Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Memoir Project

Grad school has generally been miserable, painful, and tedious lately. I think this is largely due to my overemphasis on memorizing criteria and stats, both of which are highly detached from real people. The detail-oriented studying serves its purpose, but is not enjoyable, and ultimately not as memorable (which doesn't help come finals and comprehensive exams).

So, I have a new plan, and we'll see how it goes. I'm trying to compile memoirs and other kinds of supplementary texts associated with my courses. I have a little bedtime reading and tea drinking ritual, and these books are going to become a part of it. This week, for example, as I'm reading and memorizing the minutia of schizophrenia, I will also read a memoir (The Center Cannot Hold). I should have DSM-IV Made Easy by Morrison soon, as well, which is supposed to be helpful for remembering criteria and looking at case studies. Hopefully this will all help me paint a more conceptual, memorable picture, remind me that there are real people involved in this stuff, and perhaps more importantly, remind me why I loved psych in the first place--before the massive stress overload.

The downside of more reading is of course that I already have a shitload of required reading and homework, and not enough time for that. But I think if I want to maintain my sanity and not have a total crisis of faith in what I'm doing, this is a pretty necessary initiative. And it is highly school-related, so should not feel too guilty while doing the reading.

If anybody has suggestions of psych-related books, I'm very open to them!

P.S. I also have two undergrad classes of papers to grade this week. Yuck. There is some magical force that makes it so the two classes I TA for both have papers due at the same time. One of the profs has the unfortunate habit of not telling me about the papers until after he already has them turned in, so that I can't plan for this. Makes me rather grumpy, but have to put up with it. That is why I get the stipend, after all.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Poll: Young Unmarried Women for Obama

Check out this poll showing the gigantic margin for Obama among young unmarried women. I wonder if it perhaps has something to do with him not trying to take away our rights to do as we please with our own bodies (among, of course, so many other things). Interesting, no?


Warning: Angry political commentary ahead

The increasingly discussed concept of Obama's tax plan as "socialism" is a bunch of crap as far as I'm concerned.

For one, I don't think most republicans would ever have thought of this on their own. I believe that the word was used and they all thought it was a good idea, so started throwing it around themselves.

Second, I don't know what republicans think taxes are, exactly. Perhaps most of them are so rich that they haven't been paying them much in the past, and are thus unfamiliar with what taxes are and what they do. Americans have been paying taxes for quite some time. Before that, they fought with the Brits about paying them without representation. Jokes about their inevitability are common (death, taxes, can't avoid either...) So, the concept of "spreading the wealth" (if that's what you want to call it) to fund federal programs is not really a new idea. That's how we have public roads and schools and things. When somebody offers to give me some of that money back, I say "Yes, thank you" and stop bitching and whining and calling them names. Of course, I'm just a grad student, and do not make anywhere near $250,000 a year. (Though, I'm really perplexed about how a plumber could be making that much?? Why don't I end this pain and misery right now and go fix some toilets and sinks instead??)

Ahem, anyway, I can see how it behooves somebody with a lot of money to be a republican. However, most of us do not fit that criteria (95% of American families, I believe, the Obama campaign would say). I guess that is why Obama is up so far in the polls right now. And I suppose if taxes are somehow now equal to socialism, then we have been a socialist country for a long time. This is not an idea I think the republicans would enjoy. I would be interested, though, in seeing McCain's plan for running the US without taxing people.

(P.S. I received a call from Obama for America while writing this post. How poetic. They wanted me to volunteer at an office in Van Nuys. Unfortunately, a bit far away from me now. Like...2,000 miles. Wouldn't mind doing some campaigning here if I can find some time in the perpetual business that is my life.)

Rising Suicide Rates in US

Have mentioned before that I expect an increase in suicides with the way the economy has been. This study published by CNN today seems to echo that belief:

Rising Suicide Rates

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Keeping an Eye on WM3 Hearings

This is certainly not a WM3 blog, but the topic is one that remains incredibly important to me, so here is just a little encouragement for people to keep reading and learning about this case. I may not focus my writing on the WM3 in particular, but I do focus on troubled adolescents, a population just as at risk of being targeted as outsiders as these men were when they were arrested as teenagers.

Rule 37 hearings are ongoing for two of the WM3, though the remainder is postponed until November. Information about the hearings (really interesting stuff) can be found at:

WM3 Blog

There are also a few ongoing fundraising projects for the defense team and generally supportive things:

Photo wall
Broken Justice Shirt (my personal favorite)
CD (also a favorite)
Damien Echol's book (haven't purchased this myself quite yet, but read it and loved it, and hope to obtain this and other books about the case in the near future)

Staying informed about the world seems to be more and more depressing these days, but that makes it even more important, not less. I've been too busy with grad school goings on to blog much lately; however, I'm still reading and thinking about all the things I want to say here, and I hope to return to my little corner of the web on a more regular basis soon (now that I have Internet in my apartment, not just the coffee shops).

Friday, October 3, 2008

At some point I will write an actual the meantime, apparently economy-related suicides are becoming more common:

Interesting addendum to this story:
Loan Forgiven

While I am certainly glad this woman no longer has to worry about whether or not she's going to have a home, I worry about the repercussions of this for other people. I've seen more and more stories lately about people killing themselves and now even their family members because of financial difficulties--difficulties so great that they think they will never recover. In this day and age, these fears can be justifiable, but I would hate to see anybody attempt to kill themselves, or make it look like it, because they think it will get them out of their foreclosure.