Sunday, December 31, 2006

The Best Part of Waking Up...

wait...waking up in the morning sucks. period.

unless you're experiencing unusual conditions...e.g. waking up to the sound of someone cooking you breakfast or in the middle of a good time or because your phone rings to inform you that you just won a bunch of money.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Hairy Butts

It's always puzzled me why people have hair on their butts. If you look at other animals, they have hair everywhere EXCEPT their butts. I just can't seem to piece together the genetic/evolutionary advantage of hairy sure doesn't serve a purpose now.

Imagine how much cleaner you could pinch a loaf if you didn't have all kinds of things for said loaf to deposit itself on. In fact, with hairless asses, we could just about eliminate the need for toilet paper. Not to mention that the hair's unsightly.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Pick #4

Ron Sexsmith - Gold in Them Hills off the Cobblestone Runway album. In fact, there's a version of this song that's a duet with the singer guy from Coldplay. Either version is equally good.

Saturday, December 23, 2006


I was wondering how to check Other People's Profiles...more specifically, I would like to be able to read the blogs of people who leave me notes. I try clicking their hyperlinked names, normally yielding an error message about how I don't have permission to access their profile:

Profile Not Available

The Blogger Profile you requested cannot be displayed. Many Blogger users have not yet elected to publicly share their Profile.

is the error...

Maybe it's a sign that I don't need to be poking my nose into their business.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Home Sweet Home

Warning: nothing of consequence in this entry! Just blabber about my day.

I am writing this from the comfort of my old bedroom. I got home for the holidays earlier tonight. It's been an eventful day, or as much as one can be for spending half of it on the road. This morning, I got up, threw my stuff in the car, met Sarah, Claire, & Kelly after they donated a collective 7 and a half years of hair-growing to Locks of Love...the 4 of us + Veronica went out to eat mexican food.

My drive home was pretty good. My bad-ass 4.8L V-8 driving machine got 25MPG on the peaked at 25.4 along the way, but then there were speed-up and slow-down sections that effed with my mileage. Still, I think that's pretty good for a 12 year old car with that huge of an engine. Unfortunately, something's wrong with my air horns and I couldn't honk them to let Abbey know I was almost home :(

This summer/fall semester was the longest amount of time I've consecutively stayed away from home. It is kind of nice to be back. The house is looking nice and festive. I ate dinner with the 'rents then had a show and tell with my dad where I got to see a few new guns and the underwater scooter thing. D got home and told me about 50 stories about big trucks/diesel engines. I did some maintenance on the computer and the first half of a deposit for PTS. In fact, I'm getting up in the morning to go to work. It should be a good time. I haven't met the new guy yet.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Lárguense, bebés

Recientemente, escuché o hablé en algunas conversaciones en las quales se discutieron los infantes. Algunos estudiantes en uno de mis clases TA no estaban allí por causa de dar a la luz a un hijo. Un amigo de Whitney de su universidad se casó y su esposa acaba de infestar este mundo con otra alma.

Creo que a esa étapa de mi vida, (y también para la mayoría de los demás) es muy importante tener las precauciones necesarias para evitar un hijo natural. Si se participa en actividades sexuales, es importante hacerlo responsablemente. Ya sabes que no hablo de mi vida personal, pero voy a decir que estoy soltero y no tengo planes de nada de eso...sólo estoy platicando. Mi filosofía es que se tenga que usar por lo menos 2 precauciones. Normalmente, consisten en las pastillas y los condones.

Un amigo mío me dijo que había algunos temores en el pasado cuando su esposa creyó que estaba embarazada. No pasó nada, pero sí pudiera pasar. Él admite que no está listo para ser padre, pero tendría que hacerlo.

Los niñitos ocupan mucho de su tiempo, su dinero y su ser. Crear uno debe ser una decisión sobrepensado, discutido y preparado. Si no, ¡que sorpresa!

Por favor, cuídensenos. Últimamente, la iresponsibilidad puede ser causa de las responsibilidades.

Jesus Freaks

I just got done reading Jesus Freaks by the band dc Talk and the "Voice of the Martyrs" organization. It's basically a compilation of short stories about Christian martyrs throughout history, starting with Stephen, the first Christian martyr. The most recent account is in the early 2-THOUs. The stories aren't told chronologically.

I am amazed at what some people endured just to say that they believed in Jesus as their savior. Many were jailed and tortured, and just about all the stories in the book end in death. Often, the actions of the martyrs are said to have influenced people who saw them die or were imprisoned with them. I guess it would be powerful to see someone who is not afraid of dying because they know that the Lord is with them. That's hard for me to imagine.

Another recurring theme was "praying for your enemy." So many of these people would pray for their torturers, hoping that they would encounter God's love. This would be going on WHILE they were being tortured. They weren't scared to die, and they (by and large) would not renounce their faith. I can see how such courage is possible in the case of the apostles who walked with Jesus during his time on earth, but I guess it takes more faith for someone who has never had physical contact with Him to make such a grave commitment.

