Monday, May 30, 2005

highs and lows

it's moments like this when i'm really torn about whether or not i like being a father.

today sue and i took all three kids to the local zoo. being memorial day, it was, of course, mobbed, but the weather wasn't unbearably hot and the skies were overcast, a definate plus.

ian loved looking at the animals, and perhaps i may take him back alone. benjamin didn't care one way or the other.

samantha cried more or less the entire day. she didn't mind walking by herself, but then we had to keep careful watch on her to make sure she didn't disappear, either into somewhere dangerous, or to somewhere we just couldn't see her.

it was fun watching ian, seeing his face light up. samantha is nerve-wearing. especially since she's still crying, and it's after naptime.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

more school stupidity

this is a slightly older story, but still worth mentioning.

a roman catholic high school in montgomery, alabama, refused to let a graduating senior participate in commencement exercises because she was pregnant. in a show of defiance, she went to graduation, walked the stage, called her own name, and went back to her seat.

the senior, who was instead given her diploma by a counselor privately, and her family were then escorted out of the church by police.

while one might suggest that prohibiting a student from participating in commencement ceremonies because she is pregnant and unwed (and therefore does not represent the ideals of the private school) might have some merit, in this case it's nothing but bullshit, because the baby's father was allowed to participate.

is that what jesus wants? if it is, i'm glad i have nothing to do with him.

censorship

a group of students has sued their principal for refusing to let them run an article on homosexuality. the students interviewed a number of openly homosexual students and their parents for the article. without reading the articule, i can't comment on its content, but i can tell you a little bit about student newspapers, having edited one in the early 1990s.

breaking with journalistic custom, the students got approval for the story to run as-is from each interviewed student, and got signed releases from each. for students who are minors, they also got signed releases from their parents or guardians.

represented by the american civil liberties union of southern california, and joined by the gay-straight alliance network the students have filed suit in california's kern count superior court (the equivalent to a state district court in texas, or a district court in the federal system) asking that the court order the school to permit the publication of the stories by tomorrow, the last day of school, when the paper originally intended to publish the articles.

the paper's journalistic reputation is fantastic. having won a number of awards, these student journalists have covered sexuality in the past without interference from the administration, as recently as in december.

california's state education code places high burdens on school administrations who attempt to censor student publications, which is unusual. it commands that students have the same free-expression rights on campus as they do off-campus (which is at odds with, and therefore supercedes in this context, supreme court cases on the issue). it prohibits officials from discriminating against students on the basis of sexual orientation.

if you want to read more background, go to the aclu's website and read the entire complaint. it's 17 pages long, a couple of pages of which is devoted to administrativa. it's a pretty interesting read.

the coverning supreme court case for school censorship of student publications is HAZELWOOD SCHOOL DISTRICT v. KUHLMEIER, 484 U.S. 260 (1988). in it, the court, by 5-3, held that schools and school officials, may hold student speech to a higher standard than would ordinarily be applied to adult speakers in a non-school setting. however, in the kern county case, california law places a higher burden on school administrators, and it remains to be seen (although it is doubtful) that they met that higher burden.

it's interesting to note that when the principal at the kern school originally ordered that the articles be censored, he said that the articles could run if the gay and lesbian students' names were deleted, but he did not similarly order the names of opposing students and community members deleted (despite explicit permission from students and parents that they could be identified as homosexuals in the paper).

the roots of the hazelwood decision go back to a 1969 case called TINKER v. DES MOINES SCHOOL DIST., 393 U.S. 503 (1969). in that case, students sued the district over a policy forbidding the wearing of black armbands in protest of the vietnam war. in a decision written by justice abe fortas, the court held that first amendment rights are available to teachers and students, and that "a prohibition against expression of opinion, without any evidence that the rule is necessary to avoid substantial interference with school discipline or the rights of others, is not permissible under the First and Fourteenth Amendments."

given that the kern county administration permitted running stories about date rape, teen virginity, and heterosexuality, all without consequence in terms of social disruption at the school, it's a stretch to think that there would be something akin to a riot at the school on publication of this paper, especially since the students mentioned in it are already "out."

one wonders if these administrators think. the answer is: probably not.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

my boring, depressing life

there is nothing going on in my life. my cat simply gets in my way. and i wait for school to start next week.

oh. and ben jumps on my balls every chance he gets.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

employment

okay so i have some.

not really but a tiny bit, on the side sort of job.

an adult site that i subscribe to has engaged me to provide copyright enforcement for them. when a violation is found i track the people down and threaten them. fee per hour, for a site that i respect. you may think it's trash, but i think it's pretty cool.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

an anniversary

it's been a week since i last wrote, and a lot has happened, and nothing has happened.

