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Is THAT what they meant?  A book of practical communication insights

c 53 communication cover

We wrote this book because many of our adult behaviors are largely invisible to us; they’re accepted and supported by our culture. It doesn’t occur to us to question our own (or our partner’s) basic assumptions about who we are and how we interact in the world.

This is really a book of the things I’ve had to learn in order to communicate effectively. In the process of learning all this, I came to understand how difficult it is to step aside from yourself and explore why you think as you do. However, the more you understand how you (and those with whom you're speaking) take in information, the easier the communication becomes. The book is meant as a guide to help people decipher what others are saying and also to readers realize why some of their messages are not being heard the way you intended them.   

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Master/slave Mastery – Protocols: Focusing the intent of your relationship

c 52 protocolc cover

This book is a map to help others design their own personal protocols.  It is a book that provides countless tips and techniques for Masters so they can clarify how they, themselves want to be served. The book gives details about how we (within our relationship) translagted those wishes into elegant service.

In our experience, a protocol manual is much more than documenting rules of service. Writing a protocol manual helps you examine and refine your relationship and your relationship management style. The very process of creating a manual such as this reveals the kinds of service Master really wantsfrom the slave and the kinds of service the slave can actually deliver.

In that light, writing a protocol manual is an exercise in clarifying the intent of your relationshiop.

 

 

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A Different Kind of Kink Photography (Photo Manipulation)

c 51 whipping   c 50 dinner

I’ve developed a new hobby! I select a photo from my vast array of downloaded porn and I “mess with it” in Photoshop. I have a lot of fun doing that and the images are totally weird. I don’t know if there is a market for this, and I’m not sure how to market them, anyway. Perhaps post them to Pinterest with the website across the image.

I’d be interested in feedback from blog readers.

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Master/slave Mastery – Advanced:  Rekindling the fire, ideas that matter

c 49 advancedcover

This is an advanced Master/slave book. It's for people with very strong core values who have been doing M/s for 5+ years (or been heavily involved in D/s for that long).  This is for people who know a lot about a lot and are open to thinking about what they know in a different way. This is a "content-heavy" book. You'll want about five years of experience to be able to read it comfortably. Readers should thoroughly understand the difference between a D/s culture and an M/s culture.

This book presents many viewpoints on M/s relationships.  I've been attending M/s conferences since 2003 and have taken good notes. Those notes, my 13 years living 24/7 M/s, and extensive discussions with hundreds of people who identify with Mastery and slavery have been combined to create this book. Jen and I explain how strong leaders can combine with strong supportive followers to make a magical relationship.

Unlike the fictional world of Masters and slaves, this book discusses the very real challenges and opportunities available to long-term M/s couples.

 

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My Father Dies

Sorry to be a bit disconnected here and on FetLife these past few days; we're in Santa Fe for my Father's (John H. Rubel) "Celebration of Life" service. He died earlier this month; he was nearly 95. He was a very accomplished and interesting person. He was
 
This party, for that's really what it was, was held in one of the largest homes I've ever been in. I would guess 10,000 sq feet or more. Lavish. Well staffed. Well catered. LOTS of people--perhaps 100.   My younger brother (William) made the Family's speech at the memorial service that took place before the “heavy appetizers” when everyone mingled in the lower level. According to Jewish tradition, I should have done it, but Robin (Father's wife) didn't want me speaking. Probably a good thing: our relationship had not survived my decision to divorce Margo, my first wife, as we still had young children at home. 
At any rate, I'm glad to have Master here with me. This house and the way the guests were served was a snapshot of a lifestyle you only see in movies.

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BDSM Mastery: Relationships – A guide for creating mindful relationships for Dominants and submissives

c 48 bdsm rels cover

This is a book about relationships.  Adventuresome relationships. Relationships that are not exactly like vanilla relationships (traditional relationships as practiced by the average couple you'd meet at a baseball game).  BDSM relationships differ from vanilla relationships in two specific ways: First, they involve a power-imbalanced structure (one person is clearly in charge, the other person is clearly following); and second, the kind of sex that adventuresome folks practe is, well, not vanilla.
 

This book speaks to those who are starting out in BDSM, or are involved with someone in a BDSM-based relationship. 

Reading this book will save each of you a lot of heartache, frustration, and anger.

 

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Master/slave Mastery: Updated handbook of concepts, approaches, and practices

c 47 ms mastery updated cover

This is the first book in a series devoted to Master/slave mastery. It is intended to help people start their relationship thoughtfully.  It discusses cautions about potential Masters and potential slaves.

Jen and I distinguish between D/s and M/s relationships. D/s is more about power exchange while M/s is more about authority transfer. D/s is more about where you fall on the scale of dominance and submission; M/s is about the roles you each play.

Because of these differences, Jen and I believe that D/s and M/s have different "rules of engagement." This book helps explain some of those "rules," as we've come to understand them.

This book is intended to provide important tips and tools for building a firm relationship.

 

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BDSM Mastery – Basics: your guide to play, parties, and scene protocols

c 46 basicsbdsm

This is not a book that explains what BDSM is, this is a book that explains what BDSM is all about.  This is a book that enables someone with zero BDSM experience to walk confidently into thier first munch or club meetiong.

This is also a book for people who have been involved in the community for a while and are now interested in understanding how the puzzle pieces fit together.

Once you've finished this book, you'll have about as much BDSM knowledge as someone who hasbeen actively in the public scene for about five years.

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Trip to See Father

father 2011

I decided that since Keagan (my 32-year-old son) is in the US from Shenzhen, China (just across the bay from Hong Kong) where he lives and works. He had to come back to renew keep his Visa current. As it happened, he could come through Santa Fe on his return leg, I linked up with him for a visit with Father.

My father, who began working out during the Kennedy Administration in 1962 and who holds all the age-group exercise records at his local gym in Santa Fe, was finally showing his age. He’d been totally the same all his life until last June when he fell for the first time (as a function of his age) He is 94.

We spoke shortly after his fall, and he said that actually, falling for an elderly person is associated with end-of-life malfunctions and he really believed that the end is in sight.

One of Father’s stories was that at CalTech (where he graduated suma cum laude in Electrical Engineering in 1944) he used to break into the library at night in order to read medical books and history books. He read all his life; he knew a lot. Actually, he is the only truly literate person I ever met. His stories would interlink information of any epoch across literature, science, mathematics, or history and interlink them all.


Keagan and I linked up at the Albuquerque airport around 9am and drove up to Santa Fe. Father is in a hospital having a small procedure done. When we got there, he was sitting in a chair reading the newspaper with a drip bottle hooked to his arm. He is pretty cheery, but clearly has degenerated substantially in the past six months. He’s now about 5’ high, down from 5’8,” and stooped over. Still cheery, though.

Around noon, Robin came to collect him after the procedure; we returned to their home where we nibbled a bit and visited. They did not want to go in town for dinner, so we took our leave and told them we’d see them in the morning.

Keagan and I had taken a motel room together in town, and decided, after a while, to go down to the group of Indian vendors on the town square, where he found the “perfect bracelet” that was, of course, just slightly out of his price range at $500. He offered $300 but was turned down. It’s October and cold and not “in season,” but there were a number of hardy souls selling jewelry.

c 45 keagan selecting bracelet

c 44 keagan in hat

 

We spent about two-hours the next morning with Father. By the end of our stay, he was ready to take a nap. At that point, about noon, Keagan and I headed back down to Albuquerque and the airport. I returned to Austin; he flew back to Shenzhen.

 

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Our California Vacation and Alvin’s Wedding

We decided to add a week-long super-vacation to the front end of the trip to San Francisco to my cousin Alvin’s wedding on May 17.

We flew in to San Jose on Friday May 9, and my brother picked us up and we headed into Santa Cruz to his house. I thought we were going to stay with William, but he said the house was not set up for guests and that he had arranged that we stay a B&B run by a friend of his. He gave us the address and we plugged it into the GPS and headed over to drop off our luggage. William was going to pick Stella (daughter, age about 7) up from school.

