Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Crispy, crispy bacon

So a short post today. You know all those things I kept saying, “I’ll deal with this after Folsom.” Well, it is officially after Folsom and I need to deal with them today.

I do have 2 requests and an announcement.

Request number one, if you have photos of the booth or of the crew that you took at Folsom, please let me know. I’d love to see them.

Request number two, I would love to score 2 tickets to the sold out She Wants Revenge/Placebo show in Seattle on October 26th.

And the announcement, Max is starting up his amazing bondage classes this again. This Sunday will be the first in the series. This is a great class and I strongly encourage you to come, even if you are just curious about this whole “rope thing” and want to try your hand at it. Max teaches a fantastic class that is informative, fun and a fantastic value for the money. For more information you can check out Max’s site here.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Home, safe and very very tired

Swiped from Graydancer's LJ.

Must fall down now.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

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Saturday, September 23, 2006

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A couple of random photos from yesterday

Sitting here in a SF coffee shop swapping e-mails with my server tech support folks as they fix a problem with our site. Why is it that I only have website problems when I am traveling? Fortunately this one is minor and should be fixed by the time I finish my americano.

Here are a few pics from yesterday’s adventures in SF. (Thanks Nerdy)

Just off San Francisco’s infamous Castro Street there is a Starbucks coffee house. Due to the number of burly men who frequent the place, the locals have dubbed it “Starbears”

Alex and I at Harvey Milk Plaza in the Castro.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Having e-mail troubles, if you have sent me an e-mail in the last 24 hours please re-send.

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Thursday, September 21, 2006

Safe in SF

Here, safe, checked in and ready to fall down. But first a drink and maybe.. maybe a clove cigarette.

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“This is my serial killer voice”

Its 3:30 am and we are about to depart for SF. Just waiting for the coffee to kick in and my eyes to fully open up. Yesterday was a day of “not quites”
The booth location we were promised was not quite correct and had to be moved, causing frustration.
The rental truck was not quite the same one as promised, changing the way we load out.
The haircut and color was not quite what I wanted.
etc, etc, etc...

You get the idea. Nothing large enough to warrant a full on “oh fuck this is bad”, but enough to keep me on my toes and not take anything for granted.

I have a feeling that there will be a lot of, “not quites” this trip.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

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And so we are soon to depart for our annual trek to San Francisco

Today is filled with a million errands and phone calls that need to be made before the actual departure. For those who are interested, we are trucking down again. Unlike a leather convention where I can UPS most of my stock ahead of me, Folsom is just too damn big of an event. Also, at leather conventions you know that there will be things like tables and chairs and power. Such is not the case at Folsom. No, for the near 1000 bucks I spent for booth registration, all I am guaranteed is a 10x20 foot block of pavement for the afternoon. The rest, the rest is all up to me.

Hene the giant rental truck I need to pick up today. Not just any truck, but rather one of those huge, full size, four door, gas guzzling, “Cowboy Cadillac”. Tomorrow at WAY too early in the morning it will depart Seattle loaded down with our full show as well as a very tired group of folks. The drive? No problem, a quick 14 hour jog down I-5. Easy.

See, for whatever reason all the men in my family have been blessed with what we have dubbed “The Driving Gene”. Get us behind the wheel of a car and point us down the highway and we can drive for DAYS. Kinda scary actually.

In other news, I just saw that bondageblog wrote about my afternoon with Violet Blue.

Monk’s got this astonishing energy, one minute he’s checking safety issues, then suddenly he’s like a divine whirlwind of rope. After he gets a couple loops around Violet, she inquires what happens if she struggles. He invites her to try, she does, it doesn’t even slow him down, and before you know it, they are both laughing, he’s still tying, and then she’s suddenly tied and all done struggling.

Who knew that a 30 second clip of me tying would garner such praise? In addition to lots of blog love, that clip has generated a whole pile of new customers as well as some very interesting play offers.

Ahem, some of the ‘demos’ at Folsom might be a bit more than just a mere “demo”…. If you catch my drift. Gonna be quite a show.

Perhaps I should make it a point to post more video clips in the future? I am toying with the idea of adding audio blogging to this journal as another means of documenting the Folsom experience as well.

What say you?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

I love taking new people to Folsom every year
Much like when my older friends took me for the first time to see The Rocky Horror Picture Show back in high school, there is a part of me that feels honor bound to share this glorious madness with others. Now part of the joy of being a vendor at an event like is that one can, from with in the relative safety of a booth, sit back and watch as the entire event comes to them. So it is less about dragging someone thru the masses, but rather sitting them in a safe place and letting the parade of perversion pass by.

Our first year, we were the virgins. I honestly had no idea what I was in for that day.