tarrant county's spring semester has ended and grades are posted. bad instructor gave me an a. i also got grades of a in geology and statistics; i got a b in the children's literature course. of the four, the most interesting was the lit course. i'd never really thought of children's lit like goodnight moon having a theme, but it does, if you're smart enough to see it.

dr. shrink, who i'm going to rename dr. schoolmarm, has put me on some new meds. 1500 mg depakote, 50 mg zoloft, 25 (and escalating) strattera. with sue's meds, this is definately getting expensive. i like her, but she definately dresses oddly; she's a pretty woman, but she wears very conservative floral patterns with a high neck and an ankle-length hem. I wonder what she'll be wearing in the height of summer, because her office faces south (think sunlight) and two of her walls are glass.

today is the first anniversary of me writing this blog. sitemeter measures 4,427 visitors since i started using it very near the beginning. i'd expect that most of those are spambots; i get a ton of comment spam. it's kind of depressing, actually. i guess my life is just fucking boring. but then i knew that, too.

i've been playing a lot of everquest, an online game. it's addictive to a point, but there is a certain sameness about its offerings after a while. but there are some people who've been playing it continuously for six years.

i got the billing notice for ian's mri, which thankfully will be paid by insurance. the charge over $3,000 for the mri, not including the radiologist and the anesthesia. i was astounded. and it didn't tell us anything.

school begins again on may 31, so two weeks away. i'm excited but nervous at the same time. a real school for a change. and i need to start dealing with registration for fall very soon.

love and congrats to cecily on getting her offer accepted. it's a big step, and it was nervous for me te first time i did it. i will offer one practical bit of advice: it's not as heart-breaking when a housing deal falls through as when a fertility cycle fails, but it's about as common. and my experience in real estate suggests this tidbit as well: there is always another house somewhere you want to live in your price range that you will love. always. even so, all the luck, all the love.

ian still doesn't talk. he won't say mommy or daddy. his third birthday was in march. i'm depressed about it, especially since the twins don't say it either and they'll be two in july.

Sunday, May 8, 2005

psychological evaluation

here it is, for your amusement

name: rainbow warrior
age: 31
date of birth: 2/23/74
sex: male
education: 14
occupation: student
handedness: right
date tested: 5/2/05
tested by: doc

reason for referral

this patient was referred for psychological counsultation by his psychiatrist, dr. shrink, to evaluate current levels of cognitive and emotional functioning. he has a long term history of depression and psychiatric treatment, although only recently coming under dr. shrink's care.

background information

mr. warrior is a 31 year old, white, right handed male who lives in ft. worth, texas. he has about completed two years of college, currently attending tcc. he plans to attend ut-arlington in the fall. current gpa is 3.2 and there is no history of school failure or specific learning disabilities. he reports prior sat scores of 1450. the patient has been married for five years and they have three children. their marriage is stressed with him not working, financial concerns, and three young children.

acording to mr. warrior, he has had long term problems with depression. he was first seen by a psychiatrist at age 10 because of depression and underachievement. he was not hyperactive as a child, but he has always had some trouble with authority figures, anger management, and inability to complete projectsion. he has never hed a job for more than six months, often because of chronic tardiness. the patient was hospitalized in plano in 1998 after a relationship broke up and he was hospitalized at all saints in 2003. [i call those my siestas in the nut hut.] he has had suicidal ideation in the past, but none recently.

mr. warrior's prior medical history includes hernia repair as a child and a tonsillectomy in 2002. neurologically, he denies any history of loss of consciousness, siezures, or infections diseases of the nervous system. a ct of the head done several years ago was reportedly normal. psychiatric history is as reported above. family hisory is positive for his mother being treated for depression. the patient indicates that he has not used alcohol in 11 years and he is still somewhat active in a.a. current medications include zoloft 50 mg qd and depakote 1000 mg qd.

tests administered and behavioral observations

wechsler abbreviated scale of intelligence
rorscach inkblot test
minnesota multiphasic personality inventory-2
clinical interview

mr. warrior was seen at the examiner's office on 5/2/05. he arrived by himself, seeming somewhat disheveled in his appearance. no gross physical defects were apparent. he is alert and fully oriented. speech scans normally. he was generally cooperative with the examiner and rapport was adequately established. the patient is capable of a full range of affect which is easily mobilized. reported mood is stable at the present time, and he denies neuronegative changes typically associated with depression. thoughts appear goal directed and associtations tight; i see no overt evidence for hallucinatory or delusional processes.

