Friday, December 31, 2004

Tsunami Charities Rated

Check here to see tsunami relief charities rated. I've been reading so much about this, thinking so much, that I'm not even going to post more about it. It's all being said all over the place. In short: Unfathomable. And we (the US) aren't doing enough. And please give. That about sums it up. I've provided an easy link on the sidebar if you're feeling lazy but generous.

Ho Ho Ho

Hee hee hee

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Perfect Day

I woke up at 10:30am without a headache for the first time in many days. I tribed for 2 hours. I ate oatmeal, lovely oatmeal, the best food on earth. I paid some bills. I decided that after 48 hours in the apartment in my jammies, it was time to get outside. My goal was to take out the trash and get my New Year's Day fixins lined up. I went to Easy Way and got TWO bunches of collards for a freakin' DOLLAR! Next, I went to Otherlands Coffee Shop for coffee, food, and free WiFi. I ended up meeting three very lovely people who I spoke to for about an hour and a half. They were all in their late 20's. Two were a couple visiting from New York. The woman had grown up in Memphis, and she was a weaver. The man was in training to be a Lutheran minister, but he was really cool, too! The third guy had grown up with the woman and was an intense opinionated sort. He'd actually been my waiter when I first moved here!

After that, I went to Shnuck's (the other grocery store) to get the rest of the stuff. On my way in, I got a call from friends who said, "Let's go out," and I was like YEAH! So they met me back at my place, and we went to Automatic Slim's Tonga Lounge for a mighty fine meal, then we wandered around a very busy Beale Street amidst all the whatever-it-is Bowl fans with their bright orange and red shirts. After that, we went to the Peabody Hotel and had drinks in the lobby, then went up to the roof and wandered around, looked out of the city on a very pretty night, said hello to the ducks. I just got home. That was way fun! And dog gone-it! I forgot my camera! What was I thinking?! The only way this day could have been more perfect is if Aaron were here with me, but he's arriving tomorrow. Maybe we can arrange another perfect day together. :D

Tomorrow night is New Year's Eve. I won't go out cuz drunk drivers aren't my bag, baby, but I will reflect a bit on the year. It's been an action-packed one!

iPod Update

Well, so far, there are two people who have signed up as referrals from me, but they haven't completed their offer, but I guess it takes a while for that to show on the site. But w00t! And those two aren't my mother, my father, or my boyfriend, AND Simon says he signed up, too! So thanks, Shad. Thanks, Simon. Thanks other random Tribe person I don't know! Now let's get this party started! FUN!

Oh, and I'm actually kind of excited about my movies coming in the mail from Blockbuster. I did a free one month Netflix a while back, and I really enjoyed it!

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Poor Kevin Sites

Poor Kevin Sites, of the revealing blog about Iraq, decides to go on vacation and ends up in the middle of a tsunami! It seems he is on this earth for a purpose!

Too much time on my hands today, and I'm watching all this amateur video of the tsunami. Rich people at fancy resorts, taking in the sunshine on a gorgeous day, and within seconds, they are underwater. The word I keep thinking of is unfathomable. I mean, that many people dead that quickly. It's more than I can mentally digest.

---

On another note, regarding my free iPod, I said I don't wanna argue about the validity. I trust Wired magazine! OK, no more of that!

Abby's Position Statement on ADD and ADHD

Yet another Tribe friend contacted me this morning to say that he thought he might have ADD. I know that for each person who begins to have these thoughts, it's a brand new world of consideration, but for me, whether or not someone has ADD or ADHD is kind of a regular part of my week, both personally and professionally.

Let me cut you off right now if you think you're going to find a nice person to debate the very existence of this disorder with me. You see, I'm not interested. I know a lot more about this than you do, and I'm not interested in bringing you over to my side about it. That's your question to consider, not one I ever wish to debate ever again. I've put in my time on that one. Been there. Done that.

If you ask me whether I think ADD or ADHD exists, I will say that, without question, it does. Is it overdiagnosed? Absolutely. Do I believe in medication? For those who need it, absolutely yes. For 4 year old kids? Almost never. At that age, being hyper and inattentive is developmentally appropriate. Wait until your kid is 7 and then get back to me. Is stimulant medication overprescribed? Oh my god, YES!

The next thing I want to do is to answer a question you may be about to ask. That question is: What's the difference between ADD and ADHD? Well, the H was added not that long ago, and it stands for Hyperactivity. It was added because some people have a lot of hyperactivity (as in wiggly-ness) and some people don't. When it comes down to it, I just don't think the distinction is all that important. In my mind, the only salient point here is that if you don't have the H, there is a much better chance that your issues with concentration, attention, and impulsivity will be much less likely to be noticed. I tend to call it all ADD. When I was first diagnosed and medicated (in 1979), they were calling it Minimal Brain Dysfunction. Seriously!

