Sometimes people listen even if they pretend not to

Or pretend to disagree.

Or pretend to be upset that you had the temerity of bringing forward disagreement.

Sometimes they say one thing and you feel like you were punished for complaining, but their actions are affected by your complaint.

Sometimes you get the opposite, where the person is like yeah yeah, totally… and then nothing happens.

I’d rather have the no no, how dare you complain, followed by positive action on the problem.

It’s taught me that I should complain anyway.

Why are you in my major?

#1:  Dear students, YOUR ANSWER MAKES NO SENSE! Love and late drops, Dr. #1.
If you don’ t know the answer, you can at least follow the part of the instructions that says “Use complete sentences”.
#2:  reading is hard
#1:  I guess so

godDAMN people.
word to all you people in lecture who were like “yeah yea we got this”: you don’t got it.
maybe y’all wanna get a little less sleepy in lecture from now on, eh?

…and if I worried that I didn’t change the exam enough for the course repeaters? They’re doing JUST as badly as before. No worries.

#2:  I remember in my one [high school] class the teacher gave the SAME exam complete with same multiple choice questions and same question order etc.
I got 100%…

#1:  yeah, you’d be surprised how many people STILL tank it

#2:  the second time and the THIRD time…
#1:  it’s like they don’t have basic skills to be in college!  </sarcastic voice>
#2:  and yet, the average was still like a C or a D
oh, and it was OPEN NOTES
I just don’t get some people.
why even bother with exams?

#1:  why bother going to college?

if you’re going to get EVERY opportunity to ace the exam and still don’t?

I can understand social/parental pressure I guess, but WHY ARE YOU IN MY MAJOR???
#2:  my students this year who need to come to office hours aren’t.  They may not pass.
#2:  they should, but they’re not putting the time in

#1:  should, but shan’t.  It’s sad when someone takes both my classes at once and can’t pass either

(though again, how did you get to be a senior in this major???)
Also, accidentally, I graded these exams in the school colors!

Emergency office supplies

Keeping emergency supplies at work can help save time and money because you don’t need to go out and buy something more expensive (see: a meal out) and unplanned right when you need time most.  It can also improve your productivity by decreasing discomfort.
#1 and #2 discuss further.
#1: It rained really hard and I got soaked.  The sandals will dry eventually; meanwhile, I’m barefoot in my office
#2:  I have emergency back-up shoes here
#1:  I wish I had socks, but oh well.  I’ll just sit on my feet
#2: :  hm, I seem to have taken my emergency backup cardigan home to get washed
#1:  I have an emergency backup umbrella in my office, which enabled me to give my regular one to a colleague who was heading to class unprotected.  I have a blazer that lives on my office chair in case of chills. I also have tampons, floss, mirror, ibuprofen, etc.

#2:  let’s not forget emergency chocolate!
#1:  almost out of that!  Still good on emergency nuts though
#2:  mmmmmnuts
What contingency supplies do you have in your office?

link love

I’ve sent you this site before but I still like it: Especially the little story about dad on an airplane

link love candidate: the insidiousness of pink

oh man, also,

though the end of that post… it is not my job to determine why someone isn’t turning in his homework or going to exams if he doesn’t want to ask for help.  I’m not a clinical psychologist or therapist and could do real harm by poking into things I’m not qualified to poke into.   Definitely point people to resources and make allowances given emergency situations, but at some point I’m not qualified to probe.
I generated a plot using the plot-generation device:

You know you wanna google it

Q:  who is a good marriage partner for an electrical engineer

A:  Me!

Q:  does tiaa-cref deal in gold?

A:  don’t do itte!

Q: can an emergency room dr. charge a level 3 office copay

A:  probably?

Q:  is love for food a sin

A:  Love for food is not the same as gluttony, which requires over-indulgence (to the point of waste).  So, no.  Also, this would require you to believe in the concept of sin, so…

Q:  by what name we shud call our partner

A:  ask them what name they prefer

Q:  something snart to say to grumpy people

A:  Snart you!

Q:  how to deal with bad grade in grad school

A:  vodka.  (Disclaimer, grumpy rumblings does not promote irresponsible drinking)

Q:  why do people have comforts

A:  Because otherwise we wouldn’t stay alive long enough to reproduce and the human race would die out.

Q:  why im considered authoritative

A:  because of my fancy moustache.

Q:  what are you doing my parents are home

A:  Sorry!  I’ll just move… that… over here.  Yeah.  My bad.

Ten Books By Which Ye Shall Know Me

… As of this moment.

I was re-reading The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction and the author was talking about how you would know him by the books he re-reads.

This list is based on number of re-reads, not on anything else (quality, influence, etc.).  It was hard to make!  It is in no particular order.

