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Dr Bob's Blog

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

c 53 communication cover

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

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

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

c 52 protocolc cover

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

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

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

 

 

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

c 49 advancedcover

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

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

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

 

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My Father Dies

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

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

c 47 ms mastery updated cover

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

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

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

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

 

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Trip to See Father

father 2011

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

c 45 keagan selecting bracelet

c 44 keagan in hat

 

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

 

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Butchmann’s

c 34 butchmanns

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

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

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Changes

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

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

Magically, she reappeared in my life.

c 01 jen

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The Power Exchange Book Series

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

Cover images for the five-book series.

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

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

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

  • Playing with Disabilities

  • The Art of Slavery

  • Protocols: A Variety of Views

  • Rope, Bondage, and Power

  • Age Play

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

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Nature Photography in Panama

b 14 nature photography

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

b 15 curved lily

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

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

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

b 16 boiling sugarcane

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

b 17 cigar press

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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Our Stay in Boquete comes to an End

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

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

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How we Decided to Move to Boquete, Panama

b 00 boquete

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Pantheon Of Leather’s Community Choice Award (Man)

pantheon award

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

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

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

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

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

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Woodturning - Collector and Turner

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Becoming a Presenter

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

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

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

photo 33 msc flags

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Kinky Photography

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Sex, SM Play, and a Poly Household

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

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

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

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

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

LOL

c 06 fire play

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

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

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Kinky Reading and Weekend Conferences

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Writing Books

photo 16 prots cover

 

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

What are you writing?” he asked.

slave mindi’s protocol manual,” I replied.

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

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

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

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

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

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

About two months.” I stated.

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

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

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

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Erotic and Fetish Photography

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

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

photo 17 elise

 

Elorin...

photo 18 elorin

Nova...

photo 19 nova

 

Tanya...

photo 20 misty

 

and Cheryl

photo 21 cheryl

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

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

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

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Retrospective: About my Photography

b 10 photography

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

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

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

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

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

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

b 11 mud pit   b 12 pudding

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

b 13 self portrait

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Masters Retreat

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Sadness and Confusion..my world is changing

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Gifted a Slave

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Now a DM and on duty

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How I First Met Brenna

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Austin Mentors Program

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Starting to Learn

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First introduction to a BDSM play party

photo 3 touch of leather

The first event that we could go to after our shock-introduction to NLA-A was a benefit party being put on by a group called “Touch of Leather.”  This group is based in a community about 45 minutes north of Austin and run by a woman named Miz Lilly.

I contacted her by email and phone. I explained that we were totally new to BDSM, had never attended a play party and were a little anxious about what to wear.

Do you have any fetish clothing?” she asked.

Well, yes, we do.” I replied.

Just wear that, but cover up in the parking lot.”

Okay,” I said.  “See you there.”

The last four lines are an abbreviated version of many conversations over a two or three week period as we worked ourselves up to actually going to this event.  She was exceedingly kind, warm, welcoming, and informative.

When we walked in to “The Secret Rural Location” out in the middle of nowhere, she immediately recognized us.  Of course she did: she knew everyone else that was attending that night!!

There were about 100 people in the facility – that turned out to be a horse auction barn.  People were mostly being spanked and flogged.  My immediate reaction was: “Ah. Home at last.”

We walked over and took seats at the edge of the play area.  We noticed that people kept looking at us. We thought that was simply because we were new.  Actually, it was because we were so outrageously and inappropriately dressed.  (I was wearing a collar and leather shorts and Renee was in a fishnet body suit with a leather torso top.)

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Joining the National Leather Association–Austin

photo 02 nlai

 

On Ambrosio’s site, it said that the NLA-A munch would be at Antoine’s restaurant on Friday, June 8 at 7. Meet by the bar to socialize, then retire for the club meeting. 

We had absolutely no idea what the National Leather Association was.  

We walked into Antoine’s at the appointed hour. There were a few people at tables and a cluster of six people sanding at one end of the bar.  They werealldressed in black levi’s and black T-shirts.  The heads of two of the four men were shaved.  One woman must have been 6’2” but the man with her was like a mountain; the other woman was closer to 5’4”.  Nobody smiled as Renee and I walked up. I was wearing khaki’s and a colorful shirt. Renee was similarly Austin-casual. These folks were a little stunned.  We were a little scared. One of the men was David Dyson and he helped me so much that I feel my life has changed. 

