Thursday, August 31, 2006

Loaded and out the door

Just enjoying a last bit of coffee with Tambo before departing for Austin. Last time I did this trip, I carried about 200 pound of stock and personal gear with me. This time we shipped out 400 pounds of stock AND I’m still carrying on another 100 pounds of last minute additions. Last time I did this I was also traveling solo. This time I’m bringing someone very special with me.

This, this is going to be an interesting show. I’ll see what I can do about posting updates from the road.

In other news, Tambo and I caught the film “Little Miss Sunshine” last night and found our selves laughing till we cried. A lot has been said about this film, so I won’t bore you with a plot review. Suffice to say that you should just go see it. Now we were not laughing at the characters and the situations they found themselves in. Rather, we found ourselves laughing with them. While I can’t say I’ve been in the exact same situations, the events and characters all felt like they were drawn, in parts, or inspired by our own families and events. Somehow seeing bits of your own family’s dysfunction and being reminded of your own failures felt, very healthy and reassuring.

I think we spent the next hour going, “…remember that time when the engine fell out of our car while we were driving it?” or “what about that Christmas dinner when your dad announced to everyone that he had been abducted by aliens?” and enjoying a good laugh at ourselves.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Overheard at the Abbey
We talk about a lot of things when preparing for shows. It helps keep you sane when whipping piles and piles of rope. Recently the topic of pre-play negotiation came up and the question was asked of me.

“So what is, in your experience, the difference between humiliation play and a fear and terror scene?”
“Easy, during a humiliation scene you are thinking. ‘I’ll die if anyone sees me right now’. During a fear and terror scene all you can think is, ‘OH GOD I MIGHT DIE, RIGHT NOW!’”

A note of warning here, whole books can be written on the erotic aspects of pushing that line of fear and transforming it into something erotic. F&T play (as well as humiliation play) is very edgy, potentially hazardous and not for everyone. Please, do your homework before delving into such forms of play.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The Monk Manual V .9 (beta)

I’ve been telling you about how Dancer will be coming with me to Texas later this week to be my booth babe at ARS2. While we have done some multi-day traveling together in the past, and we have both been to lots of leather conventions separately, this will be the first time she has gotten on a plane, traveled across the country, lugged show gear and come to an event just to work the booth with me. While I love and adore this woman for offering to do this, I’ll admit that I am a wee bit worried. Spending 16 hours standing in a 10x10 space with another human being for 2 days in a row can be a bit, um, shall we say challenging? Now it is not that I do not think that she is up to the task, quite the opposite really. Rather I don’t think she has ever dealt with me when I am in “show mode” for 3 straight days.

So Nerdy and Tambo, having years of combined experience dealing with me when I am under this kind of stress, have been compiling a “cheat sheet” for Dancer. So far here are some of their words of wisdom for her.

1) Feed the Monk every 4 hours, even if he says that he is not hungry.
2) Find the nearest non-hotel coffee shop and make them your new best friends.
3) Double americano, 1 cream and one sugar (bonus points if it is brown sugar)
4) Unless it is on fire, he is not leaving the booth till the day is over. Don’t bother.
5) Never, ever sing Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” in the booth.
6) Chop salad, dressing on the side.
7) The furrowed brow? That won’t relax till you are on the plane home.

All in all, I think she is going to be great. While preparing for shows can be huge and stress filled slogs, the actual events can be a great deal of fun. This is due mostly to the folks who come see us at the booth. We have some great friends and fans in Austin that I am looking forward to seeing again.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

So this weekend was my wedding anniversary.

My darling wife Tambo and I have been married now for 18 years, thank you very much. Actually we don’t tend to celebrate this date too much; rather we like to celebrate the anniversary of our very first date. Valentines day, 1985. Yep, that would be TWENTY-ONE YEARS that we have been a couple.

(Here let me save you the math. We met and started dating before I was 15 and got married just after I turned 18)

Now I’m not about to try and say that I have the secret to a successful long-term relationship (cuz I don't), rather all I can say is this...

Thanks for not shoving me into a wood chipper, even though I have deserved it on many an occasion.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Updates from the trenches...

