February Challenge: No social media, get writing done!

January was a bit of a loss for me with travel and illness and just goofing off.  I have a lot of things coming up in March, so I need to get things knocked off before then.  February is the perfect month for challenges because it is the shortest month.

I need more focus and one of the things that helps me focus is not getting little hits from Twitter or Reddit.

SO:

No playing with my phone in the morning before I get up.  I get up.  I start my day.

No messing with twitter etc. while I am waiting for things.  Instead I force myself to contend with my thoughts.

When I work at work, I start work.  I will write for at least an hour every day, first thing when I get on my computer (9am M/W/F, possibly earlier T/Th).

I will update you with the link loves.

Wish me luck!

Masks for larger faces: What DH prefers

None of the links are affiliate and these companies don’t know we exist.  No amazon links because they have no quality control and sell fakes.
I recently went to a couple of conferences where there were several gentlemen with larger faces who complained about not having masks that they felt comfortable in.  All of them were wearing ill-fitting KN-95 with ear loops.
With my well-fitting KF-94s, I often forget I’m wearing a mask because they’re breathable and comfortable, and with some adjustment I can keep my glasses from getting fogged up.  Comfortable and breathable masks make it so much easier to keep a mask on.
As a reminder:
N-95 are the US gold standard of masks with the loops that go around the head.  If you don’t want something on your ears, that’s what you should go with.  These tend to be made for larger faces because they were originally intended for construction workers who are mostly male.
KN-95 are usually in clamshell form and have loops that go around your ears.  They’re generally made in China and there are a lot of fake masks out there.
KF-94 is the South Korean standard.  These tend to have higher quality control because the Korean government gives large fines to companies that don’t meet their standard.  They are usually over the ears and in boat shape, which I find to be more breathable than the clamshell mask.
DH’s go-to mask is the Airwasher LG black KF94 .  He used to use the BOTN large (green packaging), but they changed how they do the nose wire so we don’t like them as much.  This is just a good breathable large mask with ear loops.
When we’re flying or he’s going to the doctor’s office or otherwise needs an N95, his preferred N95 is the 3M VFlex N95.   This is the most goofy looking of the 3M N95 lineup, but it is also extremely breathable and pretty comfortable.  He‘s also fine with the standard 3M N95 and the Honeywell N95, but the VFlex is so incredibly breathable that we bought a box of 50 and never use the others anymore.  (We’ve also had some problems with the head straps on the Honeywell breaking off.)
 
If you want to learn more about mask quality, this guy who goes by @masknerd on social media is really great:  https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1eE2BERAvRzs28kG87ft3a27FS9-gHvdC has his excel files from testing.

Link love

Fascism in Florida:  Florida teachers are being told to remove all books from their classroom libraries OR FACE FELONY PROSECUTION 

Hm, I guess that’s all I have for links this week.  :/

Ask the grumpies: Do sabbaticals work?

First Gen American asks:

Do sabbaticals work? If someone is burnt out, does it really help light the fire back under your butt by getting a break?

In my experience, yes!

Though coming back after is always difficult.  I tend to be more relaxed and get less done until I get overloaded and burned out again.  And thus the cycle continues.

But the best thing about sabbaticals is breaking all the service ties and usually it takes a little bit for those to get rebuilt.  (Envisioning Gulliver in Lilliput right now as a metaphor.)

I don’t have any experience with non-academic sabbaticals.  I don’t think unemployment spells are really the same thing at all.

Grumpy Nation– Do Sabbaticals Work?

Delurk for us today!

We haven’t done a delurking post in YEARS.  Like, maybe 10 years?

We miss our lost commenters.  We love our current commenters.  We wonder about the new people who have been reading but haven’t necessarily joined in the conversation.

So, in the interest of increasing conversation, we’re declaring this Grumpy Rumblings Delurking Day.

If you’re a reader of ours but not a regular commenter, say hi, and, if you like, tell us a little about yourself.  If that’s intimidating, then tell us what you like about our blog or what you’d like to see more of.  If that seems self-serving on our parts, then just say hi (and we’ll understand)!

If the problem is thinking up a screen name, we recommend choosing a font name.  Here’s a list, though you may of course choose something else.

There’s no captcha code, so delurk now!

Le crueset

This is not a sponsored post!

Back in graduate school when we had very little money, I bought a Le Crueset Dutch oven with my first NSF fellowship check (I got paid once a semester) along with a bed mattress (the rest went to paying my mother back for loaning us last month’s rent and deposit).  It was extremely important to me and I wasn’t sure how I would be able to cook without a good quality Dutch oven.

Fast forward ~25 years– DH drops the lid on our floor and the lid cracks all the way through, both the enamel and the metal underneath.

DH called Le Crueset to ask if there was a way to buy a new lid.  They said there was not, but if we sent the entire pot back (at our expense), they would send us a new replacement (at their expense).  No receipt needed.

We sent it back.  About three weeks later, we got a brand new one, with a nicer knob than we originally had (one of the metal ones that you can use in the oven when making Jim Lahey’s no knead bread).

It’s just like the old one (but with the better knob).

We were so happy that DH reminded me that he’d always wanted to get a larger size.  So I said yes and suggested a dark blue to match the stand mixer and our kitchen’s trim.  So that should be in our future.  We also have a smaller one for rice that we got once we had more money and could indulge in that luxury.

They are expensive, but you can’t really beat the customer service.  Plus it’s just so much of a better product than the cheap dutch ovens you can get at Target (we used a hand-me-down one of those for a year while on leave– not as nice).

