Monday, October 31, 2005

I am very pleased to announce the addition of two new colors of rope to the Twisted Monk catalog.

The first one is called “Sex and Violet”.

The first batch of rope I ever made was this color. It was an electric violet, unlike any color of rope I had ever seen before. This was this unique color that started the whole phenomenon, and it’s now available for sale for the first time ever via our website.

Note: this is supposed to be released to the general public tomorrow, but I'm giving you all first crack at this.

We’re also introducing our “Color Of The Month”. It would be impossible to stock all the unique colors that folks ask for on a regular basis. So instead we are going to offer a new and unique color every month. This will be a limited, one time color run. Once the color has been sold out, it is sold out for good. This month’s color? Belladonna Black, a deep black/purple hybrid shade that is unlike anything we have ever made before. Don’t wait, supplies are VERY limited!

Now go have a fun Halloween. I’m going to curl up with Tambo and watch some classic monster movies on TV.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Tambo’s Birthday Wrap-Up

Tambo wanted me to publicly say thank you to everyone who sent her birthday wishes and gifts. She says that this year’s birthday was “the best ever”. The spa, Banya5, was divine. We will be going back there again every soon (and bringing all our friends). Now a huge, extra big thank you must go out to former winch wench and baker extraordinaire, Little Red Ridding Hood. She delivered the most mind numbingly good fresh cinnamon rolls any of us have ever tasted.

Thank you; now pardon me while I lick the plate clean.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Happy birthday to my dearest Tambo.
Today is your day to be treated like the rockstar you are.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

And now, Monk explains why he once was addicted to day time TV. (4min/ 3.3mb/WMV/Work Safe)

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

I *think* this counts as my good deed for the day.

I was leaving the Abbey late tonight when it happened.

Located roughly midway between the Port of Seattle, the main rail terminal and the switching yards, the abbey is surrounded on 3 sides by active train tracks. It is not uncommon for any (or all of them) to be in use at any given time. We joke that whenever we leave the shop for lunch, before we decide where to go we first have to see what route out is blocked, then make our decision. Many a visitor has been delayed en-route due being on the wrong side of a train track.

I was leaving late and headed to meet up with Dancer. So it was no surprise to me when I hopped in my car and saw that one of the nearby track’s warning lights starting up, the track that lay across the most direct route to my destination. I thought for a second that maybe I should take an alternate route and bypass this delay, but I had time and the train was probably not THAT long, so I opted for the direct route. When I pulled up to the tracks I was greeted by a frantic, scruffy looking middle-aged white man running towards my position. He was in full on wild-eyed panic mode. Now, I should point out that this neighborhood is not the best of spots after dark. Sure, during the day it is fine, but at night it becomes an industrial wasteland, inhabited only by day laborers and extras from a bad zombi flick.

“Dude! You gotta help me! My car is stuck on the tracks and there is a train coming!”

Sure enough, off to my left there was his little geo metro, high centered on the tracks. Now I should point out two details. First, the tracks in question are actually 2 sets of parallel tracks. The larger, faster moving trains use one, the primary. The other, the one this poor sap was stuck on, is a switching track, less used and only by REALLY slow trains… but large, hard to stop, car obliterating trains nonetheless.

Upon closer inspection it looks like the guy tried to drive around the tracks, but ended up running parallel to them, one set of wheels inside the track the other on the outside. Now this would be fine, save for the tiny detail that once the tracks cross the street and into the alley they rise to a height of about 18 inches and his poor car was teetering dead center on the track.
He did try to free himself, as evident by his two blown out front tires and the ditch said tires had made trying to free the tiny car. Two homeless guys were also there trying to help push him off the tracks, with little effect. Whatever the hell this guy did to get himself into this position, he sure did a damn fine job of it.

Did I mention that the train crossing lights were still flashing?

So here he is, frantic to move his crippled car and he is asking me if I can pull his car off the tracks. Hence my second detail, I drive an SUV. Well a tiny SUV actually, more like a micro SUV. But and small, stout SUV nonetheless.