A few important points:
  • There are many look-alike issues that are misdiagnosed as ADD. Examples are anxiety, learning disability (No, not low IQ. LD is when your IQ is normal or above, but you're struggling in one particular area.), Autism, childhood depression (especially in boys).
  • It is possible to have ADD and another diagnosis at the same time. I've noticed lots of kids with ADD and Anxiety, ADD and Depression, and I've worked with many kids with Austism or Asperger'w who are also medicated with stimulants.
  • If you weren't having any issues before age 7, or if you spontaneously started having problems when you got to college, it probably isn't ADD. It doesn't just start mid-life. On the other hand, you may have been smart enough to get along fine until greater organization and longer readings came into play, and then WHAMMO! If that's the case, then maybe it's ADD.
  • If you or your kids ends up on meds, try keeping a journal of the effects, including appetite, sleep patterns, and when concentration is good and bad. Getting the dosage amount and timing right requires close med monitoring. It's rare that the first prescription will work perfectly. It almost always needs tweaking, and over time, the effects can morph, so keep in close touch with your or your child's psychiatrist.
  • ADD relates to inconsistent attention, not poor attention at all times. Kids with ADD who are having trouble with homework might work harder if you can find a way to link their work to their interests. If a kid likes baseball, then he will write more if it's about baseball. True for all kids, but MORE true for kids with ADD. And true for adults with ADD, too.
  • They used to say we grew out of it. WRONG! So not the case. We get less wiggly, but that's it. Trust me on this one.
  • People diagnosed with ADD as adults often report that they were smart enough to finish college or follow through on adult responsibilities, but for some reason they didn't. That's a story I hear a lot more often than you'd think. I'm just saying.
  • Do I think you shouldn't take stimulants when you aren't at work or school? NO! Take them every day. It's affecting your social skills and your basic tasks of life more than you know.
  • ADD and Sex. Can ADD affect your sex life? YES! This is one that isn't written about a lot, but I learned a lot about this from a shrink who works with my dad. She said that most adults with ADD are either chronic masturbators/sex addicts OR they are extremely sensitive to touch and have almost a forcefield around them. Interesting. I wish someone would write more about this.
  • A wise shrink once said that adults with ADD are very sensitive, but they lack insight. So, they take it very personally when someone tells them to chill, but they don't have a clue what they were doing that led someone to tell them that in the first place. They are not great judges of their own behavior. I have found this to be true.
Internet Junkies and ADD

OK, so lots of people who hear that I'm a psychologist-type and that I have ADD approach me on Tribe wondering if they have ADD. Here's my thought about that. I gravitate to people who are speedy and fast thinkers because that's how I am. Everyone else are what my friend Adam calls "the slows!" I think that Tribe and Internet Junkies are more likely to have ADD than the average man on the street. Hell, sometimes I think that the ability to keep up with me might constitute a diagnostic criteria! But I don't want to be the one to start diagnosing my friends. I can't do that ethically. It just ain't right.

The Advice

If you are an adult, read Driven to Distraction. If you're a woman, and you're not hyperactive, I also recommend reading Women With Attention Deficit Disorder: Embracing Disorganization at Home and in the Workplace. (Women are often not diagnosed because they lack the hyperactivity. I was lucky because I was SO HYPER!). See if the books rings true for you. If it does, then call up a local psychiatrist and set up a session to check it out.

If you have a child you suspect has ADD, DO NOT (I repeat) DO NOT go to a pediatrician to get an ADD diagnosis for your child. I really recommend getting a real thorough eval from a child psychologist first (Clinical or School Psychologist - the public school system will do it, but it will be less thorough and will take time), and HAVE THEM DO A CLASSROOM OBSERVATION IF POSSIBLE! Then, if they think it's ADD, have them refer you to a psychiatrist for the med monitoring. Give the psychiatrist a copy of the psychological report. That will help them a lot.

If this advice has been helpful, please click here and help me get a free iPod! :P

Help me get a free iPod

It's marketing. It's annoying, but I know people are actually getting these (Wired magazine says so), so why not?! OK, I don't usually go in for these marketing thingies, but I want an iPod, and if I can get 5 referrals to sign up for marketing thingies, I get one. Yay! Free is my favorite price. I signed up for the 2-week free membership to Blockbuster online. The other stuff you can sign up for is credit cards, Columbia House-type stuff (I'd stay away from that one. They never leave you alone.), printer cartridges, stuff like that.

