Friday, October 31, 2003

All Hallows Eve

Only one trick-or-treater!

What's up with that? What am I gonna do with all those Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Snickers Bars, and Milky Ways?

A good day at work brings to a close a good week at work. Several guys I work with took me aside, asked me if I liked it, and told me how impressed they were with my work. Apparently, the plan is for me to become a sort of fill-in guy in the finishing department, moving from sanding to staining to glazing to scuffing on an as-needed basis. That sounds great. Every day will be a variety, and I'll master the whole process. Eventually, maybe I'll move out onto the shop floor. But maybe not. It seems that the guys who work in finishing tend to get all the overtime, and we love overtime. We really love overtime.

(Pause for a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup break.)

I'm staying in tonight. I don't feel any particular inclination to head out into the wide world. Tomorrow will be a busy day. There's a lot of wood to be chopped, and I have to go up to Dublin to get my Pennsylvania Driver's License. Tomorrow night, I think I'll head down to Philadelphia and go to the Bike Stop. It's the first Saturday of the month, and that means that there's a dress code enforced in the Pit Stop downstairs. Cool.

(Pause for a Milky Way break.)

On Sunday, I'm making a trip up to NYC. The GMSMA Spirituality Special Interest Group I was a part of is having a reunion of sorts. I'm looking forward to it, but in a way, I'm not. An odd thing. The best I can express it is I'm feeling material, rather than spiritual. I'm not spending a lot of time inside my head. Lately, physical activity has been nourishing me. Not Ora but Labora. The feel of the axe handle in my hand. The sound the log makes when it flies apart. The focus on the weld bead. The cold heft of a hunk of steel. The unmistakable perfume of Faithful Companion after a walk in the rain. The way you can taste woodstain after it absorbs into the skin on your hands. Orion riding high in the southeastern sky again. The cool damp of the early morning when I'm heading out to work. Sharing my good roast chicken with my Dad. Latte and a cigar at Starbucks. The smell of burning leaves. Feeling my body melt in the steamroom after a workout.

I see, I hear, I taste, I feel, I smell.

Why wasn't it like this when I lived in the city? Why does it seem in retrospect to be a disembodied experience?

(Pause for a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup break.)

Maybe it has something to do with the way that you tell the change of the seasons not by observing nature (other than the obvious: it's cold! it's hot!) but by wardrobe. Or maybe, it's because New York City is all about sensory overload. You can't take it all in, and so you just shut down. Here, it's all of a piece. And there's a sublime stillness. A calm.

I'm suddenly reminded of a short story I wrote years and years ago. I think when I was in high school.

(Pause for a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup break.)

I think I wrote it when I was in high school, or maybe my freshman year at college. The story was first person omniscient (at least I think it was, it's been a long time since I've analyzed voice in fiction). It had two characters, a grandfather and a granddaughter. The narrator was the grandfather. The situation was that the granddaughters mother had been killed, and the grandfather was now, suddenly, raising his granddaughter. The granddaughter was thirteen. She was awkward, morbid, unhappy, complaining. Their relationship was strained. The granddaughter--I think her name was Adrianna--resented being plucked out of her life with her cool mom in The City and plopped down on the farm of the grandparents she barely knew. Grampa had not had a good relationship with his daughter. Her life and her values was a mystery to him. She had wanted to get away, and she had gotten away.

Things seemed to be going very badly with raising his granddaughter. He was concerned. He didn't know what to say. Should he get angry? Pity for the girl made him suppress this urge. And it had never worked with her mother.

The only action in the story was the grandfather digging a garden in early spring, thinking about the arrangement of the plantings, and what would go where this year. Adrianna was sitting nearby, declining to help as she declined to get involved with anything that he or his wife did. She was sulking and complaining that there was nothing to do. She says something along the lines of, "I wish my mom hadn't died."

Granpa wants to say something, but there's nothing he can think of to say, so he just continues digging. He thinks about how many gardens he's planted in his long life. And how many vegetables he's harvested. And how many gardens he's watched die. And then to plant them again in the Spring. Spring planting, Summer growth, Autumn harvest, Winter death. The cycle endlessly repeated.

"How to get her to understand that?" he asks himself. And this is the Satori, the moment of awakening. His daughter's death was a terrible tragedy, but he found the strength to go on. Because he and his life are wed to the endless repeating cycle of nature: What lives will die, and what dies contains the seeds of new life. Over and over and over again.

"Granpa," was, of course, based on my father. And the story came from a conversation that we really did have, while he was working in the garden, and thirteen year old me was sulking because he wanted me to help him and that meant I couldn't go ride my bike with my friends. I had to stay here and work. My father and I started talking. I can't remember how we got onto the subject.

(Pause here for a Milky Way break.)

And I can't remember what the conversation was all about, but when I asked him how he had managed to find the wherewithal to marry again after surviving two wives, it wasn't odd or out of context or challenging.

I'll always remember his reply: "Death isn't just an end. It's also a beginning. All the plants I planted last Spring are dead. But here I am planting seeds in the ground again."

My father is not given to philosphizing. I hadn't heard him say anything like that before, and I don't think I've heard anything like that since.

(Pause here for a Snickers Bar break.)

So it struck me at the time, and it strikes me now, that he was saying a lot. In fact, I think that day he was telling me everything. Everything, that is, that he had to impart.

Hallowe'en, of course, is the bastard child of some pagan ritual and All Souls' Day. I don't know beans about the pagan ritual, but I do know about All Souls' Day. That's the day when we pray for--or remember, depending on your eschatology--all the souls up in heaven, and particularly, those we loved. It's a day when we remember, and we miss, and think about how we have been changed, and what we've lost. So literally, it's a day when the Dead come back to us. It's a day of haunting, but a welcome haunting.

(Pause here for a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup break.)

Mother. Uncle Bill. Ruby. Nana. Pop. Kathy. Kathleen. And let's not forget Jack, Terry, Matt, George. In the midst of life we are in death.

The spirit is ephemeral, but the flesh is eternal. A cup of tea. A winter morning. Your cheek against a hairy chest. The wind in dead oak leaves. That electric moment when your ass opens up to receive the cock that's trying to get in there. Turpentine. Bacon. Your own sweat burning your eyes. Falling snow. The Milky Way. Mahler's Kindertodtenlieder. Your heart pounding when you slam on the breaks to avoid hitting a deer. The millionth experience of any of these still smacks of newness. And this must be because it's eternal. Outside of time. Prayer is not as satisfying as oatmeal. A brilliant idea can't keep you warm at night.

Walking my dog in the moonlight, my belly full of roast chicken, the air cold and crisp convinces me of one thing: there is no death. This is forever.

And now, I think I'll have a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup.

Thursday, October 30, 2003

Taking Exception to Exceptionalism

One of the guys I work with is a loudmouth. "They must have their heads in their asses upstairs." That kind of thing. "Upstairs" refers to the management. His outbursts are generally greeted with silence, or, "Yeah, well, what are ya gonna do?"

The guy works lots of overtime. Yesterday, he came in early, at 5 a.m., driving all the way up from Willow Grove. He worked late, went home to have dinner, and then came back in worked from eight until eleven, and was back in the saddle at 6 a.m. this morning.

I've been that guy. I used to be that guy. Once, when I was working for a lawfirm in Philadelphia, I was the star. No one put in overtime like I did. And we didn't even get paid for it, oddly enough. But I thought that made me untouchable. So I could do what I want and say what I want. Once, when staff morale was alarmingly low (mostly due to my efforts), a meeting was convened with the managing partner of the firm. He asked what the problem was. There was silence all around. I piped up.

"Well, the salaries are ridiculously low. I could be making more as an assistant manager at Burger King. I mean, have you thought about hiring more high school students or retirees or a more readily exploitable group?"

Salaries were low. My starting salary was $15,000. The managing partner coolly responded that he was making every effort to get more money for raises for all of us. When raises were announced, I didn't get one. My review read 'Unsatisfactory.'

So you see, management would rather have a clockwatcher who is easy to work with than a pain in the ass.

I don't mean to be a pain in the ass. Around the coffee maker, everyone was saying the same things I was. But I thought that somehow the rules that applied to everyone else (getting to work on time, being appropriately dressed, not making personal phone calls...) didn't apply to me.

Well, they do. Exceptions aren't made.

Today, the loudmouth guy mentioned that among his complaints was the fact that he was supposed to have gotten a performance review in August but was still waiting.

That spoke volumes. I can hear them now. "Oh hell, I don't want to have to deal with that sarcastic asshole." And to the bottom of the pile he goes.

Nope. Not me. Not this time around. I'm Dutch. I do good work. I give it my all. I do my best. I'm a nice guy. The other guys I work with like me. When asked, I offer suggestions that I hope will be helpful to management. Because from me never is heard a discouraging word, when I do speak up--and it's rare--my opinions are taken very seriously. I let them know in subtle ways that I need the money. I'm not doing charity work here. I expect to be well compensated. I work hard and I expect to get paid for it.

Y'see, in between the law firm and now, I was a boss. I was, in fact, the top boss. And I had a loudmouth working on my staff. There was not a single decision I made that he didn't question, if not mock to my face. A few times, I wanted to fire him. But I didn't. In part because other members of the management team prevailed on me not to, but mostly due to the fact that some of what he had to say was valuable, and I saw so much of myself in him. But eventually I got rid of him. I let him know that there was no promotion, and no big salary increase coming his way. He got the message, and got out himself, heading out to Arizona to attend school to become a motorcycle mechanic. Was he good at his job? Excellent. And it was a really hard job. He was dedicated and devoted and cared a lot about the work we were doing. But you know what? He was replaced by someone who was dedicated and devoted and who cared a lot about the work we were doing, and who wasn't an asshole.

With age comes wisdom. You're not the exception to the rule, because there are no exceptions to the rule.


