Owlish Mutterings
5 Questions, Part 2
Part 1, including the rules for the meme. JohnL at TexasBestGrok has asked me 6 questions. I can ignore one if I want. [nah]. [In other words, I'm ending up doing the same meme from 2 different people, which fortunately had completely different questions.] I'm going to stick this at the top of the blog for a while. If anyone wants to play along, simply comment "Interview me" and I'll come up with 6 questions for you.

1. OK. First, the obvious one. I know you've mentioned it before, perhaps in a posting that has long since been archived, but please explain for first-time readers your handle and blogname.

First, the blogname. "Mutterings," because I envision this as me sitting off in my corner of the blogosphere muttering to myself, and if someone happens to hear that's fine. "Owlish" because I like owls in a totemic kind of way, and have a collection of various artistic owls. I wanted to blog anonymously so I avoided words that might have provided more clues to who I am, like Doc.

Second, the handle: "It's a floor topping and a dessert wax! No, wait... It's an online diary and a linkfest; one man's thoughts about life, liberty, and the pursuit of a boyfriend." I basically wanted a mission statement, something a new visitor could see and get a general idea of what he was going to get. I had a different one earlier, saying basically I was more essayist than linker. I decided that wasn't where the blog was going, thought of the Saturday Night Live skit with "It's a floor wax and a dessert topping" and randomly flipped them.

I like the name. I am less pleased with the handle, but have no obvious alternative.

2. Since you live in Galveston (i.e., Hurricane alley), do you have a Bugout box? If so, what's in it? If not, what would you put in one?

Galveston is very overdo for a hurricane. The closest thing to a Bugout box I have is a leather cosmetics bag my grandfather gave me more than a decade ago. I keep it stocked with usual things like shampoo and antiperspirant, as well as some simple over-the -counter symptom treatments [ibuprophen, immodium, diphenhydramine, vitamins]. Since I'm a single guy, with that bag ready I can pack very quickly [I packed for about 3 days and was out the door in 10 minutes recently].

Part of the reason I don't have anything more formal was for a while I was considered part of UTMB's emergency response, and part of my job was not to bug out. The other part is I'm up on the 5th floor, so if I get flooded out everyone else is dead.

If I knew a class 5 hurricane was likely to hit, had a short amount of time to pack the car, and expected to lose everything I didn't take, I'd get some more clothes, my laptop, and 2 cloth wall hangings. Then the music box from my great-grandmother and an antique stool. After that, a couple of the more expensive owls, and a couple of pieces of gold and silver [a necklace, a bolo tie, some rings, a plate]. Some prints. Dump the CD collection into a storage container, dump DVDs, computer games, and some VHS into another. Take a couple of minutes, grab ready-to-eat food, can opener. My SCIFI and fantasy books are heavy and relatively easy to replace, they're gone. Comics and RPGs are less easy to replace, some have value, but still heavy; depending on the time they're gone or in the back of the truck. Keyboard and stand might come. My dad has copies of all important papers, besides my CV, which I think is on my laptop.

I don't have a trauma kit [would want my stethoscope, it's pretty nice and could be handy]. The only way I'm doing any lifesaving beyond CPR is if the entire US medical and legal system has broken down. [I haven't had ACLS since med school; if your life depends on my ability to intubate you, pray for a miracle].

Unlike Kim du Toit, I don't have a gun [at home anyway, my dad keeps the rifle that is mine]. On a pure risk/benefit level, I suspect the chance of me using a pistol for suicide is greater than the chance I would need it to defend my life [both very low]. I've thought about getting one for recreation and to join the Houston Pink Pistols, though.

3. One of my daily reads, Timothy Sandefur, recently wrote that atheism is the Last Closet: "We come up with clever ways of avoiding the issue or rationalizing things, or we just stay quiet, because it would upset the family and scare away friends if you admitted that you’re an atheist. You call yourself an agnostic or a deist or a freethinker—anything but the A word. You keep going to church. You say all the right words. The family can go on politely thinking you’re still in the fold." What do you think about that statement?

At one point I told my therapist that it would bother my parents more if I told them I was an atheist than it did when I told them I was gay. He responded with "Are you an atheist?" to which I said I wasn't sure. I still don't know. So, I think there is some truth to that statement in my life.

4. I have noted that many people of the medical and related biological persuasions are atheist, while most equivalently-educated engineers, accountants, programmers, and lawyers remain adherents to some faith system. What was your experience in medical school -- were few/some/many/most of your fellow medical students atheists?

3 separate populations: college students, medical students, and psychiatry residents. The only people I know who proclaimed themselves to be atheists are from college. 3 guys: one remains an atheist, one I've lost contact with, one is dead [suicide or LSD flashback related]. Medical school had fairly low rates of weekly church attendance [mostly Catholic or evangelical Christian, a few Islamic, a few more obscure]. I've heard of surveys showing very low incidence of religious beliefs in psychiatrists compared to the general population, but that wasn't really my experience of the residents, and I haven't heard of that applying to all doctors.

On the other hand, it somewhat applies to me. My main crisis of faith comes from my experiences in psychiatry. I can imagine that hyperreligious, manic patients could have been very influential in the development of faith in prehistory, and could have been called prophets or seers.

5. What is the last piece of music you listened to?

The self titled Hoobastank [assuming computer game music doesn't count]. Before that was Amy Grant's Lead Me On.

6. What is the last movie you saw to which you had a strong emotional reaction (positive or negative) and why?

Hmm. The last movie I saw was Sin City, which caused me to flinch in a couple of places, but really didn't qualify for a strong emotional reaction. Saw The Incredibles on DVD with some friends a while back, which was probably the most recent one that counts. I laughed hysterically at the scene in which the wife is getting the rundown on the new suits; teared up in a couple of places. Good flick.

Impossible to have any emotional reaction to Sin City, as there were no real characters. They were all intentionally two dimensional, which is partly why I found the film so BORING
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