Wednesday, November 29, 2006

I now remember why I don't do fiction...

... it's because it is a deep, dark black hole that I can't seem to find my way out of until the book is finished. I walk around reading it, I stay up until 3 in the morning finishing "one more chapter" that turns into four or five more.

I have lamented about this problem of mine before. I'm not sure what to do. The obvious solution is simply not to read fiction. And I generally do that very well. But what can I do when I am currently 120 pages into a 600 page book? This is several more days' worth of commitment. I can't just stop.

See, and it all links back to my unproductive holiday weekend, where I watched The Cider House Rules (the movie). So I had to go get the book. That was a dumb idea.

Anyway, one more chapter, and I'll post on the discussion boards for theory and work on my social psych paper...

I miss law.

I think after I get my PhD (I know what you're thinking--that's quite a ways away, missy!) I'll go to law school. I took several law classes in undergrad (Constitutional Law, Civil Liberties, Civil Rights Law, Law and Gender...) and besides a few of my sociology and gender classes (largely ones taught by two professors from whom I took multiple classes), they were my favorite.

Many of my sociological interests are to do with the law--how groups are constructed through the law, how the law is constructed, etc.

I spent most of stats class today looking at the faculty at top law schools. It's not uncommon for them to have both JDs and PhDs. I think this is really something I'd be interested in doing (becoming a law professor, that is).

Only problem with law school is that they tend to charge you for it. It costs a lot more than grad school. There are a few funded LL.M and other law master's programs out there. That might work. I just feel like I love the law but don't really have a great grounding in it. Not near as much as I would like anyway.

I also want to be on the Supreme Court one day, and what better way to start down that path than to actually go to law school?

Sunday, November 26, 2006


Despite my grand ambitions on this long weekend, my greatest accomplishment has been watching more movies than I have watched during this entire semester. I have watched more television than is strictly decent, to quote Ron Weasley.

What have I watched?
The Cider House Rules
Love Actually
Miss Congeniality

In addition, I have watched various History Channel specials on the engineering of the Roman Empire, the history of tobacco production and consumption, and far too many episodes of Reba and Still Standing.

It's truly pathetic. Why can't I seem to be productive at all?

Edit: add, um, My Best Friend's Wedding to that. I'm starting it right now. Damn TBS. I'm reading during commercials, though!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Happy belated birthday!

This blog is now two years (and a few days) old. Except for exceptionally slacking summers, I've kept up okay. At least I haven't abandoned it, as I have two livejournals, one Xanga, a myspace, and untold scores of diaries.

In I-am-an-idiot news, I just wasted the about $15 dollars I spent on printing today. I decided to get some of the reading done by taking a nice warm bath. I had (illegal in my apartment) candles set up, lovely music in the background, and started filling the bathtub. I let it fill a little too long. And the little drain near the top of the tub didn't work. So it overfilled. Only slightly, I caught it before there was too much spilled water. But enough to drench (and render unreadable) my printed articles.

In further illegal news, I want a cat. This living with no one is kind of sucky. But, no, I don't particularly want a roommate. Unless it's Ema, but she's far away. A pet would be lovely. But not a dog--dogs require taking out regularly. No, a cat would be lovely. I know I can't bring Nino here. And if I got one now, I'd have to deal with the taking it home in December problem. I don't know. But I do know that the permissible pets (i.e., fish in small tanks) won't do the trick.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

They already have Bill O'Reilly....

More info on this supposed FOX conservative humor show that I talked about a post or two ago.

I still don't get it. Humor is often humorous because it is anti-establishment. It takes pot shots at the people with power, with those at the top of society. John Stewart isn't "liberal," he's funny. He finds humor in the system, in the media, etc. (Stephen Colbert is a conservative character, thus making fun of conservatives, but again, his humor relies on the media system, which he is parodying... the cult of personality talk shows.)

