Saturday, January 31, 2009

Why Open Bar is Bad (for You)

Here's a quick little economic lesson about why you drink too much if alcohol is free:

Say you're at a place where drinks cost $5. You will consume up until you get to q5. Likewise, if drinks cost $3 then you'll consume q3 > q5. Assuming that the optimal amount to drink is about q3 and that demand elasticity is as drawn, then you'll drink qfree if it's open bar. Consuming this much makes you puke and forces your friends to take care of you. You regret it the next morning.

To wrap it up, you won't drink too much in a club where you have to pay $10 for a drink, because you'd be at q10 > q5. If you don't want to get über-blitzed, then you must set exogenous limits on yourself in order to stay away from qfree.

Friday, January 30, 2009

25 Random Things About Me

Angelica posted a note on facebook with 25 random things about her and I'm supposed to respond, but instead of doing it on facebook and trying to tag people, etc., I'm just going to do it here. BTW, Shell & Becky R. just did the same thing.

1. I think Blue Bell makes the best mint chocolate chip ice cream ever.
2. I'm not sure if I want to be a professional economist.
3. I wish I did more pleasure reading, but I know that I'd neglect my school work if I did.
4. I'm slowly trying to get my new computer up and learn Ubuntu Linux and some open source programs that work with it.
5. I like to run on trails. Through the woods or alongside water is the best.
6. I recently vowed never to buy anything from Microsoft.
7. My farts range from odorless to rank.
8. I have at times wanted to date an Indian (dot) girl who doesn't have Indian parents.
9. My cell phone works just fine.
10. I wish I could get a "Corty" sandwich delivered straight from El Corté Inglés (a Spanish department store)
11. I'm trying to learn Swahili by using Rosetta Stone at my own pace.
12. I don't think I dream in Spanish very often anymore.
13. I like to do cryptograms, but I can never do cross-word puzzles.
14. I wish I could SCUBA dive coral reefs once a month, but that's not feasible in Tallahassee.
15. I started a compost heap about a year ago and hope to maybe plant a little vegetable (aka victory) garden.
16. I'm not scared of the current economy. In fact, I just invested in an S&P500 index mutual fund and I recommend you do the same.
17. Larry King drives me nuts.
18. I would love to go into space, but I'm not bad-ass enough to be an astronaut...maybe I'll have to settle for Virgin Galactic.
19. I really miss the community I had while living in the dorms.
20. I like getting to fix things that break at my house.
21. It feels good to make my gums bleed by flossing hard.
22. I think my ideal schedule would be to wake up around noon and go to bed about 3.
23. I've been slacking on my blog lately and think I might be running out of things to say.
24. I used to HATE the feeling of a cotton ball between my fingers.
25. I wonder how many people I've met will become famous one day.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Ergotron LX Wall Mount Review

I got the Ergotron LX Wall Mount for my 22" widescreen Planar monitor about a month ago. It works beautifully. Ergotron's website will tell you if your monitor is compatible with their mounts.

The LX wall mount is very stable. I can move my monitor anywhere in a hemisphere that comes about 22" off the wall. The tensions on movement in each direction is adjustable. It saves some desk space, but the best part is that now I can watch movies on my computer while I'm laying in bed (I just turn the monitor to the right).

The retail price is a little high, but I got mine pretty cheap on ebay. It's definitely a quality piece of equipment from a quality company.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Computer Fixed! (not quite 100%)

I got my computer to recognize the SATA drives, so now I can install stuff and play around on my computer. The solution involved changing the kernel build before installation. post #18 had the solution for me.

It's nice to have that much up and running, but I have the following problems still:
sound card makes crappy static noise instead of what I'm trying to play
some web content doesn't play (e.g. youtube)
my screen won't run at native resolution (1680x1050).

I've tried going to fora in search of solutions, but it's hard for me to figure out workarounds if my computer doesn't respond exactly like they say it will. I'm still new to this and trying to get things figured out. I know my computer will be totally sweet once I get it up and fully functional.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

You Kids Go Home Now!

I was at a party this weekend when the cops showed up presumably because of a noise complaint and demanded that everyone (except the residents) leave the apartment. I"m pretty sure the cops knew (or had strong suspicions) that kids had been drinking. I want to know why they would then request that people who have been drinking now get in their cars and drive. It seems a much sounder policy would be to make sure that everyone who left was able to drive under the legal limit.

I've thought that maybe it's a ploy to encourage drunk driving in the parking lot where a confederate cop is waiting to issue DUIs. I think that might be entrapment or something, but it could happen.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Sunday, January 18, 2009

GWTC 30k

Oh, boy, was that 30k a rough race. I got up at 5:30 on Saturday morning (I handed the party responsibilities over to Andrew around 2:30 and I went to bed) and drove about a half hour out to Bradley's Pond. It was freezing. Actually, below freezing. For the entire race. Worse if you count the wind chill. I've never started a race with so much clothing. For upper body, I had a Under Armour skull cap, handkerchief around my neck, UA sleeveless compression T, FSU tri jersey top, Pearl Izumi arm warmers, a long sleeve Starter dri-fit T, and gloves. For lower body, FSU tri jersey bottoms, RaceReady running shorts (because they had pockets to hold food-stuffs), sweat pants, 2XU calf compression guards, Thorlo socks, and some baseball socks. Phwew. I ended up having to take off the handkerchief, skull cap, bandana, and gloves. Lucky I had pockets.

