Unexpected Visits

Yesterday I got a surprise call from my evil twin.

Yes, I have an evil twin, and the fact that I’m the good one should frighten you considerably. My evil twin and I have talked to each other online for quite a while, but have never met in person.

Well, as it turns out, she was flying to Houston to spend some time with her girlfriend (yes, my evil twin is a lesbian–kind of fitting, innit?), and missed her flight, and got bumped to another flight that involved a four-hour layover in Atlanta, and did I want to head down to the airport and spend some time with her?

This is my evil twin:

We chilled out at the airport restaurant and talked about life, bondage, and everything. As it turns out, there is a quick one-column tie she couldn’t remember, so she dug out her (fluffy, glittery, girly) restraints and I demonstrated on her at the table. The unflappable waitstaff took it all in stride.

All in all, an unusual end to what had been a boring day.

Woohoo! Found my old kite aerial photography pics!

In the archive of images I found that I thought I’d lost forever, I discovered the scans of my first and only foray into kite aerial photography.

This was done before I had a digital camera, so I bought a cheap film camera, taped it to the center of a large kite, and rigged up a servo and radio from a model RC airplane to it. The whole shebang was appallingly primitive, but I still got some pretty neat shots of Ft. Desoto in Florida from it.

You can see the newly restored post on the experiment here.

I also found some pics of the rig itself, which will show you how truly awful it was (dedicated kite photographers use much more sophisticated setups):

Whee! It’s my birthday…

…and I’m spending it catching up on my emails, rearranging my image library, backing up my hard drive, and maybe–maybe–playing WoW.

I am a party animal, yes I am. The life of a BDSM poly activist is just mad. Mad, I say! Men, lock up your wives and daughters, there is no telling what I’ll do next!

That’s right, you all wish you were me. We are jamming over here.

Sooo sleepy….

In late 2003 or early 2004, somewhere thereabouts, I moved one of my Web sites from one server to another. In the process of doing that, I neglected to move, and therefore lost, a large number of images I had put on the server in order to embed them into my LiveJournal, with the result that many LiveJournal posts I made between 2001 and 2004 that contained images showed broken image placeholders.

Last night, while I was digging through the closet in preparation for packing stuff up, I found a couple of CDs from 2002 and 2004 that contained backups of a lot of my digital photography–including images that I thought I’d lost forever.

So I spent a great deal of time last night going through LJ entries from 2002, 2003, and 2004, identifying entries with broken image links, finding the images on the CDs, and re-uploading them to the server. Almost all of my LJ posts from mid-2003 through the present day have now been fixed and the images are now displaying correctly.

Took until 3 AM, and I’m still not finished with 2001 and 2002.

It was interesting going through the CDs, though. Many of the images which I’d thought were gone forever were from the most turbulent time in my entire life, and it’s been interesting how those images have brought back a lot of very complex memories and emotions. I’m really, really, really glad I found these CDs.

Conversations With My Cat

Him: “OMG OMG so hungry food bowl is empty feed me!”
Me: (Stumbling sleepily to the kitchen) “Okay, okay.”
Him: “Faster! Faster! So very hungry!”
Me: “Wait, what? You have food!”
Him: “Do not! Starving! Starving over here!”
Me: “Your food dish is half full!”
Him: “I’m sure I have no idea what you’re referring to. Now feed me at once! Hungry!”
Me: “What is this? What do you call this, then? Because to me it looks like your dish is half full of food.”
Him: “Is not! I’m starving here! Starving, I say! Feed me, you heartless bastard!”
Me: “Okay, okay! All right, already!” (Gets out bag of cat food)
Him: “Oh boy oh boy that’s food! You’re going to feed me! Faster, insolent human! Faster!”
Me: “All right! Calm down! Here you go!”
Him: “Om nom nom nom. This is good food! It’s a good thing you fed me. I was about to starve! And it would have been on your head!”
Me: “You know, I just played a trick on you.”
Him: “What’s that you say? What are these words you are speaking to me, interrupting my breakfast?”
Me: “I just put three little bits of food in your bowl, to make you think I was filling it up.”
Him: “Have you gone mad? Clearly this is not so. Look! My bowl is half full of food!”
Me: “Exactly my point. It was half full all along! I simply pretended to fill it, and now you’re eating!”
Him: “Are you on medication? Because if you are, I don’t think it’s working. Plainly, as anyone can see, there is now food in my bowl. Now leave me, human, so that I may eat in peace!”