If I can get five of you to click here and sign up for their marketing ploys, then I can get my iPod and be happier. Happier is funner! If you think this is lame, please just move on! :P

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Huh?

Is it me, or is this just bizarre? He is inspired by Memphis? Huh? I don't think he stayed very long after his Freedom Award.
Bono thinks America is the greatest cultural inspiration:

[World News]: Washington, Dec 26 : Irish rocker Bono thinks America is the most culturally inspiring nation in the world and also says that to him it is the best place to be in.

The "U2" frontman gets angry when he hears other musicians complaining about having to travel to the States and performing there.

"Waking up in Memphis, Tennessee, where Stax was born, or where Elvis Presley cut Mystery Train or where Martin Luther King was shot dead is not crap," rate the music quoted him as saying.

"America is just full of possibilities. Nobody buys their cars anymore so it gets angry and Eminem happens, one of the great writers of the age comes out of Detroit," he added.

Happy Pukey Boxing Day

I spent the day with a migraine all pukey, but I'm finally improving after an unprecedented PAIR of naps (can you believe it?!). It's been a great trip home despite the illness. I've enjoyed them, but I'm not sure I've proven to be very enjoyable myself. Why oh why do people insist on injecting MSG into turkeys. I know they believe MSG is safe, but not for this lady. Nope. Not at all. Tomorrow I return to my kitties, and I will see cousin Eric for the first time in a long while.

Y'all keep your fingers crossed tomorrow, as Hamilton (my ex) is headed to Philly to try and get himself a job as an English prof. I still like the man, care about him a lot, and I hope he gets something good. He really deserves it.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Mountain-time

I'm at my parents' cabin in the mountains. Just had a lovely dinner with some of their friends. Dinner was super tasty. Mary Ann made the only roast beef I've ever enjoyed, and my parents made Yorkshire Pudding, peas, carrots, brussel sprouts, gravy, fresh bread, potatoes, and bread pudding for dessert. I wasn't expecting an English feast, but it was way yum. I took some pix for more food porn fun.

My mother and I both ordered many things from Amazon, but we both used her name for the shipping, so we have all these boxes here, and we don't know which gifts are hers to wrap and which are mine. Whoops! I guess we'll just take turns opening Amazon boxes in the morning.!

To all my friends this Christmas Eve... have yourself merry little Christmases, m'kay?

Christmas Eve

Here I am. Christmas Eve. I spent last night with Renee. Renee, her husband Reid, her baby Clara, my friend Tatyana, and her sig other Jim all went to breakfast. VERY yummy. Next I had a coffee with my ex, then I came over here to Caitlin's, and I've been making cookies for Santa with her Caitlin's daughter Sophie. In a little while, I'm driving to Jasper where my parents live for a Christmas Eve party, then tomorrow is the big day.

I said goodbye to Aaron last night after 6 fun-filled days in San Francisco with Tribe friends. I wish he could join me, but he's got his own family stuff in Florida. I feel bad that he has to scoot around so much. Once I hit Jasper, I'm mostly hanging around until it's time to fly back to Memphis. Lots of fun, this not working thing.

I've been getting messages in my inbox about May graduation, which makes me think that when I get back, it's dissertation time! Ugh!

No, must not think about that! Only fun and holidays and stuff.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004


Abby, Smoooochie, Mynxie, Frisbee, and Leslie. Yay! :D

Monday, December 20, 2004

Live from SF!

I'm blogging to you live from a very spyware-infested computer in an Internet cafe in SF. We just said goodbye to Smoooochie with a fine breakfast at Boogaloo's. The next plan is to play tourist for a few hours. I had a wonderful time last night eatin' Indian in Berkeley then sharing a drink with many friends at Thieves back in SF proper. I love how my Tribe friends know my life better than the people I actually see on a regular basis... like they know the name of my loud neighbor and what I care about these days. They know what I'm doing. I know their stuff, too. It's a great feeling of community... one I don't really have in Memphis, because I haven't had the time to cultivate it at all.

I mostly thrilled to see Liz and Walter. Walter is one of my oldest friends, and I love seeing him IRL. It's always fun, never stressful. Lovely sane people with intelligent wit and keen observations on the world and the people in it. Not much to complain about. :D

Saturday, December 18, 2004

San Francisco!

