Friday, November 30, 2007

Yay, Curry!

TheLimey has arranged for a neighbor lady to watch Limelet for a few hours one evening so that we can actually go out together and have dinner. 
We have not gone out together since he was born, so this is a big deal.  We have been wanting to visit the Indian restaurant downtown, so that's our first choice. Then if there's time maybe we can visit the used book store, or get an ice cream, or have a drink, or or or...everything!
It won't be this weekend--the actual weekend of our birthdays--but the following one.  So I have time to figure out when I can manage to wax my eyebrows.  Maybe at work?

Monday, November 26, 2007

"She Liked Her Mother..."

Well geez, I guess that's about all a person's feelings of guilt might allow him to say about the harm he'd done his daughter if he had done something like this.

What seems odd is that some coverage completely omits that statement as well as the discussion about the wife leaving him, which in domestic violence circles is pretty well-known as the most potentially dangerous time in a relationship.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


Turkey Dinner
Originally uploaded by veganmichele
A good "longweekend" to all.

Stuff yourself silly.

Prejudice Dissertation Excerpts

Just in case you care to see some of it.


I operate from the Helms model of oppression and prejudice, which identifies individuals as having many different aspects of social identity (groups we belong to). A person can experience discrimination / prejudice for any identity aspect in which they are a member of the non-dominant group in that aspect. Also, a person can be prejudiced against members of any non-dominant group, including their own.

The most common identity aspects that I examine in my teaching and research are those in Helms's ADDRESSING format. You can look at these aspects (below) and identify for yourself in which aspects you are a member of a dominant group or a subordinate group. Most people are surprised to see in how many aspects they are in a dominant group, because it's easier to notice when we are in a subordinate group.


___Developmental or acquired Disability

___Religion/spiritual orientation



___Sexual orientation

___Indigenous heritage

___National origin


Okay. So, it turns out that prejudice seems to be somewhat of a unified construct. That is, if you are prejudiced against people who are in the subordinate group in one identity aspect, you are likely to be prejudiced against other subordinate groups as well. Altemeyer referred to people with high authoritarianism (another construct that is related to prejudice but not the same thing) as being "equal-opportunity bigots." I think this gets the point across.

So there's your background. Now here are some excerpts from my as-yet-undefended dissertation.


Prejudice-reduction measures during the college years have been examined particularly closely by prejudice researchers. Many researchers have found that exposure to diversity experiences (learning about other cultural groups, interactions with individuals from different social groups, etc.) appears to help reduce scores on various measures of prejudice. However, most studies failed to discern between voluntary diversity experiences and "structural" diversity experiences: those that are obligatory for academic or workplace situational reasons. For this reason, it was often unclear whether the kinds of diversity experiences encountered by students during college actually led to useful outcomes of prejudice reduction, or whether they simply showed who would in any case be further developing their pre-existing open-mindedness.

The present study investigated how obligatory, structural, diversity experiences during college might be related to aspects of prejudice-reduction in college students. It was implemented in hopes of finding that structural diversity experiences might help to reduce prejudice levels in individuals.

However, while there appeared to be somewhat of an effect on levels of ethnocentrism/racism, other subscales and overall prejudice did not seem to be affected by structural diversity experiences. Voluntary diversity experiences predicted both prejudice scores and authoritarianism scores, while structural diversity scores did not predict either. Rather, overall prejudice level appeared to influence the amount of voluntary contact individuals had with those in social groups other than their own.

The study also investigated whether psychological reactance appeared to play any part in modifying the relationship between diversity experiences and levels of prejudice and authoritarianism. The study furthermore investigated whether a number of other factors might also be related to prejudice and authoritarianism, such as general psychological pathology, time spent in college, level of education, and demographic characteristics. Certain demographic features predicted prejudice and authoritarianism scores, and psychological reactance was a predictor for authoritarianism scores, but it was not found to moderate the relationships between other variables.

Finally, participants' answers to open-ended questions about their experiences, attitudes, and behaviors were also examined. Themes present in handwritten short answers suggested that many participants were oblivious to their own prejudices and to their participation in a prejudiced social system.

Summary and Conclusion

The present study was implemented in hopes of finding that structural diversity experiences might help to reduce prejudice levels in individuals. However, while there appeared to be somewhat of an effect on levels of ethnocentrism/racism, other subscales and overall prejudice did not seem to be affected. Rather, overall prejudice level seemed to influence the amount of contact individuals had with those in social groups other than their own. Furthermore, themes present in handwritten short answers suggested that many participants were oblivious to their own prejudices and to their participation in a prejudiced social system. One conclusion is clear: prejudice against many groups is still quite in evidence among college students. This is clearly harmful for those occupying oppressed group status among their peers, as well as for those holding prejudices themselves, who appear to be largely ignorant of their complicity. If structural diversity experiences contribute to reduction of racial prejudice, then perhaps they can be examined and adapted for broader application in helping to reduce overall prejudice during this all-important window of developmental opportunity.

