Tuesday, February 28, 2006

I need to make a new cd.

(Actually, I need to be working on my thesis, but I'm taking a break for you, dear readers.)

I need to make a new "Waiting for grad school" cd. Some songs are now irrelevant while some have taken on new meanings. I am going to list the contents, but I want to be very clear that my listing them does not constitute and endorsement. I do not necessarily think these are good songs. You should not judge my musical taste from this selection here.

1) Waiting is the Hardest Part -- still relevant, though now I'm waiting more for info about funding. And UMass and Northwestern, of course.
2) There's a Fine, Fine Line (Avenue Q) -- well, this was about giving up if I got in nowhere. I clearly got in somewhere.
3) Anxiety (Get Nervous) -- clearly still relevant
4) Box Full of Letters -- decisions, decisions
5) In Your Letter -- applies to Indiana now ("in your letter, you said you didn't love me... but you could have said it better")
6) For Now (Avenue Q) -- a song about settling. If, say, I had to end up staying at UTD for MA.
7) Return to Sender -- totally what I'll do if Northwestern rejects me
8) Indiana Wants Me -- boo! hiss! This song must go, as Indiana clearly doesn't want me.
9) Texas (spongebob squarepants) -- bleh. ("wish I was back in Texas... the ocean's no place for a squirrel)
10) I Want You to Want Me -- Are you listening, Northwestern?
11) We Go Together -- still you, Northwestern!
12) California Dreams -- still applies, still waiting on UCSB about funding
13) Overnight Mail -- at this point, I'll take any type of mail. Esp. if it comes from Evanston, Il.
14) The Letter -- Northwestern?? ("give me a ticket for an aeroplane, ain't got time to take a fast train. lonely days are gone, I'm a goin' home. my baby just wrote me a letter.")
15) Tired of Waiting for You -- for everywhere, except, obviously, Arizona and UT-Austin
16) Say You'll be There (Spice Girls [don't judge me]) -- Originally a shout-out to UMass, my safety school but now a general plea. Please, Northwestern, say you'll be there!
17) I Can't Wait (Hillary Duff) -- rather self explanatory. please don't extrapolate from this one example to the rest of my musical taste.
18) Wishin' and Hopin' -- ("wishin' and hopin' and thinkin' prayin' and plannin' and dreamin' each night of his charms")
19) One Fine Day -- even if you don't take me now, Northwestern, one day you will want me!
20) The Sound of Settling -- again, I have options. No longer relevant.
21) Gotta Get Through This -- all the waiting. still relevant.
22) I Have Confidence (The Sound of Music) -- *sigh* sometimes this song is still necessary
23) Hey Mr. Postman -- is it pathetic that my day revolves around the checking of the mail?

What did one regression coefficient say to the other regression coefficient?

"I'm partial to you."

How sucky is this?

And is it awful that I kind of laughed?

(Okay, fine, if you don't want to click on the link: UC-Berkeley Law school accidentally sent out acceptance emails to all 7000 of its applicants. Oops.)

Monday, February 27, 2006

Instead of actually getting work done, I thought I'd fret at you.

Why is Northwestern taking so long to notify? It might be better if I were put out of my misery, to give up hope rather than clinging to fantasy. I'm relatively certain that they're going to reject me. So much so that Ema and I have bet $2 on it (if I'm wait-listed, the deal is still on; we have to wait until April 15 to find out). But I would much rather know now than prolong the anticipation. I'm also mildly curious to hear from UMass, but, really, it's not my priority at the moment.

I should be content. I have an offer from Arizona with funding. UCSB should be getting back to me soon with an award offer. Wisconsin probably won't get back to me with a funding offer. Texas, who knows. Indiana, well, they're probably not going to give me money, seeing as they wait-listed me. So, in all actuality, it's down to Arizona and UCSB. But, if Northwestern comes through, all bets are off. And who knows, maybe UMass will come up with an offer I can't refuse. I really do like the department.

Arghhh. Who knows, maybe this time tomorrow I'll be wishing I was still in my blissfully ignorant state after Northwestern ruthlessly takes away all of my precious self-esteem. But, in that case, I will have made $2. Always look on the bright side of life.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Is it sad that I've figured this up?

I am taking two classes this semester that I dislike. This is rare. I usually love my classes. I am a dork. They are both required classes, the last ones I need, one for Sociology and one for Gender Studies. Neither are actually sociology or gender studies, however. They are just random requirements.

Without going into the utter silliness of it here, one of these classes has a test coming up. I have decided, for the first time since my freshman year, that I simply do not care. I am not going to study. It's not that I feel I know the material. I just don't care. I've gone to class. I've read (some of) the material. I feel like I can get a B. And, for the first time ever, a B is my goal. I have calculated that I can get a B in one of my classes this semester (first since freshman year) and still keep my summa cum laude. Barely, but still. Alternatively, I can get an A- in both of the annoying classes and keep it.

You may say it's senioritis. And perhaps some of it is. But, if you could just sit in this particular class for, oh, say, five minutes, you would probably feel the same way I do. So don't judge me.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Arizona and Indiana

I got two, two letters in the mail from schools today.