When I went out to take Faithful Companion for a walk tonight, I heard voices. When I got to the end of the driveway, I saw what was up. A bunch of kids and a couple of adults were hurling rolls of toilet paper over the streetlight at the corner.

It's Mischief Night!

For the uninitiated, Mischief Night is the night before Hallowe'en. The elements of Mischief Night are as follows: toilet paper, soap. Toilet paper is used to decorate, soap is used to soap windows. When I was a lad, "I am totally going to get your house on Mischief Night" were fightin' words. The only respectable reply was, "Yeah, and while you're getting my house, I am going to be getting yours."

It was heartwarming to see that the tradition continues. And what audacity! The corner of Tollgate and Ferry Roads where the now festooned streetlight sits is where the Plumstead Township Chief of Police lives. Then I realized something. The biggest perpetrator of mischief on October 30th I knew as a kid was the police chief's brother. Those were probably the police chief's kids out there.

It was equally heartwarming that I'm sort of out of the game. I doubt anyone will be soaping our windows or 'decorating' the trees in the lawn with toilet paper, so I won't have to spend time this weekend cleaning it up.


Another day at work. And it went great. Banter with the guys in the finishing room. Bonding with some of the guys. My work continues to impress.

It's so cool. I feel like I never had a job before. Not a real job. The other things I did for money were basically play-acting, pretending to do things. Making up things to occupy your time. This is so real.

I feel like I've joined some special fraternity, some brotherhood. Joe Lunchbucket. I'm one of the guys that Bruce Springsteen wrote all of those songs about. We're guys who work. Most of the vehicles in the employee lot are trucks. With National Rifle Association stickers on the back windows. We like beer. We like weekends. We're the backbone of America. We're what makes this country great.

There may be woe and trouble in the great wide world, there may be war and uncertaintly, the world may be a ball of confusion, but we know one thing for certain: we do damn good work. We work hard. Sometimes, break a sweat hard. We bust our asses.

It's amazing when the bell sounds indicating that a break or lunch, and everyone stops what they're doing, just drops whatever tool is in his hands and heads out. If it's lunch, we head to the timeclock and punch out. We sit. We grab coffee from the break room. We step outside to smoke in the parking lot. We sit in our trucks and read the paper. The tne bell sounds again and it's back to work. Back to busting our asses. It's poetic. Like in a boxing match when the bell rings and fight ceases. And there's an air of contest about the whole thing. But it's a team sport, shared struggle.

I stopped at Starbucks after work today. I was wearing my Carharrt carpenter pants. My flannel shirt was blotched here and there with maple stain I was working with today. There was a fine wood dust all over me. "Yeah, I've just put in a hard days' work. Did an hour of overtime." Can you blame me if I had a certain swagger?

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Report to the Central Commissariat of the Communist Party Regarding the State of the Proletariat Employed by the Woodworking Industry in Doylestown, Pennsylvania: They're Hot!!!


What a day! What a great day to turn 39.

I started out my second day at work today sanding. Then, just after the morning break, I was moved to the finishing department. I was a little bit leary of this. A few times before, painting has triggered an outbreak of my vasculitis. I worried that the fumes in the finishing department would do the same.

Nightingale was my mentor and guide to all things Finishing. He showed me the basics, and set me to work on some simple cabinet doors. By the end of the day, I was doing the really complicated cabinets and wall units. Like a pro. Nightingale was pretty impressed. He couldn't believe that I had never done this before.

And that's true and not true. My grandfather (today would be his birthday, too, as we were born on the same day, sixty years apart) was a painter. I've occasionally joked that paint flows through these veins. At a very young age, I was instructed in how to cut in at the corners, use a roller, and paint a window frame without tape or the need to remove paint from the glass with a razorblade afterwards.

Put applying stain was a new application of these skills. Wipe on, smoothly and evenly, and then wipe off. The stain we were working with was pretty forgiving, but nonetheless, I did a pretty good job. At one point, the Production Manager was back in the finishing area. I heard him comment to Nightingale, "Looks like we've got a pretty good finisher."

Replied Nightingale, "A very good finisher."

And another interesting thing happened. Mine and Nightingales paths have crossed. We went to the same high school, although he was graduated two years ahead of me. I put this together first.

Y'see, I remember Nightingale. I think it was on the last day of class for seniors during my sophomore year. Nightingale was one of the guys that I would look for in the hallways and think of while I compulsively masturbated when I got home. And there he was, a damn hot high school senior, jubilant at having been sprung form the prison that was Central Bucks High School East. Better believe that Nightingale fueled many a masturbatory fantasy.

So Nightingale has one of those cell phones that take pictures. And today, he showed me pictures he had stored on his phone. Of his grandson. Who's four months old.


Nightingale has been great about showing me the ropes. I'd like to offer some gesture to thank him. Like buying him a bottle of scotch. Or maybe getting a gift for his grandson. Or letting him bend me over one of those cabinets we're working on, spit lube his dick, and plow me so hard I forget my name. (Given the Dutch thing, that wouldn't be too hard.)

And another thing. Tonight in welding, in a brief two hours, I completed my project. The firewood rack is done. I set it up in the dining room to surprise my father. I think he was pretty impressed.

This is so cool! I'm sort of becoming a blue collar renaisance man: he does cabinetry! he does welding! What's next? Perhaps I'll learn how to drive the Big Rigs!

Life is good.

Anyway, I had insomnia last night, so I'm dead tired. Five thirty in the morning is coming up quick, so I'm off to bed.


Tuesday, October 28, 2003


And tomorrow is my birthday. I'll be 39 years old.

Thirty-eight has sure been interesting.

I left the stable comfy job where I was well-compensated but bored and took a chance and a paycut to go for some excitement. This turned out to be a disaster. I parted ways with my employer six months later, and said hello to want and penury.

After writing my blog for six months, I decided to write a book. It came pretty easily, just flowing off the page. And then it became a struggle. At about that time, after the umpteenth "You're such a good writer, you ought to be getting paid for your writing" email, I sent a letter proposing a column to Gay City News. The editor--whom I've known for years--did not deign to give me a response.

I set my sites on getting a slave. And what do you know? A man who wants to be my slave presents himself! He seems serious and eager. We set a date and time to meet, and he stood me up. And then he did it again. And then he did it again. But still assured me that he was eager and serious. I told him to let me know when he could make the trip down to meet me, and I would make myself available. I'm still waiting. Thus, I conclude, boys lie. I'm so much more tentative about those "Are you looking to collar, Sir?" emails I get.

And then, to prove that when you go jumping off that cliff, you land somewhere very unexpected, my whole life changed. My father wanted me to--imagine!--abandon my life and my apartment and my playspace in New York City/Beautiful Downtown Jersey City and to move back to Bucks County. And so I did. And things have turned out great.

So 38 was all about Trust, wasn't it?


Things will turn out alright. It'll be fine. Despite all the 'Holy Shit What Do I Do Now?' experiences, it will be okay.

Hello, 39!


And memo to PunchPig:

I packed my lunch. It was a good move. Most people pack their lunches. Since we only get a half hour for lunch, there's not enough time to run out anywhere. The only other alternative is a lunch truck serving dirtwater dogs that shows up. So cool.

Working Stiff

Oh yeah. It was great. Everything I hoped it would be.

D'ja ever have the experience when you start a new job, and on the first day, they're not quite sure what to do with you, so they have you do something like putting file folders in alphabetical order or data entry or cleaning up the desk that will be yours? And it's so soothing and relaxing to do that compared with the anxieties of the challenges facing you that you wish you could just do whatever mundane task you're doing?

Well... that was my day! Only the thing I was doing is my job!

I watched a safety video (of course I took notes; like I'm gonna remember Lock Down/Tag Out procedures or the difference between Permissable Exposure Level (PEL) and Threshhold Limit Value (TLV) and the signs of over-exposure to paint thinner?), filled out my W-2 form and my I-9, and then I met the guys, including the production manager, and Sweeney sans Nightingales, my mentor and guide, and the other guys in the group I was working with, most of whose names begin with the letter 'J.'

Sans Nightingales was, in fact, pretty woofy. What a gut on that man. Looks like he's carrying twins. Maybe triplets. And then I was shown how to do sanding. I was good at sanding. I brought the first few pieces that I sanded to Nightingale or J #1, and heard critiques along the lines of "Perfect" and "Flawless." In my time as the executive director of a non-profit agency and chief-of-staff to a member of the New York State Senate, did I ever hear "Perfect" and "Flawless" used to describe my work? No. No I did not.

And I get paid money to do this?

The whistle blew, and I introduced myself to more people during the ten minute mid-morning break. Oh. A weird thing. For no apparent reason, I told people, "Call me 'Dutch.' Everybody else does. In fact, only one person on the planet calls me Dutch, and that's Sweetheart Sir. Y'see, my handle on Leather Navigator is 'Dutch.' My handle used to be 'BDSMguyNNJ,' but after a couple of people came up to me and said, aren't you BM-man-New Jersey and I responded 'what the fuck are you talking about, fella?' I decided to change it. So I picked dutch. Dutch is one letter away from Butch, and it was Ronald Reagan's nickname, too. So now, I'm Dutch. At work anyway. In a way, this was smart. When I run into someone while Christmas shopping at the Montgomeryville Mall and someone comes up to me and says, "Hey Dutch! How's it going?" I'll know they're from work. But in the first half of the day, people would say, "Hey Dutch, let me show you how this works" and it would take me a minute to respond. In the second half of the day, I over-corrected and answered to anything anyone said. I'll work that out. I hope.

I've never had a nickname, but I always secretly wanted one. Everybody got nicknames my freshman year of college. Except me. I hung out with Hoagie, John D. Freshman, Snap, Moose, Smitty, and a bevy of others, but no nickname thrown at me stuck.

So now, I'm Dutch.