Now if this guy could stop freaking for like 30 seconds I would tell him that this is a little used spur also that I have rope capable of towing a car back at my shop… that is less that 50 yards away, but he is too busy bouncing up and down on his hood trying to rock the car off the tracks while looking over his shoulder for any sign of the impending locomotive of doom. Meanwhile the two bums who are helping him are chattering back and forth in Spanish, from what little I could pick up they were placing bets on which end of the car would get plowed into first.

I don’t carry towlines in my car. I do however carry tie down straps. Hardly strong enough by themselves to really to by, I grab 3 and hand them to the guy. “Hook these to something solid, NOT your bumper.” , I tell him. He scurries under the car and wraps them around something that I hope will be solid. Slipping behind the wheel of my rig I engage the 4wd, note this is exactly the 5th time I have used this feature in the 5 years I have owned the vehicle. (hey, I live in Seattle. It snows once every 2 years) While not a towing powerhouse, I think my trusty little rig has enough moxie to drag this poor sap’s car off the tracks... I just hope our impromptu tow cables hold out long enough. As I slowly start to press on the accelerator, the little car starts to budge. A little at first, then with a sudden ear piercing SCREACH the thing begins to slide along the tracks as I pull it back onto the road. Sparks fly from the under carriage as it grudgingly grinds it’s way along the track and to freedom.

Out of harm’s way, I set about to un-hook my car from the towlines. I don’t want them back, they are ruined and besides, I really don’t want to see the aftermath of whatever he tied them to so I free my end and leave them for him to deal with. I pull out my phone to call Dancer and let her know that I’ll be late when he asks if he can borrow it to call his work and let them know where he is. WTF, I pull your ass off the train tracks AND you want to borrow my phone too? Whats next, want me to loan you money to get your flat tires fixed too?!

Of course I don’t actually say that. With a sigh I hand him my phone and do my best to brush the adventure’s dirt off my hands.

When I finally arrive at Dancer’s place, I greet her with a kiss and tell her, “You are not gonna believe what just happened to me, but first… can I go wash my hands?”

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

I once met a girl in Denver, she was a long time blog reader. She brought me cookies and I tied her up… several times. She makes the most delightful noises when you pull her hair. Today is her birthday. Happy Birthday Day R. Here is to another great year of being alive and kinky.

Now for the rest of you, enjoy this. A brilliant clip from the show Family Guy.Chris falls into the 80’s music video hit, “Take on me”

Monday, October 24, 2005

The lamest thing

So I promised I would tell you about the coolest thing and the lamest thing I saw at this years Folsom Street Fair. You all seemed to enjoy the tale of the coolest thing, but what about the lamest thing? Well that, hands down, would have to be the guy we all called “Lord Orloff”

The fair was just about done for the day when he came up to the booth. By now the cops had started shooing folks off the streets so he was not hard to miss, heck even in a full crowd he would be easy to spot. You see, he was wearing a full length Victorian style jacket, top hat, and a velvet demi-cape. I should point out here that the locals have a saying, “Folsom takes place on either the hottest day of the year or the coldest”. This was one of the hot years and we were all sweating in our jeans and short sleeves and here this guy is dressed like he just walked off the Baker St.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love costumes. Part of the fun of Folsom is the costumes and the spectacle, but rather than a reviler enjoying the opportunity to show off his cool outfit this guy was serious. He was maybe in his early twenties, white, and his skin had that pallid look of someone who either spent too much time playing World of Warcraft or behind a register at Hot Topic. Oh and yes, he was visibly sweating.

