annual reports

I’ve already received two “holiday letter” e-mails, both from people I’m fond of but haven’t otherwise been in touch with over the past year. The first is from a woman I knew from grad school who went off on remarkable length about this new hobby of hers which I won’t go into in any detail except to say it involves a lot of filking. (For readers who don’t know what filking is, did not follow the convenient link in the last sentence, and presume instead that Scatterplot has just taken a tawdry turn, “filking” only sounds like the name of some obscure sex act.) Please understand that I don’t sit in any kind of judgment of those who love nothing more than to filk away with friends and neighbors, but: I’m quite confident that this person, at age 25, would have merrily agreed to sign an advanced directive instructing that she be euthanized either if her health deteriorated to the point where she was being kept alive only by machines OR her social tastes had deteriorated to where her primary source of meaning and enthusiasm in life was wanton filking. As I read the e-mail I kept thinking, “Well, this certainly wasn’t what I expected when I clicked to open this message.”

The second one Continue reading “annual reports”

nutter about nuther

I can’t stand how the phrase “a whole nother” has slipped into our language (447,000 hits on Google, the variant in the title produces a mere 25,500 hits).  I’m hearing it everywhere these days–even news anchors are saying it now!  The worst part, it’s so ubiquitous it is coming out of MY mouth.  This madness must stop.

It reminds me of a whole nother error, “irregardless,” which, of course, is not a word, and even if it were, it would mean the opposite of what its typical user means to say.  For years, I made fun of people who used this word.  As a result, I was actually saying the “word” quite a bit, in a mocking tone.  And, it started sticking in my brain as a result.  One day in graduate school while chatting with one of my professors, it actually slipped out of my mouth.  Before I could get to the convoluted explanation of how this could possibly have happened, said professor corrected me “I think you mean either irrespective or regardless.”  I was mortified.

Similarly, I once had the word “epiphone” on my mind, which is a brand of guitar (the cheaper line of the Gibson company).  I always thought that was a dumb name for a guitar brand, and had been facetiously pronouncing it “epiphany” since high school.  Then one day I was writing an email to my advisor in grad school, announcing I had been working on some kind of difficult problem and had had an “epiphone!”*

I’m not sure if there is a lesson in this, other than to avoid repeating other peoples’ mistakes, even in gest, because its going to take up residents in you’re mind and come back to bite you in the but.

_____

*I’m extremely curious if this person remembers the exchange.  The answer is probably no, which will verify my expectation that the things that seem so big in our own minds are routinely ignored by others.

i am obsessed with two things

1.) The Mitchell Report, which is coming out in 5 minutes. I haven’t been able to work for the last hour.

2.) Blog statistics. I don’t know why, but I’m fascinated by them. In fact, I’m less interested in the content of this blog right now, and more interested in how people are navigating to, through, and from it. And how many. And I don’t care about popularity. I’m just obsessed with tracking it all.

little black corvette

Computers I have either personally owned or procured from research funds for professional use: a Commodore VIC-20 (elementary school), a Commodore 64 (junior high), a PC that I’m sure was made by enslaved children somewhere and whose hard drive kept breaking (college), a Mac Color Classic that was I lost custody of in a breakup (college), another Mac (grad school), a PC bought when I switched from qualitative to quantitative research (grad school), a Micron desktop (UW, office), another Micron desktop (UW, home), a pricey laptop that was way too heavy (UW), an ultralight laptop (UW), an upgraded office desktop (UW), a Dell desktop (Harvard), a ThinkPad Tablet (Harvard), another office desktop (NU), and now, at long last: Continue reading “little black corvette”

sorry to’ve crumped your style

Two months ago I was at a dinner party that included also an academic couple. The husband made a pun during dinner that indicated he had misremembered my last name (chocolate bar in my profile notwithstanding, it’s ‘Crumple’ not ‘Crumble’), and then he was so pleased with his pun that he made references to it twice later in the dinner. Being timid, I did not correct him until the third time, which was awkward because our structural relationship is such that he really should have my surname down by this point. Yesterday at a holiday party I was standing with a colleague and the husband came over and started talking to us. As a last thing before leaving us, he apologised again for having misremembered my name. “My wife was so angry you would not believe it,” he proclaimed, “No sex for a month.” Continue reading “sorry to’ve crumped your style”

gettin’ old: the bad news follow-up

Thanks to everyone who had good ideas about what to do for my folks that are getting up there in years. It turns out that there are lots and lots of resources just like the ones I was looking for: agencies that screen, train, and bond workers to help seniors out and allow them to stay in their homes longer. My folks are lucky that they live in a densely populated area, with lots of resources. Here are a couple links for folks in the San Mateo County, and here is a starting place to find care throughout California. It turns out they have just what I thought my folks needed: someone to check in, have a chat, maybe tidy up the dishes, drive them around to do errands and grocery shopping, remind them to take meds, and keep loved ones posted on how things are going. Weekly visits would be about $500/month, as far as I can tell without making any calls.

Unfortunately, Continue reading “gettin’ old: the bad news follow-up”

injury and impostors.

How long has this been a part of registering for the ASA annual meetings?

I agree and acknowledge that I am undertaking participation in ASA events and activities as my own free and intentional act and I am fully aware that possible physical injury might occur to me as a result of my participation in these events. I give this acknowledgement [sic] freely and knowingly and that I am, as a result, able to participate in ASA events and I do hereby assume responsibility for my own well-being. I also agree not to allow any other individual to participate in my place. Continue reading “injury and impostors.”

the plot thickens

Any thoughts on the new Scatterplot banner above versus the old one? I’ve been bothered that the blue in the old plot didn’t match the blue of the rest of the theme, and then while I was at it I also decided to try using smaller-sized points.

People have asked and, yes, the graphic is an actual scatterplot generated using Stata, although the data are random (and uniformly distributed on both the abscissa and ordinate.) Note the relatively large spaces of white adjacent to places where the points are densely bunched on top of one another. That’s what true randomness really looks like, and the reason people are bad when they try to fake random numbers (or coin flips, or financial transactions, or scatterplot points) is that they think randomness should be more evenly spread. Continue reading “the plot thickens”

privilege, choices, constraints

This post is a response primarily to the young academics and other young professionals or graduate students who wrote that my story inspired them to think about their priorities or to have hope that they, too, could achieve success despite the stresses of the work-home conflict. Many wrote that it reminded them of their own priorities, and that was my main point. But some people seemed to be trying to “do it all” and viewing me as a model of success. I am fearful that you will think that I was some kind of superwoman. Because I was not superwoman and you will draw the wrong lesson if you think I was. My last post was written from the perspective of privilege and this one will be, too. This is not because I do not know I have privilege. To the contrary. I still remember the young woman in my Lamaze class who was going back to work full time four weeks after her child’s birth. Continue reading “privilege, choices, constraints”