Blogging to you live from San Francisco. This is such a silly town. It's like an entire town of Obies (that's Oberlin students). What is most lovely is the fact that when I turn on my PDA, there are generally about 5 networks to choose from. Now if I only had all the passwords. It's a wired town, and I'm a wired gal. I've just taken a really amusing photograph of the power strip I packed at the last minute (brilliant idea, BTW) with all of Aaron's and my gadgets. There are two cell phones, two PDA's, and a battery charger! We're heading over to Morning Due in a minute for coffee and free WiFi. As a 5-year Palm user, I'm pretty happy with my Pocket PC. Only drawback is its nonrelationship with GMail. It's a hassle. Also, the browser tends to close when I open Blogger, so I'm on Aaron's Mac. I realized the coolest thing this morning. I forgot to download a Berkeley map when I got my SF map from Mapopolis, but I was able to log on directly from my PDA and download it right to my device. I love that! This is the freakin' life. Here, people speak Internet. It's a nice break from the luddites in the city schools. Love 'em, but I don't understand their technophobia. It's beyond me. OK, gotta go have some experiences so y'all'll have something to read later!

(BTW, Mark... wasn't Bari divine?!!)

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Ingenuity

I N G E N U I T Y

I Heart Google

See? Google has the right idea. They give stuff away for free, and that's why people like them. Also, their ads aren't intrusive, so I don't mind them. I actually click on them sometimes! They seem to have respect for their comsumers' intelligence and freedom to choose what they want and what they don't. I hope they don't lose that as they get huger and huger!!!

Google, Google Local, Google Desktop, GMail, Froogle, Google Labs, Google Sets, Google Scholar, Google Suggest, Google Compute, Google SMS, Google Groups... They really have the right idea. I'd do links for all those sites, but you know what? If you want to find them, just Google them!

Sickos in Memphis

Trisha's post today is just about how I feel. Why is everyone sick and chilly in Memphis right now?

And why has this morning gone all out of control? It REALLY isn't the time for my counseling cases to go all wacky. I have to leave on Friday! Everyone just needs to chill until the new year!!

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

The Year in Review

A quiz ganked from Mynxie.
  • What did you do in 2004 that you'd never done before? Survived while driving on the streets of Memphis. Let's hope for more of the same next year.
  • Did you keep your new years' resolutions and will you make more for next year? I'm not sure I had any. Last Christmas, I was sort of in survival mode. Come to think of it...
  • Did anyone close to you give birth? More close friends gave birth in 2003, and there are several scheduled for 2005!
  • Did anyone close to you die? At the end of 2003, yes. 2004? I'm happy to say no.
  • What countries did you visit? I usually find some way to get out of the country, but not this year.
  • What would you like to have in 2005 that you lacked in 2004? A little financial stability. The ability to pay loans, not take them out.
  • What date from 2004 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? Valentine's Day. Cheesy, but it's the night I had a little webcam Trivial Pursuit date with Aaron. I had been out earlier to see Lost in Translation. Great flick. Great fun. Fun night.
  • What was your biggest achievement of the year? Getting an internship, writing most of my dissertation, finally getting a little divorce recovery under my belt.
  • What was your biggest failure? Nothing major. I would have liked to have taken better care of myself physically and emotionally. I feel I've been neglecting my health because of the diss and the internship.
  • Did you suffer illness or injury? Luckily, no.
  • What was the best thing you bought? Is there any question? Cutiegear!
  • Whose behavior merited celebration? Dad. He's made retirement seem cool.
  • Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? Duh! George Bush.
  • Where did most of your money go? Rent and moving.
  • What did you get really, really, really excited about? I'm always getting really, really excited! All I can think of right now is my new blog template. Um... I've actually been really excited about my career finally taking form after all this schooling.
  • What song will always remind you of 2004? "I'm Under Your Spell" from Buffy: The Musical!
  • Compared to this time last year, are you:
    • happier or sadder? Happier
    • thinner or fatter? Fatter
    • richer or poorer? Richer (The grad assistantships paid us on Dec 15th then not again until Feb 1. I don't have that insane feeling I have had the last 6 years as a doc student.)
  • What do you wish you'd done more of? Yoga
  • What do you wish you'd done less of? Sitting at the computer while my ass fell asleep.
  • How will you be spending Christmas? In the North Georgia Mountains with my mom and dad and their dog Annie.
  • Did you fall in love in 2004? I guess I did. :D
  • What was your favorite TV program? What Not to Wear, Long Way Round, Significant Others, and I was badly addicted to American Idol for a while there!
  • Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year? No.
  • What was the best book you read? I have no idea. I didn't read a lot this year. I mean, I read a lot, but it was articles and intervention manuals and the like. Nothing fun. :(
  • What was your greatest musical discovery of 2004? The Rapture.
  • What did you want and get? A new digital camera, a little more serenity
  • What did you want and not get? A peaceful place to live (damn downstairs neighbor)
  • What was your favorite film of this year? I have to admit it's been a VERY low movie year for me. I really like Lost in Translation though. Oh wait... I LOVED FINDING NEMO! I know it's been out a while, but I only saw it this year for the first time.
  • What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I had the most wonderful meal I've had in recent history at Bari Ristorante. Aaron took me there, and it was amazing!
  • What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? If my internship paid better. Even the APA site visitors remarked at how low the pay is here.
  • How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2004? Building a work wardrobe.
  • What kept you sane? Aaron. Maggie. Jeep. Tribe. The fact that the noise from downstairs doesn't go into my bedroom.
  • Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? I don't know. It was a low crush year. Maybe Jon Stewart? Update: I am so wrong. Mynx reminded me that I had/have a woman crush on Nigella Lawson.
  • What political issue stirred you the most? Well, I found the fact that so many marginalized people voted for Bush just baffling. How can poor people vote against candidates that support social issues that will benefit them? I know! They will vote their morality! Ugh.
  • Who did you miss? My Bloomington friends.
  • Who was the best new person you met? Duh. Aaron.
  • Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2004: Sometimes it's better to ask forgiveness than permission. Perfectionism is for chumps, and I'm a chump, and I'd like not to be.
  • Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
  • Make me! I always hate that question. My brain doesn't work that way.