As he walked up to the booth we all noticed that he had this little steel ball in his right hand. About the size of a golf ball and looking suspiciously a bit like one of those Asian stress balls you see at the cheap import store, he was twirling the orb in his fingers. Zeroing in on Griffin (we will all later agree that it was his pirate like long hair that did it) he approached and greeted him, still twirling the orb, in a strangely slurred tone. “Greetings” twirl twirl twirl
“Um, Hi”, responded Griffin, a bit wary from a long day.
“I am," twirl twirl twirl "Lord Orloff,” His attempt at a sinister smile reveals that his slurred speech is due to the garishly large set of prosthetic vampire fangs he was wearing.
“Griffin, pleased to meet you”, Always a pleasant and nice chap our Griffin, he extends a friendly hand to the man.
“Yes," twirl twirl twirl "here, let me transfer my energy" twirl twirl twirl He proceeds to shift the spinning ball from his right to left hand, with out missing a twirl.
“I am "twirl twirl twirl" the leader of my coven,” He over pronounces the word so it sounds a bit more like “cooooveeen”
“Really? That’s nice” says Griffin, never breaking his trademark smile.
“Yes, "twirl twirl twirl "I am from Salem." twirl twirl twirl
After shaking Griffin’s outstretched hand, he looks from side to side taking assessment of our booth and proceeds to declare, “I see you are into bondage twirl twirl twirl how quaint, I used to do that but now I fear my path is a twirl twirl twirl much darker one.”
Unphased, Griffin keeps his smile meanwhile the rest of us are fighting to keep from busting out in hysterical fits of laughter, “That’s nice, well we are closed now so if you don’t mind I gotta start tearing this booth down. Nice to meet you”
“Yes" twirl twirl twirl "it was, wasn’t it? "twirl twirl twirl
Transferring his “energy” back to his right hand, he turned and walked off into the afternoon sun.

What is it with some people? Sure, everyone has a right to enjoy their own kink. Sure, I happen to enjoy things that others find objectionable but it’s self important idiots like this who help perpetuate the negative stereotypes that kinky folks are a bunch of devil worshiping fucktards! It is frustrating enough being a member of a sub culture that already enjoys more than it’s fair share of misconceptions. Every time there is an episode of CSI where somebody dies from something vaguely SM related I’m on the phone reassuring my mom that “no, I don’t do that sort of thing… yes, I practice safe and sane play…” (For the record my mom has come a long, long way in coming to terms with my lifestyle choice. While we she disagrees with parts of it, we have a healthy relationship where we can talk about such things. So kudos to you mom). So this white boy from the suburbs whose “coven” is probably located somewhere on Live Journal and whose members are all living in their parent’s basements just drive me nuts. Lord Orloff’s real name is probably “Brian” and somewhere his dad has a photo of him at age 8, dressed in his pee-wee football uniform.

Ok, enough ranting for one day. The moral of the story, enjoy your kink. Embrace your inner pervert and flog it soundly, however never take yourself so serious that you forget that this is supposed to be fun.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Some folks just do not like rope.

I know, I know it seems odd, but yes dear readers there are those out there who just do not enjoy the feeling of hemp running across skin. Now while my first reaction would be to wonder if there was not some kind of telethon or maybe one of those wrist bracelets that I could donate to in order to help find these poor souls find a cure for their disorder, I guess that rope is just not for everyone.

Thankfully this was not the case for this week’s Winch Wench. No, quite the opposite really. She knew she liked rope; in fact we first met at one of Max’s workshops, and was looking for some nice rope tops to play with. side note here, I think maybe in addition to the weekly winch wench that I should start featuring local rope tops who are looking to play. I mean I know you are out there, I sell you rope. Perhaps some kind of mixer? When I suggested that she come down to the Abbey and dangle from the great winch, she jumped at the invitation and brought us the most sinfully delicious brownies ever. (there went my caloric intake for the week)

Now when bound in rope, folks respond in a number of ways. Some, from the immediate release of endorphins, begin to giggle and smile. Others become calm and still, focusing on preparing their bodies for the rigors of what might come next. While still others make that most delightful noise. That half moan, half plea… sometimes barely audible yet it resonates with desire for more.

Yeah, she made that noise…

So for those of you who do not like rope, well good luck in finding the kink that works for you. For the rest of you who want to explore and learn more. Max has another one of his excellent rope bondage classes coming up on Sunday, Nov 6. Don’t let the 201 class name fool you, this class is still geared for beginners and advanced beginners. The class, and party afterwards, is a great way to meet others who share your interest in rope and see some of the really good Seattle rope tops in action.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

No, I have not been captured by mole people and imprisoned in their underground lair...

Just wrapped up with work stuff the past few days. A mountain of the mundane, but a pile of things that all require a little of my attention and distract me from what I really like to do. Make rope and write. *sigh* such is the price of success, no? Thankfully I have a great crew who keep things rolling while I'm ass deep in distractions.

That said, Nerdy will kill me if I don't post this to you all first.

