Of Dobermans and Rabbits

The Trip

I’m back from Miami Beach, where I attended a trade show with one of my clients. Shelly accompanied me; kellyv sent her along with me on the theory that I would be less likely to be lost if I had some companionship for the drive.


I am legendary for my poor sense of direction. Shelly has a sense of direction every bit the equal of mine. We very nearly ended up in the Florida Keys, many hours south of Miami, before we realized we’d missed our exit.

We arrived wicked late–well after 2 AM–which was both a blessing and a curse: a blessing, because it helped ensure Shelly would not accidentally run into my client (who is unaware of my non-traditional relationship model), and a curse because i was bound to look and feel my best the next morning when the convention opened.

The Perverts of Room 206

Being on “affair protocol” for the weekend didn’t really seem to get in the way of what is becoming a tradition between Shelly and I–frightening the hotel staff.

We don’t try to do it. Really, we don’t.

The cleaning lady arrived earlier than expected Saturday, catching Shelly unawares–and with insufficient time to hide the toys.

Ah, well.

The thing I remember most about the trade show is being cold. Florida has been unseasonably cold all winter this winter, but that did not discourage the convention center staff from cranking the air conditioner. Many hours of misery later–“Hi, would you like to see a demonstration of imposition and workflow software?”–I was more than ready to recreate; preferably somewhere warm.

Shelly put the time to good use, however, shopping in Miami Beach.

For black leather pants.

For me.

Not something I had ever, or could ever, imagine myself wearing.

Rabbits and Dobermans

Shelly had met a poly couple from Miami online, so she arranged to meet up with them while we were in Miami Beach. They had discussed going out to a club; since I was on business, I hadn’t brought any suitable club wear with me.

An oversight Shelly was quick to remedy.

A new Nine Inch Nails T-shirt, a pair of black leather pants, and my trusty black leather jacket later, we were ready to meet her friends and head out.

To a techno club.

With ravers.

And glowsticks.

Shelly and I were head-to-foot black leather. Her friends, Josh and Dargee, were…um, not. We had pizza, made small talk, and throughout the evening, generally gave our hosts the impression, I suspect, that they had rather ended up with more than they’d bargained for.

Still, they treated us nicely and with good humor, and took us to their favorite techno club to do some dancing.

Shelly and I blended in with the careless ease of a couple of Dobermans in a cage of rabbits.

Techno clubs are interesting places, if not entirely for the right reasons. With apologies in advance to anyone who appreciates the techno scene, the club struck me as nothing so much as a place where pretty people can meet to network and pair up more or less at random for more or less meaningless sex. It’s quite a contrast to what I’m used to.

In any dance club, the early evening always starts with nobody dancing. Nobody ever seems to want to be the first one out on the dance floor, so until someone breaks the ice, little happens. After someone finally goes out, then some tacit social barrier is broken, and soon everyone is dancing.

Apparently, techno clubs are like any other in this regard.

Shelly was in a mood to dance. I was in a mood to dance. Neither of us really does the techno scene.

We were the first ones out on the dance floor. We are both more accustomed to the goth and industrial scene. We frightened people. It was fun.

Some dancing and a nine-dollar vodka cranberry later, we elected to depart, which seemed to fill our hosts with relief. We got lost only once on the walk back to the hotel, and only for about twenty minutes, so the remainder of the evening was relatively uneventful.

Next day, same as the last–convention and cold. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Home Again, Home Again

Did I mention that we both have a poor sense of direction?

The trip back, we somehow ended up on the interstate heading south instead of north, an error we realized only when we started heading into–you guessed it–the Florida Keys.

Clearly, the gods wanted us to visit the Keys. Those silly, silly gods.

Nevertheless, fates and gods notwithstanding, we did eventually make it back to Tampa, where i was absolutely delighted to be back with kellyv and sleeping in my own bed again.

So I’m done with the trade-show circuit for a while, which makes me sorry not one little bit.