We easily found the house, packed among other upscale homes located a few miles away. As we brought our bags in, we were very impressed not only by the size of the house, but also the elegant furnishings. William said there were about five rooms available and that it had a stellar reputation on TripAdvisor. I can imagine!

We spent the rest of that day and part of Saturday with William and Stella who, after mounting some butterflies and insects they had recently caught, helped William create a pizza dinner. William cooks bread in an outdoor bread-oven that he’s constructed. Actually, he’s an internationally known expert on breads and the author of the book: “The Magic of Fire: Hearth Cooking — 100 recipes for the fireplace or camp” and maintains a Facebook page called: “Bread History and Practice.” It’s an interesting site.

c 36 william stella

William loaned us his car and we headed south on Interstate 1, heading for Monterey and beyond: down to Big Sur, one of my favorite places in California.

c 37 big sur   c 38 big sur

We had reservations at Big Sur Campgrounds and Cabins (http://www.bigsurcamp.com/sites.html). I wanted to give Master a sense of camping combined with the comfort of being in a cabin. These are tent cabins, not log cabins. They have a little general store and they are right in the middle of the other little stores/shops in Big Sur. We stayed there three nights and spent our days on mini-excursions. The “excursions” were for photography… this was May in Northern California—everything is in bloom

c 39 bob flowers   c 40 shooting flowers

We planned an excursion was to the Point Sur Lighthouse (http://www.bigsurcalifornia.org/pointsur.html). They run only one or two tours a day, depending on the day and the season, but not every day of the week. I had carefully planned our touring in order to be able to see this lighthouse.

I also had picked out a few restaurants that seemed interesting. These included Nepenthe, Deetjen's Big Sur Inn Restaurant, and Cafe Kevah. I will say, Deetjen’s is a very special place: if we ever are again in the area, I’d certainly want to go back. (We got lost trying to find it. When driving south on Highway 1, it’s tucked into the trees on the left side of the road as you’re making a sharp right. This highway is very curvy, and I was so focused ahead of me that we’d driven about 20 minutes looking for it before I phoned them to ask directions. It’s easy to see driving north on the highway because from that angle you can see the entire structure.)

When our Big Sur time was up we re-loaded the car and headed back up-coast. We returned the car to William so he could drive up to San Francisco for the wedding at his own pace, and Master and I rented a car and continued on, arriving at our appointed hotel around 4 on Thursday. Friday was to be a time for us to look at kink stores and visit with Angela (sister).

On Saturday, May 17 my cousin was married. In and of itself, perhaps not spectacular. In this case, though, my cousin is gay, 12 years my senior, and has helped me in many very important ways since I was in 11th grade. He “came out” in the living room of my father’s home when I was about 21. He was frequently in and out of my life since I was a small child and visited us fairly often when we lived in DC (when Father was at the Pentagon). We HAD to go to this event.

Alvin is marrying Robert, his long-time companion and lover. And, the wedding is to be held at the Golden Gate Club at the Presidio (http://www.presidio.gov/venues/golden-gate-club). This is serious high-end wedding stuff.

I suppose there were 200 family and friends there. There was a string quartet during the post-wedding socializing. The catering and decorating and logistics were magnificent.

c 41 alvins wedding   c 43 jen william

Relatives and friends had flown in from all over the US to attend and to honor Alvin. My sister had come down from Portland, my brother had driven up from Santa Cruz. There were cousins here and there that I’d never even heard of. The accolades went on and on, every one of them fascinating and giving breadth to what I knew of Alvin’s life.

And, he’s had quite a life. He is the youngest son of my father’s mother’s brother, Alvin Sr. who was responsible for handling our Family’s financial affairs starting in about 1935. He and my father spoke regularly up until his death in 1960s. (Alvin Sr. was the founder of “Selected American Shares” one of the early mutual funds in the US. His office was about two blocks from the Chicago Stock Exchange.) 

Alvin Jr. was a Harvard-educated attorney who went back to school in his mid-30s to get a city planning degree—also from Harvard. He worked with Diane Feinstein for many years as a city planner in San Francisco. Alvin had always been active in San Francisco’s gay community, and at age 50 he decided that he liked counseling other gay men so much that he returned to graduate school and took a Masters in Social Work from UC Berkley (just across the bay from San Francisco).

All of this is to say, the wedding was spectacular; an event I will always remember.

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International M/s Couple Handler

Master Joe and slave kim from Melbourne, Australia, competed for the International M/s couple this year up at Southplains Leather Fest. They had asked me to be their “handler.” The problem with this was that I had no idea what was expected or required for this position, nor wise enough to ask anyone. They’d had no competition coaching and I had no handling coaching. That’s not good.

Joe didn’t need us to come up on Thursday, as it was the General Meeting for MAsT International and he, as MAsT’s Australian regional rep and president of MAsT Melbourne, had lots to do. We drove up on Friday and met with them in the late afternoon to schedule a time that evening to listen to their speeches.

There was a LOT of controversy swirling around the Australian Faction at this conference. Back in Melbourne nearly a year before, the VP for MAsT Melbourne got mad at Joe and quit the MAsT chapter and tried to form her own. Actually, she fomented a lot of trouble with MAsT International trying to take the chapter away from Joe on the grounds that he wasn’t providing enough “support” to MAsT members.

To shorten this very long story, I’ll say that this person then held an “Australian Master/slave Competition” and chose their titleholders. Now, at SPLF, this other couple (well know to Joe and Kim and people I’d met repeatedly when I was there in 2011, were claiming that Joe and Kim were not the only authorized international competitors. THIS is what had to be hashed out in the Thursday MAsT GM.)

We did what we could, but they did not win.  It may have been in part due to kim’s prepared two-minute speech. It referenced much of the challenges they’d been through over the past year and was not likely taken well by the judges.  She had been deeply hurt by the betrayal and bigotry of the “other group” in Melbourne and this was not likely received well by the judges.

Ultimately, Master figured out that a great deal of the “stumble” was cultural. Joe had been “doing” BDSM for decades. He had been a very active ProDom — a concept practically unheard of in this country. Here, there is a tremendous demarcation between ProDommes and “lifestylers.” Also, there is a very fuzzy line between BDSMers and M/s-ers in Australia. Here, the M/s people see themselves in a different sub-culture from those in BDSM clubs. The judges couldn’t tell whether Joe was really a BDSMer calling himself M/s or an M/s person who did an awful lot of work with the BDSM community.

Master and I thought both Joe and kim handled themselves extremely well, and we parted with long hugs all ‘round.

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Butchmann’s

c 34 butchmanns

I’d heard so much about Butchmann’s over the years that I wanted to go through it with Jen. It was held in Phoenix (it started in Tucson), I knew most of the instructors (Master Curtis, Master Bert, SlaveMaster, Master Trish) and also many of the support staff (slave samantha, working in the kitchen, and my Leather brother, slave mikey, serving as a general helper).

However, this was new territory for Master, and I thought we would benefit (as a couple) from going through together. For those not familiar with The Butchmann’s Experience, it is just that, an experience. Founded by SlaveMaster and Master Steve Sampson, it is the home of the spiritual approach to M/s and the events are usually sold out months in advance.

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Sandhill Cranes

This was another blog-worthy trip. We’ve just returned from a very long and circuitous trip that had us going from Austin to Bosque del Apache in New Mexico, to White Sands, NM, to Carlsbad Caverns, to spend New Years Eve in Eve’s Garden in Marathon, TX, then back home.

