Thursday, September 30, 2004


Congratulations are in order. My dear friend, Ms. Rees, has just landed herself a posh new job in dupont circle at a health care PR firm. I'm so proud of her.

Yay for no more menial tasks for a sexist boss that doesn't appreciate you.

Here's to many exciting opportunities, new challenges, fresh faces, and brilliant ideas.

Smiles and things left unsaid

I saw two things that made me smile while walking on campus today.

1. Picture this. A tall man, sunglasses, hat backwards, classic jansport bookbag, looks about 70...on a razor scooter! It was so cute with him gliding along, hunched over this little scooter, pumping away with his left foot. I wanted to stop him and say "good for you! keep riding!" but decided this would be offensive, so I kept walking.

2. Then, a couple feet down the road, there was a man in a business suit, college-aged, carrying a shopping bag and dragging behind him the cutest, puffiest, plumpest little golden retreiver puppy hopping along with the most cheerful tail. This little pup looked very new at the whole walking with a collar and a leash thing. He kept stopping and looking up at the man, like "Um, excuse, what is this around my neck?" But the man couldn't do anything to make him keep walking, because the collar was loose and looked like it was about to come right up over the pup's head if he pulled. So there they were walking and stopping and getting tangled up, trying to negotiate their whole new relationship. Anyway, this made me smile and I wanted to say "Hey, your puppy is so cute! Can I pet him? How old is he?" and many other questions dog owners like to ask. But I decided that the man looked like he was in a rush and probably everyone had stopped him that day to say the exact same thing. So I kept walking.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Library Naps & Escapees

So yesterday my week got off to a good start! I went to the library from 12:45 - 4:15 PM to work on my thesis and was pretty proud of myself. I do have one confession though. I fell asleep at my library table for about a half hour. I had just eaten lunch though and it was so warm in there and I couldn't focus. But instead of giving up and going home, I just took a little snooze and then got back to work.

I read a lot about appraisal theorists and theories of the elicitation of emotion. One interesting book I am reading is called "Thinking and Feeling" and has a bunch of different articles on perspectives of cognition and emotion. Which comes first? Do they affect each other? All interesting stuff.

I brought another peach for lunch today. So far, it hasn't been attacked by any of my other lunch items, so it's juices are in tact and it has no bruising (yet).

Kito got out last night. He is usually pretty good about not running out the door, but last night I guess he just wanted a taste of freedom. Can you blame him?

JBS was taking the trash out through the sliding glass door, and Kito just ran through his legs and out into the world. JBS dropped everything and took off. I ran to the fridge, grabbed the bag of shredded cheese, left the fridge and back door open, and ran as fast as I could to catch up.

I realized I looked ridiculous. I was running up the street yelling "Kito!! Cheese!! Kito!! Cheese!!"...Who wouldn't question my sanity? These elementary school kids stood at the corner, laughing at me, and said half-seriously "good luck."

I see Kito a block up, peeing in a neighbor's yard. JBS is gaining on him, but as soon as he gets close, Kito darts across the street.

So we're both huffing and puffing (yes, even us marathon trainees - we're not used to sprinting!) trying to catch up with my little dog when he makes a crucial error that led to his capture. He tried to run up the on the porch of this house, but when he got up the steps, it was blocked off, making him trapped.

JBS grabbed him and I hurried over to give him some cheese ("see? coming home gets you treats!") and we proceeded to walk home. Unfortunately in my haste I didn't bring a leash, so we had to carry him home, which got tiring. Not to mention that we again looked ridiculous carrying our dog home.

I couldn't help but laugh though. What a little 10 minute adventure for my pup. He kept looking back to make sure we were following him. It must have been exhilarating. Of course, this wouldn't have been funny at all if we didn't catch him. But since we did, I can laugh about it.

On a different note, I have more physical therapy today. I was so bummed about not being able to finish that 6 mile run on Sunday that I am losing hope of my recovery in time for the race. Let's hope for a miracle.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Random Info on Monday Morning

Here are some random things on my mind this morning:

I saw Garden State last night - great movie. Definitely go see it and listen to the soundtrack - it's amazing. And if you want, you can check out Zach Braff's blog.

I am disappointed about my lunch. I carefully put a peach in my lunchbag in hopes that its delicate skin would not be squished or punctured. But, alas, my tupperware dug into it, leaking peach juice everywhere. Although I am disappointed, a bruised peach is still better than no peach at all.

