is gone, and a unanswered question still remains. Why? Why did this happen? Phil Griffin, President of MSNBC, tell us why. You should do this because we, the audience, are looking at this situation, asking the question why, and not getting an answer causes us to look at this situation and figure out what we are seeing.

A Blog Filled With References


Recently, a video was posted on the website of Virginian-Pilot featuring Owen Paul Honors, Jr. saying and doing things that many people find to be obscene. Honors was the Commander of the USS Enterprise, set to depart for Afghanistan shortly. This publication has reached out to several former Commanders of the USS Enterprise for their reactions to this story.

When reached for comment, Chris Pine said:
"What? What are you asking me for? You know I'm an actor, right?"

Patrick Stewart gave the following statement:
"Please, watch American Dad. It no longer sucks!"

Finally, William Shatner was heard to say:

Leakers And The People With Similar Sounding Names

On January 3rd, reports surfaced of pictures of the yet to be released Nintendo 3DS being released online. Hidden in these reports was a statement from Nintendo saying that they are searching for the person who leaked these photos. There are very few things in any of these photos that can be tied to any one person. One of these things is contained in this photo:

The object in this photo that can be tied to a specific person is the mousepad. The lettering on the mousepad reads "Property Of Masaki". There are two conclusions that can be drawn from this. 1: The mousepad is property of Masaki Corporation and was stolen from this company either by a current/former employee or another person who entered into Masaki Corporation's property. 2: This mousepad is the property of a person with the first name of Masaki and the last name is cut off in this picture. In my investigation into this matter, I decided to pursue the latter.

The Nintendo 3DS is being manufactured by Lanta Tablet Co LTD in a facility located in Zhengzhou in mainland China. In the city of Zhengzhou, and the surrounding areas, there are three people with the first name of Masaki. I managed to find all three of these people.

Masaki Yamada is a delivery man for Landa Tablet Co LTD. He lives in a house with his wife, three kids, and dog Vegeta. When I visited the Yamada home, I found Masaki's mother. She informed me that Masaki was currently in the hospital because of an incident that happened earlier that week.

I visited Yamada in the hospital. He looked like he had been beaten severely. His wife and two girls were in tears. Yamada's son looked to be holding himself together, but only just barely. I asked Yamada's wife what had happened. She told me that two men in green suits and green helmets entered their home and beat Mr. Yamada with large hammers.

After leaving Masaki Yamada, I sought out Masaki Kusanagi. Mr. Kusanagi is a supervisor at Lanta Tablet Co LTD. He lives in a relatively large apartment with his wife and three cats, Aoi, Miyabi, and Taeko. I had hoped to find Kusanagi in a better state than I had Yamada. I didn't.

I found Kusanagi at the Gabu Psychiatric Facility. He was not an employee at that facility. In talking with his doctor, Dr. Ando, he told me that Kusanagi was found by his wife sitting in his chair, rambling incoherently, and clutching an object. Dr. Ando said that Kusanagi was brought to the facility, evaluated, and was found to be in a state of rage inducing paranoia. The doctor said that the only thing that seemed to calm Kusanagi down was the object.

After speaking with Dr. Ando, I went to see the man I had been searching for. Kusanagi was in his bed, under heavy sedation with restraints keeping him in bed, still wide awake. Kusanagi's eyes were transfixed on the object that was sitting on the table next to him. This was the object that was presumably keeping Kusanagi in a well mannered state. This is a picture of the object.

Finally, I set out to find the last man on my list. Masaki Bajidu is an assembly line worker for Lanta Tablet Co LTD who lives alone in his small apartment with his collection of manga. When I started looking for him, Lanta Tablet Co LTD told me that he hadn't shown up for work in several days. Out of concern, I checked for him at the hospital and the psychiatric facility I had found Kusanagi in. He hadn't checked in at either of those places. The next place I checked was Masaki Bajidu's home.

I asked Bajidu's landlord if she had seem him recently. She told me that Bajidu hadn't been out of his apartment in a couple of days, but that she was still sure he was in his apartment. When I asked why, the landlord said because his TV was still on.

The landlord let me into Bajidu's apartment after I convinced her I was his long lost half cousin. Upon opening the door to the apartment the smell of hot, muggy death hit me. I mentally prepared myself for the worst. I stepped into Bajidu's apartment, tiptoed my way around the empty soda cans, fast food containers, discarded fruit peels, dishes covered with dried condiments and flies, and other assorted food related garbage, in the direction of the sound of the television. The television, and the lord boorish characters that were playing on it, served as a beacon to help me find the first place I thought Bajidu might be.

