Wanna Win A Free Copy Of My Upcoming Novel Flex? And See The AMAZING Cover?

So in case you’ve forgotten, here’s the summary for my upcoming novel Flex, due out spring of next year:

A desperate father will do anything to heal his daughter in a novel where Breaking Bad meets Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files

FLEX. Distilled magic in crystal form. The most dangerous drug in the world. Snort it, and you can create incredible coincidences to live the life of your dreams.

FLUX: The backlash from snorting Flex. The universe hates magic and tries to rebalance the odds; maybe you survive the horrendous accidents the Flex inflicts, maybe you don’t.

PAUL TSABO: The obsessed bureaucromancer who’s turned paperwork into a magical Beast that can rewrite rental agreements, conjure rented cars from nowhere, track down anyone who’s ever filled out a form. But when all of his formulaic magic can’t save his burned daughter, Paul must enter the dangerous world of Flex dealers to heal her. Except he’s never done this before – and the punishment for brewing Flex is army conscription and a total brain-wipe.

The good news is that Angry Robot has created a kick-ass cover, which they have exclusively revealed to the world over at SFSignal.  I’m not posting the cover here, because SFSignal is an awesome site for all book-related science fiction and you should go visit them at least once.

BUT!  SFSignal also has five electronic advance copies of Flex to give away to you hungry, hungry readers around the globe!  All you have to do is go to their page, read the rules, and send ‘em an email. You’ve only got until Wednesday, December 3rd to enter, so get over there now!  While there’s still time!


*faints from overexcitement*

The Instincts I Should Act On

I have good instincts about when to exit a relationship.

I just never act upon them, is all.

The problem is, the instinct to flee seems pretty trivial at the time.  I’ll be sitting with someone I love at a lovely cafe, holding hands, talking about old lovers, and she’ll say something like “So he stayed with me for months, rent-free, never doing the dishes, just playing Halo and begging me for sex, and at the time I didn’t think anything about it because I was in love…”

And a little red warning light will flash: I should leave.

But that’s really ungenerous, I think.  So she had a bad relationship.  Who doesn’t?  She’s probably changed.  And we just had a wonderful date, and she’s so clever and witty, you’re going to just walk away for that? 

So I bob my head and say something noncommittal like “Yeah, that was unwise,” and do not say, “Sorry, it’s over” and walk out of the cafe, leaving my coffee on the table.  Which would be absurd for me to do so.  Just calling a relationship over a single isolated comment like that?  Nuts.

And then, months later, after much argument, when it turns out that in fact, the girl who made that statement is chronically unable to understand her own needs, and as a result we’ve been fighting because she can’t tell me what she wants me to do but that won’t stop her from getting mad about it, I realize: Yeah, shoulda left then.

Or I’ll be texting with someone after a wonderful day out, and she’ll say “So my friends didn’t believe we went on a date, because you didn’t mention it in your journal,” and that flash of DANGER DANGER will flood over me.  But instead of saying “Okay, we’re done,” I’ll simply explain: “I don’t blog about every date I have.  In fact, the nicer the date, the less likely it is that I’ll mention it, because sometimes my life is for me.”

Because it’d be crazy to just call it off after a single sentence.

Yet months later, after much argument, it turns out that my lover can’t differentiate between “What Ferrett blogs about” and “Who Ferrett is,” and gets angry because I’m not mentioning her enough in public, I realize: Yeah, shoulda left then.

The problem is that these things seem trivial, because they’re not big deals.  So what if she wants a little splash of front-page blog-lovin’?  So what if she’s bad at figuring out what bothers her?  Neither of these make them bad people.  Shit, if you were to pile up all my flaws, you’d have a stack to rival the Empire State Building.  And so I think Oh, God, that’s so trivial.  You can’t just call it off over one single thing – not when they have so many good things about them!  You love all the same movies!  They hold you when you cry!  This isn’t enough to break up!

Yet I forget that someone can be a great person, and still have an incompatible issue that makes them terrible for me to date.

So I anesthetize that instinct.  I focus on all the things they do wonderfully.

