7 min challenge coda

Well, I did it, I got through the month.

I did spend two weeks with two separate but equally nasty colds and skipped one Saturday because I slept the entire day, but I made up for it with doing the workout on my break day the next week.

I am stronger now.  I can do 9 pushups in the first set and 6-8 in the second set.

But I hate it.  Every day I’d be like, well, I guess I should do the workout now.  And I would, but I never ever wanted to.  I never looked forward to it, even when watching the daily show during it.  I just do not want to be bothered.

So after Feb 28th I stopped.  And that’s that.

The love language of economists is money

I actually just said this to my associate dean who stopped by to say I’m doing really well in Google analytics.  Which was nice of him.  I said I felt all warm and fuzzy, but then a little warning bell went off in my head– warm and fuzzy cannot substitute for showing me the money.  So I added that I hoped it would show up in my percent raise next year.  After all, I noted, money is the love language of economists.  He said he’d noticed that.  Then skedaddled away as quickly as he could.

Was that the wrong direction to go?  Maybe.  As a woman I’m damned no matter what I do.  But I also have options and I know I’m underpaid (compared to similarly impressive [but male] people).  On top of that, our raises were figured out in the most stupid way possible last year and I would like to NOT see a repeat of that.

He may not stop by to sing my praises again, but hopefully he’ll keep this in mind when setting raises next year.  I also put in a good word for two of my (similarly underpaid, but similarly impressive) junior female colleagues.  We’ll see.

OMG, pi day! (and links)

Just think that you all should know that this is the most important pi day since that amazing day in 1592.  This is it!  There will never be another pi day as amazing as this one unless time turns into a circle… or I guess technically pi day in 15926 will be more amazing if we’re still using this calendar system (and 3015 will be equally amazing).

Sometimes this makes me angry.  Related:  Jon Oliver on infrastructure.

Where do phds in English get jobs?

one change to help retirement savings

FBI, death threats, and gamergate

Very sad.

to-do list

one life as an example of irony

distractify is as good as its name.  How do they know?

Blurred lines was plagiarized, so say the courts

Miss Universe costumes

Parenthood week 1

If you need a warm and fuzzy show to watch

The talk below is long but amazing.  You should DEFINITELY watch it, even if it starts out a little bit slow (I’ve skipped past the super boring intro to the speaker).  The research is just mind-blowing for anybody who wonders if it really is women’s fault that they do more crap work at work (spoiler:  Women aren’t stupid):

Google Q&A

Q:  the advantages of having a second job?

A:  Money.  connections.  getting out of the house.

Q:  is wasting milk a sin

A:  I challenge your underlying premise.

Q:  do you need to sleep train

A:  Nope!

Q:  how to get cat oder out of your patio

A:  We’ve had luck with Out! Orange Oxy, but Amazon suggests Zero Odor Pet

Q:  what to do for a child that requires very little sleep

A:  Teach hir to read and provide lots of books.

Q:  difference between petty and frugal

A:  Frugal people are good with money.  Petty people are bad with letting things go.

Q:  how to live like a millionaire on a thousandaire budget

A:  Live like the millionaire next door.

Q: are you supposed to pretend if your a negative person

A:  Yeah.  You probably are.  You don’t have to though if you don’t want to, so long as you’re willing to face the consequences.  It’s not like illegal or anything.

Q:  why do they force us to do things we don’t want to do at school

A:  It is all part of the master plan.

Q:  what do you call lovely names when you call your husband

A:  Lovely names?  Though to be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever called lovely names when I call my husband.

RBOC. Ra-bock-a-bok.

