joreth: (polyamory)
Commitments Parchment
* I am committed to allowing the relationship to find its own structure and direction without forcing it into a predetermined shape and to considering alternate structures and directions before automatically resorting to breaking up when situations and priorities change.
I am committed to allowing the relationship to find its own structure and direction without forcing it into a predetermined shape and to considering alternate structures and directions before automatically resorting to breaking up when situations and priorities change.

This is the natural extension of the previous commitment. In addition to committing to being flexible with plans within a relationship, I want to be flexible about the relationship itself. As I mentioned before, I have a style of poly in my head that I idealize - the close-knit poly family. I need to be accommodating to the individual needs of each relationship and to make sure that the relationship follows its own natural path. Sometimes those paths twist and turn a bit. When they take a sharp left turn, it may not be necessary to get off the path entirely just because it's no longer going in the direction I thought it should. Sometimes, I may be able to follow a new path.

Just to make sure that metaphor was perfectly clear, I am reminding myself here that there are more than two states for romantic relationships - together or broken up. I have already established that I can accept a variety of relationship configurations and that I do not want to prescript my relationships. So here I am establishing that I will not let my relationship descriptions turn prescriptive once we get in them. If, some time into a relationship, one or the other (or both) of us decides that our life needs to look different than it currently does, I am reminding myself that it may be possible to simply readjust our relationship to look different too.

When I first started dating Franklin, we lived 3 miles away from each other. Then he moved to Gainesville. Then I moved to Orlando. Then he moved to Atlanta. Then he moved to Portland. If either of us had insisted that our relationship was a local relationship and could only be a local relationship, it would have ended with the first move to Gainesville a mere year or two into it. Instead, what I got was a long-distance relationship that has, as of this post, lasted more than a decade, brought me valuable life lessons, been a source of joy and comfort, taught me how to become the person I wanted to be, and introduced me to the people I consider my intentional family and those I feel the most connected to anywhere in the world (with the exception of my best friend, who I met through another partner).

When things change, I do not need to automatically reach for the breakup card. When things change, I can assess if we can change with it. The relationship may not be what we originally hoped it would be, but then again, it might be something just as valuable or more that we never anticipated if we give it room to just be.
joreth: (boxed in)
This is your occasional reminder that I have actually had to pull my knife on a man 3 times in my life, since I started carrying one.

Assault, harassment, and intimidation are regular, "normal" parts of most women's lives, and definitely a part of mine. In absolutely none of the cases where I had to pull a knife out and brandish it was I "dressed for it" or "asking for it" or "sending mixed signals".

In all 3 cases, it was actually after work and I was wearing my military cargo pants and steel toe boots with no makeup or attempt at hair styling. I was in a casino lounge with my other coworkers, minding our own business and not interacting with any other patrons, at a party at a friend's house in a conversation with my ex (who was not the one I pulled the knife on), and at a gas station working on my car.

There are *lots* of times when, in retrospect, I should have pulled a knife on a date or a "friend", but because they were not strangers, I just kept giving them the benefit of the doubt and trying to find non-violent ways out of the situation. I even remained "friends" with many of them or continued to date them long after the fact (or while the behaviour was ongoing).

Being attacked by strangers, while common, happens less often than being assaulted by "friends" and partners. Had I pulled a knife on someone I had some kind of relationship with, I guarantee you that I would have been accused of "overreacting" or of being the aggressor or the "assaulter" for having escalated it to violence with a weapon. We are taught to fear Stranger Danger when the worst of our danger comes from intimates.

But, the thing is, it has *never* occurred to me to pull a weapon on a partner or a "friend". Because each and every time, the severity of the assault is not fully recognized until afterwards, when I've had time to see that my brain won't stop replaying the incident and I'm getting more and more upset over it, since I couldn't afford to react in the moment or else risk escalating something, namely his wrath.

My instinctual response is to freeze, make myself smaller, and smile to placate him into thinking it's not a big deal so that he doesn't get angry at me. The last time I actively fought back against a "friend" who was assaulting me, I got my shoulder dislocated for the effort. I have not fought back since then (I think I was 14?). I go very still instead.

When my ex-fiance used to sexually assault me at night by touching my genitals when he thought I was asleep, if I would get pissed off at him and try to leave the room to go sleep on the couch, as I was attempting to get out of bed, he would tell me that if I left right then, my precious figurine collection (which I loved dearly, almost everything in that collection was a gift) would be damaged.

I know now that this is a clear cut case of abuse, but that's not something I knew back then and I'm not entirely sure that, had I been told, I would have recognized it as abuse while I was going through it. He never once laid a hand on me in anger, or threatened to, and I never feared that he would. *That* was something I would recognize as abuse. But not the sexual assault and not the threat of property damage.

It would never have occurred to me to respond with violence to someone who was not being violent towards me, particularly with someone I loved. Partner abuse is a much more complex and insidious thing than stranger assaults.

And I have had enough of both that I have pulled a knife in self-defense 3 times so far. I'm lucky none of them had a gun.
joreth: (boxed in)
So, I had no idea, but the apartment upstairs (the one that leaks water into my place every day) was rented by a man. I have seen a man coming and going every so often, but several months ago, I saw a *woman* move in. She introduced herself, we've chatted a few times, I've given her cupcakes, and she was all apologetic when I ran upstairs the time my entire fucking ceiling started leaking all over the apartment to see what happened.

A few days after she moved in, I discovered she had kids when they peered out from the window at me, when her car was gone and I assumed she wasn't home. Shortly after that I started posting about kids having races upstairs and pounding back and forth across my ceiling.

Anyway, she wasn't a great neighbor but she wasn't terrible either. Fast forward to the whole leaky ceiling thing and I've been trying to get my management company to fix it since before the hurricane. Not that the company isn't doing anything, but the maintenance people keep not showing up to fix it.

Now, we have yet another maintenance guy here. He came out a few days ago to inspect it, and through him, I discovered that the apartment upstairs was supposed to be vacant on the 28th. I had heard that she was getting evicted (although she told me that she was leaving because she hated living here), but I didn't know when. Apparently, the *guy* on the lease told the company that he *was gone*.

But she still lives up there.

So the new maintenance guy has been trying to get upstairs to find the source of the leak. Yesterday, after confirming several times that the apartment is supposed to be vacant and the person on the lease verified that he is gone, he drilled out the lock on the door and put a new one in so his plumber can get in there today while I had the day off, to give him all day to work on the leak.

Today, the plumber tried to get in and found that the new key, that was installed yesterday, does not work. So he went off to do another job and the head maintenance guy came back to solve the problem.

In the meantime, her car came back and is parked in the yard. So now the head guy is standing outside with a cop pounding on the door above my head demanding to open up. Since she hasn't after several minutes of pounding, the cop gave the go-ahead to the maintenance guys to drill out the lock again. So now they're up there drilling, while the cop hangs out, eating a brownie and shaking his head over how complicated this whole thing is.

Y'know, if the first maintenance guy had just come back when I made the first complaint last fall, this whole thing would have been a lot more simple, and I wouldn't feel bad at the idea that someone who is in a bad living situation (like I was a few years ago) might be having her place invaded before she's able to get out.

Had I known any of this about her squatting before I started complaining about the leak, I might have lived with the leak a little longer, to give her some time. But when they sent (a different maintenance team) out who cut a hole in my ceiling to investigate *and then never came back to fix it*, I started getting more insistent. And my management company responded immediately with these guys who are actually trying to do work. But in order for them to do work, they had to get involved in the drama upstairs.

Apparently, when the lock was changed, someone actually climbed up to the balcony and entered through the balcony door, because that door was open. And then they did something to the new lock - don't know if they changed it over night or they just damaged the tumblers to prevent its use.

Cops just said they found some "drug paraphernalia" inside, and they gave the maintenance guy permission to just clear it out, so at least nobody is going to jail for drugs. I asked if he found any kids hiding upstairs, because she often leaves them there alone, but he said no. Her car is still here, but nobody is there.

So here we are.

And no, I don't think that buying a home would solve my problems either, because then I'd have to pay for all this shit myself, which I can't afford to do. This is just what life is like when you're poor.
joreth: (Default)
I'm working on my memoir. I've always expected it to be published (like, on my blog or something) either post-mortem by a loved one, or at least near the end of my life. It always felt ... I dunno, presumptuous, to write a memoir while still young enough to have more stories to tell. I suppose if one had a particular segment of life that had an identifiable ending to it, that would make sense.

My memoir is basically a chapter-by-chapter review of my poly explorations, to see how I've grown and the mistakes I've made over time.  I'm also working on a book about breaking up. This is more of a how-to, self-help sort of break up manual. Although, to be honest, more than a little of the "do not do" stuff is shit that I've done (and the rest is shit that I've had done to me).

Recently, I wrote about having to block an ex over something that, by itself wasn't really a big deal, but was symptomatic of a larger picture of abuse, and then I ended up telling the whole tale of our breakup where he physically tried to restrain me from leaving.

As I get more informed about what abuse is and isn't, I look back over my history and I've come to recognize that more and more of my past relationships were abusive and I just never recognized it because, to me, that's just how relationships go, according to my expectations from my culture and the sheer commonality of the behaviour I've experienced.

Like, early on in my relationship with Franklin, we discussed something that I call Octopus-Hands - how I've been on dates, and just hanging out with "friends", who have suddenly tried to touch my breasts, and when I knocked their hands away, they grabbed for my crotch, and when I tried to block there, they used their other hand to go for the breast again...

Franklin was appalled. He couldn't even fathom that this would happen at all, let alone be common. When he expressed surprise, I responded with surprise at his surprise, telling him that this is just what it's like being a woman who dates men. Like, it surprised *me* that someone was surprised that it happens. I think it was my first sign that my experiences weren't "normal" - or rather, they were "normal" in the sense that they were common, but they're not "normal" in the sense that they're acceptable or universal.

I talk about my abusive ex, who didn't abuse me because I didn't "take" it but did abuse someone else, and I talk about my abusive ex-fiance who *did* sexually assault me and gaslight me on the regular. But I never considered that other ex, who tried to prevent me from leaving, and who did the whole pussy-grabbing-while-asleep-after-I-said-no-sex-tonight thing to be "abusive" until I wrote out the story recently.

The growing realization of just how many of my past experiences were actually, unambiguously abusive combined with my writing of a book on how to break up, and the periodic drive to get back to my memoir all combined at once yesterday to forge an idea that popped into my brain.

What if, after my how-to breakup book is published, I rewrite and release a serial publication of some sort detailing every breakup I've ever had (that I can remember)? Maybe I can crowdfund it, and each breakup will get its own release, perhaps on my blog, perhaps as an e-booklet or something? Might this be something people would be interested in?

If not, I'll end up publishing my original story anyway, probably as the original blog series, but later in life as planned. I was just struck by the confluence of subjects and events and wondered if I could connect all these things together.
joreth: (cool)
I think my parents are finally getting the hang of this whole poly thing.

Since we got married (at my parents' house), my parents finally remember and recognize Franklin as my partner.  Because he's always been long-distance to me, he isn't in a lot of my pictures that I post online and I don't have a lot of "we did this thing last weekend" stories about him, so it was easy for my parents to "forget" that I'm dating him.  But now he's a legal spouse, so that "counts" to them.

During the whole wedding extravaganza, they had a chance to meet Ben, who is our Squiggle Designated Extrovert and can charm the pants off of anyone (especially girlfriends' mothers).  Both of my parents just fell in love with Ben, who made himself indispensable during the wedding by filling in the gaps wherever someone was needed.  Ben has the same sort of "family" connection that I do, which is that family-of-origin of the partner is important so he makes friends with parents & siblings of partners that even outlast the romantic relationships.  I still send holiday cards to my high school boyfriends' parents.