I'm so sick. :(

This is not good. I am very, very unwell. I guess this is what comes from night after night of sub-6 hours of sleep and constant psych report writing with no down down. I have neglected my health, and so my health is neglecting me. My throat is swollen and burning, my nose is running, my head is aching and foggy, my sinuses are full, and everything sounds fuzzy. Finally, a vacation is coming to me, and now this. I have 7 car hours planned for Thursday, many hours of flying planned for Friday, and social plans out the wazoo planned in San Fran for Saturday. Finally, I have some fun lined up, and it's not really working out.

There's still so much to do before I go: packing, Xmas gift wrapping and mailing, not to mention the rest of these psych reports I have to get done in the next day. Why does it take me so damn long to write them. Yes, I'm a perfectionist, but even when I squelch those perfectionistic impulses, it takes me forever. I spent 7 hours on one on Sunday, and I'd already put in two hour on it before that day, and I'm still not done! Why? I want to get it right, and these test interpretations and diagnostic decisions require different criteria than what I'm used to.

Today is my last day during this rotation at my minor. I can't really not go. I hate this, but I think I'm going to have to go in for a few hours and make a good faith appearance. I have really enjoyed this placement, and I don't want to just bail on the last day. It doesn't seem right. Man, I'm glad the case that was lined up for today had to be rescheduled. I don't think I could handle a day of assessment in this condition.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

I'm so popular!

Today, I was the 1,054,002nd most popular blog on the Internet! Impressed?

Transitional Fair Use

OMFG! You're kidding me, right? I know it's their show and all, but I just want it on my TiVo until I get to it! I'm busy! I don't always have the time to watch it, and sometimes it IS a few weeks before I get to it.

I'm so sick of this crap. Someone invents something cool. Someone else decides that they have a right to get in on your cool thing and make some money off of it. Then, to keep your cool thing, you end up having to buy extra adaptors or services or whatever to make the cool thing work. I pay $13 a month so that I can fast forward through commercials. I hate them. I think $13 is worth it. So ad agencies get mad and find ways I have to be "advertized at," and another person invents a way to get around that, and I have to pay for that new thing. Does it ever stop? Makes me wanna go live in the woods and eat berries, although it's probably unsafe, and I'd probably have to hire a bodyguard or something.

I go to great lengths to avoid advertizing. When I get a new magazine, I rip out all the perfume ads and inserts so I can flip the pages easily. I like a life without ads. Ads make you want stuff, and I don't have money to buy stuff, but now, I have to pay to keep my life free of ads. Maybe I should just watch the ads and buy the crap they're hawking. Seriously. I'm about to just surrender. It's too hard not to.

Giving Back

What a great idea. I wish more schools were doing this. East is a lovely building but really needs some basic upgrades:
The group has already installed computers and made plans to outfit the auditorium with audio-visual equipment. One of its most intriguing ideas is to pay students in the top 20 percent of their class to tutor the bottom 20 percent. Prominent alumni of Memphis's East High School are putting their money where their sentiments lie, by raising $3 million for some worthwhile upgrades of the school.