Damn, we have been going non stop since the party on Saturday! No rest for the wicked as we gear up for the upcoming show in Austin. Hopefully after tomorrow things will slow down a bit here at the Abbey. We will be pre-shipping out over 200 pound of rope, gear and surprises tomorrow. (A word to the wise, come find me EARLY) After that, just a few last dye baths to finish and we will be golden. Yes, one of those dye baths will be a batch of the fabled “Project Blackbird”. Yes, I am bringing it with me to Austin. Yes, you can contact me to pre-order some.

So how about more photos from the party? The amazing and talented Malixe dropped off a CD of images yesterday. Small world story, Malixe has been documenting the local leather scene here in Seattle for years. Before I was ever involved (and knew who he was), we shared studio space at a local photo co-op and one of my favorite photos of his is this one. It would be years later when I would meet, and fall in love with, the model. None other than my secondary partner, Dancer. Funny how life works, no?

Oh you wanted to see more photos? Well here is a shot of the infamous “outfit”. This uniform was based on a Tom of Finland drawing I once saw of a 50’s era motorcycle cop.

The biggest concern I had with the outfit? ”Can I rig in it?

You don’t see a lot of male rope tops decked out in SM fetish wear when they are tying someone up. Too hard to move and frankly too damn warm. Now when I tie, I’m really moving fast and dramatically (I’ve blown the knees out of more levis than I can count due to me suddenly dropping to my knees to make a fast wrap around an ankle or some such thing. Don't even get me started on those damn, cheap PVC pants!) so what I wear needs to be able to stand up to a LOT of stress.

Seeing as how most of this outfit was originally designed for motorcycle patrolmen, it seemed to pass the test with flying colors. Of course the big test will be how well it can hold up to a full day at Folsom.

Oh and if you were not sure, Alex and I are playing on top of a 15ft high cargo container above the party floor.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Whew, I’m not even going to attempt to write about the party. Nope, the brain is still overwhelmed with images from the night and a thousand little stories keep swirling about in my brain. Once things have settled a bit, then perhaps I’ll commit some to paper.

Needless to day, the 2006 Abbey party was a smashing success.

The last remains of the party have been swept up, rigging trusses disassembled, sound gear returned and visitors shuttled to the airport. Finally we can take a long, much needed sigh of relief and congratulate ourselves on a job well done. I cannot begin to take the credit for pulling this large of an event off; rather it was possible due to the hard work of some great people.

And so, with out further ado a very humble thank you must be given to…

Matt Bramberger, Silver and co for all the hours of pre-prep and mountains of amazing food.
House of Gord and The Thrill Hammer for once again sharing their amazing toys with us.
Tamara the Trapeze Lady, for lending the event a touch of class while making every suspension top in the place stop and stare in abject lust.
Malixe, for helping to document the event.
RopeMarks, for saving us at the last minute with a sound system that cost more than most people’s cars
The small army of volunteer help who choked down dust, served up treats and helped transform our ancient warehouse into the place to be on a Saturday night. (Extra thanks to S who all but lived at the Abbey all weekend)
My awesome and amazing partners, Tambo and Dancer for being… well for being simply fucking awesome, amazing and fantastic hosts.
Last but not least, huge kudos must be given to our pint sized powerhouse Nerdy for keeping track of the endless list of details, wrangling volunteers and always having a fresh cup of coffee on hand for me.

So what do you do after pulling off the kinky social event of the year? Take some time off perhaps? Nope, it’s back to the Abbey for me today. Dancer and I leave for Austin in less than 2 weeks time and there is still a LOT of rope left that needs making.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Nerdy and Alex just gave me a birthday card that reads:

To: The Most Fucked up Father a Girl Could Want

To: Great Fucker, Sadistic Son-of-a-Bitch Who Gave Me Second Degree Burns

To: Mister Sassy Mc Ego-Pants

To: Gleeful Bastard

To: The Corruptor of My Young Adulthood

To: The Reason I sometimes have to lie about what I did on the weekend

To: The Reason I often have to lie about what I do for a living

To: “That’s MISTER Jesus Christ to you”

To: Big Bad Daddy Monk

From: Your Adoring Leather Children

Think that was cool? Just wait till you see what was inside the box.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Updates are gonna be kinda thin this week…
Between having family in town visiting, a major event to pull off this week, a show in Austin in less than 3 weeks and the impending madness that is Folsom things are a bit, um shall we say, insane around here?