Luckily, in my group, there was a guy that nobody liked, and he sort of provided an example of What Not To Do. The other guys consider him a Walker. He's always off taking a bathroom break or getting a drink of water or whatever. So I will not be a Walker. Unluckily, late in the day I bonded with this guy. He broke the ice as we were both working at the same sanding table by asking, "So, do you ride?"

Yes! He scores! "Ride" as in "Ride a motorcycle." I've got that 'Rides a motorcycle' mystique! How cool is that? I explained 'Not yet,' because I made a promise to my father that I wouldn't until he shuffles off this mortal coil.

But then ice was breakin' all over the place. I played the Yeah-I-was-in-New-York-City-during-September-11th card with Sans Nightingales. Worked like a charm.

And here's another thing. The Management People were coming over to where I was working all day long and asking how things were going. Now, maybe they do this to all the new employees, but I like to think that it's just because they have great hopes and plans for me.

I like to think this because... well... I have big hopes and plans for me. I want to be The Guy. Uh oh. They're getting backed up in Hardware. Let's send Dutch over there till they get caught up. We need to get this guy trained on the Router; let's ask Dutch to work with him for a while. Dang, they want a Bleach White finish on this. I can never remember how that works. Is Dutch around?

I totally want to be The Guy. They have an 'Employee of the Month' plaque inside the front door. The countdown begins. How long before Dutch's name graces the Employee of the Month plaque? Gimme nine months at least.

And after work, I had a latte and a cigar at Starbucks. I saw the Vice President, who hired me come around the corner and head into the store. Yikes! I froze. Say 'hi?' Could be awkward. I buried my face in my book.

So much for my '30s Communist delusions! Not with my patrician ways!

Ah well.

After Starbucks came a great workout at the gym. Then home to make Tuna Noodle Surprise for me and my father.

I'm likin' this.

Monday, October 27, 2003

Tomorrow is the First Day of the Rest of Your Life!


I shall write but briefly while I drink my nice warm mug of L-Triptophan rich Ovaltine. Cuz then, I gotta get to bed. Early day tomorrow. Tomorrow I become a Cabinetry Finisher. Wearing my Wescos and Safety Glasses (Huh... Interesting how along with most of the trappings of blue collar men--boots, carharrts, utility belts and the like--no one has ever fetishized that absolute essential: safety glasses), I go to my new job. I packed a lunch, and packed a gym bag for after work, and I'm good to go.

Tonight in Welding Class, I did some home repairs. A couple of decades ago, my father had constructed this device for splitting firewood. It's basically a steel spike that attaches to a length of pipe. The pipe telescopes down on a steel rod welded onto a broad base. So you can position the spike where you want to split the log, and drive it in with a sledge hammer. Basically, it holds the spike in place while you strike it, eliminating the possibility of the Three Stooges routine built around the key phrase, "Okay, when I nod my head, you hit it."

Anyway, the piece of steel plate that attaches the wedge to the pipe broke after years and years of use. Tonight, I welded it back together. First, I cleaned the thing up with the grinder, and then, I ground down both parts to form a trough along the weld edge on both sides. Then, using a 6013 electrode, I welded the thing back together.

The instructor's comments upon looking at the finish product were as follows: "Beautiful bead. Penetration is perfect. It's better than it was when it was new. Good job."

Folks, lemme tell ya: I can weld.

Damn can I weld!

I started in on the firewood rack, too. I was pressed for time and rushing, so the welds were not as aesthetically pleasing as I would have liked, but they're good and strong. If things go as smoothely on Wednesday, I'll have finished up the firewood rack and have time to spare. Maybe I'll turn my attention to learning TIG (Tungsten Inert Gas) Welding, used for stainless steel and aluminum. Or, maybe I'll make myself a nice pair of shackles. Shackles are actually a pretty easy project. All you need are a couple of lenghts of pipe and some chain. (What do you know, I happen to have about 150 pounds of chain!) Be fun to see the expressions on the faces of my fellow students when in reply to their questions about what I'm working on, I smile and say, "Shackles."

Class is winding down, so I might as well go out with a bang, right?

So I can weld.

And tomorrow I'll find out if I can do finishing.

Hey! I just realized something! It's another 'W'! Months ago, I blogged about how I was going to pursue career paths starting with 'W' such as Welder, Writer, and Whore. (I failed miserably at 'whore.') Well, 'Woodworker' starts with a 'W,' too!

Woodworker, Welder, Writer. I'm looking forward to putting that down on my 1099s.

Sunday, October 26, 2003

Had a great day in Philadelphia today with the Baron. Despite what I'm now willing to admit is a headcold, it was sweet delight hanging out with him and talking a blue streak as we are prone to do in each other's company. The Baron met me at Market East Station when my train got in, then we headed to his fav coffee place, La Colombe. I have to admit, it really is absolutely the best coffee I've ever had in my entire life. It's the Yorkshire Gold of coffee! We talked for a while there, then headed over to Rittenhouse Square to finish up. Then, it was off to an Episcopal Church on Locust Street (St. Mark's maybe?) to hear a program of works by Ned Rorem. The music was okay. Nothing really floored me. My cat of many years who shuffled off this mortal coil a month after my sister did was named Ned after Mr. Rorem. I didn't do the naming. I inherited Ned from a friend of mine in Philadelphia who had a job that was taking him to South America for long stretches at a time. During the music, I thought about Ned the cat while listening to the music of Ned the composer, his namesake.

This reminded me that there is a CD I want to buy: when I had eggs and tea with Diabolique on Wednesday night, he described how he had been haunted by a piece of music: Elgar's Enigma Variations. I wasn't familiar with it, but wanted to be. So we headed over to Borders to buy me a CD. Then, it was off for dinner. The first choice was an italian restaurant called Spasso down on Second Street. We walked all the way down there to find that they were closed for a private party. The second choice was the Baron's favorite chinese restaurant, a cantonese place in Chinatown. Cool. Given my mucous situation (swimming in it!), something brothy was much more to my tastes. The soup I had was good, but the entree was awful, a casserole thing made from duck bones, gizzards, enormous pieces of ginger, and other suspect items that I thought were vegetable but that the Baron was certain were innards of some sort.

After dinner, we went to a great place (when in Philadelphia, don't miss...) called More Than Just Ice Cream. I had a celebratory piece of pumpkin pie.

While there, I saw a familiar face from the last time I lived in Philadelphia thirteen years ago: an insane Irishman. It's so strange how I never see anyone I recognize. What happened to the big guy who was always flagging yellow left and right at the Bike Stop? What happened to the steel grey haired muscle guy who once shattered my self esteem at Woody's? What happened to Gregory of Fort Lauderdale, who got fired from the GAP when it was determined that his skull rings were not sufficiently "GAP or GAP-like attire"? What happened to the big, beautiful butch leatherman who had me take a belt to his back? Where are these guys?

Well, in this day and age, questions like that are a little depressing to contemplate. I'll tell myself they're all having a hell of a time in Palm Springs. Except Steel Gray Hair guy. He's rotting away in a Turkish prison in the wake of getting caught with hash going through customs. He used to get gang raped by all the other prisoners nightly, but the tertiary syphillus has made him pretty rebarbative.

But, we wound down the evening at the Westbury. The Westbury used to be my home bar. There was this bartender there. I'll use his real name, because if anyone has any knowledge of his whereabouts, I'd be keenly interested to hear. His name was Ron. Ron always paid me a lot of attention. I though Ron was hot stuff. But, because he was such a hot man (hairy, beer gut, beard) and I had terrific self-esteem problems, I was sure he was way out of my league. I thought Ron gave beer to all of his customers for free. I would sit there at the bar just staring at him. One night, Ron drove me home after he got off shift. We sat there awkwardly in the car outside of my apartment. I didn't ask him upstair, terrified of rejection. Ron moved into an apartment across the street from me not long before I moved to NYC.

Uh huh.

After I moved, Ron spilled to the Baron that he totally had the hots for me, but thought that I was way out of his league.

Ain't love grand? I could be planting spring bulbs in the garden of the house I share with Ron, my lover of almost two decades, right now!

Anyway, it seems the tradition of hot bartenders for me to moon over at the Westbury continues: very toothsome man pouring this evening.

I'll be back.

And I'll be forward.

But at 10:10 pm, my carriage was turning into a pumpkin, so I had to hustle back to Market East Station to catch my train home.

By the way, any recommendations for a cold remedy that absolutely positively won't leave me dopey for my first day at work? And puh-leeeeeze, don't say Echinacea or Tea Tree oil or whatever, both clinically proven to do not a damned thing. We're talkin' drug store purchases here. Although I'll probably get some Cold-Eeze with Zinc. Proven benefit there to lessen the duration and severity of the common cold. Actually, they've known that about zinc for a long time, but the innovation there was putting it into a palatable form, apparently no mean feat when you're talkin' about zinc.

Well, time to take my dog out for a walk in the torrential downpour. The things we do for love...


I realized something as I was driving back from Philadelphia last night: he's not out there. Well, let me be clear, if he's out there, he's not on worldleathermen or Leather Navigator and I haven't run into him at either the Bike Stop or the Raven. By 'him' I'm referring to the Dad I've been hoping for, the Dad that lives within 90 miles of me, a big, bearded, cigar smoking Dad looking for a trophy boy like me to wear his collar.

It could be that I just haven't stumbled upon him yet.

It could be that he actually lives in Florida. (This would be great, although the distance would be an issue.)

It could be that I haven't found him yet because he is a creature of my imagination, and any man I meet will fall short of my expectations. I don't think this is the case, though, because I've met men like him (Hi, Glenn! Hi, Mark!), so I know they're out there in the world.

But one thing is for certain, looking for him as I've been doing is a waste of time. I'm not gonna find him. Better to bloom where I'm planted. Focus on my new job, focus on all the work to do around here. Focus on the welding. Focus on meeting locals for friendship. Focus on setting up playdates with the hot men who do cross my path. Focus on spending time with the Baron in Philadelphia, keeping in contact with the people I love in NYC, and getting out to visit old friends of mine in Reading.

