Happy Solstice Crash Pad Series Membership Giveaway

December 23, 2009  |  journal entries

Though I did grow up celebrating Christmas, my family is not particularly religious. I’ve been to Christian church services probably less than a handful of times (I can think of twice, off the top of my head). The past few years, I’ve resolved to celebrate the holiday as winter solstice, rather than Christmas – we’re getting more and more broad in our “happy holidays” wishes, more inclusive, I think, in the mainstream, and the difference of celebrating on the 21st instead of the 25th is negligible.

My family still does gifts on Christmas morning, and that’s fine with me – tradition, familiarity, ritual. But being some form of pagan & buddhist, what I’m really celebrating here is the darkest day of the year, and the return of the light.

Winter solstice is an astronomical event. It has to do with the placement of our Earth in the solar system, the rotation of the Earth’s axis, how we spin around the sun. It is the day – in the Northern hemisphere – where the hours of daylight are the shortest, and from here until summer solstice, they build to longer and longer hours of daylight.

The Winter Solstice occurs exactly when the earth’s axial tilt is farthest away from the sun [in the Northern hemisphere] at its maximum of 23° 26′. Though the Winter Solstice lasts only an instant in time, the term is also colloquially used as Midwinter to refer to the day on which it occurs. More evident to those in high latitudes, this is the shortest day, and longest night, and the sun’s daily maximum position in the sky is the lowest. Worldwide, interpretation of the event has varied from culture to culture, but most cultures have held a recognition of rebirth, involving holidays, festivals, gatherings, rituals or other celebrations around that time. – Winter solstice at Wikipedia

That last part is especially interesting to me – that most cultures have holy days around this time of year, that many of the festivals involve pretty lights or candles (to signify the darkness and cold days), family gatherings (to signify love and support despite the potential affects of SAD), gifts (to show how we are cared for), and resolutions (symbolizing rebirth and renewal). And to me, the ritual that is the least stripped of human prosthelytizing is the one that celebrates the earth, the seasons, the move around the sun, the changes in our relationship to light.

I’ve often mentioned the Wheel of the Year here on Sugarbutch, and have often said it is something that I’d like to more intentionally observe. And the combination of Kristen’s obsession with eating seasonal, local foods, means that I’d really love to throw four wheel parties next year, at the solstices and equinoxes. (There are four lesser holy-days too – candlemas, beltaine, lammas, samhain – that occur at the midpoint between a solstice and an equinox, and I would love to do something to acknowledge them, too, but I’m not sure what – probably not a whole dinner party, just lighting a candle and acknowledging the day – perhaps with a blog post – would be plenty.)

So, Kristen made dinner: butternut squash soup with ginger, garlic, and peanuts, kale with garlic and butter, baked sweet potato fries, and cardamom-orange sugar cookies, on Monday, December 21st, in celebration of solstice, and we talked about the rebirthing process, the things we wanted to allow to blossom in our lives as the days get longer through to the summer solstice.

This is the post where I wish all my best to YOU all, readers and visitors, friends and strangers. Thank you for reading, for following along, and I wish you the best and brightest in this dark time of year.

Oh, but my spiritual beliefs probably aren’t why you’re reading this post. What you really want to know about is the giveaway, right?

Well here it is: to warm your midwinter, I’m giving away one single two-month long level 2 membership to The Crash Pad Series, which I am constantly touting as THE BEST QUEER PORN available. Hands down. No contest. Anytime Kristen and I watch anything else, we usually say, “well, it’s not Shine, but …”

I made up this rule for myself oh, about ten years ago, that I would never pay for porn on the internet. And it’s pretty easy to keep that rule, with all those big amateur porn sites and an easy enough Google image search and all the trailers and freebies at the good porn sties, sure. But as soon as I got a Crash Pad membership, I kicked myself: why didn’t I do that sooner?! It really is that good. It might not even be the best queer porn, it might be the best porn, PERIOD. The skill and smarts and aesthetic and filmmaking … even the premise! I love it. I anxiously await the next episode.

