A couple of weeks ago I found myself wandering through one of those stores that sells all kinds of novelty tee shirts with pithy, snarky, rude, and otherwise clever sayings. Silly stuff like "I'm with Stupid" or "Bikini Inspector." And I got to thinking that there's a market here that's not being served. Where are the novelty tee shirts for Industrial/Organizational Psychologists? It's a wonder we bother to get dressed at all!
To remedy this, I came up with a list of slogans suitable for tee shirts or maybe the occasional bumper sticker.
Shirts for Everyone
- I'm with low g →
- I neither agree nor disagree
- Subject matter expert
- Meta analytic evidence suggests that you should just shut up
- Low emotional stability
- You've got a criterion problem
- More research is required
- BFOQ SME ADA CRA EEOC WTF?
- Mom says I'm a Type II Error
- I cause adverse impact
Snarky Shirts for Single Women Out at Bars
- Your confidence interval is too wide
- You have a skills gap
- "Stupid" seems to be one of your core competencies
- Sorry, that position has been filled and I'm not recruiting at this time
Snarky Shirts for Single Men Out at Bars
- Beer: increasing measurement error since 1935
- Rejected like H0
- Unit weighted
- I have high reliability
Shirts for Babies
- p > .05 ...MUCH greater
- I'm significant at alpha = .05
- Corrected for shrinkage
Now, if you laughed at any of those, congratulations --you're a dork! Join the club and feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments section.
The big event this week was, of course, Sam's second Thanksgiving. Ger's parents were here to help celebrate and make a huge meal with all the standard accessories. This year Sam ate the same things as we, though she was the only one who had a plate sporting a picture of a pudgy bear with a severe hunny addiction. And of course, after the meal there was pie. Chocolate, in this case.
Also noteworthy is an early Christmas gift from Grandma and Grandpa in the form of a tricycle, which Sam loves despite not yet getting the whole concept of self propulsion through pedals. Sure, it's got a girly purple and white color scheme, but we bought a little black and silver Harley Davidson bell for the handlebar and she's been practicing her "Don't mess with me, I'm in a biker gang" scowl. Picking the thing out at the store was also interesting, in that it involved a trip to Toys R Us where four adults unshelved every tricylce in the place, formed a toddler-sized traffic traffic jam by placing them in the middle of the aisle, then repeatedly yelled "No, try this one, Samantha! Sit on it! SIT ON IT!" to a bewildered and slightly freaked out two-year old. But she loves it.
Sam also gave us a bit of a scare earlier in the week. Ger and her mom were cleaning up after dinner, I was sitting on the couch, and Ger's dad was out on the patio while Sam sat in her high chair finishing her own meal. Suddenly I heard Grandpa shouting from the other side of the screen door and I looked over at Sam just in time to see her bounce off the carpeted floor after falling from the high chair we had apparently forgotten to strap her into. She had landed flat on her back, fortunately, and was fine outside of an intense "WHAT THE HELL JUST HAPPENED?" moment that had her in tears for a bit. Also, she can do long division now, so it kind of worked out okay. One thing is for sure, though: we're now much more fastidious about strapping her into the high chair. If I had my way I'd secure her in there with a roll of duct tape and staple her clothes to the chair from now on.
Short update this week. Sam's grandparents (Ger's parents) are in town for Thanksgiving this year and she is enjoying the visit immensely, since it gives her some new people to read to her and to blow bubbles for her. The bubbles, in fact, are Sam's new Favorite Thing In The World. Any moment when we're not blowing bubbles for her is a moment when she's pointing to the bottle and saying "Bub, bub."
Thanksgiving is coming up, and it should be interesting this time around. Sam is old enough that she can eat "table food" this year, and judging from her typical appetite, there may be nothing but turkey gristle and bone left on the table when she gets through with it.
As you can see, Sam enjoys the park near our house, and we were surprised to find out that she is indeed coordinated enough to ride in the big swing. Well, if we sit her in it and watch her closely. Otherwise she's just coordinated enough to fall out of the big swing.