For years, I’ve wanted to shoot the Sandhill Cranes at Bosque del Apache in New Mexico. We decided on a really grand tour that would start at the sanctuary (spending the night in Brownfield) for a late-afternoon / early evening shoot, go to Casa Blanca B&B for the night, and get up to be back photographing by 7am.

c 26 sandhillcranes at dusk 2628 w

I was able to take many outstanding dusk shots of the cranes, augmented by the full moon that was in exactly the right place and right elevation to be captured with cranes flying under it. At one point, as we were changing positions, a fox trotted along a path parallel to the road. Quite spectacular.

c 27 sandhill crane moon

In the morning, we arrived before the cranes had left their roost. It was very cold out: Jen remained in the car watching the scene unfold. I knew what was about to happen and hoped to be able to capture it. I set the focal distance, practiced panning, set the camera for 8 images per second, set up he remote plunger and waited.

I was looking through the lens at 400mm with the ISO set up to about 1,400 and the shutter set at 250th of a second.

I didn’t have long to wait.

Suddenly, one bird rose from the nesting flock and suddenly the entire flock lifted off. I caught it. I hit the plunger and started rolling and panning simultaneously.

I walked over to the driver’s side window once I had finished shooting. Jen was nearly speechless. OMG she kept saying. That was amazing. How did you know they’d all lift off at once? OMG! “When it was over, I looked at the woman in the car behind you (just to Jen’s left) and we both had our mouths open. That was one of the most spectacular events I’ve ever seen in my life.”

“Yes,” I agreed. “It is.”

We ended our trip by spending New Years Eve in Eve’s Garden in Marathon, TX. This had taken a lot of pre-planning, but it was really worth it. Take a look at these:

c 29 eves garden 1   c 30 eves garden 2   c 31 eves garden 3   c 32 eves garden 4   c 33 eves garden 5

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Vacation beginning Leather Reign – Orcas – DC (Raven and Joshua) – the death of Jen’s dad

We decided to take a vacation. This is our first vacation, actually. We presented at Leather Reign in Seattle, spent a week on Orcas Island (about an hour north of Seattle, then an hour’s ride on a ferry boat. We came in to Seattle a day early so we could go down to Pike’s Place Market to do some photography. Here’s my version of an open fruit and vegetable stand.

c 18 pikes place market

Inside the Market, lower level, we found an arts/crafts store that had some very nice blown glass. One piece in particular caught our eyes. It was an a bright red apple, and the “stem” was a green snake. I asked the store clerk if I could set up my tripod and actually take my time with the shot. She said, “Yes,” and about half an hour later I had a few good images. This is among my favorite.

c 19 red glass apple snake

I really like Leather Reign (Master Duane and slave kelly). They put on a top conference that attracts some spectacular people. I enjoyed the time I had to sit down with Allena Gabosh and to catch-up with Alpha (Mac). Allena is the Executive Director of “The Center for Sex Positive Education,” also known as “The Wet Spot.” I’ve known her for a long time. Alpha, you may recall from earlier blogs, was the person who first got me started with kink photography back in 2002.

Far and away, the highlight of this period was our time on Orcas. We’d left the conference with enough time to drive up to Anacortes and catch the last ferry over to the island. I love this ride: super romantic, even though they reduced the sizes of the ferries a few years ago and these are more utilitarian and have fewer services. The ride takes about an hour and stops at Lopez and Shaw before docking at Orcas.

c 20 island ferry   c 21 coffee in ferry   c 22 happy jen

Orcas always has been special for me. Margo (my first wife) and I spent about two years working out the qualifications for the place we wanted to raise our children, and in those two years physically visited five cities. Orcas was the hands-down winner:

  • More than two hours from a major airport

  • Accessible to a city we would like

  • Has a “mountain” smell and feel

  • Has an exceptional school system (One standard deviation above the state average on the ACE exams in a state that was one standard deviation above the national averages on the ACE exam. When I was working for the National Institute of Justice studying crime in American schools, I had access to the National Bureau of Education Statistics and had my friend in that office run that analysis.)

c 23 orcas island hotel

Anyway, we landed at the doc, looking directly at the picturesque Orcas Hotel and turned left, heading almost to Eastsound but turning left one road past the turn into town. Margo had suggested this place: we wanted to be on the water. I wanted to be isolated. We got both. We were in a lovely cabin in the Beach Haven Resort without Internet or cell phone signal. No distractions! We could walk along the beach or take walks in the woods.

We drove in town to have dinner with Margo. I always have dinner with Margo when I come back to the island. I’d brought Karen here years ago; can’t even remember anymore.

The next day, when we went into Eastsound to look at the lovely stores, my Internet signal returned and I realized that I had missed a call from my brother (8 years my junior, he lives in Santa Cruz, CA). William reported that Robin thought that Father had suffered a stroke. He and Angela (my sister, 12 years younger than I) were flying out to Santa Fe.

Next, they arrived out there about the time that the lab and physician reports came in that they could find nothing wrong.

So Jen and I spent a lovely week hiking up to the lookout on top of Mt. Constitution in Moran State Park (the largest State Park in Washington) and photographing and reading.

c 24 winter leaf on twig

We ate in lovely restaurants that brought back all kinds of personal memories (Margo and I moved here in 1987 and I left on New Years Eve of that year to join Renee in D.C.).

The Orcas Island part of the trip came to an end. We were very sorry to leave: this island remains my ideal home. We took the ferry back to Anacortes, over to Mt Vernon and then south on Interstate 5. We had a flight to catch. We flew directly from Seattle to DC to take a weekend intensive that Raven (Kaldera) and Joshua (Tenpenny) were putting on at Castle Griffin (Master Griffin and slave ann).

c 25 raven and joshua

We were home on Monday, Thanksgiving was Thursday, and Jen’s dad died on Friday.

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Air B&B Houston Hot Air Balloon “Glow” Festival

Jen wanted to see a hot-air balloon glow festival and found one in Houston. This wasn’t a race, it was an event. They were going to fire their propane flames after dark in order to give a visual experience. Sounded very interested.

We looked up hotel prices and were slowed down a bit. Then, Jen looked up rooms using Air B&B and discovered a place only a few miles from the field. We took it.

It’s a hefty drive from Austin to Houston (or Dallas). I’m not fond of 3-hour+ drives. At any rate, we weren’t in any hurry to get there and arrived at the event around 4p on Saturday. Nothing much was going on, but a few of the balloons were inflated and a number of crews were actively setting up for the evening’s experience. I started working out how to capture useful/interesting photo images. I suppose I worked at that for an hour or so before we decided to go get a bite of early dinner, as the main event wouldn’t start until after dusk.

We got back to the field in plenty of time, and I ran around with my camera/tripod while Jen found things she wanted to watch. Finally, when they were getting ready to do a coordinated “lighting,” they announced it over the PA system, along with an introduction to the festival and acknowledgements to a variety of helpers.

The lit balloons were really spectacular. There were a lot of them — perhaps 30-40. It was hard to get them all in the shot, but I managed to get a string of them. Also, with my 100-400mm zoom, I took a number of shots of the backlit colored patchwork that made each balloon distinguishable from others.

c 17 setting up balloon   c 17.5 glow festival   c 17.8 full balloon

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SMTech Videos

Well — another surprise turn in the publishing department. My good friend Bob decided to invest some money with my publisher in order to make three videos. Actually, it’s six videos, because each topic we recorded with a female bottom had to be totally reshot with a male bottom. Bob’s DVD was on basic rope bondage. I did two: Impact Play 101, Building your skills, and Fire Play: Your basic safety guide to fire. Ann Bryne paid to have two of her own recorded: one was on basic violet wand, the other on advanced violet wand.

Herbert (publisher) has an extensive background in live TV and video editing and rented three broadcast-quality cameras and a mixer. He sat in the booth and (essentially) created the final cut right there. Quite an amazing job, actually.

In addition to the DVD, itself, Herbert had a transcript made of the shoots and then Bob and I went over our own and edited them for flow. We also included all the safety materials we wanted. The books were 64 pages, full color. Really well done.

The result was a book/DVD combination that Herbert priced at $39.95.