I am desperately trying to be productive at work, but it's really hard. I keep getting distracted. Luckily, I'm done in about 15 minutes and I can go work on my thesis.

By the way, as a follow up to the post a few days ago:

The Master of P & A becomes the ABD (T) means:

The master of Procrastination and Avoidance becomes the All But Dissertation (or Thesis). Let's hope this isn't me.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Can I...

Can I just say that friendships are complicated?

Friday, September 24, 2004


Guess what?

I made myself an hourly schedule for today. Isn't that impressive? If you don't know me, trust's impressive.

I am reading this book about the thesis process (from start to finish!) and decided, yes, I too need a schedule.

Technically I am taking SIX thesis credits right now, which means I should be working my butt off with it. Instead, I have been avoiding it by playing sims 2, walking my dog, learning pilates stretches, reading books not related to school, opening new email accounts, running short distances very often (still healing)....and other fun things that don't involve my thesis.

Perhaps this post itself is an excersise in procrastination. The one kind of funny (but not really) thing in the book is their little mantra that they say you should put on your wall.

The master of P & A becomes the ABT.

I'll let you think about what that could mean.

Off to physical therapy!

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Why not kill everyone we don't agree with?

Jimmy Swaggart tells congregation he'd kill gays
by David Batstone

Here's the quote in a sermon that was televised around the world and received shouts, laughter, and applause from the audience.

I've never seen a man in my life I wanted to marry. And I'm gonna be blunt and plain, if one ever looks at me like that I'm going to kill him and tell God he died. - Jimmy Swaggart

As the authors David Batstone states,

That's the theological loophole for what passes as Christian morality these days. Simply demonstrate why the other person, or race of people, has forfeited their status as a human being, and you can do with them what you will. By the way, that is the same theological loophole used by the church in Latin America to justify the massacre of millions of native Americans during the Conquest; they were not deemed human beings.

Jimmy Swaggert's apology?

I was unwise in making the statement. All of us have made statements we wish we hadn't made. That was one for me.

Want to know more or do something about it? Click on the link above to read the full article and cthen send Jimmy a letter. There's one already written for you and you can just add your name and send it along as a little reminder to Jimmy that God doesn't exclude anyone from his love.

Traveling Preachers

When I got to school today, there was an article on the front page of the Collegian about the family of eight traveling preachers that I ranted about in my last blog.

Here is the article if you want to read more about it. Let me know what you think.

I think the issue of freedom of speech and harrassment are particularly interesting.

Friend of the World...

So this week is the career fair, which means all the undergrads are getting dressed up in suits and giving out hopeful resumes to potential employers.

For some reason, it also meant the need for a family of street preachers to descend upon the center part of campus.

As I'm walking to class, here is the first sign I see:

Find Jesus
Not a Job
A friend of the world
Is an enemy of God!

Well that pissed me off.

Then I read,

Find Jesus

Then, I hear what they're saying. Something about how the university is brainwashing us and how we're not learning how to really get by in life, how we're not concentrating on what matters, like finding Jesus. Then he presumptously informs us that all of us are going to burn in hell if we don't repent. I wish I had a videotape.

So students start laughing and making jokes, "Oh, well I guess I'm going to hell, what about you?"

As I continue down the street, I see more of them, with more signs, yelling more things and offending more people.

Finally, I reach my building and walk into class in a small rage. Why does anyone think this is a good idea? Where in the world did they get the notion that a friend of the world is an enemy of god? I mean, I suppose I knew what they meant by this, but what did Jesus DO his entire life? He came for those who needed him most, for the world....he befriended the world.

And, what's all this hell talk anyway? I mean, are those fear appeals really in all honesty supposed to work? Do they believe in their heart of hearts that by telling everyone that they are going to hell, that they will be converted and find god to be a loving god? Fear only gets you so far, people. And, plus, I don't even know if I believe in hell. I certainly don't believe it's a way to introduce people to the kingdom of god.

I have heard street preachers before, but for some reason, yesterday made me especially mad. For one, who are you to assume that because I am a university student that I'm destined for hell? So I should drop out of school where they brainwash me about unimportant things and then do what...? Become a street preacher? Wouldn't that be comical - a world full of street preachers?

Plus, didn't they think that maybe a few people ARE Christians already? And yet they just ASSUME that we are all sinful, sex-crazed, alcohol-drinking, flippant people. Even if we ARE people like that, so what? Might we still have a place in god's heart? Might we be on a journey of our own, even if no one else can see it? Who are they to judge?

