Friday, July 27, 2007

The Don Whisperer

I'm a lazy git. Well, when I'm not working I am. I guess maybe just evenings and weekends when I sleep all the time. Am I working too hard? Am I expending everything I have to offer my new life here in LA at Revchem Plastics?

Truth is, I think I'm actually not lazy per se, as I am inactive. In my old job at Revchem in Tacoma, I was a lot more active. I was running around, pulling orders, carrying heavy things, unloading trucks. I was support for the operations there. Here, I'm the leader of the operations. I have two employees who do all the things I did in Tacoma. So I sit in my chair at work, I talk on the phone a lot, and work out logistical problems, I deal with personnel issues, and then wonder why my back hurts, my body is sore, and I'm sleepy all the time.

The blood, it does not flow... as much. Cindy to the rescue, or something like that. So my darling wife has found new zeal in life through that show "The Dog Whisperer" starring Cesar Milan. She checked out his book Cesar's Way, and over the course of about a week she read it cover to cover. Suddenly, the dogs HAVE to be walked every night, and I feel like a jerk because I'm too tired to go with her. One evening she really wanted me to go with her and I was really not in the mood, and needless to say the air was pensive for a while. All the sudden she wants to do all these new things, and it's starting to impose on me.

Well practicing what Cesar was teaching her, she stayed calm and assertive, and when I was done with my tantrum, I followed our new pack leader. Turns out not only do the dogs need daily exercise and discipline and affection, so does the husband. I began to read the damn book. You know what, the guy makes a lot of sense. His approach is easy, natural, and improves relationships not just with dogs, but with other people. Well, actually, it also improves your relationship with yourself. You begin to understand what kind of role you want in life, and that you are the one who gets to choose what that is, as pack leader. Now it is up to me to also be a pack leader for our dogs. I can't let Cindy be the only authority figure for those two little sausages.

Then, as you probably read on Cindy's blog, the two of us watched the entire disc of "The Dog Whisperer" she got from Netflix. Every single problem the people were having with their dogs was a direct result of not being in control and being dominant over their dogs. Many of examples Cesar used to help the people understand what kind of role they had to take up were examples from their work, or as a parent. If you are calm and in control and provide clear boundaries, you will get the results you want. Allow too much freedom, and there's chaos and you are no longer in control.

I too Seumas for a walk one night using the new leash technique I'd just learned. I took the chain leash, and latched it to itself so it became a choker leash. I put the leash high up on Seumas' neck, just under his jaw, and led him around. We didn't move until he was relaxed and submitted to me going first. Then, with slight corrections which involved a slight tug upward on the leash bringing Seumas' head up, instead of nose to the ground, he was no longer darting in front choking himself to death trying to drag me. In less than a minute he was trotting beside me relaxed and happy as I practiced good posture pulling my shoulders back and filling myself with confidence. It's amazing how much easier it is to breathe when you're not slouching like I am right now as I write this.

Ahem. Okay, corrected.

Suddenly several things clicked into place. I needed this exercise just as much as the dogs. I need to take better care of my body. Just because I'm skinny doesn't mean I'm healthy. So did I go with Cindy tonight to walk the dogs? No, I was too tired and didn't feel like it. Am I going to challenge myself to walk the dogs when I don't feel like it. I'm going to try real hard.

Because like correcting bad behaviors in your dogs, you have to make those corrections before they escalate. If you can be observant enough to correct those tendencies at level 1, instead of trying to arduously try and bring it down from level 10, success will come quickly. This carries over to a lot of areas where there needs to be authority structures. At work it carries over for me as the new boss, where I have to demonstrate my authority, yes even dominance over my employees. I've been a bit soft in my authority there. Some of the personnel issues (preexisting mind you) were allowed to flourish even though I was taking corrective measures. Demonstrating and demanding the respect that is needed to be a good leader requires, REQUIRES not domination but assertiveness and being collected and in control. You're not always going to be calm, you're not always going to be in control, but if you can roll with it in the moment, even more respect will be gained. And then you give respect back when the behavior you observe is what you want. Now of course this only works at one level with humans. On top of that, you have language to deal with. That's a whole other topic. The words you choose to say your piece.

Now that I've digressed, back to me being lazy. (correcting my posture again) Change is hard. Rest is still needed, but so is exercise.

Next, I might reflect on biodiesel and Volkswagons, versus a MiniCooper. In the meantime, here's a little Google search for you: Make your own biodiesel at home!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Saturday morning irritations

Why can't a husband and wife have the same sleeping patterns? Why can't the dogs stay unconscious as long as I do? Why does EVERYONE in my house except me need to wake up at 6am on a SATURDAY!

