Interviewing ourselves with the Historiann NYTimes meme

Here’s the meme.

What books are currently on your night stand?

#1: The Far West by Patricia C Wrede

#2:  Every Day Is for the Thief: Fiction by Teju Cole; To-Do List by Sasha Cagen

What was the last truly great book you read?

I’m gonna have to go with my fifth or so reread of Frederica here.

Who are the best historians writing today?

Martha J. Bailey, Dora Costa, Claudia Goldin, Michael Haines, Rick Hornbeck

What’s the best book ever written about American history?

ummmm… dunno

Sorry–I didn’t realize.  Maybe I should ask if you have a favorite biography?

Bossypants was pretty good.  Maybe not the favorite, but a recent fav.

What are the best military histories?

I greatly enjoyed Herodotus.

And what are the best books about African-American history?

Race and Schooling in the South, 1880-1950: An Economic History is pretty good.  Probably not the best ever written, but an important one.

During your many years of teaching, did you find that students responded differently over time to the history books you assigned?

I’ve only assigned them one year so far, but they loved it.

What kind of reader were you as a child?


If you had to name one book that made you who you are today, what would it be?

#2: Jane Eyre (really?  How?)

#1: Brave New World …(really? Meh!). It taught me to think like an anthropologist.  I didn’t take away the messages that I was supposed to.

If you could require the president to read one book, what would it be?

#2: Currently?
Dumbing Down America: The War on Our Nation’s Brightest Young Minds (And What We Can Do to Fight Back) by James Delisle.

#1: I think I would try to find something on how to do better propaganda.

You’re hosting a literary dinner party. Which three writers are invited?

Martin Gardener *assuming you can bring him while he was still alive*, Dorothy L. Sayers (ditto)

Alive: Mary Robinette Kowal and Gail Carriger and  Nora K Jemisin and Neil Gaiman. Ok, that’s more than 3. I have a big table.

Disappointing, overrated, just not good: What book did you feel as if you were supposed to like, and didn’t? Do you remember the last book you put down without finishing?

#2:  I should have liked Death of the Necromancer by Martha Wells but didn’t.  Unfortunately (as it is a favorite of #1), I found it a tedious sausage-fest.  Men angry with other men and getting in fights with men and then other men are involved and men want revenge on men for things men did to men a long time ago when men were men and some men were boys and there’s two henchmen who are the same character… bleh.  I liked Wells’ other books that I’ve read though!

#1 isn’t enjoying the book that #2 liked more than Bossypants.  She’s finding it boring and not particularly funny.  At least it was only $1.99!  How to be a Woman by Caitlin Moran.

What books are you embarrassed not to have read yet?

#2:  The Female Eunuch by Germaine Greer

#1:  Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much by Mullainathan and Shafir

What do you plan to read next?

new YA fantasy, probably — and probably from the library.

Grumpeteers, what do you plan to read next???

How often do you get your flexible savings account moneys?

Every month $555.55 is taken directly from my paycheck and put into a dependent daycare account.

Every month I write a check to the daycare for $630.

I do not, however, request a reimbursement every month from the DDA.

Instead I tend to let the months build up and then sometime during breaks (usually Winter, Spring Break, and Summer) process the DDA paperwork, get the required signatures, and fax the signed papers to the DDA folks.

Then a few days later, I get a lump sum deposited to my savings account.

Why don’t I just request the money every month?  Two reasons.

1.  Effort.  It takes a lot of mental load to remember to process the paperwork AND take the forms to daycare AND pick them back up again AND fax them in.

2.  $555.55 is a lot less than $630.  If I let a few months build up, then I don’t have to deal with claim denials followed by the additional $74.45 a month later followed by some smaller number than $555.55 etc.  (It used to be I’d have to redo the denied part if I over-requested, but now they send it automatically when the coffer gets refilled, which is nice.  Also the direct deposit is much nicer than the checks they used to send.)  I have a much better idea of how much is left when I do it in lumps and keep all but the last reimbursement under the amount actually in my account.

