Sunday, August 24, 2014

Parenting Rules To Live By

My daughter is five. Here's a list of some of my parenting rules: (I try to stick to them as much as possible)

-If she gets dramatic/emotional to manipulate me into doing something, a) do not do it for her; b) call her out on it (with humour).
-No yelling or "spanking." There's no lesson that needs to be bullied into a kid in order to reach them.
-Say no but say it when it matters so it's not a pointless word that just starts battles.
-Think about her as a person. Empathize. Remember her age, remember her brain's limits. Don't just expect her not to be who she is because it's inconvenient or makes it hard for me to have control. Cut ego OUT as much as possible.
-Wrestle/playfight often. Don't go easy on her the whole time. Let her have some wins but mix in some moments of high challenge (build self confidence, teach her to overcome obstacles and stay persistent, increased physical strength and capabilities, exercise, bonding).
-Share jokes, and ask her opinion on things.
-Have fun
-Do things outside. Be in nature. Explore.
-Don't say no to things just because I, as an adult, no longer enjoy them. She's a kid, not an adult. If she wants to jump in a puddle, LET HER. Her shoes get wet, oh no! They'll dry, and she'll have a great childhood moment. Or, just have her take her shoes off. Think outside the box
-Like I said, think outside the box
-Question things, and have her do the same
-Try to show more than tell
-Share my love of learning and my awe of (and passion for knowing) the universe
-Engage her in things.
-Challenge her. Mentally and physically
-If she asks me to get her something for no reason other than laziness, decline. She can do it herself.
-If she tries to get something making sexy poses, point it out to her, and then ask her if perhaps there might be a better way. Never indulge it, but never shame her either. She did not choose her animal nature, so don't make her pay for it.
-If she falls, know the difference between real hurt and not so real. Attend to the first, handle the second with amusement and try to bring her into that frame. End result: hopefully she laughs off the not so bad ones instead of sits there vying for attention. (By the way, it worked. She "walks it off" and we talk/laugh about it or just keep playing. If she is really hurt I immediately know the difference and giver her the hugs and soothing that she needs.)
-TV isn't the end of the world, but don't have her in front of it for hours and hours either

That's good for now.

My goal is to have a confident, open minded, critical thinking daughter who isn't ashamed of her sexuality but doesn't wield it like a weapon. Ditto her emotions. It would be nice if she worked through problems, had some measure of self reliance and autonomy, and didn't just cry on facebook when something mild goes wrong. Nice, caring and empathetic but not a pushover and physically capable. Just an all around cool chick. Possible? I dunno. Signs are promising. She's a badass five year old. Then again she's only five. Grade one starts next month and along with it a year's worth of other kids and their influences. And those influences only grow with each passing year. For now I just do what I can.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Thinking Obesity is a Disease Makes You Eat More

On June 18, 2013, the American Medical Association officially recognized obesity as a disease. The nation’s largest physician organization said the new classification would help turn more medical attention toward obesity, as well as increase reimbursement for obesity-related drugs, surgery, and counseling.
“Recognizing obesity as a disease will help change the way the medical community tackles this complex issue that affects approximately one in three Americans,” said AMA board member Patrice Harris, M.D. “The AMA is committed to improving health outcomes and is working to reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, which are often linked to obesity.”

But new psychology research suggests the “obesity is a disease” message actually undermines important weight-loss efforts.

“The term disease suggests that bodies, physiology, and genes are malfunctioning. By invoking physiological explanations for obesity, the disease label encourages the perception that weight is unchangeable,” Crystal L. Hoyt of the University of Richmond and her colleagues wrote in their study, which was published in the April issue ofPsychological Science.

In three separate studies with more than 700 participants, the researchers found that obese participants who read aNew York Times article about the AMA declaring obesity to be a disease were subsequently less likely to be concerned about their weight and more likely to choose to eat higher-calorie foods.

The “obesity is a disease” message did, however, have a positive impact on body image. Obese participants reported greater body satisfaction after reading the New York Times article. This greater body satisfaction predicted higher-calorie food choices.

“This research illuminates the potential benefits and hidden costs associated with the message that ‘obesity is a disease’ by showing that this message cultivates increased body satisfaction but also undermines beneficial self-regulatory processes in obese individuals,” Hoyt and her colleagues wrote.

The researchers do not dispute that obesity should be classified as a disease. The goal of the study was to better understand how public-health messages can have unintended consequences.

“We are not advocating that the ‘thin’ ideal that pervades Western culture is an admirable goal, nor that internalizing these unhealthy standards is a worthwhile strategy,” they explained. “In addition, we agree that the acceptance of diverse body sizes is laudable, as is the goal to increase medical treatment for obese individuals—themes that emerge in the argument in support of obesity as a disease.”