  • Economists sit around and complain that they’re not getting paid 160K/year.  Except, of course, the ones who are getting paid far more than that.  *sigh*  On the one hand, I am well aware that my salary is pretty darn high for a college professor… on the other hand, it is nowhere near the 160K that my newly hired tenured colleagues are making.  Going on the market could be worth quite a bit of money.  I really should have done that instead of having a baby.  Except I really like the baby!
    • #2 is unimpressed by economists and says phooey on them.  People in my field might top out at $160k per year by the time they retire after 30 years.  MIGHT.
    • But, #1 notes, should we let the men economists make way more than the women?  Just because other social scientists are paid less…
    • No, men and women should obviously make the same amount.  Except me, I should make more.  :)
  • Dear lifestyle blogger, why would I take advice on how to be happy from someone who is so obviously miserable?  Also:  I’m not sure you’re qualified to be a personal finance blogger if you’re terrible with your finances.  Spending lots of money on things that you hope will make you happy but that never actually do is not really a lifestyle I want to emulate.
  • I wish it were legal for me to viciously harass (and also call the cops on) people whose cigarette smoke enters my apartment windows when I have them open at night.  Go kill yourself [slowly via cigarette smoke] somewhere where I don’t have to share it!  Effing jerks, if you can afford to live in these particular buildings then you can afford the help to quit; you just don’t want to.  Asshats.
  • At least we don’t have loud dogs, though.
  • Every time someone types :), an open parenthesis finally finds a mate.
  • Dear listserv members, having a moderated list means that your ideas are going to get moderated, too.  If you send me more email asking why your shit is moderated it just annoys me.  I’m not on a personal crusade against you when you get an auto-reply that says “your listserv message has been sent to moderation”.  Go away.  Love and lack of awareness, Me.

How to write a good book for girls

Step 1:  Make a good book for kids.

Step 2: Make sure there are girls in it, at least 50%, and not in like subservient roles and crap.

Step 3: Make sure those girls are people first, and girls second (or third or fourth or whatever they are defined by besides their presentation as female).

That is all.

More thoughts on class

We love being upper-middle class.  Upper middle class is a wonderful world.  #1 never ever wants to go back.

Visiting DH’s family for the holidays provides perspective in many ways.  They have a lot of money pressures that we don’t have because given our current economic class, we don’t have anything to prove.

One of the weird things about our current social/educational/economic class is that … for example… I don’t throw away a sock just because there’s a small hole in it.  I don’t really care if there’s a hole in it or not.  The hole doesn’t say anything about me or my needs.  I don’t wear thick socks often enough to need a bunch of extras, so some of the socks with holes end up getting packed when we visit the in-laws over break.  I don’t really think it’s a big deal, but my SIL comments.  My MIL got me thick socks for Christmas this year.

And we don’t have car payments because we never bought an SUV.  Two kids in carseats fit into a 10 year old Hyundai Accent.  (And we never did get the cosmetic work done when DH’s Civic got hit while parked.  I wonder if they think we’re misers.  Though my SIL must not have noticed, or she would have said something.)

Another example– we’ve talked about the crazy gift-giving before.  We only get that from DH’s side of the family.  So Santa just does stockings and we get a small gift for each DC (this year it was a winter coat for DC1, nothing for DC2 because ze is too young to notice who gives each gift).  My parents mainly get us books.  (My parents are kind of weird class-wise.)  This insane amount of gift-buying is standard for DH’s family– even when they didn’t have money when DH was little, they still scrimped and saved to spoil their kids at Christmas.  DH’s extended relatives who are even less well-off go into deeper debt each year to provide presents– spending more money on each kid (and on their worse-off extended relatives) than we would spend even if DH’s parents didn’t provide presents.  It’s a way of proving that they’re not poor that keeps them from ever getting ahead of their debt.

We also haven’t had to buy much clothing for our children other than shoes and the occasional set of underpants or socks because of the generosity of DH’s parents and hand-me-downs we’ve gotten from friends, colleagues, students, etc.  Families we know making hundreds of thousands of dollars/year in Northern CA have extensive hand-me-down chains.

DH’s brother’s (SAH) wife was talking about how they get that huge amount of gifts and clothing new from both sets of grandparents, and now that they’re having a third child (whose gender will presumably match the gender of one of the first two children), they are buying more things on top of that.  Why do they buy clothing when the children already have more clothing than they could ever wear?  Because children shouldn’t wear hand-me-downs.

We are totally on board with hand-me-downs.  But many of the hand-me-downs we get are very nice quality (because they were presents to our likewise-affluent friends).  Of course, we also don’t mind putting our toddlers in heavily stained (but otherwise clean) clothing either– they have both been very good at adding additional stains.  Nobody that we work or socialize with is going to think that we can’t afford nice clothing or that we don’t take care of our children if they wear a shirt with stain marks across the front.  We’ve got the luxury and privilege of people not making negative assumptions about our income or net worth based on what our children wear.  (Also, DC1 wears uniforms to school.  And I don’t have to go to SAHM playgroups.)  We also have the luxury of handing the clothing down again and being able to feel affluent about that, rather than needing to sell it.

