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Sex toy review: Lovense Hush

I met her at a castle in France. Twenty-two people or so all came together to celebrate the birthday of my partner Maxine in the best way kinky poly people know how: by spending a week having kinky group sex in a castle.

I found myself with a bit of a crush on her almost immediately. We had a lovely time snogging.

I talked about that crush in an answer on Quora, in fact.

Fast forward about eight years. I invited her to my wedding. We're all sitting there at dinner: me, my wife-to-be, Maxine (who graciously agreed to be the best man at the wedding), my other partners, the bridal party, mutual friends, when Maxine says "Hey Eunice, did you know Franklin has a crush on you? Check out what he wrote about you on Quora!"

Because that's just the kind of troublemaker Maxine is.


Maxine, me, Eunice, arranged in order of height but not in order of evil


Now, Eunice lives in London, and I do not. She also doesn't do long-distance relationships. So we're in a...well, let's just call our situation a "situationship" and leave it at that.

A long-distance situationship requires a fair bit of creativity, to overcome the logistical incompatibility inherent of being a very small creature living on a very large world.

Fortunately, we live in an era of technology. And the last half-decade has seen a renaissance in high-tech sex toys.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present the culmination of thousands of years of relentless technological progress, stretching in an unbroken line from the first stone tools to the Information Age: the Lovense Hush.


So much better than flint knapping!


When you buy a sex toy that comes with a 40-page instruction booklet, you know you're in for a treat. (Granted part of the reason it's that long is it's written in several languages, but still.)

Remote-controlled sex toys are the greatest gift to long-distance relationships since the invention of writing.

They're not everything, of course. Part of the creativity we've had to exercise as part of this situationship has involved installing new server infrastructure in the house and brushing up on open-source streaming video server software. I now have a streaming camera in the bedroom that any of my partners can log in to so as to make sure I'm properly behaving myself, which, given the sorts of folks I like to date, generally means behaving very improperly indeed.

It was nice to find a turnkey gadget that allowed her to reach out and touch me without the need for fussing with Darwin Streaming Server or dynamic DNS configuration. The current state of the art in open source software is why we can't have nice things...but I digress.

This is a lovely device. It's absolutely fantastic fun. The smartphone software is easy to use, though you need to register an account with Lovense to make use of it...such is the nature of our modern, interconnected world. (And, as we recently discovered, it won't work long distance if the vendor's authentication servers are down. This, too, is the nature of our modern, interconnected world.)

While the Amazon description doesn't mention this, the control app included an alarm clock function.

Let me say that again to let the magnificence sink in: The app includes an alarm clock function! I anticipate that making waking up in the morning a whole lot more interesting.

The plug itself is quite well-designed and definitely stays put even when you're out and about. It's not silent, but it's a lot quieter than many other wearable toys I've used. In a normal environment like a restaurant, the sound it makes is not likely to be noticeable.

It offers powerful vibrations, of a deep, raspy sort. I quite prefer this to the high buzzing of some other vibrating toys.

From an engineering perspective, it's covered in silicone, but it is not solid silicone all the way through; the electronic gubbins are inside a hard plastic shell beneath the silicone. For that reason, it's a lot harder than pure silicone plugs. I was debating whether to get the small or large size. I'm glad I went with the small. (If you're contemplating getting one of these but on the fence as to size, I'd recommend going with the smaller size, simply because if you're accustomed to other toys the hardness of this one makes it feel a bit bigger than it is.)

The description advertises 1.5 to 2 hours of use. We get 2 or more, but that might be because my crush is a tease and likes to run it at low levels just to frustrate me. If it's not running at all, expect about a full day of standby power on one battery charge, which means if you're in, say, hypothetically speaking, just as a random example, the Pacific time zone, and your significant other is in London, and you wear it to bed, you might expect to be jolted out of your sleep at 4AM when your London partner is waking up for the morning. Just, you know, hypothetically speaking.