We are retiring our shirts! We will be introducing a new style "rope slut" and "Trust me" t-shirt in the next few weeks and we need to get these old ones out of the Abbey. So, the shirts are sale, quantities are VERY limited so get em fast.

So snag these last ones before they are all gone!

K, gotta get back to it. The Mole King only gives us a few minutes online everyday.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Bird in a cage

So I’m at this party last week end. It’s a kinky birthday bash for one of the owners of Salon De Sade. While being charming and lovely, the ladies of the Salon can also throw one hell of a good party.

Of the many pervy diversions and kinky delights to enjoy at the large home of our host, the one that caught my eye was the petite blonde. Clad in a black negligee (complete with garters), she was locked in a small cell in the middle of the room. The cell measured about 4 foot square and was surrounded by other partygoers, all enjoying her responses as she wriggled and moaned from their tickling, caressing and general torments.

Sitting back with Tambo, we all watched with delight as her tormentors decided to step things up from simple sensation play to some serious torment. Pulling her wrists through the bars, they tried to secure her wrists in leather cuffs. Now the problem with leather cuffs is that they really only fit one size wrist and these must have been made for someone larger than her because her tiny wrists easily slid out of the restraints. Their plans now derailed, her tormentors looked about in befuddlement.

“You know what this scene needs?” I called from the sidelines.
“More cowbell?” Joked Tambo
“Nah, rope. They need rope. Lots of rope”

After some quick negotiation with the victim in the cage I started pulling rope from my bag.

I feel that I should point out that these days I pack a LOT of rope.

I have a lot of suspension experience. Give me a hard point in the ceiling and I can figure out a dozen different ways to dangle someone from it. I also have scads of experience with binding someone to themselves and to a static, fixed object. Now a cage, a cage is new for me. 6 sides of potential hard points and a myriad of places to secure my rope to. Add to that a body inside the cube and you have yourself a delightful, half naked, reeking of sex and perfume 3-D bondage experience. Thing is, you really cant just tell the girl to spread her legs in a most uncomfortable position and then hold still while I tie them down so this other nice girl with the small fists and ice bucket next to me can do something delightfully evil and orgasm producing to your pink parts.

Well on second thought maybe you could, but that would not be nearly as much fun.

First things first. Deal with the feet. I lean in to the cage and explain to her, “Now, dear child, you will do exactly what I say, when I say, or else”
“Ohhh or else what?” She giggles with an impish grin.
“Or else I’ll take this rope, put it back in my bag, and go play with someone else”

That did the trick.
Ankles now bound outside the bars, I see to the rest of her. At first her tormentors looked at me with disappointment. How could they get to her wet bits if her legs were tied together?
“Trust me”, I said with a wink, “I have a merit badge in this.”
Binding her wrists through the bars above her head, I set about securing her flaxen hair to the back wall of the cage. More rope around the chest, I set to tighten each point till she is unable to do more than moan and wriggle from side to side. Now secure it was time to step up the pace and get this show (and her thighs) open for business.

Wrapping lines around her stocking clad thighs, I bind them to the outer bars and begin to apply pressure till when I finally do unbind her ankles, she is more than glad to open her legs and ease the pressure. Quickly grabbing her free ankles, I bind them up to the high far corners of the cage. Now spread wide and flushed, her tormentors eye their desired target with lust. Only one last obstacle in the way… her panties.

Hmm, what to do? I suppose I could untie her, help her shimmy the thin garment off her hips and then re-tie her, but I had a better plan in mind.

Like every good rope top, I always carry a set of safety shears with me when I play. Pulling them from my back pocket, I slip them between the thin elastic strap and her pale thigh. With a snip and a sigh they fall from her hips, exposing her to the room. She gives out a yelp as I yank them from her, can’t let those get lost in the fray now can I?

I lean back and sip my water and enjoy the show, leaving her to her designated tormentors. I’ll check in with her from time to time, make sure the binds are not cutting into her flesh or to adjust her position and eventually to unbind her, but for now she is open and exposed, on display for all to watch and enjoy.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Should really be working now….

Just not motivated, I think I worked/played/partied/flirted and generally had too much of a life a wee bit too much this weekend.

