Wednesday, October 31, 2007

MY First Experiment (in Econ)

This morning was the first time we ran a real session of my public goods experiment. It went off without a hitch. We only had 10 participants, but they gave us some good stuff. It was really sweet to watch 10 people playing the game from the control room (because I was always "playing" the game in the past, for troubleshooting purposes, and couldn't watch the live updating of everyone's decisions).

This has been a work in progress since the end of the summer. Although I revised the program a few times, if it weren't that Sean helped debug the program so well, I bet something would have gone wrong today. Fortunately, there weren't ANY problems during today's session. The participants made really good money, so I bet there will be a word-of-mouth promotion boosting our experiment's participation.

We're running another session in a week and Dr. Isaac is going to present some preliminary results at a conference over the winter break. Sweet.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Camelbak Cleaning Kit

I've wanted a Camelbak for a really long time. I finally decided to buy one before I left for Spain. Since getting it, I learned that it's a bear to clean, mostly because it's nearly impossible to dry. Camelbak makes a cleaning kit for their bladders and I bought one from Sunshine Cycles earlier this semester. It comes with a specially shaped bottle brush to clean the bladder, a cool cleaner snake thing that goes through the straw, some anti-bacterial tablets (for heavy cleanings), and a hanger/dryer. It makes cleaning the Camelbak about 50 times easier, which means that I'm more likely to do it. In fact, I give it at least a cursory cleaning and allow it to dry after every use.

If you have a Camelbak and find that it's not so fun to clean, I recommend dropping the money for the cleaning kit.

Monday, October 29, 2007

La Fea Más Bella en DVD

Hoy encontré (y compré) en un pre-order del DVD de Televisa de La Fea Más Bella. Dice que hay 3 discos, 700 minutos. No es posible caber todos los capítulos en dicho espacio. Será interesante ver que hicieron para cortar el programa. Pues, no vi ni el principio ni el final de la telenovela cuando estaba en la pantalla por Univisión.

Está disponible el 27 de Noviembre. Cuesta unos $20. Es una inversión para mi. Espero que tenga tiempo para verlo. Tal vez sobre las vacaciones del invierno.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Pick #48

Baxter - "Leave" from Wine and Spirits

You can go to CD Baby via the above link and listen to a clip of this song. BTW, CD Baby is a great website to get a hold of music that's hard to snag anywhere else.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

A Unifying Theme

I've seen many blogs that focus on a very specific subject matter. This sounds like a good idea, if you have enough material. It's kind of the beauty of those blogs. I know that mine is all disjointed. Turns out that it's kind of like the way my head works. I never can get deep enough into one topic without my train of thought getting derailed and switching to another. I like having my pick of the weeks, the occasional Spanish entry, pictures, random stories, things about econ, comparisons I may make between different's all very Austin-like if I do say so myself. I think it's likely that if you spent a day with me, whatever we did/discussed would closely mirror the variety presented in this blog. I ramble. Online, there's nobody to cut me off and tell me to stop.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Mustaches of the Nineteenth Century

You might be amused by the blog on Mustaches of the Nineteenth Century.

I've been pretty lazy these past couple days, not much to think about or say.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Pollution Problem

This picture was taken while I was on family vacation in Virginia, summer 2006. We were at an overlook in Comers Rock. You're supposed to be able to see clearly the third row of mountains (click the picture for a full-size image, then look at the dim outline that represents the third row of mountains). The locals tell me that the reason you can't see so far some days is because of pollution. We had the same limited visibility problem on the Blue Ridge Parkway. What a shame.

While pollution might make for great sunsets in California, it's not helping the scenery in Appalachia.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Economic Naturalist

I believe the phrase "economic naturalist" can be attributed to Robert Frank, author of The Economic Naturalist. He has a teaching philosophy that kids can learn econ better if they are able to apply it to situations in every day life. Some studies have shown that years ago, students actually knew LESS about economics a year after taking an econ class than students who had never had an econ class.

Economic naturalism is a methodology of looking at the world, asking questions, and using economic principles to answer them. A quick Google search for "economic naturalist" will pull up plenty of results. I have found myself not asking the questions, but answering ones I hear with economic reasoning. I sound like a nerd (even more than you're used to). For instance, see my blog entry titled "Arrow Securities." It's always marginal this and utility that. I think it's cool that I'm getting to the point where I can apply the stuff I learn in class to real-world problems.