Another reason that might make sense if we were tighter on money (and therefore the effort cost might be worth it) is that this DDA can serve as an additional emergency fund– additional savings not in the checking account that could be tapped into in case of emergency.  We used to treat credit card savings like that, but these days the amount of credit card rewards isn’t the difference between us being able to buy groceries or not that week.  $555.55 isn’t chump change, but our emergency fund these days is large enough to cover most such emergencies, even including things like unexpectedly large tax bills or months late travel reimbursements.  Yes, rationally it still makes more sense to keep such money in an interest-bearing account, but not being able to see it still has psychological advantages when it comes to budgeting when you don’t have a lot of slack to play with.  (And #2 adds that interest-bearing accounts don’t pay bupkis these days.)

I do process travel reimbursements and rebates right away, but that’s mainly because if I don’t, I’ll lose the receipts or forget about processing them at all.  Plus, there’s also no advantage to putting it off– the same number of steps need to be taken no matter when I do the reimbursements– I can’t just do all of my travel for the year at once in one step.  With the DDA, I could, in theory, put it off until we’ve spent $4999.95 or whatever I’ve put away for the year on daycare and I’d only have to get one signature and do one fax.  I don’t do that either– usually I request 3x/year.

Do you request flexible spending account money and credit card rewards as soon as you can or do you let them build?  Why or why not?

Let’s Get This Link-Love Started!

While #2’s away, #1 will play with categories…

Depressing and rage-inducing patriarchy news…

Affordable birth control is great, but SUCH a hassle to get.

“Vague rules that are applied in a haphazard fashion tend to increase community tension,” NO SHIT, Ferguson.

I’m shocked that it took so long for majority approval of interracial marriage.  Goddamn, racism.
This is the awfulest thing ever: that foster kid will never feel at home there, ever.  (FCUK THAT NEIGHBOR)

This is an important post.

Patriarchy, you are The Worst.

Also, I learned a new word today that I wish I didn’t have to know.

Not actually a post from The Onion!


Random links:

This has been all over the web: correlation is not causation.

#1 should apply for this job.

forgot to link love this last week:

sad news: Zilpha Keatley Snyder died.  We love her books.


Awesome things!

this is the funniest thing ever: his name is Figaro Newton!!!


And something that is great:

I find the above video hilarious.

#1 lives in paradise and #2’s giving a fancy invited talk, but some weeks the world’s too much.  I have GOT to stop reading news stores!  Cheer us up in the comments, Grumpeteers!

Daughter of Even more google questions

Q:  how to balance a checkbook when off few dollars

A:  check your math.  Look for hidden fees.  See if people haven’t cashed checks yet.  If you want to give up, just make a red line and put in an “adjustment” that is clearly labeled as such.  Though it’s always good to leave a little extra float in checking in case someone hasn’t cashed a check yet or whatever.

Q:  how to write a statement of interest for social work 2013

A: (#2 notes, THAT IS HOW THEY GOT TO OUR BLOG.  Obviously Google led them astray.)

Q:  can an hoa take your home if your using it for prostitution

A:  always read your HOA rules and guidelines, and know your local laws.

Q:  is it possible to do an accounting phd and work fulltime?

A:  Most PhD programs are not designed for ANY work outside of the PhD-granting institution itself.  Check your local rules.

Q:  who said this, i would like to be stranded on a island with the ny public library with a very pretty librian

A:  We’re guessing it was some jerk.

Q:  how to write novels about telepathy

A:  I’m thinking the answer to you right now.

Q:  if someone refers to their other half are they married

A:  Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

Q:  why do i want to be grumpy

A:  Great question, but only you know the answer.

Q:  write about family members comparing contrasting them in terms of what they do,like,think,enjoy,prefer for example

A:  Good grief.  DO YOUR OWN HOMEWORK.  This is an EASY QUESTION.  The internet doesn’t know the answer!  Only you know the answer.  Just think about it.

Q:  phrase that describes being financially independent

A:  How about, “being financially independent”?

On family photo books and posterity

So I was browsing blogrolls the other day, and came across the question, “Have you ever wondered how to take your photo books from blah to great?”   Well, no, can’t say I have.

But hey, more power to her.  Some families are more into photo albums and photos more generally than others.  And hers definitely look great.  We’re so far in the other  direction that we didn’t even hire a wedding photographer.

We have an album from our wedding that my MIL made. NOBODY LOOKS AT IT. It will probably be looked at again if/when our children get married. Or have to do a school project that requires pictures of us. Maybe it will bring us solace in our old age, I dunno.  Does anybody ever look at wedding photo albums after the first year of marriage?  (Not counting the obligatory wedding day photo that all my male colleagues have next to their computer monitors.)

