Friday, December 14, 2007

Reaching for the Stars



The release of the Mitchell report concerning steroid use in baseball essentially confirms what everyone suspected but pretended not to know. People are shocked…shocked that so many players have been implicated. Some new names have emerged, especially pitchers Roger Clemens and Andy Petitte. Still the litany of names is sobering. Furthermore, many sportswriters are saying that there are many more names not in the report but that “everyone” knows they’re doing it. And baseball isn’t even testing for Human Growth Hormone (HGH) at this point. Sports are a reflection of the culture IMHO. So, I’ll briefly ride on my hobbyhorse, namely living in the age of tantalization.

Tantalus was a wealthy king, who was not satisfied with his mortal powers and mortality. Seeking to have what the gods have, he cheats or commits crimes designed to acquire his objects of desire (Nectar and Ambrosia). In one version of the myth he even chops up his son in an attempt to make himself level with the gods. He is caught and punished by being eternally tantalized (seeing what he wants but having it hang just out of reach).

There are many forces in society tempting us toward immediate gratification, and we seem to crave a never-ending onslaught of excitements and powers. The thrills don’t necessarily last too long. So we can set off in search of the next big thing or pick-me-up. Fans liked seeing the legendary records fall or be obliterated, since it is also a thrill to “be a part of history”, even as a witness. In Tantalizing Times –now available at a big discount through Amazon :>)--- I wrote:

Steroids have been the subject of much controversy in recent years. These have tended to be used by male athletes looking to get some kind of edge. They enhance muscle mass, and guys have been able to get pumped up on them and achieve almost unreal sorts of muscle development. They are used to assist the athlete to become stronger and more powerful, in addition to assisting the athlete to develop the body of a Greek god. Questions were raised about the productivity of many athletes as records began to fall in numerous sports. Football players and baseball players have especially been tempted to swallow steroids in the hopes of obtaining athletic immortality. Curiously steroid use has potential health risks and not only enhancement potential. Considering the theme of the book, its risks are almost poetic, namely the potential for shrinking of the testicles and of impotence. Although they temporarily can help one climb to the top of the heap, excessive use could easily produce a person with many of the characteristics of premature aging and impaired capacity to reproduce. Pg. 53

Although steroids affect muscles (more than brain) my focus here lies on the prospect of opening the door for mind drugs as enhancers. The same arguments will be used. In the case of using an enhancer to get the advantage, we abandon whatever investment we have had in something like will power or determination as well as effort. If activities are made easy by intake of pharmaceuticals, then the outcome is privileged over the process and we acclimate ourselves to the notion that anything worth having is worth being acquired via a bottle or needle. In fact it clearly sets the stage for an entitlement viewpoint to reign supreme. Pg. 80

Saturday, December 08, 2007

The Perfect Holiday Gift :>)


Well the last few weeks have seen a mega price drop for the book. It now comes into the realm of not so bad, even if I originally had something else in mind. I am up to 80 libraries (well 80 as of a few days ago, now at 76 in one search with an extra one in another, go figure) according to the latest WorldCat check in.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Long Time No Post





It's been a while since I posted. I have been extremely busy, even more so than usual. But my work for a conference got piled on top of other things. I presented a paper at the Internal Federation for Psychoanalytic Education Conference (IFPE). I am also chair of the research committee, so I attended the all day board meeting on Thursday before the conference. It was a good conference in many ways, and I enjoyed seeing many old friends and colleagues, getting to hear about the research of Mark Solms (who is showing via neuroscience that Freud's dream theory still has many legs left), and getting about to some good restaurants in Toronto. I took some pictures this morning. Toronto has a very modern look and feel, and we were sure in an interesting part of town, judging by the restaurants anyway and happenings. The hotel is connected to the Rogers Center, where many Toronto sports teams play. The restaurant inside the hotel overlooks the ball field. That picture didn't come out too well. The CN Tower, evident in the picture, is the tallest made man structure in the world, although it doesn't appear that way when you are standing close up to it.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Even Little Projects can be OK


And this was a little project. I had some small trees cut down and a lot of stumps ground down. I used some of the new space to make a little seated project in the backyard. Not much, but it makes things a tad more interesting.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Making of a Paper




I'm working on a paper I'll present at the 2007 Conference of the International Federation for Psychoanalytic Education in a few weeks. Because of the gyrations inherent in many organizations, the panel I organized isn't going to work in the way I was planning. We'll have less time than planned. Sparing you all the bloody details, I've decided (with my panelists) that for a variety of reasons my co-presenter would basically keep her paper at original length, while I would drastically cut mine. Because I was going to tweak the paper anyway, I thought I was simply going to tweak then cut. But, I could see that wasn't going to work. Instead, I used some pieces of the paper I was working on, but reworked it in a very different way.

