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.

Chapter III: Lena

altenra calls herself my “two-day-a-year friend.” I met her last year, when I was in San Francisco for MacWorld, my own personal hajj, my yearly pilgrimage to Mecca.

altenra knows San Francisco the way Niccolo Machiavelli knows the secret heart of man. When I met her last year, standing beneath an enormous neon sign reading “Virgin,” she offered to take me on a walking tour of San Francisco which, some eighteen miles later, left me limping around the West Coast’s most famous landmarks, and later made every step at MacWorld a constant source of agony.

Shelly and I had by this time already established our reputations among the staff of the Mosser Hotel as “the perverts of room 407.” This was partly accidental, owing to the unfortunate discovery of Shelly’s collection of sex toys by an unsuspecting maid, and partly the result of the conjunction of thin walls, strong sexual appetite, and Shelly’s amazing vocal talent.

It should be noted as an aside that when Shelly and I first became lovers, she warned me that she has a very low libido. This may have been true at one time, but as we were to discover, it was more a matter of her circumstance than it was of her fundamental nature. Her fundamental nature, once revealed, is the stuff of which legends are made.

Nevertheless, it eventually transpired that we wanted to play the role of the tourist. Shelly also saw a need to procure some of the miscellaneous items that one inevidably neglects to pack and discovers that one needs in any cross-country trip, such as over-the-counter painkillers, a better pair of walking shoes, and a strap-on dildo. So it was a blessing to have available the services of a talented and knowledgeable tour guide such as altenra.

Visiting San Francisco in the company of altenra is a treat. She knows the best places to eat, the most magnificant views of the city, the hidden attractions that might be missed by a casual tourist. She knows the city’s public transportation system better than the people who designed it. She knows the best sex toy shops.

But she was faced with a dilemma.

On my trip last year, she had already shown me the obvious places to see, and San Francisco is, after all, a finite place. What to do on a second visit?

What more was there to do? At that point, nothing but the hidden place that had the most magnificient view of the city ever imaginable to God or man, and a visit to an S&M sex club where Shelly and I can share an experience that will help her discover aspects of herself as a person that she had before only barely been able to conceptualize.

Chapter IV: Discoveries (or, the Perverts of Room 407)

San Francisco is home to an S&M sex club called The Power Exchange, a place which is kind of like Disney World for the BDSM set. It features everything a pervert might ever dream of: prison cells, a medieval dungeon, racks, crosses, examining tables, cages, pr0n rooms, even a place called the Cow Room whose decor is all black and white spots.

I had had the foresight to bring a collar and leash to SF with me, on the idea we might end up at a goth club. Leading Shelly through the Power Exchange on a leash was a real treat for both of us. Shelly is a person unafraid of self-discovery, and when she begins exploring something new, she does so without hesitation or reservation.

Pool tables, too, though we did not have the opportunity to shoot a game of pool. Perhaps next time.

The pr0n on display wasn’t all that good, really. In fact, “wasn’t all that good” is probably a bit kind. Fortunately, altenra brings her laptop, and her collection of high-quality pr0n, everywhere she goes. Bathtub Lesbians… If you haven’t seen it, your life is a darker place.

kellyv, my “other” girlfriend M, and I have spent some quality time together in a very small S&M club that existed once in Tampa and has, alas, since closed. kellyv has a bit of the voyeur in her, particularly where my girlfriends and I are involved, and I was quite disappointed she was not able to accompany us to the Power Exchange. She would truly have enjoyed what came next.

When we’d had our fill of Bathtub Lesbians and the other offerings in altenra‘s library, it was time for the show. I led Shelly to a large, leather-bound bed between the judge-fetish pr0n and the redneck-fetish pr0n, and began, very gently, to caress her wonderful bare ass with the crop that had been her Christmas gift from me.

“You need good Russian whipping. In Soviet Union, we know how to deal with decadent Western whores like you.”


Shelly marks so beautifully. A welt appears instantly as the crop lands, which turns within a day into a lovely, perfectly straight bruise, that serves nicely as a reminder.


She had never had a whipping before she and I made our connection. It is so magnificient to see her respond, to watch her scream and writhe and moan in pleasure under the crop, to see her discover a part of herself whose shape she had never known before. She is a pain slut, and her enthusiasm and raw, uncontrollable pleasure under the ministrations of the crop is a joy to behold.