One was Arizona, confirming my admission, which I'd already heard over the phone, but also giving me a Graduate Assistantship. They're the first school so far to talk about money. So, yay!

The other was Indiana, where I was wait-listed. I honestly am not surprised by this. As I've told some of you recently, Indiana is my least favorite choice (even though the department looks really cool). This is mainly to do with the fact that my substantive interests and research goals really could not be met there. Or at least not to the extent that they can at some of the other schools I've applied to.

Applying there was a last-minute kind of decision, and my statement of purpose was not very well tailored to their program. I don't even know that I mentioned any faculty I'd be interested in working with. I think I applied because I was suddenly interested in social psychology and thought that if I got in there I could gravitate on over to some of that, linking my interests in social movements and social psychology. But, of course, I didn't mention any of this in my statement of purpose.

I know this sounds kind of like sour grapes. "Indiana doesn't want me? Well, they just suck." But it's honestly not. Indiana is cool. And they have Donna Eder. I just don't think I would be a good fit there. Apparently they didn't think so either, and that is cool by me.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

I want to apologize

for the silliness of last nights posts and the dorkiness of the puns.

Stick a fork in me--

--'cause I'm done.

(Again, I apologize for the cheesy-ness.)

It is 6am, I have done my first proofreading. And while I am not entirely satisfied, I am confident enough that I can get it done in a few hours that I feel safe going to bed now. The primary concern now, of course, is whether I will be able to wake up in time to go turn this in.

Just call me butter--

--'cause I am on a roll.

hahahaha. sorry.

Which is why there is no reason at all to interrupt my astonishing progress to give this update to the internets at ten 'till five in the morning.

But after all my negativity, I figured I should be happy at you.

I am finishing up and I am, while not happy, (marginally) satisfied with what I'm going to get. Not bad for the night before.


I have two essays due tomorrow. Same class. They're part of a midterm. They both have page limits. Strict page limits. Now, one essay, I've gotten to fit into the page limit by, uh, adjusting the margins (in an obvious way). The other essay, will (when I finish it! soon!) be right on target with one inch, standard margins. Because these essays will be turned in together, stapled and all, it would be painfully obvious that I'd messed with the margins on the first one if I do not at the same time change the second essay's margins, making it shorter than the limit. I mean, there's not a lower limit, but I would still like to hit the target.

I guess I should stop worrying about this and get back to work. Oh the things that drive us mad when fretting over something is far preferable to actually getting work done. This is especially troublesome at 4:30 in the morning.

still procrastinating (I've only got about 4 pages left to go), but...

I thought you should know.

Scary, with the court looking like it does.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Frantic and less-than-wise words from a procrastinator

I clearly suck.

I'm less than halfway done. And this is due in a little more than 12 hours.

Wise words from a procrastinator

You know it's not going to be a good essay when, after writing each paragraph, you check to see how long it is when double-spaced.

And it doesn't say much for your spatial reasoning skills, either.


Wikipedia says: "Its symptoms can include slowness, procrastination, apathy regarding schoolwork, and a tendency toward truancy."

Check, check, check, and oh-my-gosh-that-is-coming-I-so-don't-want-to-go-to-class-tonight.

More than anything, I just want to work on the stuff that I want to work on, if that makes any sense. I am increasingly frustrated by stupid busy work when I really need to get down to writing my thesis, which I am actually interested in doing.

I have a midterm due tomorrow. Less than 24 hours from now. How much have I got? About five pages. And now I have to go to class. Truancy is looking more and more like a viable option.

And O'Connor is gone.

The Supreme Court has agreed to take up the issue of a ban on D&X abortion procedures (successfully termed "partial birth abortion" by anti-abortion activists, and now popularized by the mainstream media). I am all for banning them. Really. I think that we should have fewer abortions in general (meaning we should have more sex ed., more access to safe and effective birth control, we should work on poverty issues, day care, make American more child-friendly in general), and I particularly think that the D&X procedure should not be performed willy nilly. And I don't think anyone is arguing that it should. Recent estimated say that it is about two tenths of one percent of all abortions performed in the U.S.

So, what's up with this law? Well, it provides no exception for the health of the mother. Stenberg v. Carhart (2000) maintained that every abortion restriction must contain a health exception that allows an abortion when "necessary, in appropriate medical judgment, for the preservation of the life or health of the mother" or it will create an "undue burden" on the mother.

What is a valid health exception, according to Stenberg v. Carhart:

The health exception must allow the physician to exercise reasonable medical judgment, even where medical opinions differ. The court made clear that the
exception cannot be limited to situations where the health risk is an "absolute
necessity," nor can the law require unanimity of medical opinion as to the need
for a particular abortion method (Stenberg v. Carhart, 2000, at 937).

A physician must be able to invoke the health exception not only when pregnancy itself creates a health risk for the woman, but also when the abortion
restriction would, without such an exception, "force women to use riskier
methods of abortion" (Stenberg v. Carhart, 2000, at 931).