Hurts? Yeah, it hurts. Damn. Is it too much to ask? Well, it's a lot to ask, that's for sure. He doesn't have to be perfect, that's for sure. I'm not looking for perfection. But I am looking for a man whose imperfections line up nicely with mine. Special Guy is such a man. *sigh* The Love of my Life So Far.

Anyway. Gotta get to bed. Big day tomorrow in Philadelphia with the Baron.

Saturday, October 25, 2003

Dad is on to me!

So yesterday, while I'm hauling my various gear bags out to my car and my father says, "You sure have a lot bags. You have more bags than any guy I've ever seen."

Whoa! Dad has spotted my bag fetish? Not that I make a secret of it. I can't turn down a good bag. A bag with lots of compartments. Backpacks. Messenger bags. Satchels. These cool little rectangular bags with shoulder straps that REI outfitters makes. Duffel bags.

What drives this? Simple. I'll see a bag, and I'll think, "That's it! That's the bag! It's got a compartment for my Palm Pilot, for my iPod, for my cell phone, for my journal, for my checkbook, and for whatever book I'm reading. Why if I buy this bag, I'll be able to organize my whole life! I'll be an organized person. I'll have it all together.

"Get together so I can whip you? Sure! Let me retrieve my Palm from my bag--which will take just a second because it's handy right here in my bag with the other life-organizing things that I always have with me in this great bag--and we'll figure out when we can make this happen!"

So I'll buy a bag, and I'll be sure that I've found the perfect bag. And then, I realize that it doesn't have quite enough room for me to stow my gym stuff. Or whatever. And the search for the perfect bag continues.

But let me tell you, when it comes to a gear bag for my S/M stuff, I have found the perfect bag. There is no better bag. It's a bag that I bought at J&M Uniform and Supply in Alllentown, Pennsylvania. It's designed for EMS workers. We are talking compartments. Compartments out the wahzoo. All the compartments I could need. And the heavyweight durable construction in black canvas means that my whips, floggers, restraints, and such are protected.

I think if I ever worked in a luggage store, it would be as bad for me as it is for Tim working at All About Throw Pillows.

So how was your big date, Stud?

Let me tell ya, it was really cool.

There was no flipping of the quarter. it was all about me on Top. And I was way cool with that. Wax Dad (as we'll call him) is hotter than he is on the internet! Isn't that a marvel? He showed me his dungeon, which was really magnificent. Except for the hot water heater, his basement is all dungeon. And had all the comforts of... well... a guy's dungeon. His sling and cross were on loan, so it was the fuck bench and the bondage table that we had to work with. While Wax Dad finished up getting ready, I unpacked, and the scene took shape in my mind.

It would be percussion. I'd bind him straddling the fuck bench in a sitting position. I liked the idea of this big guy bound and at my mercy, with so much of his body vulnerable and available to me. I laid out what I would be needing of the vast array of gear I had packed.

I decided to plug his ass. I'd never done this before in a scene, but Wax Dad had sent me a pic of him taking a fist, so I thought it would be cool. I made sure that Wax Dad would be comfortable on the bench, and that it wouldn't tip over.


Wax Dad came downstairs and unpacked an impressive gear bag of his own, proudly displaying his tools.

I was really impressed. Wax Dad is a serious player.

We repaired upstairs for cigars and conversation. Conversation was good. Really good. And quickly turned into some 'heavy petting.'

Then down to the dungeon.

I put my wrist restraints on Wax Dad, and attached them over his head. I lubed up the big butt plug, and went to work. First, I did a digitation number. Oh man. What a lucious butt. I definitely want some time with Wax Dad's butt at a future time and place. It took some effort, but I got the big butt plug in. Next step was Wax Dad went on the bench.

At this point, the plug turned out to be not such a great idea. Wax Dad pointed out that it was going to be a distraction for him. I could kind of see this. So out came the butt plug.

*****Singletails Dungeon Tip: Y'know those black plastic bags you get with purchases from many leather and fetish stores? Hold on to them! Keep them with your butt toys. When you're done with the toy, just drop it in the bag. That way, you don't have to worry about getting shit on the carpet, or interrupt things while you run it into the bathroom or wherever. And the black plastic bags look cool. So keep some stowed under your bed or in your play space. Always!*****

Okay. So the butt plug wasn't a great idea. Memo to File: Ix-nay on the utt-bay ug-play.

Then I had Wax Dad take a seat on the bench, straddling it. I started in with the ropes. I first roped his ankles so his feet were off the ground. Then I ran rope under his pecs, around his biceps, and across his back. I secured this down to the one of the many eye-hooks on the bench. In one of the always excellent bondage workshops that Peter Boots has done for GMSMA, I learned that it's always best to have the ropes secured so that they're pulling in two or more different direction.

So far, so good. Then I decided to rope off the thighs. Now, up until now, I was feeling like such the skilled rope bondage Top. It was, Hey! Look at me! Patiently and expertly and sensually securing my bottom with my ropes. Who da man? Who da man?!!

And then I started in on the thighs. Y'ever notice how good that feels? Rope around the thighs is a really important element of any bondage scene. So I'm working on the thighs. Under, down through the hole in the bench, over, around, behind, cross... Then I start in on the other side. I was doing the same deal, but somehow I got totally lost. I mean, there were ropes going around each thigh and securing them to the bench, but I ended up with like four ropes going around the left thigh and only one going around the right, and I was out of rope.

Now how did that happen?

So I was thrown a little bit. Enough with the ropes. Let's get to the beating.

I used the SAP gloves, the heavy oil-tanned bullskin flogger (but not in a way that you would use a flogger), and the nightstick.

It was a great scene. Lots of eye contact. Lots of intimacy. I was touching him just about the entire time I was beating him. Wax Dad was verrrrrry responsive. Love that! Very there. With me all the way. Not sure if I left the Big Man with any bruises, but I hope so. His thighs were luscious. So smooth and firm. I beat, I slapped, I bit, I squeezed. Tender brutality. Very sweet.

When things reached the umpteenth crescendo of the scene, we wound down. Upstairs for more cigars. Wax Dad thanked me with an awesome blowjob.

This coming Friday, Wax Dad is going to be participating in a fundraiser (for... Idaknow... some good cause or other) at the Bike Stop. They're doing a Kink Carnival. Patrons of the carnival buy tickets, and they turn in their tickets for a taste of what various Tops are gonna be dishing out. Wax Dad will be doing hot wax. (Given that on, you get points off for the number of candles you have, I think Wax Dad must have a not great score. Hot wax is apparently his big big BIG scene. Cool.) And Wax Dad is gonna see if they're looking for someone to do some flogging, and that someone might be yours truly.

So another good scene.

How good a scene? Well, lemme tell ya, I was good for nought today. It was all about watching television and heating up frozen dinners for sustenance.

This phenomenon, this post-beat'em depression, if you will, is something I'll have to take into consideration in the future. Luckily I had no plans today, so it was fine to have an off day. But I guess it would be best if I scheduled this in the future.

I guess I'm getting old. I'll be 39 on Wednesday after all.

Anyway, don't forget to turn your clocks back. It's daylight savings time.

1x 3x

A reader writes that researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington have found that ejaculating three times a day, not once, is what is really necessary to eliminate antigens and thus reduce the risk of prostate cancer.

I don't like what this reveals about former New York City Mayor and prostate cancer survivor Rudolph W. Giuliani.

"Now that we've kicked alien butt, let's take on the statehouse!"

Yo. I never realized that one of my all time favorite movies, the sadomasochistic and homoerotic Predator, features the future governors of Minnesota and California.

Friday, October 24, 2003

The Big Date

I am very excited. In about 45 minutes, I'm heading south to meet up with this guy I've chatted with on AOL. This big, bearded, cigar smoking guy. Very excited.

What do you pack on a date?

Here's what I'm bringing along...

  • Standard cowskin flogger
  • Soft and thuddy doeskin flogger
  • Thin stranded kangaroo flogger
  • Thuddy elk flogger
  • Braided cat whisper whip
  • Joe Wheeler-made rigid handle signal whip
  • Bernie of Tasmania made blue signal whip
  • wrist restraints
  • About 250 feet of rope
  • Six candles, assorted colors
  • Twelve rolls of vet wrap, assorted colors
  • One role of Saran Wrap
  • Eight rolls of duct tape, assorted colors
  • One leather muzzle
  • One leather bit gag
  • One pair of sap gloves
  • One police issue polycarbonate nightstick
  • One pair handcuffs
  • One leather collar
  • One spritz bottle containing mixture of Hydrogen Peroxide and Witch Hazel
  • 150 lbs of chain
  • 16 keyed-alike padlocks
  • One leather paddle
  • One complete cowskin, dyed black
  • About one hundred clothespins
  • One Omron electric massager
  • One head mounted flashlight
  • One pair of kneepads
  • One white towel
  • One set of industrial clamps
  • One container of J-Lube
  • Six Grenadier cigars
  • Six Dutch Masters cigars
  • My toothbrush

And probably a few other things I'm forgetting about but will toss into my EMS utility bag on my way out the door. Technically, I bring the 150 pounds of chain with me wherever I go--to the supermarket, to the gym, to the Raven, to welding class--not because I'm anticipating chaining anyone up at these various venues, but because it's a pain in the butt to get them in and out of the Jeep.

Hope I win the coin toss!

Santa Saturday Brunch!

Coming to Santa Saturday this year?

Cool! You've made a good decision! As you may or may not know, Santa Saturday is an annual event run by the Bucks M.C., outta right here in Beautiful Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Specifically, it's a Leather/Bear event that goes on during the day at the Cartwheel, a nightclub in New Hope. Haven't decided if you're coming or not? Well perhaps this will persuade you.