There are so many different types of queer folks depicted in their scenes, no matter what kind of queer you are attracted to, or what kind of sex you like to watch, there is tons of it in The Crash Pad Series. Strap ons. Vibrators. Punky girls. Tattoos. Piercings. Shaved heads. Femmes. Butches. Long-term lovers. Skilled rope work. Belts. Flogging. Slapping. Fisting. Anal. Knives. Force. Negotiation. Melted wax. Punching. Threesomes. Squirting. Sweet lovemaking. Begging. Dirty talk. Oh yeah, there is a little bit of everything.

For some of my favorite scenes from The Crash Pad Series, check My Favorite Scenes in Porn Flicks. And if that’s not enough, watch this teaser, featuring Julie and Michelle Aston.

The Crash Pad Series also puts out DVDs, many of which I have reviewed here on the site, but for about the price of the DVD, I’d recommend instead a one-month level 3 membership, which has permissions to download the videos that you like. Then you can test it out, go through and find the ones you want, and download them. The DVDs generally have about 5 scenes on them, but with a site membership you get access to every episode, and can save your favorites.

Tell ‘em Sinclair sent you. (That’s the same as using that link < —- to purchase a membership, since if you do it through my links on this site, I get a little bitty kickback from the purchase. I’ll even do my Elvis impression for you: thank ya, thank ya very much.)

How generous of The Crash Pad Series to offer a membership to one of you lucky folks! Thanks!

So, to enter this little giveaway:

Leave a comment with one thing about the holidays: why you love them, what your favorite family ritual is, how hard it is to be queer and deal with extended homophobic family (h/t Essin’ Em), the ways you keep your kinkiness under wraps in order to be “appropriate,” your blessings for brightness in the wintertime, your favorite thing about winter, the way you celebrate this time of year, or something else entirely. You get the idea. The winner will be chosen at random from the comments on Monday, 28 December, after we’ve all had a chance to eat with our families and come back to our queer lives.

 

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71 Comments


  1. Like Fiona, I'm not too hep on the giving/receiving gifts part of Christmas. If I want something, I get it for myself. And I hate shopping.

    But other than that – I love this time of year. I love how the cold dreary wintery days mean more snuggling at night. I love how after a freezing rain the bare branches are ice-covered and sparkle in the sun. I love Vince Guaraldi's "A Charlie Brown Christmas" on repeat. I love the tradition of my mom's homemade sugar cookies.

    But mostly, I love how everyone gets sort of, well, mushy & soft. Kinder. More polite. More forgiving. How everyone in my family comes together on Christmas Eve for our traditional pot luck, reading of "Twas the Night Before Christmas" and singing carols. I'm fortunate to have a family that has always accepted my queerness. My gf has always been as much a part of the family as my brother's wife. And while we keep our Daddy/little girl dynamic under wraps while around my vanilla family – we find that "vacation" sex, far away from home, makes for a superb panacea.

    I hope that all of you, however you choose to celebrate, have a joyous and peaceful time.

  2. Sometimes I feel like the only time my family gets told that it is not ok to be racist, classist, homophobic jerks is when I get to tell them every Christmas. I wish I didn't have to, but it feels good to fight the good fight.

  3. My uncle lights a Hanuka bush!

    Apart from that, we don't celebrate Christmas. Still there is the stress of flying over oceans, seas and continents (which are a physical buffer of my freedom and piece of mind) and meeting them.

  4. My holidays usually consist of lots of eating and playing cards… but not without the frequent racist/homophobic/other offensive comments and the avoidance of mentioning my queerness… i somehow manage to stay sane with late night debriefings with my beautiful gf on skype :)

  5. Christmas where I am is high summer and debilitatingly hot and humid. My family all live overseas, and this year as last year, all my closest friends are overseas too. I am not Christian (lapsed Wiccan), I hate the excessive consumerism of our society, and I despise the heat, so it is always a trying time of year for me. So I will be spending this year, as last, with the cats and the fish, trying not to utterly melt in the heat.