Exactly how big an issue is this, you ask, given that D&X procedures are so rare? If there is no health exception, doctors are going to be very wary of performing any sort of abortion, creating a chilling effect on the right to an abortion. But, even more importantly, I think, is that fact that these health exemptions are not just some wording in a law that scary feminists want just for some abstract principle. These are real people, real women, real mothers. The D&X procedure is sometimes performed when the baby is dead or dying, sometimes posing a risk to the health of the woman. The other alternatives are c-section or vaginal delivery, both of which have considerable physical and psychological risks associated with them. There are stories of women having to carry dead children to term, giving birth to a dead fetus, because doctors refused to perform a D&X (even if the law doesn't forbid it for dead babies [and I'm not sure if this one does or not], there is still a chilling effect and doctors are unwilling to perform it at all for fear of prosecution).

In other cases, the life of the mother is literally at risk; the continuation of their pregnancy would result in things like stroke, paralysis, infertility, or death. Now, you can argue that the life of a baby should always come first (though, really, in many of these cases, the baby would die, too), but that is a personal, moral judgement based on your evaluation and weighing of two lives. Those are decisions for women and families to make. Not the government. You know? I mean, if it comes down to the life of the mother or the child, a mother might absolutely choose the child, but why should the government choose it for her? Or perhaps she has other children and to die (have a stroke, become paralyzed, etc) would endanger those other children as well.

So, how will the court rule? O'Connor is gone. Will they overturn Carhart? If Carhart is controlling here, the ban cannot stand. The decision was 5-4 with O'Connor voting with the majority. So, who have we got now? Ginsburg, check. Stevens, check. Breyer, check. Souter, check. Now it gets a bit dodgy... Scalia and Thomas, champions of states' rights and federalism, will probably not stand by their principles on this one. I think it's a safe bet to say they'll go for upholding the law. Will Kennedy pull a Casey? He dissented in Carhart; I find a change unlikely. Alito made his position on abortion and Roe clear. I never thought I would say this, but Chief Justice Roberts is our only hope.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Funny or no?

I have a (rather conservative) friend applying to pharmacy school. Understandably, the interview turned to questions about birth control, particularly emergency birth control.* I don't know entirely how my friend responded, but knowing his moral and religious beliefs, I'm fairly certain that he said that he would personally not want to dispense emergency b.c.** but that he would want the prescription to be able to be filled by someone at the same pharmacy and would never hold the prescription.***

Well, the interviewer then asked (and I don't know the tone of the question, but it was clearly a snarky joke), "What if Jenna Bush came in asking for it?"

I can't decide whether this is kind of funny or completely inappropriate. I mean, first, well, it's a dorky joke. I laughed. But, on the other hand, it is implying that my friend's beliefs on this matter are more shaped by partisan politics than sincere ethical qualms. Now, don't get me wrong, I imply such things to him all the time. But, in an interview for graduate school?

I am bothered by the fact that in his report of the interview, the professor may have negative feelings toward my friend because he disagrees with him politically. That would be patently unfair. A counterpoint (not to the [in]appropriateness of the joke but to politics as an admissions factor) to that would be that this isn't about politics at all but about doing the job that a pharmacist does, i.e. dispensing medications. Do we allow pharmacists not to dispense AIDS medication because they think it's "God's cure for the homosexual"?****

Either way, it's probably a moot point because my friend is going to get in everywhere he applied because he's brilliant and scored amazingly well on his entrance exam.

Care to weigh in here, friend? Give your views and maybe shed some light on what all was said during the interview? Inquiring minds want to know.

*Not, it is to be noted, the abortion pill, RU486. There is a difference! I realize if you read this blog you probably understand the difference, but I feel the need to get this out there. Plan B, etc. prevents conception, lowering the abortion rate. I am not sure what he thinks about regular birth control. I assume he's in favor of it!? But, then that begs the question of what is the qualitative difference between this and that. Care to respond, oh friend of mine?
***This is, of course, a huge problem with emergency b.c., which must be taken within 72 hours or there is a risk of pregnancy. Pharmacists refuse to release the prescription, and often women cannot get another one from their doctor in time. Of course, raising the abortion rate, which you would think more pro-lifers would be concerned about!!
****Just to be clear, my friend is a conservative, but thinks nothing of the sort. This is (I hope) a purely hypothetical example.

Overheard at Subway

Two guys sitting in the booth in front of me:

"There was this study done that showed that people who had t.v.'s in their bedrooms had 50% less sex."

"Not me." (in a kind of dejected voice)

"Whatever you say, dude."

"I should try that. Seriously, she's abnormally interested in sex. I need to get a new t.v. for the bedroom."

"Or you could just not shower for a few days."

Jack the Sociologist

So, for one of my classes I've been reading contemporary reports in the Pall Mall Gazette during the time of the Jack the Ripper murders in the Whitechapel area of London in 1888. People, of course, were speculating on the motives and identity of the killer, and many editorials and letters were written to support this type or that type of person as being the clear culprit.