I'm living eight miles from the Cartwheel, and if you would like to stop by for the First Annual Santa Saturday Brunch with me and my father, be here about 11 am for a pancake feast! Just the ticket to fuel up for the day's activities.

Come meet my father!
Come meet my dog!
Come meet me!

R.S.V.P. to get directions to the farm. You can do so at Note that there are three R's in drrrew.

Put "Brunch sounds good to me!" or something to that effect in the subject line of the email, so I don't think you're trying to sell me CUTRATE PERSCRIPTIN DRUGS [sic] or give me an opportunity to view HOT PICS OF TANYA HER LITTLE PANTIES CUM OFF!!! and delete your ass.

Hope to see you there.

Once A Day

Click here for a cool article about the benefits of sex over abstinence. (Thanks for the link, girlfag!)

Dental care! Whoddathunk? Y'know the only 'active ingredient' in toothpaste is the Flouride, which is also present in your drinking water if you live in a city. For the most part, there is no medical benefit that we receive from toothpaste. Seminal fluid, on the other hand, apparently whitens and brightens and fights tooth decay!

When I was a gawky teenager (ever notice how teenagers are soooo self conscious that they have no idea how to respond when you say 'hi' to them?), my family doctor, who had brought me into the world, told me to masturbate once a day for good prostate health. Some of the more uptight people I've shared this with (my Ex definitely among them) freaked out about this, impugning lechery to the good doctor. Uh uh. Medical science backs him up!

I was thinking this morning that sex seems to be so much more of an Event here in the hinterlands. In NYC, I had the opportunity for a blowjob at least every time I went to my gym. (I usually would pass; for the most part, they were Chelsea boys). But as far as I know, public sex sites have been shut down here in Beautiful Bucks County. So... y'know... you've got to go to a bar, and chat somebody up, and buy him a drink, and make conversation, and pop the question, then follow him in your car back to his place, and meet his dog/roommate/mother, and make more conversation, and then go up to the bedroom... Makes mastrubation look so good by comparison, huh?

Maybe I should check out the bathhouse in Philadelphia. I've never been much of a bathhouse kinda guy. This is based largely on aesthetic, not moral, considerations. And I had a really bad bathhouse experience in Tampa, Florida. I didn't see anybody I liked, and then I did. I sidled up to him and we started talking.

"How's it going?" I asked.
"It's going great, Dude," he answered, "The niggers are down three for three."
I think my response was something along the lines of, "I beg your pardon?"
He elaborated: "That basketball player has AIDS; those cops that beat down that nigger in LA got off, and (I can't remember the third item culled from then-current events that he found to be cause for celebration). He was referring with the first two to Magic Johnson and to the Rodney King verdict.
So, what was I going to do? Sitting there in our towels engage him in a discussion of racism? Call him on it and risk his irrationality and rage? Draw comparisons between racism and heterosexism in the hopes that he'd see the light?
It wasn't one of my proudest moments. I said something like, "I think that's really sick" and the words, "Some of my best friends..." might have crossed my lips as I padded off towards my room to dress and leave.

When I was in college, I would visit an adult book store with glory holes in Reading, Pennsylvania. And when I moved to Philadelphia, I would spend money I didn't have to go to the Sansom Street Theater, not an art house, rather, a venue for pornographic films with a dark room behind the screen.

Later, I discovered Judy Garland Park, down along the Schuykill River.

But nothing in the world compares to the towpath along the Delaware Canal in New Hope. Oh. My. God. It was great. Except for the mosquitoes. Picture 17-year-old me, tall and lanky, wearing a t-shirt with an A in a circle and an earring featuring a little silver man hanging by his foot from the hoop, zeroing in on some guy who probably had a wife and kids at home wondering what was taking him so long to run to Wawa and get cigarets and asking, "Do you have anything you could tie me up with?"

That's what I was after: getting tied up. That and receiving unreciprocated blowjobs. And I found it with a good deal of frequency.

I remember this big friendly dog of a man who was a fireman. A loveable lunk. I think the towpath represented the sum total of his sex life. I once went home with an older gentleman who lived right off the canal, and was sort of startled to see his bedroom chock-full of beaded ball gowns: he was one of the more notable drag queens of New Hope.

And of course, there was the infamous night when what to my wondering eyes should appear but a guy wearing chaps, a harness, and a leather vest, wandering down the towpath. I was on him like white on rice. He was into it, and kept talking about what great hands I had. We went back to his place, and he made his purpose clear: he wanted me to stick one of my great hands up his ass. I complied. He was great about the whole thing, providing me with a latex glove and talking me through it. And our efforts met with success! It was the first time he was able to take a fist, and it was the first time--needless to say--that I had fisted anyone.

I could have used a chat afterwards about fisting. That would have done a lot to relax me. At the time, it felt like no two people in the history of copulation had ever done anything quite like that, and what kind of freaks were we? And it's not like I could raise those concerns with the school nurse or an understanding teacher or my pastor or Dear Abby.

But, alas, the towpath is now lit by kleeg lights, and when I've been in New Hope during the nighttime hours, it's been pretty much deserted save for a few heterosexual tourists, taking a walk in 1800 watt light bright enough for surgery before retiring to whatever bed-and-breakfast they were staying at.

One should not have to work so hard to find a warm body on a cold night. Or a hot night. Or a rainy afternoon for that matter.

I guess the internet has largely replaced the public parks of yore. But that's really not anonymous sex, and it's not public. Public, anonymous sex. That's what I could use a dose of. A.Y.O.R.

All I'm trying to do is reduce my chances of prostate cancer and cavities. Is that so wrong?

Thursday, October 23, 2003


Drove all the way up to the city last night to go to the GMSMA program. It was well worth the trip. Drove up, parked at Hudson and West Fourth, walked to the Center, hit the bathroom, headed up the stairs, and there they all were.


Wonderful to see everybody. Can't wait to get back there again.

And I think that will work. Get off work at 3:30. Come home. Make dinner for me and my father. Leave at 6pm. Arrive at 7:30. Meeting gets out at 10 pm. Drive home. Walk the dog. Go to bed. Get up for work without too much of a problem the next morning.

After the meeting, Diabolique and I went around the corner to the Village Den for tea and eggs benedict. That was so great. I haven't seen D. since Inferno, when I left him doing his tear down work with no skin on his back before my solitary drive back east. I love him and miss him. He looks wonderful. He was just glowing, talking about the scene he did at the GMSMA dungeon demo and bar night on Saturday night, how this guy came up to him and said, "Do you have a boy, Sir?" and how he and the potential boy candidate are meeting up to talk about that some.

I think both of us were taking pains (what a phrase to use when talking about Diabolique! lol!) not to interrupt each other, but we hadn't talked for so long, that both of us were just about gushing.

Okay okay okay. I love it here in Bucks County. It's beautiful. I love being here with my dad. Chasing deer with my dog. Meeting new people. Being a big hit at the Bike Stop. Sitting at Starbucks in Doylestown smoking cigars and eavesdropping on the conversations of the delinquent teens.

But I miss New York City. I miss the community there. I miss the men. I miss my friends. I miss being a known quantity. I miss not having to explain myself. I miss Diabolique. I miss GMSMA.

Gotta go split some wood now.


I am at sixes and sevens.

Gotta date tomorrow night with a guy I've corresponded with on AOL. He had a really nothing screen name. Like, 'Man145' or something. When I opened up his profile, I expected to find that he didn't have a profile. That was not the case. Flogging, whipping, fisting, beard, cigars, cross, sling.

We talked on the phone last night.

So Friday night, I'm gonna drive down there to where he lives in northeast Philadelphia. We're gonna have a beer and smoke a cigar and smell each other. Then if we decide to play, we're gonna flip a quarter to see who tops who.

I hope I win that coin toss. I am totally in Top mode. All of a sudden.

Flog him. Whip him. Bind him. Fuck him. Beat him. Chain him. Unload my piss up his asshole. Make him bleed. Make him howl. Make him cry. Feel his tongue through my boot leather. See my arm disappear up his ass to the elbow. Feel his heartbeat inches from my fist. Give him my spit. Give him my ripe pits. Give him my sweaty balls. Have him feast on my asshole. Have him oh his knees, collared, at my feet, eyes wide with terror and awe and love. Get his face slick with my spit. Enjoy a cigar while he sucks on my pierced tits as though he was after an antidote to some deadly poison he had swallowed. Pound my cock into him, slapping my balls against his lucious butt, all the way in, and watch that rosebud quiver and pucker, then drive home again. Mark him. Black and blue and red.


So what's up with that? What happened to, I-want-a-Dad?

Damned if I know.

Well, maybe I do know.

He is one hot fucker. Damn is he hot. And I like him. I want to connect with him. I want us to dissolve into each other. Have out two become One. That's the goal here. That's the desire.

But I don't know how to make that work from the bottom. But I sure know how to make that work from the Top.

He's the real deal. No "I'm-pretty-new-to-all-of-this-Sir-are-you-good-with-first-timers?". (Although I like that. A lot.)

Pig. Dad. Bottom. Top. All right there in one big, hairy package.

Can't wait till tomorrow night.

"Where're you going?"
"Got a date tonight, Dad."
"Who with?"
"A guy in Philadelphia."
"How'd you meet him?"
"Well... I haven't yet. First date. Checking each other out."
"You're gonna miss the game."
"I know."
"So you'll be home late?"
"If things go well I will. The dog is walked, so he should be fine."
"Alright. Drive safe. See you tomorrow."
"I will, Dad. See you tomorrow."