The Future

This week, I plan to concentrate on finishing my new plane, which I still have not seen in the air. Saturday, i hope to get out to the field and fly it for the first time.

Saturday night, Shelly, M, and I will be meeting sunyata__ at the Castle, a local goth club where we’ll have the opportunity to be surrounded by other Dobermans.

And people on leashes. 🙂

Sunday, I’ve scheduled a photo shoot with a lovely young woman I met when kellyv, our friend Kathy, and I ate at Macaroni Grill a few weeks back.

Somewhere in between, there’s doubtless some work that needs to get done as well, but work is overrated anyway.

Seeking input and suggestions

I’m working on a substantial revamp of my poly Web page, which will probably roughly quintuple its size.

Right now, I’m actively seeking any advice, anecdotes, suggestions, or resources (on the Web or in print) about people who self-identify as monogamous in poly relationships.

A lot of the material I’ve already written has come from my own experience (my wife self-identifies as monogamous, though we’ve been actively poly for fifteen years with great success), and a great deal of assistance has also come from the polymono mailing list. But if anyone here has any other advice or input, please, let me know (either in this forum or by email). I’m more than happy to credit you, if you like (or not, if you prefer).

Weekends and weekdays and weekends and weekdays…

Another great weekend, another looong week. This seems like the pattern these days.

Good Weekend:

Both of the girlfriends, Shelly and M, visited kellyv and I for the weekend. M and Shelly get along with one another absolutely wonderfully,which is a happy thing indeed. Shelly also marks just as nicely under a flogger as she does under a crop. 🙂

Sunday, we also had the distinct pleasure of meeting sunyata__ for the first time. sunyata__ is a very cool person. She’s witty, she’s smart, she’s outgoing, and she’s a lot of fun to talk to.

She’s cute, too. 🙂

We all five got Thai food and headed out to PolyTampa, where I bought a Basic Stamp and programming kit from a friend of mine, with the express purpose of using it to develop prototype programmable “smart” sex toys.

It’s time for sex toys to move into the Information Age, dammit.

Long Week:

Going to a convention in Miami at the end of the week; I’ll be demonstrating prepress software for one of my clients. Will it be fun? No. With a bit of luck, Shelly will be able to join me for some of the time I’ll be there, but I’m still not especially looking forward to the trip.

The Future:

I’m becoming somewhat disenchanted with the career path I’m on, particularly in light of the fact that I could be making a great deal of money elsewhere, such as by doing application support for Adobe. My company’s growth has been stalled for the past six months or so by the sour economy (thank you, George Dubya), and the business I really want to focus on, high-tech sex toys, has been stymied by lack of capital.

Astonishing as it seems, I could almost see myself working for Adobe. It would certainly provide a boost in my income while freeing up resources to dedicate to the things I want to be doing. Advertising and prepress work is becoming a drag, especially in light of the economic conditions, and I don’t believe I’m going to make as much doing it as I want.

kellyv and I have started considering attending the upcoming Florida Poly Retreat, which originally we weren’t planning to attend. But we’ll be able to share cabin space with smoocherie, fritzcat66, and Shelly. smoocherie has also invited me to sit on a panel, which could be interesting. So kellyv and I are thinking it’s a go.

It will be interesting to spend time with smoocherie and fritzcat66. I don’t really know smoocherie as well as I would like, though I do know fritzcat66 a bit better and find him philosophically quite enlightened.

Hmm. So: Adobe or my own prepress company? Is there a market for smart sex toys?

Chapter I: help me i am in hell

This is the story, told in four chapters of my trip to San Francisco with Shelly to attend the MacWorld Expo. The chapters are posted in reverse chronological order, so they may be read as they ought.

I am not a morning person.

I knew that my flight would be leaving very early in the morning. So naturally, I took the appropriate measures the night before. kellyv and I went to a late dinner with several friends from PolyTampa, and when we got back home at about midnight, I spent the next hour playing Age of Mythology.

Which, just for the record, I beat.