I had my students over the summer write a 1-2 page naturalist essay. I gave them a few questions they could write on and I had a few students invent some rather interesting questions. I think my favorite was "why do pimps wear such extravagant clothing?"

If you ever have an interesting economic naturalist question and want to get my take on it, just ask.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

No Headphones

Some people can't believe that I don't wear headphones when I run. To be honest, I've tried wearing them, but it kind of sucks. I like having the music, but I dislike the constant slap of the cord. If I could find a non-iPod .mp3 player with wireless headphones that were somehow stay-in-place earbuds, then I'd think about running with music.

I wish I could say that the reason I don't wear headphones is to remain more aware of my surroundings. The truth is that I zone a lot when I'm running. I'll be in la-la land. Or focusing on my breathing. Or calculating how long the run will take at this current pace. Or watching a car go by until I can't see it anymore.

(Some of the time) I run to escape. I once told people that I use running like alcoholics use alcohol. Music is a part of my house, my office, my car. I don't necessarily want to escape it, but it's always nice to have a change. Oftentimes I sing in my head or even aloud in order to maintain a rhythm or to pass the time. For instance, there's a church I run past called Praise Cathedral Church. It always makes me jump into "Grace Cathedral Hill" by the Decemberists.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Pick #47

Moldy Peaches - Who's Got the Crack?

Micah used to sing this song when he had a guitar in hand (and sometimes a capella). Recently, Nick discovered the Moldy Peaches and was playing this song and I thought it was super cool. I hadn't heard it in years. The Moldy Peaches version is alright, but Micah does a better cover.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Take It to the Limit One More Time

"So put me on a highway / and show me a sign / and take it to the limit one more time." - The Eagles

Today I ran 16 miles, which is farther than I have ever run at one shot. In the process of training for the marathon, I'm going to keep bumping up the mileage of my long runs, each time taking myself to the limit of where I have been before and then stepping beyond that. I've got to admit that I'm a little sore right now, but I didn't reach my physical limit aka "hit the wall." I'm waiting for that day to come where I have to push through a barrier. After I hit this wall, I wonder where the next one will be. The only one that I've hit in the past was at 3 miles...I just couldn't run 3 miles. It took me about 2 weeks to transition from running 2 miles to running 3. Ever since then, I've never had a problem adding more mileage, but I know that day will come.

Name Follows Function

Maybe form follows function for some buildings, but there are a lot of items we use every day that are named for what they do. Here's a list off the top of my head:

bottle/can opener (abrebotellas y abrelatas)
letter opener
magnifying glass
foot rest
CD player (tocadiscos)
shrimp peeler
dish washer (lavaplatos)
nail clippers
wire cutters
(bubble) mailer
money holder

I hope that was as fun for you as it was for me. I may come back later and add stuff to this list.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Experimental Econ - Sign Up

Alright, if you are a FSU student, you can go to and click the "sign up" link on the right hand side of the page. Use your FSUID, NOT your SSN when you sign up. You are guaranteed $10 if you sign up for an experiment and you show up on time. During the course of the (roughly 2 hour) experiment, you can earn more money. How much more money? Well, I'm not allowed to tell you (it will vary by experiment and your performance), but what I can say is that about 90% of people who did one experiment came back to do people overall must be pretty happy with how much money they're making.

It's not psychology, we're not out to trick you. If we can't tell you something, we'll say that we can't tell you.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Phenylketonurics: Contains Phenylalanine

Before I took my Genetics & the Social Sciences course, I didn't know what the warning label Phenylketonurics: Contains Phenylalanine meant. I thought it was funny sounding. I also thought that it was absurd as phenylalanine is one of the 20 most common amino acids...I mean, everything has phenylalanine in it. Ok, well, not everything. But any time you eat "protein," there's a good chance it's got a decent amount (relatively) of phenylalanine.

