Thursday, April 15, 2010

Everett Daniel Mintz

Born at 5:52pm PDT on April 15th, 2010, a happy and healthy Everett Daniel Mintz was born to Dan & Catie Mintz in Los Angeles, California. Everett is named after Pam's father, Everett Cope.
I'm tired. It's been a long, amazing birthday. I awoke with the tiredness of vivid dreams that come with big birthdays, but also with a feeling about life--a feeling of strength, of energy, of time, effort, freedom, flow--a feeling based on being happy with how I'm spending my energy--the work I do and things I learn. A feeling of hopefulness based on my own ever-changing capacities---and the capacity for change and growth that accompanies effort and openness.
The morning was confusing--talking to a lawyer for help on a house--too much to get into. And then minor setbacks--no wallet equals no food, and pants that cannot be returned. Silly things, they did not phase me. News from the west coast was pouring in--it's really going to happen, they'd say. They were going to the hospital.
As my phone's battery died at school, the bounciness of my knees increased. I felt disconnected, out of touch. I called in sick to work.
At home I was greeted by a loving girlfriend and a slew of birthday surprises. As the day wore on, it felt less and less like my birthday and more like the day Everett is born. I did not mind this one bit. I had felt my birthday so much the whole morning, and felt it so good, I didn't care that our collective energy was directed so much at Evie and Catie and their actions.
The parents came over; we ate, sat anxiously; most of the pacing took place in our minds and hearts--and most of it during the last 10 minutes, the time when things shifted from anxious to frustrated then, finally, to frightened. In the end he came out and he came out fine. Happy, healthy, tired, beautiful, safe, loved.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Personal Statement

Whilst considering my upcoming application process, I came upon my personal statement from my previous:

Personal Statement
George Washington University

Applicant: Doctor of Psychology Program

In considering my passions, I realize that there is an underlying theme that connects the various interests, hobbies, activities and employments. I believe that the theme reflects the core of my interest in psychology. The theme cannot be expressed with a simple adjective, but perhaps I can explain myself better with what follows.
The two most important aspects of my life may seem incongruous at first glance. My relationships, spending time and connecting with my family and friends, drive my day-to-day life. My escape from this day-to-day life, and from my relationships, traveling, is a passion of mine as well. In my travels and experiences living abroad, what provides me the biggest thrill is the feeling of complete solitude, the challenge of knowing that I must fend for myself, with nothing on my person except a backpack full of dirty clothes, a passport and some traveler’s cheques. Whereas in day-to-day life I thrive on the depth of my interpersonal connections, while traveling I thrive on the intensity of brief yet meaningful interactions with complete strangers. Whether it’s a significant personal interchange during a week on the road together with a group of Australians or the simple exchange of direct eye contact with the woman from Varanasi who sold me a samosa, the feeling of depth attached to these connections drive my travels. In day-to-day life, the depth manifests itself differently. The moments where I feel most useful are moments in which I help a member of my family, a friend, or a client, overcome a challenging situation. Whether I’m helping them through a difficult moment, providing personal insight, or simply giving them a chance to talk something out, I feel most productive as a person acting as a source of interpersonal assistance.
My two years living and working in Costa Rica were a combination of both worlds. My life there had the thrill of being a foreigner and the challenge of mastering a second language, combined with the stability of meaningful friendships. While teaching English at the Universidad Interamericana, I enjoyed the challenge of learning how to connect through cultural and language barriers, of making an entire classroom of university students release their natural first-day jitters and laugh, open up, express themselves. I consider my ability to evoke expression, both emotional and otherwise, as a skill that will help me immeasurably in my future as a psychologist.
During my years at the University of Michigan, I worked as a Behavioral Therapist for autistic twins in Ann Arbor. ‘The boys’, as we called them, taught me that there are numerous perspectives of reality, and the challenge of my job was to find my way into their reality. During those two years I became a part of their world, a world that was often characterized as lacking interpersonal connections, as being motivated by objects, stories, movies, and repetition.
When I started working as the Case Manager of the Transitional Living Program of the Latin American Youth Center, I was somewhat intimidated by the population with which I would be working: homeless males, ages 16-22, straight off the streets, many of whom had recently come to the country ‘on foot’ from Central America. I knew that they would be some fairly tough guys. I also knew that, unlike younger or more privileged youth, an open heart would not be enough to win their respect or affection. But I trusted in myself, and I trusted in what I had learned in my time abroad: that a warm, genuine smile, plus an ability to talk about a common interest, an ability to make another person comfortable and even make a person laugh, could win over just about anybody.
The lesson that was hardest for me to accept was that of dealing with problems that were outside my abilities as a professional and outside my control as a person. In working with youth with problems ranging from substance abuse issues to severe mental health issues, I had to learn that there are some problems that cannot be solved by a healthy chat. I have never felt as hopelessly incapable as I did in dealing with issues that were, to say the least, over my head. While I hope to hone my skills in dealing with issues such as these in a professional psychology program, I need to recognize, both for professional and personal reasons, that there are some problems that will not be solvable, some problems for which the goal will be to learn to live with rather than to solve. I must also learn that I cannot place too much blame on myself regarding cases that have not turned out ideally and to recognize that we are all works in progress. Lessons such as these drive my day-to-day life and, in a manner of speaking, are the fruits of my labor.