I got to the television and recognized what was playing on it. It was Futurama- Season 3- Episode 18- Anthology of Interest II, the episode where Bender, the robot, gets turned into a human then turns himself into a giant human who, in no short matter of time, dies. I turned off the television displaying the obese Bender then looked to the other side of the room where I saw a real life equivalent of the obese Bender.

I recoiled in horror at the sight of the obese man who had, in all probability, grown larger than the sofa he was sitting on. The man looked as if he hadn't moved in weeks. nor could if he wanted to. After catching my breath I asked the massive pile of flesh that sat before me, "Who are you?"

Slowly, as if the act of speaking had grown laborious, the mass said, "Please, no more."

Stepping closer to the mass, I said, "Are you Masaki Bajidu?"

"You know who I am, and the fate you and your masters have consigned me to."

"Please, Bajidu, I'm not here to hurt you. I'm a reporter, I'm investigating a story. Tell me, what happened?"

Bajidu, if in fact this was Bajidu, seemed to be unconvinced. "Have you no hear? Have you no soul? You subject me to torture, you subject me to eating, eating anything and everything you could imagine a person waiting. You subject me to this, then ask me to recount it?"

I was shocked by what Bajidu has said. "I'm sorry, I-"

"Fuck you." Bajidu attempted to lurch forward as if to attack me. "Fuck you. You go back to Kirby and tell him the truth. I didn't take those pictures. I did nothing!" Bajidu's declaration of innocence resonated throughout his tiny trash filled apartment.

As I walked away from Bajidu's apartment, I did so at a faster pace than normal. I maintained this pace as I gathered my things, went to the airport, and made my way home. I did this for the reason I will impart to you now: Don't mess with Nintendo. Do not anger Nintendo. Do not antagonize Nintendo. Do not even draw Nintendo's attention. If you do, they will find you. The will silence you. They will end you. Even if they have to go through several people to do so. Do NOT mess with Nintendo.

The Red Interview- Tom Tomorrow

On a raised, lighted platform, two figures, pictured below, sit on chairs in front of an full audience. There is a screen behind them displaying several images, none of which are of note at first.

Julia Diana Bobbi- Good evening, and welcome to The Red Interview. I am Julia Diana Bobbi. My guest tonight is Tom Tomorrow. Mr. Tomorrow is a cartoonist, responsible for This Modern World, appearing in ninety newspapers across the US and Canada, as well as the cover for Pearl Jam's Backspacer CD. Mr. Tomorrow, it's great to have you here.
Tom Tomorrow- Thank you for having me.
Julia Diana Bobbi- I wanted to ask you about this cartoon that you produced this week.

The screen behind Julia and Tom shows this cartoon:

Julia Diana Bobbi- Would it be right for me to assume that this was a response to the tragic shooting of Congresswoman Giffords, as well as the death of six people in that same shooting?
Tom Tomorrow- Well, it's more a response to the rhetoric that I heard come out of the media in the hours and days after that shooting, in particular the response from the right.
Julia Diana Bobbi- There are people who have criticized you for this cartoon.
Tom Tomorrow- Such as yourself?
Julia Diana Bobbi- No, I mean writer for The Redertainment Corporation Of America Hunter Red. He said, "I feel it is inappropriate for anyone to make any conclusions in response to this incident. We simply don't have enough information about the suspect in this case to draw such conclusions. I am suspicious of anyone who draws such conclusions at this point, particularly people in the media." How do you respond to such criticism?
Tom Tomorrow- I don't know how that relates to me.
Julia Diana Bobbi- Well, I didn't at first either, untill Hunter showed me this.

The screen behind Julia and Tom changes to this:

Julia Diana Bobbi- This cartoon, done in response to the 7/7 attacks in London, supersede political differences, and expresses a belief that is shared across the political spectrum. Wouldn't a similar message, in response to this and any other tragedy, be preferable to a partisan message?

Tom thinks for a minute.

Tom Tomorrow- I don't quite know how to respond to that. It's a feeling I, and many of my other colleagues, have in response to these events.
Julia Diana Bobbi- That is understandable. Well, that's all the time we have for The Red Interview. I am Julia Diana Bobbi. Goodnight.