Commodities trader and East High alumnus Charles D. McVean organized the Greater East High Foundation last month with the hope of persuading about 150 individuals and local businesses to contribute.

It seems like a good way to make academic achievement cool. You wouldn't want to encourage campus brains to write papers for bullies. But if they might inspire fellow students to perform better, the effort would be worth pursuing.

East has a proud tradition in Memphis, but it has slipped considerably in terms of academic achievement. A concerned and involved alumni may be the key to restoring the school to the prominent position it once held in Memphis and inspire graduates of other Memphis schools to follow suit. How about it, Manassas? Booker T.


Saturday, December 11, 2004

Aaron is a Genius

Three cheers for Aaron for working with me to make the new blog template of my dreams:
Hip Hip HOORAY!
Hip Hip HOORAY!
Hip Hip HOORAY!

:D

I'm a Good Girl!


You scored as Lawful Good. A lawful good person acts as a good person is expected or required to act. They are dedicated to upholding both what is right and what is set down in law.

Lawful Good


80%

Neutral Good


60%

True Neutral


60%

Chaotic Good


50%

Lawful Evil


50%

Lawful Neutral


40%

Neutral Evil


35%

Chaotic Neutral


35%

Chaotic Evil


20%

What is your Alignment?
created with QuizFarm

Another Day at Memphis City High Schools

Um... I think I've had plenty of this, thank you very much!

December 10, 2004

Memphis - The sound of an ambulance and the sight of a school are a combination that make a parent worry. Anita Smith is a concerned parent who says, "I immediately started running trying to find my child because they said it was a girl and they didn't say who."

A girl who had been stabbed in the head by another Whitehaven student as school was letting out. Student, Danielle Echols, says "When I was over there coming out of the school, everybody ran up in the building saying a girl got stabbed in the head with some scissors."

Sgt Vince Higgins with the Memphis Police Department says, "One of the individuals was getting involved in the fight and decided to pull some scissors. She then stabbed one victim. One of the other girls got the scissors off the floor and stabbed another victim."

Police say the violence was an isolated incident... not gang related. The girl stabbed in the head was taken to the Med in non-critical condition. Another student was treated at the school for minor cuts to her hand.

One of the students is charged with aggravated assault. MPD is still investigating the incident.

No Worries

No worries. The comments still exist. I just need to get the Haloscan code back in there correctly, but first... It's time for Blue Plate Cafe for breakfast! Yay!

Friday, December 10, 2004

Blog Adolescence

I know. The blog is looking a little worse for wear today, a bit zitty and pre-pubescent. Change is hard! I should be cleaning up my apartment, but instead, I'm fiddling with my blog template, and I've got it in a right state at present. Give me a little time, and I'll try to get it looking spiffy again.

Have a Blue Christmas

While the term "Blue Christmas" is usually used in Memphis with regards to "the Kang," this temporary Memphian has a different wish for a Blue Christmas. (No, silly! Not a bottle of Blue Christmas wine.) I only wish I'd seen this a little sooner this holiday season.


A Blue Christmas in Memphis

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Hitchcockian Memphian & Radio

Today, when I was driving back home from a high school that's out East, I rounded a corner, and there was a huge number of black birds. I thought I might hit one! Turns out, it's another one of those Memphis things

Kinda like the fact that if I am not enjoying one radio station playing Christmas soul music, There are others likely to be playing that format, too! I am usually not a radio listener, but I like the music on the radio here, and the commercials are hilarious. Also, for some strange reason, Howard Stern is on here. I thought it would be too conservative for that. Here are some of the local offerings:

Radio Stations
  • 97.1 FM, WHRK - R&B, Hip Hop
  • 101.1 FM, KJMS - R&B, Tom Joyner
  • 103.5 FM, WRBO - Old School R&B
  • 107.1 FM, KXHT - Hip Hop, R&B, Gospel Sundays
  • 680 AM, WJCE - R&B, Gospel Sundays
  • 1070 AM, WDIA - Old School R&B, Blues, Talk, Gospel Sundays
  • 1240 AM, WAVN - Blues
  • 1340 AM, WLOK - Gospel


Maggie loves to curl up beneath my little Christmas tree. Isn't she just the most beautiful thing? I love this girl so much.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

A Culture of Fear and the Gangs of Memphis

Some of these comments are ridiculous. I hate how reactionary people are, how they suddenly have an opinion before they have real data to back it up.