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Taos

We decided to go out to see Father in Santa Fe. Jen had not yet met him. He lives about 20 miles west of the city in a compound for rich people. I suppose the adobe walls are ten feet high and four feet thick. It’s massive. It has a VERY upscale clubhouse and restaurant and bar. I can imagine that many people must get together there practically every night. Nothing else to do out there but go to the clubhouse, have friends over, or watch TV. It’s along way in to Santa Fe.

This is a shot of his living room.

c 15 livingroom

He bought a lovely house there after he sold the big house on the ridge overlooking the entire valley. You could see Los Alamos at night: street and house lights. He actually moved to Santa Fe in order to take a literature Masters’ degree at St John’s College’s rigorous liberal arts program. Its main campus is in Annapolis, MD, but they have this campus in Santa Fe because of the nature of the population.

It’s the only school in the US (probably the only school in the world) whose curriculum requires you to read the entire set of “Great Books of the Western World.” 

Anyway, we decided to drive up to Santa Fe to visit Father, who is 91. He’s in amazing shape. His mind is as sharp as ever and he spends most of his time reading or writing. Right now, he’s writing about old age.

The drive takes about 13 net hours. We spent the night near Clovis and arrived in the early afternoon. We’d found a reasonably-priced hotel and, after checking in, drove out to see them.

Father is now using the guest room as his bedroom, so they prefer that people not stay at the house. Also, he naps a lot now and there would be long stretches with nothing to do. Robin (his wife) prefers to schedule the visits. We spent the afternoon visiting and they took us in town for a lavish dinner. We had a lovely time; Robin was looking well.

We drove back out for breakfast at 10, spent a few hours chatting and left for Taos at the point that he wanted to lie down for a nap.

It’s a fairly quick drive up to Taos — about 90 minutes.

I’d found what I thought would be a really spectacular place to stay in Taos, the El Pueblo Lodge Room 140. I turned out to be right.

There was a light snow falling when we arrived; very romantic. We checked in and went to the room: it was lavish. It has a HUGE bedroom/living room with very nice fireplace and ample wood. SUPER romantic.

We had ample daylight, so we walked around town looking at the interesting shops. There is one in particular that is my favorite. They have handmade knives and (most important) outdoor bells made from cut-off diving tanks. Really interesting and very sonorous. It took all our will not to buy it — but it was in the $500 range and we weren’t spending that kind of money.

I’d made reservations for the Taos Inn months ago. They have an upscale restaurant that was well reviewed, and we were not disappointed. They have excellent food preparation, tables well spaced, and the dining room gave off an air of elegance. We had a lovely time and then returned to our motel room where we lit the fire, put on some music (through my computer) and had a fantastic, romantic evening.

We spent the next two days wandering around the city and the Indian reservations’ public areas, taking pictures.

I find I'm drawn to shoot interesting doors...

c 14 red door taos  c 13 door taos

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Australia

I met Master Joe and slave kim at Southplains Leather Fest last February. They had sat through my class on “Understanding how some M/s Relationships get into trouble” and later approached me in the foyer. He introduced himself and asked whether I might be interested in coming down to Melbourne, Australia, to do a series of presentations this coming September.

Well, I didn’t know this person, so I said that it might be possible and took down his contact information. After the conference, I wrote to slave Caroline and asked her about him. As it happens, she entered BDSM in Melbourne through Master Joe’s BDSM club, Chains. She knew him very well and said that if he had invited me over, he’d take good care of me.

As the discussions continued, it turned out that although they rented a home, there was a second small house in back of their main house. I would be staying there. Also, Herbert was able to arrange printing in Australia through all our books on Barnes and Noble. Although Amazon doesn’t have a print facility there, B&N does. I ordered literally hundreds of books, selecting titles beyond my own that I thought would sell. We set the date and I found myself in their delightful presence for 21 days.

c 05 joe kim   

Unlike in the US, Ausies are used to paying about $35 per seat per class. We averaged 20 people per class and I did about 8 classes. This was the weekend of Oz Kinkfest, so we had people in the right frame of mind to come to classes. Also, this was a crowd that bought books, so—overall—the trip was a great success.

c 06 fire play   c 07 cupping

We took a side jaunt up to Sydney in order to do another presentation and I met Peter Masters there. He’s a professor at University of Sydney and runs the best BDSM Wiki on the Internet.

Joe (sometimes with Kim, other times alone) took me to many interesting places. In Melbourne, itself, we went down to the heart of the city to see Gog and Magog who occupy a special place in Melbourne’s Royal Arcade—a very upscale mall in the heart of town.

c 08 gog and mcgog

These words are written beside the figures: “These two 7-foot giants have been striking the time on Gaunt’s clock since 1892. They were carved from clear pine and modeled on the figures erected in Guildhall, London, in 17089 to symbolize the conflict between the ancient Britons and the Trojan invaders. According to the mythology, the giants Gog and Magog were captured bin battle by the Trojans and made to serve as porters in the gateway of an ancient palace on the site later occupied by the Guildhall.”

Joe had brought me here not only to show me Gog and Magog, but also to have coffee and some pieces of chocolate at the most famous coffee house in Australia. It is called Chokolait, and their mission is to make finest genuine Belgian chocolates, hand crafted cakes, and desserts in Melbourne. Here is a shot of the cappuccinos we ordered. Here’s their website: http://www.chokolait.com.au/

c 09 coffee   c 10 joe

As you can imagine, the Royal Arcade is a primo tourist attraction in Melbourne. Because it’s such a draw, there are a number of street-vendors and buskers around. The musicians included a number who were playing hopped-up diggerydoo’s with pick-up microphones at the business end. For some reason, I didn’t take any pictures of them. The man playing this diggerydoo was down at the docks in Sydney.

c 11 diggerydoo

I realize this post is getting really long, but the trip was extremely interesting and I took a lot of pictures.

One of our trips was to a city named Ballarat and to Sovereign Hill – a major cultural tourist destination. Ballarat was transformed into a major settlement when gold was discovered. At a small store in Sovereign Hill I met a man standing behind a metal-spinning lathe making different size bells.

c 12 metal spinning

Master Joe tested the sound of the bells and determined that this one specific bell had the “right” sound. When Master Joe had his attention elsewhere I purchased two of the bells he “approved” and on my last night with him gifted him one of the bells and invited him to be in my Leather Family. Here’s a shot of the matching bell.

c 12.5 bell soverign hill

All-in-all a memorable trip and I’m indebted to Master Joe and slave kim for their warm and loving hospitality.

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Louisiana

c 04 bob hat

We are just back from New Orleans! We’d been invited in for the weekend to present for NOBLE (New Orleans Bondage & Leather Enthusiasts). Master Wolf invited us. As the “Master Wolf” that I know lives in Phoenix, I was at a disadvantage. At any rate, I had only been there twice before, and it sounded fun. Also, this was over Jen’s birthday weekend so we were excited for the adventure!

More than the club and the presentation, Wolf was something else. What a fascinating man. He’s a regional manager for a group of strip clubs that are headquartered in St. Louis. He is a super sophisticated communicator and manager and his slave is perfectly trained. His house is a fantasy with a terrific dungeon! Wolf is all smiles all the time: a very “up” personality.

We had the opportunity to witness the state of the city following Hurricane Katrina in 2005. It was a sobering experience to see buildings that were still awaiting removal and to see the rescuers coded writing on them. There have been some rebuilding in the housing developments close to the floodwall but a lot of house slabs are still missing houses.

Before leaving Austin, I had researched hat stores. I’ve been trying to find a nice Fedora for about a year, and I’d found a possibility in a well-established store in the French Quarter. Wolf took us down and we went into the store. Among other surprising things, each salesman wore a distinctive name tag that included the number of years they’d worked there. This is a third-generation haberdashery and the sons, grandsons, and great-grandsons work there.

I’ve found my Fedora.  

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Jen’s mom dies unexpectedly

We were out dancing at Graham’s Central Station. It was March 23. We’d left our phones in our cars, as you can’t hear them inside the dance hall anyway. We were in separate cars. When we were ready to leave I got into my truck and I checked my phone. LOTS of messages from Carl, Karen, and Mindi. I called mindi and was told that Jen’s mother had died. I tried to call Jen, but she was also on the phone.

