Monday, July 30, 2007

Thank you

I always thought that the numbers on credit card debt were skewed, and here is evidence thereoff. Well put.

As I've always said, to those who are stat based:

The curse of those who make conclusions because they understand the mean is that they often often do not understand the variance.

Then again, you could make a pretty good argument that I'm neglecting the Kurtosis of the issue...

Thursday, July 26, 2007

This might sting a little bit

1. In the long-running HVAC drama/saga/epic/lyric poem that has gone on since moving into the new condo, yesterday represented what I hope is the turning point. We were finally able to track down a company in Maryland that actually specializes in older buildings, and they seem supremely confident that they will be able to help us out and a reasonable price. As an added bonus, the guy that came out to look at the units between 8-10 AM got stuck in traffic on 495, meaning he didn't show up until 11:45 (methinks he was trying to get there exactly at 10). So, really, when you think about it, it wasn't worth going into work at that point, right? Granted, I'm paid by the hour, so I don't really get paid for yesterday, but whatever. A much needed day off was still had.

2. Marriage camp. That is what I'm doing this weekend. Marriage camp. Friday night, Saturday from 9 AM - 6 PM, Sunday from 9 AM - 4 PM. Marriage camp. The jackass at the Resident Female's church (whom she has referred to as such; we wanted the other guy) has insisted we attend marriage camp this weekend. I knew there was a reason I was agnostic...

3. On the personal milestone side of things, the attempt to return my ankle to shape is starting to work. In the 4th attempt at taking a decent length run, I was able to squeeze my 2.5-mile time down beneath 20 minutes, roughly matching my top "distance" speed from high school (though, obviously, not the top distance, which was 6 miles in about 45 minutes). Okay, so maybe not match the times, but at least get within striking distance of the 7.5 minute miles I used to get. Under 8 is a start, right? And an even more pleasant surprise is that the ankle feels pretty good today.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Things were good when we were young...

For no particular reason, C'mon C'mon (of Rescue Me fame) is playing on the ol' iPod, so let's get cracking.

This past weekend saw the Resident Female and I trek up to Little Rhody for a an extended 4-day weekend, culminating with a "regional" cocktail engagement party. In reality, this was a training weekend, one in which I honed and polished my ability to repeat the same phrases, anecdotes, and cute personal summations of recent developments in my life. I accomplished this by repeating the exact same thing over and over to a constant barrage of handshakes and cheek-kiss half-hugs. Meanwhile, the Resident Female was inundated by a steady stream of Waspy names with even Waspier faces (note: not Waspy in the "popped collars and trophy wives" kind of way, but rather the "Be unhappy with the one you've got and drink too many Gin and Tonics" kind of way). Despite the potential for several massive faux pass (faux pas'?), it would appear the only mistake I made the entire night was that of sweating heavily. Further, I was spared the dubious distinction of being named the most out-of-place person there by another uninitiated girl-friend of a guest arriving dressed like a cross between a pageant runner-up and a Barbi doll. All in all, now a good time.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

There is a fine line between fun-loving and alcoholism, but from this side it sometimes looks like two lines

Thoughts, defects, and short-comings:

For those who have enjoyed the recent run-up in the stock market of late, the next couple days would be an excellent time to rebalance your portfolios. While I have no particular gut feeling about the market one way or the other (except maybe a mini-bubble trying to get the Blue Chips over 14k), my portfolio is pretty far out of whack from the last six months. My 80/20 stock bond mix that was balance on January 2 is currently sitting at 86/14. My more aggressive retirement accounts are at 92/8 (from 85/15). So today is the day.

Also, in case you are interested in a little financial porn, I've discovered a website called which is a peer to peer lending site. If you want $25 free dollars to lend (and a nice $25 kickback referral for me), click on the link to the right and sign up. So, if you want to make 1 loan, you just need $25 net (you have to make a loan before you get the $25, unfortunately). If anyone actually wants to hear a budding game theorists take on proper bidding strategies and risk-weights, please leave a comment in the comment section and I will do a post about the stuff. Otherwise, I won't bore you beyond the fact that it is essentially my "seedy-motel on a business trip" component to my otherwise "happy marriage" portfolio of stocks and bonds .

The maddeningly-consistent inconsistency of my .500 Red Sox is starting to get to me. With a 7 game lead in the Loss column over the Yankees (half of the seasons high-water mark), I'll admit that I'm starting to get a little antsy. While a team with excellent pitching, high OBP, 3 excellent relievers, an easy schedule, and a still good-sized lead is nothing to sneeze at, I am starting to get a little frustrated that the balls are not falling when they should. I know that a lot of it at this point is luck (we keep getting on base, just not getting home, which forecasts well for the future), I am having trouble keeping faith by repeating to myself "statistically, we're better than this". Grrr.

As to the Sox, I am of the mind that when Schilling comes back Tavarez should go to the bullpend regardless of his next couple games. While he has done a much better than expected job in the 5th spot, I would rather see Gabbard get a go. Tavarez is about a start away from matching last year's innings total, and his splits the 2nd and 3rd time through the order are pretty indicative of a guy that should be in the bullpen. I say give Gabbard a shot; he won't light the world on fire like he did two nights ago, but his Jamie Moyer-like repetoire should play well in the 5th spot. If he fails, switch lefties and go with Lester. Or Buchholz, in about six weeks.

As to a Sox-related rumor: Wily Mo Pena straight up for Dotel. Love it. While I don't think Dotel is particularly excellent, I think he is probably more reliable at this point than Piniero or Timlin. Plus, Pena is a waste of a roster spot at this point. While I had very high hopes for Wily Mo, I just don't see him developing in Boston to the point where he is good enough for us. So, if we can get anything in return for him, we should take it. Then bring up Murphy or Moss to replace him on the roster until AAA season closes, then swap in Ellsbury as the 4th outfield for September/playoffs. Win/win organizationally, and possibly finding a strong 4th reliever would make this pitching staff pretty damn formidable (assuming Schill is effective upon his return). Of course, we would need to move either Timlin or Piniero (or Snyder), which might bring back a C+ prospect, too, but really anything at all would be a bonus.

