Saturday, December 29, 2012

Gifts with spikes (hubby gets the point)

There is so much to write about, so little time. I had a very nice Christmas. I’ll not bore you with all the fun details from the vanilla world. However, let me tell you what’s new from the femdom world.

Hubby got me a new pair of leather pants. I wanted something other than black since I already own a couple of pairs of black leather pants. So he got me a pair of Miss Sixty pants in brown. Very nice!

I wore them out one night and of course hubby wanted to worship me in them. Maybe later once they start to show a little wear but they are too nice to have his tongue and saliva all over them. So Thursday night I treated him by putting on my black leather pants.
I allowed him to worship my ass and I even did some face sitting while I was still wearing the pants, smothering him with leather. He always loves that.

Now on to the big news. First of all, I got hubby some nasty S&M gifts for Christmas, including a Kali’s Teeth Bracelet (KTB). I ordered the mild version with dull spikes but don’t let that mislead you. They still work when training a man not to become erect without your permission.
So far I’ve only used it once. I put it on James, locking it around the base of his cock and balls while he performed cunninglingus and analingus on me. He was most uncomfortable while I was being pleasured. I only left it on him for about 30 minutes but it worked beautifully as he did not grow an erection. When I took it off it left some nice marks on his flesh around the base of his cock but it did not break the skin. He grew an immediate erection once I took off the KTB. He was very excited as he admired the ‘teeth’ bites on his skin. I made him take a cold shower and then install his CB6000.
Another interesting item I bought James for Christmas was a set of X-mats. These are mats designed to keep pets off the furniture. They have plastic points all over them. I got this idea from my friend Ginger. She uses these mats as a punishment for her hubby. Naturally an animal is smart enough not to lie down on these mats because the plastic spikes hurt. But what if a dominant wife orders her hubby to sit on them or lie down on them? They become punishment mats.
I got a set of these mats for James and I couldn’t resist. I placed them on the couch and had him strip naked and lie on them for 10 minutes. I loved the little indentation marks they left all over this skin. The next day I had the wonderful idea of making a punishment chair using these mats. I have this old wooden chair that is tall and narrow. It is perfect for a bondage chair. The other night I placed one of the mats on the seat of the chair and another one against the back of the chair, than I ordered James to sit on the chair.
He eased his body down on the plastic spikes. I allowed him to keep his panties on. I then tied him to the chair with rope. The poor baby was really suffering after about 5 minutes. I made him stay there for 15. Now he knows that I have this punishment at my disposal and we will be using it again. But that’s not all. Keeping with the spike theme, I bought myself a corset top with spikes. I had a bra and thong set with spikes that James got me probably 10 years ago. When I saw this corset top, I had to have it. It was one of James’ Christmas gifts but he didn’t know about it until last night.
Last night I allowed James out of his CB device. I put on my spiked corset top and my spiked thong.
James grew an immediate erection when he saw me. I laid the X-mats down on the floor and I told James to lie down on them, totally naked. He knew what was coming next.
I climbed on top of him, laying my body down on his body. The metal spikes from my corset top and my thong were pressing into his flesh while the plastic spikes from the x-mats were pressing into his backside. I embraced him and kissed him, pushing my corset against his chest, wiggling my body back and forth and humping my thong against his cock. I could tell he was in a lot of pain but surprisingly, he remained erect. I think my hubby is becoming quite the masochist.
I got very turned on. After about 10 minutes, I got off of him and had him stand up. I examined all the marks on both sides of his body. Again, his skin was never punctured but the marks and indentations were very plentiful.

I slid the mats out of the way, removed the thong and I had hubby orally service me right there on the floor, both of us on the carpet, hubby between my legs. My orgasms were extremely intense.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Red Shoe Diaries 6: How I Met My Husband


Directed by: Bernard Auroux
Philippe Angers
Anne Goursaud 

Starring: Luigi Amodeo
Neith Hunter
Raven Snow
John Enos
Charlotte Lewis
Carsten Norgaard
Sue Kiel 