Saturday, August 2, 2014

I Attempt To Answer The Age Old Question "Why Am I Me?"

(If I wrote for some big site they would have made me title this "Why Are You You? Here's Why" but thankfully I do not (thankfully in this instance, not in general; let's not get crazy here) and as such it was titled something more appropriate/honest)

Have you ever asked yourself "why am I me?" "Why am I not someone else?" I certainly have. Many times in my youth and adolescence (and once or twice in adulthood) I have wondered to myself this very thing. At 32 years of age I found myelf pondering this once again but this time an anwer came, almost immediately actually. It's that immediacy that makes me think I might have it, but each time I get close to accepting that, I's like an eel escaping a predator's grasp- one second it's there and the next it's gone. I am just about to emotionally connect to the idea that I am right when suddenly I don't feel so sure and I start saying things like "wait, what?" and "No, wh- hmmmm....wait, what?"

Well, I am writing down my thoughts in the hopes that I can finally figure this out and maybe have a good discussion with somebody online.  I will do this as though I were responding to someone.

"Why am I me?"

Well, I think each "us" may ask why am I 'me' (as I have many times in my life) and I think the only real answer is you are "you" because when your parents procreated, your consciousness developed as a necessary result of that process. Each one of us is a 'me' and it's only after we came to be that we would even think to ask this question but the question itself is kind of pointless because rather than a consciousness being dropped into a body consciousness is the result of the biological entity processing information. If you weren't you there wouldn't be a you. In order for you to ask about yourself there must have been a you in the first place. If any conditions had changed, you would not have existed. Therefore, you are you because the conditions that made you were what they were. If your parents hadn't conceived you when they did you wouldn't be, well, you. So to say "why am I not someone else" is to essentially say "why am I, a thing that came to be as the result of my parents being together exactly when they were, not that other thing who is a result of totally different circumstances?"

I think the anthropic principle might be applicable here- the idea being that when one is examining the universe the universe MUST be congruent with that beings' existence and this congruence cannot be used as evidence for something in an argument as it would apply in ALL cases. So for example, if someone wants to point to the remarkable number of conditions that must have come to be exactly the way they are for life to be as we experience it now and use this as evidence for a god the only correct response to that is to point out that in order for life to be here things had to be a certain way, and would be so regardless of HOW it came to be, so you cannot point to this congruence between life and the universe and say "see, god!" If humans came to be 100% without any gods, things.....would be exactly the same, otherwise there wouldn't be an us.

This topic makes my head hurt.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Quick Update

My knee (as per the last post, car accident) is something like 90% better. My insurance came through with the money and I am now driving a replacement vehicle (one that is 4 years newer with way less mileage hehehe) and my new job is going great! I have been working like an animal (55+ hours per week) so for now there is nothing substantive to post but I should have a juicy one up next week. I have a few ideas percolating in the ol' brain and I have nice blocks of 3-5 days off in a row these next few weeks which means time to write!!!

Sorry for the wait but thanks for the patience, friends.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

I Pissed Someone Off Up There......

So if you read this blog on occasion you may have noticed that I have not posted in the last 2+ weeks. Well, I have been an atheist for as long as I can remember but I think perhaps I have been wrong and there's a really pissed off god out there waving his godly staff of power in my direction. Here's what's been happening over in magx01 land. Try not to choke when you laugh at this bullshit.

-Air conditioning broke. Cannot fix right now (bad financial situation after the recent loss of a job contract)

Okay, no big deal. It's just me here so meh. I've been letting cold air in at night and keeping the place shuttered tight during the day. Windows open on the odd cool day. No wife to bitch and moan and make it sound like the world is ending so in the end, eh.

Then this happens:

Guy ran a red light going 80km/h and destroyed my car (a second car, the one behind me, hit me after I spun which is why there are two impact sites). I walked away with a smashed up left knee and nothing else so I cannot complain too much. It's been 2 weeks now and the knee is like 70-80% better already :)

Okay, so two shitty things, but both are not too bad in the grand scheme of things, right?

-Three days after the accident, I hobble over to my freezer upon awakening in the morning to get an ice pack to ice the giant swollen painful knee when I discover fridge/freezer is no longer working!!!!

Okay, now wtf. I'm a calm dude who takes a lot of shit in stride but even I had to yell out "OH COME ON!!!! WHAT THE FUCK NOW?!" (I did laugh after, but it was more of an anxious laugh than a truly legitimate heehaw laugh). Ugh, so I call the repair dudes and the come and fix it the next day. $140 which I really cannot afford right now but it needs to be done so I do it. I ice my knee three times that night and go to bed relieved, money issues aside. I wake up the next day, and I wal-wait, what's that sound? Oh, NO FUCKING WAY.....that's the noise the fridge was making before it broke (click buzz, click buzz). I go over to it, open it and.....