All in all, this thing is quite lovely. Definitely worth the price. We've talked about getting one for her.


My new book!

I was out on the porch enjoying the lovely Portland weather this morning when the postman came by with the advance review copies of my new novel, Black Iron,, straight from the publisher.



No, it's not about polyamory. Not at all.

So what's it about? Well, that's kinda hard to say. It’s a bit steampunk, if you interpret "steampunk" very loosely. It’s about a heist, kind of. Well, it’s really a murder mystery, sort of. No, wait, that’s not quite it. It’s a story of political intrigue, in a manner of speaking.

Think Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books or Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, only set in an alternate 19th-century London where there’s no British empire and the British don’t drink tea. (Joreth read the first draft and described it this way: "Imagine if Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman had a love child who grew up on a steady diet of George RR Martin.")

It’s the same kind of loopy, over-the-top humor that you see in books like Night Watch or Hitchhiker’s Guide, the sort of absurdist comedy that’s really social commentary.

There’s a petty thief and a princess, of course, because if you have a 19th-century heist political intrigue steampunk murder mystery, you have to have a petty thief and a princess—it’s required by law. There are undead things, after a fashion. There’s a cameo by Doctor Frankenstein; in this world, his experiments worked, but not quiiiiiiiite the way he expected them to.

There are airships. The New World colonies are still colonies. Oh, and people die, because we now live in a world where Game of Thrones is a thing, so gone are the assumptions that sympathetic characters are immune to being killed.

It's also available for preorder on Amazon (pub date is October 1).

Oh, and if you know anyone who would like an advance review copy, let me know!


Series review: Altered Carbon

Note: This post started out as an answer on Quora, but I thought it deserved its own space.

Very minor spoilers below.


If you haven't heard of it yet, Altered Carbon is a dystopian science fiction series on Netflix. It's based on the novel of the same name, a particularly bleak look into the future by Richard K. Morgan.



Now, I know what you're thinking. Dystopian scifi? Again? Hasn't that been done to death already?

No. Not like this.

First of all, this is a very dark show. I don’t mean dark like Blade Runner or Pan’s Labyrinth. I mean black. Black as midnight, black as pitch, blacker than the foulest witch. This show makes Silence of the Lambs look like Happy Fun Times with Rainbows and Unicorns. I know folks who got 2–3 episodes in and couldn’t keep watching it.

The show’s central tenet is that shortly after birth, everyone is fitted with a “stack,” a device that constantly backs up your memories and consciousness. If you’re ever killed, your stack can be removed from your body and placed in a new body. You can travel to other places by copying your stack into a new stack somewhere else, like transferring a file over the Internet...no need to get in an airplane (or spaceship!) and haul heavy, fragile bodies around.

Instantaneous travel! Death has been conquered! The show takes those Utopian premises and uses them to build a society that is almost unbelievably twisted, cruel, and bleak.

Imagine a society where people like a young Bill Gates—not the current mellow, charitable Bill Gates, but the greedy, paranoid, Machiavellian Bill Gates of the 90s, the guy who was one part robber baron and one part Lex Luthor—never age and never die.



In this society, the wealthiest people don’t own 99% of humanity’s resources, they own all of them. They’re hundreds of years old, they’re redundantly backed up, and they own everything.

Which means they control...everything. A small group of the uber-wealthy control all the lawmakers, all the laws, all the police, all the justice system...it’s Citizens United taken to its gruesomely logical end. There is not one single aspect of human society that does not bend, in a kind of grotesque fiduciary tropism, to the will of a tiny handful of the most greedy, amoral, wealthy sociopaths all of humanity can produce.

Now, combine that with the idea that the death of your body means you don’t really die, and what do you get? Brothels where you can kill the sex workers. No big deal, if she dies you just resleeve her in a new body! (“Oh, he’s one of the good ones,” a sex worker says of a rich client who likes beating women to death with his bare hands, “if he breaks it, he buys it.”)