Speaking of right wing comedy, here is comedian Julia Gorin. It's painful to watch, but you should try. She almost sounds like she's a parody of conservatives when she's talking about how she feels positively liberal when she sees skinny women: "some people have so much while others have so little. It's the only time I want to share." uh. So, for your joke to work, there's an assumption that conservatives are completely unconcerned about inequality. As a non-conservative, I don't think that's completely fair to conservatives, but whatever. Anyway, have a look. She's in front of a sympathetic audience, but near the end she looses even them.

I wonder if this new conservative comedy will be hiring conservative (not-so-)funny man Michael Richards. Remember? Kramer/racist comic.

From my experience with right-wing humor (remember, I listen to conservative talk radio), here are examples of what will probably be their standard jokes. Variations on:
Nancy Pelosi is a man.
Ted Kennedy is a drunk.
Michael Moore is fat.
Bill Clinton is a slut.
Feminists just want abortion rights so they can be sluts like Bill Clinton.
Howard Dean yells like a girl.
Monica Lewinsky was fat anyway.
Hillary Clinton is... Hillary Clinton.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

important books (fiction edition).

Little Women. Damn Louisa May Alcott for not getting the Jo/Laurie plot right. But, part of LW's appeal is that it has this problematic ending that girls have re-written generation after generation. If it had been done properly, the book probably would have passed into obscurity. I feel like I'm in good company. Very Important Feminist philosopher Simone de Beauvoir wrote that "the relationship between Jo and Laurie touched me to the heart. Later, I had no doubt, they would marry one another; so it was possible for maturity to bring the promises made in childhood to fruition instead of denying them: this thought filled me with renewed hope." She re-read and re-read, hoping the ending might change. Realizing how stubborn text can sometimes be (as I did), she re-wrote the ending (also, sadly enough, as I did). Alcott's ending to LW is part of its continuing appeal, regardless of how much it continues to piss me off.

Gone With the Wind. Obviously, this post is primarily about LW because I just watched it, reread the end, and am upset at LMA again. But GWTW is pretty great. I read it for the first time in 7th grade. It was worth 36 AR points! Totally wrote fan-fiction about this one, too. I also carried around a big binder of GWTW "facts" and interesting information. I am still known in some quarters as "the Gone With the Wind girl."

Anne of Green Gables. I reread this series every spring break. Well, not the whole series. I always stopped after Anne of the Island, the third one, after she got engaged to Gilbert. What was the point after that, really?

Harry Potter series. Man, am I ever grateful to Mrs. Terry and UIL Lit Crit for this one. I would never, ever have thought to pick up HP. Can you believe I used to root for Harry and Hermione? Ew. Totally Ron/Hermione and Harry Ginny. But unlike with, say, Anne, this is not primarily about the romance plot (though Anne is wonderful, regardless of Gilbert). Harry Potter just plain rocks my socks off. I've gone to every midnight release (book and movie) since book 5 and movie 2 and I intend to go to the next (and last!!) book, whenever it gets here.

Pride and Prejudice. I only ever started to like Jane Austen because Laurence Olivier, who was married to Vivien Leigh (until that horrible, horrible person Joan Plowright broke them up), who played Scarlett O'Hara in GWTW, was in the (horrible, completely unlike the actual book) 1940 version of the movie. But, that led me to the book, which led to to all the other Jane Austen books (and movies), which, sadly enough, led me to not only fan-fiction but fan-poetry.

Mary, Queen of Scotland and the Isles. I ran across this one in Ms. Schneider's 10th grade world geography classroom. It was on the shelf, I picked up one day, and Ms. S said I could take it home. I was hooked. I became obsessed with British royalty. I once, I kid you not, had a mapped out genealogy of all the royal families of Europe, poster size, on my wall. Most importantly, my engagement with the story of Mary Stuart began my severe hatred of the murderous Elizabeth I of England, who even surpasses Joan Plowright on my, if I were Stephen Colbert, "dead to me" list.

Other important, though far less influential, fiction books:
--To Kill a Mockingbird
--The Secret Garden
--A Little Princess
--The Chronicles of Narnia
--Handmaid's Tale

Monday, November 20, 2006

Watching Little Women makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Even when I'm sick and tired but can't get to sleep.

the death of irony.

