Grumpy Rumblings 2019 year in Blogging

Traffic continues its downward trend.  Again, blog traffic in general is down, and we haven’t really been doing deliberately controversial posts, we’re not on twitter, etc.  I think we’ve been engaging less with the blogosphere as a whole in terms of commenting on others’ blogs (and we’re off some blogrolls that we used to be on, though I’m not sure why this year… we don’t seem to have any obviously controversial posts or commenting drama this year).  We have a record low number of posts this year with 198 (previous low was 210).  And I suspect our posts just haven’t been as interesting.  Comments are down which I entirely attribute to Chacha1 being MIA (you are missed, chacha!), number of likes is about the same as last year.

These are the posts that got the most views in 2018:

I think these probably show an increase in people finding our blog via googling and perhaps a decrease in conversations across blogs (or twitter) bringing in traffic.  Again, only two of these are from 2019 and the #1 post is still from students trying to plagiarize a really common composition assignment. We have cornered the market on plagiarizing a short essay about a relative’s wedding.

According to our stats, here’s the most popular posts from 2019:

Top referring sites were:

Most visitors came from The United States. Canada & India came next.

Our most commented post was things you don’t actually have to do (unless you want to) (note to self for next year:  this stat is now hidden under “insights” and is no longer on site stats) (Thank you previous self!  Also, self next year, it’s been further hidden in the comments part– you have to change to comments by posts and pages where it says comments by authors)

I can’t get the most active commenters for the year, only for some undetermined amount of time. :( These were the 5 most active commenters on that unspecified amount of time:

1.  Debbie M 46
2.  Michael N Nitabach 45
3.  Revanche@agaishanlife 43
4.  First Gen American 39
5.  bogart 33

Great to see bogart back in action!  And I think this is a first time for comrade Nitabach on the leader board.

Yay Debbie M!  This means you get to tell us where to donate our most recent month’s proceeds from amazon sales.  Either tell us and link up in the comments (if you want more exposure) or email us at grumpyrumblings at gmail if you want it to be more secret-like.

Any blog commentary or highlights from the grumpy gallery?  Also, congratulate Debbie M in the comments.  :)

I don’t just seem like I’m perfect on the internet: Why being a crab in a bucket is really not the way to help your self-esteem

Grumpy Readers,

I am amazing. I truly am.  I have achieved more than I ever could have dreamed of as a child.  I try to make the world a better place.  I am continually living and growing and working and doing what I can to make my utility curve hit my budget constraint, wherever that is at the time.

YOU are amazing too.  I mean, assuming you don’t post racist memes or put kids in cages or donate to anti-LGBT causes because you don’t want people who are different to be happy.  (One would think that would be a pretty low bar, but hey, it’s 2020 and Trump is president.)  But there are other things about you that make you amazing, not just the absence of being a horrible person (horrible people sometimes hate-read, but they don’t tend to stick around, so we’re fairly confident in assuming you’re not one of them– if you are, maybe stop being horrible?).

Think on some of the ways in which you are amazing for a moment, and while you do it, pretend that the patriarchy doesn’t exist so when you start on the, “but..” part after the amazing part just shut that down and end it with a period.  There are so many ways– and they are all valid (unless they include hurting vulnerable people).

There’s research that shows that people are, on average, happier when they’re off Facebook, and that the reason they’re happier is because they’re not comparing themselves to other people as much.  But something hidden in that research is that it’s only true on average, and only true for a certain kind of people.  Some people are VERY affected by comparing themselves to others and some people are not affected at all.  And that difference has to do with personality traits, not things like income or types of friends (probably– there’s still more research to be done in this area).

I strongly believe that this need that some people have to feel better than others, high on the relative scale of worth rather than just high in terms of levels is one of the reasons that we have so many social ills today.  Some people are racist because they want to feel better than a group of people no matter how terrible things are for them.  They are sexist for the same reason.  They want to keep the poor from eating because people not like them are undeserving and shouldn’t eat.  Or from marrying because they themselves are not lgbt.  Or from being included because they consider themselves to be an exclusive sort of prosperity-gospel Christian and others are non-Christian.  From this viewpoint, there’s only so much awesome to go around and they need to keep other people from having it, particularly people who are different.

But that doesn’t have to be how it works.  Awesome grows more awesome.  Making the world a better place creates more benefits for everyone, except people who get off on being bigots.

And you, grumpy readers, are not those people.

You know that if you focus on relative awesomeness there will always be someone who appears to be better in one aspect or another.  That can’t be a healthy measure of one’s own worth.  It’s much better to plant your own garden and focus on your wants and your goals.  The argument that everybody has problems they’re hiding so you should feel good about yourself is a good way to keep people down.  The only way to win that game is to not care if other people don’t have problems, and instead to focus on yourself and make comparisons to yourself.  Learn from other people– don’t pull them down.

Grumpy nation, when someone on the internet or in real life seems pretty awesome, that doesn’t mean they have inner demons or a horrible family life or etc. etc. etc. that they’re just keeping hidden.  Maybe they’re just pretty awesome.  And maybe if you want to be like them, you can learn from what they do.  And if you don’t want to be like them, you can be secure in that choice.  Sometimes people have instagrammable holiday decorations because that’s what they value, and maybe that’s not what you value.

