Thursday, May 31, 2007
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
How it is possible for one of my favorite Seattle coffee houses to not have wireless internet is beyond me, but they don’t. So here I sit, nursing my americano and toasted bagel while contemplating going back to the Abbey and writing this. I’ve already been there once to unload gear and receive the paychecks. I know, I should be taking the day off after the big show, but such is the life of the boss. At least I’m not making rope today, just admin stuff. Lord knows I should be, you guys just cleaned me out at Shibaricon and I’ve got a huge pile of new orders that need my attention. Tomorrow, I’ll make rope tomorrow.
Today I need to recover from the dreaded post show cold, calling it a cold would be like calling Bush’s re-election, ”unfortunate”. Nope, that fucker has settled into my lungs and is digging in for a fight. I should have seen this one coming, the harder I prep for a big show the worse the post show sickness. I guess I got cocky after the last two shows and thought I had a winning strategy.
I really should find some bandwidth soon, I have a pile of unanswered e-mails to respond to. On that note, I’m beside myself with pride that everyone enjoyed Shibaricon so much. We have been flooded with e-mails, calls and in person thanks for our role in the event. One couple told me that they had never been to a kink convention before, but after reading my blog for so long and trusting that if I were involved in an event then it was worth taking a chance and attending.
Talk about a vote of confidence!
While I’m thrilled and thankful to everyone for all their love and support, the real heroes are all the volunteers who put in the long hours planning this event. While I helped shoulder some of the financial burden and offered my input as to the general shape of the event, it was they who did the daily dirty work. We all owe the event organizer and producer, Diana, a huge thank you. She did the legwork, called the hotels and pulled in a million details to make this event the success it was.
So let me just publicly say thank you to Diana. I am so very thankful for all your hard work and for letting me and my family take part in your event. Shibaricon was a success thanks to you and your team’s tireless efforts.
You are to be commended.
Ok, my coffee is empty and they have changed the music to something annoying, I’ll take that as my cue to leave. Lots left to do today before I can call it, need to rescue my pup from her doggy resort, see my boy, track down some higher caliber cold meds and deposit this inch thick stack of cash.
Monday, May 28, 2007
Another one down.
Shibaricon 2007, a success. A huge, freaking amazing success, far beyond even what I had hoped for. Of course as soon as we had the last crate of stock packed up, what happend? Yep, I got sick. Good thing we don't have much in the way of stock to take back, in fact we pretty much got cleaned out. again. So I'm here in the hotel room trying to rest up while Nerdy and Tambo seek out some chicken soup.
Thats what I get for burning the candle at both ends this weekend, but damn what an amazing light it gave off. Many cool memories were made this weekend and once again I am humbled at the outpouring of love we got from our amazing customers. You guys are fucking amazing and I'm the luckiest damn guy in the world.
You made all the late nights, extra shots of esspresso, sore hands and now a sore throat worth it.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
We fly out tomorrow, so wish us good weather and non-crowed airplanes as we make our way home. It will be good to be home, while I love to get out and meet friends old and new at these events, I miss home.
Oh and Alex, Daddy misses you too and will be home very soon.
Friday, May 25, 2007
Here we go, show opens in 2 hours. All the work, all the late nights, all the time away from those I love, all that will pay off in just a few short hours.
Time to drink some strong coffee, put on my new boots, and do the job.
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Stick a fork in it and call it done.
The Shibaricon 2007 Death March is officially over! We just need to pile stock into bags, print a couple of signs and catch an airplane to Chicago.
Huge, huge thanks to everyone who pitched in with food, caffeine, extra hours, 16yr old whiskey, all around patience with us as we crunched this one out. The Abbey crew, Nerdy, DoubleL, and minion, you guys are all rockstars in my book.
Now with any luck, all the stock will make it in one piece, the display gear we have yet to pick up will be waiting for us, and the local authorities won't kick our perverted asses out of the place.
I'm bringing my camera and hope to get some shots of the booth and such so you can see just how big a show we are throwing. I don't want to brag here, but damn this is huge.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
I've got 1200 things to wrap up and only bandwidth for about half of them, so while I do the last minute scramble to get ready enjoy:
I can't re-post this video to the you tube channel, booboes and all that, but here is a clip from when the very cool (and very hot) Violet Blue came to visit me last summer.
today I visited Twisted Monk's rope factory, got a tour and then got a rope bondage tutorial in which I was tied in a variety of ways. this video managed to capture me being captured and fighting, just for fun!