Being able to buy high quality clothing that lasts a long time also means that it’s easier to buy classics that don’t really go out of style, which means they can be worn longer.  I have a lot of basics in classic styles.  When you live an H&M lifestyle, you have to keep changing out your clothing because it’s easy to tell when something goes out of fashion, and the quality isn’t good enough to keep it for 30+ years even if it weren’t fashionable.  Current fashion changes mean I can mix and match sweater sets rather than wearing matched sets, but I can still wear the same pieces, just in different combinations.  And again, nobody is going to think I’m poor because I’m wearing a (thrift-store purchased) 10-15 year old Ann Taylor or Brooks Brothers business casual outfit because nobody is going to know.  The same isn’t necessarily true of Walmart’s finest (though I do have some t-shirts from Walmart that I got in high school that are just now wearing out…).

As a (mostly lower middle class, occasionally genteel poor, always worried about lack of money) kid there were definitely more pressures to spend for appearances’ sake.  But people didn’t just tease me about the rusty VW bug my mom drove (that I loved) or my lack of an Express bag (I eventually got one)… my material possessions were pretty low on the list of things I was bullied about (and the only thing that was external to me).  It was easier for me to just reject their views of fashion and go completely into my own funky style (which involved a lot of thrift-store hats), at least until grunge came into fashion (a style I completely embraced).  But those pressures are gone among the people we associate with and we only see them in action when we visit DH’s family.

Feelings and privilege are complex.

Now, we’re in the educated liberal crunchy upper-middle-class.  Not the wealthy (lower) upper-class.  We don’t rub shoulders with movie stars or even corporate lawyers or financiers.  We’d love to be making that kind of money, but still living our crunchy upper middle class lives.  We hear from people who do rub shoulders with lawyers and financiers that there’s lots of stupid money stresses there too.  Cars and diamonds and so on are back to being status symbols.  Items are expensive not because they’re quality but because they’re in fashion.  It all sounds very nouveau riche.  Crass.  Obviously I must come from old money… or my parents are Northern Californians instead of Southern.  We probably have something we compete on or use as a class marker that we’re too blind to see, but it isn’t $tuff, and that saves us a lot of money.

Update:  This NYMag article is really interesting.  (It definitely does show that my family growing up is very weird class-wise.)

Do people judge you by how you spend your money or what kind of clothing you wear?  Do you have to spend money for status reasons or can you save money because you don’t have anything to prove?  How do you deal with the pressure of trying not to seem poor?


Remember to spring forward this weekend, grumpeteers!  Here are some links:

Congrats to MommyProf.

Shannon Hale, an author of YA books, experiences annoying differential treatment based on gender.

Fantasy author Pat Rothfuss is a funny guy.

In which cartoonists have no idea what ‘net neutrality’ means.

it is terrible and wonderful that this exists: http://dwbtheapp.com/

The average retirement age is pretty average.

Breaking news:  good books on sale on Kindle for a limited time!  We both loved Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal, and #1 also loves A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent, written by Marie Brennan. Each under $3 if you act now. Mmmmmm, fantasy books!

This kitten is very interested in your story.

Rez ball.

How are cookbooks like Obamacare?  In further HuffPo news, more on vaccinations and how to use google for cheaper, better air travel.

#2 has had this song in her head ever since Historiann posted.  It alternates with “Funkytown” (I don’t know why).

Look at this awesome thing called “quiltmation“.  What’s your state #1 in?

The science of why Indian food is sooooo delicious.

this video of a baby laughing uncontrollably will make you smile if you’re not a monster: http://fb-147.dailymegabyte.com/dad-hears-baby-laugh-first-time-wont-stop-laughing/(the dad’s pretty funny too)(you can even hear mom laughing behind the camera)


Ask the grumpies: political polarization

Cloud asks:

Are we or are we not living in an age of unusual political polarization?

So there’s two ask the grumpies questions left in our queue of unanswered ask the grumpies and they’re both hard.  The other one is on the minimum wage and I actually know the answer to it (because it’s standard labor economics) but it’s gonna take a while to answer well because it’s a complex issue.  (All to get to the bottom line of “economists still disagree on this one.”)