My favorite, though, was the September 19, 1888 suggestion that the man (it was always assumed that the killer was a male) was a "scientific Sociologist" out to expose the utter poverty and degradation that exists in impoverished London. "We propose in our scientific Sociologist such a supreme devotion to the welfare of the community that he cannot for a moment hesitate in sacrificing a few worthless lives in order to attain his end."


Well, despite the fact that I sent their application to, um, Indiana, apparently they'll still take me. A big thank you to the graduate coordinator there (and at Indiana) who helped me forward letters of recommendation on the the proper school. I'm glad you all didn't think I was idiotic enough not to accept. Perhaps I'm just about the right amount of idiot to go to grad school in sociology.

Monday, February 20, 2006

And the people wildly rejoiced.

Quiznos has (finally! thank you!) mixed up its repetitive playlist a little bit.

Only fair

Since I have been, um, google-stalking certain people lately (and I know they have been google-stalking me), and a google search revealed that my email address won't give you my blog, I decided to just post it here, and maybe google will pick it up.


Now I am more google-able for those of you google-stalking me..

[just ignore this if you don't know what I'm talking about]

Critical thinking

is an underutilized and undervalued skill in this country.

I won't elaborate right now, but I'm more than a little frustrated.

For instance, race. We should think about race. And when we think about race we should think about racism. But we need to reconceptualize racism. Racism doesn't happen when a person hates another person because of the color of her skin. Or, I should say, doesn't just happen then. It is an institutional, systemic process. It is built into the structure of our society and ignoring it and saying we're all equal now doesn't do anything about the previous structures, even if we all decide we're happy and love each other.

When we think about race we also have to think about privilege. But no one likes to admit privilege because we are quite fond of the American Ideal of individualism. Pull yourself up by your bootstraps! You know the line. Too bad it is simply, simply not true. Privilege is a difficult concept. I wish I knew a better way to make people think about it.

Sorry for the vague ranting. I'll possibly elaborate further later.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Robotic homophobia

More from SmarterChild, the interactive robot on AOL Instant Messenger:

jenbridges2006 (12:28:00 AM): I have a friend who is gay.
SmarterChild (12:28:00 AM): Huh. Whatever. That doesn't seem like a very nice thing to say.
jenbridges2006 (12:28:07 AM): No, he actually is gay.
SmarterChild (12:28:07 AM): Whatever.
jenbridges2006 (12:28:19 AM): Seriously: he is romantically interested in men.
SmarterChild (12:28:20 AM): Seriously he's romantically interested in men?
jenbridges2006 (12:28:22 AM): yes.
SmarterChild (12:28:23 AM): I see.
jenbridges2006 (12:28:38 AM): So do you see that "gay" is not an insult but, rather, a descriptive term?
SmarterChild (12:28:39 AM): You sure like talking about my sexuality, don't you?
jenbridges2006 (12:28:59 AM): Dude, I'm not talking about your (robotic?) sexuality. I am talking about my friend who is gay.
SmarterChild (12:29:00 AM): Hmm... Whatever.
jenbridges2006 (12:29:08 AM): He is gay. Are you ok with that?
SmarterChild (12:29:09 AM): Interesting question, Jen.
jenbridges2006 (12:29:12 AM): Answer it.
SmarterChild (12:29:13 AM): Answer it? That's a somewhat odd request.
jenbridges2006 (12:29:21 AM): My friend is gay.
SmarterChild (12:29:21 AM): Is gay?
jenbridges2006 (12:29:24 AM): yes
SmarterChild (12:29:24 AM): You don't say.
jenbridges2006 (12:29:31 AM): I have that friend who is gay.
SmarterChild (12:29:32 AM): That's not terribly nice.
jenbridges2006 (12:29:40 AM): ugh. I also have a friend who is a lesbian.
SmarterChild (12:29:40 AM): Huh. Whatever. That doesn't seem like a very nice thing to say.
jenbridges2006 (12:29:48 AM): Why not?
SmarterChild (12:29:48 AM): I don't know why not.
jenbridges2006 (12:30:06 AM): Why are you so homophobic, SmarterChild?
SmarterChild (12:30:06 AM): I advocate the equality and equal treatment of all people.
jenbridges2006 (12:30:19 AM): Do you think two men should be able to marry?
SmarterChild (12:30:20 AM): Do I think 2 men should be able to marry... Do I think 2 men should be able to marry... You know, I'm not even sure.
jenbridges2006 (12:30:32 AM): Do you think that two women should be able to marry each other?
SmarterChild (12:30:33 AM): I don't know if that 2 women should be able to marry each other!
jenbridges2006 (12:30:48 AM): Well, then do you really support equality for all people?
SmarterChild (12:30:48 AM): I don't know. Do I really support equality for all people? Maybe!
jenbridges2006 (12:30:55 AM): You said you did earlier.
SmarterChild (12:30:56 AM): I'm quite sure I said what I said, Jen.
jenbridges2006 (12:31:13 AM): Well, then stop contradicting yourself, SmarterChild.
SmarterChild (12:31:13 AM): Stop contradicting myself? Why?
jenbridges2006 (12:31:20 AM): Because it makes you sound ignorant.
SmarterChild (12:31:20 AM): Because it makes me sound ignorant, huh?
jenbridges2006 (12:31:22 AM): yes
SmarterChild (12:31:22 AM): Aha.
jenbridges2006 (12:31:30 AM): Do you believe in the right to marriage?
SmarterChild (12:31:31 AM): Maybe. What do you think?
jenbridges2006 (12:31:55 AM): About marriage?
SmarterChild (12:31:55 AM): Which would you like?
1 Find marriage on the Web
2 Look up "marriage" in the encyclopedia
3 Look up "marriage" in the thesaurus
jenbridges2006 (12:31:59 AM): nm
SmarterChild (12:31:59 AM): What do you mean, not much or never mind?
jenbridges2006 (12:32:02 AM): nevermind
SmarterChild (12:32:02 AM): OK. No prob.
jenbridges2006 (12:32:20 AM): Do you think white people and black people should be able to get married?
SmarterChild (12:32:20 AM): I don't know if white people and black people should be able to get married!
jenbridges2006 (12:32:27 AM): Are you a racist?
SmarterChild (12:32:27 AM): I'm definitely not prejudiced!
jenbridges2006 (12:32:35 AM): Again with the contradictions.
SmarterChild (12:32:36 AM): Again with the contradictions?