So now they can't pick just one of my partners as the "real" one, because Franklin is the spouse and the person I've been with for 13 years and Ben left such an impression on them that they continue to text each other directly just to see how each are doing.

I had to actually reassure my parents that neither I nor Franklin would feel slighted if my parents developed a friendship with Ben because of his outgoing, friendly nature that makes him so easy to like.  They were concerned that we would feel that they were undermining or dismissing our married relationship by befriending Ben, so I got to have yet another poly talk with them about the independent nature of solo poly relationships and the solid self esteem of both of my partners who do not take things personally when people like or dislike the other one because it has nothing to do with them personally.

Now my parents actually tell me to pass along their hellos and well-wishes to both partners!

#polyamory #ItOnlyTook20YearsButTheyMightFinallyBeGettingIt #ParadigmShift
joreth: (being wise)
The latest chapter in my Street Cat Saga: Some of you may remember that I posted recently about now feeding the original 4 feral cats (one of whom was pregnant), an orange tabby, a new black cat, a possum baby, and a raccoon?

For those who missed it, I have a family of 4 feral cats living under my house - 2 black males and 2 tortoiseshell-tabby females. Both the females have these tabby facial markings that result in exaggerated eye stripes and remind me of old Hollywood "Egyptian" makeup, so I've named the cat with the true tortie markings Nefertiti and the pregnant cat with the tortie patches and tabby stripes Cleopatra. The two black cats are Mark Anthony and Julias Caesar - Titi, Cleo, Tony, & Julias for short.

I planted catnip under the house to attract ferals in order to keep the mice away, now that I finally got rid of all the mice in the house. And it seemed to work because these 4 hang around all the time. But they're very skittish about people and won't let me touch them. So I started leaving a bowl of cat food out on the back steps. Tony is the bravest and will wander into the house when I leave the door open. Occasionally he will convince one of the two females to investigate with him, but they are uncomfortable and will dart out again as soon as they see me. But Tony will now allow me to touch him.

Occasionally, a very large orange tabby will come up to the steps to eat, and if any of the other 4 are there, they will arch, hiss, and run away. He doesn't seem aggressive, but he also seems confident that he will eat the food. He is obviously not part of their pack.

One night, I left the back door open and a possum wandered in. These don't run out when they get scared, they back into corners. So I spent half an hour chasing it out of the house while trying not to hurt it. A few nights later, I heard loud crunching, which is unusual for the cats. So I peeked, and found the possum eating out of the food bowl. A few nights after that, I heard the crunching again and went to peek, but this time I found the teeniest little baby possum scooping food out and eating it! Around this same time, a fairly large raccoon had started making late night appearances at my back door when I had food out too.

Recently, I was on my front porch doing laundry and saw a black cat shape and reflective eyes. Thinking it was Tony, I clicked at it as I usually do. But this time, the cat immediately ran towards me and cautiously up the porch stairs to meet me. This was a totally new black cat.

The new black cat is clearly not a feral, but possibly abandoned. She has a rabies tag and ratty collar but no other ID, and she's REALLY friendly. She has no problem coming when I click at her and she loves being petted. She also has no hesitation investigating the house and doesn't freak out if I wander around the house, even if I block her path. She is clearly used to human companionship.

So today she wandered in while the back door was open. So I sat down in the living room and she came right up for lots of love, even resting her paws on my leg and kneading (which was very painful, given that she's a street cat with sharp claws).

My food was in the microwave so I got up when it was done and sat back down on the floor to eat and pet her. I haven't been pestered by a cat while I was eating in a long time, so what used to annoy the crap out of me was quite amusing as I tried to eat and fend off a nosy cat. She managed to knock her head into my bowl, spilling some food on the floor, so I let her eat it. Normally I don't feed people food to pets, as it's bad for them, but I imagine it can't be much worse than whatever street cats manage to scavenge normally.

Now she's wandering around the house again, and even took some time to sit on my lap while I typed for more pets. She's more anxious than house cats - hardly able to sit still in any one place for more than a few seconds, but totally comfortable in my presence and in my house.

Well, that was a close call. Tony and the new black cat officially "met". The new one is hanging out on my front porch and the door is propped open so she can come and go. Tony wandered in from the back door, as is his usual entry. He made it all the way to the front of the house and into my front bedroom. I followed him around, because he's an intact male so I usually watch him to make sure he doesn't spray.

Well the new cat saw me and came back in looking for attention. Eventually Tony wandered back out of the room and they came face to face. The new cat seemed curious, but Tony's tail started swishing. So I nudged her back towards the front door and Tony darted towards the back door.

But then they both turned back around to face each other. She moved closer, but Tony arched and hissed, so I stepped between them and they both ran out their respective doors. Tony slowed down when he reached the porch steps and seemed to no longer be agitated, but he didn't stop to eat from the bowl at the top of the steps and went straight for under the house, where he often hangs out.

Tony does seem willing to come back. He has since wandered into the house a couple of times. But because of the weather, I keep my doors closed and the air conditioning on more often now, so I don't see any of the cats as often as I used to.

The new black cat (whom I haven't named yet) has come in and spent the night with me 2 or 3 times. The first night she slept on my bed with me, but the next couple of times, she slept on the floor in the living room. I'm apparently going to need to get a litter box so that I can shut the door while I sleep and not have her damage the house.

She often spends her time cuddled up to me on the couch while I'm crafting, or on the floor at my feet when she comes in. But since the weather has turned and I keep my doors shut, I haven't seen her in a few days. I appear to have been adopted, though.

joreth: (Purple Mobius)
We're printing All The Things today and tomorrow and mailing out formal invitations next week! And the only way to get the address for the ceremony locations is through the mail!  Which means that we need your physical mailing address to send you the information you need to attend mine and Franklin's wedding, and we kinda need it right away.  The formal invitations will include all the details of the date and location, directions, lodging information, FAQs, RSVP cards, Pre-Wedding Party info, etc.  

You can download our wedding app, or login to the wedding website to give us your address and update RSVPs, or you can contact us in literally any other way that will reach us and we can update your address in our wedding app database on your behalf.  Then, if you prefer to do things the traditional way, you can RSVP using the included pre-addressed, stamped RSVP card in your formal invitation.

Please don't worry that you're "inviting yourself" - if you can see this post (and one of us hasn't blocked the other or otherwise refused to engage in multiple or all forms of interaction (see my recent post about temporary or contextual blocking vs. total blocking boundary violations)), then you're not "inviting yourself", you are invited!

But, since we don't have your mailing address (and probably your email address too, hence the public and generic posts), we can't send you an invitation yet. That's why we have to reach people this way. So you're not "inviting yourself", you are invited, but we need your contact info.

You can find our wedding app and website by visiting and clicking on the RSVP link in the sidebar. Only 2 months to go!
joreth: (polyamory)
A few reminders:

1) Our wedding is public so if you can read this, you are invited (with only a few exceptions and they probably know who they are, mostly involving people I've had to block - if I've ever told you to fuck off, especially if I knew you in real life and I still told you to fuck off and then blocked you on all forms of contact, then you're probably not invited).

2) Plane tickets are going up, so make sure you make your travel arrangements soon for the wedding. San Jose (SJC) Mineta International Airport is the closest airport to the traditional ceremony and Seattle (SEA) International Airport is the closest airport to the handfasting ceremony.

Also remember that you need Northwest Recess event tickets to attend the handfasting ceremony.  

3) We have secured a block of rooms at an inexpensive (for Silicon Valley) hotel that is the closest hotel to the location for the traditional ceremony. This means that the rate is locked in and will not increase even as regular room rates increase. Any rooms not claimed under that room block 30 days before will be removed from the block and you will have to pay full price to get a room, assuming there are any left by then.

You don't have to stay here. We chose it for convenience and proximity to the wedding location and you can choose other accommodations if you prefer, but prices are going up. Silicon Valley in summertime is not a cheap place to visit, so make your reservations soon.

If you are getting a room there, please let us know so that we can adjust the number and types of rooms available. If you tried to reserve a room and the kind you wanted (2 double beds or 1 queen bed) was not available, let us know and we can add more of those rooms to the block.

4) We will be sending out formal invitations with instructions, maps, addresses, etc. in less than a month, so make sure you RSVP with your email address and mailing address before then to receive them, even if you aren't sure yet.

You can fill out the RSVP form, leave the specific events blank, and just add your addresses and comments for now if you want, and then come back and change your RSVP later.

All of this information and more, including relevant links, located here: 
joreth: (Default)
I've been on LiveJournal since May, 2006. It's amusing - my first post says "don't expect too much, I don't have time to keep this updated." Since then, I've gotten ... prolific. But recently LiveJournal moved its servers to Russia (having been bought by a Russian company quite a long time ago). Now, it's subject to Russian laws.

Specifically, it has 1 provision that affects me and 1 provision that could potentially affect me: according to 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."

I don't think that I have more than 3,000 readers, so I don't think I'm considered a "publication" by their standards, although I might someday have that many readers, or maybe I do and I'm just not aware of it.  I don't think of myself as being that big of a name. But Russia does have some laws regarding content. The Russian "gay propaganda law" forbids discussion of "sexual deviancy," which includes LGBTQ issues and "propaganda of non-traditional relationships" is forbidden by this law.

Now, I don't think I'm in any real legal danger here. I seriously doubt I'm going to be arrested or sent off to Russia to stand trial or anything. But my LiveJournal blog could just up and disappear someday.  And, frankly, that's been a possibility for a while, although not for reasons of archaic and barbaric "sexual deviancy" laws.

I've been wanting to move away from LJ for some time now, mainly because people keep telling me that it's an outdated platform. Which I think is a shame, because it does everything I ever wanted in a blog. It keeps a running log of my posts, it archives them, it allows comments and gives me control over comments, it gives me design control, it's free, it doesn't take up the limited server space that I pay for on my website, and it also gives me a convenient way to follow the blogs of other people. It's basically Facebook before there was Facebook with more personalization.

But every time I looked into moving my journal over to another platform, I came across technical problems. Until recently, there was no good way to copy everything from LJ (posts, comments, design style, user icons, permissions, etc.) and set it back up on another platform. There were some clunky ways to do it, but I always seemed to hit a wall - this exporter stopped at X number of posts, that exporter didn't get comments, this other platform refused to accept my LJ password even though it's supposed to transfer from one to the other ... stuff like that.

I was able to find an archival service that could back up my posts on my own hard drive, but I had other problems getting that archive to upload somewhere else. And there were a couple of other options that were just above my technical expertise, so when looking at the long set of instructions, my eyes bugged out and I just gave up.

But with this new Russian law thing, I was motivated to look once again and this service was recommended to me. Dreamwidth offered a built-in exporter/importer that grabs all the content I wanted it to grab and actually worked, unlike some other platforms that just kept telling me that my username or password to LJ was incorrect when it wasn't. It's a free service, and it appears to have a similar "friends list" sort of reader for other Dreamwidth users. Not that I really have time to keep up with a blog reader in addition to my FB and Twitter streams (which most people use to link to their blog posts anyway). But still, I like the option.  Which means that if you have a Dreamwidth account, hit me up with it and I can follow you back.

So, for now, Dreamwidth is my new blog home and you can find it at I have it set up to cross-post to LJ, which is also set up to automatically tweet links to new entries. If I can figure out a way to cross-post directly from here to Twitter, I will do that instead of tweeting my LJ.  But comments are turned off on LiveJournal so if you want to comment, you'll have to come to the Dreamwidth site, which uses OpenID so that even people without a Dreamwidth account can still participate (a plus over LJ). If you choose to link to one of my blog posts, please use the Dreamwidth URL from now on. I *think* I have it set to include the Dreamwidth link on the LJ cross-post, but if not, I will.  I still have to go through all my 1,300+ posts and manually update links to LJ posts so that they now go to my DW posts, so that's a long-term project still in the works.

