Category Archives: Miscellaneous

2011 Year in Review

This has been an incredible year. I was engaged and married to the love of my life in a self-uniting secular ceremony. I traveled to Europe for the first time, and left Pittsburgh and moved to a small rural town in Wyoming. I began the final steps of my PhD: I was matched to an APA-accredited predoctoral clinical internship and I submitted a full draft of my dissertation to my director. I’ve also expanded my clinical abilities and done some of the most demanding and rewarding clinical work of my career (currently, psychoanalytic psychotherapy multiple times weekly with clients diagnosed with intellectual disabilities). Here is my review of what I did this year:


watched Black Swan
continuing internship interviews
travel to DC, Virginia, New Jersey, New York, Utah, and Wyoming
second full year of Bikram yoga practice


turn in rank-order list for internship programs
lecture/ discussion by Judith Halberstam at University of Pittsburgh
read A Confederacy of Dunces
watched the Super Bowl
submitted all materials for Certificate of Teaching Excellence
matched to my internship program


saw a presentation by Mónica Enríquez-Enríquez
attended a lecture by Larry Davidson
read Franzen’s Freedom, How to Be Alone, and The Discomfort Zone
attended Farm to Table conference and local food tasting
finished watching Futurama
take a basic car mechanics and repair workshop


finished watching Deadwood
reading Nick Hornby (Juliet, Naked)
Humanistic Psych conference in Chicago
attended a lecture by Trinh Minh-ha
attended Croquet


begin attending Quaker meetings
started watching the Up series
complete Psyhodynamic Psychotherapy training course
comedy show at the Improv


attended Pgh Psychoanalytic lecture by Salman Akhtar
saw Attack Theater’s performance of Euridice and Orpheus
attended Menstrual Cycle Research Conference
attended Matt and Claire’s and Sarah and Tim’s weddings
engagement party BBQ in Denver
punk rock karaoke at Howlers


terminate with all clients in sex offender treatment program
Wedding in Pittsburgh
honeymoon in Germany
started reading Ishiguro (Never Let Me Go)
travel to DC, then Denver
move to Wyoming


internship begins, new individual clients and process groups
Rorschach seminars
attended a rodeo
visit to Denver
attended ten-year high school reunion


went to demolition derby
watching Kids in the Hall
Joe goes to Pgh for work
conduct first psych eval for internship
read Nocturnes (Ishiguro)
watched Somewhere (Sofia Coppola)


parents visit
watching Walking Dead season 2
technology paper published in a peer-reviewed academic journal
presentation on gender and intellectual disability at Women and Disabilities Conference in DC
begin working with an outpatient child client
watched Bridesmaids
read When We Were Orphans and Remains of the Day (Isihiguro)
Halloween party at our apartment


Thanksgiving in CO
reading 1Q84 (Murakami)
watched The Skin I Live In
started watching third season of In Treatment


travel to Pittsburgh, holiday parties
watched Young Adult
Joe’s parents visit for Christmas
Submitted complete dissertation draft
watching Chappelle Show
applying for postdoctoral postions/ jobs
New Year’s Eve celebration at our place, Lebowski themed


Friends, I have made no secret of my love for Pittsburgh. As my graduate student days here wane, I think of some of things I will miss.

(Not the least of which is sharing the hometown of Rev. Fred McFeely Rogers.)

Pittsburgh is my first home as an adult. I came here alone to forge my own future, and the city welcomed me warmly with low rent and a beautiful living space, a fabulous and incongruous skyline, late-night Indian food, and the world’s greatest dive bars.

I also discovered (and even still, continue to discover) Pittsburgh’s eccentricities. Right away, I found myself in a land operating by laws I’d never heard of before. I can only buy beer in a bar, but I can take it with me? What the hell is a growler? BYOB restaurants?

Pittsburgh is a land of bizarre twists and turns, dozens of neighborhoods with their own offerings. The first time I rode the Eliza Furnace Trail (Jail Trail), I was amazed. There’s a secret path behind the Cathedral of Learning that takes you over some railroad tracks, through a tiny residential neighborhood, through a big park, and then drops you on the Hot Metal Bridge (which, for me, usually leads to the bike bar). Mr. M and I seriously just found Highland Park and all it has to offer, like, last weekend.

I also feel like Pittsburgh gives rise to some great creative projects–I’d like to say, in a way that other places can’t, or at least in a way that wouldn’t be the same if they were to happen someplace else. We have an active arts community–here’s one in my neighborhood. The cycling community has made itself strong. Young people build excellent businesses, such as these (all owned by women friends my age):,, and Yesterday I went to Fleeting Pages, set up in the massive cavern left by Borders.