Every once and a while my MIL clears out her stuff and sends us a ton of old pictures that she took for posterity but no longer wants around her house, because photos are really best enjoyed in small quantities.  Maybe three years ago she sent us a huge amount of pictures from our wedding that didn’t make it into the album.  We’ve got those too.  I don’t think we’re ever going to organize them.

We take pictures, though not as many as a lot of families, and I like having them electronic.  We’ve occasionally crafted picture calendars as Christmas presents for the grandparents, though currently my SIL has declared that to be her thing.  I also like having pictures date-stamped because it makes it easier to tell who (DC1 and DC2 look remarkably alike) and when and so on.  That hurts their potential as works of art, but helps in the posterity realm.

I value the ancient photo album that some ancestor of mine put together, with my grandmother showing up only as a baby.  And it was neat to flip through old pictures of my parents a few times when I was a kid.  We’re also the keeper of DH’s grandma’s old family album, possibly because we would ask her about her genealogy work before she had to downsize.  My in-laws’ current decoration scheme is family pictures (and every time we visit, we get formal pictures done of the entire extended family), so I know very well what my DH and his family looked like as children.

But I don’t think we need a photo book or album for every year or every event or whatever.  As a side-note: I had an ex-boyfriend whose mom had decorated with every single one of his formal school pictures (framed) in order in a line around her living room.  That felt like overkill, even just showing pre-K through 12.

So, I dunno, I guess our immediate family is sparse with the pictures (unlike, say, DH’s family).  We have a few here and there and not all of them are presents made at school or framed gifts from the in-laws (though admittedly, most of them are).  And we’ve got electronic pictures on the internet that are backed up occasionally, and hard-copy photos from the in-laws and from various school pictures.  In theory it would be nice to have one picture album, say, documenting our marriage and our children’s entire childhood.  Maybe DC1 or DC2 can put one of those together in a decade or two.  Then we can show it to their potential significant others and their future children.  More than that might take up too much valuable shelf space.

Where are you on the photo album continuum?

What do you use to remember passwords?

We’re at the point now with passwords that there’s no way we can remember all of them with all their different requirements and the way some of them have to change every few months and so on.

That leads to possibly bad ideas for how to remember passwords.  For example, writing them down on post-it notes and sticking them all over your monitor.  A step up from that is putting them on a sheet of paper and sticking them in your safe, which is maybe something you should be doing along with your will anyway.  Of course, then you have to go into your locked safe every time you need a password you’ve forgotten.

You could also email them to yourself.  Which is not the best idea for obvious reasons (getting hacked!).  Or you could have the same password for everything, which of course you can’t do because there are different requirements, and if you could would be a bad idea because if someone gets one of your passwords, they get them all.  Or you could have the same basic password with minor changes based on the program you’re logging in with (MintX3$v, HotmailX3$v, etc.)  Again, if someone gets one of your passwords, it’s pretty obvious what the rest are going to be (plus you might run into problems with requirements not allowing your set-up).

Partner 1:  The best setup I’ve found is using key-based authentication.  So I only have to remember the one password, and if someone hacks into Target and gets my public key I don’t care because it’s public anyway.  but only computer geeks use them…

Partner 2:  Is a computer geek.

LASTPASS is the answer.  I never remember any passwords anymore.

What do you do to remember passwords?  What are things other people do?

Academic side hustles

#1 occasionally picks up $100 or $500 here and there to review a paper or a grant or a book.  She will also do these things for free, but is perfectly happy to accept money for the opportunity when it’s offered.

Sometimes she’ll do free-lance writing for a policy brief or a news article or encyclopedia article, though she doesn’t seek these out and hasn’t actually done one in several years.

Her colleagues moonlight as expert witnesses or do big consulting contracts for various state governments.  But she hasn’t been offered such things and doesn’t seek them out.  She does seek out grants, but those aren’t really side hustles, as they fit under her regular job heading.

#2 has reviewed textbooks and is supplementing her unemployment spell with small bouts of copy-editing for academics.  She’s also hiring herself out as an experimental subject, for Science.

In grad school we picked up side work as advisers, research assistants, and experimental subjects.

How do you get money outside of your regular 9 month contract?  If you’re not an academic, what kind of side hustles do you have?  Any ideas for #2?


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