Also, Dreamwidth is still, as of this posting, importing all the comments from my past posts. Their servers have been working overtime lately with the mass exodus from LJ and things are taking longer than normal. As it was, I had to wait in the queue for about 40 hours before the blog posts imported.

As always, my website is and links to my blog and my most commonly used social media can be found there. I have accounts on most social media but I only use Facebook, Twitter, and my blog regularly. But if you want to find me somewhere, search for Joreth, Joreth Innkeeper, or some variation on The InnBetween.
joreth: (Purple Mobius)

Atlanta Poly Weekend 2015 is coming up soon! Make sure to get there early, because Sterling and I are giving our Breaking Up workshop first thing Friday afternoon and you don't want to miss it! We've added new content for how the metamours can handle a breakup. Last year, we received rave reviews, including the comment:

"If More Than Two is the General Theory of Don't Be A Dick, then your breakup workshop is the Special Theory of Don't Be A Dick!"

We give practical advice for how to handle a breakup with compassion and grace even in the face of an uncooperative ex, and how to deal with your partners' breakups as the metamour. Given how common breakups are, we believe that we need to shuck the notion that discussing breakups isn't "romantic", and instead, we need to develop relationship skills that will help us to handle the inevitable.

Our culture tells us that we should find our One True Love the first time we try dating and that the relationship will last until we both die. Statistics suggest that this is FAR from true. So, as a culture, we need to take the blinders off and put on the big boy pants and learn how to deal with a situation that we are almost guaranteed to go through at least once in our lives.

Come to our panel at 1 PM on Friday to learn how!

On Saturday at 5:30 pm, come and hear me talk about Polyamory & Skepticism - What's Love Got To Do With It? I'll be revising an updated version of my keynote speech on the intersection between ‪skepticism‬ and ‪polyamory‬, and why they are so important to go together.

And finally, a brand new, hands-on workshop (yes, you can just observe) just for APW 2015 - Using Lead & Follow Techniques To Improve Your Relationship Communication!

Right before the Masquerade, come hear Sterling and me show you how to apply the partner dance techniques of Lead & Follow to your romantic relationships to improve your relationship communication. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO KNOW HOW TO DANCE! Seriously, you can totally have 2 left feet and still get some important tips for your relationship! We will not be teaching how to dance at this workshop.

Lead & Follow are dance terms for who gives the signals in a dance and who receives the signals in a dance. They are not dance steps and they are not specific to any style of dancing. You do not need a partner to participate in this workshop and you do not need any dance experience or even any interest in dancing. This is a communication workshop that applies certain skills from partner dancing to relationships.

We will tackle issues like consent, invitations, acceptance and rejections, non-verbal signals, trust, and more. This is a fun and interactive workshop that will take place conveniently right before the Mardi Gras party, the Drag Show, and the big Masquerade ball! We'll have a few exercises and play some fun music, plus a couple of dance demonstrations with some fun and sexy dances! We'll get you up and moving and ready to party the rest of Saturday night!

Everyone is welcome - extroverts, introverts, dancers, non-dancers, singles, couples, any relationship configuration and any relationship style, and even lurkers! If "interactive" isn't your thing, you can still come in and observe, take notes, and practice at home using our helpful handout. In fact, the tips we teach in this workshop are intended to be continuously practiced, so *everyone* can take what they learn here and bring it back home with them to keep improving their relationship communication!

You won't want to miss this!

If you can't attend Atlanta Poly Weekend, then share this post to spread the word to those who can!

joreth: (Kitty Eyes)
Read this on someone else's blog and thought it sounded like an excellent disclaimer for my personal posts as well, since it's much nicer in tone than I usually am and still makes the points I want to make. I'll be saving this and adding it to my Me Manual blog posts in the future, probably with a few minor edits to reflect my personality and/or circumstances.

"This is a personal post so it has extra rules. I don’t want advice. I don’t want condescension about my age or any other aspect of my identity or lifestyle. I do not want devil’s advocate. In fact, since this is all completely about my individual experience and I don’t mean for it to apply to anyone else’s experience, I’m not interested in entertaining any debate over it. You are welcome to believe that I am wrong about my own life and experiences, if you keep that to yourself. If I see anything in the comments section that makes me regret having been open about my life, it’ll be deleted without further explanation. Commiseration and personal anecdotes are always welcome, though."
joreth: (Kitty Eyes)
I haven't done an update on local testing options in a few years, so even though that post is still here in my journal, it's time to do a new one.

Local Testing Options Review )
Here's my opinion on necessary testing )

To sum up:

Get tested for everything listed above at least once to establish a baseline. Then get tested for The Big Four approximately once a year and 3 months after new sexual partners.

If you don't have a GP or health insurance for a full STD screening, visit one of the online services like AnyLabTest Now! for a complete workup to set your baseline. Then, if you are in the Orlando area, I recommend using the Orange County Health Department on Center Ave. for the minimum Big Four to maintain your regular testing schedule and AnyLabTest Now! for the HSV test for the most economical options. If you skip any of the steps, get another full workup as soon as possible to reset your baseline known health status. If you test positive for anything, discuss your case with your STD counselor, your clinician, or your GP for the appropriate measures for you.

For more information about HPV, about HPV research, or about other testing posts that I have made, click on my STI tag below.  I focus on HPV research and occasionally I post about local testing options and general testing information to give non-local people enough information to research their own local testing options.
joreth: (Purple Mobius)
I was too busy and sleep deprived and just fucking exhausted to get online yesterday, so happy belated anniversary to my sweetie [ profile] tacit!  9 years together, I can hardly even believe it! I wasn't sure where our relationship would take us when we started. You were so different from anyone else I had dated before and I wasn't sure our slightly different relationship styles would mesh well enough to find a common thread.

But I tried a new (at the time) tactic of just jumping in and seeing where things would go without trying to prescript our future, and also allowing our relationship to change and flex with circumstances instead of holding onto a particular structure and then giving up when circumstances change. And that seems to be the successful strategy.

You "get" me unlike anyone else, you inspire me to be more than I am, and you always seem to come up with some nuanced philosophy that so clearly expresses views that I, myself, am just developing or being introduced to, unintentionally providing me with such a clear roadmap, lighting my path and showing me the way I wish to travel.

Thank you for always being there for me and for taking so many years to get to know me and evolve along with me. I look forward to sharing many more years, many more shared projects, many more conversations, many more debates, and even many more chagrined moments as I realize that I have gradually approached a perspective that you held for some time and that I argued against at first but have eventually come on my own to see.
joreth: (Silent Bob Headbang)
For the last several years, I've maintained a Group Me for conventions.  This is a web-based service that allows you to enter your phone number, join a particular Group Me (or be added by the moderator), and then send a regular SMS text message to the Group Me phone number that will then be relayed to everyone else in the group.  They have the option to do the same.  This has come in handy for sending a single message out to everyone to say "I'm going to eat at the hotel restaurant, anyone else free and want to share a meal?" and "Party tonight is in room 465!" and "Sorry, have to cancel the party - roommate is sick.  Please don't show up tonight!"  I send one message to one phone number and reach everyone who needs that information.  Everyone else can send a message or reply to mine and everyone else gets to see it too.

Some people have suggested that Facebook or Twitter is the same thing, or good enough, for this purpose.  But I don't agree.  For one thing, it requires that everyone whom you wish to speak to has a FB or Twitter account.  Second, it requires that you be friends with those people.  Third, it requires that you have the ability to access FB or Twitter whenever you want to send that message.   For some people, this is all true.

But not for me. And here's why... )

Group Me allows you to join yourself or have the moderator add you to the group.  No one else will see your phone number unless they already have your phone number in their phone's address book, so it protects your privacy.  It allows you to choose your display name so you can use the name that people can use to find you online or not, as you prefer.  It removes me as the central organizing point and gives everyone else on the list some degree of control or participation.  It works for all phones that have SMS capabilities (and if my ancient clam-shell dumb phone can do it, then every cell phone can do it).  It does not cost anything except whatever your current text messaging plan is.  If you have limited text messages, you can turn it on and off, and you can also check messages at the website with a computer or other device with internet access.

If you have no internet access and no or limited texting capabilities, then it's true, this service will not work for you.  But I'm also at a loss as to how to include you on con' plan coordination at all in this case if I can't text or send you internet messages.  So, sorry.

Here are specifics on how to join & use the GroupMe... )
joreth: (Misty in Box)
My life has been filled with change these last couple of weeks.  Most people have gotten only bits and pieces and very few people have heard all of what has been going on with me.  But I'm told that those bits and pieces have seemed, to many, cryptic or even out of character, and upsetting.  So I'm going to elaborate on one of the more disturbing bits I've tweeted about, because people are worried and even more people have completely the wrong idea about what happened.

A few months ago, my landlord decided to sell the house and, thanks to an irritating bit of law, left me with very little time to find alternate housing.  So a friend took me in under extremely charitable conditions, only to very quickly make that situation intolerable to me, so I had to move again a few months later.  Here is my perspective of the worst of what happened.

I have a terminally sick cat.  She has an illness that leaves her underweight, malnourished, and at risk for dehydration.  She is on daily medication to try to control her appetite and water consumption, and her ability to digest it, but the medication will not cure her.  She will die of this illness, today, tomorrow, 5 years from now, we don't know.  Her medication is merely to improve the quality of her life, thereby prolonging it, for a while.  She has been sick for over 2 years now, and this worry has taken a toll on my own quality of life.

Right about the time the owner of the house where I was living, and I seemed to reach the same conclusion that our living arrangement wasn't working out, but before I had secured another place to live (or even told him that I planned to move out), my work picked up.  I began working 8-14 hour days in 10-15 day streaks (with at least one day that reached nearly 24 hours at work).  Now, at this time, the house-owner appeared to cease direct communication with me, so I can only guess at his motivations based on his behaviour, but he appeared to decide that chasing me out of the house by making me uncomfortable was preferable to actually speaking to me directly and asking me to leave.  I make this guess on his motivations because of what happened next.

The house had an air conditioning system that actually assigned certain rooms in the house to zones, which were independently controlled.  So the master bedroom, for example, could be maintained at a separate temperature from the living room.  The room I was staying in had its own zone.  The house-owner first started by turning off the air conditioner entirely to my zone.  The first time that happened, I thought maybe there was a glitch or a mistake.  So I turned it back on and went to bed.

When I woke up in the morning, the room was sweltering.  It was so hot that I was actually having trouble waking up and moving, as I do when I get overheated.  I had heatstroke several years ago and one of the side effects is being increasingly more prone to heat stroke again with each successive heat attack.  So when I overheat, I tend to get sluggish and have trouble with cognitive functions, until I eventually just collapse in a faint.  If I overheat while sleeping, I'll just not be able to wake up.  That's why I'm always wearing tank tops - I have to have the ability to shed layers at any moment when I start to get too warm.  Later, when I did finally get up and moving, as I passed by the A/C control, on a hunch, I checked it and, sure enough, it was turned off again.  This happened a couple of times and I noticed that the warming of my room would coincide with his movements downstairs where the A/C control was located.

After a few times of that, the speed at which the room would start to get warm increased while the sound of air coming through the vents was still running.  So I checked and discovered that he was no longer just turning off the air, he was turning on the heat.  I know this was in February, but this is also Florida.  I was leaving for work before he woke up in the morning and not returning until many hours later.  He left for work after I did, but he also got home from work after I had gone to bed.  So he would turn off the air or turn on the heat after I went to bed and again after I left for the day.  The room was also on the second story of the house, with windows facing both the rising and setting sun, so the room baked all day.

