Thursday, May 25, 2006

Awkward rays

Last Friday night, in between Pizzicato 5 albums etc., I moseyed on down to the Pizza Orgasmica for some eats and had one of the first vicariously-awkward moments i've had in a while. I was waiting in line behind a tired looking, semi-dorky thirtysomething lawyerman when we he caught sight of a lady law school classmate (I guessed) and her beau. Since I was standing behind Snore McBore Esq., and the place is pretty small (and well lit), I was able to intercept pretty well the Awkwardrays zooming back and forth between Snore and Lady:

LADY: just finished placing order / turns around and walks to the side and makes way for husband, who starts ordering / makes a quick turn of the head / bounce-back-beautiful hair goes into action / Snore now visible / faint inkling of familiarity evident on face / but eye contact not yet made.

AWKWARDRAY: <zoooom bingg peow> lands on balding head of Snore.

SNORE: "i'm just standing here, hungry for some pizza, got my flip flops on, my old comfy law school sweatshirt and adidas windpants, can't wait for some pizza, gosh these glasses are dirty let me wipe them off with my t-shirt, i sure would love sausage..." / glasses back on / isn't that Lady, hey you know what it is /

AWKWARDRAY: <peeeeeeowwww blingbling sizizizizzzzzz zz zzz> bounces back on to Lady, just below the eye

LADY: oh isn't that a guy i went to law school with / i thought i heard he's working for the state dept in africa...or was that... / oh no he's looking at me / damn

AWKWARDRAY: <sheeeeooooooowwwwww ding ding> reflected back, some photons hitting me

...well this went on for a while. In their 2 minute conversation (little did they know) I was a part of, I developed the following backstory for them:
  • Snore probably considered Lady to be a "friend" in law school, but she just thought of him as the 'nice guy' in the library who would always try to turn a homework-help question into a 10 minute conversation
  • Lady's beau was probably her husband / serious boyfriend, who she met 6 months into her first job out of law school
  • They were about 5 years out of school
  • They went to a top tier law school back east
  • Snore remembered lots of things about Lady and the good ole' days
  • Lady forgot Snore's name (had she been tested on it at the time, we would have learned that she actually forgot his name 9 months after graduation).
  • Snore knew that Lady forgot his name, and was in fact gracious enough to save Lady from embarassment and intercepted the introduction she would have had to make when her husband came 'round.
Thinking up this backstory and witnessing the conversation made me feel very awkward, especially when husband / boyfriend Niceguy McPhee and his what looked to be fratbrother buddy Redhair Superdrunk came up. There is nothing more awkward than making smalltalk with the buzzed boyfriend of a former what-turned-out-to-be-a-not-friend and his drunk buddy at 10:30 pm on a Friday, in a cramped Pizza-by-the-Slice deal in the middle of the chatchball district of SF. NOTHING. Thankfully the conversation ended, although it was broken off not by Lady, not by Niceguy, of course not by Snore, but buy Redhair (?!?). The two parties separated, with Lady et. al. nearing the door with their slices and Snore getting back to menu reading. After a few minutes I finally got my pizza slice, and went home, having collected some awkwardrays and feeling exhasuted as a result.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Mexico Is Offering Bonds to Cover a Major Quake - New York Times

Mexico Is Offering Bonds to Cover a Major Quake - New York Times

I wrote a paper on cat bonds during grad school. They are fascinating securities and have lots of attractive features for investors, including effectively zero correlation to other asset classes and high yields. My paper modeled Berkshire Hathaway's super-cat reinsurance business and showed that it was responsible for more of Berkshire's success than most people gave it credit for. Cat bonds finally let a wider class of investors in on the market Warren Buffet has cornered for more than thirty years.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


Yesterday I filled up my tank at the Chevron. Except I forgot to put the gas pumper thing back in the cradle before I drove off. Now, I have only done this one other time in my entire life, and it was pretty embarrassing, but the gas pumper thing just fell out of my pump and hit the ground and I went on my merry way.

Well this time, Ms. Volvo had her lips locked around that gas pump thing and she just didn't want to let go, so as a result the entire pump handle and rubber house operation ripped out of the pump standup deal, and I drove for basically two miles with a gas pump and 10 foot hose dangling out of my car. Finally at an intersection a crazy-old-man in a crazy-old-man-truck yelled at me repeatedly and I finally realized what the fudge was I had done. I was so disoriented by the complete absurdity of the situation that I got lost trying to drive back to the gas station. Thankfully, there was no damage to either my car or the gas pump, and the perturbed man who ran the station managed to reattatch the pump lickity-split.

That is all I have to report. Also sorry for my gas pump terminology ignorance.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Fresno Times

An article about Fresno in the NYT Travel section, and a shout out to Fresno's own Sparkys Electronics store in a business piece -- all in one week!?!? Crazytalk!

Fresno, Calif. - New York Times

Business Article Thing

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Biz Stone, Genius: The Wise Old Owl

Shamelessly copying from Biz

Biz Stone, Genius: The Wise Old Owl:

The Wise Old Owl

The wise old owl lived in an oak;
The more he saw the less he spoke;
The less he spoke the more he heard:
Why can't we all be like that bird?
—Edward H. Richards