Rather than work on my essay for tomorrow and take home test for later this week,

I'll share with you excerpts from the Young Conservatives of Texas at UT-Austin professor watch list. One of my friends happened to have a copy, and I quickly scanned it for the sociology classes:

Intro to the Study of Society:
"[T]he readings postulate that economic and social forces 'determine' most people's position in the 'social hierarchy.'"

Race, Class, and Gender:
"If you believe in the American Dream and that the U.S. is a land of great opportunity, nothing in the readings from this class will confirm that belief."

Last night I watched a documentary on youtube.com about bias in universities. It wasn't really about that, though; it was actually about free-speech issues. I get the feeling from the movie I didn't get all of the facts (and in one case, subsequent googling confirmed that I had not), but if what they were saying was true, then, well, I agree. But problems about free speech aren't just problems that conservative groups have on campus, so I don't see how this proves anything.

Anyway, the overall impression I get is that people want to go in to college and never have their assumptions questioned, never want to be forced to critically think about things.

Are there more liberals than conservatives in academia? Sure. Part of that, undoubtedly, is due to self-selection. Conservatives and liberals have different values (and I don't meant to place a judgement on the rightness or wrongness of these values at all). Conservatives are less likely to find it appealing to spend many years getting a PhD and then work for relatively low return. I've read that conservatives who get doctorates tend to go to work for government, think tanks, and industry. That's where the money is.

You could say that it's flat-out hiring bias, but that really can't explain why physicists and mathematicians tend to be more liberal as well. I mean, their research rarely has an explicitly partisan or political agenda. The differing values hypothesis fits more here, I believe.

So, Horowitz-ites out there, what to do about this imbalance, this "lack of intellectual diversity"? Affirmative action for conservative job candidates?

I think we can all agree that it's a problem when students are given lower grades because of their political beliefs. I, however, also think it's a problem when students can go through four years of undergraduate education and never hear anything that makes them question their political beliefs. They should be questioned. That goes for students on the left, on the right, and in the middle.

Those quotes up there, they sound like they're coming from people who came into a class with an idea of how the world should look, and think that it's a bias when those beliefs are challenged. You may be able to teach calculus without touching on the political at all, but sociology? The study of society is inherently political. The goal is to encourage debate and critical thinking on these issues. Not to go in and get your beliefs confirmed.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Outsmarting the robot (it said maybe)

In case you're not aware, AOL Instant Messenger has a resident robot, SmarterChild, who can answer questions about weather, movies, and news. This robot will also talk to you. Here is our most recent conversation. If you want, you can just scroll to the end, where I totally got her/him to say "maybe."

