I was told the other day how true polyamory didn’t have rules. You just got to fuck whoever you wanted, and nobody could stop you or it wasn’t polyamory.
Let’s break that down.
Because people forget rules weren’t inflicted on people wholesale by malicious bureaucrats. Rules are like pearls, which are beautiful to us but an irritant to an oyster. Oysters create pearls because they can’t get a piece of sand out of their tendermeats and layer it in nacre until they have a ball of Stuff stuck in their craw. That’s not great for the oyster, but it’s better than having sand ripping up their insides.
And like a pearl, every rule started with some Problem that was causing distress, and people decided to wrap a Rule around it – because as annoying as that Rule was, it was better than the initial Problem.
Now rules, as I’ve noted, are the failure state of polyamory. You’d be better served by utilizing expectations, which aren’t quite as brittle and lead to better understanding. But rules and expectations both are solutions to the same ultimate problem:
You’re hurting someone you love.
They feel abandoned when you don’t text them at the end of the night. They feel threatened when you cancel dates on them to go out with New Person. They feel exasperated when they’re spending their dates with you as a pseudo-relationship counsellor, picking apart the reasons you’re fighting with your other partner all the time.
But hey. You have no limits. So even if your partner’s cat just died and they’re desperate to not be alone tonight, fuck that! You had a date. And you’re not cancelling that because NO LIMITS!
That’d be cruel? You wouldn’t leave your partner alone during a time of need?
Well, I guess you have limits.
“That’s different!” you cry. “That’s what I wanted to do! I chose to do that of my own volition, not because of some stupid rules!”
Here’s the secret to rules, my friend:
Everyone chooses them.
There’s no legal contract for any poly relationship saying, “I have to stay with this person.” There may be consequences, divorce laws being punitive and all, but there’s consequences for any bad decision. You treat them badly enough that they refuse to talk to you, you don’t get the hot sex or the emotional support. If you’re really a shithead, you may lose friends over the breakup. There is no consequence-free decision.
As such, people may bitch about rules, but ultimately they chose to stay with the person who enacted them. Why? Because the irritant of the rules is better than losing that person entirely – or better than the less-critical problem of “I love them, so I don’t want to make them feel bad.”
You’re not better because you made a decision on the fly to alter your behavior to be with someone. That’s how relationships work. You negotiate, you compromise, you figure out where your elbow hits someone’s eye.
And in a lot of cases, you don’t do something that would bring you magnificent satisfaction because you know it would hurt someone. Unsafe sex. Taking someone else to the concert you promised you’d take them to. Disappearing for a two-week vacation with a new sweetie without letting them know where you’re going.
All those are limits.
“They’re self-imposed limits!” you cry – but now you’re changing the argument. Because polyamory was supposed to have no limits, man. Total and utter William Wallace-style FREEEEEEDOM!
…except that compassionate human beings, when given the choice to do whatever they want, will often choose not to do things that injure the people they love.
True freedom involves the ability to self-limit.
And so “Polyamory has no limits” often is a synonym for “I am a sociopath who is only out for my own satisfaction, and anyone who inconveniences me in any way will be shunted aside. I don’t give a fuck about you as long as I get mine.” It’s not so much an ethos as a warning sign that this person is not someone you want to date unless your Venn diagram of what you desire overlaps theirs perfectly.
And yes. It’s perfectly logical to stop dating someone whose feelings are so sensitive you can’t avoid bruising them; I’ve done it myself. But that’s not “I have no limits” so much as “Our limits were irreconcilable.” There’s nothing wrong with a hedonistic relationship based on pleasure, either, so long as everyone involved chose it honestly. It’s possible to have a relationship with such low limits that you never brush against them.
But I generally find that the people who bristle at any idea of limitations are the people who bristle at the idea of other people having needs. They want no limitations because really, anything that obstructs their satisfaction is an enemy to be destroyed.
Date these people at your peril.
Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.
My hc_bingo card ( is under this cut )
At first glance I didn't see a whole lot of prompts there that work well with my usual-these-years fandom/ship, but on looking again, there are a few that I could theoretically do interesting things with, or that at least can be made to match WsIP that I expect to be on the shorter side if/when I can finish them. And my monofannishness aside, I do always hope that these challenges will twig something in my brain and let me write something new.
