The Uploaded Book Tour Dates! Visit A Weasel In Your Town, Perhaps?

I’ll be appearing in just three cities to promote my new post-singularity thriller The Uploaded, and then I will not tour again until 2019.  So if you want to see a weasel, may I suggest now?

I’ve made Facebook events for all these dates, but Facebook is terrible at reminding me which friends live in which towns.  In my mind, all my friends live on the Internet.  If I didn’t invite you, that’s because I forgot you lived there.  (If I haven’t accepted your friend request on Facebook yet, that’s because I stopped accepting new friends on Facebook in 2014 after Facebook showed me linkbait news stories yet never told me that two good friends had major deaths in their families.  For me, Facebook gives people an illusion that I know what’s going on their lives when it fails at the one thing it claims to do, meaning that I’m pretty much on Facebook only for my Mom.)

So anyway, the point is that if you are planning on going, or even merely interested, accepting that Facebook invite helps get the word out to your social network, which in turn helps me out.  So do a guy a favor and share as widely as you can?

Anyway.  Book tour begins.  It’s tiny this time around, but my book is grand.  And yes, we will have donuts and/or cupcakes even though The Uploaded is a donutless dystopia!  Why?  Because I frickin’ love donuts and cupcakes, that’s why.  And as usual, I’ll try to go out for drinks afterwards and hang with as many people as possible, because part of the joy of doing this is seeing you all.

September 7th: Cleveland, Ohio
Loganberry Books
13015 Larchmere Blvd, Shaker Heights, Ohio 44120
7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

September 14th: Cambridge, Massachusetts
Pandemonium Books
Pleasant St, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139
7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

September 23rd: San Francisco, California
Borderlands Books
866 Valencia Street, San Francisco, California 94110
Exact time currently unknown, probably afternoonish?


Things I Have Learned After Three Weeks Of Personal Training

Trainers are super unfair. I have pretty decent biceps and thighs, I know what I can bench-press. It’s not terrible. But you know what she works on?

Teeny, teeny little muscles between my shoulder blades.

Apparently my posture sucks, so they’re working on my “core,” which is a synonym for “all the muscles nobody even thinks about.” She comes at my shoulderblades from over the shoulder, under the shoulder, round the side, all these little exercises designed to push my spine straighter.

She gives me a forty-pound dumbbell and I relax. Big heavy weights are easy. Because I know the real agony’s gonna be when she hands me a three-pound weight and asks me to lift something I didn’t know I could lift.

So not fair.
Until now, my body’s basically been a carrying case for my head. I’ve done jogging and other exercises, which gave me greater strength, but none of that involved paying attention; I just ran and things got stronger.

Now we’re discovering how little I know about my body.

She’s continually telling me, “Get your shoulders back.” I thought they were. “Stand with your feel square with your shoulders.” I thought they were. “Spine straight.” I thought it was.

I have no idea what my body’s supposed to feel like.

We’ve had to devise an entirely new language to handle me, because I can’t comprehend “Shoulderblades drawn back.” Instead, she taps me on the area that’s supposed to feel tired if I do it right, and then I wriggle around while lifting until I do whatever I have to that makes that burn.

She normally starts people off with small weights so they don’t hurt themselves. She’s learned that with me, you go with big weights so I can start exhausting myself on the first stroke and feel where I’m supposed to be.

Which is weird. I’ve lived in this body for 48 years and apparently don’t know it at all.

I can’t decide whether that’s awesome or terrible.
I now need a sweatband because I dribble sweat all over the place. I keep looking for somewhere to wipe things off, because every BDSM dungeon I’ve ever been to has sterilization towels. I know you wipe off your playspace when you’re done.

This is a small gym. I think they clean up after we’re gone. But still, I’m looking for the handi-wipes all the time.

And wishing I wasn’t such a squishy sweatmonster.
Standing is exhausting now. I used to do it all the time, but I was doing it wrong; knees locked, feet askew, slumped. Now whenever I stand you can see me adjust – I stand, realize I’m standing wrong, shuffle my feet awkwardly, and straighten.

