Thursday, November 27, 2014

Dichotomy. Trichotomy?

My inner voice appears to have two separate personas, which seems concerning but is probably nothing alarming. One voice is that of my Logical Thinking Brain, which weighs and values things in a concrete way, values evidence, and might be a psychopath. This is the part of my brain that informs me that I've done something stupid immediately after I've done it. The other voice is that of my Emotional Feeling Brain, which reacts rather than considers and cannot be reasoned with. This is the part of my brain that reminds me of stupid things I did a decade ago for no real reason.
There's also my Primitive Lizard Brain, which gurgles out my deepest instincts.
Emotional Feeling Brain and Primitive Lizard Brain are usually in agreement.
Logical Thinking Brain is kind of evil, but it also insists I do things like get out of bed and go to work when my alarm goes off in the morning. Emotional Feeling Brain tells me to shut it off and go back to sleep because bed is warm and fuzzy. My needlephobia basically consists of Primitive Lizard Brain screaming that we're all going to die, Emotional Feeling Brain insisting that this blood draw will cause an intolerable amount of pain, and my completely upstaged Logical Thinking Brain sitting in a corner insisting that it really won't hurt that bad and will be over really soon anyway so we might as well stop screaming. When I'm not having a nervous breakdown, Logical Thinking Brain runs the show with input from Emotional Feeling Brain and occasionally Primitive Lizard Brain. 

A few weeks ago I tossed a chunk of ice-encrusted potstickers into a pan of hot oil and started an impressive grease fire.

Emotional Feeling Brain took over and I ran in circles shouting for a few minutes.

Meanwhile, my Logical Thinking Brain was mumbling "Wait! I know how to solve this! There is an easy solution for this. I know the solution."

And then my Emotional Feeling Brain took over again.

In an entirely unexpected fashion.

Never have I been so high off my own spectacularness, and never for such a stupid reason. Despite knowing what a serious situation it was, I can't quite convince myself it was anything less than super awesome. This is why I tend to let Logical Thinking Brain remain in charge most of the time.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

I Hate Everyone

I describe myself as a misanthrope. This means I hate everyone, despite my warm and cheerful personality. I hate people of every shape and size, age and ethnicity, gender identity and socioeconomic status. There are specific people that I more or less like and appreciate on a personal level, but on a global scale, I hate everyone.

While most people would assume hating everyone would make me angry and bitter, but it's actually rather pragmatic. Since I have already accepted and embraced the fact that I hate everyone, there's no need to focus on which people I hate, or why I hate them. My neighbors' kids scream all day long and they don't seem to care, but it's not because of their nationality or ethnicity or culture, it's just that they are people. Some drivers don't appear to understand how turn signals or turnouts on mountain roads work, but it's not because of their age or gender, it's because they, too, are people. Wars rage across the Middle East because people keep being people. People have always been people, and aren't likely to change anytime soon. They're going to keep being greedy, gullible, and stupid on various scales. Attempting to forgive, accept, and love all of humanity sounds pretty tough, just generally hating everyone is easy and spreads the hate out in a thin layer that doesn't coat anyone too heavily. There's no need to get worked up over a given person's words or actions, because they are a human and thus vindicating my blanket hatred of all humanity.

Monday, September 15, 2014

"Can I Pet Your Dog?"

I was walking Awesomedog, Tinydog, and Fosteruahuah on the hiking trails one day when we were beset by a pack of preschoolers.
I could see them thundering down the trail, well ahead of their parents. Just behind the parents was a guy walking with a large dog sans leash. He kept calling it as rocketed off the trail and back, it didn't appear to hear him. The herd of toddlers spotted my dogs and came stampeding toward us.

It's nice that people teach their small children to ask before rushing someone else's dog, but it would be even nicer if they elaborated on "ask first". These tiny terrors had absolutely no idea what to do when the answer was something other than "yes".
This exchange was repeated for several minutes while the parents finally caught up and hauled their grabby offspring away. The owner of the other dog leashed it while I was fending off the preschoolers, thus saving me from having to break up a dog fight in the middle of a playgroup.