After reading this book, I almost feel inadequate. Not that I aspire to martyr myself, but what have I ever done in the name of God? I don't go around trying to evangelize people; I especially think that it would be super hard to endure torture when all I had to do to get out of it is to deny my Savior. But then I would feel really bad about it later. Maybe once put in that position, I would receive divine fortification of my mind, body, and soul. I've never seen angels or heard the voice of the Almighty or anything extraordinary to prepare me to handle a situation like the ones that most of the martyrs in this book faced. Maybe that just says that my faith is weak. Or maybe it's like when I look at someone else playing with their open wound...I think that it's gross, perhaps even nauseating...but if it was my wound, then I would be playing with it just like they are...

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


I just got back from Jazz Night at The Warehouse. I had heard about this event from a few different people. Sarah had mentioned that it's the cool place to be, and JJ said that he sometimes plays there. Turns out that tonight was Sarah's first night also.

I like the Warehouse. It seems real. Kinda like the Leon Pub. No pretenses. There are vines growing on the outside of the corrugated steel and it has old wood floors with paint peeling up. In fact, I think I saw a hole in the floor under one of the pool tables.

So, to get in to Jazz Night, you have to go to the "Back Room" and pay $2 admission. Back there, it's totally chill. I think that I would best describe the atmosphere as "lounge." When we first got there, there weren't many people around, but as the night progressed, the room kept getting more packed. Dustin came with 3 of his friends that I've never met before, and I saw Sarah get up to greet Claire's friend Erin and some other chick...I didn't say hi to them. Some guy with a green laser kept pointing it at people's feet.

Just like every other joint in Tallahassee, it shuts down at 2am. How weak. I think it's a law or something. I would like to go again. They're done for the year now, but they open back up on the first day of school. I know that I have an 8am class next semester, so if it's not on Tuesday, then I'll try to bring some econ people with me.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Pick #3

Summer Obsession - Melt the Sugar

This song is off their Pro Mo Fo Sho album which someone handed to me at the Warped Tour this past summer.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Christ by the Sea

This picture was taken on the way out of Salango, Ecuador. It's on the Pacific coast somewhere between Salango and the Santa Elena peninsula. I've never before been in a place that had cliffs meeting the ocean.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Downloaded Music

It seems like intellectual property rights aren't as hot of a topic now as they were a few years ago with the whole Napster mess. That's not to say that it's completely died out. In fact, many individuals still care about it...some care enough to express their opinion.

My neighbor Amanda was over here looking at my music on my computer and I was telling her how it was organized: this folder has albums that I actually own and this other one has ones that I don't. She said something about it "not being right" to have music that you didn't buy.

One quick thing: if you've never seen my physical CD collection, it's pretty decent. A few hundred discs. I'm not talking about burned discs either. I mean original presses that I bought or received as presents. I really don't think that I'm free-riding on the music industry.

Here's my take: a radio station pissed me off my freshman year of college and I pretty much quit listening to radio in general (except the Love Doctors, etc. when @ work). My computer was hooked up to the network at school, and lots of people gave me music. That was very good because I didn't really have another source for new (new to me) music. As it turns out, most of my early downloading was from sites like where the artists put their songs for you to download because they want people to listen.

I have gone to concerts of bands that I first heard (or first heard a song I liked) by downloading their music. Probably the greatest example of this for me is Something Corporate. I bought a couple of their albums, went to a couple concerts (even more if you count seeing them at Warped Tour), and even got some merch. Stereophonics: ripped a couple CDs from Walker, but bought an album in London's Heathrow Airport while waiting for my connection to Madrid.

My most common means of keeping myself in check when it comes to music is by buying an album by an artist that I discovered by downloading. For instance, I have 2 new albums on my Christmas wish list by bands that I don't have a physical CD yet: The Decemberists and Copeland. Off the top of my head, I have bought albums from: Hawthorne Heights, AFI, Alkaline Trio, Before Braille, Copperpot, Coheed and Cambria, Dashboard Confessional, Hey Mercedes, Hot Rod Circuit, Moneen, Nada Surf, The New Amsterdams, Saves the Day, Sloppy Meateaters, & Story of the Year (and a related "A Day in the Life" as a present). There are a couple albums that I had downloaded that I decided to buy that same album because I liked it so much. Those bands are: Pedro the Lion, Before Braille (in addition to the one that I didn't own before).

Overall, I think that the music industry has got more money out of my pocked due to my downloaded music. It is not fair for people to just download and download and never buy anything...but not necessarily CDs. The band doesn't get that much money from CDs. Might as well download music and send them a check for a dollar. However, I think that if you just download music but go to concerts from those bands or buy their merch, then you are alright. This is also a case where extremity might play a role in determining if it's OK or not. Everything in moderation, right?

Friday, December 15, 2006

Fully Recovered

Good for me! I think that I confirmed tonight that I am completely over Sarah. Yup. I guess it took a while, but I'm there now and that's what matters. We went out to Decent Pizza (which is delicious!, actually it's the best pizza I have had in a really long time) for dinner, then to Pockets to hang with some econ. people to celebrate the end of the semester. Sarah still kicks ass at everything she does, like mini-bowling and (almost at) darts. However, I have a different kind of admiration for her ass. -Kicking abilities.

She is still an excellent friend and there's some sort of a feeling that goes along with that relationship; but the feeling anchored way deep down in the innermost region of my heart has faded to the point where I can't feel it anymore. Not that I'm trying to.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

30's the new 20

Neil brought home a copy of Jay Z's new album Kingdom Come a couple weeks ago. I thought that HOVA had retired from the rap game. The new album's alright. I really like track 7, called "30 something." Basically, Jay Z is rapping about how he has "grown up" and criticizes the black youth of today.