Capital Bush 2: The Appointment

The first experience I had at Capital Bush was good. Really good. So good that for several days afterward, I felt a craving. The craving was small at first, but the more I focused on it, the more the craving started to wash over me. I needed to indulge my craving. I needed to succumb to my baser urges. I needed to, once again, experience Capital Bush.

It was raining on the night I piloted myself to the place where I would indulge my urges, making the neighborhood where Capital Bush is situated that much colder and that much darker. I didn't spend much time making my way from my car to the club's front door, not that I'd dawdle in a neighborhood like this under the best of circumstances. Upon entering the club, I encountered the same cashier I had before. This time she recognized me, as there is no mistaking my hair.

"Welcome back, sir. Five dollars for the cover please."

I paid my fare and made my way into the main part of the club like I had before. Nothing much had changed. Same syrupy Pepsi as before, some dancers as before, the only real difference was the DJ was incorporating songs from the new Kylie Minogue CD.

Then Gary hit the stage, and, once again, I was mesmerized. The dance Gary performed was similar to the one he did the first time I saw him, except this time he incorporated some rippling on the stage that accentuated every curve on his body. I don't want to say that I fell in love with Gary that night, that I had fallen in love with a stripper, who's very job is to draw me in and use my desire to derive money from me. I just don't know how else to describe how I felt as Gary motored himself around that stage.

I was so transfixed on the performance Gary was putting on, that I didn't notice that the manager of Capital Bush was standing right beside me.

"Excuse me?"

At that point Gary was on his back, kicking his legs in the air, with his arms splayed on the stage.

"Excuse me, sir?"

Gary was arching his back with his head and hips firmly anchored to the stage.

"Sir, can you hear me?"

Gary had sat straight up, back to the audience, with his legs split across from each other, and was now beginning to fiddle with what remained of his top.


The manager put his hand on my shoulder, grabbing my attention with a jolt.

"Excuse me, sir, could you come with me?"

A deep sense of dread replaced the craving that had before washed over me. I thought that I had done something wrong, something illicit, or, at least, something more illicit than what I was already doing. I followed the manager back to his office, all the time watching the bouncers who, I was sure, were about to rough me up.

The manager of Capital Bush has a small office, filled with a desk, a couple of chairs, and framed pictures of all his current employees. He offered me a seat and a drink, the same syrupy Pepsi I got at the bar, which I took hesitantly. The manager noticed my hesitance.

"Relax, you're not in trouble."

Somehow that phrase always makes me feel like I'm in trouble.

"I know that you were in my club recently, my receptionist recognized you because of your hair."

At that moment I made a mental note to get a haircut.

"I'm also aware that you bought a dance from Gary, and during that dance, Gary promised you certain benefits. Am I right?"

Dread was still running through my body as I contemplated answering this question. Should I tell the truth, and be confronted for acting on cravings driven by my baser urges? Should I lie, and face the possibility that the manager knew the truth? Or, should I just sit there, and let the manager continue to hold the advantage? I chose the truth, for no other reason than it seemed like the least bad option.

"Yes, Gary did offer me benefits."

"And you're here to receive those benefits?"



The manager started digging around in his desk. I was sure he was finding something to beat me with. The manager produced a glossy folder, which, in a pinch, makes a decent blunt object. The manager gave this folder to me.

"Take a look at our menu. We can't accommodate you tonight, because of how busy we are, but I believe we can squeeze you in sometime this week."

I opened up the folder the manager had given me, and it was in fact a menu. A menu for sexual services. The concept of a menu for sexual services makes me laugh to this day. The manager was searching in his digital planner, looking to accommodate me, as I perused the menu, looking for the thing to accommodate my craving. There was one line in the menu that caught my eye every time I passed by it. This was something that intrigued me, not just it's existence but also it's availability.

"Sir, is there anything on our menu that interests you?"

I glanced down at the menu, making sure that my interest was there and that I worded it correctly.

"This here, Submissions and Domination, what does that mean?"

The manager smiled broadly.

"It's your basic S&M roleplay fantasy. Two people, or more if you're interested, play the roles of master and servant. We provide you with latex and leatherware, or other clothing options if you choose, as well as a wide selection of instruments, from whips and chains, to handcuffs and shackles, to ballgags and buttplugs."

I looked at the manager quizzically.

"Is it safe?"

"Yes. We thoroughly clean all of our items with a bleach solution after ever use."

"That's not what I meant."

A knowing look came over the manager's face.