  6. I like to think of Solstice as a time I go into myself, into the darkness, into my mind…and that we need a few days to let that incubate and allow ourselves to turn into the growing light before seeing family or friends. So Solstice is the reason for the holiday, but Christmas is as soon as I can celebrate it with others without psychological damage.

    That said I'm almost always spending Solstice Christmas shopping, not in deep meditation or anything. So the above is more of a wishful approach that would reflect my values, rather than an intention I actually follow through with.

  7. This is the time of year when I miss the searing light of the summer solstice. For an Australian femme trapped in the wrong hemisphere, all this darkness, ice and snow seems wrong wrong WRONG! But snow is kinda fun! And it's legal to get married here. And I can't bring my husbutch home until Australia catches up! Happy holidays! S x

  8. I don't even ID as queer (just a straight trans man) and yet my extended family refuses to see me that way. We're talking again now after five months, but just barely. Christmas by myself will be lonely, but this time around it will be Christmas AS myself, too.

  9. My favorite thing about the holidays is my granny's cooking. This will be my first Christmas by myself. At least I don't have to break up my uncles from fighting. It'll be me and my cat and I may go to the the club on Christmas.

  10. My favorite thing is baking.

  11. The holidays are saved by nieces and nephews, at least for me.

  12. I've started celebrating Solstice since my kids were born and I moved onto a more spiritual path than the atheistic one I'd been walking. It's a way to honor the differences in me from my family and to give my children a new tradition – something that only mom does, that is special to me. We bake a cake and sing "Happy Birthday" to the sun. With lots of candles. At 3 and 5, candles are VERY important. The more candles there are, the better! It's actually awesome to see the world through the clear, bright eyes of a small child for even a few moments every year.

  13. My favorite part is my present to myself crash pad. Woot!!

  14. My favorite thing is having down time with my mom, chosen family and friends. And this year, I'm enjoying down time with myself and a few good books. Other than that, I like the "holidays" to be over as quickly as possible. Bring on the new year!

  15. I've actually had crazy good luck both with families and holidays, and my only sadness is that my mom is in Montana, while my partner and I are here.

  16. Luckily for me, the only family I have around here – also the only family besides my partner I'll be spending Christmas with – is my mother, who not only knows and is cool with my lifestyle but is actually into kink/BDSM herself, so there's really no having to hide from or endure closeminded family. To keep it from being weird, we don't share all the gory details with one another, but it's so nice to not have to pretend.

    So yeah, Christmas is gonna be relaxed and wonderful this year.

  17. Me and my partner celebrate Solstice, quietly, with small gifts and a nice dinner. Bananas Foster for dessert, since lighting food on fire seems appropriate for bringing the sun back. Some years, we get some pine boughs so the house smells nice, and put a few lights on them.

    My parents celebrate xmas, and I'm the only kid left on this side of the country, so we go visit them for their holiday. Since we appear outwardly to be a "normal" het couple, we just hold off on the kinkiness and polyness for a day.

    I find I really like having our own private holiday, separate from the family one. It means we get to establish our own traditions.

  18. Trying to play nice
    Family time, food, and Santa
    The Queer Web saves me

    Holiday Haiku
    -Adisson

  19. Personally, I find the whole giving and receiving presents part of the holidays to be very stressful- which probably has more to do with my lack of money then anything else. My favorite part of the holidays festivities is always putting up the tree. I like how it becomes a gathering place for my family and I like how we have silly nicknames for all our ornaments. I don’t usually see extended family for the holidays, so I don’t have to worry about keeping my queerness under wraps, thankfully. I’m lucky to have parents who love me even though I get gayer every year.

    Happy Solstice!

  20. present haiku

    I found for my girl

    yoyo, mags, shirt, and magnets

    all for twenty bucks!

  21. (that should read "made" not "and" magnets.)

  22. In our happy home my wife, four kitties, and I don’t exchange gifts, but we like to decorate for the holidays. We are both Jewish, but we love the festivity of Christmas. My favorite part of the holiday season is trimming the tree while listening to A Charlie Brown Christmas and drinking champagne or hot chocolate.

