Thursday, February 15, 2007

Random Thoughts

I've already posted for the day and my brain is way too full, so I'm just going to purge the random collection in a series of bullet points.

*** Before having surgery, especially one that knocks out your core (your abs) for a while, get your hair cut short if it's long and especially if you've been thinking about it anyway. Raising your arms to wash your long hair (which is heavier when wet) requires your abs to be in good shape. If they're out of commission due to surgery or whatever, you'll be grateful to not have one other thing you can't do by yourself.

*** Live C-Span coverage of the House and Senate politicians speaking can be fun and inspiring to watch, particularly when they're on the subject of how to handle the situation in Iraq. I was particularly moved by the delivery of a Republican congressman, Virgil Goode. It wasn't because he lived up to his name in the making a good point department, but because his oratorial style reminded me that I really love teaching. Why?

I had a whole new class on the psychology of persuasion worked out in my head after listening to him. His speech was a fantastic example of using emotion to persuade. Those who followed lacked his style; they spoke like normal people and may have made excellent, rational points, but they lacked the power his approach did. I fear that power when it's unleashed on a public who prefers ignorance to information and emotional decision-making to those based on deep thought.

*** Using your social support network is an excellent way to make your life easier and you shouldn't wait until you're sick to do it.

*** If you need a dog to do something, just tell them what to do in the language you've trained them to pay attention to. Short, clear commands work. Be clear and be consistent when dealing with verbally training dogs. Be creative when using their new skills.

You can use one dog to get the other one to get in line behaviorally. For example, my little old man licks himself excessively sometimes. It drives up my stress level. I'm a primate, that's natural. When another primate starts grooming compulsively, it makes that primate want to displace anxious energy too, usually by grooming a nearby primate. If none is available, they turn the impulse on themselves. Dogs don't really do this, so instead of risking injury to my post-surgery body by getting out of bed to interupt the little licker physically (which is the next to only way to make him stop, trust me), I get my other dog to stop him. How? I say simply "Katy look Max" which she has associated with Max going to look for a hidden treat. I taught Max that "Go look" means I have hidden a variable number of treats and he needs to go find them. Saying "Katy look Max" gets her to go find him and then sniff his mouth. He stops licking himself instantly.

*** Puppies are still destructive, impulsive, and needy even when they are 11 months old but look like an adult. Such dogs can be stunningly similar to teenage kids.

*** If someone has not treated you with the respect you deserve, don't abruptly react but wait until you've gained perspective and can respond appropriately.

*** Lost is still one of the best shows on TV. Last night's episode had me in doubt, as did the bizarre choice to move it to a later time slot, but the show has me hooked again. Last night's episode took an awfully and perhaps unnecessarily long time to develop. It became hard to follow in places, but the ending and final message made it worth it. I love the themes more than the mystery of the island, but even that runs a really close second! Hume and Locke. I love it. The philosophy of life is what really captures me. Are we blank slates? How much control do we have over what happens to us? I love that stuff. I also really love the inclusion of bizarre psychological and medical stuff. The brainwashing to try to change the wayward ways of one of the others. Weird. Total Terry Gilliam too. He's the guy responsible for Brazil and 12 Monkeys - fantastic psychological thrillers. And the hatch - it appeared to be a well stocked, spacious Skinner's Box from the get-go, but is that really what it is? I love that it looks like the island is one big experiment. Waaaaaa haaaaa haaaaaa. Now we just need to figure out who are the evil souls walking around wearing white lab coats concealed under their day clothes.

*** If you want to continue living, at times you must release control of your life to someone else. For those of us who desperately want to stay in control and who believe they are in control (me, my dad, my grandpa for example), it can be particularly difficult to turn our control over to the doctor who can help if only we comply.

We humans are a curious species. So fragile, yet so powerful. Some of us surrender control to a higher power, God, Allah, Jehovah, Mother Nature, whatever the label is, but what unites all devout believers is that we are not fundamentally in control. Perhaps that makes it easier for them to hand over control to a surgeon or an anesthesiologist who can be thought to assume the power of God. Maybe it doesn't. I wouldn't know. The God I believe in isn't short of cash or followers. In other words, I will never be electable to the Office of the President of the United States of America, but it's no matter, I would not want the job anyway. However, if any openings appear for Benign Dictator With Ultimate Power, I'd consider the job ;-)

No comments: