Saturday, September 30, 2006

Studyng Failure

One striking thing about the finance reading I'm doing is that you study failures - lots of them. The biggest lessons come from case studies of the biggest fuckups.

This is very different than physics, where people hardly ever talk about the failures.

It's too bad, because apart from being gripping, there's also a lot to be learned from those fuckups, and those lessons are lost. So people keep making the same mistakes. (ie. those who ignore history ....)

I'm always interested in novel ways to present and analyze data, and I came across this (pretty well known) example from Anscombe, which I really like.

All four of these datasets have the same ...

linear-fit : y=3+0.5 x
mean : 7.5
variance : 4.12
correlation : 0.816

Of course the moral of the story is, it's important to LOOK at your data. A lot of fuckups happen when lazy people put their trust in some automated machinery (like the TOMS ozone hole) because they figure someone else had already figured it all out.

Job U Want

Monday, September 25, 2006

Monday Night Football

When it comes to sports I believe the hype. Tonight the New Orleans Saints returned to the Superdome, a year and a month after Hurricane Katrina. It was one of the most hyped Monday Night games ever. Reggie Bush would square off against Michael Vick. So I was glued to the screen.

Even the opening minutes were insane. The Saints blocked a punt and ran it back for a touchdown right away and the place went nuts. The Saints are KILLING the Falcons, so the game itself was a blowout.

Spike Lee was in the house, U2 and Green Day played, but who do they have opening the game withthe coin toss ? George H.W.M.F. Bush.

The same Bush who's son totally botched the post-Katrina emergency and who's wife goes on TV saying :

"Almost everyone I've talked to says, 'We're gonna move to Houston.' What I'm hearing, which is sort of scary, is they all want to stay in Texas... Everybody is so overwhelmed by the hospitality, and so many of the people in the arenas here, you know, were underprivileged anyway. This is working very well for them."

Unfuckingbelieveable! How can he show his face in New Orleans ?

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Assbike Song: The Mooney Suzuki

The rock. They will bring it. The Mooney Suzuki.

Shake that Bush Again (4.1 Mb).


Friday, September 22, 2006

Hairspray on Dupont

There's a lot of filming going on in Toronto now. I saw a big set up near high park and Bloor St. at Dundas west was closed during rush hour yesterday for a big shoot.

On Dupont they are shooting the John Waters musical Hairspray (starring John Travolta, Queen Latifah and Christopher Walken), and they've turned two blocks of Dupont (from Bathurst to Spadina) into 1950s Baltimore:


Missed Connections: Handsome Man

I am a very handsome man

I am a very handsome man.. why is no one missing my connection on here - m4w - 26
Reply to:
Date: 2006-09-21, 7:28PM EDT

I am a very handsome guy who gives lots of handsome looks to the ladies. They usually look at me, and then try to talk to me, but at the last minute, i handsomely leave, and they don't know where i've gone.

Then i go on here to see if Goth in Skirt or Book girl in Park have missed me, and written to find me.. but no! WHY NOT?!

I'm so handsome!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Ellis Training Circuit

I'm liking bikely so much I decided to map the Ellis training circuit near High Park.

Check it out on bikely

I tried to ride it but with some streetlights not working and construction on the Queensway it was impossible without dying.

It features a long drag up from the Queensway and then a short steep hill that cuts back before you turn back on to bloor. Then you climb along Bloor back up to the entrace to the park.

Here's the profile :

Cameo makes a cameo

Who designed the outfits for the Belgian team for the World's this year ? Cameo ?

Missed Connections

I get a kick out of reading the missed connections on Craigslist. I'll be posting the good ones as I come across them:

Girl in Mazda3 on 404 Northbound - m4w - 24
Reply to:
Date: 2006-09-20, 1:31PM EDT

You: Gorgeous girl driving a carbon grey Mazda3 GT sedan with the GFX package.

Me: Driver of a dark red Mazda Miata.