  23. It's the best time of the year for happy, happy smells. The smell of the tree, Serge Lutens Chene, of shortbread baking in the oven, of the ones you love all warm and snuggled close, wrapping paper and tape (it's not just me, is it?), mulled wine and champagne and holiday ales…you get the idea. My little brother makes an incredible prime rib every year and I can't wait for that, either.

    It's as if having the cold sap all the feeling out of you makes your sense of smell that much sharper!

  24. Was (and still am!) looking forward to my girlfriend spending a few days around New Years Eve with my fam. My parents have met her before and love her.

    But my homophobic brother is going to be here too, so I broke the news today. He called me sick and ingrate and stormed out of the house.

    So now I need something to cheer me up! Pick me!

  25. My favorite part of the holidays is giving gifts. I don't find it stressful, but rather I enjoy collecting and making things that people will love.

    I'm also increasingly enjoying how amazing and accepting my family is. I keep getting queerer, and they keep loving me and anyone who happens to be part of my life.

  26. the lights at this time of year are the most important part of it — and i remind myself that all the crazy running around present ridiculousness is really about celebrating the returning sun and gearing up for the hard winter ahead. i bake things and give them to people. i enjoy candles and singing carols…but most of all i enjoy reflecting on the year that's passing and the year to come. i have always thought the new year should begin on the solstice.

  27. I don't really celebrate Christmas but it's still my favourite time of year..the snow, the lights, the spirit of giving. I just adore it all. I'm a student so constantly being broke makes it hard to donate money or material goods most of the time but around this time of year, I love taking the money I would have used to buy presents for friends and family and use it to buy presents that can be donated to impoverished familes. Knowing that come Christmas morning, I'm partly responsible for putting a smile on some kid's face is the most rewarding feeling in the world.

  28. i love baking, petting the parent's puppy, and hanging with the little bro!

  29. Holidays are challenging if you’re in a binational relationship. I am a student in NY. My partner is lives in Cairo, and can’t get a visa to the US. My privilege of travel places the burden of movement on me. On thanksgiving, (a holiday I don't think I will celebrate when I make babies), as I sat down to eat with my family, friends, and colleagues, there was one person missing. As soon as everyone began to pass the food, I grabbed my laptop and signed into skype. Her camera did not work and then she lost her electricity; twenty minutes later I joined my family for dinner. So, I took photos with my blackberry and e-mailed them to her—photos of the turkey, sweet potatoes, brussel sprouts, gravy, deserts, my family, etc. When I celebrated Hanukah by eating potatoe and zucchini latkes with my grandparents and mother I was also missing her. Tomorrow I will celebrate Christmas with my Brazilian-Catholic-step-family. We are doing secret-santas and nobody (except for little silent me) thought to put her on the list. Of course the amount of money we are to spend, one hundred and fifty dollars, has a different value for her. If we convert the currencies 150 USA = 825.25 Egyptian Pounds. And to her, that’s the equivalent of 825.25 dollars. So she’s out by the mere imbalance in values of monies. But anyway, she is not here, and is again, not included. 10:50pm on the 25th of December I will fly to Cairo. I will celebrate the New Years with her, and probably not dwell too much on what my family is doing. This is what holidays are like if your in a binational relationship. 4 months here, 4 weeks there, 4 months here, three months there, and so the year is spent. If I win this subscription my grades might suffer and my clitoris will become overworked from constant masturbation, but I would REALLY LOVE to win!

  30. I like all the idiosyncratic traditions my family has acquired . . . like the fact that, instead of a conventional tree, we decorate our indoor corn plant. Plus, I get to be extra crafty and bake gifts or make my own wrapping paper–it's another opportunity to express myself and shower my friends with food.