(Is this my first time getting an hc_bingo card that doesn't have one of the soulbond prompts? I haven't gone and checked to see if it's literally the first time, but the card generator has traditionally been very keen on giving me "unintended soulbond" and/or "unintended side effects of planned soulbond" [or whatever the exact phrasings are]. I always kinda meant to write the former for Warehouse 13; it could even happen someday. It's pretty perfect.)
And my seasonofkink card and Newsflesh-specific (inherently NSFW) notes ( are under THIS cut )
--To further illustrate how my reading is (not) going lately, seananmcguire's new novella came out a week ago and I haven't read it yet. ;_; I've at least been keeping up with some graphic novels from the library, but that's about it.
--The adorable annual we're planting that I couldn't remember for the life of me is Hawaii Blue ageratum, AKA "floss flower". *charmed* Look how cute it is!
--A happy twofold discovery: while rummaging for something else, I found a small stash of Toronto transit tokens that we'd clearly forgotten about, and I was briefly sad because I'd had the impression that the Presto system rollout in Toronto was far enough along that tokens might not be usable anymore. (Horrifying thought, since the Presto rollout sounds like a clusterfuck in all kinds of ways--which strikes me as extra embarrassing when, as far as I can tell, Presto works fairly well in Ottawa, and unless I'm wrong about that, clearly it can be fine.) But I checked the TTC site, and the header on the "fares and passes" section says "Last year’s tickets and tokens are still valid. Customers paying with tickets and tokens do not need to deposit ten cents." [Emphasis theirs.] So we'll see about using our stash up.
--Related: one of the infinite things I love about having Claudia and Jinksy is that it's much less heartbreaking to come home from Toronto now that we have sweet, soft kitties waiting for us, but the flip side is that I preemptively miss them. I'd cling to them, but they don't like that. ^^;
(That said, Jinksy's currently purring on my lap. *^^*)
Remember that hilarious story about the Parkdale gentrifiers? Did you think that after Jesse Brown tweeted the Parkdale Tinies that the story couldn't possibly get any funnier?
How long can Toronto keep a thing going, you might wonder. Surely not this long...
"Back when I was in academia and enamoured by writers like Jacques Derrida and Judith Butler, I was particularly in to the idea of origins, and where exactly we can trace origins back to."Oh, just read the whole thing, trust me.
"My mum emigrated to the UK in 1939 from Germany. Yes, that’s right, she was a Jew, or at least somewhat Jewish."
"[My counsellor] then proceeded to give me a lecture on cell biology, including how many bookshelves it would take to hold all the information contained in a single human cell. The lesson being, we are endlessly complex beings, and attempting to oversimplify both ourselves and the world is foolish."
"I did try to clean myself up at one point, attending a 10-day silent retreat in Southern Thailand. But the switch from partying on a Thai beach to sitting quietly for 12 hours a day in a Thai monastery was too dramatic, and I only lasted 5 days before I was back to Bangkok and their opiated grass."
"So let me explain what really went down during our reno from hell. Not that my wife mis-represented the facts – for the most part, she didn’t. But a) she was at home looking after our newborn for most of the year of our reno, so doesn’t know first-hand what really went on; b) she was constrained by a word limit of 4000 words; and c) she was working closely with an editor at Toronto Life, who clearly had his own agenda that overwhelmed her own."
"I had concerns about how I would come across in the piece, but I was prepared to put my ego aside for the sake of a good story and in support of my wife’s career. "
"Looking back on that telephone conversation now, I realize that Malcolm never did assure me that he would look out for my wife’s best interests."
"Although I could see the literary merit of these additions, a mean-spiritedness was entering into the article that was not in the original draft."
"I also didn’t like the photo because in reality my wife is much more attractive than she appears in that photo."
"Criticisms of capitalism presented by the bourgeoisie are nearly always duplicitous, masquerading as in solidarity with the proletariat while cutting off real protest at the knees. And this was exactly what was going on here. By seeming to sympathize with the downtrodden, Malcolm was hoping to humanize us just enough to avoid a revolution, while dehumanizing us enough to garner clicks."
"We could have called an ambulance, I guess, but that, in my mind, would have been a gross invasion of his privacy."