This would be merely annoying, even with my own health issues regarding heat, except for my sick cat.  You see, I would come home to find the cat's water bowl empty because it had evaporated while I was gone.  In the temperature I normally kept the room, the bowl would hold water for more than 2 full days before going empty, but now the bowl was drying out between the time I left for work and the time I got home from work.  I would come home to find my cat sitting by her water bowl, meowing in distress.  Remember her illness and her dehydration risk?  Yeah, she got dehydrated and I had to take her to the vet.

The cat started losing weight again and her diarrhea got worse, and she dehydrated.  She had to have a pocket of fluid inserted under her skin, between her shoulder blades, to immediately hydrate her and get her out of danger.  The vet was horrified and wanted to call the animal cruelty authorities, except there is no tangible evidence for "he turned off the A/C while I was gone" accusations, and I had finally moved out.  Since the cat was already sick, all it would take is a counter-accusation that it was my own care of her that led to her condition, or hell, that it was the condition itself, to result in possibly a lengthy and costly court battle, or more likely, no action taken at all.  All my emotional and financial resources are tied up in caring for the cat, so I didn't pursue any probably-futile legal action.  Anyway, the room was actually so hot before I found a new place, that I started taking the cats to work with me because it was cooler to leave them in my car in the parking garage than it was in the room, and I could get out to the car every 2 hours (on my breaks) to make sure they had enough water.  The thermometer in my room said that my room was reaching triple digits.

So, those of you who read my tweets about "torturing my cat", it wasn't hyperbole.  My terminally sick cat was actually being tortured by the deliberate actions of the house-owner. A healthy cat might have been merely discomforted, but a sick cat who is prone to dehydration was actually in a life-threatening situation.  Not to mention my own danger with my history of heat stroke.  I have trouble reconciling these actions with the self-assigned description of "extremely nice guy" he likes to tell people he is.  He also has his own cats, and he's quite emotionally attached to them, so I just can't fathom what could have prompted him to take out his feelings for me on my pets.  It doesn't matter how angry I get at someone, or what terrible things someone might have done - I would NEVER do anything to deliberately hurt their animals.  The worst I ever do is yell at people on the internet.  Hell, I cry at movies where even the "bad" animals get killed, I couldn't do anything that would hurt someone's pet no matter what I felt about that person.

My cat is still not fully recovered, and she may never.  And, by that I mean, she may never even recover to the point where she was sick but stable, since I know she'll never actually be healthy again.  I have been accused of lying about this whole incident, and of making a big deal out of nothing, since most people would find a Floridian house without the air turned on in February to be quite comfortable.  But I have a medical condition where I can't handle extremes of heat (or cold, for that matter, but that's a different story) and I have to look at my cat every day and see her illness in her extremely low weight and the signs of her dehydration in her fur, skin elasticity, and gums.  To me and my cat, this was decidedly not much ado about "nothing".  This was something very serious, indeed.

The toll of caring for a sick cat these last couple of years has affected me deeply and has changed a lot of my priorities.  My ex, who works with the MBTI and other personality systems, has shown me books on how the various personality types react to stress.  To people who are not familiar with that specific research - types and stress - many usually think that people under stress behave in unpredictable or contrary ways.  The MBTI system actually can predict how each of the types will behave under stress, but the relevant point is that the behaviour is often interpreted as "contrary" or "unusual" or "out of character" to those around them, even though it's not unpredictable at all, if one understands the patterns.

I have been under an awful lot of stress in the last couple of years, with the stress factors piling on in the last couple of months.  And I've been handling them pretty much alone.  I don't tend to speak out publicly when I'm under stress because I was taught not to "whine" as a kid and not to "air dirty laundry".  A neighbor kid once pushed me down a flight of stairs and broke my ankle, and I had to walk on that ankle for a week before anyone took me to a doctor for a cast because I should just "toughen up" and "stop complaining" and don't "make up stories to get out of P.E. class".  The only reason I was taken to the doctor at all is because my next door neighbor was a First Aid instructor and, after seeing me limp for a week, asked to see my ankle.  He determined I needed medical attention and it was only when he said so, did my parents take my complaints seriously.

So I prefer to handle my stresses privately, and then use the situations to illustrate growth opportunities or lessons after the event has passed.  Which is why many people who follow me online may be confused when I explode with something that seems out of context or that didn't appear to have any build-up to it.  Things looked pretty fine, until I started tweeting about the house-owner "torturing" my cats.  Naturally, several people who knew the house-owner just outright didn't believe it and accused me of lying about it or exaggerating the severity.  But it's the nature of Twitter to not have much depth or allow for nuance and detail.

So I'm giving the details here.  Things were far worse than just "turning off the air conditioning" in the end of a Floridian winter.  The room my sick cat was staying in got so hot that the water in her bowl evaporated, and it was during a time that I was out of the house for many hours at a time and could not refill her bowl regularly.  Her condition makes her specifically at risk for dehydration, and the heat and lack of water actually did cause her condition to worsen.  She may recover, she may not.

Ever since we moved, she has taken to attaching herself to me the way she did when she first got sick.  She was always my little shadow, moving from room to room with me in order to stay near me, but now it's so much more.  She doesn't just move from room to room, she actually moves around the room with me.  Tonight, I went into the kitchen, drained a bowl of soup in the sink, walked to the trash can to dump out the solid food, and then walked back to the sink to wash it.  She actually walked back and forth from the sink to the trash and back again with me.  And I don't have a large kitchen - 3 or 4 steps at most between the two stations.  She tries to time her litter usage with my own bathroom use, now that the litter box is in the bathroom, presumably because she doesn't want to be separated from me even long enough to use the litter box.

So hopefully that clears up some of the strangeness going on around me lately and hopefully that adds more context to my outraged tweets.  If I seem out of sorts, or touchy, these days, perhaps understanding some of the stress I'm going through will help things make more sense.  Also, keep in mind that the issue of my sick cat is only one of the major stressors I'm going through and there are several that I'm not speaking about, at least not publicly.  Some stressors involve personal, intimate details - some of which are my personal details that I don't particularly want made public and some of which belong to other people and it's not my place to speak of them publicly.  If something I say or do seems odd or out of place, chances are that there are other things going on below the surface or other details to the story that you don't know about that would probably explain everything.  
joreth: (Purple Mobius)
Atlanta Poly Weekend is coming up in just a couple of weeks and I'm REALLY excited about it this year! This is APW's third year and, if the trend continues, it should be even better than last year, which was better than the first year.

For APW's first year, I gave several presentations, including why poly people should cooperate with the media and how to get into it, and a panel discussion on the intersection between polyamory and skepticism with Kelley Clark. I also debuted my Miss Poly Manners costume for the first time and held a live Miss Poly Manners Q&A.

Last year I was invited back as one of APW's keynote speakers, where I featured a talk on the intersection between poly and skepticism, and also debuted my own interpretation of the Five Love Languages for polyamorous relationships. I reprised my role as Miss Poly Manners (with an improved Victorian gown) and stretched my range of etiquette lessons to include convention etiquette, not poly-specific etiquette.

This year, Miss Poly Manners comes back once again to kick off the convention with some Con Etiquette, and to participate in APW's newest fun track! The folks in Atlanta had so much great content this year that they had to open up a fourth track of programming, not including the kids-specific track! In addition to three panels simultaneously all weekend long, covering such topics as communication tools, creating intimacy, poly case law, the results of a 15-year long study on kids of poly families, kissing classes, dealing with stress, jealousy, STIs, and special poly celebrity panels, APW will also feature a fun and games track.

Just as polyamory is not ALL about the sex, conventions are not all about the serious lectures. To lighten the mood and have some fun, this year's APW will feature some of our favorite campy game shows with a special poly twist. There will be events like Poly Family Feud and APW's Got Talent and Poly-eopardy and ... Miss Poly Manners will be the center square on our own live version of Polywood Squares! You won't want to miss it!

The highlight of every weekend is the evening entertainment and this year will have another dance with DJ Cat Ninetails. Right before the dance, by special request, I will be teaching dance lessons with Sterling! According to the expressed interests of everyone who says they want to learn how to dance but never get around to taking lessons, we've chosen a dance that will look flashy enough to show off, but can be danced to almost any popular music you might hear at a nightclub, a wedding, an office party, a convention, a party, or almost anywhere out in public. You will learn a handful of steps that can have you dancing that night, with plenty of room for growth to continue learning how to dance on your own, plus a list of resources for practice videos online and where to shop for dance shoes and clothes.

I'll be on the poly & skepticism panel again with Kelley Clark & Shaun Philly, and Sterling will be giving his ever-popular workshop on using personality types to improve poly relationships & communication. His workshop fills up to capacity every time he gives it and everyone who takes it wants to attend it again. And, as a special double-feature, I'll be giving my Five Love Languages workshop again!

For those who aren't aware, The Five Love Languages is a self-help theory developed by Dr. Gary Chapman. The basic premise is that everyone expresses their feelings of love and wants to have love expressed to them in certain ways. Those ways can be grouped into what he calls "languages", because they are ways that we all communicate our feelings of love. But the problem is that we don't express or feel loved in the same ways as everyone else. So we can love another person, and do things that we think expresses our love for them, but that person may not hear that they are loved because they speak a different love language than we do.

When people have partners who do not express love in the way they most feel loved, i.e. in their own love language, then it doesn't matter how much the other person loves them, they won't feel loved. And when people don't feel loved, they end up with what Dr. Chapman says is an empty love tank. When people's love tank is empty, they can act out in hurtful, damaging, even unpredictable ways. We have to learn how to communicate our love for each other in ways that the other person most needs to hear, because this acting out is all about how one feels regardless of how the other one thinks he or she is behaving.

Think about a child who is neglected by their parents. You will often see so-called "troubled kids" that have absent or neglectful parental figures. The movie, The Breakfast Club, is pretty much the quintessential story of kids with empty love tanks and the kinds of trouble they get into when they are crying out for love and attention. Adults aren't any different, although they may act out in different ways. Then again, sometimes they don't. People under stress and feeling neglected, unloved, and alone, often do all kinds of strange things in a reaction to that stress, and they often lack the vocabulary to express what it is they're lacking or how to give it to them. And, sometimes, their vocabulary is just fine, but the person listening doesn't have the vocabulary to understand. Or worse, when both are lacking the words to explain and the definitions to understand.

Many times, one person in a relationship will insist that they are doing everything possible to show how much they love their partner, and their partner complains that they still aren't getting what they need, still feel hurt, and still act out. If you've ever tried every way you can think of to show someone that you love them and they still accuse you of not loving them anymore, this is probably what happened - your partner had a different love language and the two of you were talking past each other, not realizing that you were actually speaking different languages. Learning to speak the other person's love language will often take care of many other problems in the relationship, sometimes things you didn't even know were related.

The Five Love Languages is one tool, among many, to give people a set of vocabularly to help explain how they need to feel loved and what they're doing when they are expressing their love. I've taken out the religious justifications and the monogamous intentions and the heteronormative assumptions and adapted the theory to apply to all genders and all relationships. You'll find out what your primary love language is and how to identify your partners' love languages, and concrete suggestions for expressing love in different languages. You'll also get a handout with summaries of each of the different languages & suggestions to take home for future reference.

So I'm really excited to get to do this workshop again, and to dance, and to see all of my old friends from previous years and to meet new friends this year. I'm terrible about out-of-context meetings, so if you see me there, please tell me how we know each other (if you follow me on a particular social networking site, if we've met before somewhere else, etc.) so I can connect the different contexts. Hope to see you there!
joreth: (Misty in Box)

As I mentioned in my last post, I had heard there was a clinic who was offering the HPV test for men, but I was waiting for confirmation and more information before I posted about it.  I had looked up online on my own and only found more insistence that no HPV test existed except for that used in research.  One clinic in California was taking it upon themselves to use that research testing method to conduct their own study, thereby giving men who participated an HPV test.