Gangs are everywhere. People just want to move away from the bad stuff, but there's always more bad stuff. Cordova High School was a Shelby County school last year. Now it's part of Memphis City Schools. I know a little more than the average person about the inner workings of this school, and from what I've heard working on the inside a bit, the gang situation has little to do with it being a Memphis City School.

Here's some info I found online about gangs in Memphis:
Gang activity persists as a significant source of crime in Memphis. The Shelby County District Attorney General's Office has estimated that roughly 125 gangs and approximately 10,000 known gang members exist in Shelby County, although Bolden says that the gangs "here are not very well-organized." The Metro Gang Unit, which comprises MPD officers and Shelby County Sheriff's deputies, continues to work to curb gang-related crimes.
There's more info here and general information about gangs here and here. When I did that Ride Along at the end of October, there was a gang expert at Role Call before the shift started. It's amazing how much this guy knew. He knew who was the leader of each gang, where they lived, all kinds of stuff. I couldn't believe they let me stay, although I wasn't taking notes, and I've forgotten the details now. We learned what the disses were for different gangs, what the symbols were, it was an overwhelming amount of information. And it seems a problem that is not solvable.

When schools and health care fail, kids go where they can find love, and sadly, that is often in a gang, or it's from the love of a child they had when they themselves were still a child.

Memphis depresses me sometimes. It seems it can never dig itself out of the hole it's fallen into. Jails can't rehabilitate generational poverty, addiction, hopelessness, and lack of role models. It's like a straight line from slavery to modern day Memphis, and I wonder how much help I am. I do what I can, but it can be defeating. And yet, I frequently have the pleasure of meeting parents who are struggling yet really care about their child, and I have wonderful supervisors who do all they can, given a disaster of a system.

Do what you can, kids. Keep fighting for your lives, your dignity, and your education. I don't want you to end up in jail. Not even for a night.

Things and Stuff

I need a few days to nap, to blog, to read, to relax. Not much sleep this week. Up late working on cover letters, reports, etc. Last night I woke up thinking I was terribly ill. Turns out the radiator went crazy, and I was slowly being steamed like a mussel. I got up, and after a failed attempt at getting the radiator off, I opened all the windows in the apartment that open (that's exactly TWO windows), turned on the fan and AC in my room and Tribed until it was bearable to go back in.

The primary school I'm working in is Cordova High. Luckily, the mother I tried to get to meet me there today said she wasn't feeling well and would rather meet tomorrow. If I'd been there, I would have been in the Guidance Office, one of the three locations of today's brawl! Yes, I said brawl. I also heard that at another school where I work, a student was stabbed in the mouth today, and other students tried to poison the librarian. The librarian is really sweet. I don't know who'd poison her. I mean, COME ON!

Luckily, even though these are two of the schools I'm in, I wasn't there for the action today. Although there was some pretty heavy action last time I was in the librarian-poisoning school. Some kid ran into the library, bleeding, and fleeing from the on-site police officer. When I got there, I walked in behind another officer. When I got into the library, the librarian (the one who was poisoned when someone switched her water for bleach today) told me what had happened.

Never a dull moment! I tell you what!

Monday, December 06, 2004

Why?

OK, this even scared my cat.

I'm BAAAAAAAAAAAACK!

Internet is back on. HOORAY! HOORAY! I'm so freakin' happy! I am one with the Internet. It is an extension of my brain, of my fingers. These fingers were made for surfing. That's just what they do...

ANYWAY...

I'm very excited about the wedding pictures I got today from Poornima and Nanu. Man, GORGEOUS! I'm so bummed I couldn't go, but it was kinda outta the price range! It's so funny, because they don't usually look so traditionally Indian. I left them a voice mail earlier that said, "You guys are all Indian 'n' shit." I knew they'd think that was funny, but then I got really worried, because I said it walking around my office, and I was worried for a minute that someone might have heard and thought I was completely offensive! Luckily, I was safe. Phew!

In celebration of the pictures, I made Poha, another one of the many Indian recipes Sunitha taught me. I know Poha isn't exactly wedding food, but it was all I could really manage!

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Blogging is So Fun

There are so many reasons why I love the Internet. Yes, it's me, coming at you live from Otherlands Coffee Shop AGAIN! Road Runner is still down. It's been three and a half days now. WTF?! They better give me a refund for all these days with no service. Seriously! So I'm here again, checking on my Bloglines. So far, I found a fine opportunity to debate... I commented on Mick's blog. Mick is one of the bloggers I met at the Blogger Bash on Wednesday night. Next, I read an extremely amusing Boing Boing story about how people are messing with the new Microsoft blog platform to see which blog titles it will ban and which it won't.

