Late Link love for a lazy day

Corporate anti-bias training doesn’t work.  :(

Is this the real life?

Erosion of buffers

Students are not stopping. Not forgetting.  Let’s help them out this November.

How Russian Facebook Ads divided and targeted US voters before the 2016 election.

The growing college graduation gap

Did she just say that out loud?

I donated Hank Green’s new book. Is there anything on this list you’d like to give to a Detroit school?  (I also hit up a donors choose for the town next to mine that was requesting diverse books.  That’s one of my yes I will give money buttons.  I wish I could pay taxes instead though.)

I was looking for Spanish books for DC2 and was irritated that most of the lists I was coming across had only male protagonists.  Here’s a list to balance that out a little.

Watch astronauts read from space

Should kids always come first from the archives

Wondering about the chemistry of current nail art trends?

We obviously have no problems with cheesy romance novels (though there’s definitely subsets we do not want to read) or Harry Potter, but this is a great list

#takeactionoutofactionfilms

eeeee! more zoo kittens

 

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Ask the grumpies: How to covertly practice for a job interview as a tenured faculty member

Susan asks:

it looks like I may interview for [a new job] soon, so here’s a somewhat urgent question: do you have suggestions for how to sharpen up my interview skills (like the chalk talk) as an already-tenured faculty? The last time I interviewed was as a postdoc, so there were plenty of coaching opportunities, but now I need to be covert. I think I’ll be ok with the talk itself, but it’s all the other soft skills

Disclaimer:  neither of us has applied for a tenured job after being tenured.  #2 has applied for non-tenure-track jobs after, but #1 has really only done one year faculty development leave stints.  However, #1 has been through the hiring process for the other side about a bazillion times both for her department and for related interdisciplinary departments that sometimes need to call in more (female or maybe just well-behaved?) economists for their searches.

Really the job talk is probably the most important thing, so if you’re ok with that, you’re ok!  Depending where you are in your career and what they have asked you to do, you’ll either want to be presenting a new piece of research or giving them an overview of a big chunk of your research agenda (as well as how it fits into your teaching and service).  If they just want a piece of research, you should easily be able to get people to listen to your practice talk just by telling them you need to practice for your upcoming talk.  If you’re doing one that has an overview of your entire agenda, you may want to stick with folks outside your department and/or close friends if you’re keeping things on the down low.

In terms of other soft skills… honestly, I don’t think you will need to practice them.  You’re an already-tenured faculty.  You don’t *need* this other new job.  You’ve most likely been on the other side of interviews and know more about what matters and what doesn’t matter for applicants.  (I am embarrassed now by what I thought mattered but nobody actually cares about!)  Just be a polite slightly more extroverted version of yourself (if you’re an introvert) and you should be fine.  Talk about research and teaching and service.  If it’s for an administrator position, talk to people at the department in advance so you have ideas for what the issues and concerns for the unit are going forward.  It’s ok not to have ideas and to just talk about how you make decisions based on faculty input, but you should be aware of any landmines as well as being able to do some discussion of the pros and cons of major issues.  If it’s for a faculty position, just pretend you’re there to give a seminar but add some more questions about things that you care about, whatever they may be.  Senior hires give so much more power to the candidate and are so much more relaxed than junior hires.

But maybe you’re wondering what kinds of questions you should be asking?  I get a lot of questions about the public and private schools (and I volunteer that information for everyone even if they don’t ask), housing, food, restaurants, distance to the nearest city.  More senior candidates feel more comfortable asking about quality of life information than do junior candidates.  I don’t know if they realize it is important or if it actually is more important or if they feel more comfortable signaling personal information.  Additionally more senior candidates are more likely to have make-or-break things– if X isn’t met, then they don’t really want the offer, and they’re happy to let us know that.  I also get more questions about how people in the department get along and how everyone gets along with the chair and the dean and so on, though sometimes that signals that the person is coming from a more dysfunctional place which can be a bit of a red flag– it’s usually best to signal that you’re happy where you are but you’re excited about this new opportunity for some other reason (like less snow or family or it’s ranked higher or you have friends on the faculty etc.), but not always.  Other than that, talking about interesting research, yours, theirs, other people’s, is always good (unless, of course, it’s a department where nobody does research).  And it’s easier to do as a senior person when you realize you don’t have to know the minutia of every person you meet’s cv than it is when you’re junior and don’t realize it’s ok to ask about things you don’t know or understand (or maybe that was just me).