I am returning to Costa Rica in January. It will be my first time back since leaving my job, my students and my friends behind to work on the presidential campaign in May of 2004. I will be the Producer of a National Geographic-funded educational quest called Blue Zones that aims to understand why there are such a high percentage of centenarians in the country. The trip will combine several of my passions: the inspiring unknown of traveling, the logistics coordination and media production skills I learned working on the Kerry/Edwards 2004 campaign, the quest for a multifaceted answer to a challenging but significant question, the chance to make new interpersonal connections, and the chance to reconnect with old friends.
The future is exciting, but I see the past as the true source of knowledge of self. In addition to enjoying experiences retroactively through memory, the past is a source of lessons, and is the key source of growth. My knowledge of psychodynamics is limited, but my experience in utilizing my conscious past, my thoughts, my emotions and even my dreams as a road to introspection, to self-understanding and to learning is vast. I see every day, every experience as a valuable lesson. I try my best to learn from each simple occurrence, to be proud of myself for my successes, to be wary of making the same mistake twice, to understand why I do what I do and why I am who I am. These are questions that drive my life. To me, psychology is not only a science, a study, a route to a profession. To me, psychology, as the exploration of the self, is the main goal of life.
I am wise enough to know this: my knowledge is limited, my experiences numerous out of infinite, my ability to function as a psychologist fledgling. I recognize that I am years away from being the professional psychologist I hope to be, years from having the skills to sit in a room with a person and know that I’ll have the academic, experiential and professional knowledge to truly help them. This self-awareness of what I lack drives me. It has driven me, in this instance, to apply to George Washington University’s Professional Psychology program. But I also know that my self, the combination of my family, my relationships, my education, my experiences and my life have prepared me in the strongest way possible to do what I want to do and to become who I want to be. And I look forward to it.

Monday, August 10, 2009


Hello people.
This photo was taken at the American Visionary Arts Museum in Baltimore, Maryland, where my bumper sticker has been on display for approximately one year (along with the piece of art on which it is stuck---Cram Guy, by Dr. Seth Goldstein). Dr. Goldstein bought the sticker at our only retail outlet (the Bethesda Co-op). We at are honored to have be included in such a fine kinetic sculpture as Cram Guy and at such a fine venue as the AVAM. Once I can procure enough stickers, the AVAM will become the second retail outlet of such stickers. (After touring the museum (which is awesome, by the way), I asked the employees at Side Show, the museum's gift shop, if they were interested. They said that "we get asked about that sticker all the time." 'Twas an honor.)

"Visionary...," Lasitha said, "...visionary."

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

DC on Election Night

Below I've posted a story by a DC friend, Emily Cohen. My experience of last night was fairly similar, save a few details. Emily has managed to capture some of the most beautiful and meaningful elements of what took place in this city on November 4th, 2008. Thank you, Emily. :

This is what democracy looks like

I wish you all could have been in DC last night.

We all witnessed history yesterday, but I wish you all could have been here, so that you could have seen what I saw. Here's what the Post said about it, to be concise: "From outside the White House to U Street, Obama's victory sparked one big street party that had folks honking horns, racing through the streets and chanting across the city, 'Yes We Can, Yes We Can!'"

I started off the night at Red Derby, a neighborhood bar near my house, where the energy of anticipation was intense. It was packed, with one projection of CNN on a wall. The crowd cheered with each state called for Obama, and when Ohio was called it got even better. When the election was called, we were standing on chairs screaming, jumping, and hugging each other. We went outside and for about an hour we cheered with every passing car on 14th street. Almost all of them honked their horns like crazy (DC voted 93% for Obama, but I'd say our honking ratio was more like 95%) while we jumped and cheered and yelled. Even metrobus drivers were honking their horns, and all the passengers were hanging out the windows cheering.

The thing I found remarkable about that first part of the night, and continuously throughout the rest of the night, is that amid shouts of "Yes we can!", "Yes we did!", "Obama!", etc., that we were also singing America the Beautiful and chanting "USA!". Now, the Left is often criticized for being unpatriotic, and frankly, we haven't had much to be patriotic about in the last decade. So I don't think I've ever heard genuine expressions of patriotism like that in liberal crowds in recent years. But last night, without irony (and you know hipsters do everything ironically), we sang songs praising our country because for the first time (for a lot of us) in our lives, our country accomplished something that made us deeply, undeniably, proud.