The next year found us with a larger space and a larger crew, however it was Nerdy that I was most delighted to share the Folsom experience with. She was pretty terrified that morning, but by days end? A seasoned pro, this year I think she is more worried about getting a sun burn than about what she might see at the fair. (Can I just pause here for a second and say, Nerdy has grown into a hell of an assistant and I could not mount a show of this scale with out all her hard work. I’m damn proud of you kiddo)

This year, this year I’m looking forward to sharing the madness with little Alex.

Ok, maybe it is the budding leather daddy in me, but there is something really gratifying about being able to share a larger, more diverse world like this. Being able to stand on that stage, spread my arms wide and take in the spectacle of 400,000 people and say, this is the world we inhabit. A world that is larger than the local public dungeon or the handful of people you might meet on, no this is the big, wide world and you have something to contribute to it.

Alas, there is a downside to this too. Having a rotating crew means that some folks won’t be making the journey with me this year. This year will be my first Folsom with out Galahad, buddy I’m truly going to miss you this year.

I know the bears will miss you for sure; nobody could fill a pair of leather pants like you.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

The end of every piece of rope we sell is “finished” by whipping the ends with a high strength nylon thread. We are famous for these ends. I just finished whipping the end of the LAST piece of Folsom stock. While a fairly simple process, the trick is to always apply constant tension to the thread while stitching the ends. One develops very strong forearms from doing this. Over the course of the last week, I’ve whipped something like 200 pieces of rope.

My arms now feel like someone has taken a sharp spoon and dug a trench from the tip of one thumb, up my arms, across my shoulders, and down the arm to the tip of the other thumb.


Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Pass me another diet rockstar

We leave for Folsom in just over 7 days. I still need to make something like 2,000 more feet of stock for the show; the goal for this show will be to bring just shy of two miles of finished stock. On top of this, we have orders going out to Australia, France, Belgium, England and South Africa this week.

Thanks to the great kick off that was ARS in Austin, September is shaping up to be one of the most successful months ever. Good thing too, Christmas is just around the corner and we are starting to stockpile for that heaping dose of madness. Oh on top of our usual holiday crush, I’m also going to be vending at Black Rose in December and if I can swing it, The Boston Fetish Flea Market as well.

The key to keeping sane is to stay focused on the next big show and that show is Folsom.

On top of the show it self, that weekend is going to be jam-packed. I’m being interviewed, going to a VIP party at one of my best client’s studios, an art opening, lunch with Midori and her super cool partner Kelly, meeting up with Gray and his loves, a possible round two with Ms. Blue and on and on.

Not to mention rigging in front of 400,000 people at one of the world’s largest leather events.

Stay tuned, gentle reader, this is going to be a very interesting couple of weeks.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Folsom Update:
We just got our booth location information. will be on the corner of 12th and Folsom. Right across from The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.

Life just keeps getting more and more wierd, just the way I like it.

Friday, September 08, 2006

My afternoon with Ms Blue

I know what you are thinking, another day where I bitch and moan about how much work we have to do in order to get ready for Folsom and how hard I’m working right now to make it all happen. Right? Wrong.

Today I had the pleasure of introducing the one and only Ms Violet Blue to the joys of rope bondage. Don’t know who that is? Crawl out from under the rock you have been living under for the past few years, go here and get caught up. We will wait. Done? Ok then, where was I? Oh yeah, now you may recall that we named a color of the month after her a while back. One of the criteria for naming said color was that I would bind her in her own rope. How it came to pass that a woman like her has gone this long with out someone tying her up is beyond me, but hey who am I to complain?

Well it took a couple of months before our hectic schedules meshed, but we both finally managed to be in the same city at the same time with a free afternoon and lots of rope.

I should pause here. Like most of you, the first thing that turned me into a Violet Blue fan would have to be her voice. When that woman talks, all the blood in my body migrates south. Sexy voice aside, her podcast is one of the most popular on I-tunes and is well worth the bandwidth. Let me assure you this, dear reader, she is just as yummy in the flesh as she sounds. More than just a pretty face to go with a pretty voice really, I’m talking charming, witty and full of that spark that makes my canine teeth sharpen ever so slightly.

Again, why this woman does not have line of rope tops waiting outside her door is beyond me.

The afternoon started with a tour of the Abbey and meeting the rest of the gang. Griffin and Nerdy shared their stories of how they came to work for me as well as a few choice embarrassing Monk tales too. History, process and road trip tales now covered, next came the rope.

We started with some simple 101 stuff, like things like why rope is such a versatile toy and why hemp is the best rope for the job. I demonstrated this by using the same 30’ piece of rope to do lots of different ties. From simple hand cuffs to elaborate chest harnesses to a speed harness for take down. Here is a video of she and I wrestling about while I show her said harness. Next up, a full rope corset that she loved. I almost had her convinced to go have coffee with me while wearing it under her clothes, next time perhaps. Hair and face bondage too. Note to self, I must have Tambo teach me her face bondage method, it looks way better than mine, however mine got the general idea across. An interesting aside, as an expressive person, restricting her range of head motion brought about a significant and unexpected response. The normally giggly and bold Violet became quiet and almost shy. Again, interesting note to self for next time.

