Some musings on time management

A couple of days ago, I got an email asking me about time management in a polyamorous relationship.
The email read, in part, “I am married and we’re having trouble finding time managing our one unit as time is always a consideration. So I was just curious if in poly relationships certain people have certain nights, or how you avoid conflict if 2 of your partners want to do something with you on the same night or weekend. How are potentially emotionally charged situations avoided?”

My own experience with time management is likely to be different from a lot of other folks, because I don’t really manage time; it manages me. (“In Soviet Russia…”) As a result, I don’t do Google Calendars or iCal or anything like that; hell, I can barely make it into the office at a consistent time each morning.

My reply:

One of the things I’ve found in my own experiences in polyamory is that a lot of time management issues are resolved quite nicely when partners get along with one another and with the partners of their partners. I’ve found that relationships do need a certain amount of ‘alone time,’ and that having two partners can mean having less time to spend with each of them–but not nearly as much as you might suspect. Since it’s possible to spend quality time with more than one person, having two partners doesn’t mean that each of them gets only half your attention.

In any family, even a conventional nuclear family with two adults and a couple of children, it’s always possible to have scheduling conflicts. What do you do if your spouse wants to go see a movie, but you’d rather stay home and catch Battlestar: Galactica on TV? What do you do if your child has a school play on the same night that your spouse is due to receive an award from a professional organization? These kinds of problems can happen in any home, and reasonable people can find reasonable ways to accommodate everyone’s needs. The same is true of a poly relationship.

To use a real-world example, I have had a situation where one partner wanted to go out dancing and another wanted to go to a movie. Simple solution: all three of us did both.

Part of being a reasonable person, in any kind of relationship, is accepting the fact that nobody gets everything he wants 100% of the time. Flexibility is important, and I suspect that flexibility is actually one of the keys to happiness, no matter what your relationship structure looks like.

Another good tool in poly relationships, which is valuable but often overlooked in any relationship, is the notion that you can’t expect to have what you want if you don’t ask for what you want. Often, people will make tacit assumptions about the behavior of their partners, without actually clearly saying what their expectations are, and then become hurt and angry if the expectations aren’t met. It’s not enough to say “The new Batman movie is coming out next Friday;” instead, it’s important to communicate expectations clearly, and say “the new Batman movie is coming out next Friday, and it’s really important to me to go to the opening with you.” Just that little bit goes a surprisingly long way toward helping to resolve scheduling difficulties and hurt feelings.

In some poly relationships, people do set up regular “date nights” with specific partners, so that everyone has a sense of what to expect from the schedule. I don’t do that myself, but then, I’m not much of a scheduler. For folks who are, that’s an awesome tool to help let everyone know what to expect–though I would say that it’s also important to be somewhat flexible about it. Life isn’t always tidy, and should a conflict come up or should a partner become ill or injured, I think it’s reasonable to be able to rearrange the schedule without causing undue grief.

For me personally, I like spending time with all my partners, and I like having the ability to spend time with more than one partner at once. I also do not feel cheated or like I have lost something if my partner’s other partner goes along too. For example, I really enjoy going out to dinner with my partners and their partners as well. Part of healthy, successful polyamory, I think, is in knowing and accepting that not all of the time you spend with someone will be one-on-one time. (And frankly, I think that’s a benefit; I’ve met some awesome people through my partners, people who have become my friends independent of our connection by dating the same person.)

Any relationship can have time management problems. A person starts working longer hours at the office, a person picks up a new hobby, a person starts spending more time with friends, a person starts playing video games–when these things happen, nobody really asks questions like “don’t you have trouble managing your time?” Nobody (well, nobody I’ve ever met, anyway) says “If you start taking up photography as a hobby, I am going to want to start scheduling the time you spend doing it, because I want to be able to limit the amount of time you spend away from me.” Polyamory’s no different, yet we often see it as different. Good time management skills are the same regardless of the nature of the demands on one’s time. It feels different when we think “My lover is spending time with her other lover” than if we think “My lover is spending time in the darkroom,” yet from a practical perspective, the same sorts of tools for managing time still apply.