The return of gladiator combat! After all, if death is only a minor inconvenience, why not have entertainment where people fight each other to the death? In bodies with enhanced strength and reflexes, just to make it interesting? One character stages death matches at his parties—using a husband and wife team as gladiators, because he loves watching people who genuinely love each other kill each other with fists and knives. (Winner gets an upgraded combat body. Loser gets a downgraded body. They go home to their kids after the match and their kids don’t recognize them.)

Or hey, you want information? You can torture someone to death over and over and over again and still keep asking them questions!



Buckle up, that’s what you’re in for when you get on this ride.

If that sounds like the sort of entertainment you’re looking for, Altered Carbon is your bag.

It’s a brilliant show, brilliantly done. Everything about it, from the writing to the acting (at one point, we see a huge LA biker who has first an elderly Spanish grandmother and then a Russian professional assassin transferred into him—it’s some of the best acting I’ve ever seen) to the set design is just astonishingly well-done.





I’m serious about the set design, by the way. I’ve watched the entire show twice, and the level of attention to detail borders on obsession. There’s a lot of interesting background stuff you only notice the second time through.



The world of Altered Carbon is incredibly misogynist (there’s a scene in a cloning lab for the uber-rich where we see a custom-designed naked female body with the advertising slogan “Put your wife in me!”), but unlike Blade Runner 2049—another movie set in an incredibly misogynist society—it gives us female characters who aren’t victims or MacGuffins.



Yes, the characters are tropes, written in broad, bold strokes. They have to be. The show, for its dystopian technological setting, is noir. That’s one of the defining characteristics of noir.

And within those broad strokes, the show does some really interesting things. The sidekick is a brooding and occasionally homicidal AI obsessed with Edgar Allan Poe (he even calls himself “Poe”).

If there’s an overarching theme to the show, it’s the tedious banality of evil. Power corrupts; power accumulated over centuries corrupts in dark and horrifying ways. The most awful parts of the human psyche rise to the surface, where they’re polished to a high sheen.

Even when they’re not human. There’s a very minor character who’s an AI. It loathes and detests humanity. But not in a Skynet, “I’m going to exterminate humanity in a nuclear cataclysm and then build an unstoppable robot army” kind of way, oh no.

It runs a VR brothel, where people with a tendency toward sadism can beat and murder women without actually having to do it to real women. Unknown to its customers, it records the VR scenes using real women, “because,” it explains, “they scream better.”

That’s the world you’re getting into: a world where the most grandiose acts of evil are directed at the grubbiest, most tawdry ends.

Classic works of cyberpunk like Neuromancer are set in societies where the greediest people are struggling to control the fate of human society.

In Altered Carbon, they’ve won. They control society absolutely, and now have century after century to look for novel atrocities with which to entertain themselves.

10/10, highly recommend.


I have written before on a couple of occasions about the Fermi paradox. To recap, the idea is: if life is plentiful throughout the universe and there are many sapient, industrial species, where is the evidence? The sky should be filled with radio waves and other telltale evidence.

Not necessarily because they're trying to talk to us, but because a civilization that develops tools and high technology will eventually discover radio, and radio is massively useful. We are broadcasting our existence to the universe right now--not from an attempt to be chatty with any extraterrestrial neighbors, but simply by virtue of the fact that we broadcast all kinds of noise just by virtue of being a technological species.

There are three common answers to the Fermi Paradox, which can be summed up as:

1. We're first.
2. We're rare.
3. We're fucked.

The "we're first" and "we're rare" answers suggest we don't see the evidence of technological civilizations filling the skies because technological civilizations are very, very thin on the ground in the cosmos...err, that's a jumbled metaphor, but you get what I mean.

Life may be common, but technological life might not. And there could be things--Great Filters, they're called--that aren't necessarily obvious to us, but that conspire to keep technological life rare.

Maybe it's the distribution of planets in a solar system. People who believe life is common like to point to the fact that we are an unremarkable star in an unremarkable galaxy--one of quadrillions in the observable universe.