It’s not natural. Gini had to go to gait therapy to learn how to walk properly, lifting her feet so she didn’t trip, and she said it was super-awkward. Now it’s second nature to her.

Maybe it will be one day to me, but it’s still weird.
Standing properly is unflattering. Slumping forward juts your jaw way out, hides those double-chins, folds your belly over. Standing tall draws you back so you have nowhere to hide from your fatness, like you’re shoving your belly out to shake hands with people.

I look in the mirror and wince, then realize that maybe I shouldn’t have been hiding that anyway.
She has a little metal doodad she lubes up and then rakes along my triple-bypass scar. She claims it’ll break up the adhesions, get my chest more open. I cringe all the time because anyone touching my scar tissue is like someone opening up my heart all over again.

It does seem to be working, though.
The little metal doo-dads cost $3,000 a set and there are three competing brands each of which have their own classes and zealous adherents.

I didn’t even know metal scar-scrapey doo-dads existed, let alone there was a whole fandom centered around them.

The world’s full of things I don’t know.
This is expensive. We can’t do this forever. But then again, if this turns out to actually keep us alive and healthier for longer, isn’t it worth the expense? I mean, if we took all the money we spent eating out and poured it into this, wouldn’t that be better?

Cash is weird now.

Maybe it would be worth it. Hard to say.
I don’t feel that much stronger yet. I don’t feel fit. It’s not like jogging, where I saw immediate progress – I’d run two more minutes, I’d run faster, I’d jog upstairs without getting winded.

This is core work, so it’s weird. I stand straighter. People tell me I look a little more confident. But she keeps switching exercises all the time, differing ones on Monday and Wednesday and Friday, so I’m never hitting the same weedly little muscles twice when I remember them.

I’m making progress. But it feels like I’m making progress at things that aren’t that important. But they assure me it is important, and so does Gini.

I’m not quitting. It’s not terrible. It’s just not the swoleness I thought it would be by now.

My First Poly Vacation Shouldn’t Be That Easy. And It Wasn’t.

“My sweetie Fox wants to go see the eclipse,” I said to my wife. “Do you want to come?”

“Where would we go?”

I got out a map of the Zone of Totality, where the sun would be completely obscured – a thick line running in a curve across the United States. “Total eclipse is mostly in the south. There’s Nashville, Columbia, Paducah – ”

“PADUCAH?!?” Gini had bolted out of her chair and was making fluttering motions.

“…yeah. Paducah, Kentucky.”


And so it was that a convergence of interests led to my first vacation as a poly unit.


Gini and I have gone places with my sweeties before, of course, and I with hers. We go out to dinner, as we have a pretty firm rule that we can’t date anyone the other person can’t sit down for a nice dinner conversation with. (That’s pretty much a gimme, though, as we’re both attracted to interesting conversationalists.) We’ve taken various visiting lovers on tours around Cleveland, where my wife adores playing tour guide and telling all of Cleveland’s cool secrets.

(If you don’t think Cleveland has cool secrets, I assure you: ride with my wife.)

But we’d never actually planned a several-day journey to go out with someone I loved. My wife isn’t dating Fox; they’re merely fond of each other’s company.

Would this implode at some point?

We got in the car, taking starter selfies, and talked for great portions of the trip because we love talking, and I kept thinking, It can’t be this easy. Sometimes I’d drop out of the conversation as Gini and Fox found something to talk about, and I’d reach back to squeeze Fox’s leg, and then Gini would take my hand.

It wasn’t sexy. It felt like a happy family.

And we got to the hotel and crashed in a single King-sized bed, which turned out to be about as uncomfortable as you’d think, especially since there wasn’t any hanky-panky. We awoke grumpy and sore from a thin sleep, setting out to Day One of our adventure – taking distillery tours deep in Bourbon Country.

And Gini and I snapped at each other a bit, and I thought Oh, no, it’s fraying. But we shrugged it off and had a magical adventure where in the middle of a tour we heard a stray feral kitten mewling and rescued it at the Four Roses Distillery (which was surprisingly open about its history of how Seagram turned it from a proud independent brand into rotgut, and they’ve been trying to restore their reputation ever since), and then we got a special backstage tour of the distillery as we took care of the kitten and the employees battled to see who got to take the newly-christened Gator Smallbatch home.

