Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Remember how I joked that me exposing myself had become a Shibaricon tradition? You thought I was kidding, right?

So here is a shot of me after being the "Celebrity Stunt Cock" for the liquid latex demo
. Yes, that would a not work safe photo BTW. Oh and yes that is gold with gold glitter. The glitter was an added touch courtesy of the latex creator, Scott. Who, just after my dearest wife Tambo giggling stepped away to admire her freshly painted handy work, dropped to his knees in front of me and "blew" me with a handful of gold glitter. (I'm staying with him in a few weeks when we trek east for the Summer Flea. He should be worried.)

So make your goldfinger/ goldenrod/ man with the golden gun jokes now, thank you.

I suppose I should be slightly embarrassed by shots like these. They would certainly not encourage the image of the "Bad Ass Top". To the contrary, I say if you cant laugh at yourself, why bother leaving the house? Of course this shot makes me cringe just a wee bit. But just a tiny bit.

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Monday, July 30, 2007

"Life imitates art, of is it art imitates life?
What if we are all just imitating Art Garfunkel?"
-Woddy Allen

The tiny loft space that I call my office here in the Abbey is overwhelmed as of late. Lots and lots of art! Over the course of the last year I have been fortunate enough to purchase some choice prints from several rope artists that I admire. In addition to these, several customers and friends have generously given me prints as well. Most recently my dear friends Goose, Gander and Hannah as well as prints from some of the sweetest customers I have ever had the pleasure of meeting, PartnersEnTwine (I just adore their humor and overwhelming affection for each other). What you are looking at is my desk, covered in prints that need framing and to be hung with pride in my loft.

I fear I may soon run out of wall space and have to start hanging them on the ceiling, but who cares. This, as they say, is a good problem to have. I started making my own rope in order to use it in my own art. These days I find myself too consumed with the running of the company to properly peruse my own artist endeavors. While I dabble here and there, I do miss it some days.

However, seeing all the wonderful images created by so many talented people using rope that I have made? Well that just makes my chest swell with pride.

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Millions of peaches, peaches for me…

I should write about the lunch I had with a beautiful woman and how she edged the hem of her sundress up her long, tan thighs as we sat in the sun talking. I should talk about prep work we are doing for Boston and how behind we are (as usual) for this one. Or perhaps post some photos of this month’s color of the month in action so you can see how cool the dark blue looks against skin and convince you to snap up the last few pieces before it is all gone.

But I’m not. Why? Because last night I sat on the couch and read.

Why is that so blog worthy? Simple, last night as I sat upon one end of the couch, nose planted in the new Harry Potter book (yes I am hooked too), Tambo as at the other end reading as well. Our massive gray/black lion of a cat lay across our co-mingled feet like a great purring foot warmer. There we sat for hours, happy to just be together. The only thing to break this spell of simple tranquility would be the fresh peach cobbler, hot out of the oven, topped with really good French vanilla ice cream.

When Tambo I first started dating some 22 years ago, my mother told me. “The root of the word ‘girlfriend’ is ‘friend’. Passion wanes and desires can change, but a friend will be there long after.”

And there we sat, my favorite person in the world and I, just enjoying the fact that we there. Together.

It has been ages since I posted a recipe, but here goes.
Monk’s favorite peach cobbler recipe:
1 c Bisquick
1 c Milk
1 c Sugar
1 Stick Margarine
1 lg Can Peaches-in Light Syrup/ or 3 large fresh peaches

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Melt the margarine in the (13"x9") pan. Mix the milk, sugar and Bisquick together in a bowl. Pour into the melted margarine.
Pour off half the syrup from the peaches. Spread the peaches with the remaining syrup on top of the batter. Bake 45 minutes. Serve warm.
Yields 1 13"x9" Pan

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Re-telling of tales

A quick look at the sidebar will show that I’ve been keeping this blog for quite some time now, well over 3 years in fact. Sometimes the entries are good and insightful, other times they are pretty lame. Thing is, after all this time I’ve never considered myself to be a “writer”, that is something I will leave to my far more talented lover. Rather, I’ve always seen myself as more of a “storyteller”, one who spins a good tale and is entertaining in the process. If you learn something along the way or gain some new, profound insight you should just consider yourself lucky and not tell anyone for fear they may think you a bit strange in the head.

That said, the highest praise a storyteller can be given (in my humble opinion) is when their stories are re-told by others.

Today one of my employees shared this with me. Seems she loved the story about my first lesbian friend in college and the witty comeback she always had for those ever hopeful straight boys who sought her attentions in vain. She liked it so much in fact that she shared it with all of her gay friends, many of whom seemed to have found themselves in similar situations yet lacked the proper retort.