But it turns out that while our star is unremarkable, our solar system is very weird indeed, and we still don't know why. The other solar systems we've discovered so far tend to have planets all of about the same size. Ours decidedly does not. Our planet is really very small indeed, it seems.

So whatever caused our solar system to be so weird might be a Great Filter. It may be that it's hard to get sapient life that uses technology and builds cities on a huge planet or a gas giant.

So that might be a Great Filter.

The third solution, "we're fucked," proposes that there is a great filter, but it's ahead of us, not behind us. This solution suggests that the things a new sapient species needs to survive when it's young--things like aggressiveness, tribalism, xenophobia, aggression, and violence--work against that species when it reaches the point of globe-spanning civilizations. The reason we don't see the skies filled with traces of advanced sapient species is advanced sapient species tend to destroy themselves, simply by virtue of the fact that the traits they need to survive when they're young inevitably act against survival when they're mature.

Okay, so that's the backstory.

Let's talk about the James Webb Space Telescope.




The James Webb Space Telescope is due to launch next year. When it does, one of its primary missions is to examine the atmosphere of known exoplanets, looking for traces of oxygen.

Oxygen in the air is rather a big deal. Planets don't have free oxygen without life. This planet started out with a reducing atmosphere, not an oxygenating one. It didn't get oxygen in the air until the advent of cyanobacteria and oxygenic photosynthesis.

Oxygenic photosynthesis is a complex, fiddly process that may have evolved only once. When it did, everything changed. Oxygen is poison to anaerobic life. The coming of cyanobacteria started the Great Oxygen Catastrophe--that's actually what it's called--that wiped out almost every species on earth. And paved the way for us.

Oxygen might be necessary for sapience, simply because cellular metabolism in the absence of oxygen is necessarily limited and sluggish. Active metabolisms require oxygen, at least so far as we can tell.

And brains require highly active metabolisms indeed. Information processing is horrendously energy-intensive. Your brain consumes a substantial fraction of your body's total energy capacity. No Oxygen Catastrophe probably means no animals with central nervous systems and almost certainly means no sapience.

Oxygen can't stay put. It's too reactive. If every photosynthetic organism died, our atmosphere would return to non-oxygenating, as the oxygen in the air reacted and combined with things.

So if you see oxygen in a planet's atmosphere, that means something's continually putting it there. Like photosynthesis or some similar process. And that probably means life.




When James Webb is online, it will either see oxygen on exoplanets or it won't.

If it doesn't, that points to oxygenic photosynthesis as a rare innovation. Which means we might owe our existence to cyanobacteria, and that means at least one Great Filter is behind us.

It also means complex life with energetic metabolisms--animals--is probably incredibly rare in the universe.

On the other hand, if we see oxygen everywhere, that probably means that oxygenic photosynthesis is a common innovation, which suggests a universe not only teeming with life but possibly complex life.

It also means that at least one potential Great Filter behind us isn't a Great Filter, which raises the odds of a Great Filter ahead of us.

I'm not sure which result I'm hoping for: a lonely universe with greater odds of our survival, or a teeming universe with lower.




For 12 hours today, my partner Eve and I are writing one blog post for every contribution we get to the crowdfunding campaign for our novel, Black Iron. We call it Write Like a Motherfucker. Want to make us dance? Send people to the campaign page! You can follow along via the #WLAMF hashtag on Twitter, or in the Facebook event. For the origin of the #WLAMF hashtag, see my first WLAMF first post from 2014.


Eve and I have finished our first novel, Black Iron.

No, it's not a novel about polyamory. It's part heist caper, part political intrigue, set in an alternate 1855 London in a world where Queen Victoria doesn't exist, the Protestant Reformation didn't happen, and the British don't drink tea. (But there's still a war in Afghanistan, because there's always war in Afghanistan.)

We're really excited about this book. To get a sense of what it's like, think of Terry Pratchett had read too much George RR Martin as a child and you'll have a general idea.

