Posters! And soon to be in Philly…

First off:

I’ll be arriving in Philadelphia at somewhere around 2ish in the afternoon tomorrow (Saturday the 28th). joreth won’t be arriving ’til about midnightish. That gives me a number of hours unallocated and unspoken for, though I won’t have transportation. Anyone in the area fancy a get-together?

Second off:

The posters of the Map of Human Sexuality are printed and en-route. Funny thing, though. The printer gave me six UPS tracking numbers(!), and when I check them online, each tracking number says that the shipment contains three parcels. Which means, if I’m reading it right, the printer is sending me the posters in eighteen boxes(!!). WTF??! Eighteen boxes to ship 500 posters? That can not possibly be right. Even three boxes sounds like a bit much.

So I’m thinking there are a number of potential scenarios here, all of them wildly unlikely:

1. The person at the print shop who ships stuff out has OCD, and registered my order with UPS six times. (Clicky goes the button! Clicky goes the button! I like the way the label printer sounds. Clicky goes the button!)

2. The person who ran the order on press misread the job ticket, and printed 5,000 posters rather than 500 posters. I’ll have posters and posters and posters and posters! And also, more posters! Psst, wanna buy a poster?

3. Due to an unfortunate mix-up involving a hacked computer, a Russian ex-KGB operative, an Al Quaeda sleeper cell, two vials of sodium pentathol, and a mysterious flat tire on a Greyhound bus, at this very moment I have over five hundred pounds of parts for AK-47 rifles on their way to me, and a whole print run of posters of a sex map are en route to a shadowy underground Pakistani arms dealer in Cyprus. Boy, won’t he be surprised! Heads will roll, oh yes. Heads will roll.

Another List of Linky-Links

Today’s crop of links covers a lot of territory, from cutting edge science stuff to LOLcat perversaions. Off we go:


Our World May Be a Giant Hologram

A device intended to look for gravity waves may instead have provided evidence confirming a strange hypothesis that space itself is composed of subunits, and that there is a “smallest possible unit” of space.

Scientists Stop the Ageing Process

Researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine report the ability to prevent ageing in the cells of a mouse liver by blocking the accumulation of protein detritus.

What’s In the Vault?

Vaults are cool nanoscale, spontaneously self-assembling structures within cells…and nobody knows what they do.



LOLcats as seen through the prism of Stalin-era Soviet propaganda ideology.

Caligula for President

Uncomfortable truths about American democracy, helped along with a little black humor. “In thrall to the natural, inexorable, cyclic states of empire, the American government is finally beginning to sprout hair on its lip and smell like all the others, and is almost beginning to resemble an adult superpower, in regard to the vast, regrettable and boringly predictable evils of monarchic leadership.”

I Want to Be a Kitten

An antidote to the previous link.


Because sometimes BDSM is just funny. Warning: Not safe for work.


Military Investigates Amnesia Beams

With a flash of light. Seriously.


The Idiocy of ‘Defamation of Religion’

Some folks, and some nations, are seeking to make “defamation of religion” a crime. Why that’s a profoundly stupid idea.

You might be addicted to World of Warcraft if…

So this evening, my roommate David and I went shopping after work.

We had to make it fast, because we both had raid tonight. In fact, he talked to his raid leader on the way to the store, so that we’d have an idea of how much time we could spend shopping.

Which got us to thinking how to tell if you’re completely addicted1 to World of Warcraft. The warning signs are pretty subtle, so it can sometimes be a difficult call to make. Still, there are a few little signs and signals that might tip you off. To wit:

1. Your boss asks you if you can work overtime, and you say “Sorry, no can do. We’re raiding tonight. Sartharion, booyeah!”

2. Your new sweetie asks you out on a romantic date, and you say “Sorry, no can do. We’re raiding tonight. Sartharion 25-man, booyeah!”