Because I thought this warning label was absurd, I decided that they would be fun to collect. I had a decent collection at the HC, but I accidentally destroyed over half of them when I was moving out for good. I have added a few new labels to my collection since moving to Tallahassee. If you have any ideas for non-diet soda, non-gum products that have this warning label, swing that idea my way so I can be on the lookout for it.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Pick #46

Kings of Leon - "Knocked Up" from Because of the Times

False Alarm

I had my first false alarm today. Kinda weird how it happened. Andrew's window was open a little too much (like it has been for days) and something happened that made the switch open. Who knows what that was, but all's well that ends well.

So, I had just dropped Dr. Wakker off at his hotel and was returning a bike rack that I borrowed from this kid when I got a phone call from central station. Said zone 11, a perimeter zone, is in alarm. I asked if any interior zones had been activated. Negative. I debate whether or not to dispatch the police. Decide to give the go-ahead. I call Nick. He's only a couple minutes from home. He goes home and finds that Andrew's window is open a little farther than it should be. Everything else is fine. I tell him what to do to cancel dispatch. Operator at central station doesn't respond to his request to cancel, telling him that he has the wrong cancel code. He calls me and describes the perfect procedure he just did for canceling dispatch. I call and cancel. By the time the central station gets a hold of the police station gets a hold of their officers, they're at my house (I'm at school dropping off a bike at this time). I go to Publix and return home to nothing out of the ordinary. I called my mom to figure out why Nick couldn't cancel. Turns out it was operator error.

Better than a real alarm any day. Now Andrew knows that the magnet has to line up with the switch before he leaves the house.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Emerald Coast #4

Ok, getting the downer news out of the way first: the bike course had to be re-routed because some drunk driver hit and killed a cyclist who was warming up on the course. Now the happy stuff:

I don't have my official times/placement, but I'll edit this post when I get them. My overall time from my watch is 1:16:49.

My swim went awesome (except my right goggle leaking from the beginning and me having red-tide salt water in my eye for about 11 minutes. Anyway, my sighting was really good and I was within feet of both buoys. I felt pretty strong...maybe since the water was a perfect temperature or maybe because I've been training. My first transition went just like I'd practiced, knocking over 3 and a half minutes off my last T1 time!! I caught a lot of dudes on the bike course. The best was nearing the end...I passed Marc then Joe. However, during the run I came up behind someone that looked like (and WAS) Marc, then Joe...they had a way faster T2 than I did. I think I might get those elastic laces so I don't have to tie my shoes. I drank all my water on the bike, just like I had planned. I felt well-hydrated for the run. It was also nice to have my new race number belt (that saved some time). I was going pretty quick on the run. I would guess that I was at 6:10 pace, but apparently it was pretty solidly sub-6. In fact, I didn't think that the finish line could possibly be so close when I was nearing the end of the race.

I guess one good thing about being a weak swimmer is that you just keep passing people for the rest of the race. Passing people pumps me up and keeps me going. I'm glad that my strength is the last part of the tri.

After the race was a pretty sweet lunch/awards thing. Free beer. Too bad I had to drive. I still had 3 beers (didn't leave for about 4 hours, don't worry). Free beer led to the best shenanigan of the day. A girl who was 18 told the people who write your age on your body with permanent marker that she was 21. This allowed her to get beer after the race. However, she placed in her age group. When she went up to receive her award, the announcer said something about how she's only 18 but her leg says she's 21. Dude. Called out. I don't think she's going to try that next time.

Swim: 11:44
T1: 2:03
Bike: 43:04
T2: 1:52
Run: 18:05
Total: 1:16:51
Placement: 5th in age group, overall not posted on the results page.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Squirrel Catapult

Andrew showed me this video on YouTube. I thought it was pretty ingenious. I think we might try to rig something like that up in my back yard. The goal will be to get the squirrel over the back fence...home run!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Return of My Theme Song

If you don't already know, my theme song (which I thought I had retired) is "Timing" by Allister. Basically, I always seem to have bad timing with starting relationships with girls. Either their home life just exploded or they just broke up with the last guy or they're getting back together with the last guy or one of my friends says that he likes her...

Dating Sarah made me realize that I can date awesome girls. Ok...some of you other girls that I dated are also awesome, but we didn't stay together long enough to talk about you don't go calling me up and bitching. Dating Homecoming Queen Ashley *as opposed to Ashley from soccer* made me realize that I should not date girls that I'm not interested in (I wasn't disinterested in Ashley, so I gave it a go).