Here, additionally, is figure 1 from page 75, which graphically describes some of my findings from the qualitative portion of the study. I'm especially proud of this part.

Dissertation Advice For Those Just Starting Out

Someone--a shill, you're thinking, but no! a real reader--asked what advice I have for someone just starting out on the potantially long, hard road of dissertation.

So I have some, though I can't promise it's good. Caveat emptor.

1. Read Bertram Karon's inspiring article entitled Becoming a First-Rate Professional Psychologist Despite Graduate Education. (Psycarticles link; you may have to find it elsewhere if you can't get into Psycarticles.) Note the information on page 213 regarding choosing a research topic that you like. Also, while there is obviously a great deal of information specific to graduate psychology, there is a lot of useful information regarding graduate school generally.

2. For more and ongoing inspiration, read the classic Writing Your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a Day. Keep it with your data sheet collection, your laptop, or wherever your "currently using this stuff" pile is so that when you're feeling unmotivated and your mind is wandering, you can pick it up and leaf randomly through it (that's how I used it, anyway.)

3. Man. Choose your dissertation chair, advisor, etc. ever so carefully. Do they have the same values about work style that you do? Will they nudge you, but without lecturing you or condescending? Will they inspire you? Do they have kids, so they know what the heck that's about, if you have kids?

4. Choose a topic you like. I know, some people think that you will then beat it to death and dislike it by the time you are done, but that may be the sign of a bad dissertation experience that would have made a topic of lukewarm interest completely unbearable anyway. Take the idealist's route and ask a question you really want to know the answer to. Also, I hope that you at least like stats and figuring things out with them, even if you aren't a professional statistician.

5. Be prepared to sacrifice free time for a long time if you have to. Meaning a couple of years perhaps. Your partner really has to get this, too, because it's also his or her free time. (If you have kids, then be prepared to simply never have any free time between child care and dissertation.)

People always emphasize self-care, taking time out, etc. etc. Well, theoretically that's true and as a therapist I should also emphasize that myself. BUT. Self-care has degrees. Recognize that sometimes self-care means that you got to shower that day, eat nutritious food, and take several breaks to nurse and care for a baby. It doesn't always have to mean that you get to take the day off and go to the beach. Some days it might, but remember that every friend you have will want to be the one person you take that much deserved study break with, and then you will be socially booked every weekend and unable to work.

It probably depends what life stage you're at, too. For my life stage, not a lot of beach, but I did get the diss done in...what, I guess three years? Wow, I guess I was writing the proposal in December of 2004. (I did that in three weeks, includes lit review and all, pats former self on back.) But during that three years I also took time off to have a baby, in addition to the usual grad school activities.

6. Choose an easy way to do your study. Choose the easiest way possible, in fact. The best dissertation is a done dissertation. When you have those letters after your name, you can do more and better studies in exactly the painstaking way you were thinking of. They are not for now.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Testing Toondoo

The Best Defense a good presentation about your dissertation research project.  Hopefully mine will be at least acceptable when I present on January 11th, which looks likely to be the date.  Pending some double-checking of teaching schedules.  I am so looking forward to hearing the traditional "Congratulations, Doctor."

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

That's It

Finished the contents and the appendices and so forth.
I'm scared to send it out!

Monday, November 12, 2007


The reason I usually turn Spellchecker off: it doesn't know any research words like "interitem" or "kurtotic" or "univariate" and thinks that "multiple regression" should be "multiple regressions."

** ** **

Worse: it doesn't know "pathologize" or "dogmatism" or "anomia" or "Likert" or....cheez, anything important!

THIS Close to Not Being ABD...

Yesterday I finally completed my dissertation. 
I did the tables, appendices, and even a nice figure that I didn't know if I'd be able to do, as well as fixing the formatting of my reference section and checking the verb tenses in the results section.  So the document is done!  I just have to finish the title and contents pages now, and then check everything to make sure that my formatting is not only APA-compatible but also compatible with grad school requirements, which supercede APA requirements if there is a conflict.
I feel like it turned out quite well and I was able to include things I wanted to, and that things are basically in the order I want them.  Of course I don't think it's perfect, but I don't have that unpleasant "I wish I could have done this or that differently..." that so often accompanies a huge years-long research project.  I was even able to incorporate some new research that came out while I was working on it, most notably a journal article on microaggressions that had a lot of very salient and corresponding material to my study.
Wow, two years ago, I wrote up my diss lit review and proposal in about three weeks, because I had to.  So those of you who only have to do a lit review, um....I don't know what I want to say. Something.  Anyway, my thing was way harder than yours, and I'm glad it's done.
So, title and contents pages, check formatting, then review conventions for sending out the reading copies, then make copies and send them out all over the country, or wherever my dissertation committee are right now.  And schedule a defense, probably with some teleconferencing.  Maybe we can do webcam for my committee member who's in Colorado!
Now, if only I can get the financial aid office to stop harrassing me because they think I graduated or dropped out, darn them.