For others, as well as for myself. Within moments of her first delicious scream, we had attracted an audience. Her awareness of the attention, and the knowledge that she was on stage, fed into her pleasure, making her crave even more.


I wish that kellyv could have shared in the experience. She is a voyeur, but watching such a thing when it is your lover’s lover who is the center of attention is especially delicious.

Soon Shelly’s screams had turned to laughter, that giddy rush of endorphins and adrenaline that transforms the pain into the most beautiful, erotic pleasure you might ever imagine. The crowd was quite think by now, people jostling one another for the best position to see the transformation.

Finally, Shelly’s ass and thighs were a mosaic of hard, straight welts, and she was in the place where every touch is ecstasy. I caressed her and stroked her, and helped her to her feet, transfigured as a person by an experience nothing like she had ever had before. She was radiant, floating in an endorphin high. There was nothing left but a return to our hotel for an exhausted sleep, punctured by dreams of the experience like aftershocks from an earthquake that forever alters the landscape at its center.

Epilogue: MacWorld

Though it might not seem possible, I did actually attend the MacWorld Expo, the reason for my trip to San Francisco in the first place.

The Mac rumor mills had been speculating about what Steve Jobs might have to offer at the keynote address. Some said it would be the most boring keynote ever; others suggested Steve might announce a new iPod, or perhaps something new on the MacOS X front. All agreed that the one thing everyone could be sure of was that Apple would not be introducing any new computers this year.

Everyone was wrong.

On the software front, Apple debuted new versions of the iApps, the consumer “digital lifestyle” applications that work with digital cameras, create digital movies and DVDs, and do it all more easily, gracefully, and elegantly than anything on Windows.

On the hardware front, Steve introduced a very slick piece of skiing and snowboarding gear–a specially constructed jacket, thermally insulated, with a secret pocket for an iPod and controls built into the sleeve to select, skip, and rewind songs.

And two new computers.

Two new sexy computers.

Two new objects of lust to make the most carnal thoughts of Larry Flynt seem like the passing daydreams of an innocent young lad.

Specifically, two new notebook computers that are not really computational tools so much as the embodiment on physical form of every technolust fetish in the innermost mind and heart of the geek. One has a marvelous 17″ screen, beautiful aluminum keys with a fiber-optic network beneath them that makes them glow from within in low light, and a lightness and thinness that inspires lust at a touch; the other, a miniature marvel so sexy you just want to lick it.

He even declared war on Microsoft and Netscape, debuting a brand-new browser that gets right what all the other Web browsers get wrong.

On the vendor front, it was almost a wash. Quark was conspicuous, as is an OS X native version of QuarkXPress, only by its absence. The professional pre-press and graphic art front is playing the game of “this year, same as the last.” The new companies that normally appear at MacWorld, selling software and gadgets on the cutting edge of cool, were nowhere to be seen.

Even the classes, for the most part, were a wash. The “expert” leading the seminar on scanning for print was so woefully ignorant of the basics of print production and halftoning that it was embarrassing and painful to watch. Bob LeVitus, who introduced the new “Dockie” awards for shareware and freeware apps, enjoys talking about himself more than anything else. And I didn’t score any interesting swag.

But there was the T-shirt.

Connectix, a company famous for stocking its trade-show booths with nubile women, was selling T-shirts with the word “Switch” emblazoned on the front, in apparent ignorance of the fact that the word carries a very specific meaning in the S&M community. Imagine, if you will, a computer software company featuring shirts bearing the word “Gay” or “Straight” or “Kinky” on the front, in utter benighted ignorance of the fact that those words carry meaning beyond “happy” or “not crooked” or “wavy,” and you’ll have the idea.

Shelly and I simply had to have one. We both now can wear the word “Switch” proudly; indeed, I wore mine to the Power Exchange. Thank you, Connectix, makers of Virtual PC, which is apparently what the T-shirt is supposed to promote.

I also had the opportunity to catch up with my old college roommate chipotle, who moved to the San Francisco area recently in search of a tech job. We spent some time ont he exhibit floor together, he and I and Shelly, basking in all that is geek. I was also able to spend time with feorlen and Steve, as we discussed the possible applications for BlueTooth-enabled sex toys.

Computers and sex. They just seem so right together.