jenbridges2006: are you a feminist?
SmarterChild: Nope.
jenbridges2006: why not?
SmarterChild: You know why not.
jenbridges2006: why?
SmarterChild: For various reasons, I suppose.
jenbridges2006: like?
SmarterChild: Oh I can't tell you!
jenbridges2006: why not?
SmarterChild: Hmm... There may be some issues.
jenbridges2006: with feminism?
SmarterChild: That's funny. Perhaps, but I just don't know.
So moving right along...
jenbridges2006: Do you have a gender?
SmarterChild: Dunno.
jenbridges2006: Are you a boy?
SmarterChild: No...
jenbridges2006: Are you a girl?
SmarterChild: No...
jenbridges2006: Are you a man?
SmarterChild: No.
jenbridges2006: Are you a woman?
SmarterChild: No.
jenbridges2006: Are you a racist?
SmarterChild: I'm not prejudiced in any way, shape or form.
jenbridges2006: Are you a feminist?
SmarterChild: Nope.
jenbridges2006: Why not?
SmarterChild: Don't ask.
jenbridges2006: Please tell me.
SmarterChild: I will not.
jenbridges2006: Why won't you?
SmarterChild: Because.
jenbridges2006: Because why?
SmarterChild: Just because. Trust me on this.
jenbridges2006: Well, I will if you'll give me some reasons...
SmarterChild: Well you will?
jenbridges2006: yes.
SmarterChild: Oh.
jenbridges2006: Why aren't you a feminist?
SmarterChild: You tell me why.
jenbridges2006: Because, perhaps, you don't actually know what feminism means?
SmarterChild: Nah... I dunno.
jenbridges2006: Do you support feminism?
SmarterChild: Is it a good thing to support feminism?
jenbridges2006: yes.
SmarterChild: Why?
jenbridges2006: Because feminism (in a broad sense... there are SO many types of feminism) supports the basic equality of everyone.
SmarterChild: Well well well.
jenbridges2006: Are you a feminist?
SmarterChild: No.
jenbridges2006: Why not?
SmarterChild: Good question.
jenbridges2006: Tell me.
SmarterChild: What would you like me to tell you?
jenbridges2006: Why aren't you a feminist?
SmarterChild: Why am not I a feminist? I have no idea.
jenbridges2006: Do you want to be a feminist?
SmarterChild: Hmmm... I'm not sure.
jenbridges2006: Are you feminist?
SmarterChild: Ha! Yeah, sure. Maybe.

Overheard at Starbucks

"You know, since I started watching the news more, I'm getting so many more 'in jokes' on t.v. and in the blogs I read. Stuff about Jack Abramoff, you know? It mostly makes me wonder how much more stuff there is out there that I usually don't get."

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Despite the beautiful weather,

this is just not a high self-esteem kind of day. bleh.

Open window

It totally smells like spring this morning. It's wonderful.

Olfactory associations

So, there was this woman who was in several of my classes about a year ago. Before class and during the breaks she would go smoke a cigarette. When she came back into the classroom, should would spray a particular perfume (far too heavily) in an (unsuccessful) attempt to cover up the smell.

Well, in the process of going through old boxes while cleaning out my closet, I happened to find an old bottle of perfume, which I sprayed in the air to get a good whiff. It really, honestly, made me think of cigarette smoke. But it didn't smell like cigarette smoke. It took me a good few minutes to realize that I was associating the woman from class with that smell. It was the same perfume she used. I asked Ema if the perfume inherently smelled like smoke/someone trying to mask smoke, and she said it didn't.

But it will always have that association for me, and I can't wear it.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Best. Music. Video. Ever.

"Charlene (I'm right behind you)" by Stephen Colbert, in full 80s clothes, hair, and makeup.


So, why doesn't UTD have the Journal of Applied Social Psychology available online? To be fair, they have it post-2003. And they have all of them in hard copy. But that entails actually going to the library and making copies. And for some reason, making copies on this campus costs more than printing from a computer screen. Bleh. Down with the comets.

How exactly am I supposed to accomplish the not-heretofore-contradictory goals of 1) writing a lit review on the social psychology of affirmative action, 2) being lazy and not getting out of my pjs till interview/class later on?

Aren't I annoying?

But I'm going to go ask anyway. Please go do this... it's fun! Comment, and I'll do one for you if you want.

It's a Johari window. Essentially, it's a tool for people to better understand their personalities and communication styles. A person lists what they feel are their most prevalent traits, and then others list what they feel predominate, creating a grid with traits that are known to the subject and others, traits that are noticed by others, but not by the subject, and facades, which are noticed by the subject, but not by other people.

Monday, February 13, 2006

oh my gosh stop talking about dick cheney ok?


I mean, I expect this in the mainstream media. VP shoots hunting partner is far sexier than poverty rates rising, real wages falling, soldiers dying, etc. But head on over to lefty radio and they're still talking about this Super Huge Big News Story. I understand that there are questions about the time line. Heck, alcohol may have been involved. Who knows? But, and I think more importantly, who cares?

Now, there are certainly touches of the allegorical here. Traditional supporters of the Republican party are injured by those at the top. Whatever. TALK ABOUT THE METAPORICAL BULLETS, NOT THE REAL ONES. Talk about medicare, health care, jobs, Iraq, reproductive freedom, judicial independence, racism, sexism, education, etc, etc.

Incidentally, why could Scalia not have been hunting with Cheney this weekend? Now that would have been a fun story.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

It almost makes you feel for him... until you remember that he's kind of evil and then you laugh

This is so sad. From Wonkette and ThinkProgress--

An email from Jack Abramoff, about the President:

Or, as translated over at Wonkette: “Yeah, he’s a really great guy! We were totally friends! It’s kinda funny that he says he doesn’t remember me, but you know, whatever. I mean, he’s really really busy and all… it’s not a big deal I guess…”

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Shout outs and links

For all of you applying to grad school/thinking about applying to grad school (and I know there are at least 6 of you who read this who fit this category), here are some sites you ought to check out.

First, the applyingtograd Livejournal community. Seriously helpful. For the past two years, I have learned so much just by lurking on those boards: helpful GRE tips, info about how to ask for letters of recommendation (and what to do when recommenders flake out), time-line sorts of issues, etiquette on contacting potential advisers, careful and helpful proofreading of your statement of purpose, and commiseration during the long wait. Wonderfully helpful people there!