Well, I found out that the clinic I heard of that may have had an HPV test for men does not, in fact, have an HPV test for men.  They seemed to have deliberately misled interested patients, as one particular patient tried to confirm several times, through several levels, that he was scheduling himself for an HPV test, and at each level was either told yes, or given an ambiguous or non-committal answer until he finally saw the physician personally.  That physician was the only person to say, flat out, that there was no HPV test for men and that their answering service gives out the wrong information all the time.  The person on the phone, the receptionist, the nurse or medical technician who prepped him for the appointment - none of them corrected the patient on the belief that he would be receiving an HPV test that day.

Remember, when you go in to be tested for "everything", you are not tested for everything.

Let me repeat that:  
When you go in to be tested for "everything", you are not tested for everything.

You MUST go in with a specific list of tests that you want to purchase and get confirmation from the physician herself that you will be tested for those things.  And, more than just saying "I want a herpes test", you have to say "I want the HSV PCR test" or whatever you're looking for.  Some STDs have different kinds of tests with different levels of accuracy and expense.  Make sure you know exactly which test you want and ask for it by name.  

And then be prepared to argue with them over the necessity of getting tested.  Many clinics and doctors still take the position that certain STDs like herpes and HPV are so prevalent, that there's no point in worrying whether you have it or not if you're asymptomatic, so you don't need to get tested.  They figure that if you don't have herpes or HPV yet, you will soon, so just don't worry about it until you start showing symptoms and need treatment.  If you're OK with that, then fine, but if you want to have test results in your records to show prospective partners, then insist that doctors provide the services that they offer to the patients willing to pay for those services, and if they won't, go elsewhere.

It is true that many people either have or will have HSV or HPV, and it is also true that, for the vast majority of those people, the virus is little more than an "inconvenience".  It is also true that stress about health and medical procedures can, for some health issues, be worse than the health issue itself.  Many people are worse off for worrying about things than they are for having those things, and for a great deal of things, too-often testing does not significantly increase your odds of survival or better health.  People who go looking for health problems will often find them, even when those problems are mild or things that the body can heal on its own.  Many people put themselves through unnecessary procedures and surgeries to take care of things "just in case" that probably won't hurt them and that are so mild that they'd never know they had if they hadn't gone looking for them.

All of that is irrelevant if you have done your research and you just want to have accurate and update medical records for your prospective partners.  I caution people against using test results as a way to justify and entrench their own sex-negative fears.  Some people hold onto their "clean" records as sort of a talisman to justify rejecting and being hurtful towards prospective partners who might have an STI.  I can't tell you how often I've heard statements like "I'm clean and I want to stay that way".  The fact is you won't.  STIs should be treated as any other equivalent illness.  You will get sick, whether it's the flu, strep throat, the measles, or warts and cold sores.  By all means, take precautions, but be consistent.  If you're afraid of getting a life-threatening illness like HIV, use condoms, get your flu shots and pertussis boosters, wash your hands regularly, don't go to work sick and insist that other sick coworkers go home, and get your physicals and preventative exams done on time.  

Being sick sucks, but STIs are no better or worse than any other comparable illness, so don't use your test results as a weapon against people with STIs, or to look down on people with STIs, or to think you're "safe" from life-changing surprises like illnesses.  Get tested so that your partners can make informed decisions, so that you can see patterns in your own health history, and to help you and your physician decide on appropriate medical  procedure schedules.  If you routinely have abnormal pap smears, for example, then you ought to be getting the HPV test regularly & often, like annually or semi-annually.  If you consistently have normal pap smears, have no history of cancer in your family, and your sexual network is fairly static, then you can probably get checked less often, like every other year.  

But, yes, definitely get tested "regularly" (for whatever definition of "regularly" fits your particular health circumstances) and definitely insist that your physician provide you with the proper services.  Just make sure to use those tests in the same way that you'd use any other health test - to evaluate your personal risk assessment and manage your personal health checkup schedules, not to freak out about being "unclean" or to ward off "dirty" partners.

For a list of the STIs that you can and should be tested for, download the Sexual Health & History Disclosure form, which includes spaces for you to add your latest testing dates & a record of your past and current partners, their testing status, & the transmissive activities you shared with them and can be found here, along with some other convenient charts & graphics

joreth: (Default)
Today was the sentencing for the woman who killed my godmother.  My mom and sister were in attendance.  My mom was worried because the judge was starting to sound like he wanted to let her go free with time served already (it's been about a year).  Fortunately, that didn't happen.

Today, family, friends, and a psychologist got to speak on behalf of Rodriguez, the woman who killed my godmother.  The DA apparently ripped into the psychologist.  The psychologist kept calling her an "exemplary mother", so the DA got him to admit that 1) he had only spent a total of 3 hours with her; 2) most of that time was not spent in conversation, but watching her fill in bubbles on a questionnaire; 3) the social anxiety "fog" she was supposedly in at the time was probably not actually social anxiety but caused by the liquor-store's worth of booze in her system giving her a blood-alcohol content of twice the legal limit; 4) that an "exemplary mother" probably didn't take her kids with her to an all-night drinking party where she didn't know anyone at the party, then proceed to get hammered, and THEN leave her kids in the house full of strangers after a full night of partying to drive home some party guests, whom she also did not know.  

"But the kids were in a closed room so she could check on them regularly!" "But would an 'exemplary mother' have brought them to the party in the first place? Would an 'exemplary mother' get that drunk in front of her kids? Would an 'exemplary mother' take them to a party that lasted all night?" "Uh, well, probably not".  That was my mom's summary of that bit of cross examination.  When I related the bit about not knowing anyone at the party to [ profile] datan0de tonight, the first words out of his mouth were "so she left her kids in a housefull of STRANGERS?!"  I don't know if that was mentioned in court today, but yeah, not examples of "exemplary motherhood".

I thought she was a terrible person before.  Every time one of my family learns something new about her and passes it on to me, she becomes even more despicable.  Also, after she crashed her car for the third time and she ran on foot away from the third crime scene, she managed to knock on a neighbor's door, asking to use the phone, claiming that she had just been the victim of a hit-and-run.  Fortunately, the neighbor didn't believe her and didn't let her in, which is when, I assume, the witnesses trying to chase her down caught up to her.  My mom didn't actually say anything about her capture today, but I was told last time that witnesses had chased her down, including the first guy she hit (who stopped to check on my godmother before he was urged to continue the chase), so I surmised that.

Oh, and for some reason, she also managed to get married during this past year while she was incarcerated.

Finally the judge passed sentence.  There were, from what I understand, 4 options: time served, 4 years and 8 months in prison, 6 years and 8 months in prison, or 10 years and 8 months in prison.  The judge said that if she had not plead guilty and the case went to trial, he was certain she would have gotten the maximum sentence.  But because she plead guilty, her sentenced was reduced to 6 years and 8 months in prison.  The DA thinks she will probably do about 85% of that time, and also will subtract the 1-ish year she has already served while awaiting sentencing.  That brings it to roughly 4 and a half years total in jail.

I'm pissed, but my godmother's daughters are just glad the whole thing is over and that she didn't get away with time served.  Apparently one of them said today that all she wanted was a real apology - to know that Rodriguez was really remorseful - and since she did apologize today in court, it's all good.  Since it's their mother who was killed, I'm glad they can find some sort of peace in this, but as for me ... fuck that.  There is no way to make up for taking Diana's life and nothing she can do to make me feel better about it.  Time will make it less painful, but she can't make it any better because she can't bring Diana back.  

But I do want her to feel remorse, and I want her to feel that remorse every day for the rest of her life.  Because a person should feel bad in proportion to the amount of bad decisions one makes - and I'm hard-pressed to think of any worse decisions she could have made that night without coming up with deliberate malice, or of any more bad decisions she could have possibly made in one night/morning.  When people don't feel bad about their shitty decisions, especially those that harm other people, that leads them to repeating them.  

Stupidity is not fatal to the stupid person often enough, and far too often is it fatal to those around them.  If the stupid people can't take themselves out of the gene pool when they ought to, or be removed from society before they hurt others, then the least that can happen is that they have a serious enough consequence that they feel like shit about it forever to make them not be stupid anymore.  Unfortunately, I know enough arrogantly stupid people to know that this doesn't happen often enough either.

Oh, and the court declared that she owed my godmother's estate/family $172,710.  The DA says that the family won't see any of that money - if she pays anything back, it'll go to court fees and insurance before the family gets their share.  And she'll never make enough to reach the limit where the family would get their share.  

Apparently, if I understood my mom correctly, prisoners have the option of working a job while in prison - it's not mandatory.  Of course, they make pennies on the dollar for wages.  Mom says it's just enough to occasionally buy things like candy.  But in her case, should she choose to work while incarcerated, every cent she makes will go to her restitution.  That's something, I guess.
joreth: (Default)
Some of you may remember that, last year, my godmother was murdered by a drunk driver.  Yes, I use the term "murdered". At roughly 9 AM on a Sunday morning, a woman driving with nearly twice the legal blood alcohol content and a suspended license hit a car, fled the scene at high speed, turned a corner, lost control of her vehicle, jumped over the curb and slammed her SUV into my godmother, pinning her between the car and the house and taking out the entire wall of the house.  Then she backed out, took off again into the neighborhood, where she slammed into yet another car, missing the owner by inches as he had just finished washing it, where her car finally stopped running.  THEN she got out of the car and ran on foot.  She was apprehended by the neighbors, who had chased her down from my godmother's house and held her and her companions until the police arrived.

This completely irresponsible woman is playing the sympathy card.  She has 4 children, and instead of this fact making her actions even more reprehensible, she collected 20 letters saying what a good mother she was so she can't go to jail, so please can she have the minimum sentence, in spite of pleading guilty to all charges, in spite of having double the legal alcohol limit, in spite of driving double the speed limit when she hit my godmother, AND in spite of having 4 PRIOR CHARGES in 4 other states for traffic & DUI-related incidences (my mistake - I thought my godmother's daughter told me about having 4 prior charges in other states that she found when Googling her, but the DA says Martinez does not).

My godmother had 3 children too, and was helping to raise her severely mentally disabled grandson since her husband has died and her daughter (the grandson's mother) is physically disabled.  Her goodness is really not relevant because the horrific actions of the woman are equally horrific if she had hit an elderly charity volunteer, a child, a miserly Scrooge, or a thug, but the injustice of someone who would drive drunk and flee from 3 crime scenes, one of which involved a fatality, being painted as a "good mother" while an actual good mother lost her life is just too much.

The DA is asking for letters, even if you didn't know my godmother.  Here is the letter her daughter just sent to me tonight:
I just got a call from the District Attorneys office this morning and she told me that the date for sentencing in Moms case is set for sentencing on May 14th 2012 at 1:30 P.M. They had a court date yesterday and the Probation Department gave a recommendation of the shortest sentence possible with all charges running concurrently. Ms. Martinez got 20 people to write in recommending that she get a light sentence since she is such a wonderful person and great Mother.

What Cody Jones the Assistant District Attorney needs from our side is as many letters as possible from people stating that Leticia Daisy Martinez showed total disregard for human life and public safety on May 1st 2011 when she made the conscious decisions to run from the scene of the first accident,who's diriver was injured, drive erratically through traffic, hit and killed Diana Pundsack where she did extensive property damage to a home, ran from that crime, and hit another car before she was finally forced to stop. It is their recommendation that Leticia Daisy Martinez be sentenced to the maximum sentence available in this case. She needs to learn the lesson that this kind of behavior will not be tolerated and will be met with a stiff punishment.
Could you get as many people as you can to write a letter to this effect. The courts do not need to know if they knew my mother or not,. At this point it is all about the numbers. We can't let this woman get away with this. I will try to get as many people as I can on this end too.