In her own words:

A friend was riding the bus in Portland one day and chatting along happily with the driver. Her stop was the last stop on the line and she was usually the only person left on the bus so she often found herself in conversations with the drivers. She also happens to be very attractive and very gay. On one such trip, just as the driver was pulling up to her stop when asked her if she had a boyfriend. She responded no, I’m gay. His immediate response? “Yep, you just have not found the right boy yet.” Just as she stepped through the open doors and onto the pavement, she turned back to him and responded, “The same could be said for you, my dear. Keep looking” and walked away in smug triumph

You have no idea how proud hearing this made me. That one of the zillion silly stories rattling about in my brain had not only been good enough to be re-told, but also memorable enough to eventually become part of another person’s tale.

That, that dear readers is so damn cool.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Help Wanted

As my little rope company has grown from something started in my backyard and prospered to what it is today, I have done so with the help of some great people. From friends who offered a hand when I could barely afford to feed them, to others whom I have recruited and hired to be on my permanent payroll. Some of them have only spent a short time with us while others have become interwoven into the narrative and become an integral part of tale that is TwistedMonk. Right now, in addition to Nerdy and myself, we have a handful of awesome part time help here at the Abbey. Next month one of these superstars is going to leave us so that she may study abroad, and while we are all very excited for her, I’m stuck having to find someone to fill her job and then some.

Yep, looks like it is high time to hire us another full time employee. Someone with a background in customer service, warehouse work and possibly fiber arts would be perfect. 40 hours a week, geed pay, and all the hemp rope you can eat.

The problem is finding just the right person.

While my first desire would be to hire from within the community, a customer, reader, or individual who otherwise “gets” what it is we are doing and how amazing and unique this tiny kink business is. Unfortunately, that can backfire. See, it is not all “Porn stars and prodoms,”-- we bust our asses in a cold, Pre-WWI warehouse. There have been those who came to us in wide-eyed wonder, thinking that we spent the day tying up pretty girls and all my (and Nerdy’s) rants about our sore hands were just exaggerations. This is a job that we take very serious and while we do our best to have a good time it is, in the end, a job.

The other option is to look outside the community, cast a net into the vanilla world and see what bites. This, this is dicey. A carefully worded advertisement will get a line of potentials at your doorstep. We have found some good folks via this route, but more than a few have shook their heads and backed away, wanting nothing to do with “those kinds of people.” For those who do stay, it is just paycheck and nothing more. Let me tell you, after clocking in your 10th straight day of a death march, nothing makes you want to stab someone in the eye with a whipping needle more than when the person you are busting ass in order to make sure they get paid well says with a shrug, “I don’t see what the fuss is all about. It is just rope.”

Alas, it is a tricky balance. To find someone who understands just how rare and lucky we are to be doing this (and getting paid), yet also willing to shoulder the day to day grind of making miles and miles of rope a week. I tell every new employee the same thing: have faith in my dream and I will reward it. Work hard for me and I will do all I can to keep you safe, and know that you will always be paid before I pay myself.


Monday, July 23, 2007

Yes, yes I am a freak.
This video made me laugh so hard I shot coffee out my nose.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

The worst part about taking a vacation?

It is not the money, nor the time away. Nope, the worst part is ramping back up to the pace you were at before you left. I really should be at the Abbey right now. With the Boston show in a few weeks I'm going to need to clock in a LOT of hours, starting tomorrow.

Today I'm doing silly things like hang out with my wife and become a virtual Simpson. Like so.

Well at least one version of me is at work today.

Then there is the whole matter of my birthday. I turn 37 in a few weeks and I'm not too sure how I feel about it just yet. Little odd, little exited and a little bit of panic. Now every year my partners always hound me with the question of "so, what would you like for your birthday?" and every year I sort of shrug and say, "I dunno... stuff?"
Well Matisse has all but demanded that I provide a real wish list this year, so here goes. Monk's Birthday Wish List.


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

All good things must come to an end...
Matisse and I are about to board a plane for Seattle and back home to our other partners. This has been a wonderful vacation. I just have to publicly say thanks to both Max and Tambo for being such great primary partners.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Where the hell is Margaritaville anyway?

I think I may have stumbled upon a universal constant. A binding truth, much like the force (or duct tape) holds the universe together. Take two or more affluent, North Americans and put them someplace warm and near a large body of salt water and something disturbing happens. Jimmy Buffet.