Next on the list for Internet activities are purchasing a few Christmas presents, paying bills online, and sending a couple of e-mails. I've been keeping a running list of things I needed to do online, and it's LONG! Man, they had better fix this soon.

Oh... don't forget... It's Moo at a Stranger Day. Do your best!

Saturday, December 04, 2004

The Dark Ages continue...

OK, back at Otherlands as I am STILL without Internet access. It's been 53 hours. Is this acceptable? It this typical of Road Runner? I'm a new customer as of about 10 days ago. So far, I'm not impressed! I do SO MUCH online (for examples, read Aaron's post).

I was so happy to come here and read all the comments on my blog, my tribes, and my e-mail. Isn't this a basic right? Am I wrong? I'd write more today, but I have a long list of online things I have to do while I'm here!

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Live from Otherlands

I'm here at Otherlands Coffee Shop to drink coffee and use the WiFi, as my new speedy Road Runner cable modem is, sadly, down. It was a very busy morning testing one kid at one school and doing therapy with another across town. Ah, the exciting nomadic life of an almost-School Psychologist!

I'm going to sit here until I get a spectacular cover letter written for another job possibility in Boston. I can't believe how busy I've been this week. I seem to work 15 hours a day. When I do new things (like write Psych reports using new LD criteria, for example), I tend to take forever the first few times, until I'm really confident I'm doing a damn good job. I want it done correctly! Working in the schools might frustrate me if I do it long-term for a few reasons, one being that I like to do really thorough assessments, and in the schools, they want quick and dirty testing, and reports that aren't too long. I prefer the opposite, but I will say that having to do it their way is probably really good for me. Damn perfectionism!

They have Sirius radio on. You know, the station that got Howard Stern. Anyway, it's this 80s alt-pop hits, and I of course know every word. "Noone Is to Blame" by Howard Jones (the Howard post!). So I say that I love this song, and Aaron says, "Isn't it ironic?" His point is that "Noone Is to Blame" and "Isn't It Ironic?" by Alanis Morisette have similarly bizarre lyrics... Which reminds me of the worst lyrics ever written in pop song lyrics... And the winner is...

"It's like 10,000 spoons when all you need is a knife."

I mean... WHAT?! Alanis is an idiot. I'm sorry. The only reason that "You Oughtta Know" was good was Flea and Dave Navarro. The rest of her career has just been a sad fluke.

So anyway, what I was going to say about that Howard Jones song is that in high school, I have the most vivid memory of driving my boyfriend Tristan crazy with that song in the back of Algebra II class. My friend Malcolm and I were both bored out of our minds with the work our "teacher" had given us, so we were singing and living it up, and Tristan was so focused! I recall really pissing him off with it that day. Wonder how they're both doing. Last I heard, Tristan was expecting his second child and working in a corporate law firm and Malcolm was some bigwig at JP Morgan. Go them!

OK, I'm clearly on a ramble-fest. If you read all of this. If you get even half of it, then good on ya!

Off to chart my future from the local coffee shop...

CUTIEGEAR

Don't forget your Cutiegear for the holidays! Come on. You know you want it!!

Blogger Bash

Tonight I was lucky enough to have joined in on the Blogger Bash at Cafe Francisco. Lots of local Memphis bloggers in attendance. Aaron joined me and was ridiculed enough by the other guests to actually post on his nearly dead blog!


Above are Mark and Brock


Me with my BLT (oddly, the price of tomatoes is so high that the T on my BLT cost an extra 75 cents!)


Here we have Peggy and Mick, who brought all of us party favors! I got a yo-yo!


Brock 'n' Mike (who is actually on a blogging hiatus at present)


Here's the host of this thing, Eric, who wore a Blogger sweatshirt so we could identify the group!


And here's me, plugging Tribe.net like it's Amway, or at least Quixtar!

I apologize for not sharing pictures of everyone. The one I have of Len looks kind of like the pictures of people in The Ring after they watch that video and hear the phone ring. Sadly, Rachel was a no-show. Maybe next time. Aaron was there, but he was holding the camera, and the only picture of him was in that same one with the Ring Len one! Phil was there, too, but the pictures of him turned out really blurry. Maybe I need to get over my fear of flash photography.

Folks, I'd say more, but it's been a helluva day of scoring assessments, dissertating, updating my CV, writing cover letters, and hanging out IRL with the blogfolk. It's midnight, and the alarm's going off at 6:30am... well, maybe 7am. I've gotta amscray to edbay. Witticisms will have to wait until tomorrow.