The Letter (2copies) should be received ASAP but definately no later that April 30th 2012. The mail address is:

County of Santa Clara
Office of the District Attorney
County Government Center West Wing
70 West Hedding Street
San Jose, CA 95110
ATTN: Cody Jones -ADA
People vs. Leticia Daisy Martinez  110510239
So, please, this is a personal case for me.  If you have a few moments and $0.45 for a stamp and an envelope, please write on behalf of my godmother and our family to insist that Leticia Daisy Martinez be punished to the full extent of the law for crimes she has already admitted to.  These are not the actions of a good mother, and as someone who is adopted, I fully stand behind the idea that children do not need their blood mother to raise them, and sometimes they are better off without them.  Children should not have a woman like this responsible for their welfare.  What happens the NEXT time she gets drunk?  What if her kids are in the car with her next time?  What if YOUR kids are in the next yard she drives into?

My Letter )

joreth: (Swing Dance)
I have a performance coming up in which I will be giving a short description on the story behind some of the songs we'll be performing.  I tend to remember things better when I've written them down, so I'm writing them here.  This may be of no interest to many of you, but it may be of some interest to some of you, so rather than writing up a Word document in private, I'm posting it here instead.

Some background on Bollywood )

Maahi Ve )

Desi Girl )

Bumbro )

Taal se Taal )

Choli Ke Peeche Kya Hai )

We have two "party songs" from movies I haven't watched yet also.  These are popular songs that we don't have any choreographed routine for, but we go out and improvise in the audience to get the audience up and dancing with us.  This is particularly popular at weddings to signify the end of our performance and the beginning of the reception where everyone gets drunk and dances.  Since I haven't seen the movies, I'm not sure where the songs fit into the story.

joreth: (anger)
I've been extremely busy lately, with work & prepping for various trips & attending conferences.  My latest trip was out to CA to see my younger sister graduate college.  This was only a month after learning of my godmother's murder, who lives in the same town.  While there, I visited my godsister (my godmother's daughter) & drove by the house where my godmother was killed.  I learned some more information about the event while there that I wanted to document before I forget it.

The woman who killed my godmother was named Leticia Daisy Martinez.  She was 28 years old, had 4 young children, and had a blood alcohol level of almost double the legal limit at 9:30 AM on a Sunday morning.  She had a suspended drivers license and she was driving an SUV with 3 passengers.

The full story and my ramblings and rantings about it )
Driving is a privilege, not a right.  Driving is operating a dangerous piece of machinery that requires quick reflexes and a basic understanding of physics.  Most people who drive do not have those quick reflexes or that basic understanding of physics.  And then they go and impair their reflexes further, by drinking before driving, by driving while tired, by driving too close to other vehicles to see obstacles, by talking on the phone, by texting, by putting on makeup, by eating, by messing with the radio, and by doing a dozen other things.  I've been known to do a few of these things too - everyone has their moments of selfishness where they think their privilege trumps the safety of other people.

But, while we're never going to stop people from talking on the phone while driving or eating a Big Mac while running late, there are a few things that are more likely than others to have a high probability of resulting in a serious accident.  Don't drive while tired.  Don't drive while texting.  Don't tailgate.  And don't drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs (illegal, prescription, or over the counter).  I don't care how well you THINK you can function, I guarantee that you do not function as well as you think you do.  By definition, your abilities are impaired, so you are not able to judge your own functionality while under the influence.  YOU DO NOT DRIVE AS WELL AS YOU THINK YOU DO, even sober.  So don't do it while drunk.

There is no excuse for drunk driving.
joreth: (Dobert Demons of Stupidity)
I originally made a list of podcast episodes that I was compiling for a sample CD of skeptical topics. I have been unable to produce a small enough file containing all the audio in the list that I could reasonably upload or have people reasonably download. But I have put together my discs and I handed out my first one today.

I have made 3 discs - one for religious episodes, one for pseudoscience episodes, and a DVD with video episodes of both. I also rearranged the episodes so that they were grouped together by topic, instead of by show. I believe it will be easier for people to find the episodes they want to listen to, since they won't have any idea who the show producers are anyway, so "Skeptoid" or "Quackcast" won't mean anything to them. This way, they also may have a couple of shows to choose from on the same topic that they can find easily, and can switch to another show's episode if the one they're listening to isn't doing anything for them, like if they don't like the format or the host or something.

In case people are interested, here is my recommended episode playlist, with all the episodes in order )

Data Dump

Dec. 15th, 2010 10:24 pm
joreth: (authority)
I've had these tabs open for ages, meaning to write a post about them, and I never seem to get around to it.  So I'm throwing them all in one post: - New Discovery May Offer Cure for Human Papillomavirus (HPV). "Test results confirming two of our lead compounds showed excellent in vitro antiviral activity and no cellular toxicity at dose levels tested for Human Papillomavirus (HPV). Testing was performed using the HPV 11 strain, which along with HPV type 6, is responsible for ninety percent of genital or anal warts." - Marinomed's iota-carrageenan effective against H1N1. "In animal experiments, Carrageenan demonstrated equivalent efficacy when compared to the drug Tamiflu". - Evolutionary history of partible paternity in lowland South America. "Partible paternity, the conception belief that more than one man can contribute to the formation of a fetus, is common in lowland South America and characterized by nonexclusive mating relationships and various institutionalized forms of recognition and investment by multiple cofathers." - "JourneyQuest is a fantasy comedy web series from the creators of "The Gamers" and "The Gamers: Dorkness Rising"." - "The Enemies of Reason is a two-part television documentary, written and presented by evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins. ... Watch the full documentary now" - " aggregate all the Atheist, Pro-Science and Free-Thinking Songs, under the one roof." (I need to comb through this and add songs to my Atheist Music YouTube Playlist - The Rap Guide to Human Nature by Baba Brinkman "Immediate download of 19-track album in your choice of 320k mp3, FLAC, or just about any other format you could possibly desire. Buy Now name your price" - Rationalist Kids Show Martha Speaks The Truth
joreth: (polyamory)
Just had a conversation with another polyactivist, Emanix, and out of that conversation came a few new terms:

KISS: Colloquial; A group of polyamorists, i.e. gaggle of geese, flock of birds, kiss of polyamorists. Example: "I was out at the pub with my kiss this evening." or "I went to a party with a kiss of polyamorists last weekend." May not necessarily imply that all members are romantically related to each other, only that everyone in the group be polyamorous. See related: intentional family, intentional community, french kiss, polyfamily, tribe.

FRENCH-KISS: Colloquial; A group of polyamorists, specifically a group who are all romantically connected to each other, i.e. gaggle of geese, flock of birds, kiss of polyamorists. Example: "I was out at the pub with my kiss this evening." or "I went to a party with a kiss of polyamorists last weekend. See related t intentional family, intentional community, kiss, polyfamily, tribe.

PDP (acronym): Colloquial; Public Displays of Polyamory. Commentary: there is a lot of discussion within the poly community about how much PDA, or Public Displays of Affection, is appropriate, and all the issues surrounding being publicly affectionate - either being affectionate in public in general, or being affectionate with one partner in front of another partner. PDP came about to describe displays of affection that are explicitly polyamorous, such as holding hands with two partners at the same time while in public, or kissing multiple partners goodbye at the airport, etc.

These have all been added to the Poly Terms page at
joreth: (Xmas Kitties)
 So, it's the holidays, and being a member of several minority groups, everyone wants to know how I handle the traditional holiday season as a non-traditional person.  I was interviewed for a UK magazine about how polys spend the holidays, because apparently the idea that we spend them pretty much the same way monogamous people do is an unusual concept.  I'm also reading The Atheist's Guide To Christmas, a book I have been curious about for some time.  I know it's difficult to imagine, but atheists, and polys, are actually made up of more than one person, and sometimes we actually have different thoughts, ideas, wants, likes, and dislikes!  Shocking, but true.  So that means that there isn't a single way to exist during the holiday season, for either polys or atheists.  But with everyone reminding me that I'm "different", it got me to thinking ... how does a skeptical polyamorous atheist deal with a holiday that is more or less seen as a religious family holiday?  Apparently, people want to know.

I can only answer for myself.  Everyone else will have a different story, just like every monogamist and every religious person will have a different story.  Because, and here's another shock, they're not all the same person either!

How do Polys spend the Holidays? )

Shouldn't I be out in the trenches, fighting the War On Christmas? )

So, Happy Holidays everyone, whichever holiday you celebrate!  And if you refuse to accept my wishes for a good holiday because I didn't specify *your* holiday, then you don't deserve my wishes for a good holiday anyway.
joreth: (Xmas Kitties)
December, 2010

This was another packed year! I made another gingerbread house for the holidays last year. It was a scale model of the Haunted Mansion at Disney Paris, complete with lighting behind the sugar-glass windows. I took it to a New Year’s Eve party to be devoured. I have the whole story on my website. I will do another one this year, but I haven’t decided what yet.

For my birthday, I went to see my one of my favorite musicians, Jonathan Coulton, and I also went with a group of friends to Rebounderz, a building lined with trampolines, including the walls! A good time was had by all.

This summer saw the opening of The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter at Universal Studios’ Islands of Adventure theme park. It is probably my favorite park anywhere. Islands of Adventure has all my favorite rides anyway, but WWOHP went out if its way in immersive realism. The same guy who designed and built all the movie sets built the theme park too, so it really feels like you walked right into Hogsmeade Village. More pictures are on the website.

As usual, the FLAN (Florida Local Area Network branch of the Squiggle - my romantic network) all went to Dragon*Con again, but no new costumes this time. I wore Laurie Jupiter again, since I put so much effort into making her, and I wore a bunch of t-shirts from one of my online t-shirt stores (I have three now) as advertising.  [ profile] datan0de  and I celebrated one of our first anniversaries (we have several anniversary dates) together by riding a giant slingshot at a local carnival to symbolize falling, since it was the day we told each other we were "falling in love". Pictures and the video of our slingshot ride are up on my website.  [ profile] tacit  and I had to celebrate our 6th year together online again, now that he lives in Oregon and couldn’t make it to Dragon*Con.

For Halloween, I had 4 parties to attend and had to turn down 2 more. One was a Dexter/serial-killer themed party, so I modified my old Mad Scientist costume since it had a butcher’s apron and added lots of knives. Another was western/Firefly/steampunk themed, so I just pulled out my old boots, hat, Wranglers, & denim duster for that. The other two were on the same night, so I dressed again in Laurie Jupiter for both of those. I even got to swing dance with one of the party guests.

In October, [ profile] datan0de[ profile] femetal  and I went to the Bahamas since I had such a good time last time. We went shopping, sat around on the beach, watched the sunset over the Caribbean Sea, and went snorkeling with a barracuda. I got some great underwater pictures, and several underwater videos!

Work this year has been really slow, much slower than anticipated. But I’m still working behind the scenes for live events, still operating a camera, and staying afloat. Onyx’s flea problem is almost completely cleared up and she has put on a lot of healthy weight. Misty, however, is not doing as well. She has lost a lot of weight but the vet can’t find anything wrong with her. She just doesn’t want to eat. She’s also really cranky, so I’m worried about her.

In December, I was interviewed for a UK magazine about how polyamorous people spend the holidays, and I expect to receive my copy of the magazine any day now. The answer, for me, is that I will be spending the holidays with [ profile] datan0de[ profile] femetal[ profile] zensidhe , and [ profile] redheadlass , just like last year, sleeping under the Christmas tree in the living room. I also plan to watch my nephews open their presents over Skype, just like last year.