If I had to describe the course in one word, it would be "hilly." It is an out and back course with the first (and last) 2.25 miles on pavement and the rest on packed red clay. Every mile on the course is marked (for both races), leading you to have many references to let you know where you are on the course. Since there's also a 15k, you know where the 1/4 and 3/4 points in the race are. Also, due to the way the turn-arounds are set up, you know where the .3 and .6 marks are in each mile that is also a part of the 15k course. You also know where the .6 miles are in the 30k course. This would all be VERY helpful if you were trying to pace yourself.

I was not trying to pace myself. I had no idea what time I would run. This is the longests I've ever run continuously. I started off at a reasonable 6:35 per mile, but ended up averageing 8:06 (finishing in 2:30:57). It was the last few miles (and the previous night's drinking) mixed with the hills that really slowed me down. I was feeling fairly strong up until the turn around. In fact, I was in 15th place at the turn around but finished in 28th. I only passed one person on the way back.

Near 14 miles, I took a gel. I've never felt a gel hit me so hard. About 5 minutes later, I noticed that my eyes were open wider and that my strides were quickening and lengthening. Maybe I should have taken one earlier. I haven't had the chance to experiment much with gels on my training runs since I'm not carrying water. I took one once and felt like I was dehydrated. In fact, I didn't eat hardly anything before the turn around because I was feeling like my system had too little water. I guess that's what happens when you drink power smoothies before the race. Let me give you a recipe for my power smoothie. Realize that I only drank half of this before the run: 1 bag frozen mixed berries, 1 6oz package of yogurt, 1 scoop Hammer HEED, 1 big squirt Hammer gel, 1 scoop protein powder, 2 bananas (and ideally a serving of FRS concentrate which I was out of). Ya, that smoothie will get you going.

After finishing, I was thinking that the Tallahassee Marathon on February 1st would be a disaster for me, but then I heard a seasoned runner mention that the hilly 30k course was harder to run than a flat marathon. The Tally course is flat. There is hope for me yet.

Keg Without Ice

I had a hobo themed party at my house on Friday night (bad planning on my part due to having a 30 kilometer race on Saturday morning). It was pretty cold outside, so we had a trash can fire to keep everybody warm. I think the most novel thing for me was that we never put ice on the keg. We picked it up about 3pm and it was so cold outside that we didn't need any ice. I mentioned something about the lack of ice to Tony and he said that that's nothing new to him, since he's from up north and all.

You probably know that I like my beer really cold. I wasn't disappointed. In fact, the outside temperatures were below freezing for the entire duration of the party. I was happy with the temperature of the beer. No rock salt needed (I guess rock salt is pretty much worthless without ice).

Also, not having to get ice cut the costs substantially...normally we spend about $12 on ice, but on Friday it was pretty much $60 to throw the entire party. Divided by 3 roommates gives a price of $20 each for a night of fun. I think we might have had close to 60 people throughout the night which equals out to a dollar per person. Luckily we had someone lend us the trash can for the fire.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

New Computer

I just built a sweet new computer. This is my first post written on it. Here are some of the specs:

mobo: ATX XFX/Nvidia nForce SLI MCP
memory: 6GB
processor: AMD64 Phenom quad-core @ 2.20 GHz
hard drives: 1xSeagate 1.5TB (with heatsink), 1xWD500GB, both SATA
Optical drives: 2xHP DVD/CD burner with LightScribe
gigabit ethernet (although that doesn't do me so much good at my house)
2x120mm fans: 1 on front sucking air in, 1 in rear blowing it out
650W power supply
all kinds of (currently) unused expansion ports
6 integrated SATA controllers which are giving me problems right now
integrated video (DVI, HDMI, VGA)
plenty of space to add more.

The case has a clear side and some vents in the clear side so I can see what's going on. Currently, I had to install an IDE hard drive in order to install the OS. I'm using Ubuntu on this computer and I'm currently loving the OS and I imagine it will only get better as I grow more used to it.

Overall, I thought the computer would be faster. I thought that applications like OpenOffice would load faster. Don't get me wrong, it's way faster than my old computer, but I don't think it's what I thought it would be.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Pick #109

Stone Temple Pilots - "Lady Picture Show" from Tiny Music, Songs from the Vatican Gift Shop

Thursday, January 8, 2009

A Good Alarm Clock

A good alarm clock is a great investment. Just think: it could pay for itself if it saved you from missing one job interview. Depending on how you look at it, it could also pay for itself by helping you not miss a test. Or, if it got you up and at 'em 5 minutes earlier every day...

If you're going to get an alarm clock, why the F*** would you ever want a plug-in one? You know, the kind that flash 12:00 when the power goes out... Get battery power. The batteries last so long that it's not a hassle to replace them and you get the benefit of never losing the time when you lose power.