Anyways, I met this girl @ FSU, thought she was hot. Waited a while to see if she was also smart and charming and all-around awesome. Found out that the answer is yes. Decided to ask her out. BTW, she set me up with the perfect scenario to ask her out (it was a coincidence having to do with a bumper sticker). I did. She says that she's sort of seeing some other guy, but it's "not official." That makes me wonder how long they've been dating. Would I have been able to be in his shoes right now if I had only learned about her awesomeness a few weeks sooner? Would she have "unofficially" dated me and then decided that he's a better option? Who knows, but I'm pretty sure that I can reclaim this theme song after its hiatus which started the beginning of my junior year.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Road ID

So, my mom's always after me to carry some ID when I'm running. Probably a good idea...I mean, I could be gone for over 2 hours before anyone even thought about being concerned. Plus, I don't usually know where I'm going on my run except in the rare case that I have a specific destination. I hate carrying stuff with me while I run. I'm not exactly sure how it happened, but I came across Road ID. I ordered the wrist ID thing. I've worn it a couple times, and it's pretty non-obtrusive. Last Sunday, I noticed that Conrad has one of the ankle ones. I guess it is a good idea. If you're a runner/other type of go-far-away-from-a-single-location athlete, check the website out.

Important: search online to get a coupon code that gets you $2 off. There are always some active. It's worth searching for. Note that a lot of what hits on a search engine is expired...keep trying, it's worth it if you value your time at less than $30/hour.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

(Free) Music from Artists

Last week, Cortney told me about the new Radiohead album In Rainbows which is being released by the band on their website to fans, who can pay any price they like for the album. There is a processing fee for the download of £0.45. Cortney tells me that he did not pay it. I think it would be cool to see how much freeloading is going on concerning that release.

I told Nick about this and he informed me that Harvey Danger released its latest album Little by Little on their website. There is an option for you to make a "small contribution" to the band in return for downloading the album. I downloaded the album in under 60 seconds! *gotta love the internet* I listened to it a couple times...if I like it after a few more play-throughs, I will probably contribute $2-3.

I think it's totally awesome that bands are releasing their music and making it so easily available to the fans. I know that Radiohead can afford to do this, but I bet the guys from Harvey Danger are still working day jobs. They have a really sweet writeup of WHY they're doing this.

I bet there are plenty more bands doing this complete album free download thing (Carmen told me that Weezer did it for a while until their label (was it Geffen?) told them to stop). Please leave a comment if you know another band that's doing this. Bonus points for a link to their website.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Musical Eclectisism for Elitists

"I have a broad taste in music. aka I listen to everything." versus "I only listen to trance."

Don't you think that the person who listens to everything is more open minded? Maybe you can identify with them on some artist that you both like. For some counterintuitive reason, the perception of those who listen to anything is that of an elitist. Weird, huh? Consider that the person who specializes in only one (sub)genre of music can know much more about it than the casual listener of everything. Also that specialist probably selects their music because it is the best kind of music.

I am one of those "listen to everything" people, within limits. Some music has a time limit. For instance, when I first started listening to rap and techno, I couldn't stand either of them for longer than an hour at a time. I realized that even though I listen to "rap, hip-hop, country, classical, jazz, reggae(tón), flamenco, 'latino' music, rock & roll, punk rock, indigenous, ska, pop (well, at least a little bit...FOW are really popPY), folk, techno"...they're all really the same. I'm not sure how to explain it being without much of a music education, but they seem to all do the same thing. There are a few bands that seem a little different...Rasputina, Sigur Rós, Björk, (can't think of many others right now), but they're only a little different. Maybe it's something to do with an inherent quality of music that I don't know about (Paula tells me something about eastern v. western music produces this kind of effect).
I also realize that I don't listen to much "world, oldies, a capella, show tunes, heavy metal, grunge, eastern music (see above), blues, bluegrass, *other types of music that I don't even know exist*."

I've noticed that instead of the musical specialists looking down on the "everything listeners," it's the other way around. I don't look down on single-genre-listeners for their musical practices. I simply wonder how they can stand it. Sometimes I want to hear the light voice of Sarah Brightman or Norah Jones while other times I want to feel the energy of Millencolin or System of a Down. At times it's the rythm of the horns that gets my feet tapping while other times it's the violin popping out of an orchestra that makes my heart race. Sometimes I yell "SHUT UP" at the computer or CD player and skip to the next song or album because something just triggered a switch and I can't listen to the current thing anymore.