I was thinking about the line "30's the new 20" that appears a couple times in this song. I think it applies to so many facets of life these days. For example, people are getting married when they're 30 as opposed to an age closer to 20 for my parents' generation. Children are staying at home longer. Might not get out of school until you're almost 30. It's OK to still act immature when you're 3 decades old.

As long as you subscribe to the "you're only as old as you act" philosophy, you don't have to worry about aging. Maybe you can look, act, and feel like you're 20 when you get to be 30. Perhaps medical advances and healthier lifestyles in the future could keep pushing the ten years, Jay Z may be rapping about how "40's the new 20."

Monday, December 11, 2006

La Fea Más Bella

Normalmente, cuando regreso a mi casa, no está nadie. Neil trabaja hasta la medianoche y la gran mayoría de los días, no regresa a casa. Entonces, tengo que cenar solo. Por eso miro la televisión. Pero para no perder mi tiempo/vida, miro Univision, el único canal en español que recibo con mi paquete de cable básico. A causa de tener un clase tarde, no como hasta casi las ocho por la noche.

Empecé de tratar de mirar "La Fea Más Bella" por Univisión cuando sea posible. Fui a y aprendí que es una actriz que actua en el papel de la protagonista. Pensaba que es un hombre. También querría encontrar información sobre que si Luigi sí es gay o no. Pienso que sí. Si no es, entonces es un actor buenísimo.

Hay una coas peculiar sobre los capítulos: parecen que tendrán más desarrollo de la trama que de hecho tienen. Es como se puede ver un capítulo entero sin avanzar nada de nada.

Angelica dice que soy tan mujer: mirando las telenovelas. Expliqué que "La Fea..." no es una novela. Pero es diferente que los programas estadounidenses. No sé como.

A través de este programa, he aprendido muchas palabras. Creo que muchas de ellas son "mexicanas" y regionalismos. Por ejemplo, en vez de decir "¿que te pasa?" se puede preguntar "¿que tienes?."

Tuve miedo de perder mis habilidades de la lengua extranjera a causa de no tener clases ni amigos para ayudarme. Pues encontré la solución impersonal. Ojalá que siga funcionando.

Pick #2, Jaheim - Fabulous

This week's pick is "Fabulous" by Jaheim: track 3 off the Still Ghetto album. Even though he chooses to spell the song title correctly, instead of like my favorite rapper, I still like the song. I wonder why it is necessary to spell things out in songs.

I really like the message: Never g-i-v-e- u-p and keep your h-e-a-d- u-p...

Saturday, December 9, 2006

I Study 23/7

At the econ. department party on Friday night, I was talking to Svetlana & Anastasia (I mean Dr. ____ and Dr. ______...I don't know their last names, and that's how they introduced themselves to me at the beginning of the semester...I mean no disrespect). They inquired how I got that injury on my nose. I told them it was from soccer. They seemed surprised that I had enough free time to play soccer. After explaining that I don't play every day they were a little more cool with it.

I think I just decided that I should tell any professor that asks (excluding Coach and Dr. "mama" B. *not to be confused with Farasat*) that I have no free time. Economics is my life. In fact, I try to derive a utility function for myself and decide on a minimum level of utility before going to the grocery store. Then I try to minimize my expenditure to reach that level of utility. When I'm not at school, I'm studying. I listen to textbooks on tape when I'm in the car. I type up a dynamic program every time I reboot my computer. I hire people to clean my house and do my laundry just so I can have a few more hours of study time. I hardly sleep. I envy undergrads. I don't know how married people pay any attention to their spouses. I never go to parties (except the ones that my teachers are also invited to). I don't play sports. I use my office hours to brush up on theory.

Enough of that BS.

The reason I don't have to play dumb about free time with Coach & Dr. B is because they understand that life exists. Coach even told me that most of his colleagues forget what it's like to be a student. And honestly, it's not like this is the Ivy League, or a top-5 econ program. There's plenty of time to do what you want, if you budget your time right. I think that's a problem that we've all been coping with. It seems like when you're doing one thing you "should" be doing something else. Coach actually told me that it's a good idea to take some time off in order to keep yourself sane. Believe that. I like him. I hope he doesn't make me sit the bench.

I had a test today (Friday) and I have one Tuesday and another on Thursday. I have been studying a lot. I will probably study just as much as I did the past couple of days, if not more, in the coming days. I think this intensity of studying (which isn't the highest level I'm capable of) is what Svetlana, Anastasia, Farasat, et. al. expect us to be doing all the time. How unrealistic.

Friday, December 8, 2006

Diminishing Returns

Whitney has this policy where she does not work past the point where she is getting some serious diminishing returns to her time. In this graph, you can see diminishing returns to capital. Whitney's policy refers to her study time; therefore you can think of output as "stuff learned" or "questions answered." The capital axis becomes the time axis. You can see that there is a point in time beyond which there is not a very large increase in output per unit time put in.

She has shared this philosophy with me, and I like it. It makes sense. You can shift to another activity where you are not getting such steep diminishing returns to your marginal minute and hence increase your overall productivity. I just have a problem leaving something if I think that I should be finishing it. I think I would like to adopt her strategy...but I think that I need to make one modification:

The marginal unit of "output" might be very valuable, especially if it "completes" the puzzle of knowledge you are trying to synthesize in your head. Therefore I am, at times, willing to endure the diminishing returns in order to get the last part of output out of my efforts.

