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Gamingforce Choco Journal
zzeroparticle's Journal

Annotations from the internet.

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Jun 14, 2009 - 12:52 PM
K-ON! + Daler Mehndi = ???
Response to: <@CHz> ahahaha oh god what the fuck by Tails

YouTube Video

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[public entry #19]

Apr 3, 2009 - 03:02 AM
Renaming Gamingforce
After all these community events, Gamingforce should just rename itself to Gamingforce Statistics Forums. People here seem to have a need to see stats for every single thing that goes on around here. Egregious (but hilarious) examples include:

Tombstone Pizza delivery stats
FOX2 stats from the Ace Combat Event
Prop/Diss stats during the Bringing Back the Balance week (or was it just a day?)
and of course, the Gamingfort kill/looting stats

And given that there's been a general petition for more journal stats, I think my case has been strengthened further. This fascination for statistical information illustrates that stats make everything more fun. Sorta like having unlockable achievements, but without the tediousness.

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Mar 21, 2009 - 04:15 AM
How to make your speeches 100% more EPIC
This entry is Ace Combat-related, so you've been warned.

Nothing cleverly done or anything like that, nor do I even understand the subject of the speech, but I do like the result that comes about from juxtaposing the speech along with the music.

NOTE: Long video is ridiculously long... and it takes about 2 minutes to get the idea.

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Mar 16, 2009 - 01:30 AM
My latest blog entry was made possible by Tails (One Outs OST)
Response to: There is a groovin' soundtrack in this entry and you should download it. by Tails

No musings here, but if I'm introduced to a soundtrack via GFF (see my Papillon Rose review), it's only natural to post a link from my chocojournal. Anyhow, review for One Outs's OST has been posted to my blogspace.

Yeah, short version of it is that this soundtrack kicks ass. Best anime OST released in 2009 so far. Not gonna lie.

EGAD, the time period between this post and my last has been long. Shows how little thinking I've done in the interim. I blame work.

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Feb 18, 2009 - 01:15 PM
Can someone help explain this line to me?

I understood most of what Gary Becker was saying in this piece until I came across this line:

Unfortunately, pay caps that leave total pay considerably below what able executives receive in other companies make it more difficult to attract these executives to companies in distress because they can earn more, and work with considerably less government interference, in companies that do not take or need aid. Moreover, severe limits on severance pay help to lock in incompetent executives who then might refuse to leave voluntarily because they would not receive any significant financial incentives to leave.
My ignorance of the sort of stonewalling and politicking that goes on between management and corporate boards is going to reveal itself here, but I've always thought that if the Board of Directors wants to fire an executive, they can do so at will. The thought of an incompetent executive seems like a ludicrous one to me, but since my knowledge of contracts between corporate executives is rather limited in terms of how they're structured, maybe someone who has better knowledge can explain this one to me.

Other than that, my only thought is that golden parachutes impose unnecessary costs that prevent a company from running efficiently, so why they exist is beyond my knowledge.

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Feb 13, 2009 - 02:32 AM
More on Executive Compensation (and a few pointed jabs at investment banking)
Why, Chairman Barney Frank, D-Mass., wanted to know, does anyone need multimillion-dollar bonuses on top of million-dollar salaries?
"If in good times you were told you weren't going to be getting a bonus, what part of your job would you not do?" Frank asked. "Would you, like, leave early on Wednesdays? Would you take longer lunches?"
While there's no good answer for this one, it does demonstrate that Barney Frank's sarcasm never disappoints. It's also some food for thought given what I pondered over regarding the optimal point for CEO pay.

Also, for anyone who's looking for a dream job in the exciting field of investment banking, here's a few choice quotes to chew on:

“I’d almost rather say I’m a pornographer,” said a retired Wall Street executive who, for self-evident reasons, asked not to be identified. “At least that’s a business that people understand.”
“Fact is that this [banking] is a terrible way to make a living — except for the money,” Ken Miller, a former vice chairman at Credit Suisse First Boston and now a private investor, said. “The lifestyle is terrible — the hours, the sucking up. These guys must feel like they’re the victims of a capricious god.”
A stunning indictment if I say so myself and it's definitely not the stuff that they say during presentations and career fairs. After talking to bankers about the long hours (in some cases, over 100 hours a week unless you work at Deutche Bank in which case you work more like 120 hours a week) and the drudgery, I steered clear of banking and I'm the better for it. They have the money, but I'll take the quality of life, thank you very much.

It's also worth mentioning that most of the people from my graduating class who became i-bankers quit after two years.

