Friday, February 29, 2008

Most People Do The Best They Can

I got my heater fixed, well half-way fixed.

On Monday the repairmen came and told me my heater coils had burnt out. They also told me one heater coil had previously been removed. They ordered two replacement coils and told me they would be back Thursday.

They come back Thursday. They replace the heater coils. But one does not heat. After performing a simple electrical test that they did Monday also, they tell me that the circuit that fed power to the previously removed heater coil was inoperational.

My first reaction was why didn't they catch this on Monday. The heater coil that was removed was probably removed because the circuit that fed it power was inoperational. This is simple logic that should have been induced Monday. They should have performed the test Monday, and my heater would be completely fixed today.

But then I remembered they are heating and cooling repairmen. And my unit is not common. And they are probably average at what they do. If I was a heating and cooling repairman in my fifties, I (would like to think I) might have thought and had the experience to perform tests on all of the circuits, but these guys are doing the best they can. On Monday, the guy adjusted his time sheet to save me a half-hour anyway. This is just the way the cookie crumbles.

They ordered the circuit, and it should be in next week. So I should have full heat for the last week and half of winter.

The two morals of this story are never buy a condo, home, or anything unless you can truly afford it, and most everyone does the best they can with the hand they were dealt.

Once I accept and follow these two morals, my life will be easier.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Call For Donations

This organization eases poverty throughout the United States.

It delivers cheap foodstuffs to millions of Americans.

It creates jobs for millions of Americans.

It supports local charitable organizations and helps build local communities.

It is everything you want from a charity and more.

It is a proven winner.

I almost forgot how it supports developing countries with billion of dollars worth of aid.

Please send checks to:

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
Bentonville, Arkansas 72716-8611

(Inspired by Cowen's Discover Your Inner Economist)

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

I Am Turning Into A Hippie

I used a reusable bag in Kroger last night. I ended up getting a free Kroger reusable bag also.

It did make carrying things into the apartment much easier, but I feel like I am supposed to vote for Ralph Nader now. I feel like I need a Volkswagen van. I feel like I need to not wash my clothes for a week and get some tie-dyed shirts.

But I do not have to worry about growing my hair long.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

I Hope The France Family Reads This Blog

NASCAR needs a senior circuit.

There are still enough fans of the old guys to support one.

I swear this is fool-proof (full-proof). NASCAR would make money hand over fist. They could race at older tracks and use older less expensive cars that have ED, heartburn, and cholesterol drug advertisers. You could cut it down to fifteen or twenty races, so the old guys could spend time with their families and other business interests. It would help alleviate the qualifying log-jam and stop the use of cheap past champion provisionals. This is just a great idea.

I am sure someone has already thought of this, but I am too lazy too look it up.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Saturday Morning Cartoons

1. George Washington did not have to campaign.

2. One can enjoy gambling without being addicted to gambling. Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley are good examples. Vices are not vices until an individual lets them become vices. Maybe Jordan and Barkley are just lucky, but do not condemn some one's pleasure because it might get out of control. Too much of a good thing does not have to be bad.

3. I am afraid. I am not afraid of random acts of violence. I am not afraid of the world ending. I am not afraid of death. It is easy to react to these things. It is easy to adapt and handle adversity. But I am afraid of everything else. I am afraid of failing and succeeding and mediocrity. I am afraid of quitting but also afraid of staying. I am afraid of carving out my own way, but also fear being stuck on the traditional path. Springsteen's "Murder Incorporated" puts it best:

"You got a job downtown, man it leaves your head cold (oh yea)
And everywhere you look life ain't got no soul (oh yeah)
That apartment you live in feels like it's just a place to hide
When your walkin' down the streets you won't meet no one eye to eye
Now the cops reported you as just another homicide
I can tell that you was just frustrated"

This fear is a little paralyzing, but it also freeing. Maybe this is what Camus meant.

4. With all of this being said, I am very happy. I would not have my life any other way than it is right now.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Friday Afternoon Blues

1. Personal energy, the passion to do things, and the will to act and live are the most scarce resources. Finding these on a Friday at 5:30PM is like trying to find sanity in politics.

2. Undergraduate research is an oxymoron.

3. Saying "it could be worse" implies that "it could be a whole lot better."

4. A compliment leaves you craving for more compliments.

5. Inaction, blankly staring at a computer screen, and having many long drawn out silent conversations with yourself says something about the way one is living their life.