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Man of Steel

In my welding class, for the past several sessions, I've been digging a likely piece of steel out of the scrap bin. Then, I slice it into thirds or quarters using the oxy-acetylene torch (I'm pretty good at brazing, as the cutting process is known, usually making the cuts with little slag and in a nice straight line), and then I weld the pieces back together again, employing different types of joints. After my venture into MIG, I'm all about stick welding. Stick is quirky. It's official name is Shielded Metal Arc Welding, or S.M.A.W., and it's called 'stick' for one of two reasons: either because the electrode you use is a fourteen inch long stick of metal with a coating of flux, or because of the propensity of the electrode to attach itself to what you're welding. In other words, the stick sticks.

I'm still finding my way. I'm getting to know the properties of the various electrodes available to us, the amperage that each one likes, the welds for which they're best suited. Make no mistake, if welding was Moby Dick, I'd be up to the part that reads, "Call me Ishmael."

But I've decided to do a Project. I'm going to make something. Not a gibbet. Not a set of shackels. No, I'm building a rack for firewood. The rack will go outside the backdoor. I'll fill the rack from the various piles of wood that I'm splitting, and from the rack, I'll keep the woodbox next to the fireplace stocked. The design I came up with is fairly simple. The base is in two pieces, each piece consisting of two 'feet' made from 1 1/4 square tubes of steel connected by a five foot long length of steel 1/4 inch thick and two inches long. These will be placed parallel to form the base. The two sides resemble a ladder with only two rungs. The verticals are one inch square tubes and the 'rungs' are more of the two inch wide 1/4 inch lengths of steel, cut to about a foot long. The ladder-like sides will telescope into the feet on the base, so you've got a rack with a bottom and two sides. It will measure 5'x5'x5'. That should be enough wood for at least a week.

So I'm making something out of steel. I'm making something practical and useful. And, if I do say so myself, pretty well designed. Elegant, even: sturdy but easily disassemblable. I've got some other ideas for things I'd like to build: a frame to hold the birdfeeders outside the picture window in the back yard. A frame to keep my butcher block cutting boards in place. And a nice set of shackels.

Now I have something to save my quarters for: a welding machine. I can probably get a refurbished one for about $800. My father has a two car garage, and only one car gets parked in there. I can set up a welding shop out there.

I've got plans, I tell ya'! Big plans!

We'll see. The best laid plans, as they say. And remember, I'm only up to "Call me Ishmael." But maybe one day, I'll be the guy I want to become: the Man of Steel. Whipsman, welder, writer. And since steel is pretty much eternal, there, outside the backdoor, will be the rack for firewood I built way back when I was just struggling to keep my eye on the weld bead.

Achingly Beautiful

What must the first European explorers of this New World have thought when they saw their first September and October in the northern colonies? Nothing in their deforested homelands could have prepared them for the Fall of the leaves.

Bucks County is sublime right now. You can have your Sienna. You can have your Schwarzwald. You can have your Provence. In the morning, the air is cool and dewey, traces of fog at the edges of the fields, and the trees are ablaze. Brilliant red maples, irridescent yellow birches, even the subtle shades of brown on the oak trees are just magnificent.

In New York City, the only way to really judge the season is for the most part by the clothes you wear. A tank top becomes a flannel shirt becomes a fall jacket becomes an overcoat. This unearthy beauty will be washed into winter colors: the deep green of the conifers, the rich gold of winter wheat fields, the oak leaves with us till spring, a reddish-brown that has always reminded me of dried blood, and here and there, from bittersweet, from witch hazel, from holly... some shock of bright color. Along the River Road, icecicles cling to the bedrock outcroppings, growing massive during the cold months and persisting sometimes until May. During cold winters, icefloes choke the Delaware. There is something absolutely transcendent about the way frost glistens on a fallow field under the pure clear light of a full moon.

Love it here.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Lawyers: A Rant

What is it about lawyers?

(My profuse apologies to any among the readership of Singletails who happen to be lawyers, but somehow I doubt that there are any, as I like all the readers I've met.)

It's just eerie. As a rule, they tend to be incomplete people. There's no there there. They can't hold a conversation, they just make assertions. They don't ask questions. They don't have much in the way of interests or a life or whatever. They're socially awkward. And they are absolutely devoid of anything that remotely resembles passion. Sometimes, they're quirky, but not in a way that's interesting, and you get the idea that they thought they ought to do something quirky to express the individuality that they ought to have but don't, and so they'll latch onto something that they think is quirky but isn't. For example, "I only wear Brooks Brothers white Oxford shirts! Every day! That's all I wear!" or "I love Tex Mex food! I've eaten in Tex Mex restaurants in every city I've visited! Even Rome! Ask me where the good Tex Mex food is, and chances are, I'll know!" or "I've read so many books about the Lost Civilisation of Atlantis! It's really incredible! Did you know the Atlanteans invented the battery and used them and they were also really spiritual?"

The next time you're struggling to make conversation with someone, and they come out with something fatuous like that, say, "You're a lawyer, arent' you?" and watch them whither when you guess their secret. It's like werewolves and silver bullets.

There's a big Chicken-and-Egg issue here. Do people like that become lawyers, or does it happen to you in law school? In other words, are lawyers born or made?

I've known a few exceptions to the rule. Interesting, articulate, warm people who somehow ended up as lawyers. Usually, they were non-traditional lawyers. I knew one woman who went to law school at night while she was raising her kids. It took her years, but she passed the bar, and became a really well respected environmental lawyer. She's deft, had a really great sense of humor, took nothing too seriously, and enjoyed what she did. But for every one of her, there's a million Linda's. Linda was a lawyer I worked with in New York. Her husband lived in Philadelphia. He was also a lawyer. Every weekend--that's every weekend, mind you--he would take the train up, and they would spend the weekend seeing shows on Broadway.

Well, what's wrong with that? You might ask, a weekend of Broadway shows sounds rather pleasant.

No. You don't understand. It wasn't like they sat down and said, "Sweetheart, what shall we see this weekend?" Uh uh. Every weekend they would see Phantom, Les Mis, and Cats. Got that? Every weekend. Phantom, Les Mis, and Cats. Fifty-two weekends a year. Phantom, Les Mis, and Cats. Phantom, Les Mis, and Cats. Phantom, Les Mis, and Cats. Phantom, Les Mis, and Cats. Phantom Les Mis and Cats. phantomlesmisandcats.


Her attempt at quirkness: "I love Broadway! I've seen Les Mis 268 times!"

I knew one lawyer whose quirky trait was nymphomania. Which could be fine, but you got the idea that she just slept with lots of men (a few every weekend, always when she was traveling on business, the maintenance staff who cleaned the office) just so she'd have a quirky thing to say ("I sleep with guys all the time! I had sex just now at lunch!") and not because she took much pleasure in it.

"First thing we do..."

Think I'll go on down to the well tonight...

I'm heading out to the Raven tonight.

Because I can.

Henceforth and in perpetuity, I won't be able to go out on a weeknight. Not when I have to be up at 5:30 the following morning. But I'm not expecting too much. I mean, it's the Raven. I'll be the only guy there with facial hair. I'll be the only guy there smoking cigars. I'll be the only guy there that I want to sleep with. It's not gonna happen for me at the Raven.

Well, it might. I mean, I met this unbelievably hot man (bigger mustache than me even!) who took me back to his room and punched my kitten royally, but he was from way outta town (Edge's town, in fact), and zeroed in on me because--whaddya know!--I was the only cigar smoking man with facial hair in the place. (Heh heh heh.)

So something like that might happen again. But probably not. So I'm going to watch Game Three of the World Series, have a beer, smoke a few cigars, and fend off inquiries from the Tim's of the world.

But ya never know.

Pay to Play

Just to fill you all in on what's happening in Philadelphia and Bucks County politics...

Tonight I watched the debate between incumbent Philadelphia mayor John Street and his Republican challenger, Sam Katz. The big topic was what has become euphemistically known as the "Federal Investigation." Two weeks ago, a listening device was discovered in the mayor's office. The Mayor's campaign at first complained to the Katz campaign, demanding to know what they knew about it. The local FBI office piped up and said, "Uh, we planted that bug." Mayor Street, it seems, is the subject of an investigation. He has turned over computers, his bank records, and those of his wife and his son. Previously, there have been scandals (keep in mind the guy has only been in office for three and a half years) involving contracts to serve the sports stadium that went to his brother, millions of dollars in forgiven parking tickets, and a few other irregularities.

Bad news for any candidate, right?

Not in Philadelphia. Mayor Street is stronger in the polls.

Because sympathy akin to the popular reaction to the OJ Simpson verdict is way too depressing to comtemplate, I have another theory.

Sam Katz, who seems to be a very decent man, is doing his best to turn this election into a referendum on the Pay or Play culture of Philadelphia politics. In this town, if you want anything done, you've got to pay off the right person, making the right contribution to whoever's campaign warchest, that kind of thing. It's really all pervasive. Want your street plowed in the winter? Does your city council member have you listed as a donor? It's really that pervasive.

And I think that's what's going wrong for Sam Katz. The good people of Philadelphia are probably wondering, "What guarantee will I have that my street will be plowed this winter?" I mean sure, Pay or Play is whatchamightcall corrupt, but things get done that way. Why make life more complicated with all that good government stuff?

And here in Bucks County there are other interesting things happening in a hot County Commissioner race. Each county in Pennsylvania is run by three commissioners, two from one party, and one from the other party. In Bucks County, we've had two Republican commissioners and one Democrat commissioner for a long, long time. With the exception of 1983, when Democrats managed to squeak out a victory by making hay about the construction of a controversial pumping station on the Delaware River. (Abbie Hoffman died in Bucks County while working against the construction of said pumping station.)

This was, in my mind, absolutely deplorable. The pumping station was totally a non-issue. A few local whackos spent a lot of time fear-mongering, conjuring images of our beautiful river resembling the Gobi desert. And, the county commissioners were pretty much out of the picture. There wasn't a lot they could do either way. But the Democrats used it as an issue to get a few people who wouldn't normally go to the polls in an off year to do so, and managed to get four years of power. The pumping station was out, and they were out after one term.