Host: David Duchovny as Jake Winters 

Released: 1995

Running time: 85 minutes
Reviewed by Ms. Kathleen for 'Predominant', October 2005
“Women Do You Keep a Diary?” So goes the ad in the personals section. 
Jake Winters (played by X-Files actor David Duchovny) is desperately trying to recover from the recent betrayal and the tragic death of his beloved fiancĂ©e. After the death of Marlene, Jake has a very difficult time adjusting to life without her. This is even more true when he discovers Marlene's diary. As he begins to read the diary he discovers that Marlene had a deep dark secret. She was having an affair with another man.  
Jack attempts a novel form of therapy to overcome his great loss. He advertises in the personals, under the pseudonym 'Red Shoes', to pay top dollar to women willing to send to him diaries of their most erotic experiences. Thus is the premise for the erotic series, The Red Shoe Diaries.  
The Red Shoe Diaries aired from June 1992 to June 1999 on Showtime with some of the more memorable episodes making their way to video. Each Red Shoe video contained three episodes. The sixth video was released in 1995 and it was called, “How I Met My Husband”. The sixth video contains the episodes “How I Met My Husband”, “Naked in the Moonlight” and “Midnight Bells”.  
The episode, “How I Met My Husband” has a FemDom theme. It begins with an almost naked man on all fours in front of a room full of women. A woman dressed in leather, Mistress Miranda, asks for a volunteer. A beautiful, shy woman in a conservative dress is picked from the audience. Miranda says, “Now remember ladies; Grip, Wrist, Follow-through!” 
Miranda hands Alice (Neith Hunter), the reluctant but curious volunteer, her whip and tells her to give the stern command, “Bernard, you’ve been a bad boy!” Alice repeats this dominant phrase to the vulnerable male as Miranda admonishes her to “follow-through”. Alice cracks the whip and strikes the male to the thunderous applause of the female audience. A satisfied look comes over Alice’s face. So begins “How I Met My Husband.” 
The next scene (each scene is divided by short shots of Duchovny reading the diary/letter) has Mistress Miranda telling her female audience about “dressing for power and control” as sexy women come walking down the fashion runway in leather and fetish attire, carrying whips and pulling handsome studs on leashes and chains. Alice looks on with obvious excitement and arousal. I think both men and women will find this scene to be quite erotic. 
In the next scene, Mistress Miranda offers Alice a job at her House of Domination. Through narration, Alice tells us that she is ready to be in control of men as she is tired of being the one controlled. Now she wants to be the boss. Miranda gives Alice a tour of her House of Domination and we see brief displays of the other Mistresses using bondage, teasing and denial and humiliation on the paying clients.
Miranda explains to Alice the house rules of no sex and no sexual touching between the Mistresses and the clients. All sex occurs in the realm of the mind. With that, Alice is ready for her first client and she assumes the scene name of Mistress Eve. 
Her first client is Giuseppe (Luigi Amodeo), a handsome, young Italian male. This is obviously his first time visiting a House of Domination therefore he is just as nervous as Alice. He is there to confess his sexual sins to a woman and be punished. Alice/Mistress Eve, dressed in a PVC outfit complete with mask, uses a blend of nurturing and discipline to get the young man to open up to her.
Through her dominance, he confesses that he has become a Gigolo and women grade his performance in bed.  
Mistress Eve interrogates Giuseppe about why he has come to see her. He confides that he wants to be punished and he wants to be broken of his bad and sinful habits so he can live a life pleasing to his Mother. Mistress Eve skillfully uses the whip as Giuseppe promises “No more women for money”. Mistress Miranda watches from the other side of an observation glass and comments to one of the other Mistresses that Alice is a natural. 
However, Alice finds herself becoming attached to her client. She finds him to be both attractive and innocent. Her dominant posture with him appeals to her as she loves having this kind of control over a man. She follows him to his place of employment where Giuseppe dances for women. Naturally he does not know who Alice is since she always wears a mask at the House of Domination. Alice watches as women proposition him and one woman picks him up and they have sex in her car. 
The next time he visits the House of Domination, Giuseppe is interrogated by Alice/Mistress Eve and she gets him to confess his failure. She punishes him and tells him that he has dishonored his mother and all women by selling himself to women for money. He is humiliated and ashamed.  
Alice goes and watches him dance again and afterwards she approaches him and tempts him by offering him money. He declines her offer but he asks her out to dinner instead. He falls for her and the next time he visits Mistress Eve he confides to her that he has met someone whom he really likes. As he tells her his innermost thoughts about how he has fallen for Alice (not knowing that Mistress Eve and Alice are the same woman) she realizes that she loves him and they touch.  
Mistress Miranda barges into the room to separate them, she reminds Alice that she is violating a house rule and she forbids her to see Giuseppe. Mistress Eve removes her mask and reveals to Giuseppe that she is indeed Alice. He is hurt and feels betrayed and runs out. Alice seeks out Giuseppe at the restaurant where he works. He admits that he wants to be with her but he asks “what would I tell my Mother when she asks how we met?” Alice tells him to tell her the truth because no one would ever believe it.  
The next scene is interesting as it shows them about to make love for the first time. Alice is dressed in a leather corset, boots and long gloves while she is holding a whip. They are not at the House of Domination but alone at the place where he dances. Giuseppe is on his knees and Alice is in the obvious dominant position. She uses the whip not as a tool of discipline but as an erotic implement which she utilizes to caress his body. They begin to make love as he embraces her with a submissive posture. She is still in control but she is no longer Mistress Eve but Alice, his dominant girlfriend and lover. She will be in charge of the relationship but it will be a relationship based on love, passion and trust.  
The movie switches back to David Duchovny reading from Alice’s diary and he reveals that Alice and Giuseppe got married a few months later, the Gigolo and the Dominatrix.  
I enjoyed “How I Met My Husband”. It was very light FemDom, nothing hard or complex, yet it had sensuality and reality. The profession of being a Dominatrix is treated with admiration and respect, whereas being a Gigolo is wrong and immoral. Mistress Miranda is shown to be a smart business woman, not a freak, and her establishment is shown to be valuable and necessary, not weird nor perverted.  
I also liked the professional relationship between Mistress Eve and Giuseppe. In my opinion, that is how a Pro Dom and her client should relate to each other. Had they not fallen in love, such a professional relationship would be valuable for a man. Confessing one’s sins and shortcomings to a woman and receiving both understanding and punishment would be therapeutic and healthy for a man. Mistress Eve got Giuseppe to give up his erroneous ways and he was accountable to her. He trusted Mistress Eve and he needed Mistress Eve. She represented Loving Female Authority to him. However, the writer did not want this story to be simply about a professional relationship but rather a story about finding your soul mate when you least expect it. 
To me, the moral of "How I Met My Husband" is that FemDom can be romantic and it can exist within a loving, caring relationship. This short story begins in the secret and mysterious world of Mistress Miranda but it ends with two people getting married because they complete each other. Alice needed to be the dominant partner in a relationship and Giuseppe needed female guidance and authority to give his life meaning and direction. 
“How I Met My Husband” is the kind of video that may appeal to women, especially the novice woman. It introduces the concept of FemDom and D&S in a light, sensual way. Women and couples might also enjoy the other two stories on this video “Naked in the Moonlight” and “Midnight Bells”.  
I read on a website dedicated to the Red Shoe Diary series that volume 6 was judged to be the best of all the Red Shoe videos. A used VHS copy can be purchased on Amazon for as low as $5.95.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Movie Review: Myra Breckinridge

