In case Playboy wants to know…

In the spirit of Halloween and costumes and overeating leftover candy…

Would you be willing to pose for playboy for a million dollars? We would (so long as that’s $1 mil post taxes, and there are restrictions on certain poses).

#1 would do bikini for 500K or more
#2 would do bikini for 750K or more

#1 would do fully clothed for oh, I dunno… depends on the piece
#2 would do fully clothed for 500K or more (with restrictions for kind of clothing)

Is there any price for which you would pose for Playboy? With what restrictions?

$1 million sure would look nice in my bank account…

Our feminism can be bought, but at a price!

p.s.  This just in.  Parents eat their childrens’ Halloween candy.  The horror.

Update:  Punch debt in the face apparently also reads CNN.  Either that or he hacks our queued blog posts for ideas.

p.p.s.  The most awesome thing in the world is giving out big handfuls of 2 year old candy that was crappy when it was fresh to high schoolers and college kids who are way too old to be trick-or-treating.  Man I am EVIL.  And next year… it will be THREE year old candy.  Mwahahahhaaaaaa.

Gimmie sum link love

RIP, Paul the Octopus (Thanks Everyday Tips for relaying the sad news)

I want a cookie.

This week the academic blogosphere has been abuzz with our annoyance at salary freezes and how they disincentivize effort, especially in service and teaching if there’s no reward.  (They have incentivized me to work my rear off and get the cv in shape, but if I weren’t up for tenure, the lack of merit raises would definitely stop my interest in student evals and mind-numbing committees cold.)  That buzz has led to even more buzz in which humanities professors complain about their salaries and adjuncts complain about their job prospects.  Unionization is tossed around as an idea.  Experienced heads disagree with unions as a solution.  I still maintain that there’s nothing special about academia– if you don’t like it as much as your outside options, then get another job.  But maybe I’m wrong.  Are academics special?  Or is it just a job?

Also, I may want a unicorn.  Not sure if the HOA would allow it.

Also:  this video is a wake-up call if you’re considering graduate school in the humanities.  (All our academic readers have “already seen it at least twice and have seen it linked 57 times” according to one blogger.  Here’s link 58.)

Do want. (Someone’s science fiction/fantasy library.)

And in terms of redecorating… are you more like this, this, or this?  We’re more of a molly on money (only we probably would have kept the wood paneling), but in our wildest dreams we would hire squadratomagico to redo everything for us (it’s so not us, but deep down we kind of wish we could be like that, even though even deeper we’re probably ok with our beige personalities).   If we went with the punch debt in the face version it would become completely undone in about a day.  Just as soon as the guests left.  I can’t handle that much organization.

Do credit cards make you fat?  Not me!  When I have cash it goes straight to the vending machine.

A nice chart illustrating the differences between Health HSA and FSA.  A confusing topic!

Children of scientists discuss Halloween costumes.

We were in this week’s Carnival of personal Finance at Cash Money Life.

It’s that time of the semester

…. The strain is showing.

Today as I was microwaving my lunch at 3pm, my department chair came up to me and said, “Why aren’t you doing [that thing you do on Friday afternoons]?”

I said, “Because it’s Thursday.”

She said, “Oh, crap.”

My other colleague was still trying to consume her lunch at 3:15pm and brought it to her meeting with her; she had kept getting interrupted while trying to eat.  I hope she finally ate it.


What am I soon about to have been reading lately?

AKA, Library Haul.  These are books that I just got from the campus library, which soon will be my “I’m reading these lately”.  Having a library at your workplace is one of the perks of academia.  I figure, they sure as hell don’t pay us, so I might as well take advantage of all the perks.

I wandered in for one thing.  This is why I need to order from the card catalog online, because I end up with more books than I can carry across campus.  I came out with two things for work, and also these (what can I say, I was near the short-story section):

Something I’ve Been Meaning to Tell You: Thirteen Stories by Alice Munro

I Know You Are But What Am I? by Heather Birrell

Frederica by Georgette Heyer. I’ve never read anything of hers. This one has a plain brown cover.  heh.

ETA:  I managed to get through it pretty quickly.  So wonderful!  The first chapter is rather thick going but once the titular Frederica shows up, the book turns into the most delightful romp.  It’s like Jane Austen but much funnier.

The Wimsey Family, by C. W.  Scott-Giles:  The fictional history of fictional detective Peter Wimsey’s ancestors

Nerve, by Genevieve Field and Rufus Griscom

Lirael by Garth Nix. I liked Sabriel, so I’m trying more of this author. (#2 says:  I have all three of these– DH bought them in a box set.  I will get to them eventually.  Still trying to finish off Surfing Samurai Robots, ‘cuz that’s about where I am mentally right now…)

also, Mister Monday: Keys to the Kingdom, Book 1 by Nix.

