2014 WordPress Year in Review Report

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 290,000 times in 2014. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 12 days for that many people to see it.

In 2014, there were 257 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 1,353 posts. There were 16 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 4 MB. That’s about a picture per month.  (We should have more pretty pictures!)

The busiest day of the year was June 4th with 1,940 views. The most popular post that day was The Shoe Drop’t.

Attractions in 2014

These are the posts that got the most views in 2014.

Some of your most popular posts were written before 2014.  Your writing has staying power!

How did they find you?

The top referring sites in 2014 were (we love you guys!):

  1. bardiac.blogspot.com
  2. academic-jungle.blogspot.com
  3. scientopia.org
  4. getrichslowly.org
  5. insidehighered.com

Some visitors came searching, mostly for grumpy rumblings, nicole and maggie, phd in accounting salary, and tiaa cref vs vanguard.

Where did they come from?

162 countries in all! Most visitors came from The United States. Canada & The United Kingdom were not far behind.

Who were they?

Your most commented on post in 2014 was Getting some kind of exercise routine

These were your 5 most active commenters:

Hm, we should send chacha1 something as a prize… Suggestions?

Time to spend those gift cards ON BOOKS

While we’re out of town at a huge NYE bash (well, while #1 is out of town at a huge NYE bash… #2 is probably currently driving in the snow from one small rural town to another, thank goodness for audible), let us give you some suggestions for how to spend all that money you got for Christmas/Yule/Hanukkah/Year-end bonus/blackmailing that guy, or whatever kind of denominational or non-denominational holiday-type thing you might have.

These are books I have LOVED from the library.  So many to love!

The Midnight Queen by Sylvia Izzo Hunter.  Love it, love it, repeatedly recommended it.

I’ve been enjoying Will Thomas’s series starting with Some Danger Involved.  Fascinatingly diverse Victorian London murder mysteries.

Emerald House Rising by Peg Kerr.  Light high fantasy, sure to become a future soothing read (sadly out of print but ILL it if you can!).  Standalone, happy ending.

The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison.  Also fantasy: court intrigue, fish-out-of-water.

Clariel, the Lost Abhorsen by Garth Nix.  I like the Abhorsen series and this is a prequel.

What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding: A Memoir, by Kristin Newman.  I like memoirs.

No Castles Here by A.C.E. Bauer.  A poor kid from the barrio finds a magical book of tales…

The Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby.  Essays about books and reading.  Two of my favorite things.

Moth and Spark by Anne Leonard.  Another fantasy to recommend repeatedly.

Dear Committee Members, by Julie Schumacher contains the recommendation letters I wish I could have written as a pre-tenure faculty member.  Epistolary, funny, but not a happy ending.

Otherbound by Corinne Duyvis.  Are you sensing a YA theme here?

The Silvered by Tanya Huff.  I mean, it’s Tanya Huff!

Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography.  Heartwarming and amusing; worth getting in hard copy so you can flip around for an authentic choose-your-own-adventure experience.  (#2 fully enjoyed this one too, and was actually ok about spending full price for a hard copy in an airport bookstore when she discovered she’d forgotten her kindle.  It was worth it!)

Books I was NOT keen on:

Is Everyone Hanging out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling.  Really not as good as Bossypants; I didn’t finish it.

Shadow’s Son by Jon Sprunk:  was doing ok until Rape As A Plot Point.  Bzzzt!


This post isn’t all the books I’ve been reading, not by a long shot!  But it has just a few of the things that I think you might like to read.  Not exhaustive, though maybe exhausting.

Any more suggestions???

January Mortgage Update: Getting ready to spend a year in paradise

Last month (December):
Years left: 2.5
P =$1,066.94, I =$147.47, Escrow =$788.73

This month (January):
Years left: 2.25
P =$1,079.06, I =$135.34, Escrow =$788.73

One month’s prepayment savings: $7.91

If we kept up with our current rate of pre-payment, we would be done with the mortgage completely in less than a year.

We aren’t going to do that.

Why not?  Because we need the money!  Why do we need the money?  Because I’m only getting half-pay and we’re moving someplace for the year where daycare and housing are both twice as expensive.  (It’s all official!)  And taxes are insane because they provide social services and things.  Crazy, I know!

So we will need that extra 2K/month to pay for goods and services instead of pre-paying our mortgage.

It seems like there’s always something going on with money–getting ready for DH to quit his job, adjusting to DH having a job, then adjusting to a year at half pay with bigger expenses.  Life is never really in steady-state.

There’s so much to worry about.  Housing, schooling, daycare.  Months worth of money posts, eh?

We still don’t know what to do about the house.  I’m strongly tempted just to get a trustworthy grad student to kitten-sit in exchange for free rent and taking care of the house and utilities (we’ll be bringing Little Kitty with us, but we can’t take 3 cats, so either the cat formerly known as mean kitty will have to go with a relative while we take nice kitty who pees with us, or we’ll leave both kittens with a sitter.)