Perhaps next semester I will try to adopt this strategy and see how it works out for me. I could even give it a test run during the first part of the semester and hold on to it if it's awesome, while retaining the ability to go back to my old ways.

I came in here to write this because I realized that I was getting very low marginal returns on my econometrics studying. Final tomorrow. However, I think that I'm just writing this to unwind...then I'm going to bed. I'll get up in the morning and review before going to school. By the way, the wind chill (without bike-speed factored in) is supposed to be 31° on my way to school tomorrow. Sounds like fun.

Thursday, December 7, 2006


No soy madrugador. Especialmente no este semestre. Mi primer clase empieza a las 12:30. Por eso, no tengo que levantarme hasta muy tarde por la mañana. De hecho, son las 3:38 de la madrugada cuando escribo este texto. Mas, no tengo sueño. Desafortunadamente, no puedo estudiar más ahora porque he aprendido mucho esta noche y pienso que falta el espacio en el cerebro para otro trozito de información nuevo.

Para mi, es muy fácil acostumbrarme a un ciclo de la vida que empieza y termina unas horas después del ciclo de los demás. Sólo tengo que pasar una noche muy tarde y PUM, todo mi horario biológico está en disorden. Quiero (por lo menos mi cuerpo quiere) seguir dormido hasta muy tarde.

Al otro lado, cuando es necesario levantarme muy temprano día tras día, no suelo a esto sin tratar y tratar de acostarme temprano. Normalmente tengo que trabajar tan duro que cuando regreso a la casa, solamente quiero comer la cena, ducharme y acostarme. Sí pasa. Y es posible mantener este estilo de la vida cuando sé que tengo que levantarme para trabajar el día siguiente. Pero puedo romper con todo si salgo por la noche (o si no duermo hasta muy tarde) porque no tengo que trabajar por la mañana.

Este capítulo no tiene fin excepto fue una idea que escribí en el castellano. Ojalá que escriba con más frecuencia así. No voy a requir un nivel alto de pensamiento para las entradas en mi lengua extranjera.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Savings Account

I opened an account with ING Direct on Tuesday night. I got a little flyer thing from picking up the notecards in Calhoun's class. He was providing them for all of his students. The deal was that if you open an account, they will put $25 in it. Not bad...especially considering that it pays a risk-free 4% interest rate. I guess the catch is that it's an online bank and you can't walk into a branch and take your cash out. Instead, you must transfer it to a "linked" checking account; such a process could take a few days. Neil suggests that it's better to have a savings account set up that way because then you can't just get money out right when you want it (and end up blowing it on trivial stuff).

I ganked a flyer for Neil too. He thinks he's going to open an account up. I don't know how they're hooking people up with $25. Sounds good to me. I did read the fine print, and it's cool. There are no fees. Ever. No minimum balance. Seems perfect.

I plan to use it as a pure savings account, as opposed to my "savings account" that I currently have that just serves as a holding tank for money I'm going to pay bills with. Who knows what this money will eventually be used for? I would like to be able to set aside about 5% of my income or better for this thing.

Disclaimer: economics follow.

I wonder what that says about my intertemporal elasticity of consumption. Imagine an Euler equation that's not done one period after the other (forget about a dynamic program). My marginal utility of consumption for the cash I deposit every period must be equal to its present discounted value at every future period. When I withdraw the money, t periods in the future, you have beta^t times {that period's (marginal utility of consumption) the fuck am I going to know what that will be??? times (accrued compound interest on the period's deposit + the deposit itself)}.

You want a distortion? Figure out how much tax I'm going to have to pay on the interest. Does that make me less likely to hold this position? Well, my money could instead go to: pay bills, buy fun stuff, other savings accounts, CDs, stocks, bonds, foreign currency...some of that stuff yields at a known rate and others at a stochastic one. Different taxes for different holdings.

I think that the biggest reason to make this choice is that I get utility from knowing that it's there. I've been wanting a pure savings account for a while. Maybe I'll get utility from making a deposit, knowing that it will grow over time, or that I'm able to get by today without using all my income (I don't think I'd spend all my cash holdings every period).

Enough of that. If you want a promo code, let me know and I'll see if Calhoun can hook one up.

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Flickering Flames from my Fantastic Fireplace

I had my chimney swept last Friday and have since had 2 fires with those artificial logs. They sure make things easy. 10 seconds to get the fire going. 4 hours later, they're burned out and don't leave much ash. My first fire was on Friday night. It made me happy inside. So far, I haven't felt much heat coming out of my fireplace. I don't know if it's designed like that or if I'm doing something wrong (no, the doors weren't shut) or what.

I had one on Monday night because I thought that it might help me get work done. I sat on the couch in front of the fireplace and did economics on TV tables. It actually did help, even though I had to take breaks where I turned out all the lights and watched the glow of the blaze dance around my living room.

I think I might buy some firewood from a local guy. I hear that it's pretty cheap. Kind of strange how I used to think the idea of buying firewood was absurd...but now, I can't chop down any of the trees in my yard. And I don't have a truck to haul off some good forest wood. I hear that you're supposed to "age" the wood anyway.