It was a magical day until our car broke.

The starter motor gave out in a small town called Dawson Springs, and AAA was of no use because Dawson Springs usually had 2,500 inhabitants but with the eclipse they had about 30,000 people passing through and everything was overwhelmed. We only survived thanks to the immense Southern hospitality shown by a string of strangers who went to great lengths to get assistance for us.

This, too, was magical, in a different way. We were introduced to a cast of characters in the town – Turtle, the man who was legendary at rebuilding starter motors, but also legendarily slow to arrive, and true to fashion we were there for seven hours and he never showed. Our U-haul mechanic Dave ran into his friend Chase at the local diner and asked him to come over, and when I asked Chase whether he accepted credit cards, he did exactly what I thought and shuffled his feet and informed me this was a cash-only operation because, well, yeah.

We were eventually hauled home by a man called “Buttermilk,” who had a cab with a backseat full of broken glass. His Boomhauer-style accent was near-impenetrable. He broke his back in a fall and went to jail because he refused to stop running a junk yard out of his back yard, and by God was this an interesting trip, we said.

But Fox has some chronic illnesses, and they were severely triggered by standing around for seven hours. When we finally got back to the hotel Fox crashed, shivering and unable to function, and had a mild panic attack because they were too much trouble, who would want to deal with this…

And Gini came over and hugged them and reassured them.

Let me rephrase this: my lover got wound around the axle because of sickness, and my wife – who is not dating them at all – came over and took care of them and reassured them that they were no trouble at all.

I thought, again, It can’t be this easy.

And in truth, it wasn’t. It’s like my laptop.

As I type this, several million problems have been solved for me. Someone’s gone to the trouble of figuring out how to map the impact of my fingers on the keys into an electronic pulse that the system can understand, and someone else has figured out how to store those pulses in a system that translates to Unicode characters, and someone else has figured out how to display light on a screen in a way that can provide words, and someone else has figured out how to send those words out through a complex network of electronic pulses so they can be shared with anyone else on the Internet.

We don’t even think about those complexities these days. They’re solved problems. But at some point, for each of those and a thousand more, teams of engineers ground their teeth and fretted about how to do that.

It’s easy these days, at least until a bug strikes. But it’s not actually easy.

We just put effort into it until the solution became common.

Likewise, this was not an easy trip, even though it was. Fifteen years ago, my wife snapping at me in the car would have led to me sulking and an injurious argument, but we’ve learned to make room for each other’s upsets. Ten years ago I would have been attracted to unstable partners with jealousy issues that would have blown this trip apart. Five years ago I would have tried to turn every poly relationship into a sad variant on monogamy, constantly escalating intimacies because that’s how monogamy worked, not realizing that a poly relationship doesn’t have to go anywhere, it can just work.

My wife was able to reassure Fox because I was able to reassure my wife that my relationship with Fox was healthy for us. She was able because Fox had been a constant in my life for over two years now and had gotten to know Fox, unlike my previous strings of fiery implosive relationships. She was able to because Fox brought their own lessons to the table and had shown kindness and generosity to Gini that had been returned.

It looked easy. But strewn behind us were all the lessons we’d learned collectively and individually, sometimes at the expense of precious relationships we hadn’t been able to keep.

We’d just put those sorrows to good use.

And when the eclipse came we still didn’t have our car, but somehow the three of us had determined to have a good time regardless. And we sat down in front of our hotel in blistering heat to a small crowd out on the green, and saw the sky open up and oh my God the total eclipse was magic.

It was one of the greatest things I’ve ever seen, a special effect made real, and all my words cannot sum how great it was.

And when it was done, Chase texted to tell us our car was ready and we prepared to venture home.

It wasn’t easy. And yet it was. All that muscle memory built up served us well, and what we had was a beautiful trip full of quilting museums and occluded suns and kitten-induced bourbon, and a tiny family caring for each other as best we could.