in approaching individual tasks, the patient's effort and motivation appeared good. the following data give an accurate reflection of his current levels of psychological functioning.

test results

iq & mental flexibility:

verbal tests - scaled scores
vocabulary - 16
similarities - 14

performance tests - scaled scores
block design - 12
matrix reasoning - 13

verbal iq = 127
performance iq = 111
full scale iq = 122

on the wasi, this patient obtained a verbal iq of 127 (superior), a performance iq of 111 (high average), and a full scale iq of 122. these data place him overall in the superior range of intelligence, with the fsiq falling at the 93rd %tile for his age group. i see nothing to suggest declines from estimated premorbid levels of functioning. the 16 point discrepancy between verbal and performance scores is suspicious, and this degree of discrepancy occured in only 10-15% of the standardization sample. the data suggest that he is more adept at tasks relying on previous education and experience rather than those requiring adaptation and flexibility when faced with novel situations. while it is clear this his verbal skills are relatively stronger, perceptual organization abilities are still falling in the high average range and he is quite functional in these areas.

emotional:

mmpi-2 validity scales indicate that this patient consistently responded to the items. he is openly acknoweding distress and asking for assistance with his problems. this is an over-reported profile and it is difficult to know the motivation for such. oftentimes, this reflects a cry for help, althought deliberate attempts to look worse than is the actual case cannot be ruled out. this profile needs to be viewed with some caution. high points suggest an individual who is chronically worried, tense, agitated. they are socially uncomfortable and have poor social skills and judgement. they have difficulty in forming close interpersonal relationships and usually are withdrawn, isolated, and introverted. these characteristics exacerbate their obsessive ruminations. he is reporting a good deal of paranoid thinking, and the presence of delusions should be ruled out on a clinical basis. this patient reports feeling depressed and lacks the energy to deal with problems of everyday life. he endorses the items "lately i have thought a lot about killing myself." and "no one knows it but i have tried to kill myself.". these patients feel that others do not understand them, and they tend to withdraw into fantasy and daydreaming while under stress. they usually have problems in getting along with authority figures and tend to be impulsive in their behavior. they show a low tolorance for frustration, and outbursts of temper are common. these are usually rebelliouis, nonconforming types of individuals.

rorschach data suggest an individual who does have some organized resources for coping with stressful situations, and he is prone toward ideational delay when placed in coping situations. at the present time, he appears to be withdrawing from or avoiding emotional eliciting stimuli. overall reality operations appear to be intact, although there are important times when he appears to disregard perceptual accuracy. this occurs most frequently with responses that reflect negativism and oppositional features. again, the issue of paranoid features should be evaluated on a clinical basis. he appears to be well aware of others, and possibly preoccupied with them. this may reflect low self-esteem and worry about what others think of him, or it may be part of a more general paranoid process. the data are not consistent with a psychotic process such as paranoid schizophrenia, and they more likely represent chronic personality features.

diagnostic impression:
296.33 major depression
r/o 301.0 paranoid personality disorder

summary

this 31 year old male reports a long history of treatment for depression, underachievement, and difficulty in keeping employment. he is currently a student at tcc with plans to attend uta, and law school after his degree. the patient is married with three young children, and his inability to keep a job and him remaining a student has caused financial problems and difficulties in his marriage.

current test data place him in the superior range of intelligence and he appears to have the cognitive capabilities to succeed in college. from an intellectual standpoint, he should be able to handle law school without much difficulty. emotionally, this patient appears to have chronic problems with depression, poor self-esteem, and lack of self-confidence. his mood disorder appears relatively stable with medication, and this may not be his primary problem at the moment. the data suggest a chronic personality disorder with strong paranoid features. i would describe this man as a bohemian type of personality who generally sees himself as different from others. he is "thin skinned" and sensitive to criticism from others, yet he is opinionated and intolorant of differing viewpoints from his own. there is a clear paranoid trend to his thinking and he will generally be suspicious of the motives of others. he will externalize blame for his problems and project responsibility for his own negative feels.

from a treatment perspective, this patient's depression appears fairly well controlled with current medications and these should be monitored periodically by dr. shrink. he should be referred for family or marital therapy as i suspect that his marriage is under a great deal of pressure. the personality disorder is going to be difficult to treat without long-term therapy, and it may make more sense to have therapy geared toward real life problems which he and his wife are experiencing.