Also, just for fun this song has been kicking my ass all week.
OK, now back to it!
Sunday, May 20, 2007
Now that the Deathmarch is almost done, time to think about the really important stuff.
The last batches of Natural go into the kettels today, loads of whipping left to do and a pile of orders to finish, but we are almost there. So close to calling this one done. Now on the the really pressing matters, what to wear? No I think I have that one down. The real killer for me is what rope ti bring? My current rope kit is due for retirement. Yes, I am VERY hard on my rope. Thankfully I know this guy. He's a bit of an arrogant bastard, but he makes some sweet rope.
The question is, what color? I'm torn between to shades.
First would be a custom red that we are working on as a possible Color of the month. It is a DEEP red, like 3 shades darker than our current crimson. Closer to a brick red actually. I think this, mixed with some black would look amazing.
The other is hot pink. Seeing as how my idea of "fetish wear" these days is wife-beater tank tops and BDU pants, the idea of throwing an ass kicking with hot pink rope makes my deviant heart sing. Yeah, I'm kinda wierd that way.
Care to help me decide?
Saturday, May 19, 2007
The light at the end of the tunnel
I walked into the Abbey on Friday morning at 10:15am.
It is now 12:35 AM, Saturday morning and I'm calling it a day.
We are almost ready to call this one done, just little further to go.
I swear, as god is my witness, when I get back from this show I am taking a vacation. A vacation some place warm where I can lay in the sun next to a scantily clad woman and sip a drink served in a novelty glass, complete with tiny paper umbrella.
Thursday, May 17, 2007
The pre-shipment of stock just left the Abbey. This year we are sending five hundred pounds of stock ahead. This, this is staggering. The first year we went to this show, Griffin and I stuffed all our show stock into the trunk of a rental sedan, 200 pounds? Maybe 250? The next year we pre-shipped out 300?
This is JUST stock, not racks or bins or other show support stuff. All that gear we pick up in Chicago.
Here is a little math problem for you. Assuming that 100 pounds are books/dvds and that 100ft of rope weighs approximately 2.5 pounds. How many feet are currently en route to Chicago?
Now you wanna know the really mind blowing bit. I still need to make another mile of stock this weekend. Nerdy, Tambo and I will carry on another 300 pounds of stock with us when we fly out on Wednesday.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Ever play “dueling ipods”? This is where you try to out wow the other person with your impressive and eclectic collection of music? Tambo and I do this all the time, in fact we rather pride ourselves in trying to find songs that will lodge themselves into the other’s head until they beg us to give them said song. Being far more musically versed than I, she usually wins. I do however get a few good shots in. Like when I took her down with Joan Jett doing an obscure cover of Twisted Sister’s “Were Not Gonna Take It”.
Few can stand up to the coolness that is Joan Jett. The question we had was, who will take her place? She’s part of a generation of rock/punk women who fronted bands, wrote their own music and unapologetically tore up the stage. Jett, Debbie Harry of Blondie, Pat Benitar, Ann and Nancy Wilson, heck even Gwen Stefani to some extent fits the profile…. The question we had was who are their contemporaries now? Seems like there are a lot of pop princesses, Christina Aguilera, Pink, Avril Lavinge but none that seem to fill a black leather jacket the same way that Jett did.
In other news, our much-delayed shipment of 8MM stock hits the shop today! In order to crank out the backlog and get sufficient show stock made, I’m going to need to crank out about 40 hours of work in the next 3 days.
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
I keep telling my lovely wife Tambo that she is a better rope top than I
Here is proof. Where I’m happy to tie someone into a ball and toss him or her about the room, she is so very mindful and precise. When she is doing head and face bondage, she becomes so graceful. It is quite beautiful to watch.
These shots were taken during Michele and Delano’s last visit to Seattle. One of the things that really strikes me is that this image was taken not 24 hours after Michele shot Alex and I. She also shot Puck not an hour before too, all part of a 24 hour shooting marathon. What just amazes me that the tools used in all these shots are the same.
Same photographer, same basic lighting setup, same basic premise (two people interacting via rope) yet such different outcomes.
OK, must get back to work. For those keeping the death-march score, yesterday I consumed over 7 shots of espresso in an 16-hour period. Today is a short one, only 11 hours in the shop for me.
