Snarky Behavior

Entries tagged as ‘about me’

I voted!

November 4, 2008 · 1 Comment

…and it felt so good!

I have a lot to say about how convoluted the procedure was but suffice it to say that there are efficiencies to be had in the process.  I also didn’t get an “I voted” sticker and I’m pretty heated about that.

Categories: Neato
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I’m Offering Insurance

October 22, 2008 · 2 Comments

on my fellowship for next semester.  For it to roll-over, I need a B+ GPA for this year.  Since I’m taking 6 classes and TA’ing another, I’ve been really crunched on time, and my GPA isn’t looking so hot right now.  If I were to take a stab at my current post-midterm grades (equally weighted in terms of credits), they would look like this (you can think of “projected grades” as “credit ratings,” with anything above B+ or > 3.33 as “investment grade”):

Urban Economics:  B- (2.67)

Public Economics:  B+ (3.33)

International Capital Markets:  C+ (2.33)

Decision Models:  A (4.00)

Educational Leadership Consulting:  A (4.00)

Cost-Benefit Analysis:  B (3.00)

That’s a GPA of 19.33/6 or 3.22, which is less than the required 3.33.


So here’s how insurance markets work:  I have two possible outcomes, one in which I get my GPA for the semester above 3.33 (and keep my fellowship, valued at $6000), and another where I do not (costing me $6,000).  I would like to pay a premium such that I can hedge my risk and know with certainty that I will have some approximate value close to $6,000.

My expected value in these two uncertain states of the world depends on the likelihood of failing to get the B+ average.  I’m not TOO far off, and presumably I could spend some more time in the classes I’m doing poorly in to help myself out.  So let’s say I’m at about a 10% chance of failure (I’m keeping it low because I’m  confident in my ability to whine my way into safety if I’m within the margin).  My expected return is therefore:

.1x + (1-.1)y = EV, where x is “no fellowship” and y is “earned fellowship.”

.1*($0) + (.9)*($6,000) = $5,400.

If I’m risk neutral or risk adverse, I should be willing to pay a premium of $600 for actuarial fair insurance to pay me $6,000 in the event I don’t get my GPA up.


This might seem like a good deal to you if you’re assuming I’m an over-achiever and I can get my grades up if I put my mind to it.  Maybe an easy $600 with a low possibility of risk.  Alternatively, you could set up an office pool to share the risk… 10 people accepting 10% shares each ($60) with the responsibility to fork over $600 in the event I fail.

Maybe you could even traunch my grades!  Lower grades pay a higher rate of return than higher grades… if I failed to meet the overall B+ target, but improved in Capital Markets from a C+ to a B, you could shift the weighted burden to whomever was holding the traunch that held me back, and insulate the riskier traunches.

What about other derivative markets?  Credit default swaps?

Of course the moral hazard is:  if I know with certainty my expected value, I lose the incentive to work harder, and my risk profile shifts dramatically.  Instead of a 10% chance of underperforming, I’m maybe 50-50%.  In the presence of insurance, my behavior shifts dramatically.

So all that in mind, who wants to insure me?

Categories: Snarky · graduate school
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For My Dad

September 30, 2008 · 3 Comments

My dad (AJ) is a regular reader of my blog now, which is pretty cool.  From what I can tell of all of his high school/college/post-college photos, I’m pretty much on the track of looking exactly like him some day.

He’s had a mustache for as long as I’ve been alive.  I think it’s kind of weird, since he’s not a policeman or anything. I mean, wouldn’t you want to shake things up once in awhile?  Grow a beard or something?  I mean, even Alex Trabek eventually shaved the trademark ’stache.

Anyway, I grew/shaved a mustache today to spot-check my progress.  I think I look too silly when I smile.

Me and Dad

Me and Dad

Categories: Neato
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Seven Years Later, a Service Mandate

September 12, 2008 · Leave a Comment

A long day… my article is up at the Huffington Post though, so check it out if you get a chance.

Categories: Opinion
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I Now Understand

September 11, 2008 · 1 Comment

the impulse to live blog these things.  There’s a lot of down time.

There’s also free lunch!!!  Turkey and cheese, with browie, pretzel and apple.  Needless to say, every member of the media grabbed one.  People like free stuff, esp. food.

Categories: graduate school
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Almost Famous

September 11, 2008 · Leave a Comment

I’m in the media holding room at the ServiceNation Summit, where Obama and McCain will speak tonight.  I got a press pass through the Huffington Post, and two people have approached me with “you look familiar… should I recognize you?” 

It’s soul-crushing to say no, but I think the beard and glasses make me look like a real serious internet star.