3. You’re scheduling a funeral for a family member and you realize it can’t be on Saturday, because you’re raiding that night. Sartharion 10-man with three drakes up, booyeah!

4. Your fiancée wants to go out shopping for wedding rings, and you have a fleeting moment when you think “Shopping? We don’t need to do that! I can craft a [Titanium Spellshock Ring]!

5. You have your real-life wedding in-game.

6. …and ALL of your friends show up.

7. …and think it’s cool.

8. And your family shows up, too.

9. You install an add-on that lets you play another game inside the game while you’re idle or traveling somewhere.

10. Your character’s cooking skill is higher than yours.

11. You schedule vacations around the release dates for game expansions.

12. You schedule vacations around patch day.

13. Two words: Soloing Onyxia, booyeah!

14. The porn folder on your computer contains screen shots of that time you soloed a Fel Reaver at level 69.

15. …and you weren’t playing a warlock.

16. The first thing you ask that new hottie who just moved in across the street is “Horde or Alliance?”

17. And if the answer is “Alliance,” you know a relationship will never work. Fuckin’ pansy-ass Alliance, anyway.

18. The three things you look for in a vacation spot are power, broadband Internet access, and… Come to think of it, there’s really only two things you need in a vacation spot.

19. Actually, you don’t really need to go anywhere on vacation. Travel takes away time you could spend playing!

20. And so does sex, for that matter.

21. You may drive a [1977 Chevy Vega] in real life, but who cares? Your character rides a [Mechano-hog]! Booyeah, baby! Put that in your [Dark Iron Smoking Pipe] and smoke it!

22. Your [Tigule and Foror’s Strawberry Ice Cream] brings all the boys to the yard.

23. Those “World of Whorecraft” porn videos bug you because they keep getting the lore wrong.

24. When you go to lunch, you tell your boss “AFK for 30”.

25. “LF 1 GF. Will be checking gear.”

26. You know your way around Alterac Valley better than you know your way around your own neighborhood.

27. …and Alterac Valley is safer than your own neighborhood.

28. You see “LFM OT + DPS UBRS Rend run” in general chat and it makes you all misty-eyed with nostalgia.

29. You’ve watched the World of Warcraft “Switch” ad 167 times, and it keeps getting funnier every single time you see it. “Or hell, why don’t I just self-res, and bam! Cast Frost Shock!!!”

And finally:

30. If you had a dollar for every time Blizzard nerfed your class, you could…you could…play for two months for FREE!

1 Not that that’s, you know, a bad thing.

Well, that’s unusual…

For what may arguably be the first time in its history, the Catholic Church has anticipated a new technology, rather than lagging a few centuries behind, as is more traditional.

Last year, Pope Sidious I Benedict XVI announced the addition of seven new deadly sins to the old list of seven deadly sins (which, frankly, I believe is flawed to begin with). On the new list is genetic engineering, which th Vatican defines broadly to include anything which changes DNA.

Eleven months later, researchers announced a major breakthrough in fighting HIV: a therapy that extracts the patient’s cells, genetically alters them to make them resistant to the AIDS virus, and then re-introduces them into the patient’s body.

The circle is now complete, as Darth Vader says. For the first time, with the newly updated list of deadly sins, the Catholic Church has a complete, end-to-end policy on HIV:

It’s wrong to wear condoms to prevent the spread of AIDS, and it’s wrong to use gene therapy to treat AIDS.

Like many other religions, the Catholic Church has long viewed HIV as a behavioral problem, and felt that rigorous control of sexual expression, rather than condom use or research, are the ideal solution. They don’t go quite as far as to say that HIV is a punishment from God, but approaching HIV as a behavioral problem rather than a n epidemiological one still falls flat to me.