Monday, July 16, 2007

I am opposed to picketting, but I don't know how to show it

At the very end of the article, when King is talking about Leinart, he mentions that he had a -1 TD/interception ratio. Could somebody please explain to this jackass the definition of ratio? As best as I can understand it, this would seem to me that Leinart played some spectacular defensive back, because that is the only way a QB might be able to get a negative interception...

Thursday, July 12, 2007

I Am Legend

After a stressful and extended wait, I finally heard. I passed my Public Finance field exam. That's right. I officially completed the gauntlet: 4 Comprehensive exams in 9 months. From the day I sat for the Micro on the morning of September 13th up to the moment I left the Public Finance exam on the sunny afternoon of May 16th, I did nothing but study. Oh, and I broke my ankle, got engaged, planned a wedding, bought a condo, and beat off a lot. Regardless, they are done early, my Independant Study course is now approved, meaning my thesis research is officially underway, and I just need to skate by with 4 Bs in my upcoming classes to get my M.Phil, and hopefully I can bang out my thesis from the research topics in my IS this fall. Neat. My ambitious goal to crank out my Ph.D in three and a half years is still a possibility, more in reach than ever, I suppose (though I still expect it to be 4 years, for what it's worth).

Note: I do not mean this to sound like bragging or gloating, but rather just want to express that I feel so incredibly relieved. The saga of getting my results were longer than any of the other field exams, unfortunately. Those who took other exams on the same day had all heard back several weeks ago. In most cases, their respective professors had encouraged them to take the exams and offered support of their efforts and had other students to study with, whereas I was told by my prof that he did not think any of the students were poised to do well with the relatively short turn-around time between the semester and the exam (note: 1 day). Since I was the only one taking it, each passing day made me more and more paranoid, questioning whether being the only one taking the test was working against me as having no basis for comparison on the results, remembering each little mistake, fearing that the burn-out of a year jamming my brain with every and anything I could cram in there took its toll. By the time the sign-up form for the fall round of field exams found my inbox, still not having heard my results, panic really started to take its tithe. In fact, just putting the experience into words made my stomach drop, my shoulders tighten, and my fight-or-flight response kick in. For those of you that know me, especially how I tend not to worry about these things, you can see that I was freaking out. Hence the relief. Thank God.

Also Note: Title of the post is a reference, in case nobody picked it up. Suppossed to be a cool book that I probably should have read as a dorky teenager, and it now is being turned into a movie (for the 3rd time) with Will Smith as Vincent Price/Charlton Heston (i.e. the human).

Coffee time!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

DL David

There has been a lot of speculation bandying about that Ortiz is injured, including a statement by The Man, The Myth, The Human Cookie Monster, The Human Stitch, that he might need offseason surgery, and that it is these injuries that are causing him to have his power outage. While I think our offense (already struggling to score runs) would take a hit if Ortiz was on the DL, am I the only person anywhere who thinks it might be a good idea to DL David now, with a 10 game lead and 3 months to the playoffs, rather than have him play through it? Seriously, if he is unable to hit for power because of the injury, he isn't a legit #3 until he is healthy. With a pretty decent lead, let him take 15 days to heal up and get back. If 15 days won't do it, then scope him now so that he is back by the playoffs. The only reason he shouldn't be DLed is if correcting the problem would mean he is out for the year, in which case I would wonder how he will be able to make it through the whole season healthy anyhow.

Getting Ortiz healthy on the DL could also help the rest of the team out, too. With Ortiz resting, we have 2+ weeks of Wily Mo Pena and Manny splitting up LF and DH, allowing Manny to get some rest on his knees and Wily Mo the playing time that he desperately needs to develop.

This, of course, leads to the interesting result of seeing whether Wily Mo will be a good everyday player, as the bench thing seems to not be working. If Wily Mo starts to capitalize on the playing time and finally developing into the type of hitter we want, great: either we have another power hitter on our roster that will help our team moving forward or a plus trading chip to move at the deadline or in the offseason (or even trading Manny with his 1 year left in the offseason with Wily Mo as the permanant LF moving forward). If he falls flat on his face, well, at least then we'd know that it makes sense to cut bait with him and move on. The team obviously doesn't think much of him in center (see the Murphy/Ellsbury call-ups), so this is perhaps an opportunity to accurately gauge what we might be able to do in the future. The lead (and the pitching) allows the Sox the luxury of resting up a star for the stretch run and measuring potential simultaneously.

Please note, my advocation of this course of action is dependant on the idea that rest will actually help Ortiz return to form this season. Potential "no-Ortiz" lineup:


A little righthanded, and a little lacking in pop (maybe switch Lowell and Pena). I also wouldn't have a problem with Crisp as a leadoff to get a switch-hitter at the top, though I do like my speed to come after the heavy hitters as their speed is more useful if the guys behind them are less likely to get a hit or hit for power (i.e. less likely to be driven in from 1st).

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy "Fuck English Taxes" Day!

I hope everyone is enjoying the birth of our country today, eating lots of charred meat, soaking in the sun, and possibly blowing up a small portion of the country with illegal fireworks meant to symbolically recreating us beating the crap out of the red coats. It is in that vein that I plan to go up to the pool at our condo dressed like an Indian and throwing in every tea-bag I can find. I then plan to hop on a stolen Vespa and drive through Arlington knocking on every door I can find screaming, "The Red Coats are coming". Unless somebody else beats me to the idea, in which case, what's the point.