#2 notes that for the two jobs she’s gotten post-tenure, the interviews were more like conversations.  She wasn’t even really aware the one for the second job was an interview.

So, we don’t really know, but we’ll throw this up to grumpy nation, and maybe send a signal over to historiann to ask for a boost.

Grumpeteers, any advice for Susan?

observations from my new job

Whatever one may say about the red tape around here (and it is indeed very silly), this place is doing really well on the dry-erase markers. This is an honest delight. They are everywhere, in multiple colors, and they all work! Now I want a dry-erase board by my desk. Also I have a bunch of sharpies now, yay.

…Goodness! My boss said I could have some of her tea (and I brought some to share in return), but I had no idea all the stuff that was in that cabinet until just now. It’s in between our desks. In addition to lots of kinds of tea, mostly black but some green (both loose and bagged), there are also some weird old powdered drink mixes, crystal light, plastic cups, terrible plain popcorn, fiber supplements, antacids, gummy vitamins, and a lone can of beef noodle soup. I feel like my drawer is better: granola bars (somewhat crumbly), mints (from HR; a gift from our 401k company), and dark chocolate-covered espresso beans. And I keep string cheese in the office refrigerator.

This has been today’s edition of Afternoon Snax.

The children’s allowance as an antidote to the gimmies

Over Christmas break, the entire extended family went to Cracker Barrel for lunch.  Since there were 14 of us, we ended up waiting in their store for quite some time.  All the other cousins asked for (and occasionally whined for) random trinkets and junk food, but our kids didn’t.  I wracked my brain as to why my kids weren’t and really never do, and when I asked DH he said, obviously it’s because our response is always, “Did you bring your allowance?  Do you have enough money saved up from your allowance?”  And that makes total sense.  Our friends in Paradise all gave their kids allowances and their kids never had the gimmies when we were out and about either.

DC1 saves up hir allowance to purchase big things like video games and board games (and holiday/birthday gifts for other people).  DC2 buys stuffed animals or candy every time zie goes to the grocery store.  In the end, I think they probably end up with as much random stuff as their cousins (or maybe a little bit less, I dunno), but all in all it is much more pleasant for us because we’re not put in the position of having to say yes or no.   We just give them a predictable amount each month (currently 20 cents per year of age, which is not that much money!) and they make their own purchasing decisions.  (DC1 also makes some money from doing RA work for me, and they both occasionally get $10 or $20 bills in cards from grandparents.)  They may also end up with stuff that they prefer because they’re the one making those yes/no decisions so they’re in the position to optimize rather than just getting what our more random choices give them.

DC1 did complain recently that hir friends who get allowances all get $5 or more per week but zie only gets $2.20.  Sorry, kid!

How do you deal with the gimmies?  Did you have an allowance growing up, and did it help?  If you didn’t have an allowance, how did you get little luxuries (if any)?

Link Love

ICE raids hurt American kids.

Miami Northeastern students walk out to protest recent gun killings

To my old master

Legacy of childhood trauma.  Lots and lots of triggers (#2 couldn’t get through it).

Update on maternal mortality in TX

The payoff is in the last paragraph

Age and high-growth entrepreneurship

What we know about the federal raid of trump lawyer

Press play

An alarming week

Sometimes I just feel like a little dialasong

Ask the grumpies: Please talk at length about how wonderful gourmet ice creams and related frozen treats are

Leah asks:

What is your take on “gourmet” ice creams? Things like Salt & Straw from Portland, where they put weird combos in. My favorite from them, by the way, is arabequina olive oil. Sea salt and caramel is another example (tho that has gone mainstream). What’s your favorite “weird” flavor?

