Sunday, May 06, 2007

Yes, I'm Still Alive

It's been a while since the last time I posted anything to the Blog. Don't worry - I'm still alive and kicking. I've just been a bit snowed under with end-of-semester madness. Just to give you a sense, here are a few things that have happened since the last post:
  • A big chunk of the last couple of weeks went into getting our presentation together for the end-of semester presentation in the Student Managed Investment Fund. Every semester, they present their results to the Advisory Board. They had a lot to talk about this time around, since the fund has gone through a lot of changes since last semester. Over the last few years, the fund had drifted towards a "stock picker" style without firm standards for investment (one of the students had a good description for it - "momentum chasing"). This semester, we made a concerted effort to bring the fund's practices in line with traditional top-down fundamental analysis. So, they had a lot to talk about. They absolutely nailed the presentation - the Board said it was the best job they'd seen in many semesters' time. They made me proud - it's always fund to see your students shine in front of outsiders.
  • My exams have been administered, but I still need to grade them. I have about an afternoon of work left on the stack of exams, and then another 5 hours or so to grade a couple dozen stock analysis reports (either for my investments class or for my student managed investment fund class - I assign them in both classes).
  • I went to the Eastern Finance Association Meeting in New Orleans. Although it comes at an inconvenient time, it was still worth it. This is probably my 9th or 10th EFA since 1992, so I'm at the point where I know many, if not most, of the regulars (being a flaming extrovert certainly helps). In addition to eating a lot of good food (it was NOLA, after all), I saw a couple of good papers, presented one of my own, discussed another, and spent a couple of hours working with colleagues on a paper we started the year before. On that note...
  • For the previously mentioned paper, I've recently been diving into a new data set with gigabytes and gigabytes of data (gee, I had a Carl Sagan moment there...). It's by far the larges data set I've ever worked with, and the data has a lot of quirks that I'll have to deal with before I can start with the hard-core torturing. But luckily, I like wrestling with messy data issues.
  • On the home front, I just shelled out about a grand to get my lawn fixed - our house was brand new when we bought it last summer, and the lawn never really took hold (we moved in late July). So this spring I faced up to my limitations and decided to pay someone else to do it, at least to get it started.
  • I also received rejections from two different journals in the last week. Getting rejections is nothing new, but it still stinks. After patching up the papers a bit from the bite marks left by the reviewers and editors we'll try to send out pretty quickly to other journals. Hopefully I'll have a productive summer so I can send out a couple more pieces for further rejections.
And finally, all is pretty good in the Unknown Household (except for the lawn, which is the embarrassment of the neighborhood). Unknown Son missed a couple of important years of learning how to be a lunatic boy due to his bout with cancer, so he's just getting around to learning how to ride a bike. Today he just got his first one.

Let the Kodak Moments begin.

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