I took my new little dog to a training class to get some help with the basics of getting him to be a well-mannered pet.
The training course is six weeks long and run through the local Petco.
Copper is in the Adult Dog 1 course with another little dog named Licks.
Copper and Licks are both little scaredy dogs and spent most of the lesson hiding under their respective owners’ chairs.
Fortunately the lesson was mostly about the basics of what we as owners could do to correct undesirable behavior at home.
For example, Copper has a strange habit of digging into the couch when we sit down. The trainer thought this might be because he isn’t getting enough exercise due to him being crated during the day while we’re at work.
Copper’s house training has been progressing, he no longer pees in the house, only poop. In general we’ve been doing the right stuff but the trainer still had some tips.
We take him out and reward him for pooping, but what if instead of pooping he wanders around the yard?
The solution makes sense. Take him out in the yard on a leash and keep him in the “bathroom area” of the yard. Pretty soon he realizes what we want him to do and then he gets rewarded! Success!
Copper also got some homework to work on before his next class in two weeks (the classes are normally every Monday, but we’re taking Labor Day off).
His homework is to learn how to pay attention. We teach him this by holding a treat for him by our face and saying, “Look.”
If he looks we say, “Good dog!” and give him the treat.
As this continues we wait longer and longer between saying, “Good dog!” and giving him the treat until he stares at our faces for ten seconds.
After the ten second point, we start doing it without the treat or in more distracting environments until he stares at our faces for thirty seconds without a treat.
He’s managed maybe two seconds of staring with a treat before the cat distracts him.
Since we’re supposed to do it without distractions we’ll have to train him without Lucky in the room in the future.
Jipangu is a large city of 110,000 people in the middle of Zeus’s Canvas. Most of the people in the city have some relation to one noble family or another even if they are several hundred steps away from being leader of their family. All this nobility confuses outsiders, but for those who grow up with it, the whole hierarchy makes perfect sense. In fact, the natives find societies without this level of nobility difficult to understand.
Jipangu is built on Zeus’s Canvas, a place in which great storms rage year round. The city is atop a large, dirt-covered, rock plateau. The constant deluges do not have disastrous effects for the citizens when they are inside the city. Irrigation canals reroute the large amount of rain from the plateau into the rice patty fields that feed the large population of Jipangu. An ancient orchard also exists close to the city. It has many different types of fruit that are eaten by the Jipanguese and the birds that flock around it. Sounders of pigs are kept around the city for the disposal of waste and to provide fresh meat for the citizens.
Honor is very important to the Jipanguese. The slightest offense or indignity is settled with a duel or immediate compensation; thus, there are many duel shrines in every section of the city. These places look like large square gazebos with benches on the outside for spectators to watch the duels if they wish. Within the shrine a weapons bracket holds a variety of wooden weapons. Most duels are decided by the first hit landed with a wooden weapon. Serious offenses will proceed until one combatant is rendered unconscious. Only in extremely dire circumstances are duels to the death. Duels to the death are scheduled in advance to allow both sides to make arrangements should they die. Such duels attract large crowds.
Because of all these duels the average citizen in Jipangu can act to carry out his own justice. The high sense of honor prevents most of the citizenry from abusing their skills. Jipangu has neither police force nor the need for it because of all the trained swordsmen. Secret crimes, like burglary, are still committed in Jipangu. Such crimes are investigated by the government detective agency, Tarot De’Longshare. The army handles riots and revolts when they do occur. The system works well and crime in the city is swiftly punished.
Jipangu has a militaristic culture. A strong man is respected and gains honor with every fight he wins. Weak men lose their political power without repeated reinforcement from their other traits. The high value on physical strength makes surrender an unacceptable and cowardly option. The Jipanguese army does not retreat from battle. Politicians do not change their positions when the situation changes. This adamancy in one’s decisions once they are made means very few things are said with uncertainty in Jipangu. An unofficial law has sprung up that if one breaks their word, they will be exiled.
Jipangu has a traditional style of clothes that is worn at all times by people in the city-state. Anyone not doing so is socially ridiculed and outcast. The traditional garb is a long, colored vest worn over a white shirt. The color of the vest indicates the wearer’s honor and position in the hierarchy of Jipangu. A headband is also worn that signifies special achievements by the symbols upon it. The pants of the outfit are extremely baggy below the knee, but no other special significance is applied to them. Silk is of course better than cotton or wool. Pants are worn by both sexes except at special ceremonies. There are no special shoes worn with the outfit. Armor is not worn within the city except by soldiers.