Yet underneath all those positive bits lies a core incompatibility that’s going to splinter us apart.

And I don’t know how it is for most people.  I used to think this Oh HELL no flash was some superpower granted by decades of dating and experience, but… I thought back to my relationships with my ex-girlfriends when I was in my mid-twenties where we had an intellectual debate on the nature of morality and they got totally angry because I was disagreeing with them on whether mankind was inherently kind, and I thought Oh, this is over.

And I was right.  I can’t date someone who gets upset about debating things.  That just doesn’t work for me, because I like intellectual tussles, and if you get bent around the axle when I start questioning things, then… you’re not right for me.

Though as always, I wouldn’t be able to justify that flash of instinct for months.  And seriously.  How crazy does it sound to say, “Well, she got mad when I said babies weren’t born kind, so I had to call it off”?  That’s the kind of thing sitcoms make fun of.  That’s shallow.  It’s stupid.  It’s the kind of thing you should be able to patch over.

And certainly I have lots of disagreements where we can patch them over, where I don’t get that Mortal Kombat flash of FINISH HER, where we disagree and it’s all cool.

Yet when I do get those flashes… they’re not wrong.  I can’t remember ever thinking I should leave now and having it work out.

I think other people get that instinct.  I think people hear their lover say “Wow, it’s so hot when people ignore my safewords in a scene,” and the warning light pops on, going Uh, yeah, this isn’t going to work for me.  But this lover is so good in bed.  And so kind.  And so smart.  And really, I mean, they just said one dumb thing, is that enough to dump them over?

Except wow.  Sometimes it is.  Sometimes it really is.

Unsettling Thoughts On Bill Cosby

So Bill Cosby’s a rapist.

Those are hard words for me to type: dude was one of my childhood heroes, the first comedian I really got into, and still a funny funny man.  But fifteen women have come forward to say that he drugged and violated them, which is a lot of women.  None of whom have a lot to gain in terms of money or great fame by accusing Cosby (seriously, anyone accusing anyone famous of rape goes through so much shit that it’d be an easier way to fame and fortune by robbing a bank).  Some of whom have been struggling for years to get their message heard.

It’s not a legal definition, no, but if fifteen different people came out over the years to say, “Yeah, Mister Rogers snorted cocaine with me,” I’d go “Mister Rogers snorted cocaine.”  So that makes Cosby a rapist.  (His “Spanish Fly” routine, on fantasies of drugging women into being loose enough to have sex with him, doesn’t help.  I remembered that one, as I had memorized most of Cosby’s routines as a kid, but I certainly didn’t put that one into context.)

(Though as Bart Calendar notes, “rape” is not unusual when it comes to 1960s and 1970s heroes – he’s got a list of beloved musicians who are also rapists, or, at the least, guilty of child molestation by knowingly sleeping with girls below the age of consent.  You may have to understand that all your heroes are secretly vile, which is frankly not the worst message to take away.)

Anyhow, so I was thinking the other day that fifteen women have claimed that Bill Cosby raped them.  Which means there are, likely, more: Women who have gone “Okay, it’s in the headlines now, it’s getting traction, I don’t have to make the ugly fact that I was violated by Bill Cosby the only thing people are going to know about me.”  Women who shrug “Well, that’s what happened back then, I don’t see that as bad.”  It may well be that Bill Cosby raped forty or fifty women, or perhaps even more.

Charles Manson killed nine people.

No, wait; technically Charlie didn’t kill anyone.  His followers killed nine people.  (And some kinder interpretations than mine think that it was his followers who started murdering people, and once that started Cult Leader Charlie either had to go “Wow, that’s awesome! Just what I wanted!” or probably get murdered himself in a cult uprising.  I don’t know, I only read Helter Skelter once just to be cool when I was a teenager.  And the numbers of Manson dead vary, depending on who you talk to, so I’m sure someone will correct me.  Probably Bart.)

Anyway, Charlie’s in the news because he got married – remember, folks, gay marriage is what’s destroying this sacred institution – and I had a weird thought.  Because Manson?  Killed nine people.  Cosby raped, say, thirty.