We were driving. We turned right out of the parking lot and left at Grand Avenue Parkway. Normally, we go up to I-35 and turn left. Suddenly, I see Jen move to the right lane and turn RIGHT onto the northbound lane of the freeway. I did my best to keep up with her: She’s in a Mercedes and I’m in a truck. I couldn’t do it.

I decided to drive back to the apartment and wait. After about 30 minutes, she texted that she was in the I-Hop closest to our apartment. I jumped back into the car and drove over. She was in the first booth, completely stunned. Jen’s mother had turned 63 years old at the end of November (I turned 63 at the beginning of November) and had just retired on December 31st. She was looking forward to her retirement and wasn’t ill so the death was a complete surprise to Jen and her family. We stayed at I-Hop for about two and a half hours. We had to explain to the waitress what was going on; she was alarmed at Jen’s position and how long she’d stayed that way.

Around 11 we drove home.

Jen is home now from the funeral and has brought a plant of her mothers back as a remembrance. She has charged me with the task to keep the plant alive and thriving. I am familiar with this plant and am happy to do this for her.

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GLLA – Jen finds her home in Leather

c 02 glla

 

I’d presented here in 2008 and had a blast and was very much looking forward to being there again. Very warm and welcoming group: lots of friends that I’ve been seeing on the lecture circuit for the last three years.

We presented a class on protocols (one that conferences often ask for) and one on “Structuring the Structured Relationship.” The classes were well attended and Jen was a big hit.

We didn’t get a table in vending, but we were in the hallway in the lounge area, so the exposure was great. We pretty well covered our costs, so long as I pretend the books were at zero cost. (My publisher charges me as though I were a bookstore: 50% off cover price.)

This was Jen’s first conference and first real look into my world. Sure, she was aware of my previous books and my relationship with my Mistress and slave, but this was her first step into the bigger world. She walked away from GLLA realizing that she belonged in the world of Leather and began her journey down that path. She has referred to this experience as a “coming home” sensation and that she can now behave with her high moral standards and be accepted and welcomed.

We’d love to come back. Great vibes and Sir G takes great care of me.

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Changes

I had been Owned by Karen since 2002. She had permitted me to take mindi as my sex slave in 2003. We were a threesome (not sexually) up to and including our move to Boquete, Panama in January 2009. When Karen had to return to the US upon her son’s near-fatal heart condition, mindi and I remained in Panama until December 19, 2009. I’m sure the three of us all have different “takes” on what happened, but our structure fell apart. In February, I began a relationship with the woman who is now my Master.

I met Jen. Actually, we’d known one another slightly when we both lived in Lago Vista. Not only was she my dentist’s dental assistant, but she and her husband were in the Lago Vista country western dance club that Renee (second wife) and I were in. However, we’d never been social friends.

Magically, she reappeared in my life.

c 01 jen

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The Power Exchange Book Series

photo 42 age play   photo 43 pebrs disabilities cover   photo 44 protocols cover   photo 45 aos cover   photo 46 pebrs rope cover

Cover images for the five-book series.

+++

Power Exchange Magazine failed for a couple of reasons. First, very few people subscribed; second, it was exhausting work keeping people on deadline and getting images to go along with some of the articles. I just couldn’t keep it up.

So we (and I really can’t remember how Herbert fit in with all this) decided to change from magazine format to “collected essays” on a focused topic. We selected the series name: Power Exchange Books’ Resource Series and I began contacting people who had signed up at conferences saying they would like to write for me.

The idea was to have a collection of 9-10 authors submitting 3,500-word essays on a single topic of interest to BDSM or Leather folk to create a book of about 100 pages. The series is about the “why” of what we do, not the “how.” Book titles include:

  • Playing with Disabilities

  • The Art of Slavery

  • Protocols: A Variety of Views

  • Rope, Bondage, and Power

  • Age Play

A word about Rope, Bondage, and Power. Lee Harrington volunteered to be the issue coordinator for this and his “call for writers” among the highest reaches of the rope world was met with resounding success. Rather than 9-10 authors, Lee produced 19 qualified authors. The only notable exceptions were Midori, Jay Wiseman, Lochi, and Leon from Chicago. This book became reasonably popular among rope enthusiasts. 

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Nature Photography in Panama

b 14 nature photography

Our time in Panama was a photographic treat. The country was lush, we were living in the middle of a growth of coffee trees, there was an animal rescue center in town that was about the size of a small zoo. They had everything there from large cats to parrots to monkeys. We went there a number of times and one of my finest photographs was taken there. The picture is a beautifully curved orange lily leaf and it probably took me 45 minutes to figure out how in the world to photograph it correctly.

b 15 curved lily

Photography is my art-form: when I decide to photograph an object it generally takes me from 20 to 40 minutes to work out the correct distance, angle, light, and lens. I also have to check depth of field every time I change lenses. As I mentioned above, photography lets me see things differently. But, it takes a while.

slave mindi and I could not take very many side trips, because of the nature of her job. She is what is called a “utilization review” nurse and needs a notebook computer that drives two different video screens because she is concurrently working in two databases. This means that if we want to take a trip that involves more than a weekend, we need to take the entire set-up with us — and then she has to work during normal working hours. It's hard to take side trips under those conditions. We only made a few excursions, but those we took were extraordinary.

With Moty Hen as our guide, we made two weekend trips: a tour of a one-man sugarcane processing facility, and the tour of a very small cigar manufacturing company.

b 16 boiling sugarcane

While the cigar manufacturing company had only six people rolling cigars from the tobacco leaves, you could see in one building the entire process from the arrival of newly dried tobacco leaves, through the drying and storage of those leaves, to cutting them up and distributing them to the people who are rolling the cigars, to the presses that compacted the leaves that resulted in the final product. You also saw the process of putting each cigar into cellophane and depositing them in cigar boxes. From there the boxes ended up in a substantial room that was carefully controlled for humidity.

b 17 cigar press

Before leaving this section, I’d like to put a plug in for Moty Hen. He is a really amazing/interesting man. He’s Israeli, but he came to Panama in 1984. Over his years traveling around Panama, he’s become something of a private guide. It’s not his primary line of work, but he’s amazing at it. If you can explain the kinds of experiences you’d like, he’ll arrange it. Deep-sea fishing? Visiting an indigenous tribe? Bird watching? He and his wife (Rita) were working on creating a bed-and-breakfast at the end of our time, there. Here’s a link to it. Should you ever find yourself in Panama, you’ll do well to contact him and let him be your guide. Oh—he caters to Israeli’s. He’s undoubtedly the only Hebrew-speaking Panamanian tour guide in the world. 

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Returning to U.S. to take NLP Practitioner Course in San Diego

I’ve been interested in Nero Linguistic Programming (NLP) for many years. I've been wanting to take the basic practitioner class but was very concerned about the cost because you would have to go to some city and stay for six days in a hotel. Of course you also have the $2000 course fee on top of that. So I spent a lot of time on the Internet searching for what it would appear to be competent NLP instructors. I finally found one that seemed to be appreciated and seem to be doing a good job so I signed up.

I arrived on a Saturday, hailed a taxi, and was deposited at the hotel where the training took place. After checking in I rang Kevin Cole, the instructor, to let them know that I was there. He said great there was going to be a get together from about 6 to 10: he would see me there.

I don't want to use this entry to take up a lot of time about the nine-day course, but I will summarize this way. I learned a fair amount, enough to know that the way my brain works in my difficulty memorizing is going to make it very difficult for me to actually practice NLP as a counselor. I also realized that Kevin Cole himself was quite new at leading these workshops. Actually he had only done 11 up to this point. I thought he did only an adequate job. He had no training in related communications fields, and was anything but an inspirational speaker. This all came together on the second weekend when he invited a guest instructor to help him with one of the final processes.