How They Met and Other Stories, by David Levithan. I love his other stuff.

Finally, Xanadu, Vol. 2 and Xanadu 3, edited by Jane Yolen.

Plus, of course I have some other things to read, too. Weekend, here I come!

#2 says:  My current University library books are all for work.  I’ve got… Finding Flow, Cults, Brainwashing, a book about designing video games, some books #1 recommended on how to be a good worker-bee…  I really hope this project gets off the ground because this stuff is probably not generally useful to my field of study (other than the workerbee stuff).  I don’t ever browse though… it’s too hard to get to the library so I do all my ordering online.  I did recently order (from the uni library), read, and enjoy The Brontes Went to Woolworths , as recommended by Dame Eleanor Hull.

The pet peeves post

1.  Using “less” when you should be using “fewer”.  Fewer is countable!  Less is continuous!

2.  Hypocrisy in other people (mine is ok)

3.  People who want everyone else to be as stupid as they are.

4.  People who think they know about a topic but have a fundamental misunderstanding they refuse or are unable to acknowledge, and they complain about something they shouldn’t be complaining about anyway.

5.  People who get to live with their life partner and then whine when zie has to go away on a business trip for A WHOLE WEEK.  “Oh, I’ll be so loooonnnnnelyyyyyyyyy.”  I want to punch them in the throat.  (Exception:  people who are complaining that they will be left as sole caretaker to an army of ankle- and knee-biters.  For them, sympathy.)

6.  Related to 5: people who think they have new ideas to solve my 2-body problem.  “Can he telecommute?”  Yeah, dorkus, that wasn’t the FIRST THING we thought of or anything.  THREE YEARS AGO.  “Why doesn’t he start his own business?  He could do that from anywhere!”  Go away and die.  “If he needs health insurance, why don’t you just get married?  Then he can get on yours.”  Stop thinking you know me.  See also: Go away and die.  (Disclaimer:  We here at Grumpy rumblings do not actually wish death upon anyone,mostly.  Any deaths resulting from suggesting 2-body problem solutions are completely unrelated to this posting.)

7.  Dirty kitchens and people who don’t clean up their kitchen or bathroom messes.  (#2 says, I know why this peeves #1, but it doesn’t bother me as much) (#1 says… bet you don’t have a unisex bathroom at work… ewwwwwwwwww)

8.  People who renege on their promises without good reason.

9.  Related to 8:  People who overpromise with no chance of following through.  Also related:  People who don’t keep their appointments or don’t show up on time.

10.  Radio silence.  We’d much rather be fought with than ignored.

What are your pet peeves?

My Boring Finances

It’s me here, the non-PF blog-half with, like, no knowledge of investments.*    What even is an annuity?  (Please don’t tell me in the comments!)**  I take the standard deduction on my taxes, yo.  I do things the easy way.

student loans: on track to be paid off in approximately 2018 — oof!  However, that’s assuming I don’t make extra payments, which I just did.  (#2 says WOOO! )

My current principal is $14,712.20.  Ow.  My interest rate is somewhere on but I am too lazy to find it.  I do get the quarter-percent lower interest rate (or whatever it is) for automatic electronic payments.  I consolidated at some point in the past when rates were good.  The calculator-thingy says I will pay back over $18k if I stay on the graduated payment plan and don’t make extra payments.***  Ow, again.

The amount of my student loans seems like a lot.  It’s mostly for undergrad, though I did take a few thousand dollars in grad school to get me through the summer once.  I went to state schools and worked during the summers, but did not work during the school year for undergrad.  All my loans are subsidized.  I had them in deferment in grad school and I think for a while afterward.  I am on the graduated repayment plan, in which payments increase every two years.  I plan to make extra payments on top of this amount sometimes.

Car paid off.  I moved to my current location from a big city, where I was able to use my partner’s car, get a carpool, or take public transportation.  Here the public transit is practically non-existent, and my partner’s not here.  So I had to buy a car.  I made it my top priority to pay off, and I did it in around 18 months.  (#2 says wooo!)  I had a substantial down payment before I bought, around 30%.  Some of this money came from generous gifts from family, including my partner.

Saving for house down payment some day.  It really depends on where I end up living, though.

retirement: on track.  I have automatic paycheck deductions and I set up extra savings recently.  One of the perks of my job is that my employer makes a whopping large contribution, percentage-wise, to my mandatory retirement fund and I don’t have to wait for it to vest.  My meeting with the guy from TIAA-CREF reassured me that I am ok to leave my settings alone for now and I might not be destitute when I’m old.  I hope.

There.  Are you bored yet?