Folks who think that HIV is a consequence of an immoral lifestyle or a punishment for wickedness would do well to consider the case of a man who called in to the Playboy Radio talk show I was a guest on several months ago; he was HIV positive not because he’d had wild, deviant unprotected sex, but because he witnessed a car accident. One of the accident victims was thrown through the windshield and badly lacerated. In his efforts to save her life, he cut his hand on the glass and was exposed to her blood. She was HIV positive; now he is, too. Frankly, and I want to be very clear on this point: any omnipotent, merciful, benevolent god who is OK with that can suck my cock kiss my ass. If there is a god who would be fine with that, I think such an entity is manifestly and plainly not worthy of adoration.

But I digress.

Sin lies only in hurting other people unnecessarily. All other “sin” is invented nonsense. The idea of criminalizing lifesaving research by holding that certain forms of medicine are inherently sinful–and not just sinful, but mortal sins–that’s a level of wrong I can’t quite even find the words for.

Some movies I’d like to see

So a couple of projects have managed to wiggle their way into my attention lately.

The first is a book, based on Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice, called Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. It’s a rewrite of the classic with extra bonuz zombie footage (by day, she woos Mr. Darcy; by night, she’s an unstoppable zombie slaying machine!).

Yes, I’m being 100% serious.

The second is the next movie in the Predator franchise, called Pride and Predator, a Predator prequel set in the time of–you guessed it–Pride and Prejudice.

Now, personally, I think this is brilliant. There’s nothing that can make a chick flick entertaining faster than the addition of a zombie horde or an extraterrestrial killing machine. Can’t get enough of that for my entertainment dollar!

But, sadly, I fear this trend doesn’t go far enough. So, this afternoon, I put together some more chick flicks I’d really like to see (clicky on any pic to embiggen):

Last chance to pre-order!

I have enough pre-orders for the poster version of the Map of Human Sexuality, and the job is at the printer’s right now. Plates are done and it goes on press Monday. I expect to have the posters by the time I get back from the Poly Leadership Summit next Monday.

Once I have the posters in hand, I plan to raise the price to $15, so if you want one at the pre-order price (or you want it signed), now’s the time!

On Re-Evaluating Dating and Relationships

My sweetie figmentj has just posted what I think is an awesome essay on the nature of dating and the implications of a conventional model of dating in an unconventional relationship world. Here’s a teaser:

In our generally monogamous culture, standard dating is viewed as a series of auditions. If you pass the first, then you get a second date. If you pass that one, you get a third date (and possibly sex, if we really want to go with the cliched model). Eventually you pass enough auditions to have a relationship, and if that goes well, you get married and win the game. Most of the poly people I know, myself included, started out being inundated with the standard model, and eventually became poly later. We learned to let go of the idea that there is One Magical Person for everyone, and the purpose of dating is to find them. But the feelings of being evaluated and passing or failing and internalizing what that means seemed to hang around.

Go read the rest. It’s good stuff.

On the value of a broken heart

Several months back, I went to LA to visit my sweetie Gina.

There are a number of reasons I really dig her. She has the same deadpan, two-degrees-off sense of humor I do. She’s smart, independent, capable, and sexy as hell. She knows a lot of things I don’t know and has a lot of skills I don’t have, which is something I tend to look for in people. She’s a lot of fun to spend time with. She planted the seeds of an appreciation for horses in me.

And every now and then, out of the blue, she says something that I end up mentally chewing on for months.

One of the things she said while I was out visiting her is that she is usually only attracted to people who have had their hearts broken at some point in the past. People who are “lived in,” I think was the term she used. And I’ve been chewing on that idea for months.

I think there’s something to be said for the notion that a person isn’t really complete until his heart has been broken.

Which is not to say that having a broken heart is a positive thing. On the whole, having been there myself, I think I’d rather have a root canal. From a myopic dentist with a seizure disorder. Using rusty implements. On a yacht. During a hurricane.

But how a person responds to heartbreak can really illuminate some important things about who that person is.

The easiest thing to do, I think, is react with anger. After all, how dare that no=good, rotten bastard treat you so poorly, right? And to some extent, that’s probably normal and natural for most of us; anger is one of the recognized stages of grief, and grief is an appropriate reaction to losing a relationship that’s valuable to you.