So, apparently, FOX News is planning to create its own Daily Show/Colbert Report-esque comedy show. Really? So, FOX news is going to have fake news? Wait, is this new?

I mean, they'd essentially be making fun of themselves. Probably a left-wing version of themselves, but the problem isn't the ideology they hold, but the way in which they present themselves as "fair and balanced."

I mean, Jon Stewart is a pretty equal opportunity kind of comic. Republicans have been in power, so they've been the targets, but Dems will get it just as much.

I don't think it will sell, either. Talk radio doesn't sell on the left because lefties tend not to like yelling ideologues telling them what to think. Parody won't work for the right because they take themselves too seriously.*

Satire is difficult to pull off. It requires a particular kind of cynicism and skepticism about the system rather than blind acceptance and adherence. But if FOX can do it well, I'll watch.

*I am aware, my conservative and liberal friends, that these are generalizations. But generalizations that are borne out by the data and the failure of Air America Radio.

I can't get to sleep.

Of course, it doesn't help that I'm trying to sleep to Supreme Court oral argument audio. Right now I'm listening to Gonzales v. Planned Parenthood, one of the abortion cases argued earlier this month. I've come to a few conclusions:
  • late term abortion is really, really horrific. I support a ban (on that kind of abortion), though there must, must, must be exceptions for the mother's health. That is, of course, was the present case is about.
  • training in statistics should be mandatory in law school. It is really important for lawyers and judges to know what's going on with statistical significance, etc.
And, unrelated:
  • I just realized, while not sleeping, that I have no luggage, suitcase, or duffel bag with which to bring clothes home for Christmas.
  • I'm craving some la Madeleine, which does not exist in Tucson.

Friday, November 17, 2006

bullet points

  • I should stop listening to CSPAN's Supreme Court justice profiles at night. I can't sleep, but I know a whole lot about David Souter. I wonder if it'll help me tell his voice apart from Breyer's during oral arguments.
  • A quick look at the UTD calendar confirms my suspicions: this week was indeed the last full week of classes for my alma mater. Oh how I miss those long winter breaks. They've got next week interrupted by Thanksgiving, then like one day of classes, then it's finals time.
  • I'm sick. I don't know what's up. Probably allergies. I didn't go to class or into the office yesterday. I probably will tomorrow though.
  • I'm married to Jon Stewart now. On facebook, anyway.
  • I am now using Firefox, and I really like it.
  • I can't wait for Christmas. Or at least Christmas break. Well, the 19th, when I actually go home. Maybe tomorrow night I'll make a paper chain. Or get a calendar and start crossing off days a la Harry Potter. Of course, he was counting down days until he got to go back to school.
  • Speaking of Harry Potter, when is that next book coming out?
  • Because I was drugged up on sudafed all day, I slept a lot, and I'm not tired now. But I need to be up fairly early in the morning. This is never good.
  • I'm really interested in the actions of courts that are appointed vs. elected. Does anyone know of any good research on this?

Thursday, November 16, 2006

If nothing else good comes from this change of power...

Reuters: The outgoing chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, James Inhofe (R-OK), on Thursday dismissed a U.N. meeting on climate change as "a brainwashing session."

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Have I ever told you how much I love CSPAN online?

Well, I love it alot. Where else can you watch Justice Scalia (with whom I often disagree but love intensely*... I named my cat after him) debate the president of the ACLU?

I guess the only other place is on CSPAN. But on tv, you have to sit through British parliamentary hearings about who knows what. At, you can just skip right to the good stuff.

*Seriously, Scalia is awesome. Say whatever you will about his being evil and all, his opinions are masterpieces of wit and outrage. They are often wrong, but they are wonderful nonetheless.

Monday, November 13, 2006

"...But there's no 'white history month'"

I just flipped through the radio on my way home and heard some local talk show host lamenting the fact that "if you give a scholarship just to white young men or want to create a 'white entertainment television,' you'd be considered racist."

I hate, hate, hate this.

Every month in every history class is white (usually male) history month. Sure, sometimes you get the little sidebar in the textbook about this or that famous black person/white woman.

