Monday, January 12, 2015

Controversy and yet more adventures in Hypno-Land

Though I've written many more emails to people (besides poor Geo), they don't have much to do with mad science, warping minds, or pictures of my back side, and thus would be out of place on this blog. Facebook, on the other hand, has some material I could use, although being a social media spot, it comes in bits and pieces.
` That can only mean one thing -- I must put some time into editing posts for this blog. Not only that, but getting onto the internet so that I can do research and check facts. I did none of that for my last post, Adventures in Hypno-Land which was an email I wrote almost a year ago.
` Though I've learned a lot since then, I'm still going to need to learn more in order to continue writing about hypnosis, and pretty much anything else that interests me.

As for this post, this is actually late in coming because my first draft got deleted. So, I shall do what I can to put forth even less effort than my last attempt -- by using Facebook material that I saved on WordPad from the last time I connected my computer to the internet.

I have noticed that hypnosis is one of those little-understood topics on which people in the skeptical community have a wide range of opinions, and occasionally I wind up with pieces of this on Facebook.
` Some skeptics are stage hypnotists while others have told me that stage hypnotism is nothing but fakery. Some are hypnotherapists, and some, like the California Skeptics, kicked a hypnotherapist off their Facebook page for not "admitting" that he's a fraud.

As for me, I have an unusual angle on hypnosis in that I've experienced a lot of it, have been dramatically changed by some of it, although have studied a lot more practical methodology than the actual science involved.
` At the bare minimum, hypnosis involves establishing contact with someone, a first suggestion, penetrating through the critical faculties, and producing phenomena that the subject commonly feels are involuntarily.
` It could involve what is informally called "trance", or could be done during what looks like a normal conversation.

Case in point, my podcasting co-host "Dr. Hypno" was once at a bar where he met someone who thought that hypnotherapy was interesting. This guy wanted to quit smoking but didn't think that he could be hypnotized.
` After a hypnotic conversation that started with "I don't think I can hypnotize you, so lets just talk about it", the guy went out for a smoke and couldn't even get the cigarette to his face. He started laughing and said "no way, what the f!"
` He was so shocked that he was afraid to talk to Dr. Hypno ever again. Such is the curse of that level of effectiveness.

Indeed, Dr. Hypno is one of those people who can walk up to a complete stranger on the sidewalk and hypnotize them in seconds without using the word 'hypnosis' or 'trance'. Just as quickly, he can stick a person's hand to a table using conversational hypnosis.
` Unsettlingly, he has even installed an instant induction shortcut on me, and then hypnotized me to forget what this shortcut is. As far as I know, he didn't use it until six months later, and when he did, I could only see multi-colored stars when he activated it.
` It still worked last summer at a workshop by Rintu Basu, before Dr. Hypno handed me off to another hypnotist for further phenomena, some of which worked and some which did not.

You may think it's tremendously creepazoidal to know that some mysterious hypnotic 'induction switch' has been installed in your own psyche. I agree, and would add that my mind contains several other post-hypnotic suggestions, just waiting to be unleashed at the right time. All I can do is to warn others not to trigger them.

Even more creepazoidally, I used to know a hypnotist who would orgasm in response to anyone snapping their fingers. Why she chose such a non-specific cue for a bedroom-related suggestion, I'll never know, but I've seen what it does to her first hand, in public, and found it to be hilarious.

Let's just say, after this incident, she was sent a YouTube link to the Addams Family theme song in appreciation.

This same hypnotist has also been to a lot of hypnosis seminars that were recorded, and thus appears on many training DVDs. One of them is a stage hypnosis course, and when the teacher snaps his fingers and makes an off-color joke, you can hear a burst of laughter from her.
` Later, in a segment when she is sitting up on stage, he snaps his fingers several times and you can see the look of terror on her face as she squirms in her chair and tries to play it cool. I rolled with laughter at this, thinking about how nobody else there had a clue about what was happening.

I am no expert in hypnosis, but I am acquainted with hypnotists who test whether the books match the street. It's an evolving art form and every year they discard more obsolete models, such as the trance model, and the conscious/unconscious model.
` And, I would argue, that although psychology-oriented academics who are not specialized in hypnosis may know a lot about it, they are also not experts. So, imagine my surprise when I ran into two of these on Facebook, both of which are prominent in Skepticdom.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Adventures in Hypno-Land

I actually began this piece last winter, when my ex was still claiming that I had been hypnotized to physically attack him and then forget afterward. That, he said, would explain why I had no idea what he was talking about.
` I asked several people, including hypnotists, and even Jamy Ian Swiss, whether or not this made any sense. They helped me to trust my own judgment and see that he was just trying to make me think that I was crazy. (See: gaslighting.)

Just after finishing this piece in early May, I witnessed my very own podcasting co-host, "Dr. Hypno" actually hypnotize one of his clients on our way out of the grocery store. She told me that she had been smoking since age 11 and had stopped after one session with him.
` Since the tar was finally leaving her lungs, she had developed bronchitis. Although she was recovering, she said she had wanted a suggestion to help her breathe freely again. Once we were in the parking lot, he did a handshake induction and made the appropriate suggestions as her husband and I watched in awe.
` She was astonished and elated at how she could suddenly breathe better -- apparently, even your lung functioning has a great deal to do with suggestible involuntary responses, as with asthma.