Wrapping up my T-shirt business…

It’s never been terribly profitable, and I’m getting a bit tired of keeping all the inventory in my closet. So, I’m getting rid of all of it. So, if you’re looking for a fun, socially unacceptable T-shirt, or a perfect gift to give someone geeky in your life, now’s your chance!

I’m selling out all my remaining inventory at ten bucks a shirt. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. I may re-start at some point in the future with a print-on-demand service, but for right now I’m just getting rid of all of it. This includes the popular “poly dragon” and “nanohazard” designs.

A bunch of other designs, too! You can find them all here.

Whew! The Onyx affiliate program is finally ready!

Anyone who has a Web site and wants to make a little extra money is invited to give it a try:

There are banners available, and more will be coming. The affiliate program pays out 20% of Onyx and poster sales, a number I cleverly arrived at through intensive research and complex mathematics (I took the normal commission from other Web sites’ affiliate programs and doubled it).

Also, the poster pre-orders are at about half what they need to be for a print run, but they seem to have stalled. So if anyone wants to help me get the word out, you can copy-paste the HTML below into your blog–it’ll put the graphic and a link to the pre-order page. If you link to the graphic on my server, it will automatically update when more pre-orders come in.

<div align=”center”><a href=”″ target=”_blank”><img src=”” border=”0″ width=”150″ height=”140″></a></div>

Here’s what it will look like:

The hate for Internet Explorer, it burns!

Last night, I spent about a half an hour fixing some minor bugs in the interactive version of the Human Sex Map. Cleaned up the way the toolbar works when you scroll (so it doesn’t jump all over the place in some browsers) and fixed a minor issue in Firefox where it sometimes moves the pins three pixels down from where they should be.

And then I tested it in Internet Explorer.

And it was totally, utterly, completely broken.

Goddamn festering, pustulant heap of rotting garbage pretending to be a Web browser anyway. I will never, for the life of me, understand why people use that decaying mound of rubbish when there are Web browsers that actually work correctly that you can download for free. Everything the Internet Explorer development team knows about Web standards would fit in the white space of a postage stamp. If these guys had any decency or self-respect, they’d all ritualistically disembowel themselves on Google’s front lawn.

Words can not express my loathing, hatred, and contempt for that tottering mass of bugs and misfeatures that the folks in Redmond laughingly call a Web browser. It’s a mad sick joke at the entire Internet’s expense. So, I turn to a more visual communication medium:

It took me until six o’clock in the morning to code around all of Explorer’s bizarre bugs and rendering issues. Longer, by nearly an order of magnitude, than it took to make that picture. So if you tried to use the Map at all yesterday, sorry ’bout that.

Wow! A lot more interest in the poster than I thought

I’m quite overwhelmed and surprised by the number of folks who have expressed an interest in pre-ordering a poster version of the Map of Human Sexuality. Since it seems like something that people are really interested in, I’ve decided to accept pre-orders for the map at $12 each (plus shipping).

Here’s the scoop: If I can get 50 pre-orders, which will pay for two thirds of the total printing cost, I’m going to go ahead and do the print run. If I don’t get hat many pre-orders by March, the entire amount of the pre-order (including shipping) will be refunded to everyone who pre-orders…though judging from the responses to my last LJ post, I should hit that threshold very quickly.

Turnaround on printing is eight to ten business days. Leaving a couple of days for shipping to me, that means I expect to start sending pre-orders out about twelve business days after I hit 50 pre-orders. At least, that’s the plan.

I’ve set up a place for pre-ordering on my ecommerce site; the direct link is here. Unfortunately, I can’t take PayPal orders; credit card only. (The checkout page is secure.)

The poster will be big (24″x36″), offset printed on 100# gloss text. Since the map itself is square, I’m probably going to put a glossary of terms on the bottom part of the map. One of the things I’ll likely do is put a few different versions of the finished poster design with glossary on my LJ and let folks vote on them.

So, here’s your chance. If you’d like a poster (or two), you can pre-order now!