Categories: graduate school
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Don’t Be Fooled by the Rocks that I got

September 2, 2008 · Leave a Comment

A quick post:

Yesterday I spent all day moving things into my new apartment in the Bronx.  My roommate and I made three drop-offs with the U-haul van, steadily lugging our crappy second-hand IKEA things up the four flights of stairs, while the entire neighborhood watched on with interest.

After we had dropped off the van in Chelsea, we took the D express train back uptown, arriving home for good around 10:30 pm.  The same people who had been lounging around and listening to loud music at 2pm were in the exact same spots, listening to the exact same music, at the exact same volume.

When we approached our apartment door we noticed a group of families in the hallway talking to each other.  They informed us that our next door neighbor’s apartment had been broken into with a CROWBAR HOURS EARLIER.

I’m pretty sure that crowbar was intended for our apartment, and was meant to steal the iMac I had carried up in front of all to see.

The crazy thing is that our deadbolt hasn’t been installed yet.  You could’ve kicked our door open.

Needless to say, we’re actively investigating renter’s insurance.

Categories: Uncategorized
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“My Best Friend”

August 28, 2008 · 1 Comment

That’s what I’ve begun calling my iPhone.  When a friend of mine found out that I had recently gotten one, she commented: “that’s just going to ruin his social life.”

I’ve got to say though, the iPhone is incredible.  Aside from a very short battery life (barely gets you through the day), more frequently dropped calls, an incredibly slow 3G network (at least in DC), and a few frozen moments, I have been ecstatic.  No really.  My life is so much better.

Best Parts

  • Google Reader while going #2–  I’m sorry if this grosses you out.  It’s not like I’m un-hygienic about it.  But you always have a newspaper!  It’s incredible!
  • Mobile Uploads–  I finally have a camera with decent to good quality that I can upload straight to facebook, wordpress or flickr.  You know what this means????  Frequent blog postings of crazies on the subway!!!  I can’t wait.
  • Twitterific– If only I had more friends who used Twitter.  AH-HEM.
  • Texting — is ridiculously easy with the iPhone.  The smart keyboard is SMART.  90% of the time I make mistakes, it auto-corrects them.  This is very helpful for fat thumbs.
  • Applications — I know have an application with the NYC Subway map (City Transit), with live advisories, and bus lines.  With a push of the button, I can GPS the closest stop to my location.  I have the Yelp! application, which will give me listings and reviews of the bars and restaurants closest to me.  The NY Times application gives me top stories in an easy to read format.  “Showtimes” gives me all movie theaters in my radius, the movies playing, and their showtime.  The Pageonce application gives me updates of every single online account I have, from banks, to social networks, to amazon, to e-bay, and every airline frequent flier program.
  • Syncing G-Cal– I’ve used a third-party software to push my G-Cal to my iPhone.  Amazing!

I’m really going to love the shit out of this phone until it gets stolen from me in the Bronx.

Categories: Neato · Opinion
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Ask the Readers: New Apartment

August 25, 2008 · 5 Comments

Ok, so I’m moving into a new apartment on September 1st.  Both my roommate and I are moving from out of state, and neither of us has much in terms of worldly possessions.

We’ve already each secured a bed, table/chairs, and a chair for the living room.  I’ve also secured a desk and bookshelf.  But we need a lot of other stuff.  Off the top of my head:

  1. Wireless router
  2. Couch
  3. End tables
  4. Coffee Table
  5. Iron/Ironing Board
  6. Swifter
  7. Cleaning supplies (including sponges, rags, hand/dish soap, plunger and toilet cleaner)
  8. Toilet Paper and Paper Towels/holder
  9. Trash cans and bags (bathroom/kitchen)
  10. Tool set
  11. Cookware (pots/pans/cutlery/utensils/plates/glasses/bowls)
  12. Shower lining and rings
  13. Bath mat

Is there anything else I’ve forgotten?  What are the best means of securing these items?  Have at it in the comments…

Categories: Neato
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A new thresh-hold

August 13, 2008 · Leave a Comment

About a month ago, a friend of mine who blogs excitedly told me that she had received her first nasty-gram(!)  It was from a former fat girl who took umbrage at something my friend had written about how she can’t help but stare at people’s gunts.

Well, I had a similar but different experience last night.  At 12:05 am, I received a text from an unknown number (202 area code, I’m sure it was a friend and I can probably guess who) that said the following:

Hey, put this on your blog… “the Olympics just got a little Nastia!!!”  I’m jealous of Hope’s frequent mentions on your blog.  Also, “Shawn Johnson makes the beam look twice as wide as it is.”  Classic.

That’s what she said.

Categories: Snarky
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