There’s a math there that I don’t want to do.

Like, seriously, if we assume that the absolute worst-case scenario about Cosby is true, and he raped hundreds of women, does that make him worse than Charlie Manson?

Leaving aside that old do-not-engage question of whether “rape” is worse than “murder” (as murder is a short end, whereas rape traumatizes the victim for decades, but I suspect most rape victims would prefer people not tell them that they’d be better off dead), you have to figure that maybe Cosby was doing deeply nefarious shit for forty years successfully.  He may have had a lot more impact.

And then I start going, “Well, Cos gave laughter to the world!  He did a hell of a lot for black-white relations at a time when there were practically no black heroes in the media!  He’s done a surprising amount of charity work, donating to the community! He’s made the world a hell of a lot of a better place, and all Manson ever did was wrote a marginal Beach Boys song!”

Then I think, “Okay, so is this an equation?  Like, if Manson cured heart disease, would the murders be just a phase we was going through?”

Then I think, “Is it about the order of revelation?  Because hey, we knew happy Jell-O eating Bill Cosby for years, we loved him, then we found out about this secret past – what if Manson was a researcher who cured AIDS in 1987, and then we discover now that whoops, he sorta killed Sharon Tate and covered it up properly?  How would we react then?  I bet there’d be a lot of talking media heads saying that Manson didn’t kill anyone directly, it was just a youthful mistake….”

And of course this whole chain of thought is fucking ridiculous.  People can do good things and bad things.  Our monkey brains want HEROES and VILLAINS and so try to figure out who’s a goodie and who’s a baddie.  And the truth is that people can contain both wonderful kind instincts and selfish harmful ones, and which one you get depends on who you happen to be.  All of our most beloved heroes have been absolute dicks at some point (well, except maybe Mister Rogers), and all of our worst villains have done something nice for someone.

But we don’t want to think that good people can do bad things.  Or that bad people can do positive ones.  We want to do Cosby Math, where we total everything up and try to see whether they’re above the level of “EVIL.”

And Cosby Math is dangerous, because we start thinking that there’s some upper end of the scale that’s completely safe.  That there are heroes who’ve done wonderful things, and of course people like them can’t do bad things, and you see that in the trail of the women who’d tried to say “Hey, Cos did this horrible thing to me” and people went “We don’t want to hear it, scrape those allegations from his biography, if you say this we’ll make you look like the villain.” And some of them went dormant for years.  When you do Cosby Math and start flipping binary switches to light up someone as “HERO,” then you actually bury evidence.

Truth is, you can have a good guy who’s got some fucking racist thoughts, you can have an anti-abortion and anti-gay marriage Pope who’s really compassionate towards the poor, you can have a really funny enlightening dude who rapes people.  You can have mixtures of all sorts of things and they don’t really add up.

We want to shuck away all the contradictory evidence, to leave us with a single image – whether that’s good or bad, we don’t really care which, we just want to not do these exhaustng calculations any more.  But people are more like one of those lenticular baseball cards, the ones that look like they’re moving if you flip them back and forth.

But in truth, that isn’t motion you’re seeing.  It’s just four or five different pictures, each similar but radically different.  Which picture you get depends what angle you’re viewing it from. And sometimes, you can’t add all the pictures together to form a satisfying whole.

And as always, apologies.  People come here to get nice neat conclusions.  I don’t have one here.  Sometimes it’s just me pointing at a mess on the floor and shrugging.

Conversations With Gini: Writing Lessons Learned

ME: “So I learned something important when I was writing last night.”

GINI: “Oh?”

ME: “There’s a meditation position called ‘siddhasana’.”

GINI: “How’d you learn that in writing?”

ME: “A character in the story meditates.  And it turns out!  To properly seat yourself in siddhasana, you are supposed to seat one heel in your asshole, and the other in your junk.”

GINI: “…that’s… fascinating?”

ME: “That’s not what I learned, though.”

GINI: “What’d you learn?”