So I talk to my friend once I get to class, and ask her, "Do they really think they are going to convert people with those tactics? I don't want to have anything to do with their god."

And she says that in one Christian church she went to, they told her that if she didn't tell everyone that she came across about Jesus and they went to hell, that she was going to go to hell too because she was responsible for them. Whoa. I never heard that before...and it shocked me. More fear appeals. What a life to lead, frantically trying to save your own ass by convincing other people they were on the road to hell.

So, why am I writing this all? I guess I'm just ranting. But also, it really makes me upset more than anything. I don't want to be associated with their god. In theory, I like to think I'm pretty tolerant of all the types of followers of Jesus. But, when I come across people like that, I have a really hard time being understanding of them.

I wanted to go up to one of them and have a conversation. Ask them something that challenged their paradigm and made them think. I just couldn't think of what that question would be.

What would you say to one of them if you could?

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Where's my motivation?

Ever get in those motivational slumps?

My mom has always told me to "just wait for the 'P' spurt." For those of you who don't know about myers briggs, p = perceiver and basically means that you don't do well with structured schedules and that you enjoy generating options more than making decisions. It also means you tend to be less organized than J's (judgers) and wait till the last minute to do things often. Sometimes this pressure makes P perform better. So a P spurt is when you all of a sudden get the surge of energy and desire to do something.

Growing up, I had to wait for P spurts to clean my room or organize things. I would be looking for something random in my closet and not be able to find it and all of a sudden it hit me. I had to reorganize my entire closet and perhaps my entire room right at that moment. Usually that momentum would get me through three quarters of the project. If I was lucky, it kept up until I finished the job.

So when I was home this weekend, moping about my thesis and wondering how all that work ever gets done, my mom says, "You'll do fine, just wait for P spurt." Of course, I think, I'll just wait for the mood to strike me, and I breathe a sigh of relief. I don't have to try to get motivated. No, it was just descend on me like a strong wind and push me to complete all my necessary responsibilities. Until then, I can't be blamed! I am much more successful and productive when I have my P spurt to support me. So, why not just let it all go for awhile?

The only problem with this is that sometimes the P spurt doesn't visit you before the necessary deadlines. Then what is to be done?

I'm in one of those P-spurt-less slumps this afternoon. I came home at 2 to read some articles and do homework and so far what have I done?

- made lunch (steamed broccoli and potatoes)
- Watched an episode of the makeover story
- checked my email an unnecessary amount of times
- downloaded Napster (I get free streaming songs through school! Currently listening to coldplay's live album)
- drank a ton of diet green tea
- petted my dog
- read 1/2 of one page of one reading
- wrote this blog

I have refrained from playing Sims 2, as I know this will gobble up more hours than I planned for.

Maybe I will take my dog for a walk and pray to the gods of P-ness (haha - say that out loud!) to
bestow upon me a P spurt that will get me through all of these hundreds of pages of reading and maybe even a little thesis work.

P.S - I just did a spell check...and "blog" is not in the blogger spell checker! Isn't that funny?

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Conversations with Strangers and Computer Goodbyes

So, yesterday, on my way to the physical therapist for my knee injury (update: I have injured my IT band, but it's getting better) I passed a man walking on campus. I guess I was just thinking really hard and making a weird face because my knee hurt, but as he walked toward me, he stopped and said "Are you okay? You look upset!" I was completely caught off guard and managed to mumble a semi-convincing "Yeah, I'm fine. Thanks!"

Then I started thinking, I'm not really feeling totally fine, but did he want me to tell him that? Did he want me to say, "Actually, I'm in pain right now and worried I won't be able to run the marathon I've been training for." He asked in a such a sincere, thoughtful way that he probably would care and listen if I told him what was really on my mind. But I was too surprised that someone actually noticed me and said something to me and I couldn't respond. The interaction stayed with me throughout the day though and I'm not sure why. It was out of the ordinary, yes, but it was also sweet and it made a difference for that moment. We're all walking around campus looking straight ahead, so self-absorbed that we forget others. And even if we notice them, rarely do we say anything. What if we did though? How would that change things besides increasing the number of weird looks people get?

