FTL standings, visualized



I wrote some Stata code to visualize the current standings of the Fantasy Tennis League.  Rob was so moved by it that I will include his response below.  Rob!  Had I known you’d be so touched, I would have tried to work up something in R or Python.  But I did re-do it so that instead of people having assigned colors, their place is used to put them on the appropriate point of a rainbow.  The Tour de France has its maillot jaune; Fantasy Tennis League can have its rayure rouge.

Rob’s reply: Continue reading

Jeremy listens to and reads Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Why did you read this book? It’s made a number of year-end lists, and Beckie liked it when she listened to it as an audiobook. She was up for reading it again as a car book on our trip around Melbourne.

Has Beckie read it? Yes–twice in fact–but no review as yet.

42 word review: Super-sweet first-love story about outcast girl in awful family situation and boy stuck next to her on school bus. How they first get together is incredibly cute, and horrible step-dad is well-done. Very good, ultimately maybe a bit too twee for full marks.

Overall rating: 4 of 5 mix-tapes. (No special points for being a great road-trip book, but was a great road-trip book.)

Notable moments:

  • Park glanced over his shoulder. “Can’t you just like a girl who likes you back?”
    “None of them like me back,” Cal said. “I may as well like the one I really want.”
  • She couldn’t believe she’d said that. Talk about uncool. Like the opposite of cool. Like, if you looked up cool in the dictionary, there’d be a photo of some cool person there saying, What the eff is wrong with you, Eleanor?

Why are we blogging?

[Second in a series.]

Reason #2: Documentation is good for the soul. Writing things down regularly provides a good occasion to think about your life as you are living it. Plus, later on, you’ve got something fun to look back on. It’s like vacation photographs, if photographs were comprised primarily of words.

Me, I’ve never managed to sustain a diary. I was able to keep a quasi-diaristic blog on my own for a few years and only stopped doing that when it became too conspicuous. Public writing, even if too a very small or even hypothetical public, is easier to keep with, because it’s not just you who knows if you let it go.

Jeremy reads The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

Why did you read this book? As noted, a goal for 2014 is to read 24 books related to personal growth. I tend to be averse to these books because they look hokey when I see them on the shelf, and yet I rarely regret reading them afterward. Anyway, one of the department stores here has a whole “goals stationery” section that got me thinking about all this, and they had this book also sitting on the shelf as a suggested impulse buy. (What I actually did was pull out my iPad and buy the book for my Kindle, but still the store had the right idea marketing-wise.)

Has Beckie read it? Yes, long time ago.

42 word review: Useful on the whole. Good writing; insightful about their experiences, accompanied by many asides to research and quotes. Sometimes gets bogged down by excessive personal narrative and repasted blog comments. Also has such a privleged life already, can be hard to relate.

A sampling quotes I found useful:

  • Samuel Johnson, who had an opinion about everything, did remark, “No money is better spent that what is laid out for domestic satisfaction.”
  • “I felt particularly oppressed by aspirational clutter—things that I owned but only aspired to use: the glue gun I never mastered, mysteriously specific silver serving pieces untouched since our wedding, my beige pumps with superhigh heels.”
  • My Eighth Commandment is “Identify the problem.” I’d realized that often I put up with a problem for years because I never examined the nature of the problem and how it might be solved. It turns out that stating a problem clearly often suggests its solution.
  • “[F]or both men and women…the most reliable predictor of not being lonely is the amount of contact with women. Time spent with men doesn’t make a difference.” [Note: the book has no references, but I would love to look up this study.]
  • “However, if you want to know how people would like to be treated, it’s more helpful to look at how they themselves act than what they say.”

Overall rating: 4 yearlong stunts (out of 5)

Jeremy is read The Magic Pudding by Norman Lindsay

Why did you read this book? It was a childhood favorite of Beckie’s that she gave me for Xmas because of all its Aussie awesomeness. She read it to me while we drove north for an overnight trip.

Has Beckie read it? Apparently many times as a girl, and once recently out loud in our car.

42 word review: Kids’ book, rhyming dialogue. Three swagmen journey about with their magic pudding, which replenishes itself, changes flavors, talks, runs, sprouts arms. Coveted by pudding thieves who craftily steal it several times, but swagmen get it back by either outsmarting thieves or outright violence.

Overall rating: 3 sneaky possums (out of 5)

Jeremy reads So Good They Can’t Ignore You by Cal Newport

[Note: non-fiction book. Book #1 toward fulfilling 2014 resolution to try to read 24 books related to personal development.]

Why did you read this book? I think I saw the title somewhere and liked it.

Has Beckie read it? No.

Example useful quotes:

42 word review: Attacks idea that the way to job you love is to first figure out your passion. Focuses instead on how long-term and strategic acquisition of valued skills allows people to get cool jobs. Target audience much younger than me.

  • “[Ira] Glass emphasizes that it takes time to get good at anything, recounting the many years it took him to master radio to the point where he had interesting options. ‘The key thing is to force yourself through the work, force the skills to come; that’s the hardest phase,’ he says.”
  • “The easiest thing in the world to do is to get up in the morning and spend the day answering e-mail… But this is not a very strategic use of time.”
  • “Enthusiasm alone is not rare and valuable and is therefore not worth much in terms of career capital.”

Overall rating: 3 colored parachutes (out of 5)