iowa

I called the Freese Family Farm tonight and talked to my mother. Three things she said:

1. Talking about a family wedding taking place in Chicago this weekend: “I asked [person] to make sure [other side] knows we are not city people. We are not fancy-pantsy. We are plain country people. That’s what we are.”

2. “I was just watching CNN. I’ve been watching it so much I don’t know what I’m going to watch when this is all done.”

3. “Hey, is Dad voting for Obama?”
“Heavens, yes. We are an Obama family. I can hardly even stand to look at that McCain.”

scatterplot chat on election night

Whether you are eating gumbo or Texas caviar or enjoying a hot buttered rum while watching the election returns tomorrow night, rest assured that the rest of us will be similarly hunkered before a television set, besotten with perhaps unnecessary worry until the result is final, followed by emotions of one extreme or another.

For this evening of great promise, high stress, and endless waiting, please join me online at the Scatterplot 2008 Election chat room. I imagine that I’ll be logging in just about when the first polls close at 7pm EST, and I plan to be there until the bitter end. It will be as fun as the MarioKart party, but you’ll have less chance of getting blown up by Jessica’s 8-year-old son.

You’ll need an AOL account, which you can get for free. This is not an endorsement of AOL by any stretch, but I am hoping that this platform will be easiest to access from both Macs and PCs.

adventures in fame

So handily enough, today I’m doing some kind of video/TV interview that no one will ever see. It’s on inequality.Thank God I was smart enough to ask for the questions in advance (I got them three hours ago, the team just arrived to set up the camera). Why? Because when I got them, I realized that I was less “doing an interview” and more “taking an oral exam”. The  questions were (are) ridiculously extensive. I joked with a grad student that I thought I’d never have to take a prelim again, but I was clearly wrong. I say “handily enough” because though I was unable to work today I was able to study for this thing. Which took me about three hours. Do people really think that academics know stuff like this off the top of their heads? Do you guys? I hope not. Otherwise, I’m in for a rough career. Well, at least I learned something today (Sorokin’s view of mobility and revolution – YES, they asked that!!!). Here are the list of questions: Continue reading “adventures in fame”

i can’t get anything done

I’ll admit it. I just can’t concentrate. How many times can I check 536, pollster, or real clear politics? Hundreds of times a day. I arrived at my office at 8AM with the best of intensions. It’s 10:50. I can’t get anything done. I don’t have any high hopes for tomorrow’s productivity either. Who else is an anxious wreck? Anyone calm? As you’ll note from my several recent posts, scatterplot is my distraction of choice.

adventures in singledom

Do (did) you ever have that experience where you come home from having met someone, close the door, lock it, and think to yourself, “thank God I don’t have to go home to that every day! I love living alone.”* Yeah. So one of the nice things about being single in a major city is that not everyone treats you like there must be something wrong with you. In my life I’ve have had more experiences than I can recall where a combination of pity, concern, head-shaking, scorn and smugness are directed at me for being single. I’m going to put it out there: I like being single. This doesn’t mean that I never want to date, or even have long-term relationships. Yet nor does it mean that no one can stand me. Or that I’m self-loathing, damaged, disturbed, or depressed. I actually sustain far more relationships than many of my coupled friends. And oh how the thought of my empty apartment brings me comfort.

* I am not so arrogant as to think that I haven’t been on the other end of this – where someone couldn’t stand me and was thrilled to go home alone.

goodbye, mr. terkel

Studs Terkel’s books are part of what drove me to sociology. I have spent a chunk of today listening to interviews that served as the basis of many of his books. You can find them on his website. There are two things that are wonderful about them: (1) they are great oral history; (2) they are a kind of data-sharing that I think would serve us social scientists well (particularly ethnographers and interviewers, but not only us). You’ll be missed, Mr. Terkel.

halloween surgery

My dad had surgery yesterday (he’s fine). He told me this story about how his surgeon was disappointed because no one wanted to have a picture taken with him in his “costume.” So my dad happily agreed. I’m not exactly sure what the costume is, other than green hair. And my father is meant to be pregnant. It’s all very odd. What I’m not surprised about is that no one wanted their picture taken. If my surgeon proposed this to me I might angrily say, “You’re not taking this seriously enough!” My father, being a surgeon himself, obviously had a different reaction. He’s quite pleased with it all.