I'm always looking for more good, new (to me) music no matter what the style. If you have suggestions, please pass them my way. I must warn you that it might take me a while to listen to/get in to the music you throw my way. Thank you to the HC Spanish-speakers for helping build my library of Spanish-language music; to Stephanie for all kinds of awesome new stuff, random friends for sporadic suggestions, TBW for all the poppy stuff, Abercrombie Zach for a freshman year music raid, and everyone who uploaded stuff to me while I was on the network.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Top Shelf


This is advance notice (special for the readers of my blog) that we're having a top shelf party the first weekend in November...I guess that makes it the night of the 2nd 9th. To get in, you have to bring a bottle of high quality liquor (or wine, beer, just has to be nice). No plastic-bottle-vodka allowed.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Health Care Surrogate/Living Will

Not too long ago, I filled out some paperwork that gives my parents the right to make "less-than-terminal" medical decisions for me in the event that I cannot make them myself. That way doctors can't just administer all kinds of useless crap and charge you for it later. Also, it means that somebody has my back when I can't come to the plate myself.

The health care surrogate is not to be confused with your living will. The living will is your decision on when you want them to pull the plug on life support. I think it is important to have a living will, not only for yourself, but even more for those around you. For instance, my mom's mom died of cancer. She spent her last days hooked up to a breathing machine. I don't remember exactly what here time frame was, but I think that she didn't want to stay on life support longer than 2 weeks. When the time came and my mom had to end her mother's life, she was just following her mom's wishes. Imagine how difficult that decision would be for someone to make on your behalf when they do not know what you want.

I got these forms done up pretty cheap by a Vero lawyer named Darryl Jacobs. Look him up in the book. He's friendly and efficient. I guess this sort of paperwork is like an insurance a little bit for it knowing that it could save you a lot of money in the future, but home that you never have to use it.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Edmund Skellings

Edmund Skellings is a Nobel Laureate in poetry. He was the dude who invented the idea of putting audio with written text. He read one of his collections of poetry and put a vinyl record in the sleeve of the book. Just think...those CDs that come with your textbook, the idea of putting that stuff together came from him. Through the years, his audio media have shrunk.

He was also the first poet to put his poetry in a Dolby 5.1 surround sound format with visuals. I got to see (parts of) this DVD before it was officially released in a Forum class freshman year. It's pretty crazy, words appear and there's colors and stuff is flying on/off the screen in perfect harmony with the sound coming from the speakers placed in every corner of the room (and in the front center).

One of his poems that I liked more than the rest is called "Aisle of You." Before it was even played, I put it together. Then you heard his voice saying it over and over. One of those things quite like "What?? I said 'vacuum'!!" or "olive juice," only not really.

I hung out and talked to him for a bit after his presentation. He's a cool old dude. A little weird, but I guess that's how you get street cred as a poet (if the Nobel Prize doesn't do it). He told me that he's always looking to revise his work because you can never get something perfect. I guess there is no boundary to the open set of perfection. Balls.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Facebook Stalking

I was talking to Meg today on the phone and she let me in on a few privacy settings you can do on facebook. I guess they were there all along if I had looked for them, but I quit playing with that stuff after I initially set it up. They have added more options since. It's pretty customizable. By clicking "privacy" in the upper right of the home screen, you can control who: sees your profile, finds you in a search, sees your status, peruses pictures of you, and a bunch of other stuff. I went on tonight and tightened some things up. For instance, now faculty can't see my pictures or status updates.

I have "facebook stalked" people, including my good friends in real life. However, my "stalkings" are usually limited to a once-in-a-while browsing of their pictures and reading some stuff on the wall or favorite _____s. I also like to check my new friends to see if we have some random friends in's cool how the "small world" thing plays out in so many situations.

I've heard of some pretty sketch practices though. I think that the feed helps people stay on top of your life...even easier than constantly checking your away message. I mean, that stuff is totally legit if it reminds you of stuff that your friends are doing. I guess like anything else, moderate use is cool while extremism is bad.