I mentioned before about enjoying The Tipping Point, which is the other book by Malcolm Gladwell. It was good, but I think I like Blink better because it has a more coherent theme that I'm more familiar with. Blink is a book about unconscious decision-making and information processing, what Gladwell calls "thin slicing" and what psychologists for years have called "decision-making under uncertainty." Yeah, "thin slicing" is certainly catchier, even if it is a new name for an old concept.
But it's more interesting than it sounds. Like The Tipping Point, Blink is rife with thought-provoking ideas and anecdotes. Gladwell describes how thin slicing relates to marketing new musical acts, racism, success in car sales, police brutality, hiring decisions, dating, New Coke, and more. Gladwell manages to be both erudite and entertaining through it all, though I did think that the part about unconsciously reading facial expressions dragged on a bit. Still, it's a great primer for understanding how our minds are hard wired to process information quickly and efficiently given that making every little decision on the basis of exhaustive research and logic would make our head pop right off our shoulders. If you like Blink, I'd strongly recommend following it up with Influence: The Art of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini, which is an even better book with a slightly wider scope.
Slower week this week without any incredible outings to theme parks or new toilets. So let's start off with the pictures:
As you may notice, Sam has begun mastery of the fork, which is cause for some stress. Because, you see, once she learns to stab things, you've got to constantly watch your back. And her front. But at last count she still had two eyes, so I'd say she's doing well. Sam's hair has also grown to the point we can put it in pigtails, which looks cute but for some reason makes her look a whole lot older. Kind of sad, really. But cute. Like watching a cat try to do algebra.
The other big change this week is the introduction of real sheets and a blanket for Sam's bed. The long-term transition will end up looking something like this:
We tried the covers and blanket last night and were surprised to find out that Sam didn't kick them all off her, out of the bed, and across the street. It looks like she slept under them all night, but she did wake up at 6:30, about an hour earlier than usual, squawking and demanding to know what kind of chicanery was this.
Sam's language continues to sprint forward as well. The kid babbles like all the time now, just repeating nonsense syllables and chatting away with herself like a Charismatic Christian speaking in tongues at a revival. She's also repeating words back to us. Just know Geralyn poked her head in and asked what I was doing. I told her I was working on Sam's update, and from behind her all the way out in the hall, Sam pipes up with "Opday!" Those of you keeping track at home can add that one to her vocabulary, as well as "Ish!" (Ice), "Go!" (Go, Let's go), and "Poo" (toilet, don't ask).
With these strides towards maturity also comes pitfalls, sometimes literally. Ever since Ger was pregnant, more experienced parents would just kind of chuckle and say "Just wait until the terrible twos" and give us the kind of look usually reserved for the overambitious villain about to get some kind of poetic justice. In fact, Sam must be advanced for her age, as she has already started to exhibit a few behaviors one usually associates with those years. For example, if I'm leading her by the hand towards somewhere she doesn't want to go, Sam will go absolutely limp and flop to the floor, forcing me to either let go of her hand or risk snapping her forearm like a twig. She'll also shriek with tears if we take something away from her or scold her for doing something she wants to do, like juggle knives and jugs of bleach. Well, at least if she continues at this rate she'll be taking care of me in my old age by the time I'm 40.
You may know Neil Gaiman from his fairly popular Sandman comics. Or you may not, I don't know. Either way, he's been writing novels as well, and Anansi Boys is better than the other one of his that I've read, American Gods.
Gaiman is definitely trying to channel the ghost of Douglas Adams here, with dry Brittish humor, unlikely coincidences, and a long-suffering lead male who gets dragged along for the ride of his life. There are a few laugh-out-loud moments in the book, though, and Fat Charlie is pretty darn easy to empethize with. Plus I like his character arc.
While the story is fun and interesting in places, Gaiman's prose isn't the best I've read (there are too many awkward phrases and it seems stilted in places) and his myth-building seems to bend whichever way it needs to go in order to support the plot. Still, it's worth the read.
It's been quite a busy week for Sam this time around. Let's get started...