*#2 says:  note that #1 is the person who got me on the pf kick, way back in graduate school when she told me I shouldn’t keep my entire semester pay of 10K in a savings account when I could earn 5% interest on some in a CD (or money market) and still spend it when I needed it in the summer.  That was AWESOME and eye-opening.  I’d known about long-term stock investing but had no clue on more immediate concerns outside of savings accounts.

**#2 says: ooh ooh, I know this one!  Social Security is an annuity!  So are old-fashioned DB pensions.  (#1 says: yes, this is exactly what I didn’t want to hear about.)  An annuity is insurance against outliving your assets.

***#2:  My BOE says that’s somewhere between 3 and 4 percent.  So, higher than a savings account these days but lower than my mortgage.  One day safe investments will be making more than again that but not today.   Waaaay lower than the 7-8% loans my DH had for undergrad.  (Shakes tiny fist at private loans.)

Why are the stop feeling guilty and relax posts so popular?

Our most popular posts so far have been gentle reminders not to take work and savings etc. too far.  To be good solid people but not crazy with the optimizing.  Satisfice.  To remember to sit back, relax, and enjoy life from time to time… be good 80% and relax 20%.  Be 5-10lb overweight… that sort of thing.

These posts seem to strike a chord in ways that our other posts (except the ones on how cool octopodes are) don’t.

Are people just looking for justification for their own laziness?  I tend to doubt it.  Was everyone raised Catholic and needing absolution for never achieving perfection?  Possibly.

Maybe The Daily Show is right and we’ve become too polarized as a country.  You’re either with us or against us.  You watch Fox News or you read the Huffington Post.  You’re one of the saved frugalists making laundry detergent or you’re a profligate spender.  It’s so easy to tell a narrative where someone is right or someone is wrong.

A book called Culture Wars and Enduring American Dilemmas talks about how (in surveys) as Americans, we believe in individual freedom.  We’re religious but strongly believe that people have the right to choose their own religion (even non-Christian religions!).  We don’t favor abortion but think women should have that option in some cases… “it depends.”  We’re individualistic but value community.  We’re anti-elitist but respect achievement.  These aren’t contradictions, but evidence of the great moderation in being American.  We see things in their true shades of gray.

Of course, that’s not what the media narrative is selling.  The media seem to think that the world needs to be divided into stark blacks and whites.  Or at least that we have to sell things as black and white.  Pro-life, pro-choice, rich vs. poor, Christian vs. Muslim.  It doesn’t have to be that way, and in reality, it isn’t.  Life is a lot more complicated than the binary options we’re given in newscasts outside of NPR or Comedy Central.  It’s the same way with personal finance.  We feel uncomfortable with people at either extreme– the spenders (or folks who enjoy life to its fullest, in another view of the world) and the freegan.

Recently there’s even been a backlash– calls for a return to rationality in politics and the media.    “I disagree with you, but I’m pretty sure you’re not Hitler.

Similarly, we admire the super-frugal (or, if we’re not pf readers, the Joneses) and maybe think we ought to be them on some level, but in reality we really crave balance.  There’s a place in the middle we want to be.  We want fun and security.  We want secure retirements and we want to enjoy life before then too.  Deep down we realize that there’s a number of ways to get where we want to be and a number of choices on where we want to be is anyway… even if the surface is telling us that there’s only one right way to financial security.  We support extreme choices, but do not want them as our own.  It’s not just black and white or even shades of gray.  There’s a rainbow of lives to live out there, and who is to say that blue is better than green or purple better than red?

So I think that’s why these kinds of posts are so popular.  There’s so much call to be perfect– to cut spending to nothing, raise income, spend time maximizing money (or on another personal finance extreme, to get rid of stuff and travel the world, since the non-externally-valid research says you’ll be happier that way).  People like being given permission to feel how they really feel, to be given a moderate voice in the face of extremism.   It’s American… and possibly human.

What do you think?  Why do you like these kinds of posts?

RBOC part more

  • My preschooler:  “I. Am. A. Ro.  Bot. Bun. Ny.  Hop.  Hop.”
  • Said preschooler is going to be a pirate for Halloween.  Arrrrr.
  • When you refinance, remember that a few months later you’ll get a note in the mail asking for your missing escrow payment from that month.  Don’t forget to budget for it (or you can just roll it into higher payments the rest of the year which is probably economically more optimal since they’re not charging you interest on it, but can mess you up if you’re OCD).
  • Even more gremlins:  The dishwasher is making funny noises.  I am currently not investigating it.  The garage door refused to close without assistance (it probably needs grease).  UPDATE:  Dishwasher has died, DH took it apart, the motor is deader than a coffin nail.  Est cost:  $160 (if DH can fix it himself).
  • My kid just leveled up.  It’s neat how the development isn’t steady and continuous but there’s big jumps in what (s)he can do.  Right now we’ve got longer sentence structure with multiple clauses, among other things.  It’s always neat when the vocab levels up.
  • Irony is form email thanking me for my comment on a blog saying that I do not like form email thank-yous for comments on blogs.
  • I love pesto.