"Oh. Yes, all of our sexual services are perfectly safe. In the case of the Submission and Domination experiences, our entertainers are specifically trained to avoid welts, bruises, and bleeding."

I was still a bit hesitant about going through with the benefit the manager was offering me. As I was contemplating whether or not to do this, I started looking around the manager's office. It didn't take me long for my eyes to fall on one of the framed pictures on the wall, specifically the picture of Gary.

"Okay, I'm in."

"Great. How's Tuesday work for you?"

"Sounds great."

"Good. Now, is there any of our entertainers in particular you'd prefer to deliver your sexual services?"

I stopped for a moment, as to not appear to eager, before I just blurted out-


With that the appointment was set, and the waiting began. The process of waiting, which, without fail, feels like it takes an infinitely longer period of time than it actually does. The three days between when I left Capital Bush and when I entered it again felt like an eternity.

Finally the time came for my appointment at Capital Bush. I piloted my way to the same cold and dark neighborhood as before, which somehow seemed lighter to me. Perhaps it was the fact that it was no longer raining. Perhaps it was because it was earlier in the day. Perhaps it was because I knew I was, at long last, about to indulge my craving. I think it was the latter.

The cashier recognized me upon entering the club.

"Mr. River, the manager is ready to receive you in his office."

The cashier let me into the club without having to pay a cover. I was shocked. I went back to the manager's office where he greeted me warmly.

"Mr. River, so good to see you. I was beginning to be concerned. A lot of people who make first-time appointments for sexual services chicken out. It's good to see you're no chicken."

"Well, I do make a massive cock."

The manager laughed mightily at that abundantly easy joke.

"Come, we'll get you changed into your outfit."

The manager lead me into a small changing room with several outfits in it. These outfits, ranging in size from towel to tent, were made of rubber, latex spandex, leather, and other materials that cling close to the body and can be dyed black. I looked at the outfits with an odd look on my face. I asked the manager.

"Is this all you have?"

"Yes, that is the attire that is commonly worn for S&M roleplay fantasy."

"Do you have anything else?"

"No. You do have the option to not change and wear what you are now while sexual services are performed."

I then looked over the manager's shoulder and caught a glimpse of my chosen performer, Gary. Gar had already changed into his attire for our appointment. He was clad in knee high leather boots, glossy latex pants, skin tight leather half shirt, and a metal studded dog collar. If I hadn't fallen for his yet, the sight of Gary in his black skin light outfit surely did.

I looked at the outfit I happened to be holding at the time, black latex pants, black t-shirt, and black leather gimp mask, and I said to the manager,

"No, this will do."

I quickly stripped off the clothes I was wearing and slid into my chosen outfit, except for the gimp mask. Not that I didn't want to wear the mask, my hair just didn't fit in it. The manager had offered to help me put the mask on, an offer that concerned me. It wasn't that the manager was helpful, it was that I didn't know the manager was still there, watching me undress.

By the time I was done changing, Gary had appeared in the doorway to the changing room.

"Are you ready, big boy?"

I looked Gary head to toe and tried to suppress an audible gasp. I could not suppress my erection.

"Y- yes, I am."

Gary smiled devilishly.

"Follow me."

Gary lead me from the small changing room to the same room where I had received a lap dance from Gary previously, only this time the decor had changed. Buckled straps hung from the walls, a saddle sat on a stand in the corner, and what looked like a spider's web made of chains sat ominously in the middle of the room. I looked at the implements that lay before me and was sincerely intimidated by them. Gary was not. Gary was the one who took the initiative, as was to be expected, after all, he was the one being paid to be there.

As Gary walked past me, he ran his hand across my back, which caused a tingle to travel down my spine and to my already engorged and sensitive penis.

"So, is there anything you want me to call you during our session today?"

I searched my brain and came up with a name.


"George. That's an alluring name."

Gary was lying but, with what he was wearing at the time, I didn't care.

"So, George, will you be the dominatrix or will I?"

"You will."

Gary walked over to the platform where the instruments of domination lay, picked up one of the many whips, then walked back over to me, rotating his hips in an especially alluring manner as he did so. When he got to me, Gary took his finger, ran it from top to bottom along my jawline, and said,

"I'd like to help you, but I want you to ask me first. I like to hear you beg."

I couldn't help but contain my smile after this comment.

"Please, Gary, please be my dominatrix."