We drove back, weary and fulfilled. We’re smart enough to know nothing is permanent; we try not to make grand promises of future love these days.  That too is wisdom learned.  And there will be strains after this; my wife will need snuggles alone with me, as she always does after a visit, and my sweetie Fox and I will endure the fresh amputated loneliness that comes from that endless aching of the long-distance relationship.

But we will cope because of what we have learned.

That’s enough. That’s good. And that’s what we have, at least for now.

It’s easy, at least by some definition thereof, and thank God.

(EDIT: For those of you asking, “What about the quilts?” let me highlight my own work: “and what we had was a beautiful trip full of quilting museums…”

(Trust me: We went to a lot of effort to arrange carless transportation in a tiny town swamped on eclipse weekend, because I will destroy anything that stands between my wife and her lifelong desires.)


Polyamory Classes I Wish Someone Else Would Teach

I asked folks what polyamory seminars they’d like me to teach – because I do teach seminars – and got a lot of good suggestions.

Mostly for classes I’m unqualified to teach.

I’m putting this list out here, because I think these are great topics that I’d like to see covered in-depth some day. If these topics are in your wheelhouse, please consider pitching this topic to your local conventions/training sources! And if you do teach them, feel free to leave comments (with dates/locations of your upcoming classes) to spread your wisdom around!

Raising Kids While You’re Polyamorous.
There was an excellent seminar on that at Beyond the Love a couple of years ago, but it was focused on raising kids in a poly commune. Never having raised kids while poly, I’d love to hear more tips and tricks about balancing privacy, childrens’ safety, and potential legal concerns.

Effective Polyamorous Communes.
I’ve seen a lot of poly groups move in together. Most of ’em fell apart shortly thereafter. I’d love to see a discussion of best practices on how to handle finances, romances, etc in a close-contact environment. Bonus if you’re not an extrovert and can tell us introverts how to survive.

Polyamorous Legal Concerns.
Wills and living arrangements and marriages, wow! I’m totally not a lawyer, but this would be a fascinating topic for a professional who’s specialized in these topics.  (I suspect this would only be useful on a state level, but hey.)

You’d think I’d be good at scheduling, with my many partners, but the truth is that they’re good enough at scheduling to cover for my manifest weaknesses. I’d love to see someone(s) discuss how to schedule time effectively, how to handle conflict in events, how to reserve enough time for each partner who needs it (including you), etc.

Forging Better Bonds With Metamours.
Some of the most stressful situations in poly involve your partner’s partners – and all too often they’re seen as either your BEST FRIENDS EVER or alien beasts you beam communications through a third party to. I’d love to see a class from someone with a long history of effectively communicating with people on the other side of their lovers.

Now, if any of those classes seem like something you could cohere a 50-minute talk on, I’ll note that The Geeky Kink Event is taking applications for November, and though Beyond The Love’s presentation window has just closed, they do have lunchtime pop-up seminars and maybe you might wanna talk to them.

And if you have any questions on teaching, ask me! It’s both simpler and more complex than you think. But not enough qualified people do it.

Three Trusts To Survive Your Partner Going On Their First Date With Someone Else.

One of the worst moments in polyamory is the first date.

Not yours.


Your first poly date is usually this exciting squiggle of “Where is this going?” and flirtatious arm-touches and effervescent ZOMG I LIKE THEM and maybe even some hot smooching. And it’s great, ‘cuz it’s you.

But their first poly date, where you’re the one at home cooling your heels while you’re imagining their flirtatious arm-touches and trying not to break down in jealousy?

That can be a long night.

And I get asked, “How do you cope when your partner starts dating?” And the answer is threefold:

I Trust They’d Tell Me If Things Were Bad.
Sometimes I worry that they’re dating because I’m fucking up in some way. Then I remember how honest they’ve been with me. They’ve told me about any issues between us as soon as they figured out what it was.

I trust my partners to come to me when something is going wrong.

So I trust that if there was a problem, I’d know.