Question, there is a rope conference coming up in December. The 3th and 4th to be exact and I’m looking for some lodging options in the Austin, Texas area. Any readers in the area that might have suggestions for good places to stay or want a traveling rope maker as a house guest for a night or two, please contact me.

Ok… this rope is not going to make itself.

Friday, October 14, 2005

The Tale of Lil’ Red Riding Hood.

When she answered my call for a winch wench I’m not sure what she was expecting.
“Any previous experience with suspension bondage?” I asked.
“None.”, was her response.
“Rope bondage in general?”
“Nope, none.”
“giggle… well….”

When asked why she wanted to put herself in to my ropes? “Dying to experience the big bad wolf first hand” She giggled.

She showed up on the night we all work late, the Abbey was filled with the usual suspects. Galahad and Kitten were about to serve dinner when she came calling. Now a good winch wench is expected to bring a treat, a bribe if you will, to share with us in exchange for the getting be suspended from the massive winch we have here in the Abbey. Some have brought simple treats like fresh fruits from the farmer’s market on a hot summer day while others have graced us with complete meals. We have also consumed a near criminal amount of chocolate chip cookies as well.

I have to warn all future winch wenches, she just set the new high water mark. Fresh bread. Not one loaf mind you, but THREE, fresh from the oven and still warm. Add butter and organic honey and you have what we like to call “a culinary orgasm”. Oh and she even brought us dessert too.

Now we had the makings of a fine evening’s entertainment. A scrumptious food, a gathering of friends and a tasty morsel of a girl eyeing the rope with a mix of excitement of nervousness. Only problem, she was so damn sweet and charming. Once up and secure in a comfortable side suspension, everyone wanted to poke and prod and tickle her giggling form.

I try to be gentle, well as gentle as one can be, with first timers. Wide ropes, lots of passes across the body and a comfortable position should all make for a memorable, if not hammock like, suspension. She was hooked and wanted more, she kept saying, "I can take more if you got it". I think but the time I had her hanging by just her chest harness, toes but a hair’s breath from the ground, did she get a taste of how strenuous it could be.

When we finally took her down, we were all rewarded with a huge grin and, “Let’s do that again!”

“Sure, next time I’ll hang you upside down”

Everyone agreed that she needs to come back again… and bring more fresh bread.

This morning I got an e-mail that read “On closer inspection, the big bad wolf isn't so bad after all.”

To which I respond, oh child you have no idea….

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Adult content warning!

I’ve never really considered this blog to be a “porn blog” or even really a “sex blog”. Sure I talk about sex and SM, but I also talk about lawn gnomes too. All things considered this is pretty tame as adult oriented blogs go. In fact I took it as a high compliment when one blog directory site described this blog as “Thought provoking”

I think making one's brain churn is much more sexy than making ones panties damp (however one does tend to lead to the other, if done propperly)

However due to some of the things I write about, I should perhaps put a disclaimer on this page. Now I was thinking that I would us this one, taken from the Offspring’s CD Ixnay on the Hombre.

“Ladies and gentlemen.
Welcome to the disclaimer, that’s right, the disclaimer. This American apple pie institution known as parental discretionwill cleanse any sense of innuendo or sarcasm from the lyrics that might actually make you think and will also insult your intelligence at the same time!
So protect your family! This album contains explicitations of things which are real. These real things are commonly known as life. So if it sounds sarcastic, don’t take it seriously. If it sounds dangerous, do not try it at home or at all. And if it offends you, just don’t listen.”
Jello Biafra

Tomorrow, photos of the best winch wench ever!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

This, this is fucking brilliant.
Post Secret. An on going art project where you mail an anonymous homemade postcard containing your confession. Amazing and scary.
More cards can be seen here too.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


I really should be crashed out right now, trying to recover from this crud that has descended upon my body… but I’m not. Instead I’m writing this.