So at around 12:30, we thought our night was about over. The beer/tequila/whiskey/champagne mixture in my stomach was telling me it was time to go home. I'd taken pictures until my camera ran out of battery (I'll try to post them later). So Brad, our roommate Emily and I headed back to the house. As soon as we got home, though, we heard through text messages that there were masses gathering at the white house. We had to be part of it. So we raced back to 14th street and jumped on the last bus headed downtown.

As we approached U street, we saw a police barricade up ahead, so the bus driver had to divert his route to 13th. But over there it was the same - U street was shut down by the crowds. The sight was unbelievable. Masses of people packing the streets, people hanging out of their cars, honking, cheering, hugging, dancing... From there to the white house it was the same - huge crowds of people, screaming, running, celebrating the night together. I can't begin to describe the feeling it elicited in all of us, to see our whole city erupt physically with the joy we were all feeling.

Forty years ago, there were race riots on these same streets. Literally. In 1968, after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, rioting broke out on U street and spread throughout the city. The neighborhood was devastated for decades. And last night, people of every skin color - and I'm talking huge masses of people of every skin color - walked out on these very same streets in the spirit of pure and utter joy. All the way down U street, at the very same intersections where windows were getting smashed and buildings were being burned in 1968. All of us - Black, White, Latino, Indian, and everything else - stood in these exact same places and CELEBRATED together. Perfect strangers, in the middle of the night, hugging each other, lifting each other into the air and screaming "We did it!" Standing on the exact same ground where 40 years ago it was desperate and sad, there were masses of people celebrating how far we've come.

In front of the white house, there were more gathered like a protest rally. People singing the "na na na, goodbye" song to Bush, people chanting "Whose house is this? Obama's house!", people just cheering and hugging and dancing together. I take for granted the fact that I work 2 blocks from the white house and it's lost some of its majesty for me. Standing in that place and expressing anti-Bush spirit is nothing new. But last night I felt something incredibly powerful, that brings me to tears just writing about it, to stand in front of the white house and declare with fellow Americans that we have put a black man in that house.

DC is one of the few (maybe the only) places in the country that has the right mixture of factors to have brought out that kind of fever. First, as I already wrote, in the District of Columbia 93% voted for Obama (That's right, 93%!) so there's not a huge risk of offending McCain supporters by yelling in the streets. Second, obviously, folks tend to be politically aware in this city. Third, DC is a predominantly African-American city (though the black population is declining, the 2007 census showed 55% of DC's population is African-American). DC is small, and although it's been mostly racially segregated by neighborhood, the physical segregation is starting to break down with the gentrification of poor, mostly black neighborhoods. Racial dynamics and gentrification are complicated here, as they are in all redeveloping post-industrial American cities. But the combination of these factors created the perfect storm for this massive eruption of joy to resonate throughout the city.

I live in a historically black, gentrifying, increasingly racially-mixed neighborhood (Columbia Heights/Petworth) in a historically black, gentrifying, increasingly racially-mixed city. Blacks, Whites, Latinos and others occupy the same space in my neighborhood, but we are not yet the same community. With many exceptions, of course, social groups in my neighborhood tend to be fairly homogeneous by race. One quick example: recently, there was a double homicide/robbery at an illegal Latino-run brothel and gambling house around the corner from my house. I didn't even know the place was there, but that's not surprising because I'd be one of the last people to know something like that. A friend of mine, an older black man who grew up in the neighborhood and hangs out at Red Derby, said something about the murder like "damn, I know a lot of Latins in this neighborhood and nobody told me about that place. I would've hung out there." What that said to me is that we're only letting each other into our respective lives so much. We might be friendly in passing on the street (and often times we're not), we might chat at coffee shops and bars (and many times we don't), we might know our neighbors, but when it comes down to who we feel closest to and who we consider "our people", our community is still as segregated as we've always been in this city.

So to see what I saw last night - all of us rallying together to celebrate the victory of a man we all believe in, and to celebrate the fact that we now live in a country that elects itself a black president - elicited a feeling of community I have never felt before in my life.

One of my favorite moments of the night was when we were walking down K street, towards the white house at about 1:30 AM. A black woman was standing on the sidewalk, holding a bunch of ballons and talking on the phone. Just as she was saying into the phone "I've never seen so many white people...", Brad ran up and gave her a huge hug. She laughed, as I ran up too, hugging her and yelling YES WE DID! She pointed the phone towards me and said "Here! Tell my mom!" so I yelled into the phone "We did it!" The woman put the phone back up to her ear and said "And mom, that was a white girl!"