This one is out of my wheelhouse, so I’m going to punt it.

My colleagues say yes and they point to gerrymandering and that easy filibuster rule.

Bogart actually brought up two blog posts in the comments when this was asked saying:

If you are talking about Congress, here are two blog posts by scholars who are widely published on this issue: http://voteview.com/blog/?p=726 , http://voteview.com/blog/?p=953 . The short answer is yes, and that most of the recent ideological motion has been a rightward move by Republicans. If you’re talking about the electorate, I’ll need to pull up different information and my sense is the story is somewhat murkier. Gerrymandering is clearly an issue (but nothing new), and it seems we (individuals) are self-sorting in ways that involve ideological clustering more than we used to, but I’d have to dig out sources.

To which I replied:

My sense is that every time the census districts are redrawn, gerrymandering is bad. But the essence of gerrymandering is such that it only takes a little bit to tip districts over on average (the way that gerrymandering works is you’re trying to get the biggest partisan bang for the buck, so there’s a lot of fragile districts), so as time goes on the effects of gerrymandering diminish until the next redistricting.

There’s also a lot of talk lately about how republicans are doing a good job of taking over state legislatures and state governments, which can have national effects through things like redistricting or setting educational curricula.

To which she responded:

I’d have to look this up to confirm/quantify, but my sense is that a noticeable Republican takeover of state legislatures and governorships coincided with the recent round of redistricting, leading to gerrymandering more obvious to many of us because it benefits those “other” guys. The development of majority minority districts has arguably also exacerbated this, as drawing district lines to concentrate African-American voters obviously concentrates a large and probably the most predictably Democratic constituency in one place and, by extension, makes it unavailable to others.

On the other hand, prior to the 1960s many Southern states (at least) simply didn’t redistrict (much), giving a pronouncedly amplified voice to rural (white) voters at the expense of urban (black) voters. So how bad things are is partly a function of what you’re comparing them to, as ever.

Finally, if we’re talking *historically* in terms of political polarization, say, pre-Carter, or pre-Roosevelt, or pre-Hoover… that I can’t say.  We’re certainly less polarized than we were in say, the 1860s.  (In that we’re not having a civil war.)

Are any of our readers (in addition to Bogart) more knowledgeable on this subject than the grumpies?  Chime in in the comments!

In which we are not hired as writers of small talk

#1:  here is a note to the universe: don’t ask me how wedding planning is coming. I realize you’re trying to make small talk, but it’s boring to me and it’s even my own wedding. Also? Not a lot has happened since we last had this conversation 2-3 weeks ago. Meh.

#2:  oh, I forgot to ask
how is your wedding planning coming?

#1:  rrrr

#2:  (except I know– you have a venue and you have a date to look for dresses)

#1:  rrrrrright

#2:  If things were going poorly, I’m sure you could use the question as an excuse to vent. so the fact that you find such questions dull is a good thing!

Maybe you could respond that wedding planning is dull, but do you know how big a toddler’s poop can get? (as big as an adult’s, according to [redacted] and my own recent personal experience with toddler poop)

#1: hahahah
I can talk about horse poop….

#2:  I bet horse poop is more interesting than toddler poop
but not as interesting as owl poop
owl poop is the best
well, owl pellets are the best

#1:  yes, that is owl barf

#2:  which is sort of like poop
but you know, different

#1:  owl barf is fascinating

#2:  it serves a similar purpose to poop without actually being poop

#1:  “ugghhh, I ate too much bones.”

#2:  but the actual response is probably, “It’s going fine. Nothing exciting happening, which is a good thing. How’s that toddler of yours?”
“Any interesting poops lately?”
“I hear that toddler poo is just fascinating.”
“mmm hmm.”
“Is that so?”

#1:  have you ever compared toddler poop and horse poop? how do you feel about owls? we should be hired as small talk writers
Here’s my answer: the toddler grows up, and the horse needs its poop picked up for life

#2:  horse poop probably smells better

#1:  quite possibly. They’re all vegetarians.

#2:  do vegetarians have better smelling poop?

#1:  I’m not sure. But at least you can get used to the smell of horses — they eat only a few things, all horses all the time, eat the same few things.

What are your deep thoughts on poop?  (Also, I know I should have put a poo-related pun there instead of “deep”… any suggestions?  pressing thoughts?)