So I finally got to bed nice and early, at about 1:30 AM, so as to look and feel my best for my cross-country flight a few hours later.

All things considered, kellyv is an amazing person. Not only did she deal with my agonizing pain, incessant whining, and general bad disposition with grace and charm when we awoke, she even drove me to the airport.

Or should I say, dropped me off in South-Central Hell (lower level).

My flight into San Francisco offered something not listed in any of the travel guides: Two unrelated girls, age 13 and 14, travelling unaccompanied across the country.

I had a center seat. Keirston, age 13, had the aisle seat; Kelly, 14, had the window seat.

I was a late bloomer. When I was 13, I didn’t particularly care about girls at all. As it turns out, there was a very good reason for that. 13-year-old girls suck.

“Like, my stepmom is such a bitch! She never lets me do anything. When I, like, wanted a cell phone, she, like, totally said no. So I had to get a cell phone and have the bill sent to my boyfriend. He’s like, totally stupid, and I had to break up with him last month. He’s still so, like, totally seventh grade.”

there. is. no. god.

Aha! I thought. Keirston, Kelly, I am older and wiser than you. I have my laptop and my MP3s. I can escape you! I can retreat into my own world!

Wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong.

“Like, you have a laptop! How much did it cost? I want a laptop, but, like, my stepmom totally won’t let me have one. She has a laptop. She bought it with my dad’s money.”

Three hours of of this hell feels like thirty years.

The universe is not utterly dedicated to evil, though. The weather in San Francisco was beautiful, and remained so for most of the rest of the week, as if to atone for forcing me to endure the inane chatter of teenage girls. And I was rescued from my own little private Hell and transported back to sanity by feorlen and her boyfriend Steve, who restored me to mental health by bestowing the most sacred of blessings, old tech.

Chapter II: Old Tech

Being in San Francisco is in many ways like visiting ground zero of a city vaporized by a nuclear explosion.

The buildings are still standing, and the city is still inhabited, but the wreckage of the explosion is everywhere. It’s not a physical explosion; it’s more like a psychological bomb has detonated, destroying the economy of the city in a single flash.

Unemployed tech workers are everywhere. The ruins of the dot-com economy litter the landscape.

When the bomb fell on Japan at the close of World War II, something peculiar happened: The structures directly beneath the explosion remained standing, while everything all around was utterly levelled.

The equivalent in San Francisco is Weird Stuff.

Imagine a cavernous warehouse, stretching almost to infinity, packed to the roof with ancient, cast-off computer technology and the liquidated remnants of a dozen failed dot-com companies.

Row after row of old computers. Miles of cable, no doubt pulled from the walls of office buildings and sold in bulk for pennies on the dollar. Boxes of liquid-crystal displays and rackmount modems and data-acquisition cards from VMEbus computers. Programmable logic analyzers. Macintosh SEs. Parts from discarded mainframes. VAXstations!

They had VAXstations!

Solaris 1.0 CDs. Empty 19-inch racks. Silicon Graphics computers. Gutted RAID arrays as tall as a man’s head.

I have a SPARCststion-20 server system at home. I have not used it, because it requires a proprietary keyboard and mouse only available from Sun.

$19.95 at Weird Stuff.

From Hell, one escapes into Heaven.

I could have spent a week and a thousand dollars there, were it not for the fact that I would try kellyv‘s infinite patience.

The taste for old tech is a specific thing, built into one’s very genes. If one does not have this taste, then it seems weird and slightly deranged.

kellyv finds my collection of obsolete computers weird and slightly deranged. She puts up with it with humor and good grace, but there’s no denying the fact that my prized collection of TRS-80s and ancient Apple machines is something she suffers benevolently, rather than something that fills her heart with nostalgic glee as it does mine.

My tour, Dante-esque, through a cross-section of Hell and of Heaven complete, it was time to hook up with Shelly to check into the hotel, do some serious fucking, and sample what the city has to offer.

The first two, she and I could accomplish on our own. To do the third, we would need a guide.