(wait for it)


At this point I just felt defeated. I call the repair guys, they come back the next day and the good news is they tore up my cheque and only charged me $60 instead (they took back the part they installed the day previous). The bad news? I need a new fridge. I spend several days hobbling back and forth between my house and my neighbours' to get and hand them food/drinks/ice packs they are storing for me.

-Insurance comes through on the replacement value of the car. The settlement they offer is fairly reasonable, thankfully. I'll be able to get something similar. They tell me the cheque will be here in 5-10 business days. Cool, right? I'll drive my rental car for now, the cheque comes and I go car shopping, buy something, return the rental. Right?

BZZZT. Wrong. The rental needs to be returned tomorrow. "But I don't even have the money yet, how can I buy a car? And how can I get there without a rental?" "Well sir, you can pay out of pocket for the rental." "Out of pocket? This happened because the guy ran a red light. He was charged for this. I was totally innocent and now I am being penalized? How is this in any way reasonable or fair?" "I agree sir, but there's nothing I can do."


Moral of the story: Don't lose a job/contract if you're an atheist because someone up there will choose that time to turn his giant magnifying glass on your tiny little life.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Self Help and Social Anxiety

The Problem I have with self help when it comes to social anxiety:

There is no answer.

The fundamental reality is that social anxiety and the lack thereof are arrived at by equal (and opposite) roads, and the only way one could morph into the other type of person is by having new experiences opposite to the old that would in effect, reprogram the person to feel differently around others. Can someone with SA work on it? Sure, and well have some agency over our own behaviour, but let's not invalidate years of learned behaviour. A person with social anxiety will only truly be cured through positive experience with others. Of course, one does have some room to self improve in ways that would give them a higher chance of having said positive experiences, and for that self help material can be useful, but not in the way it is advertised. it always seems to put the onus on the self while ignoring the fundamental fact that good experiences with others throughout ones life=confidence and vice versa. A non confident person can get there, sure, but it's like asking a confident person to suddenly feel anxious around others- it ain't happening unless the people around them suddenly start responding differently to them.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Man becomes Woman and Talks About Privilege

This is a post I saw on reddit (unfortunately I did not record the link when I saved this into my drafts) and thought it worthy of sharing. 

"I'm a woman, who......

Brace yourselves......

Used to be a man. There. I said it. So I know exactly what it's like to be a man, and exactly what it's like to be a woman. With that out of the way:

1. Men do not earn more than women. The Wage Gap is a myth that really does follow the Nazi's philosophy that "if you say a lie loud enough, for long enough, people will start to believe it". All you have to do is look up information freely available from the US Department of Labour and Statistics. The numbers are right there. Women do not earn less than men.

1.1 As a woman, I'm now earning FAR more than I ever did as a man.

1.2 In some parts of the country, women earn some 120% of what men make. But we'll never hear about those.

2. Men do not have a better chance of winning political office. Women simply do not run for office as much or as often as men, because it requires work they are not willing to do. Again, this is information freely available.

As a man, I could only be a doctor. If I were a male nurse, I'd be laughed at. If I were a male nurse's aid, I'd be laughed at even harder. If I were an orderly, I'd be a loser who just pushes brooms because he couldn't make it as anything else.

As a woman, I can be a doctor, a nurse, a nurses aid, OR an orderly, and at no point along the way am I laughed at or put down. In fact, I'm applauded the whole way through. Even if I want to stay at home, I'm still applauded!! Because now I'm a little home maker!

So is it any wonder that men MUST push themselves relentlessly to make it as CEOs, while women simply do not have to. And we wonder why there are more men CEOs.

3. Promiscuous behavior, you say? Check this out.

As a man:

if I went into a sex shop, I was a pervert.
If I walked by a playground, I was a pedophile.
If I looked at a woman the wrong way, I was a rapist.
If I said the wrong thing at work, it was sexual harassment.
If I tried to hit on girls, I was a pathetic desperate loser.

As a woman:

if I go into a sex shop, I'm an independent woman exploring her sexuality.
If I walk by a playground, I must be there to pick up my child.
If I look at a man the wrong... pfff come on! I can look at a man any damn way I want! I can tell him to go to hell and he has to applaud me for it!
If I said the wrong thing at work, I'm forgiven. All I have to do is pout and look sorry.
If I try to hit on men, I get men. I can have any man I want. I can hit on women too and it's still perfectly fine, because being gay is gross but lesbians are HAWT!