We've launched a Web site about it. We're also really excited about the cover concept art by the phenomenally talented Julie Dillon.



And you can get an early copy, before it's on the shelves! Just support our crowdfunding here. There's all sorts of cool stuff you can get besides just the book!


London calling!

Eve and I have a new book coming out soon, and you, O readers of this blog, will soon be able to get it earlier than it arrives in book stores!

Watch this space!



An update to the Map of Non-Monogamy

Way, waaaaaay back in 2010, I created a Venn diagram (well, if you can still call something a Venn diagram when it has dozens of bits that intersect in some pretty mind-bending ways) of the variations of non-monogamy I've observed.

The Map of Non-Monogamy ended up all over the Internet. I've seen it in Fetlife, presented at academic lectures, and I know of at least one Masters thesis that includes it.

Now, after seven long years, I've finally done an update, significantly redesigning it and adding relationship anarchy and solo polyamory. Here, in all its glory, is the newly redesigned Map of Non-Monogamy. The preview here is teensy, so you can click on it to embiggen.



I've redesigned the new map as a (big!) 24x36-inch poster. So what say you, O Internet? If I spend a lot of money to have them printed (printing posters that big ain't cheap!), would you buy one?

[edited to add] You can now pre-order the poster! It will ship in late January or early February. Preorders are $15 for one poster or $100 for ten. Pre-order a poster here!


Well, it looks like we did it again...

We wrote another book! Yep, you read that right. Eve and I have just finished another book...and no, it's not about relationships.

This book is called Black Iron, and it's a novel. No, not a poly novel. A novel set in 1855 in a world where the Protestant Reformation never happened, the British Empire doesn't exist, the Colonies are still Colonies, and the British don't drink tea.

But there's still a war in Afghanistan. It turns out that there are some things you can change, when you're building a new history, and some things you...well, can't.

Oh, and it's a comedy. Think Terry Pratchett or Douglas Adams, if they'd grown up on a steady diet of George RR Martin. (Yes, people die. This is the new normal for fiction. Get used to it.)

Here's an excerpt to give you a taste:

Priorities, Thaddeus thought. Gold was nice. Life was better. Time to do what he did best.

He turned and bolted, feeling a swish of air as the dagger passed through the space he had just vacated. A moment later he was through the door and in the warren of tiny, confusing alleys that together made up the dock district of Old New London.

The sun was nearly gone. Sensible people were heading home, and people of Thaddeus’ sort were not yet out. Thaddeus chose a direction at random and plunged off as fast as he could, weaving through the crowd of laborers and merchants of the petty sort. Behind him, the door to the tiny shack, really little more than a pile of planks coaxed by a trick of the carpenter’s artifice into believing it was a storeroom, banged open.

Run now. Think later.

The dock district was a tangle of lanes and alleys, some of them little more than crevices between rows of warehouses. It hadn’t been built so much as thrown up. The engine of commerce was constantly arranging and rearranging the architecture, and many of the pathways seemed more like accidents of urban geography than anything intended to conduct traffic.

Thaddeus saw an opening between two buildings on his left, completely deserted. He darted through it and flattened himself against the wall. His pursuer flashed by the opening, a blurred shape in the failing light. Thaddeus exhaled slowly. That should buy him a few moments.

He crept carefully down the alley, cursing his shoes. The hard soles, so practical for walking down broad, well-paved streets, slapped on the rough cobblestone. Even a blind rat could follow him, Thaddeus thought.

The passageway opened up into a wider space, with alleys heading off in all directions. A young girl, perhaps in her tenth year, looked up at Thaddeus with an expression of suspicion. She was dressed entirely in rags.

“D’you have a shilling, mister?”

Thaddeus paused for a moment, panting. “No. I don’t have a shilling. I should have a lot of shillings, but I don’t. Listen, there’s a bad man chasing me. Which way should I go?”