#1  I find ice cream places in many cities I visit (there are no good places in my town  *sob*.  Not even a Ben and Jerry’s!).  Man, I love ice cream so much.  And gelato.  And fancy flavors.  And all sorts of fun things mixed inside.  I love weird combos and straight combos and all sorts of stuff.  Let’s see though, it’s been a while since I’ve been to a place that offers fancy combos.  Something with rosemary is coming to mind, but I can’t remember what else was in it… I think it was a sorbetto, so something fruity.

I like all sorts of variations on kulfi.  There’s something about cardamom that I just love, whether that’s with pistachios or pecans or whatever else they put in.  I think I’ve had different kinds in Boston, Westwood, and Houston.  I’ve also had variations of rosewater ice cream in a couple different cities.

Salted caramel is definitely mainstream enough to get at the grocery store.  Though I do remember the first time I had it at a gelato shop in the city.  Angels sang in heavenly choirs.

#2:  Ice cream is delicious. Ben & Jerry’s used to make a White Russian that I liked. I’ve had Black Sesame ice cream — it tastes just like sesame seeds but that’s not really what I’m looking for in an ice cream. I don’t like caramel. In general: more ice cream is good. Taste them all. noms.

#1:  I like black sesame.  Especially when there’s still toasted seeds and it crunches.  I don’t think I’d pick it as just one ice cream, but when I get three little scoops in a cup, it might be one of the choices.

Grumpy eaters, opine!

What are we reading

Soldier’s Scoundrel by Cat Sebastian!  Cat Sebastian is another author who does regency m/m romances and she’s lighter than KJ Charles, but still good.  I liked her so much I bought all 4 of her books that are out and wishlisted her two forthcoming books.  I wouldn’t recommend buying the first in the Sedgewick series if you can get it at your local library (it had one really well-developed main character but the other main character was more 2-d and not that likable and the plot never really gelled) but the three books in the Turner series were all super wonderful.  A++ Would recommend, will read again.  I started with my favorite rake/bluestocking trope (though in this case the bluestocking is a guy and also the scientist trope), because I tend not to love the books with “soldier” in the title, but in this case the first is probably the best of a really great three book series (which was obvious after meeting the protagonists of the Soldier’s book in the rake’s book).

Jordan L. Hawke was ok.  I liked the first in her Whyborne and Griffin series, Widdershins. It’s about a philologist(?) (Some kind of linguist) who is dealing with growing up being gay in a society where that’s illegal and it’s caused him to be very anti-social and possibly estranged from his family. He tells the early books in first person (the later books alternate between the two protagonists). The second hero is this super handsome private investigator who has stumbled onto something paranormal.  Hawk is not anywhere near as good as KJ Charles; she’s highly derivative–you’ll feel like you’ve read this one before many times BUT her heroes are new, and so sweet.  The first short story was also definitely worth the 99 cents because it was in the first person of the second guy and you get an insight into what he sees in the main character of the novel.  They’re both super insecure and think the other person is amazeballs, and, of course, they’re both right about the other person so… A+++ on romance and character development but B- on plot (I grade generously).  I mean, it’s not like bad or anything, it’s just, you know, derivative but not cleverly enough for my taste.  (Though it is cute that the universities are Arkham and Miskatonic.) Book 7 in the series sticks out as all around good, but the rest of the series after the first book I found myself skipping large chunks, mostly in the middle.  There’s also a LOT of death, much of it gratuitous.   Her Hex series is more interesting in terms of the world-building, but even darker.  So much death.  Those poor redshirts, there to provide Angst and Pathos and to further the plot.