[signed]
dr. phd
clinical neuropsychologist

Saturday, May 7, 2005

Election turnout

I'm writing this from the cell phone again. The turnout here at the poll is, to put it politely, underwhelming. With two hours to go we've has 41 voters today, one of whom was me. That's an average of under 2.5 voters per hour.

First the big debate between the three of us working was whether or not we'd get to 30 voters. When we did, the debate turned to whether or not we will have to open a second pack of ballots. The elections office gave us 950 (!) ballots, in packs of 100 and the odd pack of 50. We are at the end of the pack of 50 now, and if we get to 49 cast i'll have to crack another pack. We'll see.

Even so, i'm not regretting doing it.

Friday, May 6, 2005

onward

nobody has commented on the new layout, which surprises me not in the slightest. almost nobody visits here.

bloglines is a free service that monitors rss feeds of your fav blogs and notifies you when they're updated. this means that instead of opening each of the 30 blogs you read most often, you can open one page and see in a single place which have been updated. thanks to cecily for pointing it out. if you want to add me to your subscription, just click the "sub bloglines" graphic under "meta" in my navbar on the left. bloglines also offers a variety of notification tools, including one for firefox, so you don't even have to open a browser for it to tell you somebody's updated. way mucho cool.

today is election day in fort worth. i'll be working pct 1378. polls are open 0700 to 1900 (7a-7p). should be a boring day. :)

kiri, the world's dumbest cat, is still pretty cool. as i write this she's laying on my keyboard.

my daughter samantha has, over the past couple of months, taken on a decidedly nudist bent. ordinarily this wouldn't bother me except that she's not potty trained, and today while i was cooking dinner and my attention was diverted, she got her shorts and diaper off and shit on the carpet in two places. and not easy to scoop turds either. no. big wet messy need bleach and nature's miracle on the carpet ones. ah, the joys of children. still, she's a pretty cool kid.

Tuesday, May 3, 2005

the big update

i've been remiss, so here we go.

ian: the results of all the bloodwork and the mri are all "within normal limits." the mri went well, but i didn't realize that they could put anesthetic into his rectum. he obviously didn't care for that, and neither would you. so next is the speech people and the eye doctor. we had to move the eye doctor so we could do the mri.

school: the idiot teaching the technical writing class sent an email tonight: everybody who hasn't yet gotten her response to their rough draft of the huge project has their due date extended until next week. i've gotten her response to mine, but with only three days left until my due date, and i'd already waited like two weeks and gone ahead and turned in my final draft. i resubmitted a final draft instead. she also said she'd post the final, but haven't seen it.

the statistics class is over. the instructor distributed the final on monday, saying take it home. so we sat in class and all did it together. the instructor corrected some of the mistakes we made. she obviously takes grading real seriously.

the children's lit class has actually been interesting and challenging. the instructor won't post the final until monday, but i have every confidence she'll actually do it. she's been on the ball all semester and i've actually grown to like her quite a bit.

the geology class has me nervous. i've done well and i anticipate an a (i need only 50 on the final, out of 100, to get an a), but i obviously still want to do well. i've very much enjoyed the class and found it considerably more challenging than i thought it would be.

registration is done at uta. i'm taking history of england 1 during summer 1, a five week course; american judicial system during summer 11 (an 11 week course); and business law during summer 2 (a 5 week course).

i'm wildly excited about switching schools. it'll at least be a step in the right direction. perhaps i'll find the instructors more engaging and challenging, and the students slightly more intelligent than the sophomoric twits that inhabit tarrant county.

nerd: i've played around some with the theme here. i really like it. i'm still fiddling with the colors, but all the links and stuff from the previous incarnation are in this one, and i much prefer a left-side nav. kyle's photography will make a reappearance at some point. photoshop to the rescue.

sue: libido dead. we had a great time at the hotel and tuesday morning she got up in a "don't touch me" mode that hasn't ended. she's been showing a tiny bit more affection over the past couple days but hey, i'm high maintenance and i admit it.

meds: depakote and zoloft. the psychoneurologist who did my personality testing said that nothing jumped out at him but he didn't evaluate the mmpi right there on the spot. but he did agree to send me a copy of the report. if you've ever taken the mmpi, you'd remember it: it's 567 (five hundred and sixty seven) true/false statements. very annoying.

Sunday, May 1, 2005

some changes

sue asked that i upgrade her blog to wordpress 1.5 and install a theme for her. i did both, and liked the theme so much i've decided to steal it myself and hack it up a little bit. i've already started dicking with the colors and will of course figure out how to lowercase everything else, although i did manage to lowercase the text in the entries. i'll also be putting kyle's photography back up, integrating it into the theme.