Directed by Michael Sarne
Based on a book by Gore Vidal 

Starring: Raquel Welch
Mae West
John Huston
Rex Reed
Farrah Fawcett
Roger Herren 

Filmed: 1970 

Running time: 94 minutes

Reviewed by Ms. Kathleen for 'Predominant', September 2005
If you are an avid movie fan like I am, it’s possible you came across a late night showing of “Myra Breckinridge” recently on the Fox Movie Channel. One night this past summer as I flipped through the channels searching for an old movie to watch, low and behold I found this one. My TV set stayed firmly planted on FMC until I could figure out exactly what it was I was watching. I must admit I was both intrigued and baffled by some of the action and that was enough to keep my interest.  
The next day, still aroused by what I had seen the night before, I immediately got on line to find out more about this movie “Myra Breckinridge”. I quickly discovered it was based on Gore Vidal’s book about a transsexual woman whose goal is to dominate the male gender. The movie was a commercial flop and some claim it to be the worst movie of all time, but now it has gained a cult following. 
I could easily believe this as it seems most oddball movies of this type find their place in movie history. Just consider “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”. Most movie fans are familiar with that movie however five years before “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” there was “Myra Breckinridge”. Both movies had up and coming stars, both movies had a plotline about trans-sexuality and both movies were comedies that also featured song and dance.
Considered three decades ahead of its time, if you had seen “Myra” in 1970 you more than likely were confused as to what exactly it was all about. I definitely consider “Myra Breckinridge” a comedy but exactly what kind of comedy I don’t know. The scenes crisscross the screen at near lightning speed and so much action happens simultaneously it’s hard to keep focus. Who is Myra Breckinridge, a man or a woman? And what was with these dream sequences and song and dance routines right in the middle of the movie? Was that Mae West? How old was she when they filmed this? Is that Rex Reed the movie critic? Is that Tom Selleck? There’s Farrah Fawcett!  