Monday, September 8, 2014


Every so often I have to go through my house and perform paper abatement. This where I gather up all of the random pieces of paper littering every flat surface in the house, and then sort and file them. This is not unlike the weed and brush abatement that property owners are required to perform in fire-prone California.

A specific corner of the kitchen counter collects mail like a barbed wire fence collects tumbleweeds. This is where we tend to open and then abandon our mail for lack of anything else to do with it. Normally I get around to sorting, filing, and recycling the pile before it gets too tall, but occasionally it gets out of hand. Said pile is right next to the gas stove.
Z was cooking during Star Trek Night when the pile fell over and the corner of something slid just close enough to the stove to catch fire. By the time he convinced us that the kitchen was indeed on fire, the paper problem had sort of taken care of itself. The down side to this, aside from the scorch marks on the floor and ceiling, was that we lost pretty much everything we had received in the mail in the year prior. Medical bills, test results, invitations, catalogues, certificates, paycheck stubs, vehicle documentation...
There really isn't a tactful way to say "sorry, I incinerated your wedding invitation. When was it again?"

Friday, August 29, 2014


I threw some little sausages on a hot skillet and they started popping and rolling around.

There is a small voice in the back of my head that occasionally starts shouting.

There is also a much louder, calmer, logical voice that tends to drown out the first one.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Fat Dogs.

Fat dogs make me sad. Some people seem to love their dogs with food, ignoring the incredible amount of stress it puts on the poor animal's body. Others don't even understand what a healthy weight even looks like, because so many dogs are so fat. A lot of people actually think body condition is subjective, despite the existance of objective veterinary body condition scoring charts. "I don't think he's fat." Would they be willing to take a healthy dog and strap a few extra pounds on them?

Imagine forcing a dog to wear a heavy backpack all the time...

Instead of loving our dogs with treats, we could be loving them by taking off those extra pounds they've been carrying around. Isn't mobility and reduced pain worth more than an extra cookie, or a full dinner bowl?

Thursday, August 14, 2014


Over the winter we had one really good hard freeze, and it happened to be on a morning when I needed to leave the house right at dawn. I came outside and found the windshield of my car completely iced over, something that had not happened to me in over a decade.

Back when I was in high school and encountered a frosty windshield a handful of times, I always solved the problem by pouring a little cold water over the ice and then clearing it with the wipers. This time it just made more ice.

Certainly this was something I was aware could happen, but it was not something I had ever personally experienced. People who have lived in places with actual winter ;earn all sorts of handy tricks for solving this type of problem. They know they can scrape the ice off with a credit card. They own ice scrapers. I have never seen an ice scraper in person. I don't even know where I would buy one. Stores here literally don't carry them.

Eventually my car thawed out enough to be driveable and I made it to work a bit late and recounted my harrowing tale to my coworkers, who were shivering in their jeans and sweatshirts because I'm apparently the only one who owns a winter coat and mittens.

Thursday, August 7, 2014


I don't watch television, but I'm not missing much. Something that I do enjoy is YouTube clips of Jimmy Kimmel challenging parents to prank their children. My favorite is the annual compilation of kids crying because their parents claimed to have eaten all of their Halloween candy.

I sweat to god these videos are better than candy. I love them. This makes me a terrible person.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

"I don't need a leash, my dog is trained"

Whenever I hear "I don't need a leash, my dog is trained"...

Not using a leash is a sign that someone needs to check their ego and realize that it isn't all about them. Using a leash means I have a wide enough scope to recognize that the world is beyond my control, and that unanticipated events could happen at any moment.

I wear a seatbelt in the car because it's the law. I wear a seatbelt because I don't just drive on lonely country roads, and I realize there are other cars out there. Because I understand that, no matter how good a driver I may be, accidents can happen. Because I know that road conditions can abruptly change and I need to be prepared if something unexpected happens. Because I know that my elite driving skills can't always prevent shit from happening, and I want to be as safe as I can be if/when it does. Because I know that my wearing a seatbelt helps to protect other people around me, and in a collision I don't want my mangled body to become a projectile and harm those in the car with me.