"My wife does, however, say that we were ‘a young family without a lot of money’ and whether this is true or not depends on what you consider ‘money.’"
"[O]n the one hand yes, I made some bad decisions. And yet we came out ahead. Was this luck? Or strategy?"
"It’s better to move forward without all the answers in place than to not move forward at all, an assumption best expressed in this quote attributed to Goethe..."
"His gift substantially changed my life, and I show my gratitude by honoring his generosity as best I can. I could have snorted $100,000 of cocaine, but instead used it to prepare myself, however tangentially, for a career in which I feel I make a positive difference."
Bonus: Here is his Twitter.
Hey guys, I’ve got a quick-turnaround website to protest the AHCA – but while I’ve written the words and done the research, my web design looks like 2003 hot garbage.
If someone out there can commit to a professional, bare-bones web design to help me get out a three-page website this week, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org stat, along with a page or two that you’ve designed so I can verify you’re better than I am. (It’s not hard, trust me.) And I’ll happily share details if you’re a professional who knows design and/or political protest and wanna email me at email@example.com, because, well, it’s a last-ditch shot in the dark against the AHCA before it passes next week.
If you’re feeling volunteery, please email. Thanks.
Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.
scruloose and I spent most of the evening outside putting in more plants. Whew. We are almost done. Current status, off the top of my head (and, okay, off the front of the handful of tags I have on my desk, although I'm basically doing the annuals from memory and phone pics, since we've been putting their tags in the soil with them).
So here's the current state of things:
Shrubs: the Sensation lilac (the one that's been around for several years now) is doing much better this year, I think; it's almost like pruning it and paying attention to the soil make a difference! Its blooms are fading and browning now, though. And the Bloomerang had quite a few blossom clusters when we planted it, but they've all died off. (Which may mean it's time to prune [deadhead?] it now, to make way for any blooms it may offer up later this summer. That's the point of Bloomerangs, after all, but it's only the poor thing's first year, and we imagine being transplanted is rough on them.)
Edibles: all but three tomato plants are now in their final containers and have their halos/ladders/cages/whatever, and those three have been repotted in larger but still temporary pots; I don't remember the exact breakdown anymore, other than "we have one Sungold, we'll have one Sweet 100 (see below), and we have...some...Lemon Boy and Chocolate plants". I opted not to get either cucamelons or lemon cucumbers. (I don't know why I feel weird not capitalizing the names of tomato varieties but am okay with "lemon cucumber".) So it's a lot of tomatoes and the Raspberry Shortcake bred-for-containers raspberry shrub.
Perennials: we don't have many, since there's just the one bed in the ground and it's not very big. It has two Etiole Violet clematis, two astilbe (one each of Fanal [dark red] and Purple Candles), two bleeding hearts (one each of Valentine [red] and White Pearl), purple Arendsii monkshood (which turns out to be wolfsbane, so we have to keep the cats away from it when they're outside, as well as from the tomatoes), and a fiery orange butterfly weed.
That bed also has two Rose Splash phyllostachya (I think this is one?), which is an annual.
Annuals: the planted annuals are almost all in four matching rectangular containers, and we still have some left to put in. The exception is that so far all but one of the few planted-so-far marigolds are in Smart Pots with tomatoes, although it's very possible there isn't actually enough room in those pots for both the fruit and the flowers. We're doing science? Anyway, the marigold varieties are Bonanza Flame (orange with red) and Taishan Orange.
Otherwise, the annuals are Persian shield, impatiens (white), coleus (three kinds--one rust-colored, one deep red with pink streaks, and one burgundy with redder streaks), calendula (not planted yet, and also not blooming yet, so I don't remember anything about it), snapdragons (a tray of a mix and a tray of a deep violet variety), salvia (a single blue and a tray of deep burgundyish purple--apparently there are a bazillion kinds of salvia, but without the tags that's all I recall), a dark silvery sort of heuchera (which is a perennial, I know, but it's in with the annuals now...), purple lobellia... And there's at least one I can't remember the name of at all, which is...a lighter but not pale purple, and rather adorable. I may be missing others too. [ETA: the one I knew I couldn't remember is Hawaii Blue ageratum ("floss flower").]
