Friday, July 31, 2009

Long live the "bully" breeds!

Michael Vick has been reinstated into the NFL. He has been given the green light to go make millions more even though he proved that he used that money in an illegal and painfully cruel manner. Why is he being allowed back into the NFL after committing a felony? Why is dog fighting not held with significance by a national organization?!

Dog fighting is an absolutely disgraceful excuse for a "sport!" How manly can you call yourself if you have to force helpless animals against each other in order to make some money and then have the audacity to call it a sport?! For those of you who are not familiar with the torturous aspects of dog fighting, here is some information.

Dog fights generally last for about an hour. That means these dogs are forced (yes, I used the word force, they do not enjoy this by nature) to fight through their pain until one is no longer capable of providing "entertainment." This does not always mean instant death though. Often dogs will die hours or days later after suffering though infection, shock, and blood loss. Once a dog has lost a fight, he is no longer useful to his owner (aka: he didn't make money so he is worthless). Although it would be nice to hope that this means the dog would be put to sleep or "disposed of" by it's owner in a humane and ethical way, this is rarely, if ever, the case. The dog that looses a fight is often used as a bait dog to train new fighters, left somewhere to die, or worse. I have read cases where the dog was lit on fire by the disgraced owner in an attempt to regain his pride in the face of defeat.

The pit bull stripped from man's influence is an absolutely amazing dog. The irony of the situation is that they were brought into the world of dog fighting partially because of their overpowering desire to please. A pit bull as a family pet will defend it's owners to the death. Only our voracious species would utilize such a noble trait for our own selfish benefit.

Many people think that it only takes trait specific breeding to produce an animal that will fight in this manner. The truth is that breeding is only the first step, it produces the capability, not the behavior. The sadistic people who conduct this form of breeding are very smart in their own cruel way. They breed out the submission trait and breed in gameness. This means that they take away the dogs natural desire to quit fighting once the fight is won by their terms, and replace it with their own version of "winning."

Once the "ideal" dog is formed, the owner begins their behavioral work. These dogs are not pets by any sense of the word. They are kept secluded from other dogs most of the time; often living their sad existence on a short heavy chain to produce both a strong neck and a restless disposition. They are often given steroids and narcotic drugs in order to produce the desired aggression. Repetitive abuse is a common technique to essentially "piss off" the dog and antagonize it into aggressive reactions. The initial fighting training consists of pinning the dog against a "bait" target and beating him until he begins to fight. The initial target is always an animal that is incapacitated in some way and often found through free postings on sites such as craig's list. Eyes are gauged out, limbs are cut off, whatever it takes to qualify as a worthy bait for the new fighter.

I hope that I am effectively painting the picture that it is the egotistical humans that are producing the fight in these dogs; not their breed. People often argue that pits should be outlawed and although I sympathise with this viewpoint, it is not the answer. The pit is the current victim, riding the world of this selfless breed will only produce a new target for these people. We need to advocate for the breed and against the crime! Punishing the victim only reiterates the idea that the human is not at fault. It leaves society with a sense of a "big scary pit bull" when the truth lies a much more active and dangerous fear that lies within our own species.

More info:

This one is very difficult to see with its disturbing pictures and information but it provides information from the people involved in dog fighting.

Good information from the aspca.

And more from hsus (humane society of the us)

Some signs to recognize potential dog fighting rings.

More info on fighting details, plus info on the Michael Vick case.

Pit bull rescue site with good information on the breed.

Laredo, Jackson and my Beau :)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Picture additions....

....I am finally adding pictures to the last post. My internet was down due to the heat, I'm not even sure what that means!

But here is my bike:

Which I do still love by the way :)

And a picture of Domino eating a pupsicle (flavored ice cubes with treat bits in them!)

And a few other pictures of our pets because they look so darn cute lounging in the heat!

So, the reason everyone looks miserable is because it got up to 103 degrees here in the Seattle area yesterday! That is an all time record for our normally mild climate. Its a good thing I didn't decide to ride my bike or anything crazy like that :)
ps: yes I do realize that this post is really just a shameless way to share pictures of my adorable pets!!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Contrary to what this post will likely lead you to believe, I am actually a pretty smart person!