ME: “That if, when you’re trying to block out a character’s movements within a scene, you use the phrase ‘She pulled her heel up against her anus,’ you pretty much derail the rest of the chapter.”

So Who Were You Speaking For?

“Naughty. Naughty. Naughty.”

The other day, a friend-of-a-friend was at a BDSM spanko party, where heavy-handed spankers meet up with willing spankees.  And the host cruised by, pointed at three girls, and pronounced them each to be naughty.

Problem was, one of the girls did not feel that she was naughty.  To her, “naughty” had a very specific context used among lovers – only someone with power over her could pronounce judgment on her – and so she hotly told the host in no uncertain terms that she was not a naughty girl.

The host replied that this wasn’t a big deal, and she shouldn’t get offended, and as such blew her off.  Publicly.

And I think the relevant question is, “Who was that ‘naughty’ intended for?”

Because the weird thing about language is that sometimes we say things to amuse other people – and that attempt fails.  In which case, we’re often a little hurt, but the response is going to include some regret, because you were just trying to lighten their day and instead you hurt them.

Which sucks.  And it’s hard apologizing when you were just being silly and someone bites your fucking head off.  But if what you said is not a big deal, then it’s not a big deal to apologize, either – and so the usual response here is a stiff “I’m sorry I hurt your feelings.” (Perhaps followed by a vow not to make jokes with that person again, jeez, they’re prickly.)

But the underlying feeling is regret.  You wanted to lighten their day, and instead you pissed them off.  Fuck.  Sorry.

On the other hand, that “naughty” can also be a form of claiming.  In other words, in my fantasies you’re a naughty girl who needs a spanking, and so I aim my finger at you and pow!  You are.

In those cases, people say it’s not a big deal… but really, what’s happening is that I’m forcing my desires upon you.  I think you should act this way, so I can live in the fantasy world that I long to be in.  When you tell me you’re not a naughty girl, you’re actually shattering this dreamlike state I am living in, one where any girl is pliable to my exact desires – and I am going to react extremely negatively to that, because you’ve just hauled your ugly reality into my unmarred dreamstate.

I built castles in the sky made of naughty girls who needed punishment, and you cast me down.

Those little commands – “Naughty,” “Smile, pretty girl,” and endless other microaggressions – are actually a way of marking territory, saying, “You exist to fulfill my desires, whether you want to or not.”  Which is in itself an insult, when properly parsed.  And when that territory asserts itself to say “No, I am not that,” it’s seen as umbrage – because the “naughty” girl isn’t just reacting poorly to a joke that fell flat, she’s actually telling him that the world he wants to live in does not exist.

In those cases, what often gets told is that the woman is being too angry.  If she’d just politely apologize, the argument goes, then she’d deserve an apology.  Yet she was too uppity.

But that, too, is a form of enforcing fantasy: In the dream-world these dudes live in, women exist to carry out their desires.  The women cultivate their favor sweetly, and if they are good enough – you know, not naughty – then he magnanimously grants them a favor.  A woman demanding something of him angrily is yet another unwelcome reminder that women are not extensions of his sexual fantasies.

Now, I’m not saying necessarily that’s what happened here.  The danger of pointing to any specific incident is the debate over whether this incident meets those criteria, which always gets muddied because “Hey, the dude who called her ‘naughty’ is a wonderful man, he does so many good things!” – which is undeniably true that dudes who do this can have good sides too, as no human being is so simple that you can flip a switch and go “ANGEL” or “DEMON.” (EDIT: Nor, in fact, do I know exactly how the woman responded here, which she claims is far less “haughty” and angry than the host claimed.  Again.  Wasn’t there.)

And the larger problem is that frankly, it could go either way.  Sometimes people make innocent mistakes, angering when they meant to charm.  They were, in some clumsy way, trying to lighten someone else’s day, and for whatever reason – miscommunication, bad tone, an overly-prickly person – they fuck it up.

But the other sort of shit looks exactly the same, and happens an awful lot: dudes, off-handedly commanding a woman to participate in their desires.  The women react poorly.  And the dudes are all like “Hey, this isn’t a big deal, why’s she getting so bent out of shape, I’m not going to apologize!”