Fool me twice by Meredith Duran had a really strong start– it was gripping and I couldn’t put it down for like the first 40%.  But then it stopped being excellent and was just good.  I’m not sure if I’m going to buy a copy.  Sadly, my library does not have any of the rest in the series, so I’m being forced to buy the rest without pre-reading them, and they’re somewhat more expensive than the $3.99 I’m used to paying.  I did really enjoy the 99 cent first novella in that series, your wicked heart, even though it was pretty silly and only gets 3.5 stars on amazon.  I do wonder about that typing school that makes all its graduates smell like roses even when they haven’t washed or been near any kind of scent in days.  Her heroes also all seem to share an odd fascination with the backs of knees.  That scandalous summer was probably not worth the $7.99 I paid for it, but it was definitely worth a library read if my library had had it.  I enjoyed the heroine in Lady Be Good and am really looking forward to the heroine in Luck Be a Lady (which was already on my amazon list as it’s one of her highest rated books).  See… one of the things with this series is that she gets you super curious about the heroines of future (or previous) books– it’s how she hooks you, and the wealthy auction house owner whose brother is up to no good is extremely compelling in the book that introduces her as that heroine’s boss.  So the series as a whole may be better than the books individually.  So I may end up having to purchase Fool me twice even though it’s $9.  Update:  Luck Be a Lady was fine, but not as good as one would have expected it to be given the build up in Lady Be Good- possibly better if read out of order or with more time in between.  I went ahead and bought the next book in the series too– it’s one of my least favorite tropes, husband and wife are separated early in their marriage by countries because of a misunderstanding and then reunite years later, but in this case the misunderstanding is that she thinks he ran off with a mistress whereas in reality he was kidnapped by a political opponent and put on a prison island for several years.  So… that’s an interesting, and more understandable twist than the usual misheard something while eavesdropping sort.

I liked the second Madeline Hunter Fairbourne quartet book, The conquest of lady cassandra, enough to request the first from the library, but not enough to buy it for my kindle.  The second is probably better after having read the first– the beginning was pretty confusing if you didn’t know the characters already, which I didn’t.

The third Sasha Cottman, The Duke’s Daughter, was so terrible I gave up trying to read it and just skimmed the second half.  Heroine is TSTL, which she was in the first two books too (but she was just the ditzy friend in those), and the hero doesn’t make any sense.  It built him up very well in the beginning and then when the forced marriage drama thing happened he reacted completely differently than he’d been built up to react.  Also she takes his agency away in several cases and he doesn’t seem to mind(?)– we’re talking she tries to give him a sleeping draught without telling him and does things to him in his sleep levels of taking his agency away.  And he’s just like, oh, how horrible a person I must be to make her treat me like this.  Which totally doesn’t make any sense given how he reacted to the forced marriage.  And if they’d just talked things out in the first place… There wouldn’t have been a book I guess.  At least it was only $2.99.  Do not recommend!  I wonder if she lost her editor between books 2 and 3.  Update:  Sasha Cottman is now dead to me—I had another of her books (Not in that series?  About a missionary daughter and a spy?) on a kindle and it was pretty boring and pretty patriarchal with another TSTL heroine but I was on a plane and groggy so I was pushing through…until I hit rape as a backstory.  Pretty unbelievable backstory too.  Flipped to the epilogue in which the missionary mom who encouraged the rape mentions in a letter that the rapist has married her ladies maid and he does whatever his wife tells him to do (despite his use of sexual violence on the heroine and promises to break her of her stubbornness after a forced marriage) and what a happy couple they are.  Just ugh on so many levels.  Unfortunately the book was a gift and it is a pain to get reimbursed from Amazon for gifts but maybe I’ll try anyway.  Should not have put them on my wishlist in the first place.

I’m not naming them here, but in the past 3 months, I have read no fewer than 3 books whose plot twist turns out to be that the heroine(/main character) is the legitimate heir of a bigamist nobleman.  I guess that’s better than carriage accidents, but man, do these people belong to the same plot of the month club?  Or did two of them steal from the first, or did they all steal from some other book I haven’t read yet?

What are you reading?