A lot of the jealousies swirling around new poly tend to be, “Is there something wrong with me? Is this a prelude to a breakup?” And honestly, if you’re going for the “Hail Mary” of “We’re not getting along but maybe fucking other people will bring us closer together,” it might well be.

But if this has been a studied expansion, where you’ve talked about dating other people and are now exploring it, hopefully you trust that your partner would tell you if they were seeking other lovers because you were failing them. But they’re not. Healthy polyamory’s not an attempt to replace a broken system, but to expand it to include others.

They’re not dating me because I’m failing them, but because we believe a) that having other emotionally-fulfilling relationships is good, and b) those relationships can include sex. (And often, c) we’re both a little slutty.)

It shouldn’t be a threat if my partner has good friends they talk to. Their desire to see a movie with someone else isn’t a refutal of who we are.

This is just an extension of that logic. And nothing has to be wrong with me, or us, for them to desire someone else.

(I mean, I desire other people and it doesn’t lessen my affection for my existing partners. But that’s easy to remember when I’m in the driver’s seat.)

I Trust In My Own Uniqueness.
The media frames a lot of sex as a competition – whoever’s got the bigger dick wins. And if your partner’s girlfriend is hotter than you are, girl, she will steal your man.

That’s not necessarily true, though.

An odd fact about polyamory is that your partners are often drawn to people totally unlike you. That’s often a source of friction – you’re organized and reliable, why are they dating this sloppy hedonist?

The answer is, dating you provides all the you they need. They’re stocked up on “neat” and “reliable” simply because you’re doing a great job! Now they’re unconsciously seeking people who have other traits they find desirable.

And if you’re not careful, you dismiss your own talents and focus on the things you don’t have. Oh, she’s really good at talking dirty, I can’t do that. She loves that country music I can’t stand. She’s a better cook.

When you do that, you forget the things your lover might say about you if they were forced, somehow, to evaluate you as a direct comparison. They’re a way better cuddler. They know how to make me feel better after a hard day at work. They love the movies I do.

You gotta trust in your own uniqueness. This isn’t a zero-sum game where the person who ticks off the most marks on the checklist walks away with the prize. Yes, your partner’s new lover may be a better kisser, but trust that your sexual skills have something to be desired even if you can’t see it right now.

Trust that there’s also reasons to want you.

I Trust That Some Relationships Need To Be Over.
This is the tough one. Because yeah, sometimes when people fling themselves into polyamory, they do find someone more suitable and they do leave the old partners behind and they don’t communicate their problems until it’s too late to do anything about them.

I trust it’s better to know that we’re not meant for each other.

And you’ll see plenty of couples tapdancing around some fundamental incompatibility – he wants kids/she doesn’t, she wants deep emotional relationships/he doesn’t, he wants to get married/he doesn’t – and rather than look squarely at the irreconcilable difference and walk away, they instead push it off for years, grinding agony the whole time.

And in the end, they often give in to something they never wanted to happen, or they break up after years of intimacy.

That’s a lot harder than acknowledging it early and breaking it off while it’s still nascent.

So I take the attitude with relationships that I do with medical tests: No, I don’t want this, but if I have some terminal condition, it’s better to know right away.

Maybe my lover will discover that they’re polyamorous and I’m not. That’s not great, but it’s good for us both to know who we are – and if that’s not compatible, let’s examine it.

I don’t want to lose anyone, but if there are problems in this relationship, let’s highlight what they are and see whether we can fix it. Or not.

And it’s a weirdly calm trust, because this is the one that brings me back to reality: Yes, I love her. But are we really as good for each other as we think we are? Maybe I’m putting this relationship on a pedestal.

And then the old prayer: It’ll work if it’s meant to be.

And honestly, it mostly has worked out. Dating mature partners who discuss things generally turns out to be stable. They can see other people and come back to me and be just as excited – sometimes more so, because I’m actually enabling them to have wonderful relationships and so they come to associate me as “That person I love who wants me to have so much beauty in my life.” And they date other people, as I do, but in the end the thing I have to offer is “I’m that person who really, demonstrably, wants the best for them.”

That’s a helluva strength to bring to the table.

It can be okay.

You just gotta trust.