Ok, as the title states; I consider myself to be rather intellectual. I am by no means one of those people who can read something, learn it instantly, and keep it on hand forever (wouldn't that be nice). But, I am in grad school and doing rather well, thank you very much! Ok, just keep that in mind as you are reading this. Sometimes I think that my neurons are so overworked with school related business, that they just "take a break" on me.

I live in the Seattle area and it is oddly hot here right now. Like most Seattle-lites we don't have air in our house. I tried yesterday to work on my dissertation, but sitting with a laptop on me just got to be too much after a few hours. So, I figured I would go to the local library (which was wonderfully air conditioned) to do some work today. Ok, that was the "good idea" portion of my day.

Side note:
I recently bought a new bike and I really love it. A little Crystal FYI: I have had rheumatoid arthritis in my knees since I was 2, in and out of remission. So, I haven't been able to ride a bike for quite a while. I finally figured out though that (while I am in remission anyways) I can ride a simple bike on simple roads or paths. So...I bought an awesome old Schwinn Cruiser, it is adorable! (I will post pictures later) But, it is a single speed and has push back breaks, not exactly an off-road or even hill friendly bike.

Ok, on to the "bad idea" portion of my day. I decided that in this 95+ degree muggy Seattle weather, I would ride my bike to the library! I took the flat and straight route there, turns out it was a sidewalk that was about 2 feet wide, constantly scattered with mailboxes, and along a busy! Alas, I made it to the library; soaked in sweat and stinky. It was a good thing that I had a private study room reserved or I would have been a spectacle!

Stupid idea #2: I decided that in order to avert from the "sidewalk of doom" I would go up a few blocks and take a road that I figured would be less rush hour-ish! (I know, not a good day for grammar either) This road turned out to be practically a roller coaster! I had to get off my little 1 speed bike about 5 times and walk up hills in 95+ degree weather! Oh, did I mention that I had a backpack with my computer in it on my dripping wet back?! Finally I came across a paved trail that I could veer off onto which I decided to do, not really knowing where it would take me. Anything sounded better than the very large hill looming ahead of me at that point.

If you are thinking that my oh-so-lovely journey is over at this point, you are sadly mistaken. The trail just so happened to end at the busiest lake/park in the area! This means that there were cars parked along every road, people everywhere, and absolutely no place for me to ride my poor little bike. So, I walked in a ditch (that's right, in an effin ditch!) around half the perimeter of the park because otherwise I would have been hit by a car. (Although this prospect didn't sound too bad at the time, ERs are air conditioned after all!)

I finally made it back to the "sidewalk of doom" that I had went through all of this in order to avoid. Over an hour and a half later I made it home from what should have been a 30 min bike ride. I was practically dripping with sweat, starving, and in a pretty sour mood.

What am I doing now? Sitting on my couch sopping wet because I sat in the sprinkler. I have the fan pointed directly on me and am eating a popsicle! Ahh, summer.....

Monday, July 27, 2009

Learning how to sail my ship...

Someone asked me what my blog title meant the other day, so I figured I would share. It is from a quote by Louisa May Alcott (the author of Little Women); "I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship." For me, this quote represents the growth gained from the difficult times in life. I feel that once you have been through something painfully hard (aka; the storm) you gain perspective and better skills for handling the next one (hence; sailing the ship). I am a very strong believer in attending to and fully experiencing (to the extent that is safe for you) the difficult times in life because it is the struggles that makes us strong.

The thing that I love the most about quotes is that they are truely understood through the lense of the reader. One little sentence can mean a million different things to different people. I was in a group therapy class this summer and one of the exercises was to pick a quote from a bag and use art to create a representation of it's meaning to you. When we were sharing our creations, it was amazing to see the different ways that people made meaning out of the quotes. So, the next time someone shares a favorite quote with you, ask them to elaborate on it's meaning in their life. Not only does it allow them the space to share something meaningful to them, it can be an amazing glimpse into someones inner self.

