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Michael Powell
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Mononormativity (n.): The automatic assumption that any given relationship is monogamous, and that the rules for monogamy are agreed upon by cultural consensus.

According to Google, I'm not the first to coin this term, but it doesn't seem to have achieved very broad usage yet.

The impact of mononormativity is most obvious on those of us who are not monogamous. That is, we frequently have to explain what polyamory is, that no, we're not "cheating", and that yes, our partners know about and are okay with this arrangement. We have to deal with people being confused and weirded out and uncomfortable about our relationship choices, even when they aren't really their business at all. Many of us choose to keep all but one of our partners secret in any given circle, in order to avoid all these problems. I have friends who believe they'd probably lose their jobs if it came out they were poly.

Further, there are all those people who really SHOULD be polyamorous, but don't realize it's an option. They persist, unhappy and unfulfilled, often in serial monogamy, because they just assume this is how relationships have to work. It's like a gay man who has never heard of homosexuality, and thus persists in dating women their whole life, which is likely unfulfilling for both them and their partners.

It also has a more subtle negative effect on monogamous folk, though.

The assumption that monogamy is the norm results in the assumption that everybody is always on the same page about relationships. Monogamous people almost never have the important discussions required to set the boundaries of their relationship, and then have explosions of drama when there is a mismatch in those expectations. This isn't an inherent failure of monogamy, or even anything that polyamory is intrinsically better at. Poly people fall into it less often only because we don't assume our relationship style is the norm, and thus we KNOW we need to have this discussion.

Which is why I believe it would substantially benefit society to have poly activism, and poly awareness and acceptance campaigns. Especially as we move into an era of increased intolerance, and very few people are even thinking about what that means for those of us in poly relationships.

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I've heard Bannon referred to as "cartoon evil" before, but this is getting ridiculous. The more that comes out about his past, the more unbelievable this man becomes. He used to run a company that sold WoW gold! On the scale of evil, it's not really all THAT high, but it's still shady as fuck.

Well, my smoke alarm is in fact up to code: It's only allowed to run out of battery at between 3 and 6 AM on a weekday morning.

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This is an unintentional surrealist masterpiece.

Note that this link actually goes to Breitbart's official Facebook page. This, right here, is the top news source of the alt-right. This is the website that the Chief Adviser of the President of the United Status of America was the chief editor of until a few months ago, and thus has an inside line to the White House.

They're interviewing Sean Spicer, the White House Press Secretary. This is a privilege normally reserved for the top mainstream media news sources, like CNN, NBC, Fox or the NYT.

And yet, they can't find an interviewer with a tiny OUNCE of charisma. They can't find somebody who can actually edit the video just to cut off the first 19 seconds of awkward silence and background chatter. Nor can they find a camera person, apparently, sufficiently competent to actually hold the camera steady, or keep the speakers in frame. Nor can they mic them sufficiently to make sure they're consistently audible.

I already had all the reason in the world to malign Breitbart as a terrible news source. Not only are their biases extreme and obvious, but they lean in the most despicable possible direction. However, I had assumed they had a base level of competence. This is just pathetic.

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Hey, some good political news!

So I know I said I needed to rest after all the VR of the past few days, as it was leaving me sore, but I realized I had a number of more laid back games I hadn't tried yet. So I did some more.

Holopoint

Okay, this is NOT a laid back game, at all. But I also played it yesterday, and just didn't post about it because it was the only new game I played.

This is another archery game. You're positioned in a the middle of a dojo, and spinning cubes spawn around you. When you shoot the cubes, they shatter and immediately fire a projectile at you that you need to dodge. If you don't shoot them, they eventually shatter on their own and shoot at you anyway. So best to shoot them so you're looking and paying attention when the projectile comes. This game really keeps you moving. Shoot, dodge, shoot, dodge, shoot, dodge. When I played it before, at a friend's place, it was an intense workout. It had me sweating and exhausted in no time. This time, it was a lot less intense. I'm not sure what the difference is. Still, a simple premise that makes for a very fun game.

Surgeon Simulator: ER

This is the VR version of the classic incompetence simulator Surgeon Simulator. I'd heard great things about it, and it does seem like a kind of natural fit. In the original, the controls were super hard, but that was part of the charm, being an incompetence simulator after all. The grasping mechanics and physics were always a little weird, but you honestly hardly notices because just getting your damned fingers to do what you want was hard enough. In the VR version, moving your hands and fingers properly is trivial, since they actually move with your hands and fingers, but the grasping mechanics and physics are roughly the same. So what was a hilarious simulation of incompetence before just becomes frustrating and annoying here. A lot of people seem to think this game is amazing, but I don't understand. The move to VR, absent other necessary improvements, left this game in a sorry state.

VR The Diner Duo

This is a time management cooking game, basically allowing you to be a virtual burger flipper. It's amazing how they could take the most infamously boring job in existence and make such a fun little game out of it. As you get to the higher levels, it starts to get pretty intense, as the orders come faster and get much more complicated. You start making mistakes, and having to hurriedly redo some of your prep, as customers are getting angry. This surprised me by both being really fun, and the most intense aerobic exercise I've get gotten on my Vive. Worked up a really good sweat on this one.

I think I need to take a day off VR and let my muscles recover. My left arm in particular. One of the reasons I wanted to have a Vive is that it would be a fun workout, and it's definitely living up to that!

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A brilliant critique of recent Democratic policy and why it's failed to win any electoral successes, even when it's generally in the public's best interest.

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So this Budweiser ad is apparently being seen as massively "anti-Trump", and Trump fans are up in arms over it, threatening boycotts. Any other year, this ad would not have been considered particularly political at all. It's just the inspiring story of a young German immigrant in the 19th century coming to America, poor and penniless, and realizing his dream. That is LITERALLY the American Dream. The fact that he encounters, and pushes through, some xenophobia when he arrives is just a necessary part of illustrating the struggle involved.

And yet, in the age of Trump, the American Dream is now apparently liberal propaganda. What used to be universal American values are now partisan liberal politics.

Next couple VR games I tried:

Holodance

Since room scale VR is all about standing up and moving, some kind of good dancing/music game seems a necessity. I'd already tried Audioshield, on my friend's Vive, which seems to be the premiere music game on the Vive, and while it was kinda fun, it had some tragic flaws. So I went looking for a better one.

That's how I found Holodance, and man, this is SO MUCH better! It's like night and day. It's still early access, and has a couple rough edges, but it's under active development and the developers have already responded positively to my initial feedback. I think this will be one of my staples.

King Kaiju

Poking around new releases, I noticed this one. Looked pretty rough, but it was free, so figured I'd give it a try. And it IS really rough. Tromping around a tiny city smashing things is fun, but it takes a lot of the fun out of it when only my hands can do anything. Also the limited space to walk around, and having to use the teleport-move, detracts majorly from the game. And their physics and grabbing mechanics need a LOT of polish.

Zombie Training Simulator

This one came free with my Vive. This is the same kind of semi-stationary defensive game as Space Pirate Simulator. But way better. They give you a wide range of weapons and scenarios, and put a ton of polish into all of them. This really gives you that classic Doom feeling of power from mowing down hordes of enemies. It's super satisfying. And also surprisingly difficult.
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