Baskets (mainly also annuals): I don't know exactly what's going on in basket 1, because for some reason plant shops don't necessarily label them. Basket 1 (bought pre-planted) has pink-and-white fuchsia and something purple (I was told, but I forget--maybe some of you will recognize it. I think it's a common one) and something pink. Basket 2, also bought pre-planted, is the purple calibrachoa-not-chupacabra, hanging in place of the wind chime we bought and had up for a day or so before we decided it was too loud and the sound carried too far for our condo corp. (I don't know the exact variety, but it's something like this.) And basket 3, which we planted, has small purple Shadow Dancers fuchsia, lemon balm, and lemon thyme.
Still to do: buy more soil (not sure if we'll get potting soil or do another mix of black earth, rotted sheep manure, and peat moss [IIRC]); trade a Chocolate cherry tomato plant for one of ginnikin and Kas' Sweet 100 plants and plant the latter; if wildpear doesn't take both the unplanted Chocolate and unplanted Lemon Boy, plant whichever remains (although, happily, it sounds like she'll give them both a home); plant the remaining annuals in containers.
And in the fall I plan to buy heaps of bulbs and plant them all over the place (within the realm of possibility, which isn't actually that large), since wildpear says bulbs and perennials will cheerfully grow around each other, since they sprout and bloom at fairly different times. Mostly crocuses and daffodils, I imagine; basic bright things that'll lift my heart in spring. Heaven knowns Nova Scotian springs need it.
hc_bingo Round 8 is open for sign-ups.
pbam (Porn Battle Amnesty) is holding a More Golden Oldies round, which draws from prompts given in previous rounds.
"‘Wonder Woman’ is More Like a Disney Princess Story Than a Superhero Movie – And That’s a Good Thing".
"Wonder Woman's Most Fantastic Scene Nearly Didn't Get Made at All".
"Wonder Woman - History Painting". "I had the pleasure and honor of working with Patty Jenkins and her team to create the animated painting at the beginning of Wonder Woman. It was a huge undertaking, but I had a small team of super-talented artists to help finish it on time, and Patty & Co. were very supportive along the way." This includes a couple of paintings that didn't make it into the final film.
[ETA: The above link was returning a 404 error for a while, but seems to be working again now. Odd.]
"Welcome to Tatiana Maslany’s Acting Master Class: With every character she plays, the Orphan Black star changes the pulse on set".
"DC's Bringing Back Its Bombshells To Explore the Fallout of World War II". [io9]
"Let's Admire Sailor Moon Anime Backgrounds" (the original anime series, that is).
"2017 Live-Action Adaptations from Shoujo and Josei Manga – UPDATED".
"Beloved Hayao Miyazaki Film Set To Get A Theme Park Of Its Own".
"Studio Ghibli’s Double Feature of Grave of the Fireflies and My Neighbor Totoro Was a Terrible Idea". [Tor.com]
Via st_aurafina, anandrine has a post for people to ID Dreamwidth communities that're active (or that they wish were more active).
"American Hippopotamus: A bracing and eccentric epic of espionage and hippos". (This history-that-almost-was inspired Sarah Gailey's novella River of Teeth, that wondrous AU where baby hippos are called HOPS. The article is long and I haven't finished reading it yet.)
"Bruce Springsteen Is Ditching Football Stadiums And Basketball Arenas For The Bright Lights Of Broadway".
"This Illustrator Explains To Bros Why They Need Feminism".
"This is What Happens When You Teach an AI to Name Guinea Pigs".
"Documenting the World’s Animals, One Picture at a Time". [National Geographic]
The latter is, to me, the starkest depiction of austerity and late-stage capitalism in action. The residents called for repairs. Labour called for tighter safety regulations. Boris Johnson literally told them to go stuff themselves. The cladding, which was probably a major factor in the deaths of 100 or so people, was installed not to protect the building's tenants—low-income, many of them racialized, many of them Syrian refugees—but to hide the unsightly nature of the tower from wealthy neighbours.
I kind of get why people lose their shit over terrorist attacks and mass shootings, but this gets me more. There's a lot we can do as a culture to reduce terrorism and mass shootings, and of course we tend to do the opposite of that, but even in a perfect world, not every act of senseless violence would be preventable. Norway still produced Anders Breivik—even a utopia would have its madmen.
