Please pay attention to me; I have nothing to say

I’m starting to get bored with my blog. I guess I thought it would be more interactive, but I am learning that unless I have something interesting to say people won’t necessarily stop by to leave clever comments (imagine that!). I think I have more of a blog reader personality than a blog writer personality. The good news is that I’ve found a lot of interesting blogs and met interesting people during this process.

 

I’m reading a book called ‘the Artists Way’. It’s about creativity. The premise is that we are all creative by nature, but we lose it over the years as people start telling us that what we create is bad or boring or that we can’t make a living doing “fill in the blank” (creative/artisitc things). The author suggests that people who admire creative people are frequently ‘blocked creatives’ themselves. I am trying to get in touch with my creative side, but I have not yet found her. Meanwhile I’m beginning to feel a little pathetic ‘blogging with myself’ oh oh oh-oh.

Fargo vs. Grandma’s

I’m thinking about another marathon. I definitely want to do the Twin Cities marathon this coming Fall, but I had wanted to run Grandma’s in Duluth as well (nice and flat and cool). We sort of tried to get a hotel room and gave up (there are waiting lists at the nice hotels) so I didn’t register. I just found out that the place we stayed in when Al visited has suites available for $250/night. Outrageously overpriced but they are very nice. Another thought would be the Fargo marathon in May. A little too soon (since I haven’t really started training) and the drive is longer (assuming we would drive), but a new running friend of mine is thinking of going, so maybe we could drive up together or even run together. What do you think Haus Frau? When is your next marathon?

Empathetic monkeys

A friend of mine was describing parts of a book that she’s reading. She told me a story about a study done on Macaque (not sure how to spell it) monkeys. 6 monkeys were trained to press a lever to get food pellets. Later a 7th monkey was introduced into the mix and he was wired so that whenever one of the other 6 monkeys pushed the food lever, he got a visibly painful shock. The other 6 animals could see him react. All 6 animals stopped pushing the food lever pretty much right away. 4 of them found another lever which delivered much less food. The other two went to the point of near starvation. I probably didn’t get the details right and I’m not sure if the study even originated from a medical journal. The interpretation of the author was that humans are therefore naturally empathetic and my friend found this encouraging regarding humankinds natural ability to be ‘good’ and empathetic. I’m a bit of a glass half empty type, so this study just makes me think our ‘distant cousins’ are much kinder than we are. What if we could get $100 every time we shocked another person? What if we could do it anonymously without fear of reprisal? How many people would do it?

My friend described another study quoted by the same author. The author described how students at a seminary school were given the task of writing a last minute sermon to be presented within a few hours that same day. Some of the students (lets say 25%) were specifically given the topic of the good Samaritan. Others received random bible-related topics. Next the students were re-randomized (is that a word) and a portion of them (lets say 1/2) were told that they were more rushed that originally thought and that they had to hustle to get to the auditorium where they would be graded on their sermons. The sermons never happened, but on the way to the auditorium the students had to walk past an actor writhing/moaning in pain on the floor in a doorway. None of the rushed students paused even the ones with the good Samaritan topic and only about 6 out of 40 stopped at all. Obviously, the specifics of the experimental design effected the outcome. Were they carrying cell phones? Could anyone else nearby help out etc. But even so, this seems sort of a sad statement on humanity. I’m ashamed to admit, that I would most likely have been in the ‘better get to my presentation on time’ group. I think we are naturally empathetic, but the older we get the easier it is to suppress our natural instincts for the sake of ‘getting ahead’ or ‘doing well’.

Blogging

I recently read part of someone’s blog who was rambling about the whole psychology of blogging. How for some it’s personal and others want attention etc. It got me thinking about my reasons for blogging (no clue what they are yet). It also got me thinking about how I named my blog random thoughts only to find out that random and musings are actually some of the most common ‘topics’ that people write about. I guess we just like seeing our stream of consciousness in writing.

Also, after reading Toby’s comments about how she finally discovered how to comment on a particular story it made me think that it’s funny how complicated my blog is for most of my friends/family. I think it’s partly a generational thing, but also I find that once you set up your own blog, it’s all pretty logical and it becomes very easy to use other peoples blogs if they created them here at wordpress, although I still have a hard time finding my way around at Ingrid’s blog (live journal). I also think the whole blog community is interesting. It seems to me that most comments on blogs come from people who have their own blogs. Also, I find myself hoping someone will comment on something I write even though I don’t really try to write anything the least bit interesting (and I usually accomplish that). Also, finding interesting blogs and deciding who’s blog to bookmark is challenging. At first I wanted to bookmark every interesting blog that I came across, but now I realize that could add up really quickly, so I try to be choosey/choosy (spell check says both are correct).

I think Toby, Al and Haus Frau should set up their own blogs. It’s really easy.

My Visa spending report

I just looked at my Visa spending report which has fun categories like restaurants, travel, groceries etc. You might think this would be depressing, but it actually perked me up a bit and made me feel grateful. The only category that really depressed me was utilities (YIKES!) because there really isn’t much we can do about that (although I suppose we could probably do a little better with insulating our windows and doors). The fun part was looking at restaurants and travel. Don Aldo and I just spent a small fortune on airfare for the upcoming trip to France and Spain, but mom and dad are paying for the timeshare (Thank you Tiger and Toby), so now all we have to do is come up with spending money. Each one of the restaurant charges reminded me of a really fun time. Some were for our local sushi bar, Bagu, which we go to frequently. Other charges were in Duluth where we took my brother (because Minneapolis wasn’t cold enough for him in November). What a great idea, the condo was almost as nice as mom and dad’s cabin (ok not really, but it was nice) and Aldo’s stew was superb for breakfast lunch and dinner. We sat outside with a view of Lake Superior and told ‘ghost’ stories. The Visa report also reminded me of a dinner outside at Adrian’s, the local hamburger joint. This is a nice memory because eating out on the sidewalk at Adrians is something we really enjoy when the weather is nice, but it will be a while before we can do this again. There were a whole string of charges from the Denver trip. But every restaurant was fun and I got some really cool stocking stuffers for family members. The bottom line is that I am really grateful that I can spend money on these things because these are the events I will remember when I am older, not the hours I spend earning that money. Wouldn’t it be cool if we got a spending report for our time. I would be reminded of even more cool things that I’ve done including things that didn’t cost me much/anything at all. The trip to Albuquerque was conspicuously absent from my spending report—thanks again to mom and dad.