  31. I am very very far from my queer-friendly, liberal Jewish East Coast-based family, spending my very first Christmas with my partner's conservative Catholic Indian family in Bombay, where it is far too hot to warrant the excessive Christmas decorations and winter-less wonderland. But they are really great to me, they really try to make me feel included and part of the family, and I can honestly say I am looking forward to experiencing the chaos of the next two days. I am currently baking them all gingerbread cookies in the toaster oven of my tiny kitchen, after an insane and almost futile attempt to find molasses (success!). It's swealtering, I've stripped down to my underwear, and I'm sending the boifriend dirty text messages to distract her from her many relatives down the street. Good thing I managed to get my hands on a copy of "Champion" to watch as soon as the madness is over (that's her Christmas present!).

  32. My family is wonderful, but they live a very different lifestyle than I do. (Of note, though; I just last night had an extended conversation with my father, because he asked, about the meaning of the word "queer" and why it's important to me, over Scotch. SMALL VICTORY!) Anyway, they are very financially successful people. And though they are generally people with a great deal of integrity, they are far more bought into the capitalist version of the holidays than I am. I struggle every Christmas season with how to participate in the things that make them feel loved and joyful while still doing what I feel is right, and every year I end up buying more shit, driving more, giving in more than I want to.

    However, there is one thing I feel great about doing that they also love and appreciate. So every Christmas I cook. And cook, and cook, and cook. It brings us together, it satisfies me spiritually and all of us culinarily, and it allows me free reign of their kitchen–I get to show them how to preserve, waste less, and buy more ethically. Which is great.

    Still working on queer with the extended family. As in am not out to them–they are real, real conservative folk. For now I just keep cooking for them, too, and maybe someday I'll soften them up with a transcendent risotto or gratín and break the news….. maybe.

    Happy yuletide, Sugarbutch! I LOVE LOVE LOVE this blog. Thanks for being you!

  33. I'm so stressed out. It's the gift giving. I love to do it and usually I have no problem. This year, I realized that's because I used to see the people I shop for all the time, notice what they wear, watch, are really into at the moment, and what they already have. Now, even though everyone I love is home for the holidays, the rest of the year we're spread out all over the state at different colleges and gift giving is one more thing made more difficult by that.

    My favorite winter things have nothing to do with holidays, but I haven't even thought about snowboarding or ice skating yet.

  34. I'm really looking forward to the big dinner Tina is cooking for our first Christmas dinner at home as a family (usually we go to see our families but this year she wanted to be home). Then I'm looking forward to our three year wedding anniversary (1/1/10). Once the holidays are over, we'll celebrate Tina's birthday in January and then I want to fall asleep and wake up in FL after my top surgery is done on 2/24. Happy Solstice Mr Sexsmith and Kristen! Pick me!

  35. I'm not much of a wintertime holiday person, however I do visit my daughter and grandchildren in Ohio the first weekend of December. We traditionally get a tree and decorate it together. The odd timing was instigated after I had a spectacular melt-down over Xmas a few years ago, that was sparked by a party at my daughter's in-law's families home…way too conservative Ohio for me. My daughter is very accepting of my queerness and my gender expression, but Ohio is less so. My plan for this Xmas day involves solitude, cooking, and working on some creative projects. I generally have a huge orphans holiday dinner over thanksgiving, which I love doing and is quite festive. (I'm trading home-baked fruitcake for home-baked cookies with my long-distance paramour this year. It is very exciting!)

  36. My holidays are spent alone with my family, who have finally stopped asking if i have a boyfriend…as a result of keeping my personal life to myself, the distance between us is so great that we barely know what to say to each other.

    My girlfriend lives across the country with her more accepting family. Lucky for her, since she is recently out! However, she's never watched porn before, and I'd like to be able to show her good queer porn. She likes to watch the action when we're having sex; it really turns her on, and I think she would love love love having a subscription to crash pad. Can you help us out ?

    thanks so much, dude !