The woman whom he brought in (and whom I cannot name here because of her professional life) was at the opposite end of the spectrum. She was a high-energy physical fitness coach who had about a decade of advanced communications experience from a raft of well-known coaches such as Tony Robbins. She was, in fact, a graduate of Tony's advanced course.

So I left feeling that I had missed out on what could've been a remarkable experience. I ended up with a salad instead of a steak.

Yes you have the testimonial, but that was not optional.

I will continue my NLP studies and perhaps over time will learn to use meta-models and hypnotic speech patterns in my daily life.

 

Although I don’t have any photographs of this trip, I’ve included the link to the testimonial that all the graduates were “encouraged” to provide… one after the other on the last day of the 9-day training.

 

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Restaurante Amigos and our trip to Costa Rica

Boquete has a bar for the ex-pats that was as close to “Cheers” as you could ever come. A number of the ex-pats would gather around four in the afternoon and eat and drink well into the night. I knew one man who often used the place as his office.

I mention Amigos because I had taken slave mindi there on Mother’s Day (May 10). As we eating our meal, I couldn’t help but notice a Scandinavian-looking woman who was clearly signaling from her poise (and from the particular table that she had picked) that she desperately wanted to be picked up. We invited her to our table.

She explained that this was her last night in Boquete; she was going home the next day. “Home” was a few hours north of the Panama / Costa Rica border on the Atlantic.

I asked about where she lived and she told us that she lived in such a remote and inaccessible community that it requires a 4-wheel-drive vehicle to reach it and you can’t even make the drive if there have been heavy rains. She lived in some kind of nature retreat. She said she was taking the bus down to David to transfer to the bus that would take her to the border. In all, about a 7-hour process.

I wondered whether we might have an opportunity, here.

I had wanted very badly to do some touring and photography in Costa Rica but we couldn't figure out how to get across that border. On the Pacific side of Panama you can get into Costa Rica on the Pan-American highway simply by driving 35 miles north of David. However, on the Atlantic side, there was no road across a substantial river. There was only a railroad bridge built by the Germans in World War II. I suppose I could write two or three pages about our experience getting to and then crossing the border, but I will tell you this: you would certainly not want to do this without somebody who’d done this many times and who spoke fluent Spanish. It was fairly harrowing.

She accompanied us to the town of our destination — which was where some friends of hers would come the next day to take her home.

She selected a (rather cheap/sleazy) motel for us and we went in town for drinks and dinner.

mindi totally didn’t think about the “don’t drink the water” rule and had ice with her drink. She didn’t have a reaction while on this trip. We spent three days in this little village, mostly just walking around.

At the end of our stay, we took a bus back down to the border. There, as we were going through the customs process, we were forced to purchase a “return ticket” from Panama to Costa Rica (“rules” and all that”). You can’t enter Panama without proof that you’ll leave.

By the time we returned to Boquete, she was starting to feel ill. Within a few days, she was seriously ill. The story of our hospital experiences with this would fill pages.

For those of you who don’t know us, Mindi is an RN in real life.

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Our Stay in Boquete comes to an End

In late February, about six weeks after we arrived in Boquete, Karen’s son collapsed at work. He was 19. At the hospital, they found his heart was only pumping 10% of normal. He was rushed to Dallas so his father could care for him. It was not at all clear he would survive: he had evidently caught a virus that had caused his heart to enlarge. In fact, his best friend in Marble Falls, TX had died the previous year of the same cause.

Karen returned to the US. Mindi and I remained. Mistress said she could only focus on her son, now, and she would let me know when we could return. In October, she said we could return with our pre-scheduled departure date of December 19. Patrick’s heart was being “assisted” by a battery-driven power pack that he wore around his waist. If the batteries were to lose their charge and he was away from the charging unit, he would die within three minutes. He was on the heart-transplant list for Texas, but he was very young and had a very slim body. The wait would last nearly two years before he had a heart transplant.

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Our Spectacular Frog Holiday

b 18 red frog stem

We took one spectacular four-day holiday. I had told our main guide, Moty (who is actually an Israeli who had lived in Panama for 25 years and spoke very good English), that I really wanted to photograph poison dart frogs. He arranged a trip for us to go by bus from one side of Panama to the other side across the Continental divide. It was about a three-hour bus ride. Of course you had to then add the hour that it took to get from Boquete (up in the mountains) to David (down by the sea).

Once we arrived at Bocas del Toro, Moty left us alone to settle into our rooms. When we next saw him he said he'd found a guide for us. He said that he found a guide who specialized in taking photographers around the islands to photograph poison dart frogs. I was delighted. Moty had the clever idea of incentivizing the guide by offering him five dollars bonus per species for the two days he had with us.

As a result of this, I was able to photograph something like 23 differently colored poison dart frogs. It was perfectly amazing. Sometimes when would we get to the island our new guide would run off and find a local person to help guide us just to speed things up. The locals knew which color frog was where. You might start down one path and find blue frogs and go down a little further and find yellow and black frogs. Truly an experience of a lifetime.

 

b 19 dime   b 20 blue frog   b 21 on hand

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Setting off four our New Life in Boquete, Panama

Mistress had wanted to limit us to three bags each.

But we were not sure when we’d be back. Packing the bags was very stressful, as I wanted enough of our formal dinner clothing to feel “at home.” Now: that’s a fundamental schism between Mistress and me: she wanted to “go native” and I wanted to live as I lived, just in a different place. Thus, our ideas of what to pack differed.

Without going into gruesome details, here’s a picture showing how heavily we were traveling.  Had I to do it over again, I wouldn't do this.  Mistress was right. Just take three suitcases, not three duffle bags.

b 01 our luggage

We flew out of San Antonio directly to Panama City. Fortunately, an ex-pat person in Boquete was guiding us through this process. I assure you, without that help it will be very hard figure out how to get from the International Airport in Panama City across town to the national airport, have the bags taken by van up to Boquete, be met in the city of David, receive the car we had pre-purchased from another ex-pat from Boquete who did this as a full-time job, and follow him the hour trip from sea level to Boquete—at 3,900 feet. 

This image was taken in the middle of this little community. It gives you a sense of the place.

b 02 in town

We stayed in a motel for a few weeks while our ex-pats’ contacts found a place for us. It was stunning. Here a couple of shots of the two-bedroom bungalo where we stayed for the year.

b 03 distance shot  b 04 rainbow over house

The town was lovely. It is the center for high-altitude coffee plantations for Panama. It was settled in the early 1900s by some Swiss couples. In the 1980s a wealthy American developer began what is today a five-star resort and spa called the Valle Escondido Resort and Spa. You can look it up on the Internet. It’s actually a mostly-American community that exists separate and apart from Boquete. Guarded gates, secure walls.

I mention Valle Escondido because it was the catalyst for what became the explosive growth and development of Boquete. Now, it’s rather like living in Vail, Colorado. It’s inexpensive to live there and you can dine at marvelous restaurants or at local dives and cafeterias. In fact, you can get far more food than you can eat for about $6 in these cafeterias; there are three of them in Boquete.  Here, slave mindi are at our favorite restaurant.

b 05 dining out

They also had a good number of festivals in Boquete: here is a selection of images:

b 06 festival   b 07 festival   b 08 festival   b 09 festival

Lower left: Mistress (Karen) and slave mindi.

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How we Decided to Move to Boquete, Panama

b 00 boquete

This is the view of Boquete from the Visitor's Center at the top of the hill just before you drop down into this valley. Boquete is at an elevation of about 3,800'.  The bungalo we rented for the year was about a thousand feet higher. The 5,000' elevation point was about two miles up the road past our lovely home.

Summary post: It happened on a Sunday evening. We were all in the living room of our spacious 4-bedroom apartment leading an undisturbed life of high protocol M/s and traveling the country making presentations. As it was February, we had a fire going in the fireplace. We had finished a lovely full-formal dress dinner and were in the living room. Out of the blue, Mistress made a declarative statement: “I’ve decided to move abroad and teach English, preferably in an orphanage.” Looking directly at me she asked: “Are you coming with me?”

