Saturday, August 20, 2005

This Week I'm Listening To...

Obstacle 1 by Interpol. Full volume on the iPod. So nicely intense.

We can cap the old times make playing only logical harm
We can top the old lines clay-making that nothing else will change
But she can read, she can read, she can read, she can read, she's bad
Oh, she's bad

It's different now that I'm poor and aging, I'll never see this face again
You go stabbing yourself in the neck
It's different now that I'm poor and again, and I'll never see this place again
And you go stabbing yourself in the neck

We can find new ways of living make playing only logical harm
And we can top the old times, clay-making that nothing else will change
But she can read, she can read, she can read, she can read, she's bad
Oh, she's bad

It's in the way that she posed
It's in the things that she puts in my hair
Her stories are boring and stuff
She's always calling my bluff
She puts the weights into my little heart
And she gets in my room and she takes it apart
She puts the weights into my little heart
I said she puts the weights into my little heart

She packs it away

It's in the way that she walks
Her heaven is never enough
She puts the weights in my heart
She puts, oh she puts the weights into my little heart

West Ham the Next Chelsea?

God I hope so.

Kudos to Costas

I've never been a great fan of Bob Costas. He's said some really stupid things in his time presenting sports. But it's nice to see here that he refused to contribute to the WWWA (Where the White Women At) trend.

Update: Incidently today Philadelphia police found a body that may be that of missing pregnant African-American woman Latoyia Figueroa. You know, the one that's been all over the news 24/7. I guess if they find that she has been killed the story will be as big as the Laci Peterson case was last year.

Or.

Maybe.

Not.

Friday, August 19, 2005

It's Payback Time

Forbes Online has a new set of rankings for Business Schools based on Return on Investment. How much do graduates make on average over the five years after graduation after taking away tuition and forgone earnings. Dartmouth was first with a 5 year gain of $134,000, a sizeable chunk of cash and a typical Tuck grad will pay for his 2 year stint at school in 2.9 years. U-Wisconsin comes in 42nd primarily due I think to quite expensive out-of-state tuition compared to other public schools and relatively low graduate pay levels compared to East and West coast schools in particular.

I don't think that's entirely fair though. I'd really like to see how many people at UW's Business School are actually paying tuition. Over the last two days I've been taking part in the International Student orientation (of which I will post later). This morning we had a seminar for project assistants, teaching assistants, and fellowships. Virtually everyone from the other international seminars were there. Most people I have met have a serious amount of financial aid and at the very least tuition has been covered.

That makes a huge difference to the payback time for many of those at UW. I plugged in my numbers into this handy-dandy calculator, being as conservative as possible with expected pay after graduation and financial aid I'm getting. My payback time is 9 months. As in if I were to get a job directly after graduating my degree will have paid for itself by February of the next year. My guess is that many of my classmates are in the same situation. And that is just the financial returns, without taking into account the education itself, the new people I will meet, my time in beautiful Madison :)

The other point is that most of the graduates from Madison remain in the mid-west. As an example of the 23 people in the AC-Nielsen Center last year 17 had jobs or internships in Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, or Minnesota. Areas with a much lower cost of living than (for instance) New York, San Francisco, or Boston.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

I'm Ready Ticketmaster Don't Fret

I received an email from Ticketmaster today warning me not to miss Rob Thomas (ex of Matchbox 20). Sheez people, that's why I've been taking the sharpshooter courses three times a week for the last two years. I'm disappointed that Ticketmaster has so little faith.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Nice

I was asked today at lunch what I thought of Cincinnati and all I could think of was that it was 'nice'. I added a little to that, but nothing really that went beyond the city being 'nice'. What I should have pointed out, and I really do believe this, is that nowhere in the US will you find a city of Cincinnati's size and amenities that has such a low cost of living. Sure there are places where you can buy cheaper houses but they're not in places you'd ever really want to live.

This opinion was kind of backed up today by a study completed by National City Corp. and reported in USA Today that looked at overvaluation of homes in markets across the United States. Areas with high overvaluation levels are looking at a potential housing crash in the near future, areas with negative levels are there because people don't really want to live there despite the fact that the stats say they should. The article shows all 299 markets but I'm just going to reproduce areas where people who I know visit my blog reside.

  • Washington D.C. : 31%
  • San Francisco, CA : 30%
  • New York City, NY : 25%
  • Seattle, WA : 20%
  • Chicago, IL : 19%
  • Muskegon, MI : 15%
  • Madison, WI : 13%
  • New Haven, CT : 9%
  • Columbus, OH : 3%
  • Cincinnati, OH : 1%
  • South Bend, IN : -6%

I rest my case.

