Tuesday, May 18, 2010


And if for whatever reason you should want to read it, here it is. And here is the R code in its native format, should you want to run it. Though, you'd need the WRDS data to actually run if profitably, and I think it would be a breach of contract for me to post it. Anyway if you've got access to WRDS, you can use my code.

Its good to be done. I spent an order of magnitude more time on it than some people think is acceptable for that sort of thing. I think as a masters thesis it accomplishes the goal: it demonstrates that I'm capable thinking abstractly and creatively, as well as able to master technical tools. The thesis about bankruptcy prediction; trying to find a new source of information to improve predictive accuracy. Its even moderately successful, but probably not successful enough to be a dissertation.

While I wasn't doing that last weekend, I played Portal. Its a short (awesome) game. Today I found this screenshot on my desk, and couldn't immediately figure out why I had taken it. The humor takes a second to seep in, and only if you're familiar with the game. Note that I took it while the game was still downloading.

If you get it, its pretty funny.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Food flowers

My hanging garden is developing a really pleasant aroma, as my plants
flower. The smell of the flowers keeps catching me off guard; it's
tangier than typical decorative flowers, I get this deep urge to sniff
around and find out where it's coming from. Evolutionary adaptation?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Action Suit

Who could pass up a three piece thriftstore suit, which actually fits, and is made by Levi's?

They say the "Action Suit" suit was a pinnacle of bad marketing research; I say it a pinnacle of awesomeness too lofty for the hungover hipsters that were its intended purchasers. Look at me above, engaging in a manly speaker wire-running adventure, emphasized in its awesomeness by crisp creases and a snappy vest. The facial expression, which could easily be mistaken for some sort of bloodlust in the context of all that feral (and yet refined) masculinity, is actually just an artifact of wondering what Rick just knocked over in his room.

Speaking of the spirit of innovative cleverness and speaker wires, check this out:
On the surface, it appears to be an interrupter switch spliced into a speaker wire, hanging from my ceiling. And that's exactly what it is! Its purpose is to control the on/off-ness of the speakers I just installed on my back deck, which were the object of my speaker-wiring adventure.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Next thing to fix:

the charging system. The battery is getting drained from running the engine (meaning that its being used for spark), and the headlight intensity varies with the engine speed. I suspect I'll have to rebuild the alternator. Maybe I'll just swap it for the one in the bike I bought for Rick. Might as well take the chrome headers, while I'm canibalizing.

And I'm afraid I've gotta do it before the 20th, 'cause I need a street legal bike for the skills test.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

NeverDie ambigram

GRE studying, Thesis-making, Coffee-shop-not-buying

I've been hitting the GRE study book hard, and with some payoff. Last test I took (the 8th) I got a 83.33% percent on, up from 73.33% on the first one. My time is improving significantly too, from 45+min to under 30. This is good, since these old paper-tests allow 30 questions in 30 min. However, I'm afraid I might be creating some bad habits in rushing, since the CBT tests are 28 questions in 45 min. On the other hand, I feel like I need to do it in the 30 minuet time limit just so that my raw scores are comparable to the GRE scores they've got in the book. We shall see. I'll have a nice mountain of data that I can do dorky things with when I'm done: the scores of each test, which questions I got wrong, how long I took on each test, how long I took on each question I got wrong, the date I took the test... and then the raw data of the problem-solving in my notebook. Maybe I could categorize the type of mistakes I've made.

I finished writing the ultimate function for my thesis. Ultimate in the sense that its the last thing I had planned to do, anyway. Its only taken me since last summer to learn enough [R] to be able to do it. I probably could have done it at any time last quarter; it took about 20 minutes to write when I finally sat down to it this afternoon. Its been running for about an hour and a half now, so I guess my computer is procrastinating proportionally to how I did.

The plan to buy Koka Cafe and remake it into Logic's Cafe has cratered. The lessors of the business told us they weren't interested in out proposal; no further information. I'm guessing "undercapitalized 20-something grad students" entered their minds. Ah well, it was a nice thought to entertain. I made a neat spreadsheet for it, anyway, and using it could probably pretty well estimate the worth of any given restaurant I walk into.

The first NeverDie ambigram I made for my tank turned out comically bad. It looked alright from straight-on, but at any other angle it looked like a cookie screwed to the tank. The 15-20 coats of laquer made it turn yellow, and all the layers were visible on the edge where I cut it out. It also wasn't even close to round. The silver ink looked alright; but like silver ink rather than metal.

So I made a new one. I made a thinner wafer, sanded it, and painted it black (rather than just cooking it until it was black, which caused the first one to warp and bubble). I then took a beverage can, cut it open, drew the ambigram on the painted side, and cut it out with an exacto blade. The result is that the guitar is backwards, but no biggie. The biggest mistake was trying to attach them to the wafer with spray adhesive. The stuff isn't very sticky, it never fully dries, and it turned the glossy black paint totally matte. As a result of the first and second points, the letters that still had some of the can's curvature wouldn't stay down, and the super-glue I used as a fixxer wouldn't quite adhere either. Nevertheless, I got it worked out to a satisfactory degree, laqured it (once), and put it on. Its pretty rad (see next post for visuals). HOWEVER: the laquer is no match for handlebars-that-hit-the-tank (and its also too thin), so I need to find some way to cover it with a more durable clear plastic. I'll have to melt something, I imagine. Maybe I'll experiment with clear plastic bottles.

Dammit, I just now realized I could have easily turned the cut-out part of the metal I used for the ambigram to make another one, in negative.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Redbuds are my favorite tree,

Rachaels are my favorite girl.