All of these thoughts were filling my mind as I watched “Myra Breckinridge” for the first time. I almost changed the channel a number of times but there was something about this movie that kept my attention. Being a dominant woman, I was intrigued by the female domination symbolism and imagery. Then when the famous Infirmary scene came on the screen, I was both shocked and delighted. I kept asking myself, “What year was this movie made?” 
From what I understand, filming this movie was just as complicated as watching it. Scenes changed not only daily but from hour to hour. There was chaos on the set and turmoil amongst the actors, and that chaos makes its way into the movie. Nevertheless, there is a strange sort of cohesiveness that was not apparent the first time I watched this movie. I had better success understanding and enjoying “Myra” when I went back and watched it again.  
One of my favorite parts was the film clips of old movies interspersed throughout the entire story. Definitely confusing at first but on further review Sarne did a marvelous job finding old clips that interacted with his footage and although I have seen this done in more modern day movies, I believe this was totally visionary for 1970. Some say he did this out of necessity to lengthen the film but Sarne claims it was his vision all along to include old film clips. It is little wonder the actors were confused as they assumed Sarne would be following Gore Vidal’s book. 
In 1968, Gore Vidal wrote a satirical novel in the form of a diary. Its major themes were feminism, transexuality and deviant sexual practices. Set in Hollywood in the 1960s, the novel contained candid and irreverent glimpses into the machinations within the film industry. Considered pornographic at the time of its first publication, the book immediately became a worldwide bestseller. The title of the Gore Vidal novel was "Myra Breckinridge". 
Myra Breckinridge is an attractive young woman with a mission. A film buff with a special interest in the Golden Age of Hollywood, in particular the 1940s. She comes to her uncle Buck Loner's academy for aspiring young actors and actresses and not only teaches regular classes of Posture and Empathy, but she also instructs in the hidden curriculum of FemDom ("I'm Myra Breckinridge whom no man will ever possess"). 
She selects as her first victim one of the "studs" at the Academy, a straight young man named Rusty Godowski.  
In the climactic scene of the novel (Chapter 28), Myra has Rusty come to the infirmary under the pretext of having to conduct a medical examination. Myra quickly assumes the persona of the chilliest of nurses, directing Rusty down a path of embarrassing and humiliating processes and procedures. She uses harsh commands, threats and a few well-placed slaps to get Rusty to obey. She teases his nipples with her stethoscope; she has him pee in a bottle while making humiliating remarks; she performs a hernia examination while she humiliates him verbally by asking him very personal questions about his sex life and commenting, in rather drastic tones, on the allegedly moderate size of his penis ("I'm afraid, Rusty, that you've been somewhat oversold on the campus. You possess a boy's equipment.") 
Finally, after tying Rusty face down to the examination table, she rapes the unsuspecting student anally with a strap-on dildo ("Now remember the secret is to relax entirely. Otherwise you could be seriously hurt.") Afterwards, she even makes him thank her for the trouble she has taken.
Only towards the end of the novel does the reader learn about Myra's secret: Pretending that she is Myron Breckinridge's widow, she demands from her uncle (who owns the Academy) half of what he has built up. The shocker is when Myra reveals that she is in fact Myron (who had sexual reassignment surgery).  
In 1970, Michael Sarne brought "Myra Breckinridge" to the big screen with Raquel Welch in the title role as Myra. According to Vidal, “Myra Breckinridge” is a black comedy but Sarne was not interested in directing a black comedy. His vision was completely different, thus all the confusion and chaos at the studio and on the set.  
While watching the movie I was delighted to see Myra be as dominant, demanding and pushy as she was. In my opinion Raquel Welch was one of the most beautiful of all movie stars. She has always had that star quality and a “don’t fuck with me” edge about her. I believe that is one reason she was right for this part. And although the thinking at first was to hire an actual transvestite for the part so that it wouldn’t be confusing to the audience, I think Raquel did a wonderful job. Some consider it her finest work ever.  