I want some wood that burns different colors. Have some green flames. And purple. Along with the standard blue/yellow/orange.

I wonder if chicks would totally dig some sweet music playing in the background while having some wine (or other drinks) in front of the fire. Maybe I could capitalize on this thing. But in a romantic way, not in a creepy one.

Monday, December 4, 2006

Pick of the Week

If you went to college with me, then you probably know about how I loved to share music on the network. I can't do that anymore since my network consists of all the computers hooked up in my house (and the laptops getting wireless). I decided that I would like to sort of keep a weekly suggestion going for all of you who look to me to provide you with good music.

Here's the deal: each week, I will pick a song that I like and recommend that you start to like it also. I don't know if I'll be able to post it anywhere so that you can download it, like I used to, but I could email it if you can't find it anywhere.

A selection criterion is that I cannot pick a song by an artist that is previously listed.
Disclaimer: just because I pick a song does not mean that it is my favorite by that artist. For example, my favorite AFI song is "Days of the Phoenix," but "Totalimmortal" was thematically selected during the week of Halloween.

I'm going to start with: Sergio Mendes featuring the Black Eyed Peas remixing his samba song "Mas que nada" It's off Sergio's Timeless album. It's pretty good at making you move, but it does get old after the 10th time you play it. But by that time, you should be looking for next week's recommendation.

Just to bring you up to date, here's an almost exhaustive list of my previous picks:

Ben Folds - The Luckiest
Ben Harper - Diamonds on the Inside
Days Away - That's What She Tells Me
Driving Blind - Crown
Hot Rod Circuit - Let's Go Home
Midtown - No Place Feels Like Home
Outkast - Rosa Parks, album version and Remix
Yo La Tengo - Return to Hot Chicken
Youngbloodz - Damn (aka the Martin J Sweet song)

Badly Drawn Boy - Something to Talk About
Beautiful Mistake - Light a Match
Belle & Sebastain - Get Me Away From Here, I'm Dying
Big Sky - Slow
Bluntside - In Loving Memory
Boy Sets Fire - Full Color Guilt
Counting Crows - Holiday in Spain
Diana Krall - Frim Fram Sauce
Dispatch - Elias
Fabolous - One Day
Foo Fighters - Up in Arms
Fran Perea - 1 más 1 son 7
Hawthorne Heights - Silver Bullet
Hey Mercedes - The Frowning of a Lifetime
Less Than Jake - Hell Looka A Lot Like L.A.
Lola Ray - She's a Tiger
Millencolin - Hellman
Northstar - Is This Thing Loaded?
Orbit - Rockets
O-Zone - Dragostela Din Tei
Radish - Simple Sincerity
Semisonic - This Will Be My Year
Stéphane Pompougnac - Clumsy (Feat. Michael Stipe)
Sublime - Scarlet Begonias
The Curve - Ride
The Decemberists - July, July!
The Streets - Has It Come To This
Vast - What Else Do I Need

AFI - Totalimmortal
Allister - Jacob Thinks I'm Gay
Beethoven - Romance No.2 in F Major
Before Braille - a cinema spine
Better Than Ezra - Porcelain
Blink 182 - Wasting Time
Café Tacuba - Come Te Extraño Mi Amor
Coheed and Cambria - Devil in Jersey City
Dan Mackenzie - Hide Away
Fountains of Wayne - Please Don't Rock Me Tonight
Guided by Voices - Chasing Heather Crazy
Juliana Theory - Understand the Dream is Over
Lit - Over My Head
Marvelous 3 - Let Me Go
Mest - Chance of a Lifetime
Nada Surf - Inside of Love
Relient K - 17 Magazine
Sloppy Meateaters - Give Me Something
Story of the Year - Sidewalks
Stroke 9 - Washin' and Wonderin'
The Early November - I want to hear you sad
The New Amsterdams - All Ears
Vroom - Charleston

Sunday, December 3, 2006

Fire in the Kitchen!

I had a great idea for breakfast. Well, it was more like lunch today considering that I had class at 10am on a Sunday!...Moving on, I had an idea bout a week ago to make my own hash browns by grating a potato on a cheese grater then frying it. I made one batch and it was so awesome that I decided to go for round 2. I called my house to tell them how good this was, and ended up talking to my brother. While on the phone with him and grating my second potato, I left the hot grease on the stove because I was about to dump more stuff in there to fry. Something happened, and I heard that :::whoomp::: sound that happens when a fire first starts. So I looked behind me and saw 18 inch flames coming out of the frying pan. I said to my brother in a very calm voice "oh, shit, there's a fire in my kitchen." He thought I was messing with him because I sounded so calm. I thought "hmm, if I use the fire extinguisher, I'll have to buy another...let's get some baking soda from under the cabinet." I told my brother "hey, I'm gonna have to put you down for a minute, be right back." I opened a new box of baking soda (remember, water is a BAD idea to try to put out grease fires) and dumped about half of it into the pan.

Right about this time, my smoke detector goes off. Now, come to think of it, my LIFE SAFETY smoke didn't go off (the ones that you're required to have outside of the bedrooms), but my PRO-TECH (tied into the security system) smoke detector went off. So my alarm goes off. So my siren starts blaring. So I turn off the alarm. But then I'm thinking "crap...they're going to call the fire department, etc." But the monitoring people called me and I told them that everything is under control.