DH thinks it will still be worthwhile to try to find someone to rent at market price, even though that means we’ll have to fix the bathroom, repaint, and keep things clean constantly (also probably pay for storage for our furniture).  I think we’ll end up probably doing a hybrid– posting to sabbatical and new faculty sites and then getting a house-sitter if nobody bites.  Possibly striking a deal with new faculty if they are amenable.  We’ll see.  We may not worry about this until March.  I don’t know.

The most we would get for renting the house would be around 20K.  DH thinks that’s a lot, but given the amount of work we have to have done first and the annoyingness of keeping lawn and house sparkling (not to mention housecleaning expenses), I’m not so sure.  But maybe if we avoid Craigslist and just stick to a few exclusive sites it won’t be so bad.  Maybe we’ll get lucky.

I hope this all works out!  But if it doesn’t, I don’t want to be stressed.  Based on my projected savings calculations and the savings we did when DH was unemployed that we never put away (because we knew this was going to be a possibility, though we *thought* it would happen last year), we should have about 85K in our emergency/to-spend fund by May.  Hopefully that will be enough to keep us from stressing out if we don’t find tenants along with the paycut and the additional required expenses.  Right now I’m hoping to continue contributing to retirement and the 529s (although retirement literally would take up all of my take-home pay, so I won’t be able to completely both max it out and do a DDA and pay for health insurance), but that’s another area we can loosen if we need to.

I’m both excited and scared.  But I’m not that worried about money.  Still, we’re still going to have to stop prepaying the mortgage sometime this summer.

(Technically if I had another 72K, or even another 48K, I would be less worried about money.  A lot of our problems would be solved if we could just afford 6K/month to rent out a furnished house from a professor on sabbatical.  Our friends say there’s going to be a market correction, but I’m not holding my breath that it will happen before we get to or even before we leave paradise.  Bubbles can take a while to pop.)

Link love in absentia

Slimy Baltimore fox affiliate caught faking kill a cop protest chant.

Reading for Hope in Unjust Times.

Why is Conservative Comedy unfunny?  Probably because it punches down and most of us know we’re not supposed to be explicitly racist/sexist/etc.

I had some of this cheese at a restaurant and it was so delicious and tasty

Racism is the mechanism by which white people learn to be just fine with horrendous evil.”

I wish everyone could have the protection that the invisible backpack of white privilege confers.

Would you rather be rich in the 1950s or poor in the 2014s? has a very different answer if you’re not a white male.  Though judging from the comments section on the original article, not anywhere near different enough.  I hope we keep moving forward on equality, but judging from the cycles in history, I have my doubts.

Scalzi Hollywoods up Christmas.  My favorite is the photo in the second comment.

Surprise (not really a surprise):  tech journalism is sexist!

20 years of racial profiling comics.  How can we make things better?

Ask the grumpies: My boss is kind of implicitly sexist (or maybe credentialist)– what do I do?

Telecommuting Guy asks:

I work (telecommute long-distance) for a small company as a developer.  The organizational structure is very flat– there’s the owner/boss, then as a developer I have a boss for programming but not for other aspects of the job.  Essentially I have one guy as my boss for programming but in all other aspects, the owner/boss is my direct boss.  Unfortunately the boss/owner is kind of a jerk.  Fortunately I only really have to deal with him when we’re working on grants and a few other things.  Recently we were working on a grant, and, as is the case for many companies in my field, the only woman employed at the company and the only person without a PhD (other than the clerical work that our company out-sources) is the grant-writer.  During our conference calls on this project, it was obvious that the boss was extra jerky when talking with her. (Not explicitly sexist, but frequently short and condescending in a way that was noticeable, especially compared to how he treated everyone else.)  I don’t like this, but I’ve only been employed at this company for a little over 6 months.  I don’t feel like I can address it to the boss directly.  The chain of command isn’t really through my programming boss– he only gets final say on code, not anything else.  I want to be a good guy because I care about making tech more equitable, but when push comes to shove, I find I’m too worried about my own employment stability to make any waves.

I enjoy this job, for the most part, and it would be difficult to find another one that fits my skills and allows me to telecommute (which I need to do because my wife is a tenured [humanities] professor in a small town –we don’t want to go back to living apart).  Is there anything I can do that would help but won’t get me fired?  Also, the grant writer does great work and the company has been very successful with grants.

Oh gee, that’s a tough one.  Probably Wandering Scientist is a better person to ask.

In an ideal world, you’d be able to just go up to your boss (or, better, your manager, and then your manager talks to the boss) and address this issue straight-on, discussing implicit bias, and how important it is that such a great employee as your grant-writer is valued and feels valued.  (Using your Crucial Conversations skills.)  You would help make sure there were systems in place that would encourage a great work environment for everyone.

This is not an ideal world.  You haven’t been with the company long.  Your boss is kind of a jerk and you don’t know how he’ll react if you bring anything like this up.  And, on top of that, you’re telecommuting.