This is what happens when I clean out the closet

So I was digging through a bunch of boxes in the closet last night, and I found a box with some “experimental” T-shirt designs that I never ended up marketing on my T-shirt site.

Since I’m in the process of closing down that site, i didn’t feel like adding these T-shirts to the site, particularly since some of them are quite literally one-of-a-kind (in the “I only created one of them” sense of the word). So, instead, I figured I’d offer them up to you, my LJ-reading friends.

Several of these shirts were the result of an experiment using reflectorized ink. This ink is very cool (but ultimately way, way, waaaay too expensive) that looks gray in normal ambient light, but changes color depending on the angle you view it from and glows a blazing white when you shine a light directly on it. The ink uses the same principle that things like reflectorized tape and reflectorized paint uses, and it stands up to washing, but it turned out to be just too damn expensive to make these shirts.

I found one “Identity Zero” shirt, size XL, that’s printed with reflectorized ink. I took several pics of it to try to convey what it looks like. The pics don’t really do it justice, but you can get some sense of how it looks flat gray under normal light and bright white under a beam of direct light (in this case, the camera flash):

EDIT: The Identity Zero shirt is sold already. Damn, that didn’t take long!

I also found a gray “Goddess” shirt, size L, printed with the same ink. Depending on how it’s viewed, the logo on the front, which shows the three aspects of the Goddess, is darker than the shirt (if you look at it head on), is almost the same color as the shirt and disappears (if you look at it sideways or in low light), or blazes white (if it has a beam of light projected on it):

Next up is a single Nanohazard shirt, size S, printed in white ink on a red shirt (instead of white on black like the others). EDIT2: This one is gone now, as well.

I also found some conventional white-on-black nanohazard shirts in some sizes I ultimately ended up not carrying (two Medium and two Small).

And finally, I found some shirts printed in reflectorized ink with a logo that says “Satan Inside” in a parody of the “Intel Inside” logo. I printed these up before discovering that the laws which protect parody of copyrighted work don’t extend to trademarks (in the US, copyright and trademark are entirely separate things). I have one XXL, one XL, and 2 M of this shirt:

So I’m making these shirts available for $10 each. First-come, first-served. I’ve set up a special ordering page here; make sure you tell me in the “Special Instructions” section which shirt and size you want!!

Some thoughts on bringing down barriers

On another forum I read, a person had asked for help with a poly situation he was confronting.

Seems that his wife of many years had just started exploring the notion of having a partner outside their marriage (with his knowledge and blessing), and her new lover had managed to do some things with her sexually that totally blew her out of the water and circumvented some barriers that had always been present in their marriage.

The person posting about this was very distressed and upset about it, to the point where he was considering asking his wife to cut things off with her new lover.

And I think that’s really interesting. Because upon reading his post, my first thought was “Dude! ROCK! You just hit the poly lotto jackpot! This is exactly one of the best things that can happen in a poly relationship!”

See, here’s the deal. If one of my partners has an amazing, mind-blowing, life-altering sexual experience with some other guy, particularly an mind-blowing, life-altering sexual experience that brings down some barrier or opens some new door (and yes, this has happened), I’m all like, awesome!

For me, one of the many (many!) benefits to polyamory is that it improves my sex life.

And I don’t mean “improves my sex life” in the sense of “lets me sleep with a bunch of women,” but rather “improves my sex life” in the sense of “offers new avenues of exploration and new ways to find intimacy with my lover.”

See, no matter how many things you can think of to do sexually (and as a seasoned, veteran pervert, I can think of quite a few), and no matter what you explore with your lover, the fact is that there will always be things that didn’t occur to you and there will always be things that you don’t explore. That’s the way it goes; as human beings, we can not possibly ever do it all–not even if we live to be a thousand years old.

Because of that, there will always be doorways that we don’t see.

This is especially true in relationships where some kind of barrier exists between the people involved. These barriers might take many forms–perhaps issues with relaxing and letting go during sex, perhaps problems with sexual communication or expectations, whatever.