On the plus side, yes I did get another tattoo. Photos to follow once things slow down a bit.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

I just got off the phone with the event planners at the Folsom Street Fair. Our single, corner booth was just upgraded to a DOUBLE BOOTH IN THE HIGHEST TRAFFIC CORNER OF THE FAIR. Seems they remembered us from previous years and like our sense of "showmanship".

At times like this, one must remember the words of Hitchiker's Guide, "Don't Panic"

Less than 50 days to prepare and twice the room to fill?

Easy, just means more room for hot, naked boys and girls trussed up in rope.

Friday, August 11, 2006

In the past 24 hours I have received a near criminal amount of birthday wishes, birthday kisses and enough cookies/pie/homemade ice cream to send my personal sadist into shock. So thank you all, I have the coolest friends/readers/lovers/non-biological leather children/employees in the world.

In other news, remember that cool shot I posted of me doing an inversion suspension with Delano? Well he has posted the entire set to his site. I must say that for my first time rigging on camera the images turned out really fantastic. Then again, I think Delano has a certain presence about him when he is in rope. You could wrap the guy in silly string and he would look like grace personified.

I had the honor of being the first male rope top to ever get to put rope on Delano, for this I am very proud. I have said it before, when you make and sell as much rope as I do it is easy to forget what it is you make and why people use it. Tying Delano reminded me of this. This was not about sex or power or performance, but rather a joyful exchange of talent and love of rope. Thanks buddy, looking forward to next time.

You should go check out the shots as well as the rest of his work at this site, delanobound.

Time to dash, tomorrow the mom-in-law arrives, a fellow Leo has a birthday that needs attending to, there are party plans that need finalizing, rope to make and a new tattoo this weekend to be had as well. Much, much to do... but first I think a little more coffee is in order.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

The obligatory birthday post

So today marks the 36th anniversary of when I came kicking and screaming into this world. I’ve been thinking a great deal about just what to write about today. With every passing year it seems like I am sure of less and less, seeing more shades of gray in the world and that knowledge, that I really don’t need to have all the answers, is pretty gratifying actually.

Here is a list of things, in no particular order, that I have learned about myself and the world I live in this year.

1) All things, be they relationships, business plans or my own personal approach to SM, must evolve or it will stagnate and die.
2) I get more peace and sense of clarity on the saddle of a motorcycle than from any shrink’s couch or church pew.
3) Fear is the mind killer
4) No one is as prejudiced or quick to condemn your actions as your own flesh and blood.
5) Conversely, “Family” is not what you are born with; rather what you choose it to be.
6) Under the right circumstances and by select individuals, I rather enjoy being addressed as “Daddy”
7) When it comes to my SM play, I have a penchant for the unconventional (hats, doughnuts, boy scout uniforms, bowling balls & so on and so on) get used to it.
8) My partners, Tambo and Dancer, out class, out shine and continue to amaze me every day. I'm blessed to be loved so much by them.
9) The human body is more than just a transport mechanism for our brains, rather it is a fantastic machine capable of amazing things.
10) There will always be imitators, one must be the innovator.
11) I lack the discipline needed to write a weekly column.
12) For the first time in my life, I can do pull-ups. Lots of them.
13) Honorable samurai and secret European houses did not write our history; rather it was born in back alleys and leather bars by pornographers, queers and sexual outlaws. We should celebrate this rather than attempt to re-imagine it.
14) Success is not measured annual sales, number of employees or competitors out paced; but rather by the quality of those who choose inhabit your life.
15) I suck at lists

Of course, then what do I wish to accomplish in the next year?
1) Double the size of my company, again (4th year in a row!)
2) Offer affordable health benefits to my employees
3) Learn to take time off and enjoy the fruits of my successes
4) Make peace with my family
5) Spend more time with those who love me.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Random Monday Babbling

First off, thanks to everyone who has offered to help volunteer at the party. Nerdy should be contacting you soon.

