Thursday, March 09, 2006

Spring Break - Thursday Q16, 17

I bought books for my next two classes. I was pleasantly suprised that I spent under $200. Usually books will run between 200 and 300 dollars a mod.

Because of the nature of the module system, teachers get a little jumpy during Spring break. Some are worse than others. But usually, teachers will send out an email during Spring break telling the students where the web site is and what book to buy and what chapters to read for the first class. Other teachers will send out an email during finals week! I think that no teacher should be making students think about a mod B class during mod A finals week ... that's just ridiculous.

Classes start up again for me on Monday the 13th.

Game Theory

My game theory teacher is James L. Smith. Looking at his profile, his speciality is (of course) game theory and oil & gas management. He also teaches a finance class that deals specifically in engergy .... oil and gas.

The only book that we have to read for this class is Thinking Strategically: The Competitive Edge in Business, Politics and Everyday Life by Dixit & Nalebuff. Just from reading the title, I'm pretty pumped about reading this book. It might be one of those books that I keep rather than sell back. Who knows ... it might give me some ideas for chess! Besides the book, he's got some WSJ and Harvard articles and cases posted on his site.

The course will be graded on 6 quizes and 1 final. The quizes make up 50% and the final the other 50%.

I hope I enjoy this course. Maybe I'll like it better since Davis isn't teaching it! Or maybe it'll be worse ... yikes!

Portfolio Theory & Asset Pricing (PTAP)

My PTAP teacher is Kumar Venkataraman.

I'm taking this class because I really enjoyed the portfolio theory and asset pricing chapters & lectures from my 2nd finance class. I've talked to my brother about the portfolio theory and he's mentioned to me that he really loves this subject too.

What has me a little concerned about this class is what Professor V. said on the course syllabus; "the course covers a great deal of advanced material. Students are expected to be comfortable with probability, statistics and regression analysis and with a spreadsheet package such as Excel. Some use of calculus and linear algebra will also be required." I'm OK in these areas. I don't know how comfortable I'll be, but I've survived other classes where we've used stats and calc before. Usually the teacher will bring the students up to speed before delving into derivitives or regression.

The book we'll be using is entitled Investments by Bodie, Kane & Marcus. It is a textbook ... boring. I wonder how much he'll use it. We may actually use this one becuase he'll be assigning problems from the book. The bookstore was selling the solutions manual, but I didn't bother buying it.

I hope I enjoy these classes. It'll be good to get back into the finance classes.

Quixote Update
Chapter 16 & 17

I finished 16 and read 17 last night. I really enjoy this book! It is funny! I think this would be a great slap-stick movie with all the butt-kicking going on.

Anyway ... Quixote and Sancho are still in the hotel. They fall asleep and the room is dark. Besides them, there is a muledrive who is sleeping in the same hotel. That night, Quixote is thinking about knight-errantry in general. His thoughts turned to his lady Dulcinea del Toboso. He promised to himslef he'd be faithful to her (he was tempted because of the hostesses daughter). The hostesses daughter's name was Maritornes. Earlier that day, she had made an "arrangment" with the muledriver to meet him that night. When the time came, she had to walk past Quixote to get to the muledriver. It was dark in the room when she entered. Quixote perceived that she entered the room. He outstretched his arms while blabbering on about how lovely Maritornes is. She thought his hands were the muledriver's, but when Quixote started talking she knew it wasn't the muledriver. Anyway, the muledriver heard what was going on and proceeded to give the already injured Quixote another schallacking. Confusion erupted ... Maritornes dad came in, she jumped in Sancho's bed to hide, Sancho got frightened and started hitting the girl, the dad heard the screams and then beat the crap out of Sancho, Sancho hit back and .... well, you get the picture ... it was like a 3 Stooges act.

Quixote is so badly injured, he decides to make his magic potion. He puts some nasty stuff in it, drinks it and then vomits for the next several mintues. Sancho tries it and vomits for two hours. The two finally leave the next day and Quixote doesn't pay. The innkeepers detain Sancho and he says that he won't pay either. They abuse him some more and then take his saddlebags.

The way all of the events are described is just hilarious! This really is a good book!

Chess Update

No chess last night ... all this free time and no playing ... how disappointing.

The 3/9/06 puzzle today is 32. ? How about Bxf7. This would open up the 7th rank for the rooks to attack the king. The Queen is already in great postion to provide support or even go for the kill. If black does not capture the bishop, then Be7 followed by a white rook attack.

The answer is the obvious sacrifice of the queen ... Qxh6+ The only options for the king are to move to the 8th rank. White moves Rg7#. Wow! Simple. I guess I should look for the more audatious sacrifices too. For what it's worth, I considered the queen sac ... just not too seriously though.

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