Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Lately, Best Of

I spent the last few days getting trained to be part of VITA and help low-income people file their income taxes (and, importantly, get them their often-unclaimed EITC), going to the annual economist academic job-market conference (AKA the AEA's) that happened to be in SF this year, and moving back to Berkeley (I moved in with some friend from the department by the Claremont in Berkeley. I'm now about 3 or 4 blocks from the trails, so life is good.)

What I learned at the conference:
1. Academic economists have to wear suits and ties on occasion. (Damn it!)
2. The Beard thesis has nothing to do with facial hair.
3. The state of Maine has looked into the idea of creating a drug-seller registry/notification system akin to the sex offender system in place in many states. This is an amusingly bad idea.

I recently finished reading Wallace Stegner's Mormon Country, which was the best book about the desert/Utah/the Colorado Plateau I've read. My favorite lines:
What Everett Ruess was after was beauty, and he conceived beauty in pretty romantic terms. We might be inclined to laugh at the extravagance of his beauty-worship if there were not something almost magnificent in his single-minded dedication to it.

The peculiar thing about Everett Ruess was that he went out and did the things he dreamed about.
I watched a bunch of movies during the break, and the documentary The Times of Harvey Milk was hands down the best. Seriously, go rent it. UPDATE: Or better yet, just watch it free online at hulu.com

In the sense of a brief best-of for 2008: my favorite run was setting a PR in the Diablo 50-miler, my favorite books of the year were Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan and Whale Warriors: The Battle at the Bottom of the World to Save the Planet's Largest Mammals by Peter Heller, my favorite movies (that didn't necessarily come out this year) were Gone Baby Gone and Vera Drake, and two of my favorite moments on TV are below:

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