More pictures and videos of my adventures throughout the year are on my website at (in the Imagery section).  Hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday season!


joreth: (::headdesk::)
Oh for fuck's sake, now AMC is swearing that they are not going to show that PSA, that whoever is saying they are is lying. Fuck this. I will wait until Black Friday, when the PSA is supposed to air, then find out exactly which theaters have actually played that damn PSA, and boycott THEM ... or just avoid the movie theaters entirely until this whole mess is over. Not like I go to the movies much anymore anyway. I still sent off my angry letters, including to the ad distributor company, so that everyone will be flooded (hopefully) with warnings about the inadvisability of playing such a dangerous and fraudulent "PSA".

The whole story, including links
joreth: (Dobert Demons of Stupidity)
I had to make some changes to the Skeptical CDs because of size limitations and LJ will let me change the posting time so it moves the post up on my own timeline, but it will not re-enter it onto people's friendslist timelines, so here's a stupid "I made an update to this post" post so that ya'll can see that I made an update to this post :-/ :
joreth: (Xmas Kitties)
I have trouble remembering things, and I especially have trouble remembering things in temporal order, so it helps me to do a year in review every year. And since my extended family likes it when I send them a holiday letter telling them about my life in exotic Florida, it's convenient to write one in time for Christmas. I try to keep it to a single printed page, since my mother not-so-subtly hinted that she thinks it's inconsiderate to burden people with multiple pages of information about my life that people might not care about (and people online wonder why I don't give a lot of personal anecdotes in the forums!) in spite of the fact that all my relatives tell me they enjoy my letter. Mom thinks they're just being polite - I'd like to think people just wouldn't say anything at all about the letter if they're too "polite" to tell me they don't like it, rather than lie about it. Anyway, now I'm starting to rant. Here's this year's letter:

This year was quite a busy year for me! Last year I sat in on a timeshare lecture because they promised us free stuff. What I didn’t expect was for that free stuff to be a free trip to the Bahamas. So, for my birthday this year in January, I cashed in my trip and set sail for the islands. I had a great time, and the hotel and the island were just beautiful. I am planning to go back again next year. All the pictures and the story of my trip can be found on my website at

Work is slow, but I am still working, so things could be a lot worse on that front. My biggest client of this year has already confirmed me for next year, and I hear that the industry expects to improve after the New Year, so things aren’t too bad there.

Last December, [ profile] zen_shooter and I broke up only days before Christmas, and after I sent out last year’s letter. But [ profile] tacit and I celebrated our 5 year anniversary this October, and this summer saw the beginning of a new relationship with a very good friend of mine, whom I have known for as long as I’ve known [ profile] tacit. [ profile] datan0de and I met at the same poly meeting where I met [ profile] tacit, and is actually very good friends with him. So we’ve had some time to build up a solid friendship, and so far things are going wonderfully. In September, many in the network went to our annual sci-fi convention, Dragoncon, and I got to spend some quality time with [ profile] datan0de, [ profile] tacit, & many of the metamours.

I also have a new costume for Dragoncon! Meet Laurie Jupiter aka Silk Spectre II from the movie Watchmen. Once again, I decided to work with liquid latex, and this was my most ambitious project so far, having 4 separate layers & being true to the movie. I also completed the chain mail skirt for my Fire Elf costume, making that one now complete. I have several more costumes in the pipeline for next year.

The cats are doing well, & Onyx finally has her cone off. She’s still scratching herself, but the worst of it is under control. Misty is still just Misty, a big ball of grey fluff who is inquiring at this moment why I am sitting here playing with the big clacky thing & not paying attention to her.

This year I got a holiday treat - my parents and nephew came for Thanksgiving! We had quite the full week, visiting Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, Disney’s Hollywood Studios & Epcot, and Kennedy Space Center. We took lots of great pictures and had a wonderful time. It was nice being able to show my family where I live. I will have all the pictures up on my website when the data from the hard drive that crashed while my family was in town gets recovered.

This year I will be spending the holidays with [ profile] datan0de and his wife [ profile] femetal and making my usual Skype video chat calls to everyone who is too far to visit.

As usual, I have more pictures up at

Happy Holidays everyone!
joreth: (Silent Bob Headbang)
The Tentative Schedules for the Space Track, Science Track and Skeptics Track are finally up, so I finally got to work on my own schedule! The Costuming Track is not yet available that I could find, but there are only a couple of panels that I ever want to attend, since most of what they cover is costuming for beginners.

But anyway, for those who are interested in what I'm interested in, or in what costume I'm wearing which days, here is my schedule )
joreth: (Super Tech)
I'm posting this mostly as a way to archive this. Someone just sent me a link to an article about the Slave Leia costume, and I was mentioned in the article!

They didn't actually talk to me or approach me or ask my permission or anything, but I am mentioned by name and paraphrased in 2 places. Well, they mentioned my name in one place and they took a comment I made in an essay I wrote at the end.

Yay! *bounce* I'm overall happy with the mention I was given, and I was the *only* fan-in-costume that was mentioned by name at all who wasn't already a celebrity. It would have been nice to have a link back to my website, but they did link to the Leia's Metal Bikini site, which has my profile and a link to my website in the fans-in-costume section.

Also, on the subject of being "famous", I just received a request from the Kinsey Institute to add my Poly Through History page of my website to their Polyamory section. Yay!
joreth: (Super Tech)
Apparently I forgot to mention this at the time, but I finished my chain mail skirt for my Fire Elf. The final costume will be displayed at Dragon*con this year. This is the last update I have planned for the costume, so unless something really really cool occurs to me, I'm pretty much finished.

Now to get dress dummies made of [ profile] corpsefairy and [profile] may_dryad for the Evil Ice Elf and Evil Earth Elf respectively.

I have also begun the latexing for Laurie Jupiter, which will also hopefully be ready by Dragon*con.

So far I have my Fire Elf, Laurie Jupiter, and Sarah Connor.  I don't think I'm going to bring Baroness this year.  I finally got a hold of some old comics, and I realized just how much work I have to do on her, so, since I have 3 new ones this year (one I didn't mention) plus Sarah Connor, I think that's all I'll need.
joreth: (Rock Climbing)
A couple of weekends ago, I asked my friends to assist me in making a full-sized custom dress dummy, from neck to ankles. The pictures and instructions are now up!


Mar. 31st, 2009 11:53 pm
joreth: (Silent Bob Headbang)
I wrote in to Richard Dawkins' website for his Out Campaign to let them know that I came up with a couple of t-shirts using his Scarlet A design, and they added a link to my website on their Promos page and even listed me on their Blogroll page!

If ya'll recall, I had a couple of different variations, some on Poly Tees and some on Stagehand Tees, none of which could be found if you just went to either website.  I didn't want to make them publicly available on either site because both t-shirt sites are for a very niche target audience and I didn't want to mix my atheism activism in with either niche - since one has nothing to do with the other.  But I didn't like not having a way for people to easily find the shirts if they wanted to either. 

So I collected all the variations I have so far into just one of the stores (Poly Tees) and I've built a page specifically for them.  I'll also be changing the Atheist link in my sidebar so that no one has to go hunting for an old journal entry if they want information about the Atheist t-shirts (although I *do* have a tag for all my atheist-related postings).

So, for future reference, any atheist-themed apparel and products I come up with can be found at

HPV News

Mar. 16th, 2009 12:52 pm
joreth: (Super Tech)
There are a few articles that have made it into the news about HPV that I want to share, in the interest of being what seems to be the only online source for laymen to keep up with medical advancement.  They're not groundbreaking, society-changing news flashes, like the vaccine was, but they may eventually lead to one, and they're exciting even for their lack of flashy news coverage.

The first is that researchers have found a genetic component that makes people more or less susceptible to succumbing to HPV.  This is important for the future trend of customized healthcare.  Knowing that you are genetically likely to have your HPV infection turn into cancer if you get HPV would allow doctors to tailor your screening schedule to increase the chances that they'll catch it early, whereas people who have an increased genetic ability to fight the HPV infection so that it passes through the system harmlessly can rely on the once-a-year screening.

Cancer has always been a mystery to us.  Even when we know that certain strains are caused by viruses, or tobacco smoke, or whatever, we are still struggling to answer the question "why did this person get cancer and that person didn't?"  We know that at least 80% of women will have an HPV infection at some point in their lives, but the percentage of those women who actually get cervical cancer is small.  Unfortunately, even though it's small, it's still a crap shoot for which ones are which, so even though it's statistically small, it's still terrifying to those who can do nothing but wait to find out which camp they fall into.  Successful treatment of cervical cancer lowers the death toll even more due to regular pap smears, but why do some people get cancer from their cancer-causing strain of HPV and others pass the virus through their system?  According to this article, some women have certain gene variations that makes their bodies better able to mount an immune response to an HPV infection.  Knowing which of us has this ability and which of us don't can significantly improve the chances of those who don't.

Now, once you have HPV, there is a screening process to let us know that we have HPV, hopefully before it turns into full-blown cancer.  The FDA has just approved a new DNA test for HPV.  For a long time, the Pap smear was all the defense we had.  I don't know off the top of my head when we knew that cervical cancer was caused by HPV, but since HPV was so easy to catch, the medical community just assumed that, as women, we would eventually get it, so they just screened us for cancer as part of a regular maintenance checkup.  The Pap smear detected "abnormal" cells, which could range from just random wierdness in cells on the cervix to cancerous lesions, and everything in between.  The goal was to detect the abnormalities that would eventually turn into cancer before they turned into cancer.  And this process was, and is, pretty good.  Women in first world countries who get regular pap smears have a massively significantly higher chance of surviving cervical cancer than women in third world countries who do not get screened.

But, eventually, someone came up with a test to find out if those abnormal cells were, in fact, caused by HPV, as opposed to just general cell wierdness, and therefore likely to turn into cancer if untreated.  It is recommended that women over 30 get this test no matter what, but it has been my personal experience that doctors don't give the test unless you have any kind of abnormal results for your pap smear, but that they will automatically do the test when you get abnormal results.  We call this a DNA test, and it is, but it really can only tell us 1) do we have an HPV infection (if the answer is no, we assume it's something else) and 2) is our strain of HPV "high risk" or "low risk".  It does not tell us which strain of HPV we have, specifically.

But now, the FDA has approved a test that will identify, specifically, if your high-risk strain of HPV is 16 or 18, the two strains that are responsible for 70% of cancer cases and the two high-risk strains that are found in Gardasil, the only FDA approved vaccine (Gardasil does have competitors that are approved in other countries, but not here).

The company who manufactures this test say that it should be arriving in doctor's offices within the next 3 months.  The idea for this test is, like the genetic discovery, to customize our healthcare.  If we know for sure that we have one of these strains of HPV, even if we have not begun showing cellular breakdown, our doctors can recommend more frequent pap smears to keep an eye on the infection, thereby catching it even sooner than before, and it will also tell us if our body has been able to clear the strain entirely for those who test positive at first but test negative later.

And the final piece of news is about preventing an HPV infection all together.  Gardasil protects against 16 and 18, the strains responsible for 70% of cases of cervical cancer, and against 6 and 11, the strains responsible for 90% of the cases of warts.  A new vaccine, currently called V503, protects against all 4 of those, plus 5 more cancer-causing strains.  For those who had not learned how the vaccine actually works, this article explains very simply and succinctly.  The vaccine contains proteins that form a hollow sphere that resembles an HPV virus, but doesn't actually contain the virus itself, so you will not get HPV from this vaccine.  But because it *looks* like HPV, it forces our immune systems to create antibodies against HPV because our bodies *think* they're being attacked by HPV.  That way, by the time a real HPV virus comes in contact with our immune system, we already have antibodies in our system to repell the virus. 