So, lets talk about a subject I know a lot about, stress. Now folks deal with stress in a lot of different ways. On the Saturday before the big Folsom show we all were dealing with the stress in different ways. Me? When I’m faced with pre-show stress, I tend to take the tried and true, “drink lots of coffee and furrow my brow” approach. I find it best to focus my worry into a tight ball in my stomach until it is a red hot bundle of panic, then unleash it in a sudden burst of outlandish behavior (usually involving nudity and astro turf). However this does not work for everyone, as seen in this video clip taken at a 50’s theme diner where we were all having breakfast together that morning. (22 seconds, WMV, work safe)

Ya know, some days it is really hard to project the air of the “Big Bad Rope Maker” when hanging out with the citizens of the Abbey. Then again, this is probably a good thing. Keeps me humble and far way from ever christening myself with some lame and over blown title like “Bondage Lord Monk” or “Master Monk, Lord of the Twine”

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Sick… not in the head

*sigh* I thought that perhaps this year I might avoid it. Thought that maybe now that I had moved the shop indoors and out of the elements that I might not get the crud, but sadly no I too have fallen victim to it. I guess it should not have surprised me. Tambo fell ill earlier this week and like all close, loving couples we share everything. Even our flu bugs.

Now if there is a bright side to being sick at the same time as your partner. When feeling down like this we both want only to hole up, stock the house with comfort food and bad movies and spend a lot of time curled up in our bed under the covers. I gotta admit that I do really love our bed. Like most young, poor couples we started out our lives together sleeping on a hand me down mattress. Then somewhere along the way we were either given or traded something for a full on 70’s swinger waterbed. Yeah we are talking full on, pine body (don’t forget the padded side rails) with a HUGE pine headboard… complete with mirrors.

Eventually we decided that it was high time to join the ranks of adulthood and actually buy a bed. A really big bed. I love this bed, it is tall and firm, but with a down pillow cover that you just sink into. The best part? Hands down has to be the quilts. You see, my grandmother made quilts for as long as I can remember. Thick, hand made patch work covers pieced together from a million bits of fabric. A swath of red flannel here, a bit of my old cub scout uniform there, these thick covers encase you, wrapping you in their warmth and press down upon you… till you are deep in their safe cocoon.

I’ve slept with a quilt for my entire life and now that my grandmother is gone, these are all I have to remember her by. Her legacy to me, if you will.

And so to that warm, safe place I do retire. Till tomorrow when I’m feeling better.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

New Look

Since my old commenting system was just about due to expire, I thought we might give the blog a face lift and spruce up a bit. Yeah, yeah I know I have like a billion links to add. If you want to be added, please contact me.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Storyteller’s Remorse

I think I failed in my job as a storyteller. While I am delighted that everyone really enjoyed my tale about suspending the old guy at Folsom, I fear that I have not done the event justice. Sure, I am very flattered and touched that so many of you commented so positively and commended me for my actions; however while my own personal narcissism loves the praise, I am not the hero of this tale.

The hero of this tale was the old guy.

I think what made the event so memorable for me, and for the others who were there, was not that I granted someone’s dying wish. Rather, that someone facing their death would choose to go out and peruse all the things they have denied themselves their whole lives. Sure, we all are going to die someday but this guy’s “someday” is a bit sooner than most. In fact I’m pretty sure the grim reaper already has him penciled into his day planner. What kicks my ass is this. How does he choose to write this, the last chapter of his life? Not by balling up and hiding, not by shaking his fist in anger at the gods and anyone else who he perceives as having done him wrong, not by spending his final months locked in some bitter and family dividing debate? No, he chose to stand up, take risks and live.

I’m just a guy who is good with rope, he was the hero.

Makes you wonder, if you are given the chance to consciously write the last chapter of the book of your life. What kind of story would it be?

Thursday, October 06, 2005

The Winch Wench Returns!

Yes. It has been far too long since we had a winch wench of the week. There once was a time earlier this year when we had someone new hanging from the great winch in the Abbey every week, but we got busy with the whole “take over the world” thing. So when Nerdy suggested we re-instate this tradition (on her visiting friend no less) we all agreed that it was high time to have pretty, laughing girls hung up at the Abbey again.

Now Griffin decided to pull out one of his favorite “evil rat bastard top” tricks. Hanging something heavy from the person suspended. Sure, this adds weight and that adds pressure to the overall experience, but when the weight is connected straight to the crotch rope? Well that’s just all sorts of evil. Of course our victim, err I mean happy volunteer, was un-phased by the first few items he tried to hang off her. She just laughed and laughed.