Anyway, then today, I was in Best Buy, which brings me to the computer goodbyes portion of my blog as well as my second stranger interaction. First, I must admit I am addicted to the sims, but my computer hasn't been playing it recently. Every time I try to use it, my computer shuts down. So, in anticipation of sims 2 (which came out today), I brought my computer in to be fixed this past Saturday. I stopped in today to buy sims 2 and decided to check in on my computer while I was at it (I do need a computer to play it on, afterall!). So they told me basically my computer is "defective" and that they'll give me $1050 to buy a new one from their choices of stock. This made me happy but worried. I hadn't backed up any of my hard drive! So I begged them to let me take my computer home and see what I could get off of the hard drive before giving it back and trading it in.

So here I am, typing on my computer for the last time. I know I'll get a new one, but it's sad that this one is done. For the most part, it works okay. It just gets a little temperamental and shuts down sometimes. I understand that it takes up a lot of memory to play the sims, so maybe it doesn't like when I do that. But I've only had it one year! Such a short time for this relationship.

On my way out, I bought sims 2 and the guy at the register said, "I have to tell you, we have sold a ton of these today. What's the catch?" "Oh you've never played it?" I asked, even though it was an obvious question. I said "Well, it's addictive...and fun. I don't know what other people get out of video games, but this one requires creativity..and, well you should play it sometime." I had a difficult time answering his question, because in some ways, it was personal. What do you, graduate student female, get out of playing a game with simulated people living out a fake life? Good question! What do I get out of it?

While I contemplate this, I'm going to finish burning files to CDs and go back to trade this baby in. Hopefully I'll get something even better in exchange. And maybe I'll be able to ask a stranger a question that catches them off guard but somehow brightens their day. We'll see.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004


Read this heartbreaking post and tell me, how can we let this happen? How can this happen - people just eliminating other people? It's such an overwhelming tragedy to comprehend.

Looking at this map made things hit home to some degree for me. See all those little red flame looking things with black in the middle? Those are all the "confirmed destroyed villages." Can you imagine what it would be like to endure this? To survive this? To witness destruction of an entire people and wonder, where is god? where is the rest of the world?

Don't we have an obligation to be the voice for those without a voice? To live for more than just ourselves?

"First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me." - Pastor Martin Niemoller

"If I am not for myself, who will be for me? And if I am only for myself, what am I?" - Rabbi Hillel

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday to Vickie! I miss you and wish you all the best! Hope you had a wonderful weekend celebrating your birthday and I'm sorry I couldn't be there!


So for once today, I felt awesome during my attempted 23 mile run in preparation for the marathon. I worked really hard to get hydrated the day before and eat right and all that. I didn't feel sick to my stomach from eating the sports gels (which I usually do) and I wasn't mentally tired.

That's when my knee started hurting. Not so bad at first (we were at 10 miles at that point) and then it got worse and worse. When I almost started crying, JBS convinced me to stop. We were at 16 miles, 7 miles short of our goal for today. I was so bummed. I tried to walk the three miles home, but couldn't even do that. Luckily, my cell phone was in our water bottle packs, and so I called my roommate to come get us. I felt so defeated.

I am proud of myself for pushing it as long as I did. And I'm thankful that in these months of training, this is my first injury. I just hope and pray that I didn't hurt myself too badly that I won't be able to run the marathon itself. So send some positive thoughts my way.

Meanwhile, I'm trying to keep a good attitude while I hobble around. To make matters a little more upsetting, I brought my laptop in to get looked at, so I am at the mercy of using other people's computers. I have one of those service plans at Best Buy and they said they are backed up so it could take up to a week to look at it! I don't know if I can survive!!

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Random Thoughts and Doubts of a Social Scientist

What do you think? Can we predict human behavior? Should we even try? If we can't, then what's the point of scholarship in these areas? To better understand certain phenomena?

Are there benefits to publishing things like case studies when they only describe the experiences of one person? What about autoethnographies? Is that scholarship?

There is a pressure to think a certain way about these things, especially in the issues of epistemology. There is a right way and a wrong way. The right way believes in truth with a capital "T," meaning there is an objective reality that we can access through the magic of the scientific process. The right way leaves no room for heavy descriptions or adjectives or quotes of people talking about things in their own words. The right way is cleaner. Give them surveys. On a 1-7 Likert scale, a 7 is a 7 is a 7. If you ask someone how intense their experience of hurt was in this instance, a 7 = the most hurtful thing a person could imagine. Who cares what this means exactly. It's a 7!

Now, I mock this in some ways, but in others I agree with this approach to research. I have been taught that the only real way to do research is quantitatively. But can we really quantify human experiences? Certainly, for some things, we can. And this method is really the only way we can predict and control human behavior.

Basically, I'm all torn up about these issues.