And here is a few more of my favs!

"Sometimes seeming happy can be self-destructive, even when you're sane" ~ Brandi Carlile (singer/song writer)
-I love this one because it reminds me to feel my emotions and not hide them behind a front of happiness. I think we do that a lot to keep others from being uncomfortable, but emotional expression should be embraced, not shunned.

"I close my eyes in order to see" ~ Paul Gaugin (artist)
"An unexamined life is not worth living" ~ Socrates
-These 2 show the value of fully understanding yourself.

"To observe without evaluating is the highest form of intelligence" ~ Jiddu Krishnamurti
-We all need a constant reminder to be the most nonjudgmental person we can be. I strive for my highest level of open-mindedness so that I can be open to all the wonderful new experiences that are available in this eclectically vast world.

"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." ~Dr. Seuss
-Who doesn't love a good Dr. Seuss quote?! Plus, this is a reminder to embrace one of my favorite human qualities; quirkiness!

I love to hear good quotes, anyone have any other favorites to share?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

I love craig's list!

I just thought I would share a few of my favorite postings. Always good for a few laughs.....

Who wants to tell this guy that if you have cows, you are going to have cow poop !!?

I almost want to email "cat guy" just to see if he is serious!

I'm telling you craig's list has absolutely everything, where else could you find work as a placenta dryer ?!

I am really really hoping that this is a joke and this guy doesn't actually think that this is a cat !!

Anyone want to adopt a ghost dog ?

Ok, this is just terrible and weird! who knew that it was acceptable to use the word eat'en ?!

You have to appreciate a little neighbor rivalry !!

And finally, my favorite ad didn't make its way to the "best of" section so it is gone forever, never to be appreciated for the hilarity that it I decided to recreate it here. I swear this is how it was actually posted in the Seattle/Tacoma area "free stuff" section:

Free Whipped Topping

I have a half used can of Reddiwip that I no longer have use for. It is nearing it's expiration date and I don't want it to go bad. Email for pickup location.

(only the picture that they posted was the actual can; complete with stains and everything!)

Oh Craig's list, how I love you!!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

My sincere condolences

The news here in Seattle is often very difficult to watch as I am sure it is in many big cities. It is so surreal to hear a 60 second clip about a violent death immediately by a clip about a street fair or something else awkwardly festive. I have noticed lately that I am becoming immune to the terrible stories because of this format and have tried to make a point to fully attend to the depressing parts in respect for the people involved. I had to make no great measures to do so when this story came up though; South Park stabbing victim had taste for life

These women were violently attacked by a stranger at 3am while they were sleeping. They finally made it outside only for one to watch her partner die in the street naked and covered in blood. It goes without saying that Nobody should ever have to go through this!

This plays into my greatest fears of being viciously attacked in my sleep and watching someone I love die violently in my arms. I think that it was those factors along with the fact that they were a lesbian couple that made the story affect me so much. The reports are saying that it is not suspected to be a hate crime. My own paranoia makes me suspicious and the reminder that this hate is still out there is very scary for me. Everyone has the right to be who they are openly, without the fear of being victimized for it.

So people, please please sleep with windows closed (even in this heat). It is terrible that we have to do that, but if this was a random act, a simple little factor like an open window could have been the perp's deciding point. Also, remember that hate crimes do exist and do what you can to advocate against bigotry, we need to be past the point in our society where this is a valid fear!

Finally, my deepest sympathy to the partner and family of this woman. Life should not have to include this terrible form of grief.

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Monday, July 20, 2009


I live in a duplex and have very annoying neighbors!!! Their unit is a 1 bedroom and I don't know exactly how many square feet it is but it is probably almost half the size of ours which is about 900 sqft, so basically; small. Technically there is supposed to be 1 woman, "R" living there.....but her boyfriend "J" lives with her (no big deal), her 20-something daughter "M" and her husband "A" and their son who I think is 2ish, all in a 1 bedroom apartment!!! Only "R" and "J" actually work, so we get to deal with the lazy freeloaders M and A all the live long day!! They fight constantly....a couple of times I have gone outside to see their son crying on the front step and covering his ears while they scream at eachother, I hate it!