She looked Thaddeus up and down appraisingly. “That’s a rum qab y’ got.”

“What?”

“I ken your qab.” She held out her hand. “Give it t’me.”

Thaddeus looked around wildly. He could hear feet pounding down the alley toward him. He took off his top-hat and handed it to the girl. “Which way do I go?”

She examined the hat with a critical air. Thaddeus felt his hands curl into fists.

“There,” she said, pointing. “That way.”

“Thank you, little girl. Don’t tell the bad man where I am, okay?”

She nodded.

Thaddeus ran down the alley she had pointed to as though all the legions of Hell were behind him. Not that there was much difference between that and one person hell-bent on murder behind him. Past a certain point, it stopped mattering how many people were trying to kill you.

The alley extended barely twenty yards before it ended in a rough brick wall. Thaddeus stopped. The girl had sent him down a dead end. Refuse-dumps lined both sides.

Behind him, he heard a voice, glutinous and sibilant. “Little girl, have you seen a man run this way?”

“Maybe,” she said. “D’you have a shilling?”

“Oh, yes. I have a shilling for you,” came that slithery voice.

There was a pause. Then, “He’s that way. Down Ambush Alley.”

Thaddeus felt his heart freeze in his chest. “Oh, you impudent little urchin,” he thought to himself. He flattened himself against the wall, as far in the corner as he could get. The refuse-dumps were almost empty and offered little cover. He crouched in the deepest part of the shadow, holding his breath.

A shadow loomed in the far end of the alley, a man-shaped hole in the fading light. He was nearly silent. It was easy, when you have the proper footwear. The knife gleamed in his hand.

Thaddeus held himself still. The shape glided closer. He willed himself to melt into the shadow.

Another step closer. Another. The man was cautious, wary of cornered prey. Closer.

Thaddeus exploded out at him. The man reacted almost instantly, the dagger thrusting up and out.

Fortunately, there is a world of difference between “almost instantly” and “instantly.”

They crashed into each other. The dagger flashed and gleamed. Thaddeus brought his foot up. The hard metal tip collided hard with a particularly sensitive portion of the man’s body.

The man fell, eerily silent. The dagger skittered across the cobblestones. Thaddeus leapt past him, heading back the way he had come.

The child was still standing where she had been. Thaddeus’ top-hat sat on her head, nearly covering her eyes. She looked solemnly at him. “D’you have a shilling now?” she asked.


We've launched a Web site where you can sign up for pre-order information. Check it out!

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I've just posted a review of the cringe-inducing Professor Marston and the Search for the Holy Unicorn, a one hour and forty-eight minute study in gaslighting and sexual grooming. Here's the teaser:

I am polyamorous. I am kinky. I have seen at least one Wonder Woman movie. Ergo, I am precisely the target demographic for the movie Fifty Shades of Professor Marston and the Great Wonder Unicorn Hunt Women, the movie that is taking Hollywood by storm as it zooms from first-run theaters to the dollar cinema faster than Starship Troopers 3.

I blinked, and so nearly missed the film in its theatrical release, but never fear! Vancouver has one of those theaters that sells beer and cut-rate tickets, with those chairs that make you sit with your knees in your nose and the floors that are always suspiciously sticky, so I was able to plunk down a few hard-earned Canadian dollars and experience the wonder for myself.

At least I think that's what that feeling was. It might have been my kidney infection.

The movie goes something like this:

PROFESSOR MARSTON: Why are people burning my comic books?

OUTRAGEOUSLY STRAIGHTLACED WOMAN: It's the 1940s. That's what we do. Now, we want to ask you a bunch of leading and excessively moralistic questions about your comic book.

PROFESSOR MARSTON: Very well, let me begin with a flashback.

He BEGINS with a FLASHBACK

PROFESSOR MARSTON: My new undergrad psychology student is hot.