Okay, it's now 10:45am, and I'm awake and had enough sleep to catch up. In fact, I've even been up for a half an hour. But what a chore it was just to get caught up! Dogs barking, people outside honking (at 6:30am!), Cindy in and out of bed. At least we don't have a TV in our room, she used to watch TV at 6am on a Saturday in bed while I "slept".

Yep, I'm irritable this morning. Not because of all that (partly but not entirely), I'm actually pissed about a ticket I got in the mail yesterday. Ran a red light. They got pictures, one of which has my goofy face on it. Sneaky bastards! But the worst part is, it's for $381.00!!! For the love of Stan!

It's clear I did it. I don't remember doing it, but they sent me proof. Can't really argue with it. You know, everyone in this damn town runs red lights while attempting to turn left at an intersection. It's because there's no damn left turn arrows. So in a line of cars attempting to turn left in a busy intersection, only two or three get to go through because of the shear line of cars going straight on the opposite side of traffic. So when am I going to get a ticket in the mail for trying to turn left? Was I turning left in this instance... admittedly, no. Sure I deserve the ticket, and $381 is going to prevent me from doing it again. Welcome to California.

Okay, back to my Saturday morning rant. Also, Cindy has a cell phone. When she leaves the house, does she:
1. Take it with her?
2. Turn it on?
3. Answer it if it is on?

The answer: NO! So I don't know where the flip she is. Don't know when she's coming back. I was going to head to the store and pick up some groceries, like milk. I needs my milk. But I can't do that if that's one of her errands this morning. Sometimes it is. Maybe I should call her, OH WAIT, I ALREADY DID AND IT WENT TO VOICEMAIL!

This is a lesson to anyone who does this. Take your phone with you, OR, leave a note on the whiteboard by the door for your significant other to know where you are.

I sound like a parent. It's probably because I worked a hella long week (averaging 12 hours a day lately), as usual since I didn't arrange the kitchen I dont' know where anything is. I'm hungry, but I'm too busy making excuses and complaining to do anything about it.

And how do I add other peoples' blogs to that sidebar thingee? I tried to figure that out once, and I couldn't do it. It's as frustrating as trying to learn how to use MySpace, which I dislike incredibly. Not really sure why, maybe because it's not very intuitive, yet everyone at least 10 years younger than me understands how to make it order pizza! (not really but you get my point) I am techie savvy! Grumble. I feel old.

At least, we have plans to game today. That will make things better. Crap, I suppose I'd better prepare the session. But after I eat. If we can afford to after my $381 blunder!!

I am a boob.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

More Than Meets The Eye

So we went and saw the big Michael Bay movie, Transformers. Most of you probably know how big Transformers were to my childhood, so this movie was a big deal for me. And several months before the buzz even started, I began to see disappointment.

First, Michael Bay was to direct it. This is the same guy who directed Armageddon. I rest my case. However, hope was rekindled when I recently watched The Island, which he also directed, and I liked very much.

Second, Bumblebee was going to be a Camaro, not the original VW bug that he was in the cartoon. Still yellow, but still... I was hoping for the new Beetle, or even a Mini Cooper, but nope, it's a Camaro.

Third, I finally got a look at the designs for the new movie robots, and they were definitely weird. Plus, Optimus Prime was not the same kind of Semi as he was in the series, and that kind of cheesed me.

Now you probably think that I hated the movie now having seen it. You couldn't be more wrong. You have to remember, this is Michael Bay. That means, hi speed chases, big explosions, and shrapnel heading towards the camera. So do you think VW Bug if you're going to have a hi speed chase. Not so much. I actually got over that one real quick.

Also, the original voice of Optimus Prime, from the original TV cartoon, was brought on to voice Optimus Prime in the movie. That made ALL the difference for me.

Still not crazy about the new designs of the robots. To many pieces, to many sharp angles and well, overall it's hard to know what you're looking at. But it definitely looks alien.

The movie has some really hilarious moments, some really intense action, and some really touching moments.

This long time Transformer fan was going to be a big opponent of the film, but it's a huge blast. You should go see it, it's worth every penny the spent, which was a lot. I'm looking forward to the sequel. Now if Hasbro would just make some decent quality toys out of this, it'd be even cooler. But they'll sell a ton just the same. Oh well.

This movie was more than meets the eye. Go see it, because I wants to see a sequel or three, and you best damned be sure I wants to see some Constructicons. Sorry for the spoiler, but no constructicons in this movie. They had a LOT to cover, and they did a great job with it.