After the social, the six of us (Dr. Chocolate and his boy, David and Kelly, Lloyd and Lauri) went to the restaurant’s “back room” and had the business meeting.  The president wasn’t there, so David, VP, led the meeting. They welcomed us and explained a bit about NLA and the Austin branch. They explained that although it had become pan-sexual a few years before, it was fundamentally a gay Leather club. 

I nodded and smiled politely. None of this made a bit of sense. 

This was on Friday. 

That Sunday, the NLA-A club president and his wife, who was the GWNN Treasurer, among other things, got into some kind of marital dispute. It ended up that he shot and killed her, shot up his computer’s hard drive, and was (ultimately) killed by the responding SWAT team. 

I received an email a few days later saying we’d wait a few weeks and then meet at Dr. Chocolate’s house for a healing get-together and wait a few more weeks before reconvening a club meeting.  

We did all of that. 

The party at their house was really nice. Beautiful swimming pool; beautiful home. 

When we got together for the club meeting, the only people to show up were the same as had been there at our initial meeting.  David became president, Dr. Chocolate (who had been president for many, many years) said he’d take VP. Kelly Green remained secretary. They needed a treasurer.  They looked at me.  “Oh, no.” I said. “You don’t want me. I do words, I don’t do numbers.  You want Renee.” I said, pointing to her. “She’s a CPA.” 

So… About six weeks after even discovering the world of BDSM, my wife (who grew up in Effingham, Illinois in a farming community) was elected to be the treasurer of a gay Leather organization. 

Go figure.

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Finding Kink

photo 1 latex

 

It was an accident. 

Since I didn’t know there was a kink community, I wasn’t looking for one. 

I’d always loved to look at porn photos, and because I’m somewhat of a photographer myself, I started collecting porn shots.  Over a period of a couple of years, I suppose I’d collected a thousand or so.  By then, I was able to pick out those that were professionally shot (by photographers that clearly knew what they were doing) or were “happy accidents,” or were just sort-of blah. 

I noticed that those copyrighted by Suze Randall stood out.  I looked at her website.  It turned out she had been a porn star when a bit younger, but had changed sides of the lens a few years back and now had the nicest set of models and studio set-up of anyone taking shots like these. Clearly, these were extremely sophisticated and well-designed shots that made liberal use of cosmetologists. The make-up was stunning. 

Anyway, I ended up subscribing to her site.  This was the first porn site I’d ever paid for.  

In the early years of her site (SuzeRandall.net) she had a “resources” page. It listed some of her sources for the latex the models wore: WhipLash in Los Angeles.  It also listed the owner’s name: Connie. It also had a calendar for kinky events.  

One of the events was in Houston: The Texas Latex Party.  I called Connie and asked about it. She explained that Klaus ran it, was very friendly, and to call him up and say she sent me.  

I called Klaus.  As it happened, the huge TLP was only two weeks away–second weekend in March. I asked a bit about it and he encouraged us to come. On a whim, I asked him, “About how many outfit changes to the ladies make per day?” “Oh,” he said, “I suppose 4-6.”  

Ah. 

I told him that we were not prepared this year to come, but would attend in 2001.  He understood, but invited us to Houston to a formal dinner he was giving in a few months that included most of the TLP board of directors.  “But, we don’t have that level of latex, yet.” I protested.  “No matter, just wear a tuxedo.” 

Tuxedos were not a problem. Gowns for Renee were not a problem. We had a fantastic time. 

But, to get back… 

When we attended that dinner in early May, Klaus asked how I’d heard of TLP.  I said “Through Connie, why?” He replied that most people find him through Ambrosio’s website, as he keeps the Texas kink calendar. 

Ambrosio? Kink calendar? 

After we got back to Austin, I looked up Ambrosio’s (extremely interesting) site, found the calendar and quite a bit more.  Ambrosio keeps a kind of wiki of extremely good BDSM orientation, safety, and techniques articles. This was all great news to me. I was 52 years old. Totally new concept, BDSM. Never crossed my mind. Not the kind of porn images I’d been seeing. 

On the calendar, I discovered that in about a week there would be a meeting of something called: “NLA-Austin.”  Seemed as good as anything, and the timing was off for going to the GWNN munch. As I didn’t know anything about either group, the decision to go to NLA-Austin was purely coincidental. 

 

(The photo is of Elorin and me.  Renee and I entered the kink world through high-end latex. I'm in my Captain's jacket and Elorin is wearing my Tails. You can see more of Elorin as we release more of my erotic and fetish art images.)

 

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