ELIZABETH MARSTON: I've got bad news and good news. The bad news is this is the 1930s, which means Harvard won't give me a Ph.D. because I'm a woman. The good news is that this is the 1930s, which means there's no such thing as an ethics review board, so if you want to sexually groom and then experiment on your undergrad student in really creepy ways that totally objectify her and violate her consent, that's okay. Also, I have no concept of sexual jealousy.

The polyamorous people in the audience CHEER

ELIZABETH MARSTON: I also have no concept of consent.

PROFESSOR MARSTON: Awesome! This will be fun. What is your name, hot undergrad student?

UNICORN: You may call me Unicorn.


You can read the whole thing here.


I wrote a new thing!

For the first time in more than a year (has it really been that long?), I've added a new page to the More Than Two site: Is polyamory unnatural?

This page came from a new line of attack aimed at polyamory I've started hearing lately: "Polyamory means doing a lot of work to overcome jealousy. Doesn't that mean you're basically programming yourself to normalize something that's unnatural?"

Yeah, I made that noise the first time I read it, too. But then I started hearing it again, and again, and I thought, okay, mmmmaybe this deserves a reply.

So I wrote a thing. You can see the thing here:

Is polyamory unnatural?

Here's the teaser:

Poly people are always talking about ways to defeat jealousy. Isn’t that just conditioning yourself to accept something unnatural?

No, seriously, don’t laugh–this is an honest question that’s being raised more and more often as an objection to polyamory. If being able to function in a relationship requires that you work hard to overcome an emotion like jealousy, doesn’t that mean you’re simply trying to desensitize yourself to a perfectly natural and reasonable feeling, and that polyamory really isn’t a natural choice?
Polyamorous people talk a lot about jealousy partly because it’s something that we get asked about a lot, and partly because, yes, it’s a perfectly normal emotion we’ve all faced at some point in time. And honestly, if all you feel is jealousy in a polyamorous relationship–if all you do is fight against your emotions all the time, and there’s no joy in polyamory for you–maybe it’s really not the right relationship choice. It’s okay to be monogamous. It’s okay not to want to be in plural relationships if that model isn’t a good fit. If you see nothing but struggle in polyamory, and there’s no upside, hey, don’t be polyamorous!
And don’t let anyone tell you polyamory is “more advanced” or “more evolved” either–that’s hornswoggle.

But here’s the thing…

Jealousy isn’t a polyamorous issue. Monogamous people can and do feel jealousy, too. Developing tools to deal with jealousy makes everyone’s life better, regardless of whether you’re monogamous or not.


You can read the rest here.


There's a new blog post on franklinveaux.com: Does love mean opening yourself up to abuse? You can read it here:

http://blog.franklinveaux.com/2017/04/does-love-mean-giving-someone-the-power-to-abuse-you/

Note: After fifteen years, I've stopped bloggong on LiveJournal. This is why.


It's time to pack up and move

I've been blogging on LiveJournal since August of 2001. And what a long, strange trip it's been. In the past fifteen and a half years, I've seen a lot of changes in the way people use social media: the rise and subsequent fall of a whole host of blogging services, the gradual fading away of USENET and email lists, Facebook's march to supremacy.

In all that time I've continued to use Livejournal, partly because a lot of people know about my blog and follow me there, and partly because after more than a decade it becomes exceptionally difficult to move.

Today, when I signed on to LiveJournal, I found the writing on the wall:



LiveJournal was bought many moons ago by a Russian company, but only recently moved its servers to Russia. And since doing so, it's been required to update its Terms of Service to comply with Russian law, which is rather odious and, well, Russian.

I don't intend to go into a full analysis of the implications of the new ToS. That's been done already in many places on the Web, including here, here, here, and here. (Interestingly, there's no discussion of the change on the official LJ Policy community, and in fact there hasn't been any discussion there since 2015.)

The bits I do want to talk about are those bits directly relevant to me and this blog.