For the record, I can’t stand the music of Jimmy Buffet. The man’s music sets my teeth on edge.

I seem to be a minority here. Seems like every beach town I have been to in the last twenty odd years, if they serve cold beer and have the means to produce pre-recorded music there will be our Mr. Buffet. Like a persistent mold that you just can’t seem to scrape off. Now it would be one thing is his appeal was limited to what I would diplomatically call, “my father’s generation”. You know, that brand of tourist who, while exploring the world, doesn’t want to leave the comforts of home too far away. But alas, this is not the case. Get a group of tourists near a beach, put cheap alcohol in their hands and they all want to sing along! Sure, call it “family safe entertainment” all you want, but I know better. It is a cross-generational threat that needs to be further researched in order to be stopped.

I’m wondering if perhaps I can obtain some kind of UN grant in order to further study this phenomenon. Is this limited to just North American beach locations or has this threat spread to Europe as well?

I may need to see for myself.


Sunday, July 15, 2007

Updates from an undisclosed beach location...

Right now I feel a bit like something out of a Hemingway story, save for the depression and firearms, see I’m writing this to you from the deck of an old southern manor house. A grand affair, blocks from the beach, it’s great brick pillars frame Matisse and I as we type away tonight. It’s once mighty edifice now worn a bit at the edges from the ravages of time and too many tourists, the place has a sort of comfortable worn feeling about it. Worn it may be, the food is decadent and the beer is always cold. From our second story vantage point were we can watch the world pass by, parents herd their sun burnt offspring back to civilization, optimistic college boys make one last play for that elusive island girl all the while the ever present ocean stirs in the distance.

No civilization for us just yet, a few more days of blessed vacation for us still.

Our days have been remarkably relaxing, I dare say frighteningly so. Sun, surf, good food and very cold beers. When not out, toes in the warm white sand, we escape the heat and crowds and retreat back to the manor’s grand balcony or better yet, to the air conditioned decadence of our room. Did I mention the four posted bed in said room?

Yesterday I got to watch my first tropical rainstorm up close and personal. Sitting upon this same porch, Matisse noted the coming dark clouds rolling off the water towards us. In minutes the once hazy blue sky turned an ominous black and then opened up with an explosion of light. Lighting so close that you felt the ruble of thunder mere moments after the blinding flash, loud enough to feel it shake your bones. Next came the rain. Living in Seattle I’m very used to rain but this, this was new. In a moment the air went from dense and charged to filled with water. Great sheets fell from the sky, flooding the hard packed streets and flooding the gutters. The tall palm trees in front of us swayed about madly as the sky unloaded upon us. Safe in upon our deck, we sat back and marveled at the sudden force of nature around us.

As rain as warm as bath water filled the sky Matisse leans over to me and purrs, “You know the local tradition here is that whenever one of these storms blow in you are supposed to head for cover and fuck.”

“Oh really now?” I respond with a grin, “a conscientious tourist must always respect the local customs and traditions…”

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

I bet you thought I would let this month's color of the month slide?

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.

Now just because Monk is taking off for a week’s vacation don’t think I have forgotten about this month’s custom color. Sure, this month marks the first vacation Monk has taken since starting the company, but it is not all about him spending a week on the beach.

OK, so we lied. Yes it is. This month’s color is a dark cobalt blue, called "Beach Bound"

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

We also have some new books and DVDs in stock too. Check em out here.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Surf’s up!

Matisse leaves today on vacation, I’ll be joining her in two days. We are about to embark on our first ever full-scale vacation together. Where? We are so not telling, save that there will be a beach. While this is already quite the adventure for us (a hell of a way to spend your third anniversary huh?), Matisse just informed me that there might be surfing available at said secret beach location ™

I have not been on a surfboard in years; I used to do it all the time however… yes Washington State has some great surf, if you are not afraid of dying of hypothermia, getting crushed on the rocks or food poisoning from a 24 hr taco bell.

Back in the glory days of the software boom I had this buddy, we all called him “Lemons”. Now Lemons was what you might call an adventure junkie, I think he climbed his first mountain before most of us figured out how to undo a woman’s bra strap and he was constantly twitching with the nervous energy of someone looking for their next adrenaline fix. Lemons got us into all sorts of trouble back then. See it would always be right around closing time at the bar, we would all have already spent more than I make now in a week on scotch and cigars when Lemons would start his pitch, “dudes, we SO need to go surfing tomorrow!”
“No, no we don’t. It is two am and we should really be tending to the massive hang overs that are now taking root in our frontal lobes”
“The first good wave to hit you in the morning will fix you right up”
“You mean the first wall of ice water to bitch slap our sorry asses?”
“that too”
See, the water off the Washington coast is cold, very cold. How cold you ask? Like swim in it unprotected for about 15 minutes and you are a human Popsicle. Dead, dead, city of dead. Did I happen to mention that the best surfing times were also in the middle of the winter storm season? Yep, a good day of surfing in Washington would be a gray February day when it was raining, sideways. Even better if it was snowing. Lets just say we wore some VERY thick wetsuits back then.