That is till Nerdy suggested we hang one of the spare 5 gallon buckets from the rope. And then fill it up slowly. So what do you do, now that you have a helpless girl suspended in the air and a large, heavy bucket of water dangling from her? Why test out what you learned about centrifugal force, that’s what. And we got it on video too. (41 sec. WMV work safe)
So what about next week? Hmm who's next?

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Monk's Favorite Moment of Folsom '05

Part of the appeal of an event like Folsom is the spectacle. People come for all manner of reasons; the shopping, the community, the costumes, the people watching, and to be entertained. This year, one of my goals was to take advantage of this fact, also the showman in me really wanted to get out and strut our collective stuff for the crowds in SF. We have come a long, long way since last year and I wanted to say show that off. Hence the rigging frame. Now rather than just a booth to display and sell our wares, I opted to drag a 12 foot tall steel arch down from Seattle and made it the centerpiece of our booth. Standing on a small stage underneath it, the plan was to perform suspensions on folks and draw in the crowds (and sell them some nice rope in the process). While there are a so many great uses of rope in the bedroom, suspension bondage is a showstopper. It is dramatic, beautiful and dangerous (if done incorrectly, ALWAYS get proper training before attempting suspension bondage).

Can I just pause for a moment here and say how much I love this job? Over the course of the day we (Griffin, Max and myself) got to hang up all manner of pretty boys and girls. Some were clothed (work safe) some were sorta clothed (not really all that work safe) and some, well some were just flat out naked (Work Safe? You’re kidding right?). Now the showman in me loved this part of the day. Once we started to rig, traffic stopped. Not just a few on lookers and curious types. No, we are talking hundreds of people stopped dead in their tracks and watched in awe as we did our thing. Nerdy would later tell me this, “I knew who you were hanging up and how much clothes they were wearing with out having to look up at you guys. I would look out at the audience. If they were mostly leather men, you were hanging up a boy. Mostly straight men, a girl. Mostly straight men with cameras, a partially naked girl. A massive throng of frat boys staring in mute lust… then you were hanging up trinket.”

Now lots of folks asked to be hung up. Due to the physically demanding nature and potential dangers of suspension, we limited our models to folks we knew, folks who were referred to us by friends and then to folks who, after having the risks explained and were willing to sign the necessary waivers, came up to us from the crowd. We turned lots of folks away, folks who were too drunk or had unrealistic requests. (For the record, suspension from a rope around your neck is really a stupid idea. Don’t ask me to do that for you). I’ll say that over the course of the day all our lovely models were great and great to look at… save one.

I had just finished hanging Galahad up so that VH1 could interview him for an upcoming TV spot. Still pretty early in the day, the place was not yet open and there were very few onlookers at the booth, save one. There was this old guy, now when I say old. I mean old, like he used to buy booze for Methuselah back when he was still a minor kinda old. Sure, Folsom attracts all ages but it is really disquieting to have an old white guy, clad only in a black athletic supporter, a collar, a black baseball cap and sneakers. Not exactly what one would consider “eye candy”. He asked about being suspended and we tried to politely blow him off. “Come back later in the day, we are not ready yet, the show is not yet open… etc” thinking he would get lost in the masses, went on about the rest of our work.

Exactly 2 hours later, he came back. About this time I was hanging up kitten in a fairly rigorous semi suspension (and having a grand old time) when I caught him out of the corner of my eye. Tambo was talking to him. Once Kitten was down she pulled me aside and said, “Look, that guy is back and he really wants to go up”
I glace over her shoulder at the guy who was waiting patiently for us, “have you explained to him that this is really tough?”
“Yeah, read him the riot act about it, but he says that this has been a life long dream of his”
Taking a page from the sex worker’s bible, I set aside my lack of interest (and my desire to hang up the cute red head who was in line after him) and focused instead on giving him a special moment. Something to remember.

Leading him into the booth and up onto the rigging platform, my first concern was the prominent scar running the length of his chest, A triple bypass, 20 years earlier. The human body is an amazing thing, capable of withstanding all manner of pressure and stress; however this one would require me to be extra careful save that I don’t break the poor guy in two. My intent is to not make this a very long suspension. Last thing I need is for this guy to die in my rope, so the plan was put him up and let him hang for a few minutes then bring his ass back down…. Fast. Using a massive quantity of rope on his hips and chest, he settled into the comfortable sling with a hoot of joy. Ok, he is stable, safe and seems to be having a good time.