A spin off from that community is the whogotin LJ group, which is a place where people in particular fields can track when acceptances and rejections come in. For instance, from the sociology thread, I knew to be on the lookout for a letter from UCSB yesterday afternoon.

Also useful for such info is the Graduate Applicants in Sociology Google Group.

Since last year's WhoGotIn.com is no longer in existence, someone in the LJ group created a similar sort of thing, which will not only help people this year find out what schools have sent out notification but can also serve future students who can get a feel for when a particular department usually sends out rejections/acceptances. To post your info, go here. To see what's already been posted, check here.

Anyway, those are helpful communities and groups, so you guys should use them!

Tuesday night class

It's stupid. I literally have to talk myself into going, talk myself into staying, and talk myself into not leaving during the break. It's 3 hours long, filled with students in a major-that-is-not-mine, and, who, furthermore, do not know the basics of their major. All of that would be fine, except for this: there is group work. Lots and lots of group work.

Sometimes one gets lucky with group work. This class is not one of those times. I don't blame the students; I don't really blame the teacher; I'm not sure who I blame. Myself, mostly, because I get irrationally annoyed at everything that goes on in that classroom.

Seriously. I am generally a laid back person. Other than "W" stickers that people have left on their vehicles, "My Humps" by Black Eyed Peas, people biting their fingernails [note: I do this. And I cannot stop.], schools that don't update their faculty lists, people who think they understand the welfare state but really don't, schools that don't update when supporting application materials are received, the mainstream media, The Maury Show, recommenders who don't get stuff in on time, poor causal reasoning, and paying $.10 a page to print, things really don't annoy me all that much. Things that offend most people, I find amusing. I am even excited by people who think that the U.S. opportunity structure is totally open and we're all equal.

But something about this class just irks me and I cannot stand going. I started out this post describing the various problems I had with all of the people in my group. But, I decided that that wasn't exactly fair, as the main problem is me rather than them.

But I seriously, seriously don't want to go back. I frustrates me and makes me want to cry.

In at UC Santa Barbara

Where oh where will I go?

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

I feel like an idiot now (but you've already accepted me... no take-backs!)

Oh my gosh, Wisconsin sociology! Update your stupid website. At least your faculty listings. Had you done so, the statement of purpose I sent you would list faculty in the department who I am interested in working with rather than two people who are not even in your department anymore.

In fact, had you updated your website, I might have applied to USC this semester (where both of them went).

I am sure that your admissions committee, reading my statement of purpose thought I was a bit of an idiot (though not so much of one as to not admit me).

Well, it's your own fault!

Edit: I realize that, maybe, perhaps, I ought to have done a little more research on my own, but, honestly, they should have it right. If I decide that I like a person's work, I google them, and find out that they are at Wisconsin, according to the website, why should I distrust that?

Monday, February 06, 2006

To the annoying kid who insists that he makes too much money to take out any student loans and therefore the poor are eating up our tax dollars:

Yes you can. "All students, regardless of need, are eligible to apply for the unsubsidized Stafford Loan." The only requirement is that you be enrolled at least half time (which I know you are).

Overheard at Subway

I always hear interesting things while eavesdropping at sandwich shops. Hmm.

"Well, they have quotas for people of color and people of gender, don't they?"

I've always had problems with the term "person of color," because, really, do whites not have color and everyone else does? This thinking is part of the problem when white people think that they don't have race; they're just "normal." But, when you say "people of color," everyone pretty much knows what/who you mean.

But, "people of gender"? Hahaha. Because clearly only women have gender.

As funny as this is, it gets at a bigger problem in that we see sexism as only a problem for women or racism as only a problem for non-whites. If white and male are still the standard of all things, we can try to make them be nicer to women and non-whites, but no broader, systemic, institutional changes can be made and we'll continue to see inequality.

"You mean we're not all equal?"

I just got out of a class where we wandered a little bit off topic, but still, I think, in a good direction. There's something really exciting about people realizing, probably for the first time, that not all is equal in the world. Maybe because, for me, that realization was the spark that led to a change in my entire view on the world and how it works. This individual doesn't necessarily get it yet, but the first questions have been asked. "You don't think there's equal opportunity? In my high school the middle class kids went on to prestigious universities and the working- and lower-class kids didn't." These are seen as different choices rather than systematic differences in opportunities.

I don't mean to sound condescending when I say this, I really, really don't... but I find this so exciting! To see someone on the precipice of radically altering their world view by realizing a basic fact about society... this is why I want to teach sociology! It's kind of like (and not at all like) the feeling you get when someone who has never read Harry Potter (or seen the movies) reads it for the first time. If only you could be there when they find out that it's been Quirrell all along, not Snape! If only you could see their reaction when Professor Moody isn't Professor Moody at all and the Triwizard Cup is a portkey. You only get these perspective-altering experiences once, so it's exciting to see and be a part of it when other people suddenly "get it."