Monday, May 14, 2007
Welcome to hell week
I’m holding a coffee cup that is larger than my head. I don’t think the human body was designed to ingest this much caffeine in one sitting, enough to keep small tribes of indigenous Amazon peoples buzzing for days. Me? I’m sucking the fucker down like it was mother’s milk.
Welcome to the last big push.
I kissed my wife goodbye this morning, sent email to all those I loved and told them that if they wanted to see me, bring me lunch… and more coffee. I’ve got 10 days left to pull it all together, pack up the stock and deliver one hell of a show. No small feat, considering that 20% of my stock is not yet even in the damn country yet. This would send most folks into paroxysms of panic, me? I’m just drinking more coffee and hoping that my partners’ near legendary patience will hold out for this one last week.
As for those of you going to Shibaricon, oh man do we have a hell of a show in store for you. Here are just a few of the new things we have in store for you:
1) A new, never before seen exotic rope that is going to knock your socks off. (Thanks to everyone who helped me test run it this weekend.)
2) Our full color compliment (including the new Hot Pink).
3) New goodies from our friends in Tokyo.
4) A new book / DVD combo that you have never seen. (We will be showing all our DVDs at the booth so you can see them before you buy.)
5) Those amazing “ball end” ass hooks? Forget those cheap knock offs being sold elsewhere. We got the real deal, in three sizes no less. Small, Medium and OH SWEET JESUS!
6) New, ultra light, suspension rings. All the strength, half the weight.
Just to name a few.
Then there is the matter of all the free stuff and the bondage rodeo. I’ll talk more about that later this week, but couples who are going should think about participating. I’m looking for 4 couples who are comfortable with rope, but not experts, with rope should think about competing. We will be giving away over $1,000.00 in cash and prizes at the event.
My coffee cup is empty, the dye kettles are boiling and I need to get these new orders ready before Nerdy gets into the shop.
Time to turn up the Motorhead just a wee bit louder.
Saturday, May 12, 2007
Chicago Help Needed!
I need a customer / reader in Chicago who can help me out. The host hotel for Shibaricon wants to charge me an arm and a leg for pre-shipping my gear and stock out. Anyone local to the event care to help me out and take delivery of the stock and hold it till I can pick it up?
6-8 crates, 50 pounds each. Aprox size 3x3x4ft
Target Delivery Date: May 21-23rd
Pickup Date: Thursday May 24th
Desired Location: Near O'hare Airport.
We will have a truck so all we need is a safe, responsible location to recive and hold the stock.
E-mail me if you can help.
Friday, May 11, 2007
Alas poor Yorick, I knew him well
The time has come to say goodbye to a dear friend. More than a friend really, a faithful and long-suffering companion of mine has passed into the great beyond. No longer able to deal with the day-to-day struggles of this life, they have finally given up the good fight. I tried to deny their passing for far too long, to fool myself into thinking they would be with me forever, yet all things must eventually die.
I am, of course, speaking about my faithful pair of Doc Martin’s boots. These well-worn black leather solders have served me well for over 7 years, but now I must admit that they have outlived their useful existence can must be retired. Perhaps it was the prodding of all those around me that finally did it, or perhaps it was the fact that I could see my socks through the holes in the tops of toes of the boots? Either way, they are far beyond repair and after much denial on my part, had to be replaced.
Why am I saddened by the passing of an old pair of boots?
See, these were not just any mere footwear. No, these boots had history. Back when I was doing all this in my back yard, they valiantly shielded me from the elements with thier thick leather hide to kept my feet warm. Protecting my toes from the countless boiling kettles, intent upon harming me with their scalding contents, they took the boiling bullet instead. Tirelessly traveled with me coast to coast, as I spent too many hours on my feet selling at dozens of nameless conventions across the country. These were the boots where Alex first learned how to black, thier dull grey hide trasnformed back to gleaming black, these boots have stood menacingly over so many bound girls that I won’t even venture a guess.
These are not just boots; no these are pieces of history. Like brave warriors returning from a long and brutal war, they deserve better than to just be tossed into the Abbey dumpster. But what? Bronzing them and making them a monument in the Abbey seems too pretentious. I don't own a fireplace so polishing them one last time and placning them on the mantle is out of the question. Then there was the suggestion that we fill them full of rope and auction them off for charity. Let someone else care for this piece of history.