As I lean in to check on his circulation he tells me this, “I lied to you. I’m older than I said. I’m actually 70”
“Damn, you are doing well for 70”, I lie.
“Wanna know why I lied?”
“I was just diagnosed with degenerative Parkinson’s. I’m not going to be able to do much of anything here real soon so I figured to hell with it. I’m going to do everything I always wanted to do but never had the guts to try, no mater what folks might say.”

With a smile I double check the harness to make sure it is secure and not going to bite into his flesh then let him enjoy his time, floating happily in the warm sun.

Later, after he sat in the shade drinking water and eating some food, he thanked us all for fulfilling a life long dream and made his way out. We all waved to him as he merged and was eventually lost in the sea of bodies.

Come end of day, as I was waiting in the van for the police to clear me to go onto the street again and start loading everything back up, I saw the paramedics lights as they rushed past my position. For a moment I worried, “Oh crap, I hope the old guy did not buy the farm today” Just as I finish the thought who do I see making his way past me on the sidewalk?

Yep, there he went. Still clad only in his jock strap and hat, but with a huge smile on his face.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Folsom Tales

Now the trouble with telling the tale of this year’s trip down to the Folsom Street Fair is frankly, where the hell do I start? For those of you just tuning in, the FSF is one of the largest leather events in the US. Taking place every September, the city shuts down 6 blocks of downtown SF and for a day it belongs to us perverts. Thousands flock to this annual event. Ok, more like HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS, this year’s head count was something to the tune of 300K. For those who have never gone before, I describe it sorta like this.
This is the only place on earth where you could run up to a group of police officers standing on the corner and shout. Officer, Officer there is man and he is naked, handcuffed to a fence over there!” and the officer would look at you, rub his chin and respond, “Well, does he want to be there?”

Yeah, for one day just about anything goes and everyone comes looking and dressed (or undressed) for the spectacle. Last year, being our first outing to FSF, we played it pretty safe. A moderate booth, some eye candy and a good amount of rope… and we did really well. Last year’s Folsom was the event that really lit the fuse of the company’s rocket ride growth. Sure, I suppose we could have just tried to repeat last year and not strive to outdo ourselves. Then again, I’m not one to be happy with “just ok”, world domination means high stakes and taking risks.

Now this year, well this year I wanted more. More booth, more rope, more sales, more theater. This year was a “go big or go home” year for us. Diverting resources away from filling orders, increasing the temporary help, the cash outlay to rent the stage and rigging tower (no we don’t have one of those laying about the Abbey), money for new products, new give aways and lastly bringing a much larger crew down to the show. Stakes for the show were high and let’s just say that I was not exactly the most calm of souls. Nope, for the last 4 weeks I have been a raging stress monkey. That’s right, a complete and utter bastard to be around.

Yet in the end, we pulled it off. We managed to make and pack three times the amount of rope that we did last year. I should mention here that NerdyGirl deserves a huge, public thank you. Every inch of that rope was cataloged, organized and neatly packed away in easy to locate bins by her. The booth itself was a huge success as well. I wanted something very eye catching for this event. Thanks to Galahad for that. In addition to being our “gay for a day” booth boy, he also designed and built all the signage for the booth. Of course thanks also to his lovely partner Kitten, always a delight to have a pretty girl in a cat suit on hand. Liss and Griffin were there too. This was their first Folsom. I should also say an extra thanks to Griffin. We have come a long way from those days when we made rope in the garage and he has been a huge part of it.

Lastly I should say thanks to my partners. Thanks to Dancer for beating the hell out of me when I got too wound up and needed to go feral for a bit. (Actually I think it would be the rest of the crew who thanks you. Their line was something like “Oh good, he is gonna see Dancer, tomorrow he will be MUCH calmer.”) To my dearest and beloved Tambo? Well dear readers, none of this would be possible with out her. If you have my rope in your hands, say a silent thank you to her.

That’s enough for one day. I need to get to the Abbey and get some work done. Tomorrow? Tomorrow I’ll tell you about the coolest thing and the freakiest thing I experienced at the show.