Lemons was the kind of guy who would not take no for an answer and the next thing we knew, there were plans for us all to regroup at the painful hour of 6 am to make the drive to the local surf spot. Now by “local” I mean the THREE HOUR DRIVE from Seattle to the shore. Three hours with a bunch of hung over engineers is not a pretty sight. Inevitably there would always be one, laying prone across the back seat, who would begin to moan “tacos….. I need tacos….”

See, along the way there also happened to be the ONLY taco bell in the world with a 24 hour drive through.

I assure you, tacos are never the answer. Once in the water, we always made a point to give the unfortunate taco consumer a wide berth. There is nothing worse than paddling into a wave, only to have the remains of a regurgitated southwest supreme wash past you. Remember that bit about us getting “bitch slapped by a wall of ice water”. Surfing in the cold Washington waters is nothing like the stuff you see on TV, with the cool blue wall of water cascading over the surfer as they cut a graceful arc through the white foam… nope, Massive rolling walls of angry gray water pound the rocks in their own strange rhythm. Swim over them, dive under them or get crushed by them as they break over your head and bring all their ice cold furry down upon your head. Just whatever you do, when you do finally break through the icy surface, gasping for air and frantically trying to recover your wayward long board. Never, ever turn your back on the incoming waves… or else the next one will pop you right in the back of the head and send you tumbling headlong into the beach face first.

Did I mention that the secret beach location ™ is located in WARM water? Yeah, I might be convinced to find a local board shop, chat up the locals and see if there are any waves to be found.

Just no tacos before hand, I promise.


Monday, July 09, 2007


The new motorcycle finally roared to life for me on Friday. After several days of frustration and just never enough time to really sit down and undo the damage from years of non-use, late Friday afternoon she came to life. While I still have dozens of hours of work left to do before she will ever see the open road, I was rewarded with the sounds of her throaty purr.

Yes, I’m referring to my bike as a woman.

My other bike, a vintage Russian bike with a sidecar, is definitely male. It took me a while to find his name, to feel out the personality of the machine as it were, but I call him “Boris”. The machine is beautiful and fun to ride, but lets face it. Pulling a sidecar is not the sexiest of jobs. Rather, Boris is strong and loyal. A great lumbering bear of a machine, hard working and able to stand up to just about anything you throw at him.. save a very steep hill. If Boris could talk, he would sound like a thickly accented cab driver. “Boris have one speed, Boris' speed. If Boris not want to go up hill? Boris no go up hill.”

Now the BMW, this one is different. I knew for sure that this bike would definitely be female, but what kind of female? Once I heard the engine explode into life I knew that this girl was going to be a handful, a proud and high maintenance ride that was not to be trifled with. Her voice, the low growl of her exhaust, sounds like a mix of whiskey and cigarttes. A grand seductress that will certainly cause me many hours of frustration, but oh when she wants to, she will be better than any lover. Yep, a grand Teutonic bitch queen. Strong, proud and loud.

*EDIT* I was going to name the bike after a character in a 70's exploitation film, a terribly bad film in that cheesy sort of "oh my god this is SO over the top" sort of way. However it has been pointed out to me that the character was based on an actual person. Not a good person either. I can't in good faith go with that name now. It just feels wrong to me. Alas, I shall have to go back to the drawing board with this one.


Friday, July 06, 2007

Vacation, T-Minus 5 days.

I still have 6 dye jobs left to do, a mountain of paperwork, and I have not even begun to think about what I will wear. Thankfully I have Nerdy to keep the shop running while I am gone. It took me a long time to trust her with the keys to my baby, we butted heads a lot in the early days as but now I am thankful everyday that I have her. Delegation, the hardest damned lesson I have had to learn so far. I struggle with it everyday to. I tell everyone I know who has a small business or is organizing something from scratch, "Delegate or Die".

This time next week, my ass will be on a white sand beach with a cold mojito in hand.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

I'm planning on sitting back with some friends, eating good food, and generally avoiding the crowds. Now if I'm lucky, one of my mentally deficient neighbors will blow a finger off with a "Tijuana Toilet-Buster" that they sneaked off the reservation.