We shared a look while waiting to turn left onto Highway 7. Maybe there's something behind that look? We'll never know unless we meet.

Zoom zoom.

Winter Time Training

I've gotten back into my winter training routine. Where I get all suited up and head out at 7:00 or sometimes even later and ride for 2 or more hours. Since it's dark by that time, it doesn't really matter when you leave. It's all the same. The usual spot is the CNE but sometimes I like to mix it up.

Last night was rainy, so I stuck to the CNE where it's safer, also if you venture out on the open roads you have to deal with traffic, stoplights, etc.

But tonight I worked out a pretty cool training route in the Beaches (or the "Beach" as it's officially known now).

As you can see it's got a decent climb (by T-dot standards). The roads are paved with interlocking brick and lined with super nice houses.

You can check out the route on Bikely too.

And in other news. I heard (so this might be bullshit), but I heard that Rockstar: Supernova winner Lukas Rossi used to hang out at my local watering hole (Mayday Malone's). I dunno if that's true, but in this article Rossi's buddies are hanging out at Clinton's, which is exactly where I expect to see Lukas-Rossi-looking dudes.


Tuesday, September 19, 2006

New Fall Season

Since it's September, with all the new shows starting their seasons I'm back on the downloading train (aka. Canadian Tivo).

Number 1 is HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher". Maher can wipe the floor with John Stewart's smug Liberal ass any day.

One thing I've learned from Real Time though is that it is really really hard for a guy who's fifty or so to not be a huge blowhard. Supposed East Coast elites like Tom Wolfe and P.J O'Rourke (who Bill's had on at least twice now) are among the worst (though the worst of all is Bill O'Reilly). But Real Time also has on "positive" non-blowhard rolemodels, like Bill himself, or Elvis Costello.

I dig mysteries. Or at least I get sucked in my them. The last four books I've read have been mysteries (except Canseco's "book"), so I really got caught up in the first season of Veronica Mars, girl detective.

I have incredible restraint in some matters, and I never skip ahead when I watch a movie or read a book. I always want to experience it exactly how the creator intended. So when I got this whole series I spent a few months watching it at a controlled pace, not binging on three episodes or skipping ahead. It was worth it. Some people compare it to Buffy, but I think it's a lot better -- at least it doesn't have the male characters that you want to throw under a bus.

The second season wasn't as good, but now Veronica goes to college.

The "US" Office. I'm on the fence with this show. When Pam and Jim got together that in my mind ruined the whole show. The beauty of the British Office was the discomfort and lack of fulfilment. Candy and chips is okay for the kids, but more sophisticated tastes like bitter and sour too. Plus whenever two characters on a show evantually hook up it makes the transition to soap opera.

Two shows I might try to make space in my life for are The Wire, and Life on Mars, a BBC cop show set in the 70s.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Mad Money, Booyah !

Since I decided that my post-degree future would be in finance, not physics (and more out of necessity than choice) I've been trying to absorb as much finance as possible.

The best ting I've gotten into is Jim Cramer's Mad Money on CNBC. For an hour this bug eyed little troll leaps and screams and throws shit and trash talks other analysts calling them "clowns", as the camera jumps around and zooms in and out and sound effects and props fly around the room. One of Jim's catchphrases is "Booyah!"., a critical blog writes:

To Jim's credit, I waffle between admiration for someone who can go on live TV and essentially wing it for an hour and fear that he is like that all the time and they just invite cameras in for a while.

I first heard about Jim Cramer from a GQ article years ago. He was the mercurial hedge-fund manager who went from sleeping in his car to making millins for himself and his clients. A super type-A personality, he would get up a 3am and read a dozen papers before getting to work and during his legendary tantrums would throw computers and phones around the office.

Cramer got out out of the hedge fund business a while ago but he's channeled all that energy and madness into the Wall St. version of Pee Wee's Playhouse.