And now, they're trying to do it again. The issue this time is the construction of an annex to our courthouse in Doylestown. The Bucks County Courthouse is actually a pretty magnificent building, constructed in the '60s. It's an elegant, round building sitting in the middle of town, departing from the 18th and 18th Century architecture that surrounds it, but fitting right in all the same. Alas, there's not enough space, so there's been talk of a 'new courthouse.' At first, I was horrified that they were going to raze the current courthouse and build some dumbed down kitchy thing in it's place. But no, they're building an annex. The plan is to raze some of those lovely Victorians to build the annex. An alternate site has been proposed, where a now defunct building that housed a Mrs. Paul's Fishsticks factory used to stand. But, the lawyers and judges would have to walk three blocks up hill to get from the Mrs. Paul's site to the current courthouse, and they'd rather not do that. The place where the Victorian mansions now stand would probably cost two or three times the price of the Mrs. Paul's land.

You get the picture.

The Republican commissioners say we need a new courthouse, a site has been selected, there will be a tax increase to pay for it amounting to about $2.00 per person per year, end of story. But the Democrats... ...are making a coherent argument about historical preservation and broader community planning in the site selection? Well, no. They're attempting to get a referendum on the ballot asking essentially whether the good people of Bucks County will allow the money to be levied to build the thing.

Say what?

Exactly. No one argues with the fact that we need a courthouse. And no one disagrees that it's gonna cost money to build. But the Democrats are arguing that the Republican majority are trying to 'shut out the voice of the people' because they're opposed to having a referendum.

Who knows how this is going to turn out. (They don't exactly do a lot of polling in county commissioner races.) But either way, it's kind of a bust, no?

Monday, October 20, 2003


Imagine a world in which every sexual encounter you've ever had was as satisfying as hot buttered toast.

Just take a minute, close your eyes, and imagine that.

Working Stiff

I got the cabintry job. I'm going to be working with the finishing group, sanding and varnishing. I start on Tuesday, October 28th. This is actually the one year anniversary of when I started my last job, with Boss Sunshine. Hopefully, this job will go much, much, much better than that one did.

The hours are from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday to Friday. That will take some adjusting. It's a whole new ballgame not having to look my best for work. Perhaps I'll forgo my favorite ritual of shaving my head in the mornings while I'm drinking my tea to save time. Hopefully, I'll get to the point where I can be washed, dressed, have the dog walked, and be out the door in forty-five minutes. This new job represents a 66% pay cut from my last job. Lean times ahead! But that should be enough for beer and lattes and cigars, so my basic expenses are pretty much met.

And welding?

Absolutely I'm still going to pursue welding. I'll check in with welders in the area. Perhaps I'll be able to pick up a few extra hours after work to apprentice.

After 30 days, I'll have paid holidays (just in time for Thanksgiving), and in 90 days, I'll have health and dental insurance. It will be sooooo good to have health and dental insurance again. I think I'll be good at this. The challenge is to stay focused, concentrating on what you're doing, but at the same time to be fast at what you do.

And I'll be meeting the other members of my crew. There will be that initial checkin'-each-other-out period. Maybe beers after work. I wonder what they do for lunch? I'll be sure to pack mine the first day.

You oughtta see the stuff they make! It's beautiful! Really gorgeous woodwork. If that pride in the product suffuses the company, I'll do fine. When I was working in restaurants a million years ago, the fact that we were making the best food in town made twelve hour days in the prep kitchen where it was often 105 degrees in the summertime mostly tolerable. That wasn't just any poached salmon with chaud-froid sauce we were making, it was the best anywhere.

How very thrilling.

I'm so excited, I'm gonna go out and split fire wood for an hour or two. Beautiful day for it.

I Dig Holes

For the past few weeks, I'd call the ads in the Sunday paper on monday morning, and come up mostly with nada. My luck seems to have turned. I got a call back--finally!--from the cabinetry shop. They're going to call my references, and things look good. They were a little put off by the huge paycut I'll be taking compared to my last job. (Oddly, the folks at the SPCA had no problem offering me a slight fraction of what I had made running a non-profit agency and the office of a State Senator so I could clean up dog shit for them.)

Anyway, I had a good phone conversation with a guy who works as a subcontractor for a swimming pool company. He does the excavation. He's looking for someone to work with him, and he pays $150 a day to start, and if I'm good, he'll up it to $175. So at the end of a week, I'd be making roughly twice what I'm seeing from Unemployment.


Well, there are downsides. Pretty much, the job will go away around Christmas, when the ground becomes too hard and frozen to dig. And, he starts his day at 5:45 a.m. (What is up with these people?) So I'd be stumbling out of bed and into a hole.

This all begs the question: am I afraid of hard work? And I think that this would be really hard backbreaking work. Shovel work. Sledgehammer work. Rock-hauling work. In the mud. And the cold. No doubt for the worst kind of Bucks County resident: New Yorkers who move down here and build McMansions on land that was previously a dairy farm when I was growing up. ("You guys walked all over the beds where I planted spring bulbs!")

But damn. I guess I wouldn't need to worry about doing my back and shoulders routine at the gym. I'd have deltoids like bowling balls in a matter of weeks.

My schedule is pretty much clear next week, so maybe I'll give it a shot.

"What do you do for a living?" asks the guy I'm chatting up in a gay bar on one of the two nights a week when I can go out because I don't have to be in bed by 10:30 pm.

"I did holes," I reply, stretching as I say this, to show off my impressive latissimus dorsi.

Saturday, October 18, 2003


It's the Yankees and the Marlins in the Series. Not Boston. Not the Cubs. The Yankees and the Marlins.


I knew this would happen.

Oh well, at least I'll get to see Baseball Dreamboat #1 Dave Wells pitch.

I say, Yankees in five.


Oh. Man.

The plan was that I would head to NYC to go to an end of the year party my softball team is having, and then head over to the Eagle for a GMSMA bar night.

I don't know if either of those things will go down.

I am exhausted today. Just totally wiped out.

Last night, I gave a very hot bear his first whipping. He's from NYC, but we never made it happen when I lived there, and when it would have been oh so convenient. The plan was that he woucl come down for the night, and we'd meet up at the Philadelphia Bondage Club party. And that's what happened.

Yesterday, I was pretty quiet and meditative, preparing myself. Getting into the headspace. I worked my whips out in the yard. My skills are sharp. I have nothing but confidence in my whip work at this point. The technique aspects, that is.

But holding this man in my heart, having the universe receed and having it just be him and me for a while... that's a lifelong endeavor.

However, the best deal he could get on a hotel room was at a Holiday Inn out by the Philadelphia Airport. It was something of a hike for me, but not too bad. I ended up getting there before he did, so I sat in my car listening to REM's Chronic Town. When he showed up, he checked into his room, and then we headed to Philadelphia for a light dinner. The Baron recommended Mandarin Palace, a chinese restaurant at 19th and Chestnut. The Baron recommended it because he said it was quiet (and it was), the food was decent (and it was), and the place is flawlessly decorated, like stepping back into 1965 and visiting a chinese restaurant (and it was... there's gotta be a catalog or something that all that stuff came from).

During dinner, we talked about people we knew in common in NYC. Oddly, our paths never crossed that either of us can remember in the city. Then it was off to the Bondage Club, meeting at the Tannery, one of the best play spaces I've ever seen. Although it's tricky to find.

We arrived pretty early. I scoped out a good spot for us and dropped my toybag. We chatted with the other guys that had shown up, and had our little chat. My Musical Bear had extensive tattoo work on his back. I told him that I'd never whipped ink before. I didn't see that it would be too much of a problem, but I could offer no guarantees. He asked if there would be blood, and I explained that I had no idea. I've drawn blood doing a flogging with doeskin, and at the same time, I whipped a man for two hours, and twenty minutes later, you'd never know I was there. He guessed that he would mark easily.

After more chit chat--particularly with my new best friend in the whole world, the welder guy who runs the Tannnery and makes some amazing equipment to furnish it--we got busy.

The piece I selected was a simple bondage web, strung in a grid on a wooden frame. It was backed with a sort of bondage ladder, angled into each other and joined at the top so it wouldn't fall over. It was secure, and would give Musical Bear some room to move, and something to hold onto.

I restrained him to the web with his hands down at his sides. Then, using my ropes, I wove his feet in place, and also had several ropes lined up along the small of his back, protecting the kidneys. It was really good rope work! (Look at me! Rope Bondage Top!)

Then we started in with the flogging. I had packed my heavy bull skin, my thin stranded kangaroo, and my braided cat whisper whip. I took my time.

Musical Bear was making music in no time. He was so easy to read. The sounds coming from him were so expressive, telling me all I needed to know. He would make this sort of purring moan when he was having a really good time, and offer a sharp, growling exclamation when I was getting to the point where he wasn't.

I love bottoms who vocalize!

Switch ups, change ups, I kept things interesting. Bull skin, 'roo skin, then back to the bull skin. Then came the braided cat. At a halfway point while I was working him with the cat, when we reached a crescendo, I got in close and said, "This is the last stop before we reach our final destination. All ready for that?"

He smiled. "Yes, Sir," he said.

An odd thing while flogging him. What happens to a back that's being flogged is it gets red. I love that, it's like watching the sun coming up. At first, it's just where you laid on your flogger, and then, it blossoms over the expanse of the back. Wonderful to watch.

Well, Musical Bear never got red. At all. I thought perhaps it was obscured by his tattoo, but on closer inspection, there was nothing to show in the un-inked areas, the interstices, shall we say. The flogging is important to prepare the back for the whip. And I wanted to see red to know that I was where I wanted to be. So I flogged and flogged and flogged, but no red.

But then, I noticed that the skin on Musical Bear's back had the look and feel of orange peel (as Joseph Bean described it perfectly in his masterwork on flogging). Musical Bear had skipped red and gone right to orange skin.