And if it’s not a big deal, then it shouldn’t be a big deal for you to apologize.  Because is this about you, intending to make someone happy and falling short?

Or is this about you quietly enforcing control, and getting properly called out on bullshit?

Every Piece Of Advice Given Unleashes A Demon

So I’m reading Eve Rickert and Franklin Veaux’s More Than Two, which thus far is a damn fine book on effective practices for good polyamory.

Yet ten chapters in, I can already see how the solid advice in More Than Two is going to get abused by some people, because the book is covertly tilted towards a certain kind of person.  And I’m wincing.

I’m wincing because the wrong kinds of people often grab my advice and use it as a club, and there’s no way any of us can stop that from happening.

That’s the problem with writing essays designed to help people pick apart their problems: every piece of advice is meant to fix a very specific problem.  If I told you, “When you’re deep in subspace, here’s six ways to communicate with your top!” then the bias would be extremely clear.  People who don’t bottom would go, “Oh, that’s not for me” and move on.  People who do bottom but don’t go that deep into subspace would would go, “I don’t need that.”

(Non-kinky people probably wouldn’t even parse the headline.)

But when you say subtler stuff like “The key to a good relationship involves knowing when to stop getting and start giving,” this is actually covertly aimed at “People who ask for a lot in their relationships.”  But that’s not apparent until you’re experienced enough to break it down.

“Stop getting and start giving” is perfectly true advice… for an aggressive dude like me who has zero problems stating what he wants.  For me, 90% of my bad relationships were because I was so used to asking for what I wanted (and getting it!) that I often didn’t realize when I was asking for too damn much.

But for a passive person who barely ever says a peep no matter how badly they’re mistreated?  This is terrible fucking advice.  This person will hear this advice and go, “Oh, I asked for my partner to stop having unprotected sex with strangers, look how mad she gets when I ask her that, clearly I’m an awful person.  I need to stop getting and start giving!” And they curl up into a ball and use this good advice to allow some terrible fucking things to happen in their relationship.

Now it’s true that technically the advice is buried in there still – I mean after all, the problem with the too-passive person is that they *do* need to know when it’s right to ask for things and when it’s wrong.  But because their personal balance is skewed to “never ask,” as a result they’re unlikely to find the actual message I meant to give them.

They’ll take this advice intended to prune aggressive people’s grabbiness, and use it to justify their own terror of confrontation.

Likewise, More Than Two has a lot of spectacularly solid advice on how to communicate and to be fair with your partners.  But it’s very subtly – yet quite consistently – tilted towards people who are overly solicitous of their partner’s needs, the sort of people who are terrified to say “no,” the kind of person who tends to quietly shuck all the good parts of their life away to make their partner happy.

For these people, More Than Two is full of advice that will transform their goddamned lives.  It’ll give these people the tools to take their natural tendencies to overfocus on their partner’s needs, and transform it into a healthy series of “no”s – so they don’t treat every jealous snit by their partner as a reason to cut ties, so they don’t abandon their own self-esteem in search of some sort of distorted mockery of pair-bond love,  so they don’t take this deep well of love they feel for their lovers and give away too much.

It’s not that More Than Two doesn’t encourage you to be compassionate – one of the two axioms they give is “Don’t treat people like objects,” and they repeatedly stress that your partner has to be respected.  But at least in the first part of the book, for every one time they say “Remember to respect your partner’s feelings,” they have at least three other emphases on “Don’t give in to your partner’s needs unnecessarily” and “Your partner’s being upset is not a sign that you should change your behavior.”

In other words, it subtly assumes that the person reading this book already cares deeply for their partners.

Sadly, what’s going to happen here is that someone who isn’t caring will read all of this very healthy advice and go, “Aww, man!  My problem is that I’ve wasted all this time letting my partners weep on my shoulder!  If they’re jealous because I didn’t tell them where I went for the weekend to spend time with a girlfriend I never mentioned to them?  That’s not anything I’m doing wrong!  That’s them being idiots!  They’ve gotta learn to deal with this shit, baby!”

