Saturday, April 9, 2016

Toward a Content Analysis of Love It or List It

What might a coding sheet look like for a content analysis of Love It or List It

Reason couple is deciding to move:

______More square footage

______Bigger yard

______Desperate for open concept kitchen

______I have no clue because current house is perfect


The couple:

______Likes each other

______Hates each other

______If you can't be with the one you love, buy a bigger house in a higher status neighborhood.




______$1 million+

______How do these couples have a $1 million budget?

______What about people buying houses for less than $200,000?

The couple freaks out at some point in the episode because:

______The appliances aren't amazing.

______The storage options aren't amazing.

______The en suite isn't amazing (Who says en suite?!)

______I told you I want to stay in my current neighborhood!                                                                             

______There's no pool!

______Commute is too long.

______Only one and half bathrooms? 

The researcher doing the coding gets angry or jealous or some combination thereof because:

_____How are you not blown away by that bathroom?

_____Do you really need marble?

_____I admit to wanting that fireplace.

____You keep talking about entertaining but the New York Times said people don't have parties anymore.                                                                             
____You seem wicked entitled and annoying and why am I watching this?

The couple:

____is mildly annoying.

____is super annoying.

____One person in this couple is alright. 

The couple:

__________________________________________ Loves it

__________________________________________ Lists it

Saturday, March 26, 2016

A Society of People Playing By Different Rules

I witnessed something at Target a few weeks ago that still bothers me. I was there with my wife and kids. Kids are ages 8 and 5. The store was busy and the lines were long. A worker signaled for someone to move to a different line. Suddenly a man started yelling. I don't know if he was mad at a customer because he thought the customer cut in front of him, or if he was mad at the worker for the way she handled the line. He then shouted at the worker. He called her a bitch. He demanded to see the manager. She said "I am the manager." Meanwhile we completed our transaction and scurried out of the way so the kids didn't have to watch this man in action. 

The commotion around the checkout lines is something to be expected in a busy store. I don't know why the man went from zero to angry so quickly and why he insulted the worker with a slur. Aside from thinking "What the hell is going on here?" and "What's wrong with this man?" I also wondered if this was a preview of more vulgar behavior to come. I've written about vulgarity before. I don't think I'm making selective observations. I think there's some truth to saying we live in a vulgar society. I also wonder if the era we're heading toward is one of "I can say whatever I want to say." Maybe this is backlash against political correctness. We've all heard people gripe about political correctness. While a portion of society will continue to be careful and deliberate with their language, it could be that others will go the route of saying anything they want at any volume they desire. 

Many times I have seen people disrespect workers. I didn't view this episode as merely a matter of a customer being mean (and sexist) to a worker. It looked like an angry man who cared not for societal norms that call for civil behavior and measured language. I don't know what's going on. Maybe we're increasingly a society of people playing by different rules. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

"A cascade of little annoyances can easily gather momentum"

"A cascade of little annoyances can easily gather momentum." That's a quote from the book Cultivating Teacher Renewal: Guarding Against Stress and Burnout (Barbara Larrivee, 2012, p. 8). Chapter one in her book is entitled “The Consequences of Stress and Burnout.” As she notes, some stress is normal and useful. The problem, she says, is when stress is long-term and ongoing. Therefore, “the goal is not to be stress free but rather to keep the harmful effects of cumulative stress at bay” (p. 3).

She makes the distinction between big stresses and little stresses. We all deal with job stresses of various sizes. An example of a big stress she mentions is an increase in work responsibilities that becomes hard to manage. Another example of a big stress I can think of is the endless stream of e-mail we endure. I get increasingly irritated by long e-mails in my inbox. Brevity, people, brevity! I try to keep my e-mails short and to the point. Lately I find a phone call to be way more efficient than a sequence of e-mails.

We shouldn’t overlook the little stresses that add up, like someone knocking on your closed door when you're eating lunch or someone who asks you for a last-minute favor. I really try to be respectful of people's time. I try not to shove work onto people's plates. I think a lot of stresses -- big and small -- could be lessened if we better respected each other's time. I rarely meet someone looking for more work to do. Most of my colleagues are stretched to the max.

Larrivee says there’s a link between stress and burnout. She describes burnout as "the physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion that results from chronic job stress and frustration" (p. 8). She emphasizes that burnout is a process that develops over time. Unfortunately, people often don't realize something is wrong until they've reached the exhaustion stage.

I'm trying to be more aware of the stresses I'm encountering. And I chat up my colleagues about stress. We should be talking about our stress and sharing our coping resources. Workplace norms like "do more" and "be more productive" can leave one feeling inadequate. I'm not running around advocating that people "do less" or advising people to "be less productive." I'm only saying that we shouldn't make each other feel like we're never good enough or that we should always be doing more work.

The myth that we have summers off to restore ourselves doesn't help. Many of my colleagues work through the summer by teaching courses and by catching up on research. For some of us at teaching-focused institutions, summer is the only time we can do research for an extended length of time. And for some people, teaching in the summer isn't optional, it's something they need to do to pay the bills.