On Friday he was PLAYING IN A SANBOX! He had a sandbox in the studio and he actually sat in it and PLAYED IN THE SAND!

I don't know how much I am actually learning from Mad Money, but it is hella entertaining.


Thursday, September 14, 2006

Sock Management Problem

Trying to manage my socks is a problem that been EATING away at me. I've learned not to be that douche, that wears white tube socks with everything, like some dippy 13 yr old who wears his dad's suit for jr. high graduation.

The smart thing I did is make sure I have almost all black socks. I have a few pairs in other colours, but I don't go out and try to make a cute little "statement" like some Croc wearing soccer-dad. I do have a few other colours, but I'll leave those out for now.

In my sock drawer I have heaps of black socks, but each one is part of a matched pair, so if one gets fucked up, I have to decide do I still try to keep the pair in the rotation ?

To complicate matters, I also have multiples of some types of socks, so sometimes that means I'm left with three of a kind, or five.

This means I also have a pile of singles which are part of an odd-numbered set, which I can't throw away because I can use them if one of the socks in the paired sets gets fucked.

So after I wash my socks, I have this heap of black socks - all different kinds. I sort them into three piles :

A) good socks (this is like 25% of the socks)
B) workable socks (ones that have a little hole, but not too bad, like 70%)
C) fucked up socks (ones that have big holes, these are the rest)

Pile C I just throw away, they're done.

I pair up the good socks in pile A to whatever extent possible. The ones I can't pair up from pile A I try to find a match in pile B. (To complicate things trying to pair up a shitload of not exactly the same black socks is like sexing baby chickens, it's excruciatingly hard and sometimes mistakes are made).

I can also pair up some of the socks from pile B, but them I have an ass-pair, where both members are defective.

Now I'm left with a few good socks from A and some from B which are unpaired, though they may be part of a threesome or fivesome. I can't actually be sure unless I have ALL my socks in front of my, so ultimately I'm forced to hang on to them forever.

Orphan socks, just sitting by themselves, hoping that one day they will be paired up, when the right sock croaks.

So wouldn't it be good if there were a few types of "standard sock", and if you had to you could go pick up one, three or a dozen replacements when you needed them ?

Companies have figured out how to do it with batteries and lightbulbs, why not socks ?

And... Of course like any good idea, someone has had it. I present BLACKSOCKS.COM. With Blacksocks you can subcribe to one of their socks. You would get a 10 sock starter kit and then you can subscribe for a 3/yr or 4/yr shipment.

All the blacksocks in a given style and size are identical and unchanging. You can always place an order and replenish your supply and at no time would you have more than one unmatched "good" sock.

I'm surprised IKEA, or Cdn. Tire or some other ubiqutous proletariat chain hasn't picked up on this idea.

Basically I need to do this, or at least throw out all my socks and start fresh with a new supply of black socks. The problem will still be a find a way to replenish the supply six months or a year or more from now.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

World's most famous bengali ?

I can always set off a huge argument at Bengali gatherings when I bring up the topic of who is the "World's Most Famous Bengali ?"

Tagore won a Nobel prize, as did Amartya Sen, but those aren't exaftly household names. Lara Dutta was Miss Universe and dated Derek Jeter, but that's still pretty obscure. My dad told me the CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta was Bengali, if that is the case, I think we have a contender for WMFB.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Assbike Tip #2

Combine Assbiking with Transit

I always try to have a TTC ticket in my wallet because you never know when your assbiking plans will be derailed by flat, or rain (if assbiking has one enemy it's rain). This way I can hop on the train when it's convenient, but still avoid waiting for a bus or streetcar if I can bike it.

The transit doesn't give a rats about assbikers, but it IS designed to be negotiable by mom's with strollers. Anywhere strollers can go, bikes can go.

Don't lift your bike over the turnstiles or lug it up the stairs like a douche. Every subway stop has a gate you can lift and walk through, and a lot have automatic gates for wheelchairs that you can use as well. Every stop also has an elevator to the platform.