    ... with a spoon!

  • I recently re-read Anastasia, Ask Your Analyst and it was so totally delightful! I love re-reading these books. I think each one is more wonderful than the last, but especially this one.
  • I can’t wait until my preschooler is reading real chapter books.  ((S)He did read half of a Stink book when my mom last visited a few months back, but lost interest, so I think we’re not quite there yet.)  I wanted a tower room just like Anastasia, though as an adult I realize they will be isolated and drafty.  UPDATE:  The Magic Tree House books are AWESOME.
  • As we get more established, we’re getting much more complimentary spam.  No more penis enlargement, it’s all about the “I have to send this post to my mom. ”  “This is the best post ever.”  Though in broken English and with links to blogs that are obviously spammy.  We here at grumpy rumblings do our best to protect you from those false links.
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Jacq from Single Mom, Rich Mom brings some research on tightwads and spendthrifts from one of my behavioral science labs.  I have an enormous pile of these amazing new research papers (plus I recommend everybody read the book Nudge and the book Insufficient Funds)… would people be interested in a post on the occasional econ article?  (Though right now I’m reading about brainwashing…)

This post from the same blog this week is also great– it has LOLcats, a thought provoking premise and interesting article, and a link to one of our posts.  Hard to beat that!  (Two links to the same blog in one week!  A new record for us.)

Lotta posts this week on how much a college degree/major is worth if anything.  Here’s Dean Dad’s.  Here’s Invest it Wisely’s, which links to others (though not ours!  UPDATE:  We have evilly pushed our way into his links. Eeeeevil.  We take back the weirdness of his Canadian-hood), though he’s some weird kind of Canadian, apparently.  And Wealth Informatics which I especially liked because it actually mentioned the truth that for middle and lower income families with bright kids the private school can actually be cheaper than state.  I think there were more that I’ve missed… feel free to add them in the comments.

More on grading:  an oldy but a goody

ROFL Cakewrecks… Old spice cakes.  Yeah, you’re a little late to the meme if Sesame St. has scooped you.  Hm… cake…scoop.  I want ice cream.

I promise you, Dame Eleanor Hull, our mid-semester doldrums are EXACTLY as advertised.  And there are no flowered cover pages, because each work is crappy just like everybody else’s (my great comfort– all research is bad).

Why not to go to law school. from Dr. Virago at quodshe.  Xtranormal cartoons made by professors never ever get old.  We’ll have to dig up our favorite of all time a little closer to finals.

Exercise is dangerous!  From Active Academic.  Though that is probably not the message she meant people to take away. Why on earth do people exercise?

I have a feeling I’ll want to link to Monday’s minting nickels post… but it is only Saturday so I’m stuck with the “a fascinating post is coming” post.  But hey, it links to us, which is automatically ups its coolness.

We were in this week’s Carnival of Personal Finance as two morning radio girls.

Mack the Knife, in the original German from Three Penny Opera sung by Lotte Lenya, the wife of Brecht. (Check out her rather horrific, but well sung, Pirate Jenny as well)

What do you do when you need to comfort yourself?

Work is hard.  Sometimes life just doesn’t go as well as we wish it would.  Here’s the things we do to calm ourselves down and get some perspective.  Or at least some comfort.

Look at savings.  This reminds me that in the worst case scenario we won’t starve, not for a while at least.

Eat chocolate ice cream, preferably male*

Make chocolate chip cookies, also preferably male

Read something engrossing.  I read somewhere that this does good things to the brain in times of stress and is better than some other ways to relax.  So it must be true.

Watch something brainless and funny.  Ah, Big Bang Theory, how I love you.

Snuggle.  Wasn’t there just an article making the rounds about the power of touch?  So yeah.

Look up alternate careers.  Because we are never trapped.

Eat pasta.  (This doesn’t work as well for #1 because it is often followed by a carb crash.  But there’s something very homey about spaghetti with meat sauce.  The ultimate comfort food.)

Re-read silly novels.  They can’t surprise you with sudden depressingness.

Listen to MC Frontalot.

Call partner on phone

Look at lolcats… or kitenwars… or dailysquee… Cute aminals.  Nuff sed.

Cuddle a kitteh


IM #1 (see above whine)

Go to bed and sleep it off.  Tomorrow is often better, assuming you don’t have crippling nightmares that keep you from sleeping.

Distract self with internet (LibraryThing)… or blog about it.  (See whine.)

What do you do when you need a little TLC?  (The care, not the crackers.)

*male ice cream includes NY Super Fudge Chunk, rocky road, everything but the, turtle soup etc…  male cookies include generally walnuts or pecans.