I guess I've always wanted to try that baking soda thing to see if it really could put out the fire. It can! That whole thing sure did make a mess though. I had baking soda all over the counter and stovetop, the pan is charred on the inside, but I think it will wash out with some steel wool and elbow grease. Thankfully, nobody/nothing got hurt.

My brother thanked me for the story that he's going to tell at school tomorrow.

Sleeping by Yourself... night can make you feel alone. - Sublime.

I think that Bradley &c. are correct in their assessment. You know what else? The awareness of loneliness has become worse now that it's cold. I was used to sleeping next to a human space-heater. Now I just have to put on another blanket. Every time that happens, I remember that I used to be able to just hold her a little tighter to quell the cold.

I guess sleeping solo didn't bother me much at first, after the break-up. I went home, and I never sleep with anybody when I'm there anyway. Besides, I have a twin bed (but that's the size I was used to sharing). Now I have a queen size and its vast void all around me produces an aweful, lonely sensation. At least I don't feel like the monsters under my bed are keeping me company.

I was thinking that it would be cool to get some chick to come to my house and sleep with me at nights. But I don't think that anyone in their right mind would come over every night JUST to sleep. Furthermore, I'm not sure that sleeping with somebody who has that that sort of relationship with me would make me feel any better. Maybe the comfort of sharing a bed comes not from just having a body next to you in the bed, but rather sharing it with somebody who cares about you, even if they're only a friend. Note: it doesn't count if it's freezing outside, you're sleeping in a plywood bed with a quarter inch of dirt in it, still dressed in all your day-time clothes, and there's a limited supply of non-dirt-floor space to sleep on.

Saturday, December 2, 2006

Dos cuerpos

Dos cuerpos frente a frente
son a veces dos olas
y la noche océano.

Dos cuerpos frente a frente
son a veces dos piedras
y la noche desierto.

Dos cuerpos frente a frente
son a veces raíces
en la noche enlazadas.

Dos cuerpos frente a frente
son a veces navajas
y la noche relámapgo.

Dos cuerpos frente a frente
son dos astros que caen
en un cielo vacío.

-Octavio Paz
de la colección Libertad bajo palabra (1960)

Friday, December 1, 2006


Snapshot of my doggie. She's not been able to live with me while I'm at school, but I still like seeing her when I go home. I think she's everyone's favorite member of the family.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Flower Light

One of the two days it rained on me in Spain. This picture was taken at La Alhambra (which, by the way has candidacy for the New 7 Wonders of the world: vote online at in Granada, España (Spain). It's not photoshopped. It really did look like there was light coming out of the center of it, which may be why I took a picture of this particular flower.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Piggy Bank

I haven't had a piggy bank in about ten years. But as of last Sunday, I have one that I'm now working on filling up. The container used to be a "party ball" (a 5 liter mini-keg-type-thing) of Warsteiner beer that I bought for my FSU v. UF party. After we drank all the beer out of it, I decided that I didn't want to throw it out, or just put it in my aluminum recycle. Whitney told me that I could make a lamp out of it, but I don't need another lamp. Neil suggested that I turn it into a piggy bank. A few modifications were needed so that coins could go in and out, but Neil's got the tools for that and he let me borrow them to do the job.

I wonder how much money there will be in that thing if I ever get around to filling it up. I think that I'm going to have to start making a lot more cash transactions if I want to get any change to put in it. I'm a big fan of using my credit know, it's a one month interest-free loan. But credit card transactions don't give you change for filling up a piggy bank.

Maybe the thing that I like the most about this piggy bank is that (I think) it is unique. I've seen 5-gallon water jugs used as piggy banks, but never party balls. Plus, I came up with a creative way to reuse something (ok, ok, it was Neil's idea...I lack creative insight).

p.s. it makes a crazy-loud noise right now if you shake that bitch up. I bet you could annoy a whole bunch of people at once with that thing. :::clank::: :::clank:::

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Wanna Ride Bikes?

On two consecutive weekends (but not the ones just past) I have gone "riding bikes" with some of my friends. The first time was the weekend before the second econometrics test. Paula, Glen, Stephanie, & I went riding bikes up north of town by Paula's house. Pretty easy big loop, then some funner, tighter, windier trails in the middle of the big loop. It was pretty cool when I recognized where we were at a point during our trip. It was a place that I had been walking with Sarah, but Sarah & I approached it from the opposite direction that us bikers did that day. After that outing, we annihilated our hunger in a Mexican restaurant (much the same way that the M matrix annihilates the X vector). After dining, Paula & I studied 'metrix for a ridiculous amount of time.

The following weekend, I met Glen & Stephanie (Paula's car had a flat tire) in a different location and we rode for a couple hours on some alright trails that are pretty close to their house. Afterward, we went back to G&S's house and had some homemade pizza. It was good. And I got to meet their dog, Pria (sp?).

Here's the point: I feel like a little kid. My friends are planning these trips to go ride bikes. Isn't that what I did when I was in elementary/middle/even-into-high school?? It's kind of different now, though. I threw my bike in my trunk (gotta love the Grand Marquis) and met these people (also with bikes in their cars) and went riding. Glen & Stephanie are married (to each other), we're all grad students, Glen/Stephanie & I own our houses, and well, I don't just seems weird. Maybe riding bikes is something so cool that one never outgrows it. I saw some older people, probably older than 50, riding on the second weekend.