But, the problem that I need help with is this; we share a front step area. So, being that they are home all the freaking time and they live in a minuscule apartment; they are constantly on the front step....the entire front step!!! There are toys strewn everywhere (usually directly in front of our door so we have to kick them out of the way!), chairs, leftover McDonald's bags with old fries falling out, bikes covering the whole walk way! Plus they smoke, so we often have to walk out our front door into a cloud of smoke which I personally find repulsive! So......I am trying to find a way to partition off the front porch-ish area so that it

(a) will be more difficult for their toys and crap to be in front of our door - meaning it has to be something fairly sturdy.

(b) will ward off some of the smoke - something to block the terrible stink

(c) will keep me from having to see their constant mess every time I walk out my door - not see through!

(d) will get the hint through to them that half of this area is ours, god damn it!!!

We have asked M and A multiple times to keep the stuff on their side, giving the excuses that our dog is going to eat a toy which will cost us thousands of dollars to fix or that we are going to trip over something and break a leg which will also cost thousands of dollars since we don't have insurance! Needless to say, talking to them doesn't work, so I am taking the route of blocking the area so I don't even have to see them!!

Any ideas for something simple, effective and cheap! Oh, it has to be not too tempting looking or they will steal it (I told you, awesome neighbors!)
Here are some pics for inspiration:

Our door is the one on the far right side that you cant really see. I swear they cleaned up all of the stuff right before I went to take a picture! Oh and the hanging yellow thing is this stupid dollar store windmill that they keep putting up on our side even though we take it down every time! And the dirty ugly rug is theirs, also not sure why it is on our side, but I would never put my own out there because their kid would spill something on it or throw it in the dirt or something :(

And this is a picture of the lovely view out of my door, again cleaned up considerably! And yes, that is a smokers post which is disgusting enough as it is, but they don't even use it, oh no, they prefer to toss their butts all over the grass an on the porch!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Ahh, the joys of free money!!

I found a $5 bill at the dog park today!!! I was so excited I screamed a little. I know this doesn't sound like much, but please remember that I am a starving graduate student making very very little money in the very very small amount of time that I can devote to working.

So here is how my emotional states went; I was overly excited (hence the screaming, I am a very quiet person generally, I cant even go through drive throughs because they don't hear me!). Then I realized that I got overly excited about $5 so I felt a little sorry for myself for needing to be so excited over $5. Then I realized that I am so happy to be using this difficult period in my life to fully enjoy the small things in life; going out to eat on the rare rare occasion that I can, buying the bottle of wine that actually has a year and type printed on it (not just "red"), buying a new book that I really really want, seeing a movie in a theatre (with popcorn!), and finding $5. I honestly fully appreciate these things that many people take for granted, that is a awesome thing!

So, I totally overanalyzed this $5 bill (I even thought long and hard about what to spend it on, yikes!) but I am a grad student in psychology and a Pisces; that is a double whammy for overanalyzing everything :) But hey, without the overanalyzing I never would have found my wonderful little silver lining of happiness in my ever so broke existence!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Just say no to proselytizing!!

Proselytizing is defined as; "To induce someone to convert from one belief, doctrine, cause, or faith to another."

Lets look at the verb in this definition, it is the basis of what drives proselytizing. Induce means "to lead or move by persuasion or influence, as to some action or state of mind."

Now if you want someone to believe in, cherish, obey, love, and generally give their life to someone would you expect that coercing someone to convert by means of persuasion is the best way to go?! Before I get too far into this I want to lead with the statement that I am not against religion. I believe fully that everyone has the right to believe in and worship whatever entity they so choose. I know that organized religious practices and beliefs help many people out and give them something to hold on to and a purpose in life. I think that this is great and should be a basic human right to pursue if so desired. (Ok, that is my preface)

But (you knew it was coming!), I do not believe that anyone has the right to push their belief on others!! Ever! Just because you are amazed by the wonderful things that your religion has bestowed on you, does not mean that everyone needs to follow that belief in order to lead a happy and fulfilled life! I view the act of proselytizing as an ignorant display of egocentricism with a front of fake altruism. It is absurd to assume that your views are the only ones that should be acceptable and the only path to righteousness! Whatever happened to equality?