My little rope company just seems to keep growing! We need more help. Yep, we have openings for some piece rate workers. This is a great job for folks like stay at home moms or people who want to make a couple extra bucks a week and are good with their hands. We need folks who are local to Seattle, south and west Seattle is ideal, who are reliable and can come to the Abbey 2-3 times a week to pick up and drop off work. Interested parties should e-mail me via this address

My very sweet and cool mother in law is about to come visit. While most folks get into a tizzy and try to de-kink their homes before such a visit, we are pretty lucky in that she sorta expects to see such things and will be disappointed if otherwise. There is still the matter of having a house that looks like a bomb went off in it, Tambo and I working like mad and not having much time to devote to getting the place presentable and a party to plan. So pardon me while I freak out just a wee bit.

Speaking of freaking out, consider this your warning. I turn 36 this week and every year around this time, like clockwork, I seem to always get oddly introspective in the days leading up to the anniversary of my birth. You know, that whole, “so what have I learned this year and what do I want out of the next year?” sort of thing.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

What Happend to all my rope? Final

Killing the last candle, I pull the blindfold from Alex’s face and he blinks up at the rigging that now fills his view. Leaning in I tell him,” Time to come down now, boy”
“Not yet Daddy, I want to see them all lit up at the same time”
Head still snuggly enclosed in its sling, all he can see is the latticework of rope and candles that lead up to the hard point.
“Are you sure about that? Its gonna be really painful.”
“Ok then kiddo, count them off with me”
And so we did just that. As I lit each candle one last time she would shout and in a few cases scream out the number till we reached the magic 12. Dousing them all with a wet finger, she looked up at me with a smile of pride. She had overcome the fear and let it pass through her.

Pulling my knife from my pocket (a wickedly sharp blade given to me by Nerdy), Alex’s body flexes in recognition of the unmistakable sound of a switchblade snapping open.

Reaching up I grab the carbineer with my left hand, the object that holds the entire mass of rope and candles aloft.
“Do you believe me when I say you can fly, boy?” I ask
“If you say I can, then yes I do Daddy!”

In one fluid move I do the unthinkable.

The blade makes a wide arc above my head and severs the top line from the carbineer I’m holding, the webbing makes a sound that I will never forget. Like a cross between the ring of a bell and a gunshot, sharp sudden and LOUD.

Time stops.

You can hear a collective gasp from the now large crowd our scene has gathered. As Alex falls he does not make a sound, rather she closes her eyes and smiles wide as she falls
About 18 inches to the waiting bed that was secretly wheeled underneath him when she was blindfolded.

Having landed safely on the bed, I quickly pull the EMT shears from their holster and cut her free of the mass of rope that covers her trembling body. Scooping his tiny body up into my arms, we sit like this for what seems a lifetime. Eventually we will peel most of the wax from her, inspect the bruises and other marks he received from the experience.

Having served its purpose, what was left of my rope, a pile of colored hemp bits and wax, will be rolled into the tarp and tossed into the trash.

It would be much later, as little Alex sat at my feet with her head on my knee when I asked, “so you must have seen us wheel in the bed then?”
“I had no idea that was there, I just knew that if you said I could fly then I could fly”

Epilogue: It is now several days after the event and I’m still a bit in awe from it all. This was no simple “hang ‘em and bang ‘em” scene. Rather this would have to have been one of the most complex and challenging scenes I have ever undertaken. While I hope you have enjoyed the tale, I have one last thing that needs to be said. I am not the hero of this tale. The one who deserves your praise is Alex. This was a seriously tough scene, both physically and mentally, and not many folks could have done what he did and with such grace and trust. Thank you Alex for trusting me so and for giving me such a fantastic memory. I am so very proud of you.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

August's 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 now offer a new and unique color every month.

We originally planned to offer this color earlier in the summer, in honor of Gay Pride month - a tongue-in-cheek salute to our gay friends and cohorts. However, the Abbey fire and the subsequent reconstruction delayed the release of this color. Now I suppose I could have just sat on the dye and waited till next year, but I just loved the name too much. This month’s color of the month is a pale lavender we like to call: The Lavender Menace.