They set up an independent and local bookstore and community gathering space.

I loved being in the reclaimed space. The escalators have been shut down. There is much more room to wander. Upstairs, some of the repetitive Borders furniture has been replaced by an old, long, heavy oak table and an assortment of chairs. A sewing machine and a typewriter sit on desks against the wall. It was amazing how quickly this space was transformed into a place that felt like home. I can say the same thing for the city. It’s amazing how, when I mention that I study psychology at Duquesne to a stranger in Pittsburgh (most recently, the manager of a new beer distributor in my area), they say, “Oh, yeah, existential-phenomenological theory and psychotherapy.”

Pittsburgh has given me the greatest karaoke experiences of my life, the first place that I really felt like a “regular”–the Quiet Storm (I go here all the time–seriously, check Foursquare), and an excellent Bikram Yoga school. They gave me my first farmshare and an appreciation for good food. They gave me Girl Talk and Wiz Khalifa. My god, they even got me to enjoy watching football a couple of times. Pittsburgh has been deeply generous to me, and during my time here I’ve received massive support and encouragement, had a series of opportunities open up to me, and learned huge things about the world and myself. We’re not quite finished yet.

2010 Year in Review

Here is my year in review, with some memorable major events and milestones, some smaller events, and some reminders of what I was reading or thinking or doing during the year.  It’s meant to create a different experience of time, or of what a year is like.

  • January: New Year’s in Baltimore
  • January: first full year of Bikram yoga practice
  • January: ended practicum at Center for Children & Families
  • January: began Physiological Psych course (fourth year, second semester)
  • January: participated in focus group at Persad
  • January: began practicum at intensive outpatient program for persons with early psychosis/ who have experienced a first break
  • January: presented preliminary dissertation proposal at CIQR meeting
  • January: epic birthday karaoke at Nico’s Recovery Room
  • January/ February: Snowpocalypse
  • February: saw Small Cities (now “The Slow Reel”) at Howler’s
  • February: completed teaching portfolio per Duquesne’s Center for Teaching Excellence requirements
  • March: dissertation committee fully assembled, proposal approved
  • March: attended a lecture by Edward Tick
  • March: attended a lecture by Maria Elena Buszek
  • April: awarded dissertation writing fellowship for the year
  • April: Joe’s parents visit
  • April: saw Arthur Miller’s “The Price” at Pittsburgh Public Theater
  • April: saw Richard III performed at Carnegie-Mellon
  • April: started reading Kirkman’s Walking Dead graphic novel series
  • April: attended Croquet
  • May: Lost finale party
  • May: begin subscription to Stunner of the Month
  • May: terminated with all clients at all practicum sites
  • May: courses I taught, Social Psych at Duquesne and Intro to Psych at Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC), end
  • May: cohort “graduation”; all coursework completed, beginning dissertations and internship
  • May: won department’s Excellence in Teaching Award
  • May: began forensic psych job; started co-leading therapy group for internet sex offenders
  • May: read What Things Do by Peter Paul Verbeek
  • May: begin working with a mentee/ research assistant for the summer
  • June: attended AASECT (American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists) Conference
  • June: became associate editor for Janus Head
  • June: watched most of Red Dwarf
  • June: read The Psychoanalytic Adventures of Inspector Canal by Bruce Fink
  • July: went to upper peninsula Michigan for Joe’s family reunion
  • July: saw Flaming Lips at Station Square
  • July: first Communiteach event, home brewing 101
  • August: saw Metropolis with restored footage at Melwood
  • August: massive car repairs
  • August: Nick and Elena visited
  • August: Pirates game (they lost)
  • August: party on a boat!
  • August: saw The Moth at New Hazlett
  • August: reading Jay Prosser, Second Skins
  • August: Four years in Pittsburgh!
  • September: saw Attack Theatre dance performance, Site/Re-Site
  • September: read The Corrections (Franzen)
  • October: began year one training at the Pittsburgh Psychoanalytic Center
  • October: saw 39 Steps at City Theatre
  • October: visited Colorado for cousin’s wedding
  • October: went skydiving
  • October: Communiteach event, Vegetarian Indian Cooking, and party
  • October: watched The Social Network and Catfish
  • November: took a basic knife skills workshop, bought a good quality chef’s knife
  • November: all internship applications submitted
  • November: celebratory dinner at Eleven
  • November: saw Gogol Bordello at Mr. Smalls
  • November: attended lectures by Patricia Gherovici
  • November: accepted to present at Society for Phenomenology and Human Sciences, but did not attend because internship apps demanded my attention
  • November: Thanksgiving in D.C.
  • November: end of third season of getting CSA boxes from Penn’s Corner Farm Alliance
  • December: Grammie Taylor dies:
  • December: visited Colorado
  • December: began internship interviews
  • December: reading Love and Its Place in Nature by Jonathan Lear
  • December: watched True Grit and I Love You Phillip Morris
  • December: new laptop!