My paper is titled, "Why Can't the English Learn to Speak", a titled derived from Lerner & Lowe's My Fair Lady. The musical is based upon George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion. I use the fictional account of Henry Higgins teaching Eliza Doolittle to speak as proper lady as the backdrop to discuss some of the assumptions behind the push to manualize psychotherapy.

Writing a condensed paper has been quite a challenge, but I let some of the lyrics do the talking, and I try to write this version in a style, which I hope will work for condensing this subject. We shall see. It has been fun in its own way. The posters above show the various versions, and that also illustrates part of the theme of my paper.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Learning Podcasting


I've been figuring out how to create podcasts to place on the web. I've decided to take my time, so that I don't create a bigger problem than I can solve. I'll be creating podcasts for MSPP of various paper presentations and also doing some interviewing of a number of professionals with "things to say". I'm hoping that this proves to be useful to psychologists that I know and those that I don't know. It is interesting to be able to put something together like this that has the potential to reach an audience beyond our humble confines. I have worked a little bit each day this week to create the first one and to create the web page on which people can visit to listen to or download the podcasts. I hope to have this up and running fairly soon.

Monday, August 20, 2007

The Long and Winding Road


Well, I have gotten my bike, although I was too busy to blog about it before now. I picked it up at UDM with the help of Jerry. It was an up and down experience in many ways. I got the bike started, and the seller, John Staudemeyer, SJ, came out from his meeting to say goodbye to the bike. As Jerry and I were discussing the best route home, I tried to start up the bike again, but the battery was dead. We tried various things for a long time, before eventually being able to reach John, who provided a jump with his car.

A few blocks away from UDM, I stalled when starting from a red light. Again the battery was down and out. Jerry knew some folks near by and was able to get some jumper cables, while I waited around in inner city Detroit at dusk. A biker stopped by to see if I was OK. He listened to my story, recommended I get a new battery, and I sent him on his way with a thank you. He said if we bikers don't take care of each other, who will. We were finally able to get going again. I rode it out 8 Mile Rd until we got to Farmington and then headed into Plymouth and finally back to Ypsi.

I drove out to Jerry's on Sunday Aug 12th to drop off an auto emergency kit as a thank you. It was a fun ride and I was getting the feel for the bike. As I got back into Ypsi, a strange sequence of events happened that could oly happen to me. I stopped at a Stop sign. As I put my foot down, I unknowingly stepped in a patch of oil and my foot started to slip. This caused the bike to become a little unbalanced, and it started to fall. I hopped off to prevent it from falling, but my left foot had no traction due to the oil. Blam. The bike goes down. After some EMU kids helped me check out the bike, I thought I was ready to go. One problem. The bike had fallen onto the handlebars, specifically the clutch. It had broken in half. There was no one to control gears.

I walked the bike back home. It was crazy trying to get it up my driveway. I was able to get some help from my next door neighbor. But I haven't had time to get the bike to a shop to repair the clutch and mirror, which broke when I was trying to get it up the driveway. I'm sure I'll get the hang of this sooner or later, hopefully sooner.

But it was a lot of fun to begin, and I will get back on the road soon enough.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

A Second Printing


My book has now goen to a second printing. Yeah! I didn't get too excited, as it is not because of overwhelming sales. The publisher needs to replenish its stocks. So, I figure that it has been distributed at a variety of bookstores, and they are running low at the publisher. Still, it's better to have a second printing than not to have a second printing. The publisher didn't give me a lot of time to look it over though. They had made a mistake in the original by misprinting the Greek text that I used in a few places. They have corrected that and let me look that over. I wasn't given enough time to fix my errors, however.

My cousin Greg had found a bunch of errors dotted over the course of the book, usually punctuation problems and the like. Nothing terribly egregious, but it added up. I have now had the opportunity to fix these mistakes. The publishing representative said I could send her that when I finished and they would incorporate them into the thrid printing, providing that each page corrected begins and ends with the same words as the original. She sounded optimistic about a third printing, but I've got to find some classes to use this as a textbook, or the copies will really start gathering dust at this price. I asked about going to paperback, but no dice. I would need to guarantee that 75 would be purchased in order to do that.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Finaly Solving a puzzle


Off and on for a few months I have tried to make the presentation software Keynote do what it is advertised to do, namely easily export into a Flash presentation. The problem was the audio portions of the slides would not export to Flash. So after doing a lot of work to make a Flash presentation, I had bupkus. The type of audio files simply wouldn't export. After trying a variety of solutions, I stumbled upon success today. The answer was buried in changing something in the preferences (which is why the correct option never showed up in any of the menus). Voila, success. In some ways it is a little thing, but this will make a lot of other things possible, and fairly easily. What a relief to finally solve one of those never ending vexing technical problems of modern living, only to wait for the next one. But for now, I can smoke a cigar.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

The future lacrosse stadium?