Gary didn't say a word in response. He just grabbed me by the collar of my black t-shirt and lead me over to where the buckled straps were hanging off the ceiling. Gary buckled my hands tight, but not so tight as to cut off circulation, then walked around behind me and blew lightly in my ear.

"Is that tight enough for you, George?"


Gary then lightly kicked the back of my knees, leaving me with the sensation of dangling from the ceiling. The slight pain I felt in my wrist and shoulders served to enhance this sensation. Then Gary started working me over with the whip, lightly at first on my chest, harder on my back, all the while asking me to beg for more. My gleeful replies resonated off the walls of this tiny, little dungeon along with the cracks of the whip against my body.

Unexpectedly, Gary motored his fine ass over to where he had gotten his instrument, and put the whip back in it's place. Gary walked over to me and released me from my straps, leaving me on the floor, on my knees, my face starting to drip with sweat. I was about to stand up when I saw Gary's leather boots start to make their way toward me. I looked up and saw the still mesmerizing Gary holding the saddle I had seen earlier and a riding crop.

"George, you've paid me to ride you before, Shall I go it again?"

Gary was referring to the lapdance I had gotten from him, an activity that had filled my fantasies for years beforehand. The concept of putting on a saddle and being ridden in that context had never even crossed my mind. I was unsure at first, then I looked at Gary's face. I looked at his devilish grin and wanton eyes. How could I say no?

"Giddy up."

I got down on all fours and allowed Gary to saddle me up. I'd like to say that Gary was light as a feather but that would be false. The strain put on my back, knees, and hands was something I could bear but not enjoyably. Then Gary leaned forward, his chest grazing the back of my hand, and showed me the riding crop he was about to use on me.

Without a word, Gary struck me on my high haunches, signifying that it was time for me to move. I'd like to say that I started galloping around the little torture room, but that would be false. My light trot turned to a slow trot, to a trundle, to just barely movement. Gary grabbed a tuft of my hair, pulled back, and said,

"I haven't hear you beg for me in a couple of minutes. Should I break out the whips?"

On the brink of sheer exhaustion I said all that I could say.


Then I collapsed on the floor. Now I know why the concept of being ridden like a horse had never entered my fantasies. Gary sensed that I did not enjoy our last activity. He took the saddle off me, turned me over to my back, then looked at me with a look of true compassion.

"You liked it better when you were hanging by your wrists, being whipped by me, didn't you?"

I nodded my head. Gary looked over at the spider's web made of chains.

"Shall we try that?"

I nodded my head.

Gary helped me to my feet, took me over to his chosen implement, and strapped me into position. He didn't strap me in as tightly as he did with the buckled straps, and that's a good thing. There was a large mirror situated across the room from the implement I was being strapped into. I saw Gary's face as he was doing his preparatory work. I think he was enjoying this as much as I was. Gary moved his instrument platform so that it was right in my line of sight. On this platform were whips of various kinds, much more than I could identify, as well as the riding crop and several nipple clamps. Gary went over each of these instruments, looking for my approval. All the whips looked fun, so I approved those, as well as the nipple clamps, which were utilized upon approval. I had Gary throw the riding crop away on principal alone.

Before he started to work me over again, Gary walked behind me, running his hand across my back like before, then started saying sweet nothings in my ear.

"I see you're asking me with your mouth, but now, I want to see you ask me with your eyes."

I looked at Gary again in the mirror. I looked at his luxurious legs, his strong yet slender arms, his lips, devilish and inviting, and his eyes, all afire with desire. God damn he looked good.

"I want you, Gary. Please, please give me what I've been craving for so long."

With that, Gary went back to work, and work was good. Near the end of our session, Gary said to me, in a tone both devilish and alluring,

"I like to see the desire in your eyes. It excites me so. Beg for me. BEG!"


Best Of The Decade Awards

Do you remember last year anyone saying to you, "The decade doesn't start this year, it starts in 2011"? Do you remember those same people saying that they'll put together their own "Best Games Of The Last Decade List" at the beginning of 2011? Have you run into anyone that has gone through with this promise? Now you have.

This is the Best Of The Decade awards, honoring the best video games that were released in the previous decade. Five games were selected as nominees from each year of the decade, 2001-2010, and of those five one was selected as the best video game of the year. Of the ten games selected as the best video game of the year, one will be selected to be the Best Video Game Of The Decade.

So, let's get started.

