Don’t blink, it’s link love

One of us is out of town and the other is recovering from Stupid Virus.  Let’s see what links we can dig up!

Don’t worry, racists. Really.

We continue to love Breaking Cat News and follow it constantly.  Now with twitters!

Speaking of twitters… Do you feel the BernMaybe not?

Make it easy to vote!

Got kitteh conflict?  try this:

Hey minimalists, come on now.

Mad props to the west coast!  Fertility control for all!

It’s Beverly Cleary’s 100th birthday and she’s still alive!  Woooooo.


Literal food porn

A very awesome cartoon/comic.

Don’t tell my boss, but I watched this at work:

I blame the virus for the fact that I sent #2 the following message:

sorry, I just felt like sending this to you for no reason: BOOGER BOOGER BOOGER BOOGER BOOGER BOOGER BOOGER ok I’m done now

Well, Grumpeteers?  Booger.

Ask the grumpies: Best practices for cleaning your glasses/keeping your glasses clean?

Monsterzero asks:

[What are b]est practices for cleaning your glasses/keeping your glasses clean?

Although we do not know the answer to this question ourselves, one of us happens to have a husband who has made an in depth study of this question and has strong opinions on the topic (though he is continually searching out new suggestions and will probably read the comments of this thread with great interest).

DH says:  What I do now is, if they’re dirty with oil or grease, I wash them with soap and water in the sink, then shake them as dry as I can get them and then sort of lightly dab them with a towel to get the water off, then use micro-fiber cloth.

For everyday use, like when I get up in the morning, I wipe them down with micro-fiber.

I also have Zeiss disposible wipes, but I haven’t bought any in a while.  I keep some in the car.

Note to follow the instructions on washing the micro-fiber cloths.  They can be hand-washed (without fabric softener!) but shouldn’t be dried in the dryer.

When you get glasses, I recommend always getting the hardness coating.  I’ve gotten other coatings and they’ve been of varying benefits, but they always scratch too easily, whereas with the hardness coating my glasses tend to last until the frame breaks.

I think that’s pretty much it.

[end DH]

Where do I get my research ideas?

This year I have been giving an awful lot of talks.  Along with these talks, I’ve been meeting with a lot of graduate grad students during my visit.  A  common question I get when I meet with a group of students (you know, the ones with free time) is how I get my research ideas.  This usually comes from students who are floundering without a dissertation topic.  I thought I’d write up my answer.

  1. First, I get ideas from my contrarian nature.  Perhaps it’s my math training, but I am always looking for a counter-example, I am always questioning statements taken to be true.  My own job market paper topic, in fact, was a reaction from a statement one of my professors had made in a second-year class that struck me as possibly not true and when I looked into it, I found very little research on the topic.  I figured out how to test it better than the one or two previous papers, and voila, an amazing paper.
  2. Another place to get ideas that haven’t been worked on over and over is to think about your own unique experiences.  This can be something as broad as thinking about your own female perspective on sexist things that your male-dominated field takes for granted (ex. all the new research coming out showing that women aren’t irrational, they’re just working under different constraints) or as specific as a public program that not many people know about but you know lots about because your grandfather was on it.  You have lots of unique things that you bring to your discipline.  Think about what they are.  Think about who you know.  Look at the broader world around you and question it.
  3. It is ok to start out feeling like you keep coming up with ideas that have already been done– when I started out, it seemed like when I started the lit review I’d find that the exact paper I wanted to write had been written 10 years ago.  But my next idea had been published 3 years ago.  And the one after that, maybe just out.  Eventually I started coming up with ideas that were working papers.  And then new papers.  You may also find yourself in the situation where you’re half done with a paper and it seems like you’ve just been scooped– but you haven’t been really– it is unlikely your paper is identical to this other one and if it is, you can still change things, pursue different directions, answer some things better, etc. to differentiate it.  You want to be working in a hot field because it means your question is important.  See if you can create conference panels with this other paper.
  4. It gets a lot easier once you’ve gotten immersed.  After you’ve started a project, you start realizing there are huge gaps in the literature– things you really need to know now in order to fully answer your question but that are themselves their own projects.  You’ll also come up with new questions that your project has provided you… if this is true, then why this other thing?
  5. If you don’t do a perfect job, that means future people will fill in the gaps in your literature later!  It’s kind of exciting seeing people do a better job than you did because they are taking your paper as a starting point.  You know, so long as they cite you.

Where do you get your ideas?  What advice would you give current graduate students looking for inspiration?

Paradise puts me in charity with the world

We’re both living in our own paradises this year.  #1 has to go back in not so long from now.  #2 has no end date in sight.

But we’ve both noted that paradise seems to make us happier and more mellow.

