Online Surveys Should Have Comments Systems

I might be blogging too much, but when I was solicited to take an online college survey, I truly wished there were comment boxes available for me to flesh out my answers. I took the damn thing sort of like I take a quiz on what 70s glam rock icon I am, all the while knowing that the only answers I could give were going to put me in a little box too small for my preferences.

Most of the answers I had to give on school life were completely predicated on me being a single mother at a massive land grant university. My time and attention is limited, of course I’m not seeking out places on intramural sports teams and “frequently” joining campus activities. I do what I can, which I indicated to the best of my ability, but nowhere was I able to say that although my university has plenty of things going on I don’t have the wherewithal to participate.

After all the campus life business, the political questions started: Do you consider yourself far left, left, center, right, far right? Let me think. I clicked through to the next page and my mouth gaped open. Forgive me for being a media skeptical blogger, but I can only assume how this research could be framed and used against the “liberal academic elite.”

Oh, how I wish I could have had a little box to add clarifications and critique the wording of the questions [click for screenshot].
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Posted in Education, Politics | 5 Comments

One More Design Thing

At the request of a reader, I put our author names and timestamps underneath the titles on individual entry pages, so that way you may better attribute, praise, and mock us as individuals. Cheers.

Posted in Blogging | 6 Comments

School Days

Monday is Ethan’s first day in kindergarten. I’m so worried for him that I can’t sleep.

There have been many times where I’ve had to release my son to the world in hopes that the world would receive and care for him well. This time feels different. His old school was much smaller, more intimate. Even with the troubles I’ve had there, troubles that will be alleviated with the size and nature of entering the public schools, I’m going to miss the comfort of recognizing every soul in the school.

Ethan’s father and I accompanied him to the open house on Sunday afternoon. Ethan was at first excited to finally be on the inside of the building, but once we got into the classroom and the newness of it all hit him, E became a shrinking flower. Continue reading

Posted in Education | Tagged , | 18 Comments

Sex Ed in NYC Public Schools

Even in the most progressive areas, the anti-sex head-in-the-sand crowd seems to be taking over. New York City is introducing new sexual health education curriculum, and it’s a mixed bag. Some of it is good:

High schoolers will learn the difference between sexual harassment and flirting, how to set a sexual limit, and sexual refusal skills. Middle schoolers will learn about reproductive anatomy and the benefits of sexual abstinence.

But, not surprisingly, some of it isn’t so good:

The new curriculum doesn’t teach middle schoolers about birth control, for instance, or address sexual orientation except in the context of AIDS.

Even the good seems to be coming a little late — shouldn’t kids be learning the difference between sexual harassment and flirting well before high school? And shouldn’t they learn about reproductive anatomy before middle school? When 1 in 10 New York City public school students report having sex before the age of 13 — that’s right, 13 — it doesn’t make much sense to avoid teaching them about the naughty bits until they’re in 7th grade, and to not mention contraception until 9th.

The absense of discussion on sexual orientation is also disturbing — especially when it’s only mentioned in the context of AIDS. As Miriam Yeung, of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center, says, “When you don’t see info about your life, or your behaviors or your feelings, then you don’t practice any health-promoting behaviors.” And as the article points out, the majority of parents (79%) want their children to learn about sexual orientation in their health classes.

The new curriculum also prohibits condom demonstrations in classrooms, which is just plain dumb. Condoms are most effective when used correctly, so it would make sense that we teach people how to use them correctly. What’s troubling is that if this is happening in New York City — which is pretty overwhelmingly liberal — just imagine what kids in rural Texas are being taught.

Posted in Education, Reproductive Rights, Sex | Tagged , , , | 9 Comments

To Tip or Not to Tip

I always tip in restaurants, even if the service is crappy. Why? Because I know that service jobs really suck, that the waitperson is probably making less than minimum wage, and that they’re on their feet all day probably dealing with rude and difficult customers. But tipping is also awkward. What if you do get really, really bad service — as in, a waiter who is purposely rude? And how much do you tip for things like beauty treatments? If I get a haircut or my eyebrows waxed, is 15-20 percent still standard? What if it’s a more unpleasant treatment, like a bikini wax or a pedicure? Do you tip more for those?

Now, one person is advocating a European-style service charge instead of a tip — at least when it comes to the restaurant world. I’ve gotta say, I think it’s a good idea for customers and waitstaff alike. And is anyone else disgusted that waiters get paid as low as $1.59 per hour in Kansas and $3.85 per hour in New York City?

Side question: what is an appropriate tip for things like cab rides, haircuts, and beauty treatments? Does anyone know for sure? Any beauticians or cab drivers wanna give your two cents?

One cocktail waitress weighs in. At this point, does anyone not know the dollar-a-drink rule?

Posted in Business | 33 Comments

Voices of Choice

Physicians who provided abortions before Roe v. Wade: A Multimedia Project.

Worth a view.

Posted in Reproductive Rights | Tagged , | Comments Off on Voices of Choice

Good Freaking Lord, The Peppers

One of the things I grew in my very first ever garden was a slew of peppers, primarily bells, jalapenos, and these little wonders called cherry bombs.

Tonight I made garbage soup for us to eat through the rest of the week and decided to throw in one solitary cherry bomb pepper the heighth and width of a quarter. I diced it up, threw it in, and went off to finish knitting a sweater.
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Posted in Domesticity | Tagged | 15 Comments

College Life: One Big Sex Carnival

Apparently we should return to single-sex dorms and bathrooms (which colleges have mixed-sex bathrooms?), promote marriage, and have parent-led “inspector committees” to track student sexual behavior. Because it’s not like college students are legal adults or anything. And according to the Washington Times article, “date rape” is such a silly term that we should put it in quotations — unlike, say, STDs and alcohol abuse.

This would all help to tame “the sex carnival that is college life today.”

Why do I feel totally left out of the party?

Posted in Education, Sex | Tagged , , | 31 Comments

I Refuse To Accept The Label…

…but when looking at this, the boyfriend and I have just about everything covered.

*Sigh* again.

Tagged | 15 Comments

Dr. B’s 4th Blogiversary

It’s thanks to her that I still keep this blog (and haven’t gone underground to start all over) and quit with the anonymity bag I insisted on carrying for so long. Also, it’s completely her influence that has me aiming toward grad school. When I need advice, I bribe her with tomatoes.

Dr. B, my academic and blogging mentor of sorts, is celebrating her fourth blogiversary! Go give her some love.

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Someone Tell The President The War Is Over

Read this editorial by Frank Rich. Go now.

Posted in War | 2 Comments

Christopher Walken To Run For President

Actor Christopher Walken has announced his candidacy for 2008:

Our great country is in a terrible downward spiral. We’re outsourcing jobs, bankrupting social security, and losing lives at war. We need to focus on what’s important– paying attention to our children, our citizens, our future. We need to think about improving our failing educational system, making better use of our resources, and helping to promote a stable, safe, and tolerant global society. It’s time to be smart about our politics. It’s time to get America back on track.

In other news, Walken also dreams of being a zombie. President, zombie — with the five week Presidential vacation this isn’t such a stretch.

I don’t know if this is a hoax or not, but it gave me pause. Ten bucks on hoax.

Posted in Politics | Tagged | 15 Comments