  37. I'm fortunate to have a very accepting immediate family, but it's taken some time for them to get there.

    However, this Christmas I'm celebrating with my older cousin who's a lesbian, and was around a lot when I was growing up. It's great when you can build intentional families with actual relatives. :)

  38. Typically I don't kick up a fuss over Christmas or solstice or Channukah or any of theother wintery holidays. Last year I went on a two hour hike and enjoyed some time by myself. This year, I'm dipping my toe into the always-strange territory of sharing time with the SO's immediate family. I slept on the couch under the Christmas tree last night and the smell reminded me of my childhood. It was good stuff. SO's family's traditional fondue tonight.

  39. This Xmas marks the anniversary of when I told my dad who my new friend -really- was to me.

    Entirely accidental of course… I would never have dreamt of doing something so cliche as to do an outing on Dec.25th! :o

    It's all good now, and I can celebrate in peace this year!

  40. This year I came home from college and changed my Facebook status to something about how hard it is to be closeted at home not realizing that Facebook changed it's privacy settings and that everyone, my cousins and sisters included, could see it. This has been the most stressful holiday season thus far as I try frantically to get in touch with each cousin and tell them how important it is not to tell my parents. I've been met with mixed responses: lots of homophobia countered by lots of fake acceptance, but so far no one's told. Oh, the holidays, a time when my straight friends celebrate a break from school and I go home to live in fear.

  41. i wish i could get my whole family to celebrate the solstice instead of christmas..

    generally the event goes like this:

    my nanny's house to open presents

    i stay overnight at my mum's if i can [easier as i'm living there this year]

    my sister wakes us at effing early in the morning

    open presents

    breakfast

    off to my gram's [now my uncle's] to open presents/eat with my dad's family

    home and then sometimes out to the gay bar with my fam of choice. <3

    i'm out to everyone in my family as far as the queer stuff and as of 2 days ago, i'm out to everyone except my uncle [who won't care, it just hasn't come up] for the kink stuff. which was a great xmas present because believe me, i didn't think that'd ever happen.. however, in the next year i might be opening an erotic bookstore of sorts with a friend.. so.. figured i might as well get a headstart. :D

  42. Christmas is everyone calling me the wrong name, me correcting them, and them telling me this is what they've called me for 18 years and doing it again.

  43. Hmm, ways of keeping things “appropriate:” a favorite that my partner introduced last-year during a holiday visit to the family’s house was the peppermint ball-gag. Its a cute little ball in candy cane colors (festive) with peppermint liquor wiped around the edges…pretty yummy.

    Happy Holidays, Sinclair!

  44. I’m lucky to have a wonderful accepting family, but I still think of my other friends who aren’t as lucky and send them some extra love during the holidays. This year money is tight, so we’re celebrating by simply being together. I couldn’t be more grateful.

  45. celebrating solsitice on the beach with a huge bonfire and all the cool kids i know! darkness of winter is getting brighter by the day.

    exchange gifts with loved ones on christmas, to show we care, not really for any religious reason. after dinner take a "long" drive to see the glacier and check out christmas lights.

  46. It's the darkest Christmas ever, just after a break-up with a boi I was very much into. On the other hand, it's the first time my mother has been supportive about my queer love life :)

  47. My favorite part of Christmas is when I realized that it doesn't have to big this magical, giant family affair that I never had and never will. I can spent it at home while my girlfriend visits her family, and be content in the fact that I'm not pressuring myself or anyone else to show me "the best christmas ever". My little dog and I can watch TV and make breakfast and not feel any disappointment in a forced holiday that never really felt like it fit my life in the first place.

  48. The worst thing about being queer at christmas is that I have spend it with my given family, and away from my chosen family (my awesome boi and our kitties). The boi and I live together in one city, my (clueless, heterosexist) parents and my (wonderful, supportive) siblings live in another, so Christmas means being away from home and missing the family I've created, that supports me all the rest of the year.

  49. I really love the gift giving and getting part of Christmas, and the chance to see all my friends over winter break that are off in different colleges

  50. I love Christmas. It isn't the presents, it is the coming together with family that I love so much. Working retail has definitely hardened me and I have had trouble the past couple years with getting into the holiday spirit.

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