I seriously want to punch people in face when they say this. Do they not realize how much privilege they get by being white?

This makes me think of that Peggy McIntosh article about white privilege. I always try to get people to read it and they never will. I can't wait until I teach a class so that I can assign it. If I give quizzes, they have to read. This might be my primary reason for wanting to be a professor. I can make people read things.

So, I'm not going to post the entire article. Just the list. You should read it.

But first, a great quote: "I was taught to see racism only in individual acts of meanness, not in invisible systems conferring dominance on my group."

  • 1. I can if I wish arrange to be in the company of people of my race most of the time.
  • 2. I can avoid spending time with people whom I was trained to mistrust and who have learned to mistrust my kind or me.
  • 3. If I should need to move, I can be pretty sure of renting or purchasing housing in an area which I can afford and in which I would want to live.
  • 4. I can be pretty sure that my neighbors in such a location will be neutral or pleasant to me.
  • 5. I can go shopping alone most of the time, pretty well assured that I will not be followed or harassed.
  • 6. I can turn on the television or open to the front page of the paper and see people of my race widely represented.
  • 7. When I am told about our national heritage or about "civilization," I am shown that people of my color made it what it is.
  • 8. I can be sure that my children will be given curricular materials that testify to the existence of their race.
  • 9. If I want to, I can be pretty sure of finding a publisher for this piece on white privilege.
  • 10. I can be pretty sure of having my voice heard in a group in which I am the only member of my race.
  • 11. I can be casual about whether or not to listen to another person's voice in a group in which s/he is the only member of his/her race.
  • 12. I can go into a music shop and count on finding the music of my race represented, into a supermarket and find the staple foods which fit with my cultural traditions, into a hairdresser's shop and find someone who can cut my hair.
  • 13. Whether I use checks, credit cards or cash, I can count on my skin color not to work against the appearance of financial reliability.
  • 14. I can arrange to protect my children most of the time from people who might not like them.
  • 15. I do not have to educate my children to be aware of systemic racism for their own daily physical protection.
  • 16. I can be pretty sure that my children's teachers and employers will tolerate them if they fit school and workplace norms; my chief worries about them do not concern others' attitudes toward their race.
  • 17. I can talk with my mouth full and not have people put this down to my color.
  • 18. I can swear, or dress in second hand clothes, or not answer letters, without having people attribute these choices to the bad morals, the poverty or the illiteracy of my race.
  • 19. I can speak in public to a powerful male group without putting my race on trial.
  • 20. I can do well in a challenging situation without being called a credit to my race.
  • 21. I am never asked to speak for all the people of my racial group.
  • 22. I can remain oblivious of the language and customs of persons of color who constitute the world's majority without feeling in my culture any penalty for such oblivion.
  • 23. I can criticize our government and talk about how much I fear its policies and behavior without being seen as a cultural outsider.
  • 24. I can be pretty sure that if I ask to talk to the "person in charge", I will be facing a person of my race.
  • 25. If a traffic cop pulls me over or if the IRS audits my tax return, I can be sure I haven't been singled out because of my race.
  • 26. I can easily buy posters, post-cards, picture books, greeting cards, dolls, toys and children's magazines featuring people of my race.
  • 27. I can go home from most meetings of organizations I belong to feeling somewhat tied in, rather than isolated, out-of-place, outnumbered, unheard, held at a distance or feared.
  • 28. I can be pretty sure that an argument with a colleague of another race is more likely to jeopardize her/his chances for advancement than to jeopardize mine.
  • 29. I can be pretty sure that if I argue for the promotion of a person of another race, or a program centering on race, this is not likely to cost me heavily within my present setting, even if my colleagues disagree with me.
  • 30. If I declare there is a racial issue at hand, or there isn't a racial issue at hand, my race will lend me more credibility for either position than a person of color will have.
  • 31. I can choose to ignore developments in minority writing and minority activist programs, or disparage them, or learn from them, but in any case, I can find ways to be more or less protected from negative consequences of any of these choices.
  • 32. My culture gives me little fear about ignoring the perspectives and powers of people of other races.
  • 33. I am not made acutely aware that my shape, bearing or body odor will be taken as a reflection on my race.
  • 34. I can worry about racism without being seen as self-interested or self-seeking.
  • 35. I can take a job with an affirmative action employer without having my co-workers on the job suspect that I got it because of my race.
  • 36. If my day, week or year is going badly, I need not ask of each negative episode or situation whether it had racial overtones.
  • 37. I can be pretty sure of finding people who would be willing to talk with me and advise me about my next steps, professionally.
  • 38. I can think over many options, social, political, imaginative or professional, without asking whether a person of my race would be accepted or allowed to do what I want to do.
  • 39. I can be late to a meeting without having the lateness reflect on my race.
  • 40. I can choose public accommodation without fearing that people of my race cannot get in or will be mistreated in the places I have chosen.
  • 41. I can be sure that if I need legal or medical help, my race will not work against me.
  • 42. I can arrange my activities so that I will never have to experience feelings of rejection owing to my race.
  • 43. If I have low credibility as a leader I can be sure that my race is not the problem.
  • 44. I can easily find academic courses and institutions which give attention only to people of my race.
  • 45. I can expect figurative language and imagery in all of the arts to testify to experiences of my race.
  • 46. I can chose blemish cover or bandages in "flesh" color and have them more or less match my skin.
  • 47. I can travel alone or with my spouse without expecting embarrassment or hostility in those who deal with us.
  • 48. I have no difficulty finding neighborhoods where people approve of our household.
  • 49. My children are given texts and classes which implicitly support our kind of family unit and do not turn them against my choice of domestic partnership.
  • 50. I will feel welcomed and "normal" in the usual walks of public life, institutional and social.
Update: So, I thought I'd wikipedia "white privilege" and, sure enough, I found this entry. But, this is funny: a conservative talk show host (not unlike the one who sparked this post), said, of white privilege: "[i]t's not 'unearned.' It was earned for you by the hard work and self-discipline of your ancestors and relatives."