In other news, I leave for my first real vacation in years in just 7 days.

Monday, July 02, 2007

More Letters

I was watching a video of you tying Violet Blue in your shop. Toward the end she tries to resist. The sound is somewhat garbled. I think you say "same rope, different experience". Would you please write a short piece describing the last part of the video, her response and what you did, for your blog.

The video in question is this one you can see it here.
Yes, I was enjoying tossing the lovely Ms Blue around my office while she giggled and struggled to get away. Well not that hard really, I think maybe she liked it. Anyways, yes I did say something to that effect. See, the point of the demo was to show her why rope is such a popular and versatile toy. Before I did the fast harness on her I did a basic chest harness with the same bit of rope, you can see me do a demo on how to tie a basic chest harness here, said harness was then integrated into a larger rope corset. I think the same piece of 30ft 6MM rope was used for a half dozen different ties from decorative ties to rough and tumble harnesses.

I am highly allergic to marijuana ~ can't be around it growing, harvesting, while it's being smoked. Can't be around someone who has it on their person, is wearing clothing that they were wearing when they were smoking or cleaning or rolling a joint...it's really a nasty allergy.

So my question is whether or not I would have problems with hemp rope?

There is a story about a hemp farmer who had a huge billboard put up next to his fields that stated in HUGE letters, “You would need to smoke a joint the size of a telephone pole before you even started to get a buzz from this stuff.” See, industrial hemp is a different species of plant from the recreational variety. The hemp we use has about as much THC in it as that hemp hackey sack you bought at the outdoor concert last summer. Nil, zip, zilch… nada.

I've been reading your blog for a while now, maybe 6 months? At one point I was home sick for two weeks straight and indulged myself by going back and reading through your archived posts. I can't seem to re-find the one about the iron bed you and Matisse bought, I wanted to check out the picture again. Maybe Matisse posted the picture, but at this point I've searched both of your blogs and can't find it anywhere!

Slight confusion here. See Matisse and I bought a bed together when she bought her house. That was like a year and half ago? A big thing for us both, two secondary partners going in together on a fairly major piece of furniture. Said bed has served us very well, however we have been discussing finding a real frame for it, hopefully before the cheap one it came with comes crashing apart. Tambo and I, on the other hand, had a custom bed frame built for our 18th wedding anniversary last year. A bed specifically built for bondage (read LOTS of tie points here kids). We posted some teaser shots, but there have been no photos of the installed wonder bed. Some things we like to keep just for ourselves, a couple needs some privacy.

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Nostalgia trip.

Longtime readers of this blog will remember that I once worked as a “actor/combatant” and spent many a summer’s day decked out in a full suit of armor performing with a jousting group. While I took my fair share of knocks, ok more than my fair share really – more like 30 stitches to the head in one year alone, I really enjoyed this job. Getting paid to wear a suit of armor and swing a sword while folks cheer you on is a damn fun way to spend a summer. Both Tambo and I were very active in this before the demands of the company forced us to make a hard choice and retire.

Neither Nerdy nor Alex had ever seen this chapter of our life. Sure they had heard plenty of stories and seen the gear, but neither had ever been to a ren fair. So this weekend we all piled into the car and set about correcting this matter.

Fitting into my armor again would be out of the question, not only was it built for me when I was almost 70 pounds heavier, but I was not performing this weekend. Nope, I’m just another patron bringing his family out to see the show. A fact that I rather enjoyed really, I’ve recently made a point to limit the number of events that I vend at and also go as a tourist to support the event, yeah for the reduction of personal stress. Just dress “village casual” and bring plenty of money for ale (well fresh made birch beer actually)

And how was it? Well, Nerdy and Alex both had fun getting decked out in an entirely different form of fetish wear than they are used to and enjoying a day out in the sun. (Admit it, a costume is a costume. Just that the kinksters have better choices in footwear.) Many members of the group are also readers of this blog, so there were some funny moments of cross over. Tambo had a hoot and we both agreed that we were glad to be in the bleachers watching and not out on the field in the hot sun. Ok, so there were a few moments of nostalgic melancholy, the want to pick up a sword again and hear the cheer of the crowds, but that was a chapter of my life that I closed a long time ago. Sure it would be fun to take up again, especially in my new physical condition, but the commitments of time, partners and work just make it impossible.

Alas, it was fun to revisit it even for a weekend. It felt very good to see my old friends and share this chapter of my life with those who are actively shaping this chapter of my life. Thanks for welcoming us all with open, albeit armor covered, arms.