Don't get me wrong. We still have a long way to go before we have true equity in this country. But I believe last night in downtown DC was one of the most beautiful moments in our generation's history and I feel incredibly lucky to have witnessed it.

Videos of the night:

Thursday, October 09, 2008


I am with my family at a sporting event. I leave to go to the library where I have tasks to take care of. I am to perform a psychological evaluation, only when I get there I realize that i cannot perform it on the child that i was supposed to, and instead i have to ask my coworker, a PsyD, if i can test him. he reluctantly obliges, but says that we have to do it upstairs. Himmelfarb of my dream has no internal staircase, and so we must go up the fire escape to get upstairs. as we are climbing up the metal grate-stairs, i try to grab these tennis balls that will serve as diversions, rewards, for my subject, my coworker. the balls are small and deflated, and as i try to grab them they fall between the metal grates of the fire escape, out of my reach and to the ground below.
i begin my evaluation. my coworker, the subject, is participating well, though he has an attitude about it. we are moving forward with the testing on the fire escape, outside, since he wants to do it there. i am fine with this at first, and only once we are well into the process do i start to question the location. very quickly i move from content to terrified. i wonder what will happen if the wind picks up and carries my testing supplies, my cards, away. and i wonder what if i happen to reach after the card...then i myself could fall. i am in danger. i could fall. and what if there is an earthquake and this whole fire escape comes crashing down? this is a terrible place to be, a horrible place to do the testing...i am terrified of heights all of a sudden, aware that i am usually not, aware that just seconds ago i was fine, and now i am terrified. i MUST get back into the building IMMEDIATELY.
we go back inside and i return to where my family is watching the sporting event. what previously was a baseball game is now a women's water polo game: Michigan versus Ohio State. it is in the waning moments of this tie game, sudden death, of a water polo game that i decide that i should substitute in, that i should be playing. i sub in and we are on offense. we turn the ball over. as we are swimming back to the defensive end my teammates cannot tell who on the other team has the ball. grey and buckeye red, the ball blends in with their uniforms...the goddamn cheaters! i see who has the ball and i make a move to knock it out of the girl's grasp as she swims. my attack was illegal and they call a penalty on me. play is immediately restarted and i make another aggressive move, this time stealing the ball legally. i try to pass it down the pool, towards our offensive end, but nobody is open. i am being double-, triple-teamed. i see that their goalie is not in the goal and, despite the distance, i decide to go for it. i launch the ball three quarters of the pool, realizing that if i throw it long it will go over the goal and out of bounds, and if i leave it even a few feet short, it will get stuck in the water. i try to throw the ball with a low angle, but very fast and hard. it lands just short of the goal, stuck in the water. only a few inches short of crossing the line and ending the game. i try to make it go in with my mind, for a wave to push it in, or for one my teammates to take it the last few inches. then i decide to swim for it, and as i swim i try to make waves to force it in. i get to the ball just as an OSU girl does, and we fight for it, and i manage to push it just across the line. we win! i turn to the crowd, to a buckeye fan in the first row, and as rudely as i possibly can, as hatefully as possible, yell at her that "the buckeyes fucking suck!!!" and i mean it sooo much.
i celebrate the win with my family, receive the praise and love of the victory. then i head back to the library. the feds are there, investigating a case of a fallen child, a child who has fallen out of an open window to the street below. my PsyD coworker is liable, and he maintains a surly attitude despite the investigation's seriousness. the feds show us a video of how and why small children fall out of windows...of low windows that open like blinds...the video is disturbing and i fear and wonder whether it is the video of my coworker's child-falling-death circumstance. this is all very painful to watch. more clips are shown of children falling. in one the child steps over the edge and falls below, landing on its feet and crying based on the pain and the scary feeling. the child's caretaker has thrown himself over the edge too, only a few stories down, and he lands less easily. it is all very disturbing.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

What are the chances that we will win...

DEM Total 289
Solid Dem (Above 80%) 190
Lean Dem (80% to 60%) 99
Toss-up (60% to 40%) 22
Lean Rep (40% to 20%) 70
Solid Rep (Below 20%) 157
REP Total 227

Expected Value of EC (% to win times # of EC) 288.4 (0.5)

Dems to Win: 65.0%

State Electoral Votes % on Intrade as of 11-Jun
HAWAII 4 95%
MAINE 4 89%
NEWYORK 31 89%
OREGON 7 85%
IOWA 7 80%
OHIO 20 62%
NEVADA 5 48%
FLORIDA 27 28%
INDIANA 11 23%
GEORGIA 15 17%
KANSAS 6 15%
TEXAS 34 11%
ALASKA 3 10%
ARIZONA 10 10%
UTAH 5 8%
IDAHO 4 7%

Courtesy of Dan Mintz