whorls of will

I write this from my elliptical trainer. I suppose one might see pathology in someone squeezing his laptop into his elliptical trainer’s magazine rack, but at least my water bottle holder contains a bottle of actual water, not Coke Zero like yesterday morning. The real point for this post is that I don’t especially want to be on my elliptical trainer right now, and the only reason I am is because of the public resolution I made on the New Year’s Day either to work out 200 days in 2008 or pay $25 to some despised cause for each day below that. I have to work out 11 out of 20 days to meet that goal, and this will be my 12th goal star in 2008’s first 20 days, so I’m staying just ahead like the electric rabbit at a dog racing track. Continue reading “whorls of will”


Joining blogland has been interesting, if time consuming.  I’ve been particularly interested in tapping into the universe of Black & biracial blogs, the debates about adoption, and the academic blogs.  I also realized I have been on a run of non-sociological experiences this week.  After a week spent nose down finishing a grant proposal (the sociology part), I have had or will have the following experiences within a four-day period.  (1) The final meeting Friday of a  commission hammering out proposals to address issues of racial bias.  I’m the only academic in the group, which has lots of lawyers, judges, social service professionals, and public officials.  About half are Black.  Very different from the very pale academic circles that I usually move in, and an interesting good experience, although not without its frustrations in terms of process.  (2) Spending the night sleeping on a cot at my church, where I’m doing my turn as a volunteer in a program providing temporary housing for homeless people.  A couple of new families had moved into the program and the women sat up late last night talking with each other, forming relationships and getting to know one another, while my husband and I went to sleep on cots in the other room.   This morning we got up at 6 to put on the coffee and provide whatever assistance we could, as the families had to be up, have all their possessions packed for the move to the next church, and out by 7 am to go to the day center while volunteers came in to clean out the rooms so they would be ready for Sunday School by 9.  (3) Tomorrow I’m supposed to give a lunch talk to a group of Democrats about racial issues in my community; they want an update about what has been happening in the Commission.  I have not figured out what to tell them.  I’ll have to call the organizer to remind myself what to say, as they won’t be set up for my usual PowerPoint spiel.  I also suddenly realized this morning that classes start Tuesday and I don’t have the syllabus updated and printed for my 150 students, so I’m going to have to (one again) impose on the good will of the office staff to get it ready on time.  At least the class is in the afternoon.  And I have a ton of work to do to get ready for my Wednesday graduate seminar.  Moving right along.


Several people wondered whether I would stop blogging when I came to Northwestern. Speculation that this would happen increased after I, well, stopped blogging. But then I came back! What’s more, colleagues here at NU are now joining the blogosphere!* Two of my colleagues are among the founders of Controlling Authority (get it?), a zippy new legal studies blog.

I’m a bit amazed that I blogged by myself for more than four years before figuring out how much more fun a group blog is. I had the theory that eventually everyone with a group blog would figure out they might as well have individual blogs that everyone would read via RSS rather than check in their browsers, as when you read on RSS you don’t care how often people update. However, as with so much else in this world, I was wrong. Continue reading “developments”

i’ll take sociology for 2.5 million, alex.

(or, possibly, speaking of snobbery part II)

I’ll start with a little history about why I was reading Psychology Today at all (although has anyone noticed it in the check out line lately? I saw it in a grocery store in Berkeley last year). I was reading the NY Times this morning and stumbled upon this. Adequately enticed, I wanted to read the full article, so I ventured into the latest online issue of Psychology Today. I never made it to that particular article. Skimming through, something else – this article by Matthew Hutson – caught my eye: Continue reading “i’ll take sociology for 2.5 million, alex.”

speaking of snobbery

You try to keep the faith. You want to be fair. You certainly do not want to prejudge people based on where they are employed. The author/speaker is doing something with a title that seems maybe obliquely relevant to your interests, and just because they are based at a college you’ve never heard of–even though, by this point, you are a little surprised that there remain colleges you’ve never heard of–is no grounds just to presume it won’t be any good. And yet then, again and again: whoa! Holy bother is there some crazy botherbother going on in the hinterschools of social science! What the botherbotherbother is the impression of sociology that students get from these people?

I know, sounds bad. I will continue to keep the faith. And one does see good work, don’t get me wrong. Still, though. Holy botherbothering botherbother.