1.  Dune – Frank Herbert (SciFi) (my cover is cooler than this, though)

2.  Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte (Classic, Gothic)

3.  Arrows of the Queen – Mercedes Lackey (Fantasy)

4.  Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader – Anne Fadiman (Essays)

5.  Bird by Bird – Anne Lamott (Advice)

6.  Gaudy Night – Dorothy L. Sayers (Mystery)

7.  The Initiate Brother – Sean Russell (Fantasy)

8.  Going Postal – Terry Pratchett (Fantasy)

9.  A College of Magics – Caroline Stevermer (Fantasy)

10.  The Blue Sword – Robin McKinley (Fantasy)

The runner-up list had even more fantasy on it!

Does #2 have a list?

[No, but if she did it wouldn’t include Dune, or Mercedes Lackey.  I’ll have to check out Sean Russell– hadn’t heard of him.]  I can make an off-the-top-of-my-head list that isn’t well thought out.  Rereads are heavily populated by classics and children’s fiction.

1.  Frederica by Georgette Heyer

2.  Jane Eyre

3.  Pride and Prejudice, though honestly I haven’t been able to read it again since I took a class on Austen in college.  I think I have it memorized.

4.  Captain Blood by Raphael Sabatini (Free on kindle!  Also the movie is wonderful.)

5.  Anne of Windy Poplars (also Anne of Green Gables)

6.  A College of Magics – Caroline Stevermer, though it bugs me that my copy is still at my parents’

7.  Witch Week and The Lives of Christopher Chant (and many others, but especially the entire Chrestomanci series) by Diana Wynne Jones

8.  The Thread that Binds the Bones by Nina Kiriki Hoffman (though A Fistful of Sky is close)

9.  Another Fine Myth by Robert Asprin

10.  Spindle’s End edges out Hero and the Crown or Blue Sword for the Robin McKinley spot.  Because I’m older now.

What are your rereads?  What books should we know you by?

Overstimulated October

I can handle two children (or maybe it’s just DC2– DC1 is pretty chill) or I can handle students being around, but not both.

I’m not used to this.

I’m not used to needing the door closed.  To need silence without background noise.

Every day is exhausting.  I come home, play a bit with the children, help DC1 with hir chores, and then I feel like crawling under a desk.  Please everybody just leave me alone.

When DC1 was this age, I could still get work done if I wasn’t actively doing chores or taking care of the toddler.  When DC2 was younger and napped once in the evenings I didn’t feel so incredibly overwhelmed.  When school was out of session for the summer I was mostly ok.

It’s not that there’s too much work to do.  It’s not even that my brain has gotten too much work (although that happens sometimes).  Heck, I’m not even as sleep deprived or as frequently sick as I was when DC1 was a toddler.  I’m just completely overstimulated.

Some of it is introversion, and I seem to have become more introverted.  But it’s not just introversion.  I need silence.  I even asked DH to turn off Netflix the other night because I couldn’t handle the noise.  Because he’s a darling he’s taken to listening with headphones.

I wonder if this is going to go away or if I’m going to need to make a big change to my life.  It’s limiting not wanting to see so many people, to avoid talking to people.  I dread most social engagements and have been saying no to a lot of work activities just because I don’t want to be around people.  I want to be alone.  Someplace quiet.

I do love my family very much… but these days I love them most in small doses or when they’re sweetly sleeping.

(#2 says: I call that “October”.  It is officially Exploding Head Syndrome Month and begins Sept 17th.  I relate to Milburn.  Why do you think I put that ear-protection headgear on my wishlist?  It’s so I don’t have to hear things.)

A post for Ana on 529 plans

We were poking around on medical moms blogs when we came across this comment from reader Ana. She said she wanted to just be told what to do with 529 plans because she’d hit the paradox of choice and everything was all complicated.

The post was almost a month old so  we felt silly for replying to it there, so we figured we’d reply to it here and hope that Ana saw it.

Also:  a disclaimer.  We’re not financial advisers.  Take our “advice” such as it is at your own risk.

Step 1:  Check to see if you live in one of these states that offer tax breaks for 529 contributions.

1a.  If you do, then go with your state’s 529 plan.

1b.  If you don’t, then go with Utah.  There are some other 529 plans that are now just as good as Utah’s but Utah’s has always been ranked among the top and we hope will continue to be ranked so.

Step 2:  Pick a plan company within the plan.

2a.  If Vanguard is one of your options, go with that.

2b.  If not, then look at the fees.  Pick one with low fees.

Step 3:  Pick a fund from your choices.

3a.  You want to look for terms “age-based”, “life-cycle” or “target-date”.

3b.  If there are multiple choices among these options, then it doesn’t really matter which one you pick.  They’ll be different in terms of risk and possibly fees.  You’ll again want to focus on the lowest fee plan first.  If your kids are little, more risk is better, if they’re closer to college, less risk is fine.  Don’t worry about the risk if you can’t decide– flip a coin or something.  It’s better to pick something randomly than to pick nothing at all because you’re worried about getting the “best”.

So, if you’re in a state that doesn’t give a tax advantage, you want the Utah UESP Vanguard Age-Based Aggressive Global fund.  And you’re done.  If you’re in another state we’d be happy to poke at their options for you.

Put in what you can.  We like putting some away automatically each month.  Something is better than nothing.