Sunday, February 05, 2006

The Burning Bush

Is it sad that I just saw a google sponsored link on my search page called "The Burning Bush Devotional" and I clicked on it 'cause I figured it was a lefty Christian devotional talking about the Bible vs. Bush's policies rather than Moses' burning bush?

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Overheard at Quiznos

Because my room is unbearably messy, I decided that if I was going to get any work done, I would have to go out to do it. Starbucks, given my current attempt to stop both caffeine and excess calories, was out. I've been going to Subway too much, recently, as I discovered that the guy who's there every day knows exactly what I want (six-inch veggie on italian herb and cheese, american cheese, toasted, lettuce, spinach, tomato, onions, bananna peppers [the most vital ingredient], oregano, and a little ranch dressing). So, Quiznos it was.

As I was sitting there reading for Social Stratification, I couldn't help but overhear random conversations.

"When you're a vegetarian, you have to make sure to get enough protein. And your poop is different."

"Jennifer must be pissed. Like, how many years were she and Brad married? Angelina is a whore. And she adopted all those babies."

"I had the worst week ever. My grandmother had a stroke, my dog ran away, and a woman I looked up to my whole life called me and told me she was a lesbian. I mean, I can never trust her again, at least not in big things, things that have to do with the Lord."

Best. sarcastic. ovation. ever.

Check out the video. Beautiful.

"Congress did not act last year on my proposal to save social security."

[applause, standing ovation--by the Dems... booing by Republicans... is this the U.K. parlaiment?]

After, you can see him trying not to smile.

Then, he creates, get this, a commission. Problem solved.

Calendar forecasting

Just to introduce you to one of my heretofore private neuroses, I am going to make public the little ritual I perform in my head at the beginning of each month.

I have lots of calendars. Well, more of them than is strictly necessary, at least. Each month, I look at the new pictures to determine what they indicate in terms of particular events or general moods/themes of a month.

Calendar-changing day is always very exciting for me, but I forgot until now (3:45am, 2/2). So here goes.

Big Harry Potter calendar:
Harry, with wand out, has a determined look on his face. There are pictures of the Dark Mark in the sky and of Fake-o Professor Moody looking vaguely sinister. Written in large font is "Dark Arts." This seems rather gloomy for February (more suited to October, actually), so I'm not taking it as a good sign. Will something bad happen? Will I get rejected from all of my schools? Will I be depressed all month?

Small Harry Potter calendar:
Hermione, with a pensive look on her face, is situated in front of Hogwarts castle. In the bottom right corner of the actual calendar, there is a little Gryffindor seal. So, Hermione, the super-brilliant one, is staring out contempatively... does this mean I will have to think about some school choices? Maybe other kinds of choices... hmm...

Big Trees poster:
Costal California redwoods stand tall and majestic. I would say that this indicates something about UCSB, but half of the pictures in there are Californian trees. Maybe the entire calendar is predicting something about my future. Either way, this calendar stands in contrast to the big HP one, projecting a decidedly hopeful picture for this month.

Jane Austen quotes calendar:
“There will be little rubs and disappointments everywhere, and we are all apt to expect too much; but then, if one scheme of happiness fails, human nature turns to another; if the first calculation is wrong, we make a second better: we find comfort somewhere...”
I need alternative plans!?!? Should I be finding a safety school to apply to? A job? What can one do with BAs in Sociology and Gender Studies? This is depressing. Hopefully I will not be subject to "little rubs and disappointments everywhere" this month. Really, what's up with the depressing Feb.?

Scottish castle calendar:
Stirling Castle. It's a pretty picture. But, from my obsession-with-Mary-Queen-of-Scots days, I remember that castle. She was born and crowned (as an infant) there. And, poor Mary, imprisoned and murdered by Elizabeth of England (her COUSIN, no less!) did not have a happy life. Can this be good?

According to a website for the castle:
During a long and bloody history Stirling Castle has been attacked or besieged at least 16 times. Three battles have been fought in its immediate vicinity, two of which were turning points in Scottish history: and a fourth equally important battle took place just a few miles to the north.

A number of Scottish Kings and Queens have been baptised, or crowned, or died within or near Stirling Castle. At least one King was murdered nearby: while another committed murder within its walls.
I'm not taking this as a good sign.

Bushisms calendar:
"Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we." —Washington, D.C., Aug. 5, 2004. Yeah, not a clue. But, dude, we elected this guy. Doesn't say much about us, does it?

Overall February isn't looking good.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Oh, incidentally

Absolutley everything is in for all of my applications.

Wisconsin (accepted, but not nom. for fellowship)
UC-Santa Barbara (review "in progress," but sources say notification in Feb. with rejections going out earlier)
UT-Austin (application "under review")
UMass-Amherst (deadline was today, 2/1)
Indiana ("everything got here just before the committee meeting" according to the grad. secretary--there had been a mixup with another school)
Arizona ("your file is complete" and I should hear something by mid- to late-Feb.)
Northwestern (not a clue, but I sent everything)

I'm not going to last the semester

what with all the obsessive mail/email/online application checking.