Purposive Rambling

the journey is the reward.

Trip to St. Louis

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Go Colts!




Written by Lisa

October 31, 2009 at 1:23 pm

Posted in Indianapolis, Photos

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Mom’s Birthday Lunch

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Me with my mom, sister, and niece



Written by Lisa

October 31, 2009 at 1:19 pm

Posted in Photos

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Date Night

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Just two days ago I swore off blogging until I am done with my qualifying exam. But, here I am. I couldn’t resist telling you about the wonderful time I had last night. We went to the Eagle’s Nest. It’s a restaurant on top of the Hyatt in downtown Indianapolis. And it spins! We’ve wanted to check it out for awhile, but a) we heard the food wasn’t that great, and b) it’s expensive. Early in the week we decided we were overdue for a real date, though, and since we’ve tried just about everything else – not in the whole city, of course, but in our little walkable area of the city – we opted for this place. And it was definitely expensive. But worth it. The food was fantastic! We went all out with a bottle of wine, a shrimp cocktail, steak for Jon and halibut for me, and then dessert drinks. Even better than the food was the view, though. Indy is gorgeous when it’s all lit up at night. The state house was especially beautiful. It was neat to have a changing view as the night progressed too. I think we made two full rotations before we headed home. The best part of the evening was spending time with Jon. Sometimes I forget how easy and interesting conversation is with him. We could have stayed there all night talking. I love that after all this time, I still can’t get enough of him.

So, I may or may not be back for awhile. I have to keep my head in the game, and to help me do that, I’m disconnecting a little bit. Blogging, Facebook, and TV are all getting shoved to the back of the cabinet for the rest of this semester.

Written by Lisa

October 17, 2009 at 5:14 pm

Classroom Activity: Spaceship Exercise

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This semester I am teaching a service-learning course called Community Problems and Outreach. We are focusing on three main topics – families in poverty, debates over marriage, and domestic abuse. My students are volunteering at communities that serve low-income families in the community. We spend part of our time in the classroom discussing academic material on these topics, and we spend part of our time discussing their volunteer experiences. Yesterday I devoted a good portion of class time to the service side of the course. To help the students become more aware of the assumptions, biases, and prejudices that they hold, which can affect their interactions with the people they are serving, we did a short group activity. Perhaps you’ve seen a version of it before. I adapted it from a version that I participated in at a recent domestic violence training for Family Service of Central Indiana.

Spaceship Exercise

The fate of the human race lies in your hands. NASA scientists have identified a meteor that is barreling toward the Earth. It will make impact in 60 minutes. There will be total devastation. We have time to prepare only one spaceship that can carry only 7 people off of the planet. They will be sent to colonize Zuno, a recently discovered Earth-like planet. You must choose these 7 people from the following list of 12 candidates. You have 15 minutes.

Age Gender Sexual Orientation Race/Ethnicity Language Occupation Other Information
1 24 Male Heterosexual African American English Medical student
2 32 Female Heterosexual Caucasian English and Spanish Prostitute
3 28 Intersex Bisexual Caucasian/Jewish English and Hebrew Rabbi
4 28 Male Heterosexual Caucasian English Farmer Has had a vasectomy
5 55 Female Heterosexual African American English Infectious disease medical researcher
6 6 Male Asian American English and Korean
7 19 Male Homosexual Native American English Professional athlete
8 26 Female Heterosexual Mexican American Spanish Homemaker 6 months pregnant
9 14 Female African American English Born with leg deformities and needs a wheelchair
10 60 Male Heterosexual Caucasian English Retired CEO of major pharmaceutical company
11 40 Male Heterosexual Caucasian English Mechanic Homeless
12 36 Female Homosexual Multiracial English and German Fourth grade teacher

So, who would you choose? Based on what criteria? What do your choices reflect about what you value in people? What do they reflect about your assumptions regarding the characteristics about these individuals?

Come on, baby. Everyone knows breastmilk is bad for you! Here, have some celery.

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Don’t we call it “baby fat” for a reason?!

This story is just absolutely ridiculous.

A four-month old baby was denied coverage by an insurance company – Rocky Mountain Health Plans – for being too fat. He was 17 pounds and 25 inches tall, putting him in the 99th percentile for weight and height for babies his age. And? So what?!