6. A picture might be worth a thousand words, but sometimes a simple "fuck you" will do.

7. I really hestiate and do not like to use the word "fuck." But my mom does not read this blog.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Difference

Some people treat people like shit. They give menial tasks to their underlings and declare themselves too good for menial tasks. They expect other people to make sure their life runs smoothly. They act privleged, expect privleges, and treat people like shit. A disproportionate number of these people end up in academia and are from the north.

I once had a classmate throw trash on the floor, not pick it up, and say "That is what the janitors get paid for." I should have whipped that guy's ass right there. I should have beat him to a pulp. But I did not.

My football coach used to say "Don't act special, and you will get treated special." I do not know if he is right. But if I ever act special, I hope some one beats my ass.

What I Am Reading

1. I just finished James Buchanan's The Demand and Supply of Public Goods. Applied economists (especially welfare economists) need to read Buchanan. But they won't.

2. I have started Peter Kennedy's A Guide to Econometrics Third Edition. I am going back to the basics. The beauty of statistics is in its simplicity and practicality. Many modern econometricians have forgotten this beauty.

3. I am almost done with Rick Warren's The Purpose Driven Life. I like Rand's purpose driven life better than Warren's. I do like the idea of having a purpose behind all of your actions. I just do not think you can eliminate self. Self is much too important to be eliminated.

4. I have just started James L. Kugel's How to Read the Bible. It promises to be an interesting historical journey. I have already gained prospective on why the Bible was written and the numerous interpetations of Abraham's near sacrifice of Isaac.

5. I am rapidly reading Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park. Fast paced fiction like sit-coms still gives me the most joy.

6. I just started Tyler Cowen's Discover Your Inner Economist. I have it a feeling it won't take me long to finish or put down. He has already used a lot of topics from MarginalRevolution. I do like his premise that people are complicated (screwed up), and simplfying behavior is foolish.

7. I started reading Albert Camus' The Myth of Sisyphus. I loved The Plague. But I don't know if I am ready for this one yet.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Backward Induction Or It Is Really Later Than I Think

I would like to start a job in the Summer or Fall of 2009. Most jobs for the Summer or Fall of 2009 are awarded in late Winter or early Spring of 2009. To be awarded a job in Winter or early Spring of 2009, one must apply and interview during the Fall and early winter of 2008. The big job fair and preliminary interview process for my profession is held in late July of 2008. To effectively participate in this process, I must be at least two-thirds done with my dissertation.

The bottom line is I have less than six months to do more than half of my dissertation.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Condo Ownership

1. On Monday I started the process to evict my rooommate/tenant. This is a time-consuming process that provides very little benefits for me.

2. I have to refinance, because the original loan was adjustable rate. This will probably save me money in the long-run. But it is still time-consuming.

3. The paint is coming off of my bathtub. There is a $30 kit that can fix this, but it is a time-consuming process. It takes a day to scrape the existing paint, clean the surface, and apply a primer, and another day to paint, followed by five days to dry. I cannot go a week without showering.

4. My heat-pump is still not working. Eventually I will have to get this fixed. This will also take time.

I wanted to make some statement like "time is my most scarce resource." In a way, this is true. Time is a very limiting factor. But honestly, there is plenty of time. There is no use worrying about it. No one can create more.

In other words, everything important will get done. And if it doesn't, it wasn't important.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Some Things

1. I weighed 200.2 pounds yesterday. This statement is purely positive. "It is what it is."

2. I finished W. Timothy Gallwey's The Inner Game of Tennis. I wished I had read it back when I was playing ball and throwing shotput. It really cleared up some things that I never fully understood while I was competing. The secret to success is focusing, doing what comes naturally, and not fighting what comes naturally. I am not doing the book justice. Read it.

3. When I was in the 11th grade someone stole my book bag while I was in the shitter. I eventually recovered the bag and everything in it. This event did not affect my shitting behavior, but I thought about it last night in the library when I took my bag into the shitter with me. Fortunately it was a handicap stall and had enough room.