Furthermore, it's nice to be able to use my bike for leisure/recreation instead of just transportation all the time. But I feel a sense of irony when I stick my bike in my trunk & drive it somewhere in order to ride it.

Bringing it back to the kid aspect: a couple of neighborhood second graders came by my house the weekend before the first big-kid outing and they asked me if I could come out & play (how cute). They had ridden their bikes to my house, so I was like "umm, so, do you guys want to ride bikes??" and they responded with an enthusiastic "yeah!!" So, there you go, it's still popular with kids.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Poco de práctica

Alexis Dorf me ha dado un consejo: "tu debes escribir tu blog en espanol." Tiene razón. No voy a escribir todas los capítulos en español, pero creo que es una buena forma de practicar. Ahora, para no perder mis habilidades del idioma, veo la televisión española (más bien latina como no es de España) y a veces construyo frases o dichos con mi poesí magnética en español. También escucho la música grabada en español, pero no todos los días. Tengo miedo de perder mis mañas de hablar o de entender. Escribir es más fácil porque se puede buscar palabras que uno no sabe.

Ahora en Tallahassee, no estoy rodeado por gente que habla esa lengua como solía en el HC. Solamente encuentro el castellano cuando juego el fútbol (que sorpresa, ¿no?). Sé que podría encontrar amigos para hablar (como Paula), pero la trampa es que es casi siempre más fácil o conveniente hablar en inglés.

Sin embargo, no me han huido las frutas de todo mi estudio de este lenguaje. Tal vez no estoy todavía en un nivel muy alto de producir comunicación en el castellano, pero puedo comunicar. Ahora, mi barrera más grande es entender la gente con acento muy fuerte, con sonidos omitidos (como los cubanos).

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Prison Break

After Neil & I returned from Thanksgiving dinner @ Whitney's house, we both passed out for about an hour, which means that the food must have been pretty good. Then he encouraged me to watch some Prison Break (he has the first season on DVD). I said that I would watch 2 episodes. Ended up watching about 7. There are 22 episodes in the first season, and I watched all of them between Thursday night and Saturday night. Mind you that these are hour long episodes, not half-hours (~45 minutes on DVD sans commercials).

I don't watch much TV. But it's somehow different on DVD...maybe because you don't have to suffer through commercials. The thing about this show is that they leave you with ridiculous cliff hangers every time. You just feel compelled to watch the next one. And maybe it's harder to exercise self-control when all you have to do is hit a button on the remote to satisfy your curiosity. Better than waiting a week. For sure.

Prison Break doesn't seem like a TV show. It's more like an arpeggiated movie. Neil pointed out that it's filmed like a movie, and I think that the plot more or less follows something like a movie's as opposed to something that is different every week, independent of prior episodes (like Family Guy).

This event kind of reminds me why I should not read for pleasure or get into TV or anything like that during the semester. I neglect my studies because that other stuff is so much more fun than school. I'm starting to not enjoy school so much. Maybe that will change next semester. I decided to take this weekend off of school work because I'm shifting into a higher gear next week in order to start studying for finals. My first final is on Dec. 8 and I have 2 the following week.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Mabry Mill

This is the Mabry Mill, located on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia. This picture makes me ask myself a question: how do I feel about taking the same picture that everyone takes (for postcards, books, magnets, keychains, etc.)?? I like the picture. I took it. I guess that makes it original. Nobody else took one at the same time from the same location (but that's true of EVERY picture). I guess I don't have a philosophy of photography. Maybe I don't know enough about the topic to have a philosophy of it yet.

I usually take pictures for one of the following reasons: documentation (I was here; look what happened; check out the hurricane damage, you insurance companies, you; aesthetic value (see above or the Cotopaxi picture below); something's funny (like "80 months 'til completion of a new building on the MacArthur campus); or for show & tell (usually taken then almost immediately sent through email).

Lately I've printed out some of the awesome pictures I've taken and framed them and put the up for display in my house. I think I will make a rule that the only framed pictures hanging in my house are ones that I have taken, even though there are some great pictures by Sarah or my dad or other random people that would look cool. If you're close by, you should check them out the next time you come to my house.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


Because I can control what happens in my house, I am trying to be eco-friendly. It's something that I support in theory, and now I have an opportunity to support it in practice.

The other day I saw the FSU ESP (Environmental Service Program) out at a tent at FSU "raising awareness" during recycling week. They handed me a couple of flyers with suggestions of how you can be better for the environment. I had already taken all the actions that were printed on one flyer. I'm probably forgetting some of the stuff I do, but here's a pretty decent list:

Most of the furniture in my house was salvaged from back rooms in houses of people who were not using it.
I've cut back on my meat consumption (but mostly for financial reasons and time constraints).
I replaced 20 bulbs in my house with the spiral incandescent ones.
Got a blanket for my water heater.
Try not to run the AC/heat very much.
Take navy showers (most of the time) like I always have.
Bike to/from school (I haven't driven my car to class one day this semester!) and occasionally to something else like a party, soccer, or an event on campus.
Hang clothes out on clothesline to dry instead of using dryer (when the weather cooperates)
Buy recycled: rugs (ya, they make good presents too), clothesline, hangers,
Reuse: yogurt cups are good at holding leftovers, brown bags for lunches can be reused for weeks, paper