The economy, she is a-sucking

The company I’ve been working with and am a minority partner in, as I’ve mentioned before, is teetering on the edge of bankruptcy. It’s been closed down for the past three weeks, and tomorrow the principals and shareholders are holding an emergency meeting to decide whether or not to keep the company going. At this point, the equation is very simple: We have $100 left in the checking account, and debts in the hundreds of thousands. We get more venture capital or we die.

This is, as you might imagine, putting a beating on my own finances. My Web site is the only thing keeping a roof over my head right now, and it’s not bringing in enough.

So, decision time.

The situation: I’m in a lease here until May. The lease can not be broken for any reason. That commits me to Atlanta whether I like it or not, and I don’t have the capital to move, even if I were to try to sneak out in the middle of the night.

Biggest expenses are credit card bills, run up many years ago when the company was first getting started and was paying me in stock rather than cash. (Stock which is now worthless, of course. Ha!)

The options:

– Pray for a miracle at Spectrum. Ha!

– Find a 9-to-5 job somewhere else. Possibly in IT or Web work, possibly in prepress, possibly in advertising, possibly saying “You want some fries with that?”

– Hang out my shingle as a computer consultant again. I’m told the market’s pretty good for consultants, as companies fire their in-house IT staff and outsource.

– Find a way to increase the revenue from my Web site. Doubling it would let me survive; tripling it would mean I’m actually better off than I was before.

I’m leaning toward the latter option right now. To that end, one of the things I’m working on is setting up an affiliate system for Onyx, my sex game. Affiliates would get a unique URL, and would get a share of every sale they made. I know a lot of folks out there have Web sites and wouldn’t mind some extra income of their own.

Another of the things I’d like to do is to print and sell posters of the Map of Human Sexuality I’ve created. A lot of folks have asked me about this, and I (just) have enough room on a credit card to pay for a production run of offset posters, of which I would need to sell 77 in order to break even. Doing this and not breaking even would be a disaster at this point.

So, here’s the scoop:

– If you ae interested in selling copies of Onyx from your Web site, let me know. I’m still setting up the affiliate management software. I’ll have to make banner graphics for it as well. Right now, I’m looking at probably paying out $10 for each affiliate sale.

– If you’d buy a poster at $12 (plus shipping), let me know. I’d like to gauge interest before I commit the funds. A part of me thinks I need to be committed for even considering taking that gamble.

– Any other brilliant ideas? I’m all ears!

More sexuality…it never ends!

It seems that no matter how thorough one tries to be, the total range of human sexual expression is always bigger than one thinks it is. Even if you, y’know, keep in mind that no matter how big you think it is, it’s bigger than that.

So here’s the latest update on the Map of Human Sexuality. As before, clicking on the small version will lead to a bigger version. A much, much, much, MUCH bigger version.

I haven’t had time to put the updated map into the interactive version yet; eventually I’ll do that, and fix some problems with the interactive version,a nd probably add a new “fantasized about it but not interested in experimenting with it for real” pin.

I still want to make posters of it, though the fact that the company I work with is teetering on the edge of bankruptcy is creating a problem as far as that goes.

Still haven’t heard back from Penthouse magazine. They are talking about running an article about the map in the March edition. Guess we’ll see.

Update on the Franklin

Still sick.

That’s the bad news. The good news is I’m not horking up internal organs any more, and I can breathe without feeling like I’ve got bits of broken glass where they shouldn’t be. Even felt good enough yesterday to leave the apartment to go shopping and do laundry, both of which needed to be done in the worst possible way.

On the down side, it’s hard to walk from the door to the mailbox without wheezing, and all the various medications are making me feel almost as crappy as the damn bacteria. Plus I still sound like a frog being strangled at the bottom of a deep well when I try to talk. Thank God for Netflix, that’s all I can say.

Liam the kittycat has been absolutely delighted to have me home for the past three weeks, at least. Poor little guy is going to think I’ve abandoned him once I start working again. He follows me around the apartment and curls up on my lap when I crash on the couch. He’s in the habit of sitting on the edge of the tub when i shower and watching me with this expression:

Doctor’s appointment again the day after tomorrow. Probably more chest X-rays and stuff. If they don’t like what they see, the next step may be to go into the hospital for IV antibiotics. Ugh.