Early in the week we decided to take that leap and introduce Sam to Professor von Potty, "Potty" for short. Sam was quite excited about her new plaything and took right to it. While we certainly have miles to go before we take her shopping for "big girl underpants," Sam surprised us by actually using the thing a couple of times ...when we stripped her down before her bath and sat her on it. And of course, Ger and I whooped, hollered, and gave each other high-fives like she had just won the Superbowl or something. And that's all I really have to say on the subject right now. I actually have more candid photos, but I resisted putting them up for the world to see. Well, except this one, because the look on her face cracks me up.
Monday, of course, was Halloween. We gave Sam only a cursory costume this year, having decided that it wasn't worth it to fork out cash for an elaborate costume she'd outgrow by the end of the night. So she was a pumpkin with her little orange shirt, orange pants, and stem hat. Here, here's pictures:
As you can see, there was much candy and Sam had more fun playing with the colorful wrappers than eating it. We tried to give her a Kit-Kat bar, but had to put an end to that when she decided that eating it would be less fun than grinding it into the carpet. She did go trick-or-treating to a few neighbors' houses, though, and seemed to enjoy it. She really enjoyed answering the door and looking at all the other kids in costume and would pretty much just spaz out and start giggling every time the doorbell rang.
The funniest part of the night was when I opened the door to find this one little girl, maybe two years old, and her mother. Before I could even say "Happy Halloween!" the girl marched through the doorway, past me, and into the living room where she began to inspect and play with Sam's numerous toys. Her mother was mortified and just stood there on the porch, not sure what to do as she probably thought that rushing past me to retrieve her errant child would only compound the intrusion. I thought it was a riot, though, and gave the girl some extra candy for initiative.
On Saturday the festivities continued as we all went to Knottsberry Farm. You know, I need to write a big note that says "Jamie, you HATE amusement parks. DO NOT GO TO ONE!" and put it next to the door where I can see it every time I leave the house. Because like the sign says, I hate amusement parks. The reason we went to this one, though, was that it was free, had free parking, and the whole park was open only to me and my co-workers for our employer's employee appreciation day. It's kind of the company's way of saying "Thanks for working so hard all year. Why don't you go spend 20 minutes standing in line for a 30-second ride?"
In fact, it wasn't all that bad. We spent the entire time in "Camp Snoopy," which is the area set aside for children and the very short. I wouldn't say Sam had the time of her so-far-short life, but she did enjoy it enough. There was a merry-go-round, a truck ride, and what appeared to be Sam's favorite, a little race car track that did its best to give kids whiplash around the turns. I also tried, unsuccessfully, to win Sam a giant Elmo doll by throwing softballs at a row of sandbags and then cursing at them.
Here's the rest of the pictures while we're at it:
The last thing I'll mention is a particularly weird but funny habit Sam has developed. I think that she must have overheard the old proverb of "He still puts his pants on one leg at a time, just like the rest of us," which is often used to illustrate that an otherwise special someone is, when it comes to mundane things like dressing, just as ordinary as could be. So whenever we say to Sam, "Let's take off the pants" she immediately runs to her toy chest, flops across it, and presents both of her pants legs at the same time by raising them up until they're parallel with the ground:
As I say, anything but ordinary.
I'm really not sure why I didn't like this book. It's got all the right ingredients for a page-turner: war, sex, drama, betrayal, gruesome executions, tragedy, explosions, politics, dead communists, gypsies, and bull fights. It's the story of a group of guerilla fighters during the Spanish civil war and the American trying to enlist their aid in blowing up a bridge. I should like it, but I felt like I was just slogging through the whole thing.
Part of the problem is the pacing, I think, which is really really slow at times when Hemingway wants to get inside the characters and show us what motivates them and what they have to lose or gain. It's really great storytelling, masterfully done, but it does go on and on sometimes, especially the parts with Robert Jordan and Maria. Another thing that kind of irked me is the colloquial tone of the book where huge chunks of it were written as if translated verbatim from Spanish. This results in a number of really awkward phrases, like "the woman of Pablo" or "I obscenity in the milk of the fascists!" I really liked Hemmingway's clean, terse style in Old Man and the Sea, but here it just felt stilted to me.
Still, I'm glad I read it as it was overall VERY well written and it did have its moments (the ending in particular was fantastic). And only a few decades late, too, as I'm pretty sure I was supposed to have read this one in high school.