lol. Brilliant. Why don't we just go ahead and make a caste system? The people on top had very hard-working ancestors.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

How much have I gotten done this weekend?

None. I'm like halfway through an article I need to write a paper about. I need to do stats, and it looks relatively time intensive. I need to come up with a final outline for my social psych final to show to H.W., I need to work on a lit review for K., and I need to get some SNA stuff done. Now that I write it out it doesn't seem as long as it does in my head. But, right now, most of all, I need to get something to eat. I am hungry, but I have no food in my apartment. And I would have to shower and get dressed in order to go to the store. So I'm going to drive through Wendy's and get a baked potato and a Caesar salad. I would go to subway or quiznos, but that would require getting out of the car. I wish I could describe to you how disgusting my hair is at the moment. I can't get out of my car. Then I have to come home, get work done, and take a shower.

Update: So, I went to the store anyway. Sometimes, I read other peoples' blogs and feel better about myself. This is an opportunity for me to make you feel better about yourself. So, I decide to go to Fry's. Bear in mind that my hair is disgusting (last night I took a bath, where my hair got soapy wet, but I didn't shower after that, this morning I worked out, was going to shower afterwards, but ended up napping instead, and haven't showered yet..but it's not horrible, because I've put it up in a bun), my clothes are just whatever I could find (crappy t-shirt and some capris), and I'm wearing black flip flops that I've had for about a year. First thing, in Fry's, I manage I knock down a medicine display with my cart. Then I manage to accidentally shoplift. Which I got caught for. (It wasn't so bad... a thing of sugar-free orange drink mix had slipped into the side of the shopping cart, I hadn't seen it, and the person at the door asked about it on the way out.) So, then I'm walking out in the parking lot, hands full of heavy, heavy bags. And I trip. Into a water(?) and mud mixture. I look disgusting. When I'm standing up, I manage to somehow break my flip flops in such a way that repair is out of the question. So I throw it away. The ride home wasn't so bad. But, while driving, my hair falls out of its bun, so I go to re-do it. The band breaks. So, you know how gross, dirty hair looks after it's been up for a while? Yeah, my hair looked like that and there was nothing I could do to fix it. When I got home, I could only find a parking space on the fourth floor of the garage. So, with my muddy clothes, one shoe, and disgusting hair, I walk down floor flights of steps with an overload of groceries. Surprisingly, I do not fall. I do run into people on the way, though. These people studiously avoid making eye contact. I would too.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

I will withhold the gloating.