Also some buses have bike racks on the front (like the Bathurst line) which can be handy.


Thursday, September 07, 2006

Assbike Tip #1

This kicks off a series of assbikin' tips as I think of them.

Tip 1. Park Across the Street Sometimes when you're out at a bar or restaurant you figure if you park your assbike out front you can keep an eye on it.

Often it's easier to keep an eye on your bikeif you park it across the street, because from where you're might be sitting you usually have a wider view of the opposite side than you do of the side of the street you're actually on.

Especially, if the windows are a bit higher.


Monday, September 04, 2006

Bike Pirates

A few days ago I picked up a new headset from Craigslist, I knew the one on my usual ride was shot and would have to be replaced soon. Turns out Assbike labs is equipped for pretty much every repair except headset replacement.

So I dropped by Bike Pirates on Bathurst just South of College (near Sneaks in fact).

Bike Pirates is a Co-op and anyone can drop in there and work on their bike. They have the tools, space and work stands. It's a good place to work on your bike even if you have the tools, because there is a lot of room and there are always people who can give you a hand. Whenever you go there's always a few people working on beaters.

It turns out they didn't have any special headset tools either, so I made do. I had a couple nice guys Nick and Asher help me out. Nick held my fork as I hammered out the fork crown race with a screwdriver.

Asher showed me how to hammer out the frame cups by inserting a copper pipe into the head tube. I came up with a clever way to do this, since this job is a bit harder because of the way the inside of the Cannondale's headtube is designed. I will try to provide a diagram of the tool I made for this job. I just used a mallet and a block of wood to install the new headset.

For the help I gave Nick some spare parts, and he even took my worn out headset. The attitude reminded me of India, where people try to get every possible use out of everything and don't throw anything out.

Bike Pirates is supposedly open Sat and Mon 12-5.


Five Good Assbike Bars

Since a lot the popular downtown going out places are now infested by Federlines, it is time to compile a list of off the beaten path bars. Many of these are pretty much only accessible by assbike.

Clinton's (Bloor + Christie) This is THE Rock'n'Roll bar. The beer's not that cheap, the food is okay, but if there is one word for the log cabin interior it is: uplifting. The look: Black T-shirts and studded belts.

Queenshead (Queen + Bathurst) This place wasn't almost going to make the list because it is full of try-hards and the service is too aloof for my taste, but I went there tonight for the wings and they were pretty damn good. The look: Emo hair and army jackets.

Communist's Daughter (Dundas and Ossington) This place will make you say "I remember 2003!". A throwback hipster bar for people who miss trucker hats and green Pumas. Pabst Blue Ribbon specials and Tegan and Sara on the jukebox. I ate the cheese and sausage platter. I'm probably also the only person that ate pickled eggs from the massive jar behind the bar. The look : Trucker hats and Pumas.

Ronnie's Local 069 (Kensington Mkt.) This is a new bar that is made to look like a biker (the Hell's Angels type) dive that's been there for 40 years, but there's more Assbikes than Harleys out front. This makes the whole thing a bit contrived from the get go, but it is on the upswing on the Assbike Lifecycle Theory. It was packed and hoppin' when I dropped in. They have a few cool beers on tap and some decent tunes. The look : Rockabilly hair and Coop tattoos.

Rhino (Queen + Dufferin) The "Gladstone Dip" acts as the barrier between The Rhino in Parkdale and the Queen West artbar scene. It has a 100-beer menu and decent beers like Wellington and Denison on tap for $4/pint. The food is really good too and cheap, like the grilled calamari, proscuitto pizza and steak sandwiches, and all at a decent price.

Apparently it's a former dive that now has the trappings and menu of an upscale bar. For that reason it has an identity crisis, not trendy enough for the scenesters and not shitty enough for the bums, thus is always kinda empty. The look : ???