October 21st, 2010


Our Various Adventures

We have entered that unpleasant time of the year in which I both get ready for work and come home from work in the dark. The cold, damp, unforgiving dark. I don't like it.

Must remember to go take my lunch to the park more often when I'm up at the office. Midday sunlight is not everything, but it's helpful. And speaking of sunlight, I have been a total hermit lately and should cut that out, so if you invite me to anything with sunlight in it, I will most likely take you up on it unless I'm working. Possibly things without sunlight, too, if they happen at a time when there is not otherwise sunlight to be had.

Today I am suffering what appears to be a repeat of the same cold I had earlier this month. This time I am resting the first day I feel sick, instead of trying to bull through to meet clumps of deadlines and falling over ded towards the end of the week. Maybe it will go away faster. Maybe not. In either case, I don't have nearly such a severe case of Urgent Deadlines Only I Can Meet this time, which helps with the resting.

In the opposite-of-resting corner, we the humans of the household have taken up indoor rock climbing. chinders started going with some of her friends from work, and sort of talked the rest of us into it. The first time I tried it, I got very freaked out about the part where you get lowered from the top of the wall instead of climbing back down, but having done a couple practice falls from much lower down, I don't mind it nearly so much now. (This was a useful lesson from teaching Galen how to freak out less about other dogs -- work under threshold. If you are already having the freaking-out reaction, no learning is taking place, so get comfortable with the troubling thing at a low enough level that you don't freak out, and then gradually you can handle higher levels without freaking out either. On our first recent rock-climbing trip, I did a lot of under-threshold practice at trusting the harness and belay system, and what do you know, it turns out to be pretty trustworthy.)

Speaking of the dog, he has a new adventure too. The two of us signed up for a beginning Rally Obedience class, which should serve many useful functions. I'm getting out of the house (see also, total hermit), the dog is getting an interesting mental activity (he loves classes; he doesn't always have the endurance to pay attention for the whole hour, but he always has a great time for the first forty-five minutes or so), and we will both learn many useful things about heeling. I was also thinking it would be useful for Galen and I to have an individual bonding experience -- this appears to have been wildly more successful than I was hoping, as he is under my desk right now, and has been otherwise lurking about much closer to me than he usually does, after just one class. Very odd. All his previous classes have been attended by all three humans, but chinders is taking a computer science class this semester and has No Extra Time, and andres_s_p_b is hard to wake up before noon on weekends. Or weekdays, really, but especially weekends. The only other people in the class are a couple and their two Akitas, so we'll be getting lots of personalized attention.

There are some aspects of the class I'm less sure about. It meets outside, in an area at the Humane Society Silicon Valley's new complex that turns out to be directly adjacent to the large dog side of the dog park. During the first class last weekend, it rained on us the entire time, which made poor Galen terribly unhappy but also meant there were no other dogs running around being distracting. If Galen can cope with other dogs over there, it'll be really excellent practice at ignoring them, but assuming the weather is better this weekend (cross fingers, but the prediction doesn't look good right now) the presence of running dogs on the other side of that fence is going to be one heck of a challenge. I was concerned about the new location itself being distracting, but after the first lap around the fence, during which he acted like he'd never heard of heeling, he realized we were Doing Things and treats could well be involved and started paying attention. So that's all right. He refused entirely to lie down, but I wouldn't lie down on wet artificial turf either so I cannot blame him. We did the down exercises with a sit instead, and then tried them at home once we were both dry and warm and happy again.


I like to be complimented about things I made or did. Intention is key -- if someone compliments me on something I am, rather than something I meant to do, I often miss that it's a compliment and take it as more of a general observation / conversation starter, as if it were a comment on something else I had nothing to do with, like the weather. (I do recognize the very common general compliments and respond to them appropriately, but that's because they're social scripts and not because they feel like compliments.)

If the comment's specific enough, it doesn't even need to be positive for me to take it as a compliment. You were interested in the thing and examined it closely and understood at least bits of it and then stayed interested enough to want to talk about it! That's great! Even if what you're saying is "I don't think these colors here quite work together. Do you think something with more contrast might look better?" I will eat it up with a spoon.

What do you like to be complimented on?