The film had a difficult gestation, and its birth and early life were painful for the studio, the young director and virtually everyone involved.
From the outset it was obvious that this was going to be a difficult project. Even in 1970 -- at the height of promiscuity in films -- how in the world could anyone successfully bring to the screen a story whose highlight is the female lead's dildo rape of a young man?  
If such a production were possible, the earliest signs were positive. A major studio -- Twentieth Century-Fox -- had taken on the project. There was, for those days, an ample budget ($3 million), and the original writers and director were established or promising talent. But all hell broke loose early on. 
Despite Welch's initial efforts to work with West, it wasn't long before they refused to appear in scenes together; Robert Fryer, the producer, quit and came back three times; Bud Yorkin, the original director, quit; Sarne was accused of alienating the cast; Author Gore Vidal, who was supposed to help write the script, fled to Italy in disgust; Sarne and David Giler finished the script; All of this trouble and more was being discussed openly in newspapers and magazines, on talk shows and in the trade press. Those talking the most included movie critic Rex Reed (Myron in the film), who penned a scathing piece for the August 1970 issue of Playboy.  
In the end, Fox simply stopped production. Many of the scenes Sarne devised were never filmed. He "finished" the film with the footage he had in the can by adding old film clips from classic Hollywood movies (everything from Marilyn Monroe to Laurel and Hardy) and splicing those clips within the action of the film.  
The movie premier was in New York. Mae West attended and was greeted by an adoring crowd. But the critics had a feeding frenzy:  
"About as funny as a child molester" -- Time 
"A horrifying movie ..." -- Newsweek 
"The bad taste is beyond belief." -- Variety  
I must admit I was taken aback to see Rex Reed with such a large part in a film and that was another thing about “Myra” that caught me by surprise. Reed plays Myron, the male counterpart of Myra who has supposedly undergone a sex change operation in Copenhagen. I later discovered it was Mr. Reeds’ movie debut.
Another actor/director who appeared on screen with Raquel was John Huston as the not-so-lovable Uncle Buck of Uncle Bucks’ Acting Academy. John plays an over-the-top cowboy full of piss and vinegar who marginalized Myra’s plight. That is to say he doesn’t care that she is the recent widow of his nephew (or so she claims) who was left penniless and has now come to collect on her mother-in-laws inheritance which is half of the profits from the academy. 
The entire storyline however is just a distraction from what is most appealing about the film and that is Myra’s philosophy which is “the destruction of traditional man, to realign sexes while decreasing population and increasing happiness and preparing humanity for it’s next stage”. What that next stage is I don’t rightly no but can I get an ‘AMEN’ to Female Superiority?
Speaking of Female Superiority, as I mentioned earlier there is a blast from the past in this film, the “tough broad” who is famous for her sexual innuendo’s and double entendres, Mae West. I found out that West was nearing 80 yrs old when filming began. Mae still called the shots here and she insisted on writing all her own scenes and even sings a couple songs. You got to give it to her. Nobody ever put one over on Mae West and she was perfect for a movie with female domination symbolism as she was the original dominant female of the silver screen. Having West in this film added to the FemDom symbolism as she is an icon in her own right. 
In the film Mae played the luscious Letiticia Van Allen, the man-hungry casting agent who in the end gets the leftovers of Rusty, the boy-toy that Myra sets her sites on as the last vestige of a studly man.  
It seems apart from getting her rightful inheritance from Uncle Buck, the most important thing on Myra’s mind was how to get Rusty alone so she could “educate” him. She uses her wit and will and her standing at the academy as instructor of the Empathy and Posture Class to worm her way into the lives of Rusty and his girlfriend Mary Ann (played by Farrah Fawcett).  
And I just adored the costume changes given to Raquel. They are reminiscent of a by-gone era when Hollywood Starlets dressed the part. In every scene she is dressed in yet another outfit more grandiose than the previous. In one scene you’ll find her dressed in a periwinkle blue Joan Bennett look and the next a stern Joan Crawfordesque outfit in bright red.