Huh. Every back is different.

And then the whipping began.

In the Tannery, with the poured cement floors and the plaster walls, the crack of the whip sounded like a rifle shot. I teased and teased: I would crack the whip inches above his back, and then gently lay on the cracker, barely touching him. The sounds coming out of Musical Bear were glorious, and I watched as he opened up his back and stretched his shoulders towards me, looking for the whip. When I started cracking and connecting, he was so there. So there. Making all those Havin' A Good Time noises. I whipped him for quite a while until I went in, got him some water, and explained how the Ten Count works. ("I want ten more from you. You count, ten down to one, and you only count the ones you want to count. So if you want to count ten-nine-eight-seven-six-five-three-two-one, that's fine. Or we could be here until my arm falls off.)

Oh. And one more thing, I said. After we get to one, you're going to give me one more for Mark. He looked at me questioningly. "Who's Mark?" he asked. "I'll explain it to you in the car," I answered, "but you've gotta give one for Mark."

He was great. He worked the count beautifully. I got in some really really good strokes. It didn't last too long, and neither was it over too quickly, leaving me disappointed. And then I gave him a good one for Mark Collier.

I removed his restraints, and spritzed his back with hydrogen peroxide and witch hazel. Then wrapped him up in my sheet of rawhide and we moved to a nearby mattress on the floor for some of that cuddling that bears do so well.

I didn't draw blood, he had some really beautiful marks, and his tattoo work was fine. Very cool. I am good at this!

I packed up my gear, and we headed to a cozy little cafe I know that's open all night for some lattes and quiche. No we didn't. There's no such place in Philadelphia that I know of. The only place open is a greek diner called Little Pete's, and those tend to be full of noisy, inebriate heterosexuals. So it was back to the Holiday Inn by the airport.

In the car I explained who Mark Collier was, and why it is that every whipping scene I do from here on in will conclude with One for Mark. Musical Bear got it. I got pretty choked up talking about it. I realized that I hadn't done any whipping at Inferno. Or since. This was, in fact, the first whipping I've done since I should have whipped Mark. Damn.

I said goodnight to Musical Bear, took a final look at his back, and hit the road.

The trek was arduous. It was raining. The semis were roaring past me. Insomnia the night before and the excitement of the evening left me exhausted and fighting off fatigue.

Speaking of which, an interesting discovery: when I would feel myself getting tired, I would scream. Loud and long. I did it because I always scream in the car while I'm driving alone; it gives my voice a nice, gravelly phone sex quality. But last night I noticed that screaming also gives you a little hit of adrenaline. "Yeeeaahhhhhhhg!" and I'd perk up.

And, by the time I got off I-95, I was totally riding on fumes. I eschewed the gas station by Musical Bear's hotel ("I'm not gonna pay that much!") but didn't think about the fact that it would be two in the morning when I got off of 95 at the Newtown/Yardley exit, and there wasn't a lot open then. So, I had to make an exhausted watching-the-gas-gauge-needle-every-second trip to Doylestown to find an open gas station.

Finally, I got home. Fed the dog. Walked the dog. Brushed my teeth. Slept like a rock until noon today.

Well, the party for my softball team started fifteen minutes ago. I'll take a shower, get something to eat, do some of my chores around here, and then see if I feel like making a trip to Fun City.

I'm wiped, but in a good way.

Friday, October 17, 2003

Do you really want to hurt me?

Cool! Welding class is cancelled next Wednesday. That means that I'll be able to head to NYC and attend the GMSMA meeting. Methinks I see the Divine Hand (that would be the leathergods, and not the Almighty) in this. Pourquoi? Because the topic that night is 'From Top to bottom and back again.' Or maybe it's, 'From bottom to Top and back again.' But basically, it's about comparing and constrasting the two poles (another electricity metaphor!) of the S/M experience.

How salient for me! (Thanks, leathergods!)

Let me recap some. So I'm writing (or not writing but sort of writing, 'mulling' at this point) this book about S/M as a spiritual discipline. I've got over a hundred pages of thoughts down on my trusty iBook. And then I met PunchPig, who in addition to doing a great scene, is also a writer and a literary agent manque. PunchPig agreed to take a look at my manuscript. He liked it, but had one fundamental criticism: it was all about being a Top, and that is only half of the story. PunchPig wanted to see the other half.

Uh huh.

So I did an outline. I sat down and wrote and wrote and wrote, and sent the outline to PunchPig, who was noncommittal. At Inferno (it's coming, I swear, I haven't forgotten), I attended a workshop where the S/M scene was described from the standpoint of Ego Defense mechanisms drawn from Freudian psychology. Without getting too deeply into it--if only because I couldn't do that brilliant idea justice--in an S/M scene, the bottom's defense mechanisms are breached, one by one. Listed among the defense mechanisms was humor. It struck me later that that's what I was doing with the jokey tone of my writing on the experience of being a bottom.

So. Something was going on there. What wasn't I wasn't facing? What was it I wasn't owning up to?

Thinking hard about it, I came to realize that I had this fundamental belief that there was something pathological about being a submissive. (Wait! Before you direct your browser elsewhere and never stir my hit counter again, read on!)

On it's face, this makes no sense. I mean, the world is full of people who would find it pathological to get off on blood, bruises, and tears, the way I do. So why, in my way of looking at the world, do I think that's fine, but there's something dodgey about getting off on being sliced, bruised, and crying?

I guess it could be that I have a shakey and superficial sense of my own masculinity. In our culture, dominance has male associations, and submission has female associations. But maybe not. I mean, I love getting fucked, and have no problems owning up to that. And, I have nothing (Nothing!) but respect for bottoms. I've seen feats that can only be described as superhuman. And I know all about the endorphin high, and the intimacy, and the specialness of the bottom experience.

So why do I have this... this... thing that there's something wrong with being a bottom?

Also at Inferno, I had The Interesting Conversation in the Beverage Tent. I had just bottomed in a scene, and so I was all juiced and perky. One of the guys I was talking to said something like, "I thought you were exclusively a Top." I started to list my bottom experiences: I've been whipped, I've done face punching, I've had my ass strapped, I've done endurance bondage, I spent a night in a cage, I've ingested the contents of my Sir's bladder...

Particularly when I described the face punching scene, one of my interlocutors clearly blanched.

"Heck!" I said, "I'm a Power Bottom!"

But I wasn't really. I've bottomed, but I didn't really get bottoming.

And then I heard an offhand comment that Diabolique made, explaining to a relative novice (compared to Diabolique, we're all relative novices) why he hadn't made a peep when he was getting whipped so severely by the Man from Munich: "I wanted to give myself completely to this man that I loved and not hold anything back."


I wanted to give myself completely to this man that I loved and not hold anything back.


I wanted to give myself completely to this man I loved and not hold anything back.

What's that like?

I want that.

I want to find out what that's all about.

I want to be a bottom.

So whatever the pathology thing was all about, I'm over it. No Victorian pronouncements are going to hold me back from visiting that place.

And then, along came this whole I Want A Dad thing.

At Inferno and afterwards, when I would flag, I would flag black left and hunter green right. Heavy S/M Top, and boy seeking Dad. This is a little confusing, no? One boy, noticing what I was flagging, said, "So you want to find a Dad and whip him?"

Uh... no.

So guess what? The next time I flag, I'm gonna flag black and hunter green on the right.

See that big bald bottom over there with the bushy stache?

That would be me.

And if anyone with bottom-pathology issues is aghast at this development, I'll just say, "I'm doing research for a book I'm writing."

If a man's reach does not exceed his grasp, then what's a metaphor?

The other day, I was struggling to describe the difference between the frequency of S/M play this past summer with the intense but less frequent S/M play now. In welding class, it hit me: voltage and amperage.

Amperage describes the power of the electricity, and Voltage describes the amount of the electricity. Think of voltage as the amount of water flowing through a pipe, and amperage is the heat of that water. So even though you have high voltage (a very large pipe), if the amperage (water temperature) is low, you're not going to be able to make a decent cup of tea. In welding, it's all about amperage. If you have a huge voltage but at a low amperage, you're not going to be hot enough to weld. The welding machine 'converts' (in a way, volts to ampers. So at rest, the needles on the machine will read 120 volts but low amps. As you weld, the voltage goes down, and the amps increase. So the next time you hear about someone getting struck by lightning and taking 20,000 volts of electricity, ask, "But what was the amperage?"

So during the summer, it was high voltage, but low amperage. And now, because the voltage is decreased significantly, the amperage increases proportionately. So it's still the same amount of power that we're dealing with.

That is so nice.

Interesting that we're talking about 'energy' in both cases, no? Maybe it's not a metaphor at all, but just a basic property of energy, whether it be electricity or S/M energy. I wonder if it would be the same with ultraviolet radiation from sunlight? An equation involving volume and power...

Huh, maybe there's a Grand Theory of S/M Everything in this... The S/M Unified Field Theory, discovered here on Singletails!

Easy, boy.

I don't doubt that if there are any electrical engineers in my readership, they're wincing so hard that their eyebrows are peeling off. Scientists hate it when pop psychologists take scientific theories and apply them to human relations. (No, your relationship with your boyfriend is not, in fact, proof of Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle, because Dr. Heisenberg was talking about Quantum Mechanics, thank you very much.)

But I still like the voltage/amperage thing.

Time for Tim... the reviews are in!

Lolita wonders if I'm on crack! Sweetheart Sir asks if I've had too much of the 18th Century equivalent of crack and inquires if I've maxxed out a Starbucks Card!

Just an example of the biting satire (Tim would call it bitchiness) of which I'm capable. (I personally think that 'All About Throw Pillows' was a minor stroke of genius!) The intention was to give you all an idea of what I'm up against here in the hinterlands in the wake of a particularly dissatisfactory lunch date.