Neal Litherland is an author, freelance blogger, and RPG designer. A regular on the Chicago convention circuit, he works in a variety of genres.
We all like to think we're normal, for the most part. It's not until we get out of our comfort zones, and start meeting other people, that we find out there are folks who think it's weird to put pineapple on your pizza, who don't like watching scary movies right before bed, and who think it's a little weird that you coordinate the shoes you're wearing with the gun you're carrying.
What's The Difference Between A Fetish and a Kink?
If you're a sexually active human being in the 21st century, then you've heard the words "kink" and "fetish" before. If you're lucky, you've been to the kind of parties where these things are put on display, and those who aren't familiar with them can get a hands-on demonstration to see what they like. Leather, bondage, whips, chains, and candle wax are probably the images that come to your mind, but it's actually possible for almost anything to be a kink. The problem is that it's also possible for any kink to be a fetish.
It's Okay To Admit There Are Problems In Your Hobby
When you're a geek, your hobby is your happy place. Whether it's the flying of digital lead in the latest first-person shooter, the shuffle of Magic cards, the wood pulp aroma of comic books, or the rattle of dice as they clatter across your character sheet, this is the place where you belong. You're doing something you enjoy, and a lot of the time you're doing it with your friends.
The Varangian Guard
The Eastern Roman Empire was a place of grandeur and majesty, and Byzantium (known today as Constantinople) outlived the Western half of the empire by centuries. However, while the Eastern Empire was known for its wealth, for its culture, and for the prominent role it played in the spread of Christianity throughout the world, it was also known for its political treacheries. Usurpers were not common, but they were far from unheard of in the city's history.
The Danger Word
These days, everyone knows what a safe word is. It's a word, or a short phrase, you can say as a signal to let other people know you are no longer comfortable with an activity, and you need it to stop. The word originally comes from the kink community where participants would be engaged in scenes that might push boundaries, and trigger unwanted emotional responses. Bondage, whipping, consensual non-consent, etc. In some cases a person might even want the freedom to shout stop without their partner actually stopping.
The Medusa Model 47
Be honest, you've got a zombie survival plan. Even if you aren't one of those doomsday preppers, or a fan of The Walking Dead, you've had this discussion with friends or co-workers at some point. From barricading yourself into Wal-Mart, to making a break for your cabin in the woods where isolation will protect you from the shambling hordes, everyone has their own idea of what they'll do to avoid becoming the Monday special on the zombie buffet.