Thursday, November 08, 2007


Gosh, I love silly and even dumb humor.

After seeing this video, I have to wonder why on earth Hatten Er Din is not also on YouTube. (That I can find.) *

Someone, please upload it!

And are there English-language videos anywhere that include silly translations into some other language?

I guess I could make one with Norwegian silly subtitles. Maybe I could get my Korean friends to do one in Korean. Not that any of us have the time or the technology to add text to video, even if we had a video in mind.

Of course, then they'd have to translate it to English so I could understand it.

*And how could I forget this one? Classic, though the subtitles don't start for a while. Princess Leia is the yodel of life.

Shoulds and Anxiety

This year I'm working with a guy who is way-CBT (he trained under Ellis) and I have been learning a lot of really useful stuff about anxiety and anxiety treatment. One of the big things that I am learning to emphasize to clients with anxiety (and myself, of course) is this whole business of "shoulds".

What it really boils down to is that when we believe that there is some kind of universal law about how we (and others) "should" be, any time there is a deviation from that "should", we feel anxiety. A lot of times we are so used to "shoulding" ourselves that the thought has become very automatic and quick, such that we may not even recognize it as a thought. But it is.

The reason that a deviation from "should" provokes anxiety is that at some level we are telling ourselves that, basically, "I will die if things are not the way they 'should' be." This may sound like an overstatement, but time after time when I ask a client to dig down through their fearful beliefs--without censoring themselves, no matter how unrealistic the fear--the bottom thought they are always shocked to discover is "I will die".

For example, "If I don't ace this exam, I will do poorly in this class. If I don't do great in this class, my academic career will be completely ruined. If my academic career is completely ruined, then my parents will stop supporting me. If my parents stop supporting me, I will not be able to support myself adequately. If I am unable to support myself adequately, then I will end up homeless. If I end up homeless, I will freeze to death in an alley, alone." This is a lot more common than you think. I bet you have some thoughts like this that you haven't examined, either--I know I did.

If you will notice, the example person has unconsciously gone from "I should ace this exam" to "...or else I will freeze to death in an alley, alone." I would feel anxious about the exam, too, if I thought my life depended on it! If you lay out the path of the thoughts like that, the person can see what a ridiculous message they are giving themselves. But that's the problem with automatic thoughts--they go immediately from A to C with little recognition of that whole chain in between. Just recognize that we almost exclusively use "should" to beat ourselves up pointlessly.

A way to subvert this is to take the "should" and frame it as a desire or preference, rather than an imperative. In the example above, the person could reframe the "I should ace this exam" into "I want to ace this exam, because I want the consequence of doing well in this class." Reframing a "should" as a preference or want helps to reduce the fear for two reasons: 1) it subverts the whole "...or I will die" message and turns it into "...but I will still be okay if it doesn't happen", and 2) framing anything as a want leads directly to a goal-oriented train of thought such as "I will get the text and study the material" instead of to paralyzed agonizing or procrastination.

So, with apologies to a whole lot of people (we compiled this list from a lot of sources that I don't even know any more), here is a big honkin' list of common "shoulds" for you to look over to see if you recognize some of your own. (Actually, it's easier to start by noticing the "shoulding" that others are doing to themselves.) Oh, we "should" others, too, which leads to anxiety for us as well, but that's another day's work.


