Things I have learned in Guatemala (so far)

  • A bit of Spanish.
  • To like (maybe that’s not the perfect word) instant coffee.
  • Related: to appreciate real coffee.
  • That around $3 US per hour here is enough to support myself on very few hours. The kind-of-sort-of-enforced minimum wage here in Guatemala is around $7 per day.
  • That I really like learning languages, or at least Spanish.
  • That learning languages is difficult and frustrating but very rewarding.
  • That I like teaching English even though I’m not very good at it (yet). I’m studying this in addition to Spanish.
  • That a meal without tortillas is missing something very important.
  • Many more, too, but I’m not writing them here.

I’m alive! I’m still liking it a lot here. I’m working most days, but only a couple of hours. I’m learning lots. Have any questions? Post or email!

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Wait a second…

I’ve started studying for the GRE, sort of. I’m tentatively planning on applying for grad school (a phd in economics) next year, though I’m getting nervous as I wonder things like, “why do I want to do this again?” Then I noticed this comic I had posted on my wall at work, and it really brought the question into focus. Click for the full cartoon.

Economics - First panel

Fortunately, application due dates aren’t until the winter, so I’ve got some time to think about it.

There’s a bit of a story behind this cartoon: a very yellow copy of it is (was?) posted on the bulletin board of my old boss’ University of Oregon office with no attribution whatsoever. I though it was funny when I was his TA. I tried to figure out what it was after I moved to DC, and it turns out it’s from a great book called More Washingtoons by Mark Alan Stamaty, which is a compilation of cartoons originally published in the Washington Post. Incidentally, approximately 3 copies of this book exist in the world today. I eventually tracked one down at the Georgetown University Library and managed to photocopy and then scan this page.

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government meddling

On holiday decorations at the Federal Reserve:

  • Don’t use decorations that have an open flame.

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A story in a picture

Google Reader Trends - September 22, 2007

This suggests that I was bored at work this week. In reality, exactly the opposite was true. I was very productive this week. So what’s going on? I guess I was just much more efficient than usual.

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My Work

So the report that we’ve been working on for months and months is finally finished. It’s really long, but there is actually some very interesting stuff about credit scores and credit scoring in there. You have to click through like three pages of the Fed’s web page, so here’s a direct link: Report to the Congress on Credit Scoring and Its Effects on the Availability and Affordability of Credit (1.84 MB PDF).

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First Race in 7 Years

I’m a little late on writing this. The race was a 3k and it was on June 18th. It’s called the Tidal Basin 3k (map), and DC Road Runners puts it on for free on the third Wednesday of every month. If you’re in the area you should come out and run with me!

The last time I ran competitively was in the Spring of 2000, so it’s pretty exciting to be getting into it again. I’m pretty slow so far, but I’m actually running regularly and stuff so I should get faster. It will get hotter and more humid over the next two months, though, so Kevin, our resident speedster / experienced runner here at the office, tells me that I shouldn’t expect to improve too much right away. I’m gonna try anyways, obviously.

The really fun thing about it is that somewhere around 35 people from the Fed go out and run this race, since it’s at lunch time and only a couple blocks from work. Some nerdy economists have devised a scoring system so that the three different groups are racing against each other, which keeps it interesting.

Right, my time. I ran 3000 meters in 13:02, which I was happy with and am excited to improve on. I’ll post again after this month’s race.

Update: results.

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hey ya

I’m eating paella right now. It’s from the cafeteria here at work, and it’s surprisingly good. I like seafood paella.

In other news: I’m going to New York this weekend. Get this: I’m going for no particular reason. A good thing about living a reasonably short and cheap bus ride away from a very cool city. I think we’re going to go the Mets game tomorrow, and maybe we’ll see a play or something. Who knows! That’s the beauty of it.

I have two very dead camera batteries with me, so I’ll try to get them charged up and take some pictures.

If you like weird/funny internet history then you should check this article about internet jargon and funny pictures out. If you don’t know much about crazy internet memes then watch out — you have lots to learn here.

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Self-Obsession, Geography, and Mortgages

Sometimes I google myself. That’s right. I type “sean wallace” into google and see how high up the results I come. Most of the time it’s simply that, a popularity check, but sometimes I’m actually interested in what parts of my online activity are becoming public.

Today I was looking at whether, in the mind of google, I’m associated with the Fed. Answer: I’m not, much, but I was surprised to find out that I was listed as a research assistant on a paper by Ellen Merry at work. I made some maps for her a couple of months ago, and here they are! Cool. Maybe eventually I’ll stop posting each time something I worked on gets “published,” but I’m not sure.

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