Why am I posting this? I have been literally stalked by a certain religious group that goes door to door and doesn't take "I am busy" or "I am not interested" as a good enough reason to turn around and ride their bikes away. And no, I am not exaggerating with the stalking comment; they came by at least 3 times a week for a good month! Near the end they would park their bikes behind the house to hide and even tracked me down in the mall one time! How can anyone believe that getting someone into their religion in this manner could be beneficial to any party involved?! I have also witnessed the direct display of proselytizing in the prison system through my internship. There are certain religions who hound offenders to "find the light" or "right their wrongs through verse" while others simply provide an outstretched hand. This says, "I am available if you decide to talk" and guess which method attracts the offenders who really want religious help through their life change? I think that it is a terrible mistake to undermine the power of an outstretched hand. It is much more effective to be available to those who want to listen than to waste time speaking to a distracted and disgruntled audience.

Anyways, this topic has come up for me a lot in the last few years of my life and it always leaves me with a sour taste in my mouth and a very uncomfortable feeling. I am open to any thoughts on the topic though (just no stalking on bikes!) so...thoughts?

Monday, July 13, 2009

My sister's keeper

I read the book about 4 years ago and loved it! For me, it was one of those books that you just cant put down. I read it literally every spare moment I had over the course of the 2 days it took me to finish! I love books like that; where you cant stop reading it but when you get near the end you have to force yourself to slow down because you just don't want it to be over.
Anyways, it is a great book and the story is awesome, all the way to the shocking ending. So..when I heard a movie was coming out, you can imagine how excited I was. (along with the rest of the millions of people who loved the book)
I went to the movie on Saturday with my mom and girlfriend (who both read and loved it). It was good, I was upset throughout it that the dog was a border collie rather than a German Shepard and that Julia was nowhere in the plot. But, as far as movies made from awesome books go, it was good. But, I had heard that the end was different and I was expecting to hate it. Turns out, I actually liked the alternative ending though. I think it was better for a movie, nobody wants to leave on an unexpectedly bad note (why it is ok in a book though, I don't know...hmm....).
Anyways, I am sure there are others out there who have read it, thoughts on the differences?

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Voluntary madness

I just read Nora Vincent's Voluntary Madness. (Side note: I actually listened to it on a book on cd which is my favorite "find" in the last year. It is awesome because I hate listening to the radio which is littered with way too many adds and stations pulling their own agenda. Plus, I always feel guilty reading for pleasure when I have so much to read for school and dissertation. Plus, the library has tons of books on cd and I could go on a whole other side note rambling about how much I love the Seattle area public library system, but I am done digressing!) She is an immersion writer who puts herself into intense situations so she can write about it. Well, her last book was called Self Made Man where she dressed like a man for a while (a year-ish?). This apparently put her into a depression and she had to be committed to "the bin" as she calls it. While in there, she came up with her next book idea, "I should commit myself to a 'loony bin' and write about it!" (please pick up on the attitude in my typing, I do not condone this idea!) Enter, Voluntary Madness...
From page 1 she shows her viewpoint on the topic of mental health, and it is not good. She goes on about the medicalization and impersonalization of the field in detail...many times through the book. This itself is a good argument for listening to it rather than reading it; you can dissociate during one of her rants if needed! She questions all the research and theories in psychology by citing the lack of objectifiable research. This is true, but also part of the field. When you are studying something as subjective as personal differences, emotions, and cognitions, objectivity is difficult. We are well aware of the research difficulties in are area. She even goes so far as to question the "reality" of psychosis! Tell that to someone who has dealt with persecetory delusions since their teenage years!
I do believe that she could have written a much better and less angry book by simply doing more research before hand. I thought to myself multiple times throughout it that she just needs to look up the difference between psychology and psychiatry and all her problems/complaints would be addressed! She mentioned many many times how she wanted to be listened to, not medicated into a stupor. And yet, she kept seeing (and bitching about) psychiatrists!! Quick lesson; psychiatrists focus on medicine, psychologists focus on emotions and cognitions (aka: we listen), she went through all of this when all she needed was to find a psychologist to talk to and a psychiatrist to get her Prozac (which by the way, she ranted often about but still consumed!)
The book is not all bad though, just overran by her own agenda which she presents as facts. The point that I took out of it was to remember to think with my interpersonal feelings as a psychologist, not with my textbooks. She had a good point about the depersonalization of psych wards and really all it would take was a moment of putting yourself in a client's shoes to take a more human perspective. I do think it is a worthwhile read as long as it is taken with a very large grain of salt and an informed critical eye. At least you have to give the woman credit for voluntarily placing herself in a position of "madness."

