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Wow, I got through it. Essentially five exams in three days (if you count the two day monster accounting exam as two), and it's not even Finals week yet. None of this stuff is easy, folks. We've long since departed easy street here at UNT. Give the latter stages of Intermediate MacroEconomics, where we're working with complex deviations in the LM/IS curves model in an open economy a spin around your brain for a while... or how about material departures in historical cost valuation of operational assets in Intermediate Accounting I... or the effects of purchasing power parity and the international Fisher Effect on triangulated arbitrage opportunities assuming variable exchange rates and forward contract terms in International Finance... Or stock valuation comparisons through multiple growth rate models using the Black-Scholes equation for valuation in Investments. My brain feels like it's been through a meat grinder.

Now the hard wait to receive my grades. Sometimes I envy the art/sculpture folks, who get to weld together scraps of metal or splatter random blobs of paint on a large canvas for a semester project and call it a day.

--Once in a while, I'll have a bad night where I dream in spreadsheets. I know it sounds strange, but I also know I've written about it a couple of times before in the nearly three year history of this journal.

--I haven't been keeping up, but it seems the Mavs narrowly avoided playing the Lakers in the first round--Portland lost tonight, so they're the sixth seed that the Mavs will face. This is a sad, sad team, though, a shadow of the team that won fourteen straight to start the season.

--I did get a nice surprise today when I got home. On the inside handle of my door was a note with ten Hershey's Kisses attached. It's from Place to Be, my "landlord". They're offering an amazing deal if I renew for one year by mid May--they're actually CUTTING my rent by $15/month, AND crediting my account for $150! I have a budget sheet I keep in Excel which projects monthly expenditures for the next eighteen months or so. I was expecting at least a $10 increase, maybe $15. So basically, this is a $450 windfall (ah, the joys of budgeting). The lady at the office said they were trying something new this year, trying to prevent so much turnover and compete better with the newer apartment systems around here (I'm sure they mean the megalopolis complexes down the street with over a thousand tenants, and my particular small building doesn't compete with those, but I still get the benefit; frankly, I much prefer small, unhip places like this to the sprawling city-within-a-town places).

--The AMA has successfully lobbied to have legislation introduced that would coerce insurance companies into having to cover/pay for medical expenses incurred as a result of an accident sustained while operating a motorcycle, snowmobile, personal watercraft, ATV, etc. Currently, even if you use your bike for commuting purposes only, they can and will deny you medical coverage for expenses resulting from an accident on your bike.

Here's an example of an issue I'm definitely two ways about. Do we really need government butting its nose into private business for the forty-millionth time? On the other hand, does it seem equitable that a commuter on a bike should be cleaned out by an accident involving some shitty cel-phone and a Ford Excursion when he carries full insurance? From the insurance company point of view, a "reasonable" person doesn't participate in recreational activities (water-skiing, motorcycling, boating, etc.), and it's not a necessary part of the time-tested "wake-up, drive to work, work, drive home, sleep, repeat" cycle. A motorcyclist has a choice as well--risk losing his home, family, job, car, savings, retirement, credit, etc. in one fell swoop in the event a hospital stay is necessary, or give up that silly hobby and just conform to "normalcy". Then again, the AMA is made up of concerned riders, and more power to em if they can lobby Congress to get something done, I guess.

But this is my diary, so let's make this about me: the insurance issue that hits me hardest is the $6000/year bike insurance I'd have to pay to own a nice bike. Get this: it would cost me MORE to get the bare minimum comp/collision insurance on a $3000 Ninja 250 than it would to get the highest coverage in the book in everything for a $52,000 Corvette Z06. And that's with several carriers. That tells me that they really don't want your business. Oh well. I've sort of adopted a contemplative view of the whole issue. I'm getting OLD. Sportbikes are generally for young folks. I'll be thirty soon, and I desperately have to start saving for things. I've accepted the fact that I flat missed my chance to ride, among many, many other things...

--A guy broke the stoppie record yesterday. Thew Blankstrom rolled 749 feet on the front wheel at Mid-America in Iowa on a stock GSX-R750.

--Next Tuesday is my biggest day. I have to give the REITs presentation. Several professors will be there, although the donor won't (whew!). We've put in alot of hours on this, and I must have everything go smoothly.

--My Fool Portfolio is doing alright. I put in $27,557 in Taubman, Chelsea (both are REITs), nVidia, ATI (both are consumer PC graphics vendors), and the TransAmerica S&P 500 Index Fund (50% of the starting amount). In eleven days (eight trading days) I've made $592, which is 2.15%. If I had a 2.15% growth EVERY eight trading days, in a year I'd have made a $27,458 profit, almost 100%. But it's not going to work like that. I may decide to jump ship on some shares of ATI once it hits 8% (it's my biggest gainer so far, at $245 profit on an initial investment of $3878 (700 shares) for a return of 6.32% over eight days), and my strategy is semi-active management with conservative allocation limits so as to acheive and hold onto moderate gains and avoid exuberant risk-taking). But then, it's been less than two weeks. Maybe I should let em sit. I wish it let you do Stop orders.

[UPDATE]: Wow, Thursday was an amazing day for my shadow account. ATI now has given me a nine day return of 11.19%! My total portfolio return went from 2.15% to 3.88% in one day. I'm getting nervous about ATI though, I don't want to give it all back, so I might sell tomorrow and put the proceeds elsewhere. The REITs continue to perform strongly.

--I located lyrics to "Ignoreland" by REM. Wow, did he hate President Reagan. It appears he was a large President Carter fan, although I'm not sure why (he was a lackluster President whose fiscal policies caused serious inflation and who had an obsessive need to micromanage). Don't get me wrong, I like the song, love the album, and this is intelligent music. It's just... well, check out lines like "those bastards stole their power from the victims of the 'Us v. Them' years, wrecking all things virtuous and true" or "Brooding duplicitous, wicked and able, media-ready, heartless, and labeled, Super U.S. Citizen, Super Achiever, Mega Ultra Power Dosing". A tad melodramatic, if you ask me. These weren't the Hitler years. But whatever makes him feel embattled and relevant. He wraps it all up with this whiz-banger: "I'm resentful all the same, someone's got to take the blame, I know that this is vitriol, no solution, spleen-venting". Well, okay Michael, as long as you're aware of that... I'm still not sure just what the heck his beef was. Luckily you can barely understand the words as he sings them, so I'll just go on enjoying REM's greatest album and Ignore this puzzler.