Wrapping it all up was a partial suspension. After spending several hours in various ties and being generally rolled about the room in a sweaty, giggling ball of naked, she was a bit worn out. So I opted for a hang that, while giving her the experience of suspension bondage, would reduce the pressure on her already tired body. Suspension bondage is tough. While it can be made more comfortable, it is still hard work and requires a lot from the bottom. This being her first time I needed to take it slow and easy.

Seeing as how we just met, I thought it best to not completely destroy her. A boy can’t give it all away in the first date. I’ll save that for round two.

Ms Blue tells her take on the afternoon here.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

They Don’t Make a Diet Rockstar Big Enough
I did it again didn’t I? Promised to tell you about the weekend show and got too wrapped up in the actual doing only to find myself too wiped out to do more than say a simple “thank you” and then fall down.

Sorry about that. Now I would love to say that I spent the last few days relaxing and recovering from my weekend of debauchery and sales, but if you have been reading me for any length of time you know that is not the case. Nope, instead I have been running non-stop since we landed and won’t be slowing down for some time.

With less than 3 weeks till the big event, things are going to be, um shall we say crazy around these parts.

There are tales to tell, bits and pieces of stories flit about my brain as I write this. Once they form into something a bit more solid, I’ll see about committing them to paper. Till then, enjoy Dancer’s take on the weekend.

Right now I have to focus on Folsom and all that goes along with the event.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Home, tired and safe.

Thank you Austin for a wonderful time. I'll write more later, but thank you again to the fine folks who put on the event, taught and volunteered. Most of all, THANK YOU to all our amazing customers. Right now I'm exhausted and need to plant my head on a pillow before it falls over. Twistedmonk customers are the best in the world.

Oh and Dancer had a fantastic time as well.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

I always forget. Every time I load up my shop and head out on the road to a show I forget. I forget that I can never seem to make time to actually sit down an re-tell the tales of the day. I make mental notes as things occur, things that I think you all would enjoy, then when I do find a quite moment to write, I’m too wiped out to remember much more than that I am wiped out.

So here I am in Austin, the clock on my laptop says … 4:40 am, however the local time reads something like 6:40. They will be opening up registration and the vendor areas soon and I need to be here. Dancer is still asleep upstairs. Knowing that I’ll need her to keep me propped up later, I’m giving her the morning off.

Dancer, as you may know this is her first event working as a vendor with me. One of the reasons I agreed to take her to this event was the locals. We have a great customer base in Austin. Not so much customers really, more like great friends that I was looking forward to her meeting. No sooner were we off the plane and into the warm Texas night were we scooped up by these great folks. Shuttled here and there, fed amazing food (more on that later) and generally treated like returning family.

Friday was a mixed bag. Of the 400 pounds of gear and stock that we shipped ahead, only 8 of the 9 crates made it to the site. Once crate, the crate holding 1/3 of my rope stock, went missing. Now this would have spelled disaster for most. However most folks do not have a portable brain like my Nerdygirl. When we loaded out for the show, Nerdy saw to it that on single case carried ALL the stock. Rather spreading it out between the 3 giant cases of rope. Nor do they over prepare like I do. So rather than 3 times the amount of stock needed, we only have twice as much. Annoying, yes. A showstopper? Not on your life.

Now in between calls to Nerdy as we tried to track down the location of the wayward crate, we were treated to the most amazing BBQ ever. Dancer and I love the BBQ and find ourselves drawn to the smoky smell of our favorite Belltown BBQ joint often. However nothing would prepare us for the sheer orgy of slowly cooked meat that our Austin friends had in store for us. Wow, just wow.

Returning quite full and a little drunk on all the protein we just consumed, we set about to get ready for the show. The wayward case never found its way to our hotel. Somewhere in the Dallas UPS center there sits a large container of rope. It will eventually find its way home to the Abbey. If not, well it was insured for a LOT of money.

My only complaint so far with the event is the size of the actual event space. A large room with a partition will be our new home for the next 2.5 days. A bit crowded when you think of all the bodies, vendors, rope and activity that will occur in the small space. Staking out a corner and setting to it, again the locals (and friends) made what should have been a 2 hour job happen in like 30 minutes. Have I mentioned how much I love the locals here? Love ‘em.

Of the actual event, Friday’s highlight would have been Graydancer’s keynote address. I cannot begin to do the man justice, suffice to say that he has set a new standard. A speech that will be talked about for years. The speech (and photos, you gotta see the photos) will be featured as part of his upcoming podcast. Trust me, you will want to hear this. While I have always been proud to be his sponsor, I’m even more so now.

Oh and sales? Awesome. No sooner did we have our rope out and we were accosted. I tried to warn Dancer that this would happen, but I did not think she was quite prepared for the onslaught of eager rope fans looking for what new treats I had for them. And what treats indeed.

More on that later, they are opening up the vendor area I need to go setup.