I confess that pieces of this article started out as a blog post last winter, yet I had neither the brain functioning or internet access to make into a proper article with lots of info and references aside from my own notes, knowledge, and personal experiences.
` So, I decided it would be best to adapt into an email for the edification of, yes, Mr. George Hrab -- a process which I have mentioned in this post.

As it would take a great deal of work to adapt it into a blog post, I'm going to leave it fairly much as-is. So, now you get to see the 'missing link' between my occasional (and relatively short) "normal" fan emails to Geo and the others I've already posted on this blog:

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Here's to a better year, and better neural and muscular hypertrophy!

If you've been reading my posts about the past few years of my life, you'll know that things have turned unbelievably bad after I thought I was in the clear. Though it's been rough without such things as internet access and a central place to put all my belongings, I'm sure I can make things better in 2015.
` I haven't written about hypnosis as I said I would because I've decided to devote my computer time to edit and upload all my photos from my camera since The Amazing Meeting 2014 in July -- just to get it off my mind and onto the internet for all to see!

And speaking of photos, I would like to mention that I've been highly annoyed by the preview frame on the YouTube video of Brian Dunning's talk at TAM 2012, called Your Brain Sucks -- it's me turned around! Here's a photo that my friend Greg Dorais took of this moment:
` Not only was my hair unflatteringly damaged and frizzy, but my ass was completely flat, thanks to an untreated injury from sixteen years previously. I didn't know it at the time, but my glutes were the size of a lemon and a lime, thus impeding my ability to walk properly and sit up straight.
` Thanks to Dr. Hypno, who was a personal trainer for 15 years, I've been doing physical rehab for about two years now. At TAM 2014, I wanted to get an 'after' photo, wearing the same clothes, but forgot to in all the brain-draining excitement.
` So, I took one shortly after returning from TAM, upon moving some of my belongings into a temporary home. Not only were my glutes almost normal-sized (they're even bigger now!), but my hair was laying flat against my head like it's supposed to!

As for Brian Dunning, he may not look so great since he's been in prison. Although he's done a heck of a lot of good to help people be aware of scams and tricks of the mind, he was recently found guilty of wire fraud from before his Skeptoid days.
` While this development doesn't exactly impress me, I'll bet the True BelieversTM have been having a field day. I could Google that, since I'm connected to the internet, but would rather write about how I uploaded my photos:

In order to get them up on Flickr, I had to put them into proper sequential order by checking my camera, and then edit the ones I hadn't gotten to yet -- mostly shrinking the size 50% so they aren't blurry. (Taking smaller photos results in smaller blurry pictures, so that idea is out.)
` Why hadn't I done this before? Besides the insanity of my life, this has been difficult because my photo editing computer stopped working and I couldn't figure out how to quickly edit photos without Microsoft Photo Editor.

That's a really big deal because if the new way to edit takes 6x the amount of time as the old way, then one hour of photo editing becomes an unacceptable six hours. I managed to speed up my method with Microsoft Paint, although cropping photos was more time-consuming, so I mostly didn't bother.
` As for adjusting the color, I either skipped it or used GIMP, so there are some photos on Flickr that are too dark. Nevertheless, I managed to complete the task within three days. Happily, although I discovered that my payment to Flickr Pro didn't go through, I now have a terabyte of space with just a free Flickr account anyway. Hooray! It even takes videos longer than 90 seconds!

Getting through the editing process should also be easier now that I've stopped taking one photo for every day that it's sunny outside. Originally, this was to show people that it doesn't rain "all the time" as is stereotypical around Seattle -- on the contrary, we have a 'dry season' every summer, and all the grass dies at least by August.
` Since proving that it's sunny a lot around here is not my job, I stopped that practice in September, and have barely taken any photos since then -- at least with my camera. As for my iPhone, I cannot download my photos and videos onto my laptop, so I'm still puzzling over what to do with them besides upload them all to Facebook -- that is the next step!
` Whatever the solution, I'd better not dawdle -- I lost my chance with my last iPhone when it was stolen by a crackhead! Who I have a photo of. On my new iPhone. Sigh.

While I don't have my iPhone photos from TAM up on Flickr, at least my camera ones are -- check it out! I even got a video in the Monkey Room with Penn and Teller!

Now that I can finally stop stressing about my camera photos, it's easier to focus on writing and podcasting, which I'll probably be doing more of now that I can escape the ridiculous abuse I've been going through.
` Can you imagine? The Spoony Show? For real? Me!?! A podcast host? Believe it!!

For now, I'm still letting Dr. Hypno borrow my car, as his own vehicle is still not starting for whatever mysterious reason: He recently paid a mechanic $200 to fix it, but the guy had an aneurysm before he could start, and his chances of fully recovering are not good.

I can't make this stuff up, it just keeps coming.

Whatever this flip of the calendar throws at me, I shall work hard to write and podcast amazingly, and yes, continue to gain muscle mass and reprogram the firing of my motor neurons until I can walk at least 99% correctly.
` What's more, I'm even planning to go back to college to study neuroscience, because BRAAAINS! It should be much easier to do homework without crazy roommates to antagonize me daily, steal food from me, and keep me awake all night.
` Now that the life of a narcissistic abuser no longer depends on me, I can finally think about what I want in life, and I've decided that I want to do my own neuroscience research on perception, consciousness, and voluntary versus involuntary impulses. I've decided it really is that fascinating.

Wish me luck!