Part of that I am sure is the weather.   It’s hard to be sad when the sun is shining and your toes are neither too hot nor too cold.  And #2’s Bad Place really did seem to be trying to kill her.  Like literally, with allergies and pneumonia and stuff.

And the food is always good.  And the libraries are awesome so there’s always something to read.  And there are lots of cool people around to socialize with if we want to socialize.  And nobody is talking about how awesome Donald Trump is.  It’s really easy to think that all is right with the world.

It’s not that bad stuff doesn’t happen.  Papers and grants still get rejected.  But that somehow doesn’t seem like such a big deal.*

#1 wishes there were a job for her in paradise.  But it isn’t like I was unhappy where we normally live.  It’s just so much easier to be happy here.  It’s like that nothing really matters feeling you get with middle age coming even faster.  It’s easier to focus on the important stuff– comes automatically instead of with effort.  I think we would live longer if we lived out here.

Does where you live affect how you view the world?  Are you happier living in different places?

*Personal tragedies are still just as tragic as they were when we were living elsewhere.  But the stuff that can be not sweated, well, why sweat?

When economists prefer tossing economic theory to being woke

I seriously do not understand how so many economists (white male etc.) think that “cultural differences” explain things that are easier explained by “different constraints.”

As if we’re not all rational actors, only the white guys are.  Everyone else is doing worse because they are worse.  They’re either low quality or have bad culture.  If everyone acted like a white guy, then everybody would be doing as well as white guys.  As if.

It’s like, do you not listen to your own theory? How is it that when someone who isn’t a rich white guy is involved, all of a sudden you become a poor quality sociologist (who doesn’t really understand sociology)?

link love

Why talented black and Hispanic students can go undiscovered

NC didn’t just prevent LGBT protections, it banned some pretty standard protections.

Finally, someone has written a novel about male desire

The Frugalwoods bought their dream homestead.  And Mrs. Frugalwoods is quitting her job to become a professional blogger/freelance writer.

And I swear I read this post first and it is not at all linked to the previous one.  It’s just coincidence that it follows (in reverse chronological order in our chat history).  I’m sure the Frugalwoods will love their homesteading choice.

I love google so much sometimes.

Has anybody ever heard of the slides etc. referenced in this article?

Ana has been doing a great introspective series lately.  Here’s one of them.

What two adults one child learned from tracking her time for a week.

New studies that found things that Black people already knew.

Lindsey Graham

I did not know that nature jobs had a blog.

Ellen on Mississippi

Oh Bernie, you’ve had time to do your homework.

Ask Mike Pence for advice about your lady problems.

Not sure what to think about this.

… I have some of these books

This just in:  researchers misunderstand women

Thoughtful article

things I missed by reading Little Women in 3rd grade and being totally bored by the romance


hello patriarchy

pet appreciation week


nameletter effect?

Also check out wandering scientist’s links this week– they’re especially good.

Ask the grumpies: How to handle the emotional aspects of moving for a job

Katherine asks:

A question about moving for a job, with a spouse:

I am about to finish my phd, and I’ve been interviewing for jobs all over the country. My husband and I currently live in his home state (where we met, but I have no ties to this place other than I love his family who mostly live in state), and if I wasn’t in the picture he would want to stay here (in this state) for the rest of his life. He hates our current city and doesn’t have good job prospects here anyway. We’re both really excited about moving away from here, but I’m feeling increasingly guilty about being the reason he’s going to move across the country to a place he’s never been – and nervous myself about moving to a place I will have probably only visited for 30 hours, tops. How did you and your partners handle the emotional aspects of moving for academic jobs?

Don’t feel guilty! This is a fun new adventure for both of you! Going to a new place that you’ve never been before and living there is a wonderful thing to do– you become more cultured and a better person. Like that wear sunscreen graduation speech goes (“Live in NYC but not so long that it makes you hard, live in LA but not so long as it makes you soft”). And if it doesn’t work out, you can do like #2 did and move again.  It’s only a permanent thing if you want it to be.

(Note:  #2 had to move for a job without her significant other– that was pretty awful emotionally.  But the moving to a new place means lots of fun new discoveries at first, even if you end up someplace that turns out to be a Blasted Wasteland and not a permanent living place.)

Good luck!

UPDATE:  We are NOT saying that there is anything wrong with Katherine.  We are not saying her feelings are abnormal.  We are not saying she’s a bad person for feeling guilty.  We are giving her permission to NOT FEEL GUILTY and to reframe this move as an adventure and a potential learning experience and not something permanent (unless they want it to be permanent).  Her husband is already excited about the opportunity.