I strolled the campus today and took some pictures. I wanted to check out the progress on the new lacrosse stadium, which is supposed to be constructed this summer. Several weeks ago, I saw the construction crew moving a lot of dirt. Well, they've cleared the area, but there's plenty of work to go, as you can see from the pictures. I originally envisioned this project being completed by the time the new academic year started. That doesn't appear to be the case. Well, at least it's underway.

I noticed something about our clock tower I hadn't noticed before. And I only noticed it while studying the pictures I took. The two clocks in the picture aren't giving the same time. At least one of them is right (the one on the left).

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Never Ending Road Work




This year has been a construction boom for roads. Everywhere I drive I have faced major construction projects. Sure, it will be great when they're done, but even the alternative routes have construction. At times it's been noisy outside of my office, but the end is in sight. I figure they aim to finish this up before the Woodward Dream Cruise, since it would make downtown Birmingham a mess otherwise. I took a couple of pictures today to remember the disruption. It has wreaked havoc on the parking situation. I am always thankful there's a spot (when there is one). I've included a shot of my building.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

A Frivolous Break


I took some time out in the middle of the week to catch the Simpson's Movie. It was everything we've come to expect and more...actually about an hour more. It drags a bit from time to time, but it was well done overall and a good get-away from the go-go pace of extra summer teaching and supervision. Yes, a second related Simpson's post within a couple of weeks...D'oh. And it was great to get out of the 96 degree heat we had today. I've got a couple of window units, but the moive theatre is much nicer, and there's popcorn....hmmmmm...popcorn.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Action...



Since the Spring I have been involved in planning and creating an instructional video for an intelligence test. The video is simply an in-house affair to be used in training our students. We'll be able to put the video up on the secure server for the class, and students can watch the video online as an aid to learning how to administer the test. It's actually quite an involved project. We have had to break every aspect of the testing into its components and figure out how it should look inorder. I have been working with the folks from the Instructional Design Studio at UDM. Simply known as IDS, these folks help the faculty to integrate variou sforms of technology into teaching. The idea is to make the process useful and actually benefit education and not merely "bells and whistles". Today I brought some images over to IDS. We have already shot the footage, and I have done the voiceovers. They are editing the digital video. I plan to use it this semester. It has been a great learning experience to "direct" this video, and better understand how vidoe and films are put together.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Subtle Changes


This is a picture of one of the dorms at UDM that has just received new windows. I watched the workers put in the new windows for a few minutes a couple of weeks ago. The appearance of the building has been improved in a subtle, but nonetheless pleasing way. More importantly, this was an improvement which was promised at last year's convocation (August 2006). It was reassuing to see the change actually take place and is another sign that the university is investing in its infrastructure, which is sorely in need of upgrades at multiple places throughout the McNichols campus. I assume that otherr work is taking place inside the dorm as well. Let's hope that this is a sign of things to come.

Well, it's a start


See all my travel pages

I've filled out my travel map. I've been to a lot of states, but I still have a long way to go for world travel. Canada is not exactly an exotic country. A nice country, but not really very different. I hope over the next several years to add to this map quite a bit. (typo corrected)

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Simpsonize Me!


Everyone has probably heard about it by now, but the link in the title takes you to the Simpsonize me site. You upload a photo of yourself and create a Simpsonized version of yourself. You've got a lot of options once the inital character comes up. I had to tweak the character a bit, but a great resemblence, no?

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Basic Motorcycle Riding





Well, I passed my Basic Motorcycle Riding Course and can head to the Secretary of State's office to take the written test and get a motorcycle endorsement on my license. Considering that I don't quickly learn new activities that require this kind of coordination, I felt pretty good about passing. Apparently one third of people who take the course don't pass it. Many of the "lessons" are similar to riding a bicycle, which I do every year. This year there was no MS ride for me, as I decided not to ride the MS after so many of the crew were not going to be doing it this year. Instead I took this course which ran the same weekend. Of course, riding a bicycle means all of your acceleration comes from your legs and all of your braking and shifting comes from your hands. With a motorcycle, acceleration comes from your hands, shifting is a comination of hands and feet and braking is a combination of hands and feet. Same goals, different means of executing them. I bought the bike from a priest at UDM. I have to get the title transferred and then pass the test. Then I can get insurance for the motorcycle and register it. Pictures when they become available.