After I get a second roommate (translated as more money), I'm going to sign up with a program that the City of Tallahassee Utilities department has where I can get 450 KWh of electricity each month from renewable sources for only $10/month. Once again, something I support in theory, so I might as well contribute to it in reality just as soon as I can.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Dishonest, but Fair

Today I ran into a personal/professional/moral dilemma...I was approached by a student wanting to know what his attendance record is. In this particular class, the syllabus says that if you miss more than 2 days, then you will be penalized 1% on your final grade for every day that you miss. This student had 3 absences...we're not sure if that's going to get him 1% or 3% off the final grade (syllabus wording is ambiguous).

Attendance is taken by a "sign-in sheet" that gets passed around student to student on randomly selected days. I found the sign in sheet for one of the days that he had missed, and there was a blank spot where students had just skipped writing their was definately big enough to fit his name in there without looking suspicious. Then, there's the electronic record to worry about...I had already sent an electronic copy containing this absence to the other TA.

Now, I think I need to say that this student missed these classes because he does not think that the teacher does a particularly good job of explaining things in class. (I happen to agree, but that's beside the point). He told me that he spent the days he missed in his room reading the book, making flashcards, studying, etc. I believe him because he has scored the second highest grade on both of the tests in the class to date. He started going to every class after he realized how the attendance policy would affect his grade (should have read the syllabus in the fist place, I know). Now, he tells me about the way that the second test was curved (class average about 64). The curving system seems to favor those with lower grades without also boosting those students who scored in the top echelon.

At this point, I feel like helping the guy out. In fact, if it hadn't been for the electronic copy of the attendance sheet that I sent to the other TA, I very well may have fudged the records in this kid's favor. But I had to go ask the other TA what he thinks. He said that he thinks it's dishonest. He's right. BUT I feel that the change may have been justified in the name of fairness. I know that this student is one of the ones who puts in the most effort (it shows in his class participation, conduct, and most of all--test grades). Furthermore, there are days that don't have an attendance list/sign-in-sheet passed around. So, it is possible for students to have missed many days and not get penalized for those days. Kind of sucks if the only days that you did miss were on sign-in days. Then again, this student told me that he had missed 5 class periods.

Turns out that our solution is that he studies hard for the final and gets a great grade on it. He might come in for tutoring in the computer lab just to make sure that he's on pace to get that good final grade. He's also asking for clarification on whether it will be 1% or 3% off the final grade.

I think that it is possible to be dishonest, but fair. Unfair but dishonest. Which is valued more? "Life's not fair" seems to express a common sentiment on the subject, but I don't think that came about by comparing fairness with the honest aspects of life. I think that it is possible to make decisions for situations like these on an individual basis.

As it turns out, I was unsure about the Pareto-impact this decision would have on the class as a whole. If records were not fudged, then that is a Pareto-efficient outcome, as nobody is worse off than they were before. If records were fudged, then it is Pareto-efficient only if it would affect this student's grade in a way that didn't impact the curve, because if the curve got shifted up because of him, then other students would get lower grades and that would not be Pareto-efficient. That would all depend on how the curve works, and it's safe to say that nobody knows how the final curve will be derived.

Let me know what you think.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Newfound Skills

So it seems that I have acquired the ability to do some new things this semester. I can solve a macroeconomic model (in continuous time, at least...still working of discrete time methods), make sense of matricies (for the most part), fix things when they break in my house (even if I've never done it before), score a goal at the pick-up soccer game (well, it doesn't happen every time), tolerate the cold (better than before), write a coherent proof (if I understand the space I'm working in and know enough to start with), save money (even though I'm spending more than I ever have before), deal with coming home to an empty house (most of the time), cook (ok, most of the time I just mix things together and heat them up, but I can make some pretty incredibly tasty vittles when I have time).

Kind of interesting how I have been able to pick up on all this stuff. At times, I feel like I'm slacking. Like I'm not giving enough effort to my economics program. Like I could be so much better at life. Maybe I could. I wonder if it's that I lack the drive, like some of my motivation's been left somewhere. Maybe I'll find it over the winter break.

I think I'm straddling the border between the "real world" and the familiar scholastic setting. It's kind of like standing on the equator: you can be in two hemispheres and not feel any different than you ever have before...but you're occupying space that is somehow unique.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

To all my supporters

So, I told Sona that she inspired me to start a blog. Sorry if it sucks.

Anyway, I would like to start off saying that I have many friends who have influenced me over the years, sharing their time and energies with me. I could not have developed into the person I am today without all of them. In fact, I feel that I am in a very privileged position, and I credit where I am to those who helped me get here combined with my (at times) hard work.

Examples of how I've been super lucky:
1. Parents who support me in all aspects of my life
2. Rich people felt like it would be a good idea to pay for my education.
3. I've always had excellent roommates who like to have a good time, keep me out of trouble, or get me into a little.
4. I went to a college where I was able to get to know a lot of people on a more-than-superficial level.
5. Being born in the USA.

So, to cap off, sorry for a crappy first post (it should get better with practice, right?). But if you're reading this, then I probably would like to thank you for what you have contributed to my life.