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Dog Update

Because everyone loves blogs about dogs.

Loki is doing really well. He’s still like a very skitsy cat around people who are not-us, but he’s happy and silly and very sweet and affectionate. He and David get along frighteningly well, he’s not underweight anymore, and we just love him to pieces. His latest nicknames are Brave Sir Robin (bravely ran away away), Prairie Dog Companion (he sits up on his hind legs and looks like a prairie dog), and Tiny Dancer (he dances when we come home). He has long drawn out battles with his toy purple dragon that involve much biting, jumping, and throwing (with occasional growling). He still only barks about once a week.

I’m stressing about what to do with him when we go to Hawaii in December. I have a very generous offer for a sitter for him, but he’s such a stress case when he’s out of his element, I would really love to find a house-sitter who is female, calm, and good with twitchy small dogs so he doesn’t have to leave home. Any suggestions would be very welcome.

Bear with me

So I’m studying madly for the test-that-shall-not-be-named, and I’m spending an inordinate amount of time trying to understand the difference between necessary and sufficient conditions. In the King’s English, this is an “if then” statement. The thing that flummoxes me is that they are not reciprocal. If A, then B is not the same as if B, then A. If it is 95 degrees outside, Michelann is grumpy. But if Michelann is grumpy, it might be 95 degrees outside, but Michelann may be grumpy because Loki ate her shoe (for reals), or some other reason unrelated to the temperature.

If Michelann is not grumpy, then it is not 95 degrees outside, but if it is not 95 degrees outside, Michelann might still be grumpy. This is called the contrapositive. It makes a kind of sense in the real world, but it’s really hard to tease out of statements with quadruple negatives and slithery double-speak. Trust me.

Then something occurred to me today. Remember how I mentioned the Platinum rule? Do unto others as they would have done unto them. This is just a recommendation, it’s not reciprocal and it doesn’t predict an outcome. I like it from an ethical standpoint because you don’t assume everyone is just like you. But the Golden Rule is a little different. Observe.

“Do unto others as you would have done unto you.”

From this comes the assumption that others would like to be done unto as you would. So:
If I want a pony, then everyone wants a pony. According to the laws governing necessary and sufficient conditions, the contrapositive says that if someone else doesn’t want a pony, then I must not want a pony.

MWP(me want pony)—> OWP(others want pony)

And this is obviously not the case. Just because someone else doesn’t want a pony doesn’t mean that I can’t want a pony. Hence my preference for the Platinum rule.

And Loki really ate my shoe. But I’m not grumpy.

Lost in Translation: For the Ladies

Lately I’ve been observing a lot of miscommunication between men and women I know. I see both genders wasting a lot of energy on trying to convince others that they are right. And I want to ask, do you want to be right, or do you want a positive outcome? Myself, I prefer the outcome. I will sacrifice my rightness for harmony, provided I end up actually getting what I want a reasonable amount of the time.

For example, when I got home from the grocery store today, I opened the garage door so David would know I was coming in, hoping he would then volunteer to help me carry the groceries. David may not have remembered that I was grocery shopping, but this is beside the point. I was tired, grumpy, hungry, and itching to kick someone’s ass. David did not come to the door, nor did he offer to help me with the groceries. So I dragged them in myself, and put them away (in a slightly louder and more percussive fashion than strictly necessary).

Now at this point, I’m faced with a choice: grump at David for not having anticipated my needs and helped me with the groceries (rather than finish his pool game), or instead ask him to help me fix dinner, and forgo the recriminations. I opted for number two, asking “Would you help me fix dinner?”. In return I got to bypass a big chunk of my cooking prep, and also felt less neglected and pissed off. I could have gone the other route and said something like, “I really wish you’d helped me with the groceries, they were really heavy.” The outcome of this action would have been to make David grumpy at me, as he would have felt that jumping down his throat for something that he didn’t know I needed (a decent point), I would have felt guilty, and probably still grumpy, and our evening would have been significantly less pleasant. Would I have been right? Who freaking cares? Would the outcome have been positive? No.

For the ladies, there’s a little trick I learned from Men are From Mars blah blah… Use the word “would” when you ask your guy for something. It matters not at all whether or not if the something is a favor, something you’re entitled to, or common sense (something you thought he should have already known). Not even a little bit.

If you say, “You really should call your mom so I know what to bring to brunch”, you will be met with stony silence, whining, or some other form of evasion. If you say, “Would you call your mom and ask her what we should bring to the brunch?” you give him the perception of a choice. This does not mean you feel any less strongly about your preference for the activity. The difference between a choice and not a choice might seem trivial to you, but to men it is NOT TRIVIAL. One implies the opportunity for him to do something you will appreciate and recognize him for (positive reinforcement is a possible outcome), the other implies that if he does not perform your request, he will be less than adequate/manly/helpful/appreciated – he will be not even meeting the minimal standards, let alone getting approval. This makes for an unhappy guy, and an unhappy guy is less concerned with having a happy girl.

Here is a handy reference manual:

You say: Please take the trash out now, or we’re going to miss the pickup.
He hears: You are a lazy ass (disrespectful).
His reaction: Bite me.

You say: I need you to take the trash out, now.
He hears: I command you in the name of your mother to take out the trash (emasculating).
His reaction: Bite me.

You say: Honey, could you please take the trash out for me?
He hears: I’m not sure if you’re capable of taking out the trash, but I wish you would (belittling).
His reaction: Bite me.

You say: Would you take the trash out tonight?
He hears: I have the option of taking the trash out and getting approval, or not taking it out and not getting the approval (respectful).
His reaction: He takes out the trash.
You: Give him approval.

You might argue that he should know to take out the trash, that he previously promised to, that you don’t trust him to do it if you give him a choice, or that there is no reason for you to give him a choice as it is his responsibility. I have two words for you. Positive. Outcome. And that positive outcome not only includes a happier you and a happier guy, it makes other conflicts easier to deal with because you haven’t worn each other down over stupid shit. Ultimately, we all want to be treated with respect. It’s just that we sometimes have slightly different versions of what that is, and we mistake our own particular preference for that of others. At school we’ve talked about the Platinum Rule, which is “do unto others as they would have done unto them.” I totally concur.

How I keep myself amused:

Well, there’s blogs:
(I just want to point out that icanhascheezburger is generally way too cutesy-poo for me, and this comes from a cute overload addict, but this one was way too funny)
(I’m so totally doing this to Loki)

Best of Craigslist. O. M. G. People write these random treatises to the world at large or anonymous people. There is some great stuff.

Other than that, it’s the same old. Studying, job hunting, studying. Lame post, I know. More soon.