The pictures above are mostly of other riders taking the range test for the course. My group went later in the day, so I got to observe them working on their test.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

A Sweltering July Sunday




We're supposed to hit 95 degrees today, so I got some sprinkling in this morning before I did stuff. The birds know the right places to land.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Tantalizing Times in Libraries


I have been able to check out which libraries have my book via the database we have access to at UDM. But I just found out that Google Books provides links to the WorldCat Database with this information. The link for my book is in the title of the post. As of now there are 72 libraries that have my book. WorldCat is a nice database for the public to have access to. It's worth checking out for lots of reference material.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Water World




These pictures were taken at Collegium with the help of some of my fellow attendees. They all involve water shots of one sort or another. The champaigne brunch on the Portland River was a nice trip, although really windy on the way back. They had a typical paddlewheel riverboat, just like on the Mississippi. The Pacific is another story of course. It was a very cloudy day, but it was still great to get out to the ocean and walk around.

Monday, June 18, 2007

University of Portland





While at Collegium, we stayed at the University of Portland. It is a small university situated on the river with great views of the area. It is a cozy little campus, beautiful to walk around with a mix of new and older buildings. We were well fed during the stay. I especially enjoyed someone having food ready everyday and just getting what you want. It was good food for a college type situation. The university is building a new soccer stadium even though the old one looks fine. Apparently, considering the success of their women's soccer team, the old one isn't big enough. The townhouse we stayed in are certainly far superior to anything on the UDM campus (although I was glad to see the process of dorm window replacement starting at UDM today). I was impressed with Portland light rail system that transports folks from the airport to the downtown area. It was clean, efficient and informative. It would be great to see more places with something like that.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Trip to the Pacific





On the day of retreats, some of our group in the meditation retreat advanced to the shores of the Pacific at the end of the day. Led by our leader Dennis who rented a van, this motley crew headed for the beach. Fortunately, I brought my camera along to record this auspicious event. We walked around the beach for a while, taking pictures and taking in the sights. We then made our way to a Thai restaurant nearby and then back to the beach for a final look-see. It was a great side trip, as we chatted about the big and the small. Although the water was cold, it wasn't intolerable to walk in (though no swinwuits for this crowd). It was wonderful to look out onto the great expanse of the ocean for while, a more tangible way to ponder infinity and to fill the senses.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Collegium



I just returned from the 2007 Collegium. Collegium sponsors annual summer colloquies for faculty from its member institutions and for advanced graduate students from universities throughout the United States and Canada. The colloquies provide a collegial environment in which participants from diverse backgrounds, faiths, and disciplines can discuss the sources and implications of a Christian academic vocation. There was small and large group discussions, presentations, a retreat day, as well as many opportunities for socializing with faculty, graduate students and administrators from across the country.

It was a very interesting time, and I was happy to meet and interact with such a diverse group of colleagues. Being together in a relatively smallish group for a week provides the opportunity to forge bonds of various kinds. I still have a lot of thinking to do based upon these discussions. I'll make some posts over the coming days, as I took a lot of pictures while I was there. Above you can see the main building in which we held the majority of our small and large group discussions, as well as a view of the river from the University of Portland campus. The campus is quite lovely and had a truly collegiate feel to it. There will be more to come.

Getting away on some form of retreat, be it religious or otherwise, is a great experience that more people should avail themselves of. I was able to slow down a bit from the go-go pace I had been working at before.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Well that was a close one...


As I was driving to work, this guy in a van ran a red light and plowed into me as I was crossing an intersection. I bring in the car tomorrow. I was shaken up a bit but not hurt. As I saw him about to hit me, I felt I was going to be very hurt indeed, as he was not moving slowly. He clearly breaked enough to avoid catastrophe. I'll see how it goes. I don't think this will total the car, and if it did, I wouldn't get a lot for it and would then be looking at car payments. I hope it can be fixed for a reasonable amount. I can't get out of the driver's door, so it was a pain getting around. But it could have been a lot worse.

Monday, May 21, 2007

RIP Moselle


One of Jerry and Karen's cats, Moselle, succombed to cancer recently. She was a delightful little cat. She chose her friends with some caution, but I was fortunate to be among them. She'll be missed, even by Cosmo.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

IFPE in Toronto



I attended my first board meeting for IFPE (International Federation for Psychoanalytic Education) as chair of the research committee. Getting across the border to Canada was a "trip". Never have I been asked so many intrusive questions (Who is paying for your room?). After a few days of board meetings, one's brain is swimming. But the meals were great. Here's a nice picture of the modernity of Toronto, a nice city to visit, although getting there was an Inquisition. I also visited with a friend, Titaina. We chatted at a nice restaurant, Pure Spirits, in the Distellery District.