2001: Nominees- Final Fantasy X, Halo: Combat Evolved, Ico, Twisted Metal: Black, Paper Mario

We at the Redertainment Corporation Of America thought this would be an easy thing to put together. Then we looked at this year. Now we know what kind of challenge we signed up for. Even the games that weren't nominated (Gran Turismo 3, Grand Theft Auto III, Black & White) are games that continue to resonate and influence the current video game landscape.

However, we have to choose one. Hell, we said we were going to, so we have to. The best video game of 2001 is:

Ico. Yes, Ico. I know there are people gnashing their teeth and saying "HALO!!!" or "FINAL FANTASY X!!!" or, "THAT ONE GAME WITH PAINT IT (BLACK) IN IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!", but we had to make a decision, and we chose what we felt was the best. Final Fantasy X may have brought voice acting to the Final Fantasy series, Halo may have been a legendary launch title for the Xbox, Twisted Metal: Black may have been the game that revitalized (for a short time) the Twisted Metal franchise, and Paper Mario may have brought Mario games into another dimension, but Ico is what we deemed to be the best. Ico is one of those iconic games, memorable games, one of those games that you keep long after you have beaten it, and is one of those games that you play over and over and over. For the lucky few that have been able to find it, Ico provides a gaming experience that is memorable, unique, and, most importantly of all, GOOD.

2002: Nominees- The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowwind, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, The Legend Of Zelda: The Windwaker, SOCOM: US Navy Seals, Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell

Have you ever seen Scarface? Well, even if you haven't, I bet you're aware of this:

Yep, that is the iconic scene from Scarface. Tony Montana sticking his face into a mountain of cocaine and then facing a group of heavily armed men. Scarface is a movie that, even if you haven't seen it, you are aware of it. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City is widely believed to be hazily inspired by Scarface. Hell, this game even has a final penultimate scene where you're character, Tommy Vercetti, faces off against his own group of heavily armed men, except this time you survive, instead of dying like a bitch.

The best video game of 2002 is Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.

2003: Nominees- F-Zero GX, Final Fantasy X-2, Silent Hill 3, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Xenosaga Episode I: Der Wille zur Macht

Most people bought an Xbox to play Halo. Not me. I bought an Xbox to play one game: Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. I have not regretted my purchase, either of the system or the game. KotOR is the game that got me sincerely interested in Western style role playing games. Final Fantasy X-2 and Xenosaga Episode I may be really gripping RPG experiences, but Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is a truly unforgettable gaming experience.

The best video game of 2003 is Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

2004: Nominees- Fable, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater, Ninja Gaiden, World Of Warcraft

Of the games that were released in 2004, one stands taller in comparison to everyone else. This game revolutionized the way the general public thinks of online video games. This game continues to be played to this day. This game made Bobby Kotick the man he is today, which may ultimately be to it's detriment. Anyway, the best video game of 2004 is:

World Of Warcraft

2005: Nominees- God of War, The Legend Of Zelda: The Minish Cap, Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath, Psychonauts, Resident Evil 4

There are games that are acclaimed by critics and gamers alike that go on to sell like gangbusters. These games go on to have sequels made of them, again and again and again and again, untill all the wonder and magic is sucked dry from them and all you have left is a rotting rusk containing the memories of a past you look through with rose coloured glasses. Psychonauts is not one of those games. Psychonauts is a age that was acclaimed by critics then was largely ignored by the gaming public. Bastards. I know the fate that I laid out in the first part of this paragraph may seem like something to be avoided at all cost, but Psychonauts deserved the that fate as opposed to the fate it currently has. Please, if you see Psychonauts on sale, ANYWHERE, pick it up and PLAY IT!!!

The best video game of the year for 2005 is:


2006: Nominees- Call Of Duty 3, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Final Fantasy XII, Half-Life 2: Episode 1, The Legend Of Zelda: Twilight Princess

Some would argue that this game should have come out on the Playstation 3. Some would argue that this game is one of the final great Playstation 2 titles to come out during that console's lifespan. Some might argue that this game is the last great title to come out of this series. Arguments aside, there is one thing that is not in dispute: Final Fantasy XII is a great game. Between the beautiful imagery, the unique gameplay mechanics, and the top rate story, Final Fantasy XII proved itself a successor to games like Final Fantasy VII, X, and VIII. The best video game of the year for 2006 is:

Final Fantasy XII

2007: Nominees- Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, Crysis, God Of War II, Mass Effect, The Orange Box