“Well, yes, Mistress. Of course, Mistress. Where are we going?” I said, realizing that I was at my absolute peak of my conference presentations around the country; I was in high demand. I’d already been out to three that year and had something like nine to go.

“You will help decide that. You have two months to prepare a briefing book for me. You are limited to five choices. I want pros and cons for each. Remember, I like to boss around little oriental men,” she said.

“Yes, Mistress. And when will we be leaving and returning?” I asked.

“We will let slave mindi have the Christmas Holidays with her family and then leave. I want to be out of the US by the third week of January. I have no plans at this point to return.”

Wow. As in we have a two-car garage packed with “stuff” and a storage facility out in Liberty Hill and a 1,700 square foot apartment.

At the end of the two months, I’d prepared a briefing book. It said: South Korea—best ESL salaries, very risky because of North Korea. Would have to teach away from Seoul for best salaries. Mainland China: our kink would not be tolerated, too risky. Taipai—very sophisticated and upscale, but we’ll still have troubles with our kink. Tailand—very possible. It would be a lot of fun and a great home base for photography all around that part of the world. VERY hot and humid. Boquete, Panama—recommended by a close friend who had lived there many years and was a former special forces guy. Said that knowing us, we’d integrate better there and it has a solid ex-pat community.

Extensive research into Boquete gave us a favorable impression. There seemed to be ex-pats who would help smooth the way.

Mid-summer, we took a one-week trip down there, accompanied by Jac (owner of The Jungle, already mentioned). He knows a lot about a lot.

We loved it; he hated it. We said we thought we’d do it; he said that the savings from living there would be eaten up in round-trip airfares returning to the US.

I worked out a time-and-task chart and got to work. I purchased all the tickets, found out how to rent a 10.5’ x 40’ cargo container, and Paul let us install it on his property far out in the country southeast of San Antonio. It was in place by early December.

In early December we had Rose and Blake (our favorite movers ever) transfer everything.  

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Herbert and book covers

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Pantheon Of Leather’s Community Choice Award (Man)

pantheon award

I’ve always operated on the fringes of the Leather community. I identify as “Leather,” but don’t behave the way the Leather community behaves. They are very active with Leather-related fundraisers and volunteer work; they dress Leather at conferences and have a good support network. Mostly, they’re gay, of either gender, but that doesn’t really affect their heart/spirit. I tend to do my own thing: I write books and have a magical home life with my Owner and slave.

Rather out of the blue, David Rhodes wrote to ask if I were going to be at the upcoming Pantheon of Leather conference in Chicago. “Well, I hadn’t thought about it.” I replied. “I think you may want to be here,” he said. In the end, he suggested strongly that if at all possible, I should attend. He wouldn’t really say why, but I got the idea.

Pantheon is David’s own personal conference and it is attended by a core group of serious Leatherfolk. 

David produces The Leather Journal, a newspaper listing notable events in the Leather world (now replaced by Leatherati.com) and the winners of titles at gay bars across the US. He and his camera are fixtures at any M/s or gay leather conference. We’d been “chatting” for a number of years. By this point, I suppose I’ve been to 20+ conferences. As he generally attended both Beyond Vanilla and Southplains Leather Fest, I would have been seeing him twice a year since about 2003 or 4.

At any rate, I showed up and found most of the heavy-weight presenters from the Leather scene. They were “insiders,” I was an outsider. As it happens, I had been nominated and chosen as “Community Choice—man” for 2008. Completely unexpected, I guess I was getting known for the books.

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Woodturning - Collector and Turner

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Fetishizing our Dinners

 Since I’m revealing quite a bit about myself and my life in these blogs, they just wouldn’t be complete without describing how Mistress, slave mindi, and I dressed for dinners.

This is going to be a “visual blog” rather than a written blog…

Here is a shot of the three of us… 

photo 28 the three of us

 

 

Dressing Mistress for Dinner…

photo 29 lacing mistress

 

This is a formal shot of Mistress and I… 

photo 30 karen and me

 

And THIS is slave mindi in all her glory!! 

photo 31 mindi

 

To round out this set, here I am with mindi…

photo 32 mindi and me

 

 

Sadly, I don’t seem to have any saved pictures of ourselves at Table. An oversight.

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Master/slave Relations: Handbook of Theory and Practice

photo 27 cover ms relations

My first book, “Protocol Handbook for the Female slave: theory and practice” came out in June 2006. Once I finished it I mentioned to Herbert that he had published the cart before the horse.

What is that supposed to mean?” he asked somewhat gruffly.

It means that you’ve published a book on how to make protocols without a book describing how to create an M/s structure that would even USE protocols.” I replied.

Hmmmm. Okay. How long would it take you to write that one? Two months?” he asked

God, no. I haven’t even thought of this. I’d have to do a lot of research and build an outline. After that, I can give you some idea.” I said.

Okay, keep me posted.” He said.

I began working. By the end of summer, we had our second book in print. It was: “Master/slave Relations: Handbook of theory and practice.This book became the basis of my own M/s structure with my slave.

With these two books under my belt, I was prepared to begin doing presentations.

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Becoming a Presenter

My first presentation “gig” was at Steven Segal’s request: Florida Fetish Flea. This was a small mostly-gay event in St. Petersburg, FL. It took place in a gay sanctuary—a hotel that surrounded a courtyard by its three wings: the other side of the courtyard was blocked by retail stores catering to gays. And, there was a theater for cross-dressers to perform burlesque. Karen’s parents drove over from Cape Canaveral—Judd and Kathy. They thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Insatiable Amazon (at 6’2” and then spike heels) was also a conference presenter (and friend) came over and spent time with us. It was absolutely magical. I presented on protocols and on M/s relations. These would be my primary presentations for nearly two years.

Master Taino gave me my first big break, letting me present at the Master/slave Conference in 2006. I’d been attending for a few years (since M/sC #2, in fact) but this was my first presentation at an “A-List” conference. I sold books and taught. This was a model that worked for me.

NOTE: From 2007-2013 Master Taino used me as the event photographer. While I enjoyed doing this, the hassle of bringing all that equipment with me to a conference was more than I was interested in. I judged in 2014, but did not return to MsC in 2015 or 2016. 

photo 33 msc flags

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Kinky Photography

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Restructuring a Kink Organization

Lady R was going to step down from her long tenure as SAADE’s Chief Counsel. Duncan was going to assume command; Duncan was a very savvy guy with lots of corporate experience behind him. I don’t remember how it started, but Duncan and David and I ended up meeting fairly frequently over the summer of 2005 in order to design a club that would generate its own leaders through merit. Remember, this is the only club in the US that uses the Native American system of meritocracy (vs. democracy).

Ultimately, after a number of whisky-and-cigar encounters, we ended up designing five “silos” feeding to Chief Council.

  • Education — programs

  • Security team

  • Strategic planning group

  • Library

  • Club meeting liaison

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Sex, SM Play, and a Poly Household

Note: 2004-5 was a period of frequent sex and sm play. On the sexual side, we were very involved with the swing community and were regulars at The Jungle, Austin’s up-scale swing club. Jac (the owner) and I became very close friends. To calibrate what I mean by sexually active, my log shows that I had sex with 18 different women in 2004 and with 15 different women in 2005. Some of these were one-offs at The Jungle (Austin's kooky on-site swingers club), but many became multiple or long-term play partners.

Playing with many women gave me a lot of practice with my sex techniques. In particular, I’d become reasonably good at making girls squirt and at fisting. At one of The Jungle parties, a woman’s husband approached me about fisting his wife. This was my first time trying to fist a woman I didn’t know well. I was pretty anxious, but all went tremendously well and all three of us had lots of fun. That we didn’t have any lube has made that scene one of my most vivid recollections: I just kept licking my hand/wrist and…

Most of the sex play at The Jungle was straight sex, but there were one or two ladies with whom I did fire or knife play. Jac would invite me to do a fire play demo a few times a year and that usually resulted in some ladies asking for that experience later in the evening. There was an “exhibition platform” in the back house and that’s where I did the fire play.