So please, no more comments saying, “I disagree, Katherine has every right to feel guilty.”  Yes, she can continue to feel guilty if that’s what she wants to do.  But it wasn’t our sense that that was how she wanted to handle the emotional aspects of moving to a new place and trying to solve the two-body problem.

Are posts that are “raw” and dramatic more honest than posts that are happy or emotionally even?: A deliberately controversial post

Not necessarily.

Just like the accusations that (some? all?) people are making up their happy perfect lives, there’s also no doubt bloggers who are either dramatizing or possibly even making up their own drama so that they have something to write about.  Some people who seem as if their lives are trainwrecks seem that way not because they necessarily have horrible things happening to them, but because, like the (possibly fictional) “perfect” bloggers, they want attention.  They love being thanked for their “honest” and “raw” posts.

So they talk about fighting with their horrible lazy awful partners.  They talk about their horrible children.  They talk about their problems with money that they have created by taking on too much debt.  Some (that you will occasionally read news stories about) go so far as to make up diseases and put up crowd-funding.

It is true that there are people stuck in horrible relationships, or whose children have real psychological problems.  There are people who, through no fault of their own have money problems.  There are people who have life-threatening and chronic diseases.  And some folks with real problems do blog about them.

However, the Venn diagram of having a real problem and blogging about drama is not an “honest” and “raw” single circle.  There’s overlap, but it is far from complete.

Drama posts can be just as fictional as “perfect” posts.  And just as likely, some “perfect” bloggers are not lying about things going well for them.  Honest writing and happy writing may be completely uncorrelated.

Your turn, Grumpeteers.

What’s wrong with me that I don’t feel guilt about parenting?



That is all.

Posted in Uncategorized. Tags: . 23 Comments »

April mortgage update: Living in a 1200 sq foot 2br/2ba for a year as a family of 4

Last month (March):
Years left: 1
P =$1,157.03, I =$57.37, Escrow =$809.48

Last month (April):
Years left: 0.91666666667
P =$1,161.61, I =$52.79, Escrow =$809.48

Amount saved from prepayment:  $0

… instead of our usual 3000 sq ft ~5br/3ba.

Honestly, it hasn’t been so bad.  At some point, the kids may need to stop sharing a room or may need more space for their clothes, but not yet.

We use every part of the house instead of just a third of it.  I spend more time in our bedroom hiding out from everyone (DH spends about the same amount of time in our bathroom hiding).  I pretty much only use our bedroom at home for sleep (and activities involving the removal and/or putting on of clothing), even though it is comparatively ginormous.

Having people visit has been difficult.  If it’s my sister visiting, DC1 sleeps on the couch and she sleeps on the top bunk.  If it’s a parent, DC2 sleeps with us and the grandparent sleeps in hir bed.  We cannot accommodate couples unless a pair of people sleeps in the living room.  In our usual home place, visitors get an entire guest bedroom suite to themselves.  But… hardly anybody wants to visit us back home.

As with our graduate school days, it has been difficult to spend money accumulating stuff.  The first question is again not, “how much does this cost?” but “where would we put it?”  Only after we decide there’s room can we think about whether something is worth buying.  (Though DH and DC1 have been testing this proposition with their growing board game collection.)  But since the library system is so great and a short walk away, I don’t need so many books at home.

All in all, it’s been much easier to live here than I had expected.  (1200 sq ft is bigger than our grad school apartments, but there were only two of us then!)

Now, we’re not going to sell our monstrous house and move into a smaller place when we get back.  Why not?  Well, part of the reason it’s so easy to deal with a small space here is because everything is in walking distance.  A big park with playground, restaurants, the library.  And the weather is generally nice.  We don’t need to spend as much of our free time inside the house.  Back home, there’s really none of that, especially not near smaller houses; home owners associations are much more likely to have amenities like parks and playgrounds.

Another reason is that the neighborhood here is relatively safe and entirely free from college students.  Smaller places back where we usually live are either rural and away from everything, in high crime/bad school areas, and/or surrounded by students.  Home owners associations, though horrible, seem to be a way to get away from students.  We could downsize to probably 2200 sq ft and still be away from college students and coyotes and snakes, but the price differential doesn’t seem worth the hassle.  We can afford what we’ve got (as you can see from our mortgage update!).

And, I can’t lie– it is a bit easier to live in a small place that’s not in the best shape when everybody else is also living in small places that aren’t in the best shape.  Our standards are a lot higher where the housing is cheaper.  We wouldn’t put up with a lot of stuff in the small town that just doesn’t seem like a big deal here in the city.  The same was true when we moved from graduate school– peeling paint and uncovered radiators aren’t a big deal when you’re in an amazing location, but the new rural house has to be perfect and move-in ready.

How small a place are you comfortable living?  Is bigger always better?