Most of us want to be team players and be productive members of our institution, but there are times we have to say no and times we have to be protective of our time. We want to make meaningful contributions without burning out. I'm increasingly interested in learning about (and promoting) personal strategies and forms of interpersonal and institutional support that can lessen our stress so that we're in better shape for the long run.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

W.E.B. Du Bois and Max Weber

In chapter 6 of his book The Scholar Denied, Aldon Morris discusses the connection between W.E.B. Du Bois and Max Weber. Here I read a portion of this very interesting chapter.

New Buffalo Bills Assistant Coach Kathryn Smith in the News

Kathryn Smith is in the news. Her new position with the Buffalo Bills is quality control coach for the special teams unit. This is getting a lot of attention because she is the first woman to be a full-time assistant coach in the NFL. A sampling of the headlines with links to the stories:

"Bills make NFL history by hiring first full-time female assistant coach" - Buffalo News

"Kathryn Smith hired by Bills as NFL's first full-time female coach" - ESPN

"Kathryn Smith Makes History As NFL's First Female Full-Time Coach" - NPR

"Kathryn Smith becomes NFL's first full-time female coach" - BBC

"Buffalo Bills Hire First Full-Time Woman Coach In NFL History"- Huffington Post

"Bills hire NFL's first female full-time assistant coach" - USA Today

"Buffalo Bills promote Kathryn Smith to first full-time female NFL coach" - Mashable

"Breaking the NFL's Glass Ceiling" - The Atlantic

"Buffalo Adds Woman to Coaching Staff" - New York Times

Here's how the Buffalo Bills Twitter account characterized it:

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Buffalo Bills Fans (Men Fighting, Men Drinking, Men Wrestling, Men Jumping Through Tables)

Deadspin occasionally posts videos of Buffalo Bills fans doing wild and crazy things. They recently posted "The Year in Bills Fans" video, which is really a compilation of men fighting, drinking, wrestling, and jumping through tables. Around the 1:30 mark, men fight near a grill and you can hear someone saying "Watch the grill, watch the grill." Priorities!

Does this video accurately represent the behavior of 70,000 Bills fans who attend games? Of course not, but that doesn't matter so much. This is clickable stuff, whether you click on it because you find it funny, or curious, or want to condemn it, or analyze it, or just be a voyeur. Most people aren't interested in videos of people tailgating quietly while having a few beers. "Bills fans gone mild" is boring. Bills fans destroying tables is more like it. It's in the mold of Jackass and I suppose it's what some guys do to get attention. I've written before about celebrities and the pursuit of attention. The Bills fans who make it to Deadspin are a good example of ordinary men doing stunts to gain attention. Their actions could be a way of getting attention in their peer group, or in hopes of ending up in someone's social media feed. Or maybe they're just drunk and having fun. If the antics make it to the Internet, people click for laughs or jeers or, in this case, for basic sociological analysis. "Here we are now entertain us" is a more relevant lyric than ever in our 24-7-365 media world.

Monday, December 21, 2015

When Insomnia Strikes

Every episode of Chopped, summarized:
Contestant 1: Your food was not properly seasoned.
Contestant 2: Your protein was under cooked or over cooked.
Contestant 3: I'm impressed with the risks you took, but I'm not sure that was the best use of the basket ingredients.
Contestant 4: Your presentation could have been better.
But I keep watching it anyway.

I couldn't sleep a few nights ago, so I flipped channels to watch episodes of Chopped, episodes of House Hunters International, and the movie Juno.

My summary thoughts of Juno: the film has held up well. Jennifer Garner is the weak link in the film. Ellen Page and Michael Cera are excellent throughout the movie. I like the ending when they sing "Anybody Else But You" by The Moldy Peaches.

One of the House Hunters International episodes took place in a town in Mexico that looked beautiful. There was a married couple and the wife's parents who were looking for a vacation home to buy together. The husband didn't seem thrilled with the whole situation. The in-laws insisted on having the master bedroom. The mother-in-law really wanted a design that she called "Mexican flair," if memory serves. The young couple wanted something modern. The compromise was a modern home, under budget, that allowed the in-laws to add so-called Mexican flair. The son-in-law and father-in-law enjoyed jumping into a terrace pool at the end of the episode. All's well that ends well.

I was tired the next day but with my semester being wrapped up I was able to have a day without doing much work. I watched American Splendor, a film that I love. The ending made me cry.

I almost forgot to mention that during my sleepless night I saw an Infiniti commercial starring Scott Conant. I was like "Whoa, I'm watching Food Network, and here's a commercial for a luxury car featuring Scott Conant." I think that's what people mean when they say meta. Check this commercial out...Scott was a head chef at 24 and he published cookbooks and he's on TV so now he drives a cool vehicle and hasn't forgot his friends. He has a winning smile and winning hair, for sure. I think I'm jealous of his hair. I know I'm jealous of his cookbooks because I want to write a cookbook.