And they will become monsters.

It is important to clarify here: That is not a problem with More Than Two.  (I think they could have had a different mix of emphases here, but that’s a minor critique of a book that has a lot of moving parts and jines up with much of what I’ve been telling y’all for many years.  I fully anticipate when I finish it, I’ll be happily exhorting you to purchase this sucker.)

The problem I’m actually attempting to highlight here is that when you start speaking to large audience, it becomes nigh-impossible to give advice to people that someone will not internalize in drastically harmful ways.

You can frame any given piece of wisdom as clearly as you like, but humans are bias machines, designed to take in the bits they agree with and silently discard the parts they don’t.  I only notice this subtle issue with More Than Two because, well, I hand out lots of advice.

I try to provide a lot of context for my thoughts on relationships, to make it clear that This advice isn’t universal, it actually only applies if X, Y, and Z are all true.  Yet even still, I’ve seen people doing poly in ways I consider to be loathsome citing my articles as reasons to be shitty to their partners, or to themselves.

I groan.  I contact them to tell them that no, that’s not what I meant.  And they always look betrayed, because I gave them this advice, they acted upon it, and what kind of a jerk am I for telling them no, they’re wrong?

But that advice wasn’t for them.  It was for someone actually exactly the opposite of them.  And they used it to amplify their worst habits, and nothing I can actually tell them would convince them otherwise.

So it goes.

(Cross-posted from a not-particularly-loved entry on FetLife, but I thought it was interesting.)

And We Forgot The Taste Of Bread: Soylent, Day Seven

“So what is Soylent for?” Kat asked.

“It’s a food replacement,” we told her.  “Pasty nerds made it because they got tired of eating.”

“But what’s it supposed to do?”

“Well, it gives you all the nutrients you need to live.  So all you have to eat is this sludge.”

“Okay, but – ”  She frowned, trying to rephrase the question.  “What’s the goal?  What are you supposed to do with it?”

“It doesn’t really have one,” we demurred.  “It’s… well, it’s a tool.  What you do with it… well, that’s up to you.”

“But they went to a lot of effort to make this stuff.  Surely they must have meant it to do something.  A goal.”

Gini and I looked at each other, embarrassed.  Because if the makers of Soylent had a clear goal beyond “Let’s see how we can fuck with the human body,” well, we were unaware of it.  But for a week, at least, we were the vanguard of this new method of devouration, and everyone we turned to had a clear expectation of what we were supposed to do.  Now, we faced a clear choice: either abandon the taste of foods forever and become the Gray Goop People, or return to the friendly shores of pizza and cake and tell everyone how dreadful those days were.

But food is complicated.  As humans, our relationship with food is complicated.  And Soylent?  Is not an on/off switch.

I wonder if the makers of margarine got this, back in the early days when margarine was an unappetizing whalefat-white and you had to massage a packet of yellow food dye into it just to make it palatable.  “So is margarine designed to replace butter?  Margarine is going to supplant butter, isn’t it?  We have no need for butter now, right?”

But no.  I’m a heart patient (triple-bypass FTW YAY), and while I use margarine because it’s better for my heart, occasionally I still have butter on the right kind of bread.  Some days, I even crave margarine.

The thing about humans is that we’re repelled by the idea of the artificial in our foods, but yet we come to love them all the same.  I think we all know that a McDonald’s burger is not a hamburger in any way that we traditionally understand it – a gray, thin, mealy patty of meat, devoid of that big beef taste, slapped on a bun that will not rot – and yet most of us have a craving for that McDonald’s burger once in a while, even as we acknowledge this has more in common with chemical plants than cows.  We groan about Red Bull and Twizzlers as being artificial, but they sell and they sell well.  I don’t think anyone has ever savored a Dorito, as they’re explicitly designed to be madness for our tastebuds – an experience that blossoms, satisfies, and fades quickly enough that we automatically reach for the next chip.

I think that comes down to some suborned guilt within us: we know we should be eating healthy.  But somehow, we’re continually surprised when the foods that are scientifically designed to light up all of our taste receptors turn out to be more delicious than broccoli.