I had a woman up on the exhibition platform and set off the flash cotton. Huge flash, of course; the crowd made appropriate gasps. Then, from the orgy room (three king-sized mattresses in a row) a man walked in, looked around, and said, “What’s up?”

We explained we had just set off some flash cotton (nitro cellulous). He said, “Oh. Okay. I’m the fire marshal for the University of Texas and just wondered what the flash was.”

LOL

c 06 fire play

Anyway, I was mentioning that I learned vanilla sex techniques from watching the guys and playing at The Jungle. I leaned to combine my play skills with sex techniques with those who become long-term partners; it was also a chance to build my kink skills.

On the “kink skills” topic, we were also attending play parties where I often was doing fire play demos there, too.

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Kinky Reading and Weekend Conferences

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Writing Books

photo 16 prots cover

 

Herbert came over to our home in Lago Vista for a photo shoot last week. I was in my office. Herbert knocked on the front door, opened it, and called out: “Halooo, halloo” as he let himself in. He knew where I was. This all happened so quickly that he appeared before I had time to get out of my chair.

What are you writing?” he asked.

slave mindi’s protocol manual,” I replied.

Let me see that,” he said. I handed him what I had thus far written and printed out. He thumbed through it.

There’s nothing like this in print.” he declared.

I don’t think there’s a market for a protocols book. Everyone has to make their own.”

The last book that covered this kind of material was by Larry Townsend in 1979.”

What didn’t you understand about what I just said?” I asked.

What do you not understand about the fact that I’m the publisher in the room.” He replied. “How long will it take you to get this into publishable shape?”

About two months.” I stated.

Good. Shall we say September 15th, then?”

NOTE: This book, “Protocol handbook for the female slave: theory and practice” was the first of my non-fiction books about the M/s life. It turned out to be the start of a long string of books that continues to this day. I shot the cover photo. This was my slave's actual protocol manual. It is a snapshot in time of the way we lived from about 2006-2010.

Herbert ended up publishing about a dozen of my books over the years, a magazine that lasted a year, and six small books in the “Power Exchange Resource Series” group.

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Erotic and Fetish Photography

NOTE: I had set up a photo studio in our dance room and arranged photo shoots with female friends from our kink community about once a month over these few years. I should mention: a “photo shoot” for me means 3-4 hours, and perhaps as many as 400 images. As I shoot only on tripod under “hot lights” (always on, as opposed to strobe lights), the setting gives me a chance to adjust the lights and re-shoot, or to move an inch or two and re-shoot.

I have number of returning models, most notably Maitresse Elise...

photo 17 elise

 

Elorin...

photo 18 elorin

Nova...

photo 19 nova

 

Tanya...

photo 20 misty

 

and Cheryl

photo 21 cheryl

When I started out, a kink friend was doing the scene set-ups with me. He was really great. He had a degree in theater design and was gifted at creating interesting backdrops for the photo shoots. He was also good at posing the models. I was not very inspired in that area.

Unfortunately, an upset grew between us when we both got involved with my publisher over a video project.  I was the sole financial supporter, and it became apparent that Herbert was simply using my money to buy all kinds of expensive things without having established a marketing path for the products. I pulled my funding in the middle of the process and Herbert had to shut down the operation. As my friend had come to look at this as a job, he was very upset. He tried to file unemployment, then tried to sue Herbert. As Herbert is very careful in those ways, my friend was not successful, just angry. Much of the anger was directed towards me. It ruined our friendship, unfortunately.

I struggled on with the photography, but since I was not very good at setting up photo sets, I focused more on playing with pussy shots. That gave me a nice way to amuse myself and resulted in some pretty nice images, if I do say so myself.

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Retrospective: About my Photography

b 10 photography

Here I am with my 100-400mm zoom lens connected to a 2x tele-extender with the sun-shield in place. You can see that the lens is attached to the tripod with a "long-lens" Kirk "sidekick" mount. This enables you to pivot the lens in all positions without any effort.

+++++

I have always had a passion for photography. The photographic process slows me down and enables me to see in ways that I don't see in the same using a camera. 

Even before college I had a Kodak retina reflex with three lenses. A 35mm wide angle and 135mm telephoto and 50mm standard lens. I have literally thousands of slides stored in the garage in carousels of 70 slides each. Some of the carousels hold 140 slides.

I actually only changed cameras on my trip around the world when I was 21. When I got to Hong Kong I bought Nikon F. At that time Nikon was the Cadillac camera. For me, the problem with a Nikon, is it it's huge. I had trouble managing it. I sold the Nikon and bought an Olympus 0M2 with those same lenses: 35mm, 50mm,135mm. The Olympus is a much smaller camera and it was much easier for me to manage it. I bought a second OM2 as a backup camera, and as I got better and learned more about shooting on a tripod, I bought an OM1.

I’ve added a nice array of lenses for my Olympus system. I bought an amazing lens through eBay. It was a 100-400mm macro zoom lens. Someone in Britain was selling it. I later found out that it was never commercially available. Essentially, I had a one-of-a-kind Olympus lens.

I used these cameras from my early 20s until 2002, when Alpha introduced me to erotic and fetish art photography. Through Alpha, I was given the opportunity to be the still camera photographer for a soft porn producer here in Austin. He had brought in some models (a couple were professional fetish models) and was photographing them playing in things like cake mix, a big mud pit, Jell-O, putting, and whipped cream. (Here are a couple of those shots.)

b 11 mud pit   b 12 pudding

I had a great time and shot five roles of 35 mm slide film. I took the film into one of our two local professional photo printing companies and dropped it off with Nate. I told him to develop the slides and scan them. I was regular at this place, because I was custom-printing some of my nature photographs.

A few days later I went back to pick up the slides and the DVD of the scanned images.

I gave my order receipt to the guy at the counter but he said he had to go and find Nate. I thought that was somewhat unusual, but figured he was new. Nate came out and pulled me aside and said in a hushed voice: “We can't print these, they are showing nudity and our owners are very strict that we cannot print these kinds of images. They are against the law in Texas.”

I was at a loss. I explained to him that this was a commercial shoot. He went back and spoke to the manager and came back out with the manager. The manager said that he could personally come in and do this run over the weekend when they were closed but there would be a 50% surcharge and that I was not to bring images like this in for processing in the future. Right.

I had to pay the surcharge, because I been paid $450 for the shoot.

Once all was said and done, I bought a Nikon Coolpix so that I could work on the images and print them myself.

After I became comfortable with that little point-and-shoot camera, I spent a lot of time researching Nikon versus Canon digital cameras. These cameras had only been out about three years. Ultimately I chose the Canon line because they had a bigger mount for the lenses. I reasoned that the larger mount on the camera meant that the lenses would be more stable. Nikon had stayed with the same sized lens Mount as their manual cameras in order not to anger their loyal customers who would have collected a lot of lenses over the years. Canon looked at this differently. They felt that they could build lenses that would be more sturdy. Also the larger lenses enables Canon to put Zoom motors in those lenses that made them far faster and quieter than the comparable Nikon lenses.

My final decision concerned the way I use my camera. I do a lot of close-up photography, particularly of butterflies and insects on flowers. After much research I decided to buy 85mm tilt shift lens. At that time Nikon did not make that lends. Also all these larger lenses in the Canon line were image stabilized. At that time Nikon did not have image stabilization either.

So I started collecting lenses and over the next 12 years kept upgrading and changing Canon bodies to the point where I currently have a Canon 5D as my backup camera in the Canon 7D as my primary.

b 13 self portrait

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Masters Retreat

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Sadness and Confusion..my world is changing

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Gifted a Slave

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Now a DM and on duty

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How I First Met Brenna

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Austin Mentors Program

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Starting to Learn

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