You probably don’t want to bring it up directly with the grant-writer either.  It might make her feel worse (though it might also make her feel less gas-lighted), or encourage her to find new employment, which might be better for her, but maybe not so good for the long-term viability of the company at which you work.  Also, gossip also has a way of getting around and it sounds like you can’t afford it to.

We will say that there are things that you can do to help your colleague feel more valued.  When she says things that are ignored and then repeated by someone else, say, “Yes, that’s just what [grant-writer] was saying,” or “[Grant-writer] made that point too.”  When she does great work, thank her.  Say good things about her work to other colleagues.  After each grant has been sent off, send her a thank-you email detailing what great work she did and cc the boss in.

Other than that, we don’t know what to suggest.  Perhaps as you gain seniority it will become easier to speak up.  Or maybe someone else will speak up and you can back them up.  We wish we had better advice for you.  #2 thinks you should submit to Ask A Manager, and pronto.

Grumpy Nation, what would you do in this situation?  What would you suggest Telecommuting Guy do?

Christmas Eve Filler Post of joy and happy wishes


Happy Wednesday!

Behind the news… guest post from a brand-new patriarchy-blamer!

Warning:  this post is about rape, and contains swearing.  Please feel free to skip it if these are things you don’t want to read.

We’ll be heavily moderating comments here.  This post is not about what may or may not be facts in evidence; it’s about taking apart news stories and uncovering weaselly, skewed, woman-hating rhetoric.  It’s about the UVa rape story/frats/Rolling Stone article/etc.

We present to you in all its glory:  an email from a (white male) friend of ours who is becoming more and more feminist the longer he hangs around me.  *grin*
Read the rest of this entry »

Fascinatin’ Givin’

Want to mix up your donation game?  Here are some cool, weird, impactful, wonderful places to put your charitable moneys that you may not have heard of:

TOP DD: donate to support much-needed research to end mental suffering.  They run on a shoestring and produce amazing results.

Survivors Ink: helps victims of sexual trafficking overcome their experiences by transforming the tattoos with which their pimps marked them as “property”.  Cover-up tattoos are expensive and hard to do, but life-changing.

sadly, this has been pulled: Blood Sport, the video game that donates blood!  I thought this was an interesting idea, though I wouldn’t do it.  However, the project’s been taken offline.

Child’s Play: We continue to love a charity started by gamers, which gives toys to kids in hospitals around the world.  Most active around Christmas, it runs throughout the entire year.

Cat House on the Kings: a no-cage, no-kill cat shelter that lets ‘unadoptable’ or feral cats live happy, safe lives — and you can adopt the kitties that want human company!  They have wards for FIV, kittens, quarantine, indoor/outdoor, outdoor only, etc., and they really need donations right now.  They also do boarding.

The Nine Lives Foundation takes cats out of high-kill shelters and works to get them homes.  They also work on TNR programs and low-cost spay and neuters.  Help spay and neuter more cats before kitten season comes again!

Note that there’s probably a local shelter in your area that could use your help!

As you know, We need diverse books.  Be part of the solution by supporting writing workshops for people of color!

Speak your Silence:  dedicated to ending the stigma on adult survivors of sexual abuse.  A small charity that’s growing and spreading a great message of awareness, acceptance, and providing counseling.

also, why not a video?:



‘Twas the Link Love before Christmas…

… and all through the blog, links were stirring… something something, eggnog… hmm.

The cuttlefish were snoozing all snug beneath sea…
And Obama took questions from women only.

This link is true and I like it a lot
Please don’t give money in the shiny red pot.

Ayn in her mischief and I in my cap
had just settled our blog for a long winter’s nap
When out on the net there arose such a clatter
I sprang from the couch to see what was the matter.

On rapey, on diets, on hypocrite ho!
On saving for retirement, as these people know.
To the top of the world, to the top of the mall,
now dash away, dash away, dash away all.

As grading time that before the wild holiday flies
when they meet with an obstacle mount to the skies
so up to the savings, my dollars they flew
in hopes that this blog post would amuse you.

Sorry…?  You can hear me exclaim, as I dive out of sight:

happy Festivus to all, and to all a good night.

Good Gosh Google!

Q:  who do you choose when you have so much to choose from?

A:  Our partners, obviously.

Q:  why are u rood mum on hamsters saying it

A:  ?

Q:  can you get out of debt with part time pizza delivery job

A:  How big is the debt?  What’s your cost of living?  How many hours is part-time, and what’s the take-home on that?  How long is a piece of string?

Q:  potty training research. does it confuse children when you put them im a diaper at nighttime?

A:  No.

Q:  how do i introduce a romantic partner

A:  “This is [name].”

Q:  how dense is a cat’s hair

A:  Pretty darn dense?  I’m so curious about the reason for asking this.

Q:  did you marry for mony

A:  No, but DH does make me feel all right.

Q:  is it a good idea for parents to pay off student loans

A:  We think so, but it depends on your objective function.

Q:  when did you want a second child

A:  Once the first was around 5 years old