Update: Thought I’d do 2009, too.

  • January: New Year’s in D.C., with Bill and Rachel
  • January: began Phenomenology & Feminism course with Eva Simms, research independent study with Martin Packer (second semester, third year)
  • January: began second semester of practicum at Chatham University
  • January: began teaching Intro to Psych at Duquesne and CCAC
  • January: had a party at our apartment for my birthday
  • January: presented “Body and Technology” paper at GAP symposium
  • January: received teaching award from the Social Psychology Network
  • January: attended inauguration party
  • January: began taking Bikram yoga classes in Pittsburgh
  • February: Superbowl party at Remedy
  • February: began working with second couples’ therapy case
  • February: handed in proposal for Comprehensive Exam
  • February: read/ re-read Don Ihde‘s Bodies in Technology
  • February: started watching Saw series
  • February: presented history of my research question as part of “audition” for CIQR Proseminar
  • March: presented with other psychology teachers at Eastern Psychological Association meeting
  • March: another party at our place
  • March: watched Lawnmower Man
  • April: attended Croquet
  • April: presented at Resistances: Technologies and Relationalities Conference at SUNY Binghamton
  • April: presented my final Phenomenology & Feminism paper to an audience of peers, my proto-dissertation proposal
  • April: attended Duquesne’s Undergraduate Psychology Conference where two former students presented papers written in my Psychology of Gender course
  • April: new glasses
  • April: read Brief Interviews with Hideous Men (David Foster Wallace)
  • May: began working as Clinic Coordinator, screening new patients for the Clinic
  • May: Eva agrees to direct my dissertation
  • May: read Elementary Particles (Houllebecq) and The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle (Murakami)
  • June: went to Denver, then to Seattle with family
  • June: read Wittgenstein’s Poker
  • July: Fourth of July in Canada with Ian and Gill
  • July: Scaife Advanced Medical Fellowship Program in Alcohol and Other Drug Dependency
  • July: saw Girl Talk at Station Square with Bill in town
  • July: began brewing kombucha
  • August: attended ghost bike lock-up
  • August: completed, and passed, Comprehensive Examination.
  • August: began teaching Developmental Psychology II and another section of Intro to Psych at CCAC
  • August: began CIQR Proseminar, auditing Merleau-Ponty course (first semester, fourth year)
  • August: began practicum in family psychotherapy
  • August: began watching Hellraiser series
  • August: read Lindner’s The Fifty Minute Hour (best psychotherapy case studies ever!)
  • September: saw The Sounds at Mr. Small’s
  • September: visited Jillian on the farm where she worked
  • October: presented a poster at Society for Humanistic Psychology annual conference, visited parents
  • October: Gabriela’s wedding in Baltimore
  • November: attended a lecture by Alphonso Lingis
  • November: discovered Sonny’s and the pickle shot
  • November: saw Candide by Quantum Theatre
  • November: watched A Serious Man
  • November: Thanksgiving in D.C.
  • December: started watching Lost
  • December: Evolution of Psychotherapy Conference in Anaheim, CA, met and saw lectures by Yalom, Kernberg, Gendlin, Minuchin, and others
  • December: visited Colorado