In addition to being a lovely color, this color marks the first of our rope to use our new 100% animal free, vegan conditioning process. After months of research, testing, and customer feedback we have moved away from animal based oils in the finishing of our rope in favor of an allergen-free oil that brings out more of the rope’s natural smell and softness. Watch TwistedMonk.Com for more details on this new process.

This is a limited, one time color run. Once the color has been sold out, it is sold out for good.


Max will be teaching another one of his fantastic bondage classes this weekend at the Wetspot here in Seattle. This will be an introductory class aimed at first timers and folks who are curious as to just what all the fuss is about. Here is more info.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

What happend to all my rope? Pt2

Of Alex’s many qualities, I enjoy his sheer conviction to our play. When I first outlined my general idea her a month ago, he set about on a near fanatic gym regimen so that his endurance was up to the task. Kneeling before me, as we do each time before we play, he sits upon the toe of my boot and leans his face into the side of my knee. Reaching a hand down, I palm his small, shaved head in hand and hold it there tightly, reassuring and thanking him for this moment.

And then, then we begin. Ropes pass around her torso and hips. More ropes connect him to the hard point above, a single carbineer hanging from a length of high strength military webbing that runs to the bolts in the ceiling. More ropes encircle her as we pause here and there to exchange words and the occasional swat from Daddy’s belt for past infractions. (One must keep up discipline, save the spoil the boy.) Eventually she is aloft. Suspended face up in what is a mostly comfortable position. Not a hammock mind you, but not unbearable. Just enough to force Alex to work his body, flexing it and sifting in the ropes to shift the pressure and extend the experience longer.

Now come the candles. There are to be 12 of them total, wrapped intricately into the ropes that extend from Alex’s body to the hard point above. Resting his head into a sling, ironically made from the very shirt I cut off her on the first night she bottomed to me, I take the gray hanky from out of my back pocket and cover his face and eyes. I say that it is to protect him from the falling wax; the truth is far more devious actually.

Most folks who have played with candles will tell you, the trick is to light them far away from the body and let the wax fall some distance before it hits the skin. The closer the candle, the hotter the wax. Also, if you keep the candle moving the experience is not nearly as intense. Alex knew that neither of these were really possible and welcomed this as challenge of both her physical and mental endurance.

Lighting two of the highest, farthest away candles met with a surprised shriek. The next two met with anguished cries as the hot wax falls down the rope and onto his exposed skin. Quickly snuffing the flames, I slide my arm under her torso to lift her up and relive some of the pressure on her chest. Concerned that this may, in fact, be too much for him to take, I do my best to hide my worry with a concerned yet reassuring, “You ok, kiddo?”
“Yeah, just really scared Daddy”
Knowing that I did have a “plan b” up my sleeve I offer, “We can call this...”
“NO! Please no! I, I’m just scared”
“Ok, then recite the litany with me”
Drawing a deep breath she begins and I follow, “I will not fear, fear is the mind killer…”
Yes, yes we are grand nerds but then again I think most perverts are nerds. However in this case, the prayer from Dune works. As we chant the words together, her breathing becomes more even, body relaxed and she calmly smiles at me. Ready for more.

Of course there will be much, much more screaming to be had. Even these lower temperature candles will generate a great deal of hot wax on a person and can leave marks that will last for some time. I light and un-light them as they burn down, only letting one or two burn at a time in order to help reduce any one part of her getting the brunt of the falling wax. While Alex writhes and howls, it seems like the entire party has stopped to watch. Along one side a large crowd has gathered, mouths agape as they watch the events unfold. I motion to one of the DM's standing in the crowd, time for the grand finish.

See, once coated in wax there would be no way that I could safely untie and lower Alex when this was all done. Rather, working off a recommendation from Diva Midori, I chose a more “theatrical” finish.

Oh you have no idea how badly I want to totally nerd out right now and end this posting with, "The saga of Dune is far from over..." But yes, we will finish this tale later in the week.