Where people end up is a combination of so many factors– structural advantages, luck, effort, preferences, and so on.  We can work to reduce structural disadvantages.  We can remember the importance of luck.  We can change our effort level, or remember why we don’t actually care enough to do so and be mindful of the things we do care about.  What we don’t need to do is pull someone down because they have something we wish we had.

So I’m not going to say that it only seems like I have a charmed life but in reality there’s things going on behind the scenes… because really there’s not.  Each day I think of my blessings with astonishment.  As a child, I never actually believed my life could be this comfortable.  Or maybe you don’t value the things I value and value other things and that’s fine too (assuming you don’t value bigotry– then that’s not fine)!  Remember that when someone else brings perfect Christmas cookies, you get to eat the cookies without having put forth any effort to make them.  And that’s much better than feeling threatened by someone else’s perfection.

In this New Year, if I have any hopes for the grumpy readership, it is that you will think upon how you can use your awesomeness to make the world a better place.  Because there are people with so many disadvantages who are under attack because bad people feel threatened by them.  We have the privilege and the power to fight.  Let’s make 2020 a year of action.

Happy New Year!

What is at least one way in which are you awesome?  (Warning:  NO but/although/even though/etc. allowed.  Just put a period without a disclaimer.)  What are your hopes for helping the world in this New Year?  What are some suggestions for what we can do?

Link love

Ask the grumpies: If you could only sit on one piece of furniture for a year…

Leah asks:

If you could pick one of the following pieces of furniture to be the only one you sit in for a year, which would you choose? Rocking chair, chaise lounge, office chair, glider, or wingback

Given how much time I spent at the computer, it would have to be the office chair.

Is bed an option?  I like beds…

Grumpy Nation, what would you pick?


  • DH bought scrubs and wore them and someone just let him into the locked side door of a hospital even though he didn’t have an ID tag or anything.
  • DH is a winter but most of his clothing is spring.  This is because his mother still buys most of his clothing (to be clear, she gives him a few shirts every Christmas and it takes a long time for shirts to wear out) and his brother is a spring and she gets them the same stuff.  What I don’t understand is that she is also a winter and she wears colors appropriate to her coloring.  Now, DH isn’t a fan of red, but he looks amazing in Royal Blue.  So much so that after his last royal blue t-shirt finally wore out I made him get himself a couple more as part of his Christmas present to me.
  • The scrubs that DH bought were royal blue.
  • Scrubs make good pajamas.
  • My MIL appears to have forgotten my last name.  I am confused about how this has happened after 20 years of marriage to her son and 6 more years of my dating her son before that.  And the discussion about how neither of us would be changing our last names when DH wanted to change his to mine at the wedding so we’d have the same last name (I was also against).  I got packages from all sorts of different vendors addressed to [My first name][His last name].  She seems in 100% possession of her faculties, so… what’s up?  I hope it’s just a small mistake and not a sign of anything.
  • I mentioned that DH could bring his scrubs to the in-laws for Christmas and sneak into the hospital where his mom volunteers, but he said that he doesn’t need scrubs to sneak into the hospital where his mom used to work– he’s done that plenty of times without.
  • She did get my last name right on our Christmas card though.  ([DH FIRSTNAME DH LASTNAME] and [My FIRSTNAME My Lastname]).  So hopefully just a temporary fluke.
  • The Theremin kit was a HUGE success.  Now… remind my aching head why we thought this was a good idea?
  • The siblings-in-law stopped trying to match our giving this year.  Whew.
  • Lockpicking kit also a success and much quieter!
  • DC1 is watching The Music Man as extra credit for history.  DH and I decided that it is a feminist work and that Harold Hill does settle down, gets involved in politics, becomes the kind of person who is almost good enough for Marian, and eventually become governor of Iowa (taking a page from Best Little Whorehouse in Texas).  He does not leave her pregnant and alone.
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Don’t forget to increase your 401k/403b/457 withholding for 2020 (if that’s something that works with your financial situation)

The annual limit for your standard 401k/403b/457 goes from $19,000 to $19,500 from 2019 to 2020.  That means you have an additional $500 (or $1000 if you’re working for a state institution that has both 403b and 457) that you can put away for retirement in a tax-advantaged fashion.

I went on the awful university internal site and figured out how to futz with my 403b withholding (it took about 20 min and a ton of googling to figure out– this is still better than the paper way we had to do it before which always took at least an hour, including finding the forms and the addresses the forms needed to be sent to), from 2111.11 to 2166.66 given my 9 month salary.  Then I went to the easy and painless 457 site and futzed with that withholding (5 min, most of that digging out my password).  Then we determined that DH had to email their admin person in order to futz with his 401k, so he did that (20 min, mostly determining he couldn’t do it himself online).

So now we have an additional $1,500 going towards tax-advantaged accounts for 2020!

When was the last time you changed your retirement contributions?

link love

This entire thread is worth reading with info on what’s going on and what to do.

WTAF, RWA: Courtney Milan Banned, Suspended From RWA

Structured vs. free practice, why you probably shouldn’t just be winging it in the practice room.