This new vaccine is currently undergoing clinical trials, which means that it won't be available on the public market for a few years.  Like Gardasil, it will be initially targeted at women ages 9-26 because the the most HPV infections occur in women ages 15-25.  If you are a healthy, non-pregnant female age 16 to 26, with a history of no abnormal pap smears, you are eligible to participate in the study and the article gives a phone number to call for more information.  The study will give women one of two shots.  You will either get Gardasil or you will get this new vaccine.  Either way, you will get vaccinated against HPV (and for free, I might add).  It requires office visits every few months for 7-months up to 3.5 years that will include pelvic exams and HPV screenings.  If I were within the eligible age range, I'd *so* sign up for this!

joreth: (Purple Mobius)
Wow.  I sent in this month's Miss Poly Manners segment to Poly Weekly and Minx loved it so much that she made it the topic of the whole show!  I'm so excited!  It's all about how to greet the new metamour.  Minx says it's the best segment so far!  That's a hard compliment to follow, hopefully I'm up to the task for next month!  So, everyone go visit Poly Weekly or download it from iTunes!
joreth: (Self-Portrait)

I just returned from a trip to Ohio to visit my sweetie and meet his family for the first time.  I took some pictures.  Most are pictures of the most adorable barn kitten evar (poor thing had something wrong with its eyes), some are of the other barn cats, some are of a family graveyard, and some are miscellaneous other things.  Plus, some very bizarre signage:

Images behind the cut )
The rest of the pictures, for those who are interested, can be found at my website. has all the cats, has the graveyard and a bunch of other stuff, and has a couple of barn photos.
joreth: (Silent Bob Headbang)
So I wandered over to YouTube, as I am wont to do sometimes, and I stumbled across an amazing guitarist.  And I followed the links to find more of his stuff.  And I skimmed the comments on the first page of each since the description told me nothing except the URL to his record label's website.

And I found a comment that said if you add &fmt=18 or &fmt=6 to the end of any youtube URL, it'll sound better.  

So I tried it.
YouTube has been testing higher bitrate encodings of it videos, which you can see if you add a &fmt=8 or &fmt=18 to the video url. Historically, all videos have been delivered to the lowest common denominator: sorenson encoded 320x240. By adding &fmt=6 to the URL, the video is served up in 448x336 resolution and I'm guessing it's using the VP6 codec (can anyone confirm?). &fmt=18 gives you the iPhone-style MP4 stream.

If you have a YouTube account, you can change your settings in your account to always play the high-res when available.

So I'm posting about this so I will have a convenient place to find the tag later.
joreth: (Purple Mobius)
I've been tossing around the idea of a poly advice column for a while now, but there seem to be several of those popping up. Plus, my "no-nonsense" approach (as one of the nicer things I've been called) can be a turn off to many people. I've been going back through back-episodes of Poly Weekly and I came across the episode where Minx discusses the poly question someone asked Miss Manners. It was a surprisingly poly-friendly response, but, as Minx pointed out, if you write in to one of the nation's most conservative advice columnists, what kind of advice to you expect to get but a conservative response?

So, while that stewed in the back of my brain, it also occurred to me that much of the "advice" floating around with how to be polyamorous is not a very practical, day-to-day kind of advice. Not that it isn't valuable, but working on self-esteem and insecurity and jealousy is sort of an ongoing process and only so much help from websites can be expected, even from the fabulous [ profile] tacit's website.

So I decided that I would try my hand at a poly etiquette advice column. I'll leave the complex issues to people like [ profile] tacit, who always says what I want to say but much better anyway. Instead, I'll address simple polite social behaviour. There seems to be a lack of this kind of discussion. I mentioned my potential column to Minx who immediately jumped on it as a regular segment for Poly Weekly. So, after much research for appropriate theme music and how to make myself accessible to the public for their questions, and many, many failed attempts to figure out my crappy free audio-recording software, I finally recorded my first Miss Poly Manners segment!

You can hear it on this week's Poly Weekly episode #160, just after the interview with Tristan Taormino and you can read my "column" at the Miss Poly Manners MySpace page. If it works out, I might eventually buy a domain name and build a better engine for submitting questions and answering them on the page, but for now, MySpace's comments feature allows people to submit questions to me publicly without having a specific journal entry that people will have to find or remember the long url string. Of course, I also have for private email.

But go and listen to the podcast and tell me what you think! I'm nervous and awaiting the flames in the PolyWeekly forums!
joreth: (Kitty Eyes)

Don't worry, 

[profile] datan0de, no gory details here or scary pictures!


joreth: (Misty in Box)
A while ago I put up a poll about making some [Poll #1179134][Poll #1179134

For those who are curious, here are the shirts:
joreth: (Super Tech)
Sometime in Jr. High, I was fitted for my first pair of prescription glasses. It wasn’t very strong and I could get through the day mostly without them. Mainly I needed them because I had a habit of sitting in the very back row in class and the chalkboard was a little fuzzy. But I was one of the resident whipping boys, and the last thing I needed was one more excuse to get picked on. So I didn’t wear them all the time. Also, I tend to resent using any kind of aid to do things at an average level. I feel too much pride at the fact that whatever I’m good at, I’m good at it through natural ability and developing skill without “cheating”. For instance, I prefer to be able to hit my mark when I’m shooting a rifle without using a telescopic sight or laser sights. I know, it’s silly, but I still do it. 

As I got older, my prescription didn’t increase very much. My very first driving test was passed (just barely) without the “prescription lenses required” mark. But by the end of high school, I was not comfortable existing without them and I was unable to complete my next driver’s eye exam without the glasses. I’m so sensitive to my vision being “perfect” that I can tell the instant my prescription changes, even when the eye doctors’ instruments have trouble recording the very minimal changes and often don’t recommend new lenses for such small changes. 

When I turned 18, I tried contact lenses, but those took a minimum of 30 minutes per eye to get them in. No one could really figure out why because I didn’t have any unusual complications with my eyes, I could touch my eyeball with no problems, and the lenses themselves seemed normal. But it was such a hassle that I only wore the contacts when I went to the nightclubs because my glasses interfered with my comfort in dancing. When my prescription changed the next time, I gave up on a separate pair of contacts and just bought a new pair of glasses, resigned to my fate. 

I have never liked my glasses, I doubt anyone really does. Halfway through my first time in college, I changed my major from the more mundane sociology (marriage & family counseling) to the more dynamic film major. I was specializing in cinematography and my absolutely favorite thing to do was to run a handheld camera for a live band and for exciting action-based sequences. My glasses interfered with the eyepiece of the camera and every time my prescription changed even a little bit, I had trouble telling if my camera was in focus. 

Then I heard about Lasik. The first horror stories that usually come about when a new medical technology is made available didn’t deter me. I simply decided to wait several years until it became as routine as an appendectomy and all the kinks were worked out. But I’ve been dreaming of having the procedure ever since I first heard of it oh so many years ago. 

This year was a rather serendipitous year. As I prepared my 2007 taxes, I realized that I made more money last year than I have since I quit doing computer work and got into the entertainment industry full time. This should have been a cause for concern because making more money means paying more taxes. And, since I had more money coming in, I ended up spending more money last year too, so I still didn’t have any cash. But my tax write-offs also increased proportionately, giving me the biggest tax refund I’ve ever received since I started paying income taxes at age 12 (not counting that bullshit “economic aid” tax refund)! 

At the same time, I heard a radio ad claiming to offer Lasik procedures for as little as $300 per eye! Now, I know they only offer those kinds of deals for the easiest procedure that very few people qualify for, but I figured if Lasik had gone down in price from the $3,000 per eye I had last heard to $300 per eye, surely whatever procedure I ended up with would be close in price to my rather hefty tax refund! 

So I decided that Lasik is what I was going to spend it on. 


joreth: (Super Tech)
Well, my picture is, anyway.  They did an article on Orlando's Newest Dungeon, The Woodshed, and asked me and my sweetie [profile] zen_shooter to pose for the pictures.  So I got to get half-naked and tied up to a giant wheel and whipped in front of a camera!  What Fun! 
joreth: (Silent Bob Headbang)
I'm so excited!  So, the official U.S. Navy Web Site has a safety section, which discusses an awful lot of things about safety.  But what's really cool about this is they have a Photo Of The Week section where people send in photos of people being incredibly stupid.  And you rarely get much more stupid than my co-workers.

So I take pictures of them at work doing stupid things.  Fortunately, I'm the only one who carries a camera, so no one ever gets pictures of me doing these stupid things.

Anyway, I stumbled upon this site while researching the myth of steel-toe boots and I spent several days laughing my ass off at these stupid people.  I then promptly submitted some photos I had lying around in my Backstage Antics section.

They got accepted!
joreth: (Polydragon)

This actually makes the second time I've been mentioned in Wired's online magazine and the second time one of my interviews on polyamory made it to print!

Yay!  Unfortunately, she spelled my name wrong, but I'm pleased she connected me to the Dragonriders of Pern (she asked me about that character for pronounciation - I didn't think she'd take the spelling!)

For archival purposes, here are the others: - the other poly article that actually featured me - the other wired article that used a pic of me in my Slave Leia costume

joreth: (Kitty Eyes)
 I went over to the [Poll #1142739]
I'm not planning to put whichever design I end up making into either of my t-shirt stores, but if someone is interested in any of these designs in any particular shirt style, let me know and I'll make it for you. 

Poly Tees!

Feb. 21st, 2008 02:51 am
joreth: (Polydragon)
As many of you might know, I am the creator of Stagehand Tees.  It has primarily backstage-related t-shirts, but it also has a non-tech section with t-shirts that I just like that have nothing to do with the industry.  Well, the number of poly-themed shirts is growing so large, that I had to create Poly Tees to accomodate!

So, please come on by and check it out!  Poly-themed t-shirts with our new variation on the PolyDragon, our own version of the Heart/Infinity, the Poly Formula, and a bunch of humorous non-monogamous t-shirts!

Please feel free to spread the word!
joreth: (Silent Bob Headbang)
Woo hoo!  I sold 2 photographs this week!

I have an online stock photo agent, mainly for the prestige I get when I say I'm a published photographer and the ability to write stuff off on my taxes.  It certainly isn't for the money (stock $ is a joke at best - any potential income is made on reselling the same photo hundreds of times, which I currently am not popular enough to do)!  I sell a few photos a year for very little cash, but it makes me happy.  This is the first time I've sold two in one week and when I went to check my history, I noticed a previously sold photo wasn't bought for the usual web-sale I originally thought (they buy the lowest resolution to use on websites), but someone actually purchased an Extended RF License for my very first photograph that I took back in 1997!  That photos has been published in 3 photography anthologies so far and the current stock use of an RF license means someone buys the original resolution and can actually put it on items for resale.  So I'm excited - people actually like my work enough to pay for it!

If anyone is curious, my stock library is located here: 

**I found where one of my images was used! - It's the white flowers in the "Wellness" button.  If I find any more, I'll post them too.
joreth: (Rock Climbing)
I've made gingerbread houses for a few years, but I only have pictures of a couple of them.  I just found a gingerbread LJ group, so I decided I should finally get around to finishing the Gingerbread page of the Projects section of my website and post them.  So, here are a couple of my gingerbread houses:

Gingerbread Castle Dreamhouse

Gingerbread Fireplace

I wish I had pictures of my first gingerbread, which was a 3-storey Victorian with blue icing from an old Better Homes And Gardens Contest Winner recipe.  If I could at least find that old article, I'd post the magazine picture, but I can't even find that.  More pictures and the How To at 


April 2019



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