And we are ashamed.

(Or snottily proud. I know someone will sniff, “Well, I love broccoli more than Doritos!” – and they’ll do it as a mark of pride, because they should love that natural-food thing more than this shabby artificial concoction.  And by God, having aligned their mouth properly, they want the credit for it.)

The truth is, we have replaced much of our food already, and we still oscillate between the artificial and the natural.  I do want a McDonald’s burger every now and then, but I also love a good thick Texan burger straight off the grill.  I like Pop Tarts, but I also love my birthday cake when it comes out of the oven.

We have this urge to turn all the foods into Sharks and Jets, into Montagues and Capulets, into warring factions – but the truth is that we are omnivores, and that genetic need seeps from every pore.  It goes against our grain to supplant; we ingest and add.

But how can Soylent be that?  It’s intended to replace all the foods, right?

Well, no.  It can replace some of the foods.  And I remember my disappointment with my friend Geoff Hunt, who hopped on the Soylent bandwagon ahead of me, and uses it as a supplement.  He drinks it during the day when he’s got nothing better to eat, and then dines on full meals whenever he wants to experience the full taste.  Which, before I started this, seemed like a crazy idea – come on, Geoff, commit.  You either go full-bore or you don’t.  Why would you drink gray goop some of the time?

And after converting exclusively to Soylent myself, the answer is simple: a lot of the time, I’m eating because I don’t have anything better to do.  A lot of the food I eat is effectively dead calories – come my 11:30 snack, it would be difficult to care less about what I’m eating, because I’m focusing on a programming problem and am just devouring to quell my stomach pains.  If I thought about the foods that I’ve actually focused on, giving active consideration to the delicious taste in my mouth, well, I’d probably be happy if that was as high as 40%.

I mechanically eat a lot.  Most of us do.

So if I’m going to eat something and not pay attention to it, why not put something harmless in my stomach instead of a bag of fried corn chips?

And then, when I have another Michelin restaurant to go to, or another Pupuseria has opened up in Cleveland, I can order and savor, and put the delicious things in my mouth when I need them.

Soylent can be an addition to a diet.

But people are disappointed by this.  “So it’s an Ensure diet,” they say, sighing.  As if they were hoping that Soylent would be the gateway to some grand new world of doing things, and all I’ve done is put a glossy hi-tech coat on the old Slim-Fast routine.

Yet that’s the way our eating habits work.  We adapt and ingest.

Which is why Gini and I ordered another two-week supply of Soylent this weekend.  I don’t think we’re going to go Gray Goop all the time, but we are going to try Soylent as a Sometimes-Food, that glass of muck that staves off the mindless hunger, so we can focus on the food that we choose to eat.  And that will probably be healthier than whoops, Ferrett makes another two turkeyburgers swimming with mayo, and chomps them down absently while he’s trying to figure out why this absolutely-positioned CSS element isn’t where he wants it to be on this web page.

That all depends on Soylent shipping, of course.  They claim 1-2 weeks for prior members.  They also claim 1 month for newbies, and if you’ll recall it took us five months to get our first shipment. So if we’re lucky, we get our Soylent by December.

(They are a remarkably inefficient company, when it comes to shipping.  We may go open-source.  But in their defense, were I a venture capitalist, I’d be veeeery reluctant to say, “Soylent orders are exploding!  Hire two hundred people!  Put all hands on deck for this, as the future will be Soylent!”  I suspect they’re viewing this Soylent rush as being akin to a Tamagotchi craze or a Pet Rock, this freakish wave of attention that will soon subside, and they don’t want to expand so rapidly they fall apart.)

But Gini and I haven’t been eating much.  We’re supposed to consume a full pitcher, each, daily, and we’ve been going through maybe a pitcher and a half.  We still have several bags left.  So though today is technically the end as of one o’clock, we’ll be running out the clock to finish what’s left of this.

Because honestly?  It’s not nearly as hard to drink this full-time as we’d thought.

LATER: So What Happens When You Switch Back?