Are you saving for your kids’ college?  How?

Where did I put that link love?

Toby Ziegler gives a great metaphor for the government shutdown.

The Supreme Court is set to remove the limits that any single person can donate in a political campaign.  Because obviously the rich need more power in this country.

I’m never having kids…. Creative Kids play discusses little blue dresses.

How to tell if a toy is for boys or girls:  A Guide.

Academic jungle talks about communicating science.

Kind of sketchy brings grammar pirate.  Are!

Ferule and Fescue explains university snafu money problems from the perspective of a college student.

Wonders and marvels discuss names of dogs in ancient Greece.

We’re not sure what to make of this acephalous post on obamacare.

Excelsior bev asks what the point of a study guide is if the students don’t read it.  (Some of the students will though!)

Family friendly tenure policies result in salary penalty for professors.

Why the ACA matters to scalzi.

Funny about money explains why the republican party is bad for business and bad for America.

inspirational advice for us all from yoisthisracist

donna freedman tells writers to stop undervaluing their work

cats who are having a worse day than you

msbehaved explains why brafitting is bullshit and shefinds explains why bra sizes are bullshit

the distribution of grants and scholarships by race

Worried Google is getting too smart?  Slate isn’t.

new hyperbole and a half!

Ask the Grumpies: Why are college costs increasing faster than inflation?

FGA asks:

I’d like to hear your take on Student Loans. Specifically, do you think access to student loans is enabling these costs to spiral out of control? I mean I couldn’t have gone to university without them, but I also majored in something where I knew I could pay them off when I was done. I also think it’s a little odd that this is the only type of debt that can’t be wiped clean with bankruptcy, so it’s an incentive to banks to loan as much as possible. In fact, when I was in college, they were actually trying to lend me more money than I needed.

It is well known that college costs are increasing at a rate faster than inflation.  Though this increase isn’t as large as many people think because often people compare the sticker costs of private colleges rather than the actual realized costs of college once grant-based financial aid has been applied.

I’m not sure if we’ve really nailed down the answer here.  One explanation I’ve seen links the increasing costs of college to the increasing costs of health care.  As developed nations become richer, there’s only so much more stuff we can get, so we start paying more for services like better health and education.  We’re paying more, but that’s because we’re demanding more and we’re getting more in return.

A big factor at the public university level in terms of increasing costs is the loss of government support for public education.  States are sending less money to the state universities and the universities have to make that money up.

It is true that dorms have gotten fancier and more expensive, but apparently that’s only a small share of the increased costs, and can’t explain it, as much as we’d like that to be an explanation.  In addition, Dean Dad points out that colleges keep getting unfunded mandates: such as keeping track of mad details for financial aid; more services for disabilities, returning students, veterans, students with families, etc… enrollment verification for employment; tutoring centers for the mountains of remedial students… these are great things for schools to have but are often not funded in a budget line, so money has to come from students.

We do know that the loan situation is keeping for-profit institutions in business that should not be in business.  Some of them prey on potential students and return very little for high tuition.  We definitely need better regulation there.

I don’t think we know so much about publics and non-profits.  They have different functions.  If we cut student loans, would colleges get less expensive?  Well, many of them would go out of business.  Rich people would still get degrees.   Poor people would probably still get grants, though many people wouldn’t even apply because they wouldn’t realize they could get grants, or they couldn’t afford the tiny amount they still needed to be funded without loans.  The middle class would probably be the biggest losers.  The return to a college degree would also get larger as fewer people got degrees.   Economic inequality would increase.  Productivity would go down.  Companies would have to offer more on-the-job training.  It would be the reverse of the GI bill.

Economic theory suggests that loans for college are a good thing– we lose a ton of efficiency when people would benefit economically from getting education but are credit constrained so they can’t pay for it.  Borrowing from future earnings allows people to jump into higher income brackets and is good for the economy.

However, given that we’re in a world without perfect information, and teenagers and 20-somethings can’t be trusted to have their long-term best interests in mind (ex.  spending high interest loan money on beer and fancy dorms because they don’t understand compound interest with their unsubsidized loans), caps for non-subsidized loans can still be argued for.  Some of these debts are so large that it would be incredibly difficult to pay them back given most post-college situations and the interest rates are high.  Subsidized loans don’t get you in too much trouble given their current constraints and the fact that they don’t compound while you’re not paying them off.

So in our opinion, subsidized loans probably aren’t enough.  We could probably give out a bit more than what we do.  But we wouldn’t increase that much more (and really, we’d expand the Pell grant first!)  We should look more at unsubsidized debt and reform that.  Maybe we should cap interest rates or allow bankruptcy defaults on it.  It’s generally thought that the lending agents are getting far too sweet a deal on the unsubsidized stuff, and predatory for-profit agencies are taking advantage as well.  Though, of course, we also have to think about how much we want to protect people from themselves (specifically from their past selves).  And that’s a big philosophical problem.

What are your thoughts on student loans, grumpy nation?