Another interesting fact I uncovered about this movie is that when polled, more women than man liked this movie and more women than men enjoyed the famous “strap-on scene”. I wonder why that is? 
I couldn’t quite believe my eyes when I saw the strap-on scene. Called by one critic "the most sensational scene in the history of the screen", Raquel Welch sets the screen on fire and shocks the 1970 audience (and I am sure most 2005 audiences who accidentally come across the movie on cable) by introducing the strap-on and FemDom sex to the American public. Although never actually shown, Raquel leaves no doubt what she is strapping around her waist after she bounds her young hunk across her examination table. 
What follows is perhaps the greatest FemDom scene in the history of Hollywood. Although ruined somewhat by the overkill of old film footage in an attempt to add humor so the censors would not ban the movie (seeing Laurel and Hardy during such an erotic scene can definitely put a damper on the mood), Raquel's acting and the verbal performance by Roger Herren allows the imagination to fill in the blanks.  
Here are some highlights of that great FemDom scene:
Rusty: "What are you doing?" 
Myra: "I'm preparing you . . . What's the matter, Rusty?" 
Rusty: "You're playing some kind of joke on me, I know you are. You're playing some kind of joke!" 
Myra: "This is no joke, Rusty. I'm deadly earnest. You have a lot to learn. All you men have a lot to learn . . . and I have taken it upon myself to teach you." 
Rusty: "What do you mean?" 
Myra: "This is the most important part of your education. The part your teachers failed to instruct you in...It's called Balling!"
Rusty: "I know how to do that." 
Myra: "That's what you think!"
Myra: "What nature intended is not always good for us, Rusty. You think being a man is such a simple thing." 
(Myra reaches for something off-screen and begins to strap the unseen object around her waist.)
Myra: "A man should ball chicks, you said. Well, I tried to explain it to you but you wouldn't listen. So I'm afraid you require a practical demonstration."
Rusty: "Oh my God! You'll kill me with that!" 
Myra: "I won't kill you, Rusty. I'll just educate you. You and the rest of America. Must I demonstrate it to you practically, that there is no such thing as manhood. It died with Burt Lancaster in Vera Cruz. Your manhood was taken by Errol Flynn and Clark Gable. I'm only going to apply you with the finishing touches!"
Raquel Welch makes cinema history as she rapes the muscular stud with the large, wicked dildo.
(Accompanied by a rodeo clip with the announcer saying, "Ladies and Gentlemen, he's never been ridden before!")
Raquel rides her "Stallion", making plenty of Cowgirl yells of "Yahoo" and "Yeehaa" and many other screams of Exhilaration and Pleasure (while Rusty screams out in pain ---all the while we are treated to a barrage of old Hollywood clips).
The wild ride concludes with Raquel experiencing intense and multiple orgasms (shown through footages of a bursting dam, a roller coaster ride, and an atomic bomb explosion) while she continues to take her stud with the strap-on.  
Myra: "I'm coming, Scarlet, I'm coming! I'm coming, Anna, I'm coming...Uncle Sam, here I COMMMMME!!!"
One has to wonder how many men discovered their submissive natures while watching this scene (and how many others will, once they see this scene). What man alive wouldn't want his manhood to be taken away by Raquel Welch wielding a strap-on?
So how does one really review this movie? It has its faults and I can certainly see how people in 1970 thought this was a terrible movie. If you read the book and were hoping to see the book come alive on the screen, you were no doubt disappointed. If you were interested in seeing a “Gay movie” that would make a societal statement, you were no doubt disappointed (which is one of the reasons Rex Reed trashed the film). If you were interested in seeing a movie with lots of nudity and sex, you were no doubt disappointed. And if you were interested in seeing a comedy that would make you laugh out loud, you were no doubt disappointed.
But what about in 2005? We have the benefit of 35 years to take a fresh look at this film. I was 7 years old when this movie was made and I had no knowledge of this film until a couple of months ago.  
Let me tell you what I think of this movie. I think it’s crazy, zany and completely original. It’s not a great movie. I wouldn’t even call it a good movie. But I believe this film will engage and entertain you. 
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars 
"There are only two characters in all of fiction that could have only come from America - Tom Sawyer and Myra Breckinridge." - a British literary critic.