$29.59

On the way out to do errands today we filled up our Toyota Corolla at the nearest BP. It cost us $29.59. This is the point where my friends and family from home pull out their receipts for petrol and laugh at my paltry amount. What has to be understood though is that personal economies in Europe have adjusted for higher gas prices, they take these levels into account when purchasing cars, deciding how to travel, or even when planning budgets. When we purchased the car a couple of years ago we filled it up for under $11.

This could have quite an effect on our budget, despite us owning one of the most fuel efficient cars on the American market.

And according to quite a few people in the know this is only going to get worse.

So why no oil shock in the manner of 1973 and 1979? I think this is primarily because despite the moans from people on the local TV complaining about how $2.79 a gallon is obscene we've known this was coming for some time now. Washington Monthly had a good series about Peak Oil and CNN speculates here that we may actually have reached the point where world demand has outstripped possible supply.

All in all I don't think this is going to be the disaster some believe. Economies evolve. We evolved from wood burning to coal to oil and we'll evolve past oil because we have to. What's important is that the rise in oil prices occurs gradually and not suddenly as it did during the Yom Kippur war in '73 or the Iranian Revolution in '79.

On the plus side, although it hurts to put $30 straight into the car. It doesn't feel quite so bad when you see a Ford Expedition with a GW'04 bumper sticker pull up next to you at the pump.

Sunny Day, Sweepin' the Clouds Away

Lindsey's having a lie in this morning (her first since we got to Madison) so I'm watching the kids. They're changed, they've had their tea/milk, they've had their breakfast, and now they're watching their morning TV. This gives me a chance to post about the excellent Wisconsin Public Television kids line-up.

No Big Purple Piece of Crap till 11:30 when the kids are safely outside, well away from the TV. Very useful.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

You Want How Much for That Book?

I went down to the University Book Shop on State Street yesterday to go textbook searching. Fortunately it turns out that three of my courses (Marketing Management, Marketing Research, and Business Leadership) do not have required textbooks. Unfortunately for two that do you have to shell out the Gross National Product of a small African country to buy them.

Firstly, Corporate Finance 7th Ed by Ross, Westerfield, and Jaffe.

$98.85... and that's used. The annoying thing is I actually had a previous version of this book and then sold it after I finished the Finance course at Xavier.



Secondly, Financial Accounting for MBAs 2nd Ed by Easton, Wild, and Halsey.

$112.50.








As well as heading towards a debt situation that may cause Bob Geldof and Bono to set up a concert in my benefit I explored State Street and went to Grainger for the first time to look around.

State Street is kind of fun. There were about 15 stalls outside the library with different kinds of food and drink being sold. Cuban, Greek, Thai, Indonesian, Lemonade. The sales technique of using an eight-year-old girl behind the Lemonade stand was inspired. The one thing that struck me was that there were two Nepalese restaurants on the same block competing with each other. How many American cities can say that?

I had not been to Grainger on my travels during application so this was the first time I'd been there. I had been to Fisher at Ohio State and Ross at Michigan though. So for comparisons sake it's almost as big as Ross, but as new and shiny as Fisher. I went up to the Marketing Research department but I was good at avoiding people. I drastically need a haircut and I was all scummy after walking the city in 85 degree heat so I didn't want my first impression with the people in the office to be that I was some kind of hippie. I am a hippie, but I'm a particular kind of hippie, not just some kind of one.

I'll be meeting most of my future classmates today for lunch so I'll get cleaned up for that.

Move Along, Nothing to See Here

There was an article some time ago in Business Week that I can't find right now where Business School leaders were asked to give advice to George W Bush on how to deal with the Karl Rove/Valerie Plame situation. The principle piece of advice was not to try and cover anything up. That if the story is out there and there is even the faintest hint of a cover up the public will think the worst.

This is of course easy advice to give when you're not actually involved and have nothing to lose from any fallout, but it is the right advice. As such I hope that two institutions that I have a lot of faith in, the United Kingdom and the University of Wisconsin perform a thorough investigation into these two pieces of bad news.

New Claims Emerge Over Menezes Death

University of Wisconsin Records Show High Monkey Deaths

The New Place

Lindsey has some large photos here.

Monday, August 15, 2005

His Dark and Patently Blasphemic Materials


Kevin Drum has a post talking about how he's just got round to reading the His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman and wondering why it didn't get the religious bashing that Harry Potter did. This despite it being blatently anti-God in it's subject matter.

Well primarily it's for the same reason that it's taken this long for Kevin to read it. The religious right reacts to hype when it comes out against something. From Elvis, through the Beatles, to Marilyn Manson and Harry Potter. No hype, no eternal damnation and book/record/CD burnings.

Reading through the comments something else struck me as well. Unless they hated the series (in which case they have no taste and their opinion is void) most people agree that the first book was fantastic, the second a little less so but still great, and the third book was a mess.