When some new lover arrives on the scene, and explores something new or finds some way to bypass those boundaries, everyone wins. If one of my partners has a lover who gives her this awesome experience, then she has something she can take back into her relationship with me–“Hey Franklin! Check this out! If you do this, and then this and then this over here, then my body does this amazing thing! Isn’t that cool?”

But more importantly, if someone is able to communicate with one of my lovers on a level that I never have, or finds a way around some kind of barrier that’s always existed between us, then that person has just offered a gift of incalculable value. He’s just created a roadmap to greater intimacy with my partner, by showing both of us that this barrier can be circumvented, and showing us how.

Now, it’s true that some issues between people might be specific and unique to them. Even so, sometimes all it takes to begin to work on them anew is the feeling that it is possible to have a sexual relationship in which this whatever-it-is problem doesn’t exist; funny thing about people is that when you show them something’s possible, often that’s all it takes for them to find a way to do it.

Plus, y’know, I really dig my partners, and I like when they’re happy.

So to me, when a lover has some amazing, mind-blowing experience with someone else, that’s a cause for celebration, rather than fear and angst. That seems to be a minority opinion, though–and that’s a damn shame. Seems to me life is just a whole lot better when you’re not all like “I have to be the best lover my partner has ever had or OMFG FAIL and I’m now worthless as a human being and she doesn’t need me any more and brain weasel brain weasel brain weasel.”

Future Plans, and Life Changes

(One of the very few friends-locked posts you’ll see in this journal, largely because I haven’t talked about these issues with the folks at the company I work with yet, and don’t want to incite any premature panic.)

So. Atlanta. Not really crazy about it.

I moved to Atlanta several years ago because the electronics company I’m a minority partner in relocated its headquarters here. Since that time, the company has encountered several financial crises, gone through a lot of employees, and just generally made a right mess of things internally. The company’s survival has been touch and go for a while, and on several occasions they’ve been late paying me or haven’t paid me at all.

Now, that’s not really as big a problem as it might have been. I’ve invested a tremendous amount of time and effort into the various other projects I have going–my Web sites, Onyx, stuff like that–and they mostly pay the bills these days. I’m not really dependent on the electronics company for my living. (It’d be nice if my stock in the company were worth more than the paper it’s printed on, but that’s a different issue.)

Had I known three years ago what I know now, I don’t think I would ever have moved to Atlanta. I don’t like that all my relationships are long-distance, I don’t like that I’ve never really been successful in building a community here, and I don’t like Atlanta.

That’s more or less irrelevant now, though. Water under the bridge.

What’s more relevant is I’ve finally reached the point where I can’t abide the idea of staying here any more. So, when my lease is up in June, I’m heading to Portland, Oregon, where I will be living with zaiah (at least that’s the plan) and where I feel I already have more of a community than I have in Atlanta.

My goal from this is nothing short of a complete, ground-up rebuilding of my life. I don’t like the way it looks right now, so I’m going to change it. The goals for the move:

– Not working in an office any more. I want to do 100% of my work completely online (including the work I do for the electronics firm; ideally, I’ll still be doing Web programming for them), whether that be consulting, Web dev, my own Web site, or whatever. That by itself frees up all the other things I’d like to be able to do.

– Spending more time traveling. It sucks having all of my relationships be long-distance; I’d like the freedom to be able to say “You know what? I want to spend the next four weeks with dayo” or “I want to spend some time living with figmentj” and have that be possible.

– Spending more time in poly/BDSM/sexblogging activism, including having a higher profile at conventions, retreats, and that sort of thing. For example, I’ve received about a half-dozen invitations to the Sex 2.0 convention this May in DC, and I won’t be able to go–I’d like to have the ability to attend next year. Ditto for things like SxSW, Loving More, Dragon*Con, and the like.

– A living arrangement that will better accommodate an extended local poly network. zaiah and I would like to create a home that can allow for multiple live-in or near-live-in relationships, should those opportunities present themselves.

– A much more active involvement in local BDSM and poly communities. This is something I had in Tampa but don’t have here.

I’m really excited about moving, and I’m looking forward to having a lot more freedom to travel. Now if only these next few months would pass quickly!