The official Jipanguese army of 7,000 is one of the best equipped and trained in Cimmeria, but it lacks unity. The soldiers fight for themselves and their own honor. Tactics are often simply choosing where the troops will charge from. The army does contain infantry, cavalry, archery, clerical, and magical units. Each unit has its general and each general has his centurions. They meet before each battle to discuss where they will fight, but since honor is obtained through killing with your own sword, instead of the overall victory, they will work on their on.
Jipangu has a First Family that rules over the whole city and decides disputes between the other families. The most honorable family holds this position and only loses it in a challenge by another family or through a major dishonorable event for the First Family. In the case of a dishonored First Family a council of all the families is called to decide which of them will take the place of the First Family in the new order.
The art of the city is some of the best in the world and it is present throughout the whole city. Almost every object, piece of furniture, and wall is decorated in some way. Vines, flowers, and all things natural and beautiful are usually the subject of art. If Jipanguese art was a representation of the real world then there would be no people, actions, or conflict in it. These things are always absent from the walls, paintings, and sculptures of Jipangu. Their focus is on still-life pictures.
Jipangu joined the Second Alliance against Xoria. Arendil, the current head of the First Family, leads the Alliance as well. Jipangu is currently hosting thousands of refugees that escaped from Phoenix when the city was conquered by the Xorians. The influx of people puts a strain on Jipangu’s resources, but imports from the rest of the Alliance have alleviated some of that burden.
The refugees of Phoenix along with many people from Dalleer, Dorrowsan, and Shalerton have all gathered outside of Jipangu for military training. Gradorian and Junai, the previous leaders of the Mercenaries Guild of Phoenix, are in charge of this vast training program. Kig Yupington assists the two generals as he can with the Dorrowsan Scepter. The training is further accelerated by rituals read from the Tome of Agamemnon. These rituals purify water teleported to the city from the Geyser of Talos. Any who drink this water are transformed into a terrifying warrior for a day. This transformation allows the trainees at Jipangu to learn techniques and strategies that would normally be beyond their abilities.
I had an internship for my last two years of college. I worked in a biological research lab studying rice genetics. After I graduated I left the lab, hoping for newer and brighter things. Sadly, I did not get into grad school as I planned. My backup of finding a biotech job didn’t work out either. I started a new internship studying nematode genetics and was rehired back at my old job working with rice.
In the time since I’d left the people working in the lab had rotated somewhat. A few people had left and a few had joined. The core of the lab knew that I was married, but the new people did not. I ended up in the position of training a few of the new student hires, a man and a woman. The woman is studying to be a pharmacist. The man was originally a pre-med student. He even joined a pre-med focused fraternity. Then he took some plant biology classes and joined the rice lab. Now, he wants to be a plant biologist.
I was working with each of them separately today and the topic of my marriage came up. I am twenty-two years old, married to my high school sweetheart, and barely out of college. This throws a few people off. While after college marriages were common a few decades ago (and still are), many people see it as rushing into a relationship. I’m confident that I made the right choice. I’m also sure that there’s some person who’ll say, “Blah-blah percent of marriages of people under 30 end in under blah-blah years. What will you do if you get divorced?”
Honestly? I never prepared for divorce. It’s not something most people plan for when they get married. Why would you? Marriage is supposed to be forever and getting a pre-nup makes it seem like you don’t think it will last forever. If that’s the case then why get married? Our eight month anniversary is coming up on Valentine’s Day and I have a feeling that it’s gonna be great. Both of us are extremely happy to be with each other and we recognize that every day.
I mentioned my marriage to the pre-pharm student and she did not react in the typical ways (“You’re married?!” “What?” “Really?” etc.). She didn’t really react at all. She thought it was perfectly normal to get married right after college. So normal in fact that she didn’t even mention the timing of it.
When I mentioned my marriage to the plant bio student he said, “I was wondering what that ring on your finger was for.” He’d thought it might’ve been a wedding ring, but he wasn’t sure. Maybe when he saw the ring he thought, “That looks like it could be a wedding ring, but how could a guy that young be married?” He’d considered the possibility, but he wasn’t sure.
The thing that struck me most about these conversations was that the woman had thought it normal to be married after college and the man had not. It matched perfectly with traditional paths after college. Society pressures women to get married after college while men are pressured to advance their careers. In a few years, the man finds a younger woman just out of college and they get married. The pre-pharm student, being a woman, projected her own expectations onto me and reacted differently than others have in the past. The plant bio student reacted as other men have in the past to the news, with shock that I’d tie myself down so soon and not focus on my job.