The new Terms of Service have two provisions that directly impact me: in accordance with Russian law, any blog or community read by more than 3,000 readers is considered a 'publication' and is subject to State controls on publications, including the provision that the blogger or moderator is legally liable under Russian law for any content posted by any user; and blogs are prohibited from "perform[ing] any other actions contradictory to the laws of the Russian Federation."

This blog is routinely read by more than 3,000 people, making me a "publisher" under Russian law.

And, more worrying, the Russian "gay propaganda law" forbids discussion of "sexual deviancy," which includes LGBTQ issues. "Propaganda of non-traditional relationships" is forbidden by this law.

I'm not concerned that the Kremlin is going to demand my extradition to Russia to face trial. I am concerned that there's a very real possibility this blog may disappear at any time without warning.




For a couple of years now, I've kept a backup of this blog over at blog.franklinveaux.com. The blog there is a mirror of the blog here, though links over there point to blog entries here rather than there. (Fixing that will be a massive undertaking, involving changing many hundreds of links in thousands of blog posts.)

I moved my LJ to WordPress, a process that was extraordinarily painful. There is an LJ importer for WordPress, and a tutorial for moving your LJ blog to Wordpress here, but, as I discovered, there are a few gotchas.

First, the LJ importer plugin was not tested on large blogs. It requires enormous amounts of memory to import a LiveJournal blog with more than a couple hundred entries; at the time I did the migration, I had north of 1,600 blog posts. Second, it chokes on blog entries that have more than 100 or so comments.

Many, perhaps most, Web hosting companies place limitations on memory and CPU usage that prevent the WordPress LJ importer from working on large blogs.

Second, it won't move images. If you have uploaded images to LJ's servers, you must download them and re-upload them to your new WordPress blog.

I was unable to use the LJ importer to import my entire LiveJournal blog. I finally discovered a workaround, but it's cumbersome:

  1. Create a free WordPress blog at WordPress.com.

  2. Use the importer there (it's in the Tools menu) to import your LiveJournal blog.

    If you're okay hosting your new blog at Wordpress.com, you're done. If, however, you wish to host your blog on your own server with your own WordPress installation, there are a few more steps:


  3. Use the Exporter to export a WordPress XML file of the blog.

  4. Set up your own self-hosted WordPress installation on your own server.

  5. Import the file you exported from Wordpress.com.


Images you have uploaded to LJ will, as I've mentioned, need to be uploaded to your WordPress blog. (Thank God I've never done this; I've always put my images on my own server and linked to them there.)

The problem is compounded by the fact that LiveJournal has never wanted you to move. There's no graceful way to export your LJ blog. There is an exporter of sorts, but it only exports a month at a time. The Wayback Machine at archive.org doesn't archive LiveJournal posts, at least not consistently (it has crawled my blog only 37 times despite the fact that I have some 1,700 blog entries).




This is a huge problem. LiveJournal was one of the first blogging platforms, and a tremendous amount of very valuable information about the rise of social media is in danger of being lost.

This is, of course, the curse of the modern age. A diary written with pen and paper can be lost in an attic for centuries and then, once discovered, provide insight into the lives of people in a long-gone time. But we don't record our lives that way any more. Today, our journals are kept on computer servers--servers owned by other people. And there's no leaving these journals in an attic for a century for future people to find. They require constant, and sometimes very difficult, work to maintain. Anything you host on someone else's servers for free is subject to someone else's whims.

I am dedicated to doing the work to preserve my journal. From now on, I will not be posting new journal entries here. This blog will remain for as long as it can, and I will post links here to blog updates over on blog.franklinveaux.com. I encourage others to do the same. Anything here is subject to the vargarities of Russian law and should be assumed to be unstable, subject to deletion without warning.

From this point forward, please link to new blog posts on blog.franklinveaux.com, not LiveJournal. Over the next few months, I plan to work on linking my most popular LiveJournal entries back to their mirrors on franklinveaux, and updating links there to point ot blog posts there rather than here.

Oh, and the last person to leave LJ, please remember to turn off the lights.

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