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Pet sitting and the other things we put ourselves through to pay rent!

As a 4th year full time grad student, I don't have a lot of time for anything outside of class, practicum (pre-internship), homework, papers, oh and that lovely little dissertation. So, work is almost out of the question unless I find a way to not sleep. I worked as a veterinary assistant through undergrad and freaking loved it, but it was time consuming and not incredibly lucrative. I was a server/bartender at Outback for my first 3 years of grad school and although I hated it, I made good money. Last December though I finally succumbed to the fact that I no longer could work on a regular scheduled basis like a normal person. So I quit, and although it was awesome and liberating and a huge huge relief, I also was (obviously) not making any money.

Solution: I now work for an online business that does pet sitting, dog walking and the like. It is perfect for me because I can take jobs when I have time and basically it is like a work study job. Not to fool anyone though by the term "work study" because boring, it is not! I usually get to stay in pretty nice houses all around Seattle which is fun....but there are the few odd cases. Some examples; a house that seriously reeks of urine, an obsessed to the point of psychopathology dog owner, a cat that needs insulin but hides in boxes in the basement. These are just a few, I could go on and on!

Although I am beyond excited to start my career, I will always have the memories of my various jobs. I have shoveled popcorn, slept in cleaning closets while waiting for my shift to be over, assisted in puppy C-sections, cleaned up some unmentionably nasty stuff in kennels, had to call the cops on gypsies who accused me of trying to kill them with diet soda, and walked over 200lbs of dogs at once! It has been awesome, scary, boring, frustrating, validating, painful, fun, and above all; wonderful incentive for continuing my degree.

So, discussion: What has been your favorite job? worst job? most interesting moment at work? best horror story? let the stories begin......

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A very large baby

So, this is Domino

He is big, really big. But, scared of everything! We went to the park today and he peed his pants because 2 girls walked by us on the trail....these girls were maybe 18 and at the most 90lbs! He wont go out our door if our neighbors are outside. If someone is on the sidewalk when we are walking, we have to cross the street. Even worse, if there is a garage sale or other type of sign we need to make a circle around it or he will pee on the spot! I know what you are going to say; take him to training...tried that, he got nothing out of it because he was terrified before we even made it in the door (we had to trick him to get inside!). He loves us and feels completely safe when tucked between us in this big scary world, but thats about it.
So, help.....

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

tattoos are addicting!

I have had the "itch" since I got my last one 4ish years ago. I found a lady offering a $25 special, so we went......yay!

She was great, really helpful and she even touched up my seriously fading paw for free! I will say though as a warning; getting a tattoo behind the ear is an odd experience. It sounded like she was drilling into my head and I had to continuously stop myself from picturing my trephonized (can I make trephoning into an adjective?!) spirits coming out! Anyways, it was fun and took care of my "itch" for a good month or so :)
Your tats.....?

Friday, July 3, 2009

so this is blogging...

So here is the thing, I don't know how to blog! My friend Lynn is a pro and makes it sound fun and it just seems wonderfully cathartic. But I don't know what I am doing :) So, how do I find blogs similar to me? How do I follow people? And who on earth is going to want to read my ramblings?!