I'm happy, but not naively so. But any change is good change from that bunch. And some pretty awful people are out, so that can only be a plus. This video I found on youtube makes me happy. It might make you happy too.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Are we going to let them get away with it this time?

Voter intimidation, calls telling people their voting location has changed (from "democratic volunteers), that they will be arrested if they vote, fliers in African American communities that say "SKIP THIS ELECTION," voting machine problems... and that's just what's been documented in Virginia.

I just saw on CNN that people have been calling Montana voters and telling them that they will have to cast provisional ballots that are subject to challenge.


When voting tomorrow, report any fraud or intimidation you see. This is important. This is your democracy.

(Is John McCain seriously doing commercials against Janet? lol. Doesn't going against like 70% of the people hurt his credibility? Well, he's also doing ads for Prop. 107. So who knows what's going on in his mind.)

Finished with social psych and stats

And it's not even midnight. I could read and respond on the discussion boards for theory. Or I could clean. Or I could go to bed. But instead, I think I'll sit here and fret about an election I can't do a thing about, looking at poll after poll, stressing about Montana, sending prayers for the voters of Tennessee, crossing my fingers for Virginia, and debating the Lincoln Chafee question with myself. I would like to say that it will be lovely 24 hours from now when it should all be over. But I fear that most of the most interesting races are going to end up contested, with no results for days or even weeks.

Happy Election Eve!

I don't know how tomorrow will go, but I have high hopes. Right now I don't have time for any detailed post. But, here are some bullet points.
  • I have an extremely low tolerance for awkward silences in classrooms. I don't know how much more social psych I can take.
  • Speaking of social psych, man, am I an idiot. This weekend, while I spent time relaxing, reading for the final paper, I completely forgot about the paper that's due at noon today. Yeah, it's 7:15 right now. Not really a paper, a presentation write-up for Wednesday. No one ever gets them in on time. But I'm still an idiot.
  • Still need to finish up stats.
  • I got the tastiest chai tea bags and now make the tastiest (no? well, ok, the cheapest) chai latte ever.
  • Jim Pederson is rising in the polls.
  • I hope we hire the person who gave a job talk in the department today.
  • I got four hours of sleep last night, and tonight's looking iffy.
  • ELECTION NIGHT PARTY TOMORROW. My place. Whenever. We'll watch Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, and make fun of the CNN and FOX guys.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

more on this later, but

Isn't it kind of ironic that Bush is calling out Kerry for a mangled speech?

Personally, I demand Bush apologize for the horrible, horrible threats he made against the people of the United States. "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." --President Bush, Aug. 4, 2004. Obviously, that was a not-so-veiled threat. And he has yet to apologize. Despicable.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

we're not in texas anymore

Oh the joys of living in a semi-swing state during an election year. You're like the cool kid and everyone wants to be your friend. All the popular people are coming and telling you how fun and important you are and how much they just love you.

What popular people? Well, tomorrow evening I'm going to go hear President Clinton speak on behalf of Arizona congressional candidates.

Last week I met John Edwards. A few weeks ago, I could have met Nancy Pelosi. But I wanted to sleep in. How cool is it that I live in a place where I can choose to sleep in rather than meet Nancy Pelosi? If I were in Texas, I would wake up at 5 in the morning for this. But here? Run of the mill election year hype.

I've met many Arizona national and state-level candidates, including Jim Pederson and Gabrielle Giffords. I've heard Gov. Janet Napolitano speak twice. I've gone to rallies and debates.

In Texas, this kind of involvement would indicate an amazing level of commitment. In Arizona, it's right down the street. In fact, it's difficult to not be involved.