But it doesn’t last forever–or at least, it shouldn’t. It’s too easy an out. Blaming the other person, the person who broke your heart, is seductively simple to do, and offers a powerful absolution from your own hand in the events. Even if the other person is completely at fault, though, there are lessons to be learned in the aftermath of heartbreak, and the lessons that a person comes away with are potent signs of that person’s character. The worst breakups can still teach a lesson about partner selection, after all.

I’ve talked to folks who seem to have the worst luck in relationship. Every person they’ve ever been romantically involved with, or o it seems, is a no-account, worthless, shiftless, gormless right royal bastard, at least to hear them talk about it. I’m always slightly saddened to hear people talk about their past experiences that way, because it seems to me that there are valuable lessons in the experience which aren’t being learned. And I do believe some lessons can only be learned by heartbreak, and even then only if the people involved are really paying attention.

Having your heart broken is a high price to pay for a lesson you don’t bother to learn.

On of those lessons is about compassion, and it’s difficult to even think about compassion when anger is occupying all of the space in your emotional realm. I’m not saying that folks who’ve never had their hearts broken are incapable of being compassionate, of course; but I do think that heartbreak drives the lesson home in a particularly immediate way.

I know that for myself, at least, my own greatest heartbreak occurred at least in part because in some small back corner of my mind, I assumed that my partner and I would always have a friendship, would always come round to being on good terms; and I think to some extent that prevented me from being as compassionate as I could have been, and of working in the most effective way I could have to resolve the problems between us. (Problems that were, to be fair, mostly of my own doing.) That idea that we’d always be friends led me to a tacit assumption that there would always be plenty of time to set things straight between us, so I didn’t really need to worry about making things right right now.

As you might imagine, hat person and I have not spoken to one another in over fifteen years. And I still carry the lessons, and the marks, from that heartbreak with me.

There is another lesson that comes from heartbreak, too, and that lesson is courage.

To me, one of the single most valuable things a person can carry into a relationship is the knowledge that it is okay to be alone. I don’t want a partner who believes that she must be with me, out of fear of being alone; to me, the healthiest relationships are those that are engaged in freely, as a matter of choice. I don’t want the feeling that I must be with a partner; the knowledge that it is possible for me to lose a relationship, to have my heart broken, and that I can still move on and still be happy means that I am free to involve myself in relationships as a conscious choice. I can be happy even without a relationship; that means the relationships I am in, I am in because they add value to my life and to my partner’s life, not because I have no choice about them.

Knowing that I can be happy without a relationship means I can never be trapped in a relationship. Knowing that my partners can be happy without a relationship means I never need to fear that a partner is only with me because she has no other choice, which means I never need to fear that a partner will leave me simply because some other choice presents itself to her.

Courage is grace under pressure. It takes courage to know that you can lose a relationship and still find a way to be happy. It takes courage to know that it is possible to face down the fear of being alone, and to release the idea that without your partner, things will never be good again. That’s the light on the other side of heartbreak–the certainty that as painful as a broken heart is, there is always the possibility of happiness beyond it.

Compassion and courage together make for the most effective combination I’ve yet discovered for personal happiness.

Going to Philadelphia, and Sex Map Stuff

Part the first:

I will be in Philadelphia for the Poly Leadership Summit from February 28 through March 2 (not March 6 like I originally wrote! Aargh!). Originally, I’d coordinated with my sweetie joreth, but scheduling conflicts have kind of nixed that.

So long story short, I’ll be in Philadelphia on February 28 with nothing to do. Anyone on my flist in town and want to hook up for coffee1 or something?

Part the second:

Almost have enough pre-orders for the poster version of the Map of Human Sexuality to start printing. Just need seven more pre-orders!

1 Well, not coffee; the stuff is nasty. But, y’know.