 

Link Love

This Donors Choose in Texas (!) only has 6-7 days left and is trying to buy a trans book and books on social justice and books with minority protagonists (and also, oddly, The Westing Game, which seems a bit out of place compared to the rest of the list, but I’m a fan).  The more people that donate and the closer it gets to being completed, the more likely Donors Choose will be to advertise it to people looking for places to give before it expires.

Chocolate brands have too much lead and cadmium in them.  It’s possibly we shouldn’t fixate on chocolate because everything has too much lead in it?  But also…

This is a game changer:  Some 529 money can be converted to IRA Roth money.

AI errors in published articles.

If you recall me complaining about Case Western emailing too much

H/T Xyk:

Ask the grumpies: Awkward silences in conversation and “do you have kids?”

Awkward Academic asks:

Recently I was at a social at a conference and I was talking to a friend of a friend after our mutual had moved on.  Like you and several of your readers, my child is going through the college application process this year and she asked me a lot of questions about it.  After a while I realized the conversation had been very one way with her asking questions and me answering and when I notice that happens, my habit (after reading about it somewhere– I am, as my name says, extremely socially awkward) is to mirror back the question I was asked.  In this case, though, asking about a child’s college experience is a little weird if you’re not sure there’s a child, but instead of asking if she had been through the experience recently, I asked her if she had children.  She said no and there was one of those awkward silences.  I know from online that a lot of people consider this to be verboten question for various reasons and I just wasn’t thinking when I asked it– I was trying to do that mirror thing, but didn’t do it properly.

Now for my question:  How do you rescue yourself from this kind of situation when you’ve said something that stops conversation cold?

Oh gee, that’s rough.  I’m also not great about social interactions.  I guess ideally I would try to followup with a question like, “How do you know so much about college applications?” or something, but that would require quick thinking which I am not good at.  Changing the subject completely is probably what I would end up doing like, do you have any pets?  But if they say no then the silence gets even awkwarder and longer.  Apologizing I think just makes it sound like there’s something wrong with not having kids, which of course there isn’t.

#2:  It doesn’t bother me when people ask if I have kids (unapologetically child-free), but I know it does bother some people.  No real advice for what to do with awkward silences.

Maybe there are less awkward members of Grumpy Nation who can give advice?

 

RBOC

  • MIL’s surgery went well.  Now 4-6 weeks of recovery.  Hopefully the cancer is gone and additional treatment won’t be required.
  • [update]  They’re thinking it’s stage 2 so there will probably be radiation.  :(
  • Case Western is killing me with emails– like 2/day to not just DC1’s email account, but also my email account and the family junk mail account (which is technically DH’s junk email).  I tried to unsubscribe my email earlier, but it unsubscribed all three.  Then I tried to remove mine when we resubscribed DC1, but I’m still getting the @#$23ing emails.  Then I googled it and found out that last year they withdrew submitted (and paid!) applications from people who unsubscribed from their @#$2ing emails.  Not a good look Case Western.
  • We were thinking we’d have heard from the state school major by now since DC1 applied early action, but apparently they’ve only notified a very small group of nationally recognized people who are definitely also in the honors program a month ago.  If they had said yes, then DC1 probably would have applied to fewer colleges.  If they had said no, then DC1 would probably have applied to more colleges.
  • I feel so terrible that DC1 tried for the early action deadline when it’s not actually helping to get the response any earlier AND DC1 didn’t submit rec letters there because of it.  The essays were fine but not amazing too, and they would have been better with more practice, though this WAS practice for the other schools so I’m not sure what order zie should have applied.  I’m so worried that DC1 may have to go through all of this again next year because zie really doesn’t want to be an economics major and shouldn’t be an economics major so zie can’t stay at the flagship longer than a year.  Surely DC1 will get in somewhere zie applied in the major zie wants.  Ideally a SLAC where zie can also double major in music composition or something equally fun.
  • Did you know that the common app limits you to applying to 20 schools?
  • I have to remind myself that it’s DC1’s life.  But it’s still so stressful.  I wanted hir to stay at home another year and go to college locally if things don’t pan out, but that application deadline has passed and DC1 wants to be living in a dorm next year.  I wish zie could go to a residential high school, and there are prep schools that do take high school graduates, but it’s not the same (and they don’t have enough math and science classes).  And why pay college tuition without getting college credits?  And I dunno, new england prep students aren’t the same as the slice of the state students from our residential high school.
  • DC1 added a couple additional SLACs at the end.  The Carleton essay was probably the easiest from scratch essay– DC1 does very well with straight forward questions.  This one asked what zie would do for a senior thesis and why.  DC1 decided to create a text-based independent game (and compose all the music for it).  Describing that and why was a much quicker write than dealing with Haverford’s open-ended honor code question.  Amherst never made it to the list because of its questions, just like when I applied.  Who is willing to answer those questions?  Not even the same people willing to apply to University of Chicago because at least the U of C questions have a certain absurdity to them.  Amherst questions just do not compute with our way of life.  (I find the math one this year kind of insulting– it has a strong learned astronomer vibe to it.)
  • But thank goodness they’re done and we can all just put this out of our minds until responses from the colleges start coming in.
  • I find the constant advice to touch grass really irritating.  Some of us are allergic to grass!

Rainforest Foundation: Where Debbie M’s Most Commenting of 2022 Prize Went

If you recall, Debbie M won this year’s most commenting award!  For her prize she got to choose a charity for us to donate to.

She chose The Rainforest Foundation:

Rainforest Foundation US protects rainforests in partnership with indigenous peoples since 1989

Here is their Charity Navigator rating.

We contributed $50 in honor of Debbie M.