If my grandmother were still alive, I would ask her to put them in her garden and use them as planters. She came from that generation who re-used those sorts of things and made them look good. I’m not kidding, this woman made a planter out of an old toilet and her yard was the envy of the neighborhood.
But I digress.
So I shall bid a farewell to my loyal companions and salute them one last time. Good night my well worn, princes of foot protection. My arches thank you. May you close your 20 eyes one last time and rest well in the knowledge that your steel reinforced toes answered the challenge and answered it well.
Your replacements know they have a large legacy to live up to.
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
How to not (emotionally) slam into a (relationship) guardrail
There is a concept they teach you when riding a motorcycle called “Target Fixation”, understanding this can save your life. See, when you are swerving to avoid something or taking an overly sharp corner, your natural instinct is to focus on the thing you are trying to avoid. However by doing this you are not going to avoid said thing, instead you are going to slam right the fuck into it. Instead, they tell you to look not at the thing you want to avoid but rather look in the direction of where you want to be… and the bike will follow.
I like to apply this rule to my poly. For me it is far too easy to focus on the thing that I fear the most. For example, one of my constant fears is that by having so many things and people all vying for my time and attention that I am constantly short changing one or all of my partners at any given time. This fear can drive me to exhaustion as I work to second guess what they might be lacking from me or seek reassurance from them that they are feeling fully loved and cherished by me. In doing so I also drive them (and myself) insane. Thing is, if you focus too much time and attention on the thing you are trying most to avoid, you will make it come true. It is sorta like saying, “Whatever you do, don’t think about bananas”. What happens? All you can now think about are those damned bananas.
Meanwhile back at the motorcycle metaphor, how do you avoid becoming a grease stain on that jersey barrier then? Look through the turn to where you need to be in order to avoid the collision. For me that means, and I have to remind myself of this often, that rather than focus on the “oh fuck, I’m short changing my partners!” I ask myself, “am I fully present and enjoying the time I am blessed to have with them?” This means not dragging shop drama home and making it the focus of the date. Sure it is one thing to talk about the stresses of the day, it is another to let them ruin the few precious hours you have with someone you love. Don’t obsess over what things my over active sense of guilt might want to convince me that I am not doing for them and realistically assess what time and energy I can give and give it, even if it is less time than you would like, fully.
It also means that when they tell you, that even though you are currently a stress monkey and not the most entertaining of partners to have around, they still love you.
You trust them.
Monday, May 07, 2007
I so need to sit down and really write something, but show prep has just got me wiped out. Late suppliers, color batches that don’t quite look right and that nagging feeling of “what else am I forgetting?” all have got me pretty much wrung out. A little over 2 weeks to go and I'm so not ready yet.
I did however get to attend a great bondage class on Sunday. Otis taught a fantastic class on how to move and manipulate bodies during play. I really enjoy wrestling and takedown play. Up to this point I’ve tended to rely on my size and previous experience as a stunt person to keep my takedown play safe and fun (for both me and my partner) however it was great to learn some new tricks and one “wow that was SO worth the price of admission” trick that is so going to save my back. Big thanks to Otis and his crew for putting on a great class.
Speaking of “rough and tumble”, I also got to tussle with my friend Matt and chat up some very cool leather-men. Or was that get chatted up by? I’m not sure, but either way they now REALLY want to form a focus group and help me develop a rope kit aimed at boys who tie boys.
Thursday, May 03, 2007
Don't forget, the Shibaricon pre-sale ends tomorrow!
Check out the company website for details.
Ok, time for me to get my ass back to work.
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
This just in from my video guru, the Folsom 2006 highlights video.
As with the rest of our videos, this too has been posted to the youtube channel. I have a few more up my sleeve that I'll be posting later. The response has been nothing short of astounding, I think I will be packing my miniDV cam around a lot this summer.
Yes, this is amazing, but watching it kinda freaked me out. See, it hit me this morning. We leave for Shibaricon in just over 3 weeks and there is still so much left to be done. Vendors who are late, colors not yet right, booths to design, what am I going to wear? ack the list goes on and on! I'm not going to panic, yet. However if I seem a bit edgy next time you see me, this would be the case. I know, in my more lucid moments, that we will be ok there will be enough stock and that we will sell all we bring. I just never want to do these things half way, come up short and not deliver a kick ass show.