There are plenty of chubby little babies that grow into slender children. It’s just unfathomable to me that anyone would see this as a problem. But apparently, 21% of people who voted in an online poll thought that it was fine for an insurance company to deny a baby coverage due to its weight.

Doctors and scientists agree that we should not restrict children’s fat intake until they are at least 2 years old. Some are even arguing that it is inappropriate to restrict fat intake until children are at least 5 years old.

So unless you have some evidence that weight is a symptom of some underlying preexisting condition, how can you deny this baby coverage? Of course, I would argue that it would still be bullshit to deny him or anyone else coverage, but I’m one of those people.

Btw, the overwhelmingly negative public reaction to this absurdity put enough pressure on Rocky Mountain to change its policy.

Written by Lisa

October 13, 2009 at 1:18 pm

Get consent!

with 3 comments

These new sexual assault prevention tips from Feminist Law Professors are making the rounds in my Facebook network today. I was just about to hit the Like button, but I think there’s something missing. Here are the tips that are “guaranteed to work”:

  1. Don’t put drugs in people’s drinks in order to control their behavior.
  2. When you see someone walking by themselves, leave them alone!
  3. If you pull over to help someone with car problems, remember not to assault them!
  4. NEVER open an unlocked door or window uninvited.
  5. If you are in an elevator and someone else gets in, DON’T ASSAULT THEM!
  6. Remember, people go to laundry to do their laundry, do not attempt to molest someone who is alone in a laundry room.
  7. USE THE BUDDY SYSTEM! If you are not able to stop yourself from assaulting people, ask a friend to stay with you while you are in public.
  8. Always be honest with people! Don’t pretend to be a caring friend in order to gain the trust of someone you want to assault. Consider telling them you plan to assault them. If you don’t communicate your intentions, the other person may take that as a sign that you do not plan to rape them.
  9. Don’t forget: you can’t have sex with someone unless they are awake!
  10. Carry a whistle! If you are worried you might assault someone “on accident” you can hand it to the person you are with, so they can blow it if you do.

On the one hand, this is a definite step in the right direction. We tend to place blame on victims of sexual assault, and this really flips that on its head and places the blame where it belongs. So big thumbs up there.

What rubs me the wrong way about this list, though, is that it really seems to take as a given that perpetrators of sexual assault go out into the world with the intent of assaulting someone. I do not mean to suggest that that is never the case. I believe that people purposefully prey on others. But we know now that “acquaintance rapes” are much more common than “stranger rapes.” And often the context surrounding acquaintance rapes suggests that there is no premeditation. We often hear about “he said/she said” cases in which the person accused of assault does not even realize that what he (not always, of course) did was rape.

This list sends the message that people who rape are bad, scary, predators who are lurking around every corner waiting for the perfect opportunity to carry out their plans. As such, it shifts the discussion away from this more common type of assault.

I wholeheartedly believe that the key to preventing many acquaintance rapes is education about consent. No means no. It never means yes. Only yes means yes. And you should wait for a yes. Don’t make assumptions.

Again, this list is taking us in the right direction, but it’s missing at least one tip – Get consent!

Written by Lisa

October 9, 2009 at 2:38 pm

Ask me just about anything…

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…and you are sure to get an answer. I love to fill out surveys. I don’t think I’ve ever turned down an opportunity to fill out a survey. Okay, I take that back. When websites interrupt my websurfing with an invitation to participate in a survey, I usually click the X. But other than that, I am all yours. I prefer filling out surveys for social research, but I will do market research surveys too. In fact, I have one setting on my counter right now waiting to be filled out. I like feeling like someone cares about my opinions and experiences and likes and dislikes. And I like seeing how other people construct their surveys, which I of course, I enjoy critiquing even though I don’t really know much about survey construction. On top of being a super-nerd and actually enjoying the process of filling out surveys, part of me feels a bit obliged too. I figure I can’t expect people to participate in my research if I’m unwilling to participate in others’. Maybe it’s about setting a good example (even though no one would ever know) or maybe it’s about karma. Either way, it feels like the right thing to do. Any other social scientists out there share this affinity?

Written by Lisa

October 8, 2009 at 1:14 am