  • January: New Year’s in Pittsburgh
  • January: Teaching Intro to Psych at Duquesne, taking Advanced Assessment (Rorschach), Social Psychology, Bruce Fink’s Psychoanalytic Theory, and Cultural Diversity (second semester, second year)
  • January: presented paper on Freud’s theory of gender at Graduate Association of Psychology symposium
  • January: watching The Medium on television
  • January: watched Fat Girl
  • February: read The Master and Margarita
  • February: participant in social drinking study (trying to make extra cash through these)
  • April: participant in sleep study
  • April: began working in Ohio doing Social Security Disability assessments
  • April: began summer practicum at a residential treatment facility for people in recovery from substance dependencies
  • April: complete graduate certificate in Women and Gender Studies
  • April: win paper award from department of Women and Gender Studies
  • May: begin independent study in psychodynamic psychotherapy
  • May: Hawaii Social Science Conference/ Hawaii vacation
  • May: began a lasting course of psychoanalytic psychotherapy/ psychoanalysis
  • May: watched The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
  • June: Human Science Research Conference at Ramapo College, New Jersey
  • June: Pennsylvania Psychological Association Conference in Harrisburg, win Existential-Humanistic Theory and Application Research Award for presentation
  • June: parents visit
  • June: attend Pittsburgh Passion football game (they totally won)
  • June: read Murakami’s After Dark
  • June: ride Critical Mass
  • July: visit Colorado
  • July: read We Need to Talk About Kevin (Lionel Shriver)
  • July: Joe starts a new job
  • August: present papers at Division 32 (Humanistic Psych) and American Psychological Association (through Div. 39, Psychoanalysis) conferences in Boston
  • August: watched Alphaville at Regent Square
  • August: began teaching Psych of Gender, and taking Case Formulation with Bruce Fink, Advanced Research with Martin Packer, (first semester, third year)
  • August: attend Roller Derby (Steel Hurtin’)
  • August: begin practicum at Chatham
  • September: attend SJC Homecoming
  • September: began CSA with Penn’s Corner Farm Alliance
  • October: attend SPEP, see Don Ihde panel on postphenomenology
  • October: saw Radio Golf performed by Pittsburgh Public Theater
  • October: watching presidential debates
  • November: saw Poona the F**kdog performed by the University of Pittsburgh Theatre Arts Department
  • November: saw Electric Six at Mr. Small’s
  • November: attended Handmade Arcade
  • November: saw Reggie Watts at the Warhol
  • November: saw Neighborhood Narratives at Firehouse Lounge
  • November: Joe’s parents visit for Thanksgiving
  • November: stated watching Mad Men
  • December: saw The Goat at the Pittsburgh Playhouse
  • December: volunteer for Persad’s glassware sale fundraiser
  • December: visited Colorado

Feminist Phenomenology

I am an associate editor of the interdisciplinary open access journal Janus Head.  We have a special issue coming out in one of my major areas of interest–perhaps you would like to contribute?

Janus Head Special Issue: Feminist Phenomenology

Janus Head is issuing a special volume on feminist phenomenology in the fall of 2012. Feminist phenomenology is an interdisciplinary endeavor between philosophy, the social and natural sciences, and the literary arts. We encourage submissions from these different areas, and they can focus on foundational feminist issues in phenomenology, feminist phenomenological methods, or applied phenomenological studies that deal with issues related to women and gender through the framework of continental philosophy. The volume will be edited by Eva Simms, (Duquesne University, Psychology Department) and Beata Stawarska (University of Oregon, Philosophy Department).

The essays in Janus Head are widely distributed in print and electronic form and are available for free download as pdf documents. This ensures that contributors’ work is accessible from all around the world.

Good Life

Very interesting story and conversation, Cynthia Ozick on Steven Millhauser’s story, “In the Reign of Harad IV.”  I had not heard of Millhauser before, but I like this Borges-like fairy tale.

The story and the conversation addresses two views of the artist (or, person with a project, like a philosophical project, or the project of constructing a life or constituting a self):

1) The artist has a strong desire to do something. Production is a selfish task, she wants to create because of an inner drive to do so. It is enough for her art to simply exist (or even to exist conceptually, personally, inaccessibly to others).  Finnegan’s Wake, in its inaccessibility, was cited as an example.  Kafka’s entire body of work was cited as a possible example.  The artist is lonely, but fine.  She’s fulfilling her desire.

2) The artist is contributing to the world. Her art is for an audience, it is meant to transform the world, and therefore the people in the world must receive it in some way.  It has a political dimension.  The context in which it comes into existence matters, as it is a response to the “external” world.  Maybe this art can be taught.  It exists in relation to other people, and one way or another, their response is crucial.  The artist wants her art to reproduce, to become caught up in history.  No need for examples here, right?

Book Review

I just saw that my review of Conversation Analysis and Psychotherapy by A. Perkyl, C. Antaki, S. Vehvilaninen and I. Leudar, was published in Qualitative Research in Psychology (Volume 7, Issue 4 October 2010 , pages 369 – 370), although that link won’t let you read it. I still feel a bit conflicted about having something go to print that others will have to pay the publisher to view (and hence, which is less likely to be viewed!). I’m going to try to avoid this as much as possible in my academic career and I certainly plan to use a Creative Commons license for my dissertation, following the advice of Dr. danah boyd.


I’m back on the blog.

