Wednesday, March 17, 2004

newsish miscelleny

I've fallen behind in the simple updates-on-goings-on purpose of this weblog. So, forthwith, updates:

1. The new blue Corolla continues to please especially now that I have it's special matching sport shiftknob and its special sport pedals. It's generally a given that I will have chooser's remorse after any major decision, and yet here there is none at all.

1a. I was with Kathryn in Bloomington when the odometer rolled over to 1000 miles (it had 300 when I bought it). When I noticed it was at 999 miles, I pulled onto a sidestreet so I could maximize the extent to which I could look down while driving so I wouldn't be less likely to miss the moment of it turning to 1000 (the odometer is digital and doesn't have tenths). It seemed like I had to drove about sixty blocks on side streets before it finally turned, but I did . If a watched pot takes forever to boil, it's even more the case that a watched odometer takes forever to turn.

2. Before I left for Bloomington, I got an e-mail that the long-in-progress ethnographic paper that I co-wrote with Karen Lutfey has been conditionally accepted by AJS.* When I was in Bloomington, I had dinner with my former advisor and near the end of the meal I mentioned this to him. He reacted like I had been suffering from a deadly illness and had just told him that the disease had gone into a surprise spontaneous remission. Which, of course, thrust me into a cauldron of all sorts of insecurities; former advisors can do that.

3. The talk at the BLS** conference went quite well, I think. I think I have sort of figured out a schtick for any presentation of quantitative results running a half hour or less. The two key prongs of this schtick: (1) no more than a single handwritten page of notes and (2) graphs, graphs, graphs. Actually (2) itself has three prongs: (a) go for more simple graphs than fewer complex graphs; (b) even while going for simplicity, still try to innovate in their display to whatever extent possible; and (c) color, color, color, even though it makes life more difficult when moving back-and-forth from presentations to papers.

4. Giving the talk at BLS, reminded me how much I enjoy analyzing data and talking about data analyses. Especially compared to some parts and tasks of my job. It fed a fantasy where I would basically barricade myself in the RV and just analyze data and post the results to a rolling Results weblog. I wonder if I could get some funding agency to pay me to do that, perhaps by convincing them that it may be the future of secondary data analysis.

5. When I was in Bloomington, I had lunch with someone who related an anecdote where they had referred to someone else (whom I haven't met) as "Jeremy Freese weird." This marks one of my first known-to-me appearance as an adjective. It wasn't entirely clear to me what it meant to be "Jeremy Freese weird," except that it was not just synonymous with "very," but was instead a particular peculiarity style.

6. Readers ask, Why do I need a laser level? Proximate answer: It will help get me over the motivational hump needed to have me finally finish hanging all my pictures around the RV, as now I know I can have them be both straight and the same height on the wall. Ultimate answer: I don't. This is generally the case with gifts-to-myself, especially when operating under the constraint that there has to be something palindromic about them.

7. I have embarked successfully-so-far on a plan to reduce my soda consumption. As many of you know, my Diet Pepsi Twist addiction has been raging out of control for some time. At first, I had aspirations on eliminating soda from my diet entirely, but a couple of splitting morning headaches suggested a revision to a less ambitious stab at self-improvement. I am limiting myself to one Soda Ingestion Episode per day, whether that means having soda with lunch or a can of soda in the morning, etc. I am also not buying any 12-packs for the home or office. If I do continue to successfully pare back my consumption, it will mean I can cross off the number one item on my Vices of Commission List (as distinct from my Vices of Omission List, whose number one item is, alas, "Exercising"). I'm not sure what would be the new number 1 on the VoC list, perhaps my bad and odd penchant for eating toothpaste.

8. Readers are likely familiar with the Beecher quote "Where is human nature so weak as in the bookstore?" I have found the answer to this question, at least for me: The International Spy Museum Gift Shop in Washington, DC. After being in there thirty seconds I knew I was going to have to resolve to spend no more than $100 in there. And within five minutes of shopping I had was at that limit and two dollars over. The purchases: (1) a small globe that hangs suspended in the air betwixt two magnets; (2) magnetic finger puppets of "revolutionaries" (Che, Gandhi, Mandela, Trotsky); (3) a Rosetta Stone mousepad (in use right now); and (4) a gift for a friend who sometimes reads this weblog (no, not you).

I think I have other updates but am not remembering them at the moment, so I might update this updates post later.

* American Journal of Sociology

** Bureau of Labor Statistics

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