I should be the epitome of generosity, consideration, dignity, courage, unselfishness
I should be the perfect lover, friend, parent, teacher, student, spouse
I should be able to endure any hardship with equanimity
I should be able to find a quick solution to every problem
I should never feel hurt; I should always be happy and serene
I should know, understand, and foresee everything
I should always be spontaneous and at the same time I should always control my feelings
I should never feel certain emotions, such as anger or jealousy
I should never make mistakes
My emotions should be constant -- once I feel love I should always feel love
I should be totally self-reliant
I should assert myself and at the same time I should never hurt anybody else
I should never be tired or get sick
I should always be at peak efficiency
I should be liked and approved of by everyone
I should always be successful in the things that I do
I should be further ahead than I am in life
I should always do things perfectly
I should be thin/muscular/sexy
I should have a boyfriend/girlfriend
I should be the same as everyone else (I shouldn't be different)
I should feel confident in every situation
I should be clear about my future and know where I am heading
I should always say the right things at the right time
I should always be able to meet other people's expectations
I should always do what people want
I should always feel calm and in control
I should always be happy
I should never make mistakes
I should put other people's needs before my own
I should never say anything that might make other people feel uncomfortable
I should always make the right decisions
I should be attractive
I should be popular
I should always make the right decisions
I should always look calm and in control
I should be a good student
I should have lots of friends
I should try to please my teacher
I should drive a particular car
I should wear certain brand labels
I should be in with the popular crowd
I should have a cool Ipod and mobile phone
I should be seen at cool venues
I should have lots of friends
I should be competent in everything that I do
I should never make mistakes
I should have lots of money
I should be successful
I should have a cool guy / chick to go out with
I should always be able to say something funny or clever
I should be able to impress the people that I like
I should always try to please my friend
I should feel confident in every situation
I should never need anything
I should always be patient and empathetic
I should never be scared
I should always put my children's needs ahead of my own
I should never be upset about anything anyone says
I should never experience time or energy limitations, or tiredness
With my great intelligence I should have no relationship difficulties
I have forgiven my parents so I should not have any unpleasant feelings towards them

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Blasted Sports Fetishists

I had set aside time during this week to try to finish my dissertation as I am so close to done, and it's really sucking up my life and even the lives of my family (and friends).  I thought I might even get a lot of it done before the weekend, when I could work on it all Saturday as last week. But a lot of things conspired to make getting to the diss this week hard--Limelet had "troubles" on the night I was going to stay an extra hour or so, so I had to come home; there was a client crisis yesterday that sucked up a huge amount of time in the afternoon that was supposed to go to getting my clinic paperwork done and also the time that I had blocked out to get to my diss. 
So yesterday instead of finishing my clinic work, working for a couple hours on my diss, and still getting home for 6pm, I was at work until 7 anyway and didn't even get all my clinic work done, let alone even touching my diss.  Though I stopped myself on the way out, I went ahead and left my laptop and my huge sack of reference materials in the office, as I was going to come back early this morning to get to it, anyway.  However, when I went in today, first I couldn't even get close to the building in the car because of the stupid traffic for the stupid meatball game today.  So I angrily parked off campus in town on the street, in a spot marked "1-hour parking" as that was all that was left.  I figured that if I could make some real progress, it would be worth the price of a ticket.  I wished I had left my car in the lot last night and taken the bus, as long as that might take.
So I walked to the building.  There were shouting louts all over the lawn under tents and with barbecue equipment (9am mind you).  I walked up the steps and tried to walk into the building, but the DOORS WERE LOCKED.  Knowing it was futile, I nevertheless went all round the building, furiously trying all side doors and back doors and what not, even considering windows.  God blessit, if I had just brought my laptop and materials home, I could have just gone to the city library. 
So, anyway, I probably won't be checking my email much, as I have to pry TheLimey away from his also-important work and reset all his logins just to do that, which is a pain.  My furious trembling is beginning to subside, but barely.  I can't believe I can't even get to my computer until Monday.  Next week I have a jam-packed schedule with absolutely no time to set aside for diss, so I won't get to it until NEXT weekend.  I am so frustrated and disheartened.

Thursday, November 01, 2007


Originally uploaded by doctorlizardo
Hope everyone had a happy Halloween. My husband took this one, for once.

The Dark at the End of the Open Space

(Post begun last weekend)

After spending today (a Saturday) at the office, I can say that I'm finally feeling excited about the completion of my dissertation. It's been a huge, endless* plain of information upon which I've wandered for lo, these past coupla years, but now the narrow gully that is the end of my journey is in clear sight.

What we'd been doing is having TheLimey watch Limelet on weekends while I worked on my diss. This worked like a charm. That is to say, most of the time it didn't work at all, and when it did, it may well have been coincidence.

I was doing maybe only an hour or two's worth of work and taking eight hours to do it, because of the constant distraction and interruption. Limelet can't stand having me at home but inaccessible. TheLimey can maybe take him outside for a little while, but that's limited, and also often requires my help to get him ready to go or to get him settled and fed and so on when they return.

So we finally hit upon the obvious solution, which is that I should just take my laptop and materials and head in to my office. After all, it's just across campus. That has worked great! Just a few hours of work actually yields results. It turned out that the building is locked on Sundays, though, so I had to go to the Union then. Still worked well, though less comfortable than my own office with all the amenities 'n' stuff.

Now I've completed 8 of the 16 tables/charts/appendices that are necessary to finish my dissertation. I think that means I'm officially within spittin' distance. After that, I just need to fix some formatting in my references section (easy) and then fix the verb tenses throughout my results/discussion section.

So all you edit-y types, any volunteers to read those sections and help me with the verb tense part?!