Then, we discussed the differences between science and social science. Some said they are the same, so why differentiate? So said, well of course they are different - there are the hard sciences which can know things for certain, 100% of the time, and then there are the soft sciences which can only take a stab at it and hope for some good odds. But is anything ever really certain? I mean, I would have to talk to JBS about this, but the higher you go in the sciences and math, the less concrete it is. Particles and substances act in surprising ways and baffle scientists, just like humans do. I guess it doesn't matter whether we should group social science and science together...what is interesting, though, is to think about if there really are differences. Are the hard sciences really that concrete? Are the soft sciences really that mushy? I don't know....

My final thoughts based on today's class discussion are about ethical issues. What is our responsibility as researchers and as scholars? Is it to produce research that benefits the greater good? If so, what is the greater good? By who's definition? Is it to do good research? Well, then what is "good" research? Research that has strong methods and tight analyses? Were the makers of the atomic bomb good scholars? They were good at what they did, yes. Should they have worked to come up with that technology? I don't know. Can they be held responsible for what others do with the knowledge they produced?

Even though you never know what people can do with the discoveries you make, do you think we have any responsibility to think about what the outcomes of our research might be? I have to think that in some ways, we do. I mean, I don't want to create a theory about hurtful messages so that people can go out and manipulate others and hurt them to get what they want. But how could I possibly know what the outcomes might be?

Though all these questions are important to consider, I had a tiny moment of doubt today. A moment where I wasn't sure I wanted to be part of all this. I'm sure it will pass. I do feel like I'm in the right place, but sometimes things seem so messy that you just want to dust off your hands and head out of town.

Monday, September 06, 2004

Headaches and finding my voice

I have been unable to post anything lately and I'm not really sure why. I've been thinking about a lot of things. I have been reading a lot of interesting things that I even started to post on. But then I can't articulate anything clearly and I give up.

I'm taking an epistemology class. I guess you could call it that, although technically it's a "communication theory" course. The amount of reading is took me an hour to get through one of the five readings (the "one" reading = five chapters from "Knowledge Puzzles" by Stephen Cade Hetherington) last night. Like a typical extrovert, I started reading it out loud to JBS to try to make sense of it.

One of the most interesting parts is the chapter on Belief. Specifically, does knowledge entail belief? And, is saying believing? Here is the little exchange posed at the beginning of this section:

You: I believe I'll get the job.
Friend: I believe you're wrong about that.
You: Do you think I won't get the job?
Friend: No, I think you don't really believe that you will.
You: You're wrong. And how can you know better than I do what I believe?
Me: But why can't your friend know this better than you do?

Do people always know how they feel and what the know? Should we equate saying with believing? If a person changes his/her mind everyday, are their beliefs changing everyday or should we conclude that they are confused and don't know what they believe?

After reading this, JBS and I had a conversation about our relationship. Sometimes he asks me things (i.e. what I feel or think about something) and as absurd as it sounds, I have no idea. Now, being an NF, I'd like to think I'm in touch with how I feel about things in general. But I realized that even if somewhere deep down, my feelings exist, that sometimes there is no space for them to surface. I'm so worried about making sure someone else is fine or abiding by some socialized role of mine that I have no idea what I would say if I sat myself down and honestly asked myself "what's up?" How do you make space for your own voice? How do you differentiate between what you want and what you're supposed to want or what you think others want or something like that? How can you be asked to only factor in your outcome, when others' outcomes affect your own?

This is puzzling to me. If I don't "know" what I believe about myself or how I feel or what I want, can someone else know better than I can? Well, the next section of the chapter goes on to say:

Maybe there are problems with the idea that someone can attribute a belief to another person. Might that be what sparks the puzzling questions in section 3.2? For example, perhaps no one else knows what your beliefs are? (Can only you know what it is you know?) Is belief "private" so that only you can know what your beliefs are and only I can know what my beliefs are? Do you believe that only you can know what it is that you believe?

If so, and if knowledge is a kind of belief, you can never know that another person has knowledge. For you can never know what it is that he believes. You know, at most, what it is that you know.

So can you ever know what another person knows, believes, thinks, feels? Is it fair to attribute beliefs to other people, based on our beliefs? We certaintly do it all the time. We make judgements about others and conclusions based on what they say and our perception of if they know what they are talking about. Should we always take words at face value even when we know that we say things we don't mean sometimes?

Should you take anything I have written here seriously, since I might say things I don't mean sometimes? Hmmm....