The Half-Life franchise is one of the most acclaimed franchises in video games. For years people have been pining for more content from Valve in relation to this series, and continue to do so to this day. Team Fortress is an online game that, although better on the PC, continues to have a presence online within it's community. However, the game from The Orange Box that stands as the best in this collection is Portal. Alone this game constitutes one of the best games on the Xbox 360. Portal is unique in that, rather than being a first person shooter, this game is more of a first person puzzle game. Portal is as much a mental exercise as Professor Layton or Brain Age is. If Portal was a standalone release, it would be the game of the year. Combined with the other games in The Orange Box, this may be a serious contender for game of the decade. The best video game for 2007 is:

The Orange Box

2008: Nominees- Dead Space, Fallout 3, Grand Theft Auto IV, Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns Of The Patriots, Mirror's Edge

Dead Space is a unique survival horror experience, the likes of which haven't been seen since the original Silent Hill. Fallout 3 is a gripping role playing experience that introduced many gamers to a much acclaimed PC franchise. Grand Theft Auto IV is a triumph of story telling and gameplay. Mirror's Edge is the kind of game that many people have not seen before or since. All of these games have superb qualities to them, however Metal Gear Solid 4 is the one with many of these qualities and more. Metal Gear Solid 4 has top notch visuals, both in the cinematics and in the gameplay sections. Metal Gear Solid has a superb story, dealing with war, genetic engineering, and even hints of romance. The Metal Gear series has long been unique in favoring a game playing style that rewards avoiding confrontation, rather than running head on into a situation. Metal Gear Solid 4 exemplifies that manta. Metal Gear Solid 4 also has the unique distinction of being, in my opinion, the first great game released on the Playstation 3. The best video game of 2008 is:

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns Of The Patriots.

2009: Nominees- Assassin's Creed II, Batman: Arkham Asylum, Flower, Prototype, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

At the Second Annual Four Star Gaming Awards, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves was chosen as the best video game of the year. So, it may come as a shock that we've decided to go another way with this year's choice. This is because, due to the glut of games released near the end of the year, our choice was a game we had failed to play in an expedient manner. Assassin's Creed was a game that received mixed reviews. People complained about the combat, the free running, the twist in the story, basically nit picked at every part of this game. Assassin's Creed II addressed all of these concerns. AC2 is the game that brought many people to this franchise. Assassin's Creed II brought a true freedom of movement that has been tried before but never accomplished to the level seen in this game. The best video game of 2009 is:

Assassin's Creed II

2010: Nominees- Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, Heavy Rain, Kirby's Epic Yarn, Mass Effect 2, Red Dead Redemption

The winner in this category should come as no shock to anyone who read last week The Four Star Gaming Awards. Our opinion of this game, as well as other games, has not changed in the week between this award show and the award show we did last week. While our opinion may change in the future, as was the case with Assassin's Creed II, our opinion for the best video game of last year still stands. The best video game of 2010 is:

Heavy Rain

Best Of The Decade: Nominees- Assassin's Creed II, Final Fantasy XII, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, Heavy Rain, Ico, Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns Of The Patriots, The Orange Box, Psychonauts, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, World Of Warcraft

Of the games listed here, one sticks out. The rest of the games in this list have one things in common: They are primarily console based games. One of the games listed above is a PC game. Always have been and, as near as we can tell, always will be. This is the game that changed the way people think of online video games. This is the game that, despite the ever changing landscape of video games, continues to be played to this day. This is World Of Warcraft. Even people who have not played this game cannot deny just how good this game is. There is a reason why this game has the loyal following it continues to have. The Best Video Game Of The Decade is:

World Of Warcraft

When reached for a comment about this award, President of The Great Empire Of Activision, Bobby Kotick, sent the following statement:

It does not surprise me that we have won this award. The might and majesty of World Of Warcraft is something that cannot be denied by any rational person. World Of Warcraft, and the many subscribers it continues to have, made The Great Empire Of Activision what is it is today, and will continue to be for time and all eternity. I thank The Redertainment Corporation Of America for recognizing our greatness, and look forward to others recognizing the greatness of The Great Empire Of Activision, in all things and in all ways. Quote the Kotick, nevermore.

Well, that's all for the Best Of The Decade Awards. We at The Redertainment Corporation Of America look forward to seeing you at our next scheduled award show: The Fourth Annual Four Star Gaming Awards, scheduled to be held on January 2nd, 2012. Goodnight everybody.