4. I taught a class (lead a class discussion) this morning. It was the most fun I have had in a while. I enjoyed it. And if I want to do it for a living, I am going to have to finish this damn thing.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Some Questions

1. What was the more important invention: the cell phone or Email?

2. Who is the better sports writer: Bill Simmons or Jason Whitlock?

3. Who makes the best national brand delivery pizza?

4. How in hell can someone have a "well-behaved" utility function?

5. Why do economists "pretend, " I mean assume?

I am having a minor ideological clash with my advisor. It is like my Granddad told my Dad. "He can do what he wants. He owns the place. Listen or quit."

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Stupid Thoughts I Cannot Get Out Of My Mind

1. Indoor plumbing. How and why did people change from outhouses to indoor plumbing? Yeah, it is easier to shit indoors especially in winter, but it had to be expensive to change. I also do not trust early septic tanks. We used to have one when I was a kid that smelled everytime it rained. Now there has to be some public health benefits to city/county sewers, but who paid? I just cannot imagine my Granddad or great-grandfather shelling out money for "fancy and flushable" toilets. "Shit belongs outside."

2. I do not think rechargeable batteries are worth it. Sam left me a charger and four AAA batteries. My MP3 player takes one AAA battery. I lost one of the AAA batteries. It takes two batteries for the charger to work, so as long as I keep three batteries everything is fine. But I went to get a few extras for my mouse and remote controls. They were four or five times the cost of a regular battery. I just cannot imagine it being worth it. I lose too many batteries, but I really think this is the problem with a lot of green innovations. The institutions and practices that surround the product could be more important than the product itself. When Sam was here, the charger looked more economically feasible as there were benefits to sharing.

3. The internet is not fast or reliable enough yet to replace DVDs. It will be, but not yet. Plus, the computer is not the focus of enough people's living rooms. I like to plop down in front of the TV not my computer. There is too much incriminating evidence on my computer for it to be in a "public" room. I also like a real live person telling me a movie is good. I do not like to waste two hours on a bad movie.

4. The spell checker will not work on blogspot. This makes me worry. I do not trust my spelling. If I cannot trust my spelling, how can I trust my writing or my ideas?

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Defensive Principle

This is for when I interview to be a defensive coordinator:

When playing defense a player can be responsible for one of three (maybe two) things:

1. A Man

2 or 1a. The Quarterback

3. An Area Of the Field.

Deliverables Or Products

This blog has been discussing work and productivity. Sam and I in private conversations have been discussing similar issues.

My take is it all comes back to deliverables or products. A good worker, a successful person produces deliverables, products. Defining exactly what a deliverable or product is and working towards the right deliverables and products is subjective and complicated. But work creates deliverables and products.

One of the keys to being succesful is working towards deliverables and products and not working to just work. When an adequate product or deliverable is all that is called for, then adequate work is fine. It is neither necessary nor possible to know everything, and trying to is wasteful. One cannot make chicken shit into chicken salad. But if chicken shit is called for, using chicken salad is stupid.

My deliverable for the week is a table that summarizes the work I have been doing for the last six months. This table should be an adequate center piece in my dissertation proposal.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

I Am A NFC East Man

I will hate the Giants come August, but they had me tonight once Jacobs brought it in the first quarter. Their defensive line kept hitting pretty boy Brady. (Brady is still living a dream. That long-legged supermodel was drinking red wine. But he will be too sore to do anything about it tonight.) I don't hate the Patriots. I am just glad they lost.

NFC East! NFC East! NFC East! The game reminded me how great the game of football can be.

Next year it will be the 'Skins.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Super Bowl Wishes

I wish both the Patriots and Giants lose.

I wish Eli Manning throws 8 interceptions.

I wish Tom Brady throws 9 interceptions.

All kidding aside, I wish for a good game.

Sitting In The Library Or How I Know Jeff and GGM Are Right

1. The comments in the last post sound like something my Dad or Granddad would have told me. On issues concerning life and work, they have never been wrong.

2. This guy has been sitting beside me for an hour. He keeps answering his phone. "I am studying. I am trying to get a head start on my two exams next week." He goes on to talk for another thirty minutes, and the conversation always includes "What are you doing this weekend?" I have sat here for two hours. He has been on the phone for an hour and fifty-five minutes. That kind of bullshit does not cut it.

3. Read this story. Get up in the morning and go to work. That is what you are supposed to do.