I use a leash for almost the exact same reasons. It is the law. Unless I'm restricting myself to rural areas, there are other people and dogs and animals out there. Even if my dog is trained and/or friendly, not everyone else is willing or prepared to deal with him. I cannot anticipate what I am going to encounter when I leave my house, there could be distractions I never even dreamed of. There could be a pack of shrieking children, there could be a deranged raccoon, there could be a fucking earthquake. No matter what happens, I will still be attached to my dog.

Using a leash everywhere except designated off-leash areas tells the world: "I am a responsible dog owner, I respect the rules and the rights of other people to feel safe around my dog, because let's face it, a huge percentage of the dog is untrained with poor manners."

Not using a leash in areas where they are required tells the world: "My ego takes precedence over the safety of my dog, the law, and the rights of others. I don't care that my actions reflect poorly on other dog owners, or that the mere sight of my unleashed dog can lead to dogs being banned entirely from certain public places. I am a special snowflake."

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Blue Eyes.

I recently fostered a rescue dog that He was mostly or all blue Australian cattledog, with blue eyes. This gave him a permanent case of crazy eyes.

Fortunately he was also a wonderfully well-behaved dog, to the point of being boring sometimes. We got tons of applications for him and he went to his new home within a couple of weeks. This freed me from my obligation to provide the rescue with "better" pictures of him...

Tuesday, June 10, 2014


I noticed recently that I like my niece a whole more than I like my nephew. This makes me a terrible person.

It's not his fault, it's just that he has a long was to go before he is nearly as cool as his sister. She was pretty interesting when she was learning how to walk and talk and stuff, but she's way more exciting now that she has ideas and questions and plays pretend. Meanwhile, her brother just turned two, and the walking and talking stuff seems pretty boring by comparison.

It doesn't help that my niece was speech-delayed and then caught up very suddenly, leading me to believe that language acquisition was a fairly expedient process. I totally thought that kids started talking and then used that as their primary form of communication.

Actually, it turns out that language acquisition is a very slow process that begins with the kid pointing at things and making sounds. According to people with kids, this counts as "talking". My nephew has been "talking" for a year now and I still hear nothing but gibberish. The adults he has lived with (my sister, her husband, and my parents up until a year ago) all know what those sounds mean, and can't understand why I don't respond when he babbles a string of syllables at me.

I assume he will eventually start speaking intelligible words like a normal person, but for now our linguistic divide makes it difficult for us to relate. I am perpetually finding things to bring my niece, usually stuff I was going to get rid of and realized she would enjoy. This means I almost always come bearing treasures for her, usually with nothing for my nephew. I imagine at some point I will start finding things for him too, probably when he gets more interesting and less equally amused by binoculars and paper towel rolls. Otherwise I have no idea how I'm going to handle my desire to bring bags of wonderful things just for niece.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Dog Ownership

I can't ever remember not wanting a dog. My entire childhood was spent reading about dogs, looking at pictures of dogs, pretending to train my stuffed dogs, and chasing down passers-by begging to pet their dogs.

I walked all the dogs in my neighborhood. I attempted to catch every loose dog I saw. I desperately wanted a dog of my own, and I was always hoping that maybe wouldn't be able to find the owners and I would get to keep one of those strays, just like in my dog books. Of course, we always managed to find their owners, and my parents really didn't want to deal with a dog so they always had an excuse why I couldn't have one. Our yard wasn't secure enough, dogs were too expensive. They said wouldn't want to feed it or walk it or clean up its poop. Every breed was either too big, too small and yappy, too noisy, or potentially aggressive.

I don't think they ever understood how much it hurt for me to not have a dog. Real, actual pain. It was a constant, aching void. Nearly every day I would find a place and time to quietly cry that I didn't have a dog. I had an imaginary dog that followed me everywhere, something I could pretend was taking up that empty spot behind me where my dog should be. I could never make anyone understand how utterly incomplete I felt, without something that I had never had.