But a situation where you have people saying, "this tragedy is going to happen if you don't fix the thing," and those in charge do not fix the thing, because money is more important than human lives—that is totally preventable and entirely foreseeable. There was an obvious, simple way to prevent those 100 deaths, if our civilization valued people as much as it valued profits.
There are death tolls to tell you how many people died because of communism. There are no tallies of deaths under capitalism, as if starvation because of collectivization is somehow less preferable to starvation because of austerity, or a firing squad is worse than a fire.
This is the very heart of my politics. This is why I fight, even though it doesn't affect me, even though I don't really know how to, even though I'm exhausted. Sometimes fury is the only thing that keeps me going.
"Russia's Museum Cats". [The New Yorker, 2012]
"If You Don't Laugh At Any Of These Pictures Then You Have A Cold Heart". [Buzzfeed, as given away by the title; it's captioned animal photos from Twitter]
"inside the underground subculture of female korean tattoo artists". [December 2016]
"Tree-dwelling gray foxes decorate with skeletons"
"Popsicles Made From 100 Different Polluted Water Sources Grab World’s Attention".
Via dine, "50 People Spend 2 Months To Crochet Giant Urchins Above Singapore’s Marina That Each Weight 220 Lbs (100Kg)".
"New Twitter Policy Abandons a Longstanding Privacy Pledge". [EFF]
"Best Cats Of Reykjavík".
"Cats Are Tattooing Other Cats in Surreal Japanese Ink Wash Paintings".
"36 Jokes About Marriage That Will Make You Both Laugh". [Buzzfeed] Actually, no, a lot of them are actively annoying, so brace for that if you go in, but some of them are truly funny.
siderea has a pair of posts that go together: "What Assisted Living Is" (details specific to Massachusetts, but some of the info is more broadly applicable, at least in North America) and "Retirement": "D had been talking about assisted living in terms of whether or not she needed it – whether she could still do things for herself, or whether she needed someone to do for her the sorts of things that assisted living does for residents. It seems to me that while that's one valid way of thinking about it, it's not the only one. There's "needs to", but there's also "gets to".
I said as much, and brought her up short when I told her that for me, this was political. "What do you mean, 'political'?"
I said, with some emphasis, 'I think women should get to retire, same as men do.'"
--"10+ Amazing Tattoos That Turn Scars Into Works Of Art".
--"Jewelry Designed to Look Like Fashionable Dragon Scale Armor".
--"Amazing Photos Reveal the Work of Britain’s First Tattoo Artist in Victorian Times".
In my basement sits a bookcase that, I am told, was built by my grandfather. I don’t know; I never met him. He died three months before I was born.
The bookcase has a huge, multilayered wad of gum on the side from when I was a teenager, and had no idea what the bookcase was – it was just in my room, and I owned my room, and besides the gum wasn’t where my Mom could see it. It was my little act of dickish rebellion that, like a thousand other things I did as a teenager, I regret.
And that’s all it was for several years: my grandfather’s bookcase. My teenaged gum.
Now that I’ve taken up woodworking, I can now see the choices he made in making it: fixed shelves, because drilling in the holes for adjustable shelves is a pain in the ass. He chose a little hand-carved decoration along the top to hide the boxlike construction – not exactly beautiful, but a step beyond everyday bookcase making. It sits on a base for greater stability, which is something we haven’t done yet.
Now that I build things, it’s not a bookcase but a language my grandfather spoke. Were he alive today, I could grunt in a manly way and ask what tools he used back in 1960 to make this thing, and discuss where he kept his workshop, and ask about the staining.
And he would, in the way of all woodworkers, be able to point out every tiny flaw he could not correct. Every craftsman knows about them, because you cannot avoid them: that joint that isn’t perfectly snug, that router that drifted from the fence, that board that’s 1/16″ too short. Experienced woodworkers – and me and my crew are getting there – know how to hide those errors with wood putty and on-the-fly plan alterations, but we keep them tight to our chest. They are the secrets of furniture, an encrypted thieves’ cant of sorrow only told to others in the hobby.
Last night I made my own contribution to the house: a dye shelf I made for Gini in the basement. It’s made of pine, my first natural wood project – not that you’d know that because at the last minute Gini insisted on switching from a dark stain to a bright purple paint.