I want to be on record as saying that all three of the books are classics. So there. I'm still waiting for the sequel, The Book of Dust, to be released. Allegedly sometime this year.

This Week I Am Listening To...

The Futureheads version of Kate Bush's song Hounds of Love. Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh, The Hooonds of Looove are callin'.

When I was a child
Running in the night
I was afraid of what might be
Hiding in the dark
Hiding in the streets
And of what was following me

The hounds of love are calling
I've always been a coward
And I don't know what's good for me
Well, here I go
It's coming at me through the trees
Help me, someone, help me please
Take your shoes off and throw them in the lake
And I will be two steps on the water

I found a fox caught by dogs
He let me take him in my hands
His little heart it beats so fast
That I am ashamed to be running away
From nothing real, I just can't deal with this
I feel ashamed to be there

Amongst your hounds of love
And I feel your arms surrounding me
I've always been a coward
And I don't know what's good for me
Well, here I go
Don't let me go
Hold me down
It's coming at me through the trees
Help me, someone, help me please
Take my shoes off and I will throw them in the lake
And I will be two steps on the water
Do you know what I mean, do you know what I mean?
I need love, love, love, love, yeah!

Take my shoes off and I will throw them in the lake
And I will be two steps on the water

I don't know what's good for me
I don't know what's good for me
Do you know what I mean?
Do you know what I mean?

D**n That Smells Good

Being surrounded by Koreans, Indians, Chinese, Sri Lankans, and probably a dozen other nationalities all cooking fantastically spicy food combined with the fact that I'm here and can look after the kids has led to Lindsey cooking some great food the past two days. Ham steak, diced potatoes, and corn yesterday. Chicken Alfredo Fettucini with fresh Sourdough bread today.

What's even better is that because the kitchen is open-plan and the apartment is only 600 sq ft the whole place smells of food cooking.

The dining table in the kitchen is just large enough to fit the four of us and the microwave. It feels very homely, almost like we should be saying grace before each meal.

Annoying

I just wrote a huge post and Blogger ate it.

I'm pissed now.

I'll rewrite it after I've had a cup of tea.

First Thoughts About Wisconsin

  1. Wisconsin State Troopers' Cars are blue. This is very important. Though they don't seem to care about speeding as much as the cops in Ohio and definitely Indiana.
  2. Virtually everyone we saw on the road in our first 30 miles in Wisconsin had Illinois plates. This means either a lot of people in Illinois want to spend their weekends in Wisconsin, or people in Wisconsin don't have cars. I'm guessing the former.
  3. We're not yet used to the small size of Madison. In that you can drive from one side to the other in less than 20 minutes. It seems to be about half the size of Cincinnati without the suburbs.
  4. Lake Mendota is just gorgeous, and I don't throw that term around easily.
  5. While our apartment block is technically on campus we are right next to Shorewood Hills which is the the most expensive area of Madison. Full of million dollar houses and lake front condos. If the kids were old enough they would go to Shorewood Hills schools. That would be hilarious. They'd be the poor kids in a rich school. Like on the O.C. or something.
  6. Madison drivers are slow and polite. They stick to 20mph speed limits when they exist and they ALWAYS indicate. It's like Lexington, KY with more lakes and fewer horses.
  7. Ilsa was upset the first day about being in a new place, but now she's OK. Juliette was excited to be going to Wis-con-sin, but now she's talking about going home. This could be awkward.
  8. Juliette said "Casa means House in Wisconsin". I guess this means she believes Wisconsin is in Latin America, maybe an adjunct to Mexico.
  9. Lindsey mentioned this on her site, but we are one of a tiny number of Anglos in the student family housing. This means there is a huge number of really nice smelling meals being made at dinner time. We need to make friends fast so we can be invited round to eat.
  10. Good things about the apartment: Large kitchen, masses of cabinet space, 100Mbps free Internet connection, lots of small children around, lakefront within easy walking distance, comunity center and playgrounds even closer, free washing machines and dryers that nobody appears to use.
  11. Bad things about the apartment: No dishwasher, the carpet colour could be a little nicer, poor cell phone connection and TV reception.

Weird Wisconsin

Check it out.

Plus: a pink elephant, the world's tallest grandfather clock, Chatty Belle the talking cow, Mass Panic, a funeral home with taxidermy dioramas, and Xanadu.

odd thing

Wisconsin Drive-In Movie Newspaper Ads Gallery.
who dare says there is nothing to do in Wisconsin? WHO!?

Sunday, August 14, 2005

In Madison

I haven't really had the chance to write anything about being in Madison yet. I have a lot to write, but haven't had the inclination to put the time into getting it all down. I will eventually. In the meantime read Lindsey's posts here, here, and here.