Dogs have been following human beings around for 30,000 years, that's longer than we've had agriculture or permanent settlements. It's longer than we've had writing, and almost as long as we've had language. Maybe it's long enough for people to have evolved adaptations around dogs. Maybe dogs became ubiquitous in human culture because some of us actually need dogs. I really don't have any evidence to back up this vague idea, it's also distinctly possible that I have some sort of mental disease involving dogs. At any rate, when I was 12 one of the dogs I walked regularly was offered to me because her family was moving, and my parents finally, finally let me have a dog.

It has been nearly two decades now, and the novelty still hasn't worn off. It might have actually gotten stronger. I am heavily involved in dog rescue, have competed in dog sports, and advocate for animal welfare and humane legislation. Training my dogs is one of my primary hobbies. I currently work at a dog daycare, and started a dog blog about Awesomedog, Tinydog, and my various foster dogs. Having dogs has been every bit as awesome as I always imagined, if not better.

Monday, June 2, 2014


Whenever I make eye contact with a baby without its keeper watching, I stare at it to see if I can make it cry.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Suspense is like Anaphylaxis

I've been helping a friend edit her novel, every few weeks she gives me a new chapter. I read it and then return it covered in scribbles about grammar, possible continuity errors, awkward phrasing, word choice, phrasing I love, questions, and predictions. It's a great story, and getting the chapters so far apart means I'm pretty much perpetally dying to find out what happens next.

Early in the story, one character tells the protagonist that she definitely cannot ever be seen by another character. Halfway through the book, the protagonist arranges for the two to meet. I read this chapter right after getting my allergy shots. An important thing to know about allergy shots is that they have a slight possibility of causing a systemic reaction that makes you puff up and die. Allergists make you wait for 30 minutes after your shots because if you are going to puff up and die, it's probably going to be in that period. This systemic reaction is called anaphylaxis, and can progress to anaphylactic shock, where your airway swells up until you can't breathe. The cure for this is a shot of epinephrine and cup of weapons-grade Benadryl.

I read feverishly through confrontation scene, barely breathing through the suspense. I finished the chapter, and somehow still felt...suspenseful.

Apparently anaphylaxis feels a lot like suspense.

Monday, March 3, 2014

My Buddy.

I recently watched the Chucky movies, and was uncomfortably reminded of the My Buddy dolls of my childhood.

 I never had one, or wanted one, and neither did my siblings or any of my friends. I occasionally came across one when visiting other people's houses, and they were always sort of tossed away in a corner and forgotten. The owner of said doll was usually vaguely embarrassed about it.

I always found them strangely unappealing, as if they were somehow deliberately designed to not evoke feelings of affection in children. The Kid Sister version of the doll was just downright puzzling to my child self. Every girl I knew had piles of dolls already, why would we need a vaguely unsettling and definitely unappealing one to lug around? I'm sure my uneasiness about the My Buddy dolls predates the Chucky movies, so I can't even use that as a convenient excuse.

Adult me would totally love a Good Guy doll, though.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Tractor Ride

On a recent trip to Disneyland, Z and I decided to try all the rides in the new Cars-themed part of California Adventures. This is where I found the most entertaining ride in the entire park: Mater's Junkyard Jamboree. This might be my new favorite.

The basic concept is that the tractos pull little trailers with room for a couple of people. They move on interlocking circular tracks, describing something like a figure eight. Disneyland describes the ride like this: "Board a trailer pulled by an adorable little tractor and swing in time to lively music." Sounds pretty tame, right? What they fail to warn you is that the trailers swing with quite a lot of force, and the seat is a simple bench and lap bar, so there is absolutely nothing to stop the occupant from sliding across and whacking into the far side with each turn.

Now consider that the majority of the people on this ride are adults riding with small children. "Swinging in time to lively music" immediately becomes "Desperately trying not to squash your progeny."

The fact that I find this hilariously entertaining to watch probably means that I am a terrible person.