I can list all its flaws: the squaring is off by an eighth of an inch because the pine was slightly warped. There’s a gouge underneath the right third shelf where – you guessed it – the router drifted from the fence. The paint was the wrong kind for woodworking, latex, too sticky to sand the brush strokes off, so there’s dribbles everywhere.
Gini loves it.
And soon, it will earn its place in the basement, just another fixture in the house, a useful engine. And my garage workshop is filling other houses; we have two bookcases meant for Eric’s attic, and two customized shelves meant to fit in the gaps on either side of Jim’s fireplace.
And in a sense, I feel like I’m firing a flare into the future. I will die, like my grandfather before me. But my friends and family will know that Ferrett did woodworking – here, here’s the shelf he built for Gini, we didn’t have the heart to throw it out, can you use it?
Maybe some day there will be someone who never got to know me but can rest his hand on some shelf I built. And they too will speak this language of craftsmanship. And they’ll look at the speckly paint job and the uneven shelves and judge me, and they will look at the love it took to spend a few hours building something because your wife asked you to and adjust their thinking, and they’ll cock their head and look at this stolid thing as if trying to unravel what sort of man I am from the things I left behind.
I wish I could tell them. But I won’t last.
My shelves might.
Let them talk for me when I’m gone.
Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.
Then yesterday evening we went back to Halifax Seed and bought a bunch more annuals, plus another hanging basket (this one of purple calibrachoa, which I only "remember" because I'd never heard of it and entered it into my phone and could pull it up just now; I'm mostly wandering around referring to it as "something that's not quite 'chupacabra'"), plus a second bleeding heart (white) and a...butterfly weed, I think it's called, for the perennial bed. All of which need planting! Whee!
Today I got my hair cut, which feels like a huge "AT LAST" moment even though I'm the one who specifically called and rescheduled for today (from about three weeks ago), so I have no one to blame but myself. The color is all touched up, and the pinkish streaks from last time (where she bleached bits of the dark purple) are now pretty much my ideal purple shade. *^^* The base color is still a darker purple than I ultimately want, but I like it, and lightening takes time.
It's only the top half of my hair, though, because I got an undercut (?), so the bottom half is all buzzed down (#1 buzz cut) and my hair is totally off my neck and I'm sooooo happy about that. And since we have clippers, my stylist cheerfully agreed that scruloose should be able to keep that part touched up for me between salon trips, no problem, so it can stay off my neck. Whee! (So it actually looks--to me--much the same from the front, since the front is where I generally have any actual length, and I'm not sure she touched that at all.)
In the name of "add a few more weeks than ideal between cuts to save money by having a couple fewer cuts/colors over the course of the year", my next appointment isn't until September, which seems awfully far off, but so it goes.
--Today's high in Halifax was 30°C (38°C with humidex); tomorrow night's forecast low is 6°C. Even for Nova Scotia, that's one hell of a whiplash.
--I really want to get ahead on my freelance work before the end of the month, if at all possible, but thankfully the deadline that's really feeling crunchy is tomorrow and I'm almost done (something like twenty more pages of script to adapt, and I have a couple of questions out to the translator; hopefully I won't wind up needing to send her more tomorrow). The deadline stress has not been helped by my having a GP appointment yesterday morning and a hair appointment today, plus a specialist appointment tomorrow morning. (That was booked back in August. Canada: decent at health coverage [incredible compared to the US, I know, but still lacking in so many ways], but NOT FAST about non-urgent things.)
--All in all, right now I'm tired and frazzled and overheated and not managing to get much writing done (but "not much in the last few days" is so much better than it had been!) or really get any reading/watching done. I'm not sure where the time goes. (I can break it all down intellectually, but on a gut level it somehow remains bewildering.)
Earlier in the day, she'd received a phone call from an unlisted number. There was a pause when she picked up, and she said it sounded like a call centre in India. The man claimed that he was calling from Windows, and there was something wrong with her computer—could she turn it on for him?
"Do you think I'm an idiot?" she asked.
"Yes," he said. "I think you are an idiot, and a motherfucker, and an asshole." And then he hung up.
She was fucking thrilled and was so excited about it that she had to tell everyone because it was that delightful.