I’ve been away for a long time, for a number of reasons. A major one is that the sort of content I might post to a blog appears elsewhere, so I had to figure out the blog’s niche. I share and discuss items of interest via the comments on Google Reader or on my Facebook wall. I share the rare macro-update via my SJC alumni blog (posts about things like, “finished my master’s,” “starting my dissertation,” etc.) and micro-updates via Facebook (like, “I am at a Gogol Bordello show, yinz!”). I only feel the desire to micro-update occasionally, so I never got into Twitter—maintaining an ongoing feed of myself is too much for me. I maintain a small online academic presence via and to some degree, also through Facebook, since it’s where I connect with some other academics including the Humanistic Psychology crowd (American Psychological Association Division 32). I use to maintain a database of life goals that fall somewhere between a short-term to-do list and major lifetime achievements, and this is probably where I post the most “personal” information. So this leaves the question, what sort of content will the blog take over or what new sort of content will it generate?

There’s also the question of who my audience will be. All of the spaces mentioned above have different audiences. I overlap content sometimes, especially Google Reader and Facebook, for simultaneous audiences. A small SJC crowd engages in GR discussions, and a broader crowd, mostly current colleagues in Duquesne’s Psychology and Philosophy grad programs but a lot of touch-and-go commenters from my friend-pool, engage on FB (but don’t tend to carry this discussion to the same lengths, given some limitations of the medium, including limited space for typing comments and perhaps some more subtle limitations, too). I feel that the micro-updates on FB are sufficient for sharing a general sense of what’s going on in my life with others, such as friends and relatives with whom I communicate only infrequently, but whom I don’t want to leave in the dark about my life and, presumably, they also maintain some active interest in knowing what’s up with me. The SJC alumni page and blog serves the same purpose, but tailored to a more particular audience—I want the SJC community to be aware, or at least potentially aware, of major happenings in my life that are relevant to my career as how I’m taking up my SJC experience. I want this both in order to maintain some feeling of home and continuity there and to maintain a presence to others from the SJC community so that we can help one another out (primarily, so I can advise SJC students interested in my grad program and foster a connection between the two programs/ these two components of my own education). is the same, a more tailored presence to a more particular audience, and less a dynamic online presence than a site to which I can refer people who ask about my work or where people who go googling for my work will land—in other words, it’s better than an empty business card. Like I said, 43Things is where I post the most personal information online, but few people actually read it, and those who do generally don’t know me in domains other than 43T. This is fine; I mean personal both in the sense of “boring to read about” and “done mostly for my own purposes.” The question here is who will be my audience, or at what level shall I engage my audience? Furthermore, do I want to reach new audiences?

So, given the sort of online content I’m inclined to produce or already produce and its audiences, intended and actual, what’s this blog’s purpose? My sense is that it will take after the personal blogs of academics (for instance, Graham Harman’s blog), which contains mainly thoughts and ideas relevant to work. Graham’s blog also contains personal updates, but not necessarily the sort one talks to one’s friends on the phone about, just things about traveling, what he’s doing now, etc. So, following this model, I’d both be creating a new kind of content by sharing more of my ideas and discussing my work more, and also creating some content overlap or eclipsing old domains (the ones containing macro-updates, and to some degree, my musing about items of interest on GR and FB). Another area I’m inclined to write about has to do more with practice. I’d like to write about experiences related to my work as a psychologist, about how I am positioned in the world and how the personal intersects the world of intellectual musing (for instance, I can foresee writing a post about how strange men often stare and even offer help when they witness me parallel parking, no matter how graceful and elegant my parking job). This is more in the tradition of graduate student blogs I’ve read that are as much about graduate student life as they are about emerging ideas. So, the purpose of this blog will be to share my ideas and reflections on life for a broad audience of acquaintances and strangers, including myself. For me, it will contain beginnings of ideas that I can reference and return to as well as providing a sense of the passage of time, a sort of history of my thoughts, and will have witnesses.

A few concerns I have that I’ll share lest they keep this project from getting started:
I’m concerned about becoming obligated to write or produce a response. I don’t want to have to say something every time there’s an event relevant to the thematic content of my blog, i.e., I don’t want to write a post about sexism for every well-publicized instance of outrageous gender bias. So, this blog has no official theme, it’s not a response to anything in particular (in contrast to a blog like Angry Asian Man). I also have some concerns that this blog will make other content redundant, including offline content like conference papers and articles. Perhaps by putting ideas here I’ll just drop them and won’t let them gestate into bigger ideas. I’m not sure why this would be so—in fact, the opposite seems more likely, that by putting down my ideas in nascent form they are less likely to vanish. But what would be the effect of opening up my stream of ideas to an audience? I worry my ideas will become self-conscious, smaller, more defensively offered. Finally, I have the common concern about composing to a mixed audience. The audiences of my other domains are pretty well-defined, and although some of what I share on those domains is still accessible to others, they don’t access it. I’m not sure who would read or find my blog (patients, students, clinical supervisors, employers?), or whether, given the content I’ve outlined, this would be a concern.