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Feb 9, 2009 - 03:57 PM
On mortgages and ethics.

Some of the comments in this post dwell pretty heavily on the ethical considerations and maybe it's just the way I think, but the ones who're calling him out for being a deadbeat are way off the mark and it's mildly annoying. One such comment is as follows:

Though phrased very politely and realistically, Mike’s letter is exactly what’s wrong with the economy and the people that make it up (don’t even get me started on the recommendations of comment #1, that’s just straight up gaming the system). You have to be accountable for your actions, otherwise trust (and the rest of the economy) breaks down.

Mike, did you sign a contract saying that you’ll pay X amount of dollars for the next Y years? Can you still afford to make those payments and feed/clothe your family? It seems like the answer to both of those questions is yes. So guess what, you need to hold up your end of the bargain and keep on paying that mortgage.

When you purchase anything whatsoever, you are taking an implicit risk that that thing may not be worth as much in the future as it is right now. You’re basically saying that since you ‘lost’ in this transaction, you shouldn’t have to pay the consequences. If the home went up in value, would the lender have a right to raise your monthly payments because the home is now worth more?
Now, I'm no expert on contract law, but I was under the perception that all contracts list out the obligations for parties to agree to and that a well-written contract will include provisions on what penalties take effect in the event that the contract is breached by either party.

The reasoning behind having a penalty in the event of a breach is fairly simple: both parties recognize that there are instances in which executing the terms of the contract is economically unfeasible and that breaching the contract and paying the related penalties (in this case, the foreclosure on the house) would be the best option. If anyone wants an example, I can probably come up with a scenario that illustrates this principle.

So back to Mike's scenario, assuming that both parties are of sound mind, I can't think of anything more transparent than a contract. Both parties can read what they've agreed to, they are well aware of the risks that come with signing the contract, and they are aware of the consequences of breaching it. When the information is presented so clearly, I find it difficult to see how ethics should be a consideration in this situation.

It's one thing if one side of the exchange negotiated in bad faith, but somehow, I don't think that's the case here.

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Feb 6, 2009 - 05:54 PM
Words from Bill Watterson - Thoughts and Connections
On a whim, I decided to look up information on Bill Watterson in no small part because the role that Calvin and Hobbes played in my childhood was so great even if I didn't understand much of the philosophical musings that he spouted back then.


Despite the futility of the whole episode [him painting on the ceiling of his dorm room], my fondest memories of college are times like these, where things were done out of some inexplicable inner imperative, rather than because the work was demanded...

It's surprising how hard we'll work when the work is done just for ourselves...
Maybe taking his words as a way of justifying my hobbies goes a bit far, but lately, I've been feeling these sentiments more keenly than I've felt before, especially in light of some recent developments in my life.

The process of writing on my blog and for that anime review site have been very motivating and I have the drive to actually spend copious amounts of time thinking and writing even though I know that it's unlikely to yield substantial fruit beyond self-satisfaction. Is this pure selfishness? If I were to focus my efforts on doing things that society values (like providing a good or service), would I be capable of achieving much much more than I currently am in society's eyes?

Ultimately, the answer to both of those questions is yes, but this answer doesn't bother me as much as it once did because the kind of work that others may consider a waste of brain power makes me happy. Being happy with your life and who you are, I've found, is more important than gaining prestige, a concept that I'm convinced is a lure that society puts out to get smart people to do things that no one in their right minds would do for a living (see: investment banking) (1). That's why to me, work is painful by its very nature precisely because it's work. Those who are lucky enough can escape that cycle by engaging in a hobby that happens to make them a decent living, which definitely makes life far more fulfilling than toiling away in an investment bank, law firm, or doctor's office just to be able to tell people that you work in those professions and earn those megabucks. Or maybe those people who work such jobs didn't consider the value of intangible benefits like time to allow one's mind to wander when they made the value calculation to enter a certain profession.

(The next trick: try to get parents who are so taken in with the middle-class ethos to understand this concept.)

(1) Paul Graham also writes about this over in one of his essays.

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Feb 4, 2009 - 09:53 PM
Executive Pay Scale (TARP-related) - Meandering Thoughts
It's about time I moved away from anime in this journal since my blog already does a decent job of that. So with some inspiration taken from a certain anime blogger, I've decided to devote this journal to things I read on the internet (which may include anime) and have a thought or two about. Seeing the sort of vetting that people on here are capable of rendering, I figured it'd be a good way to refine my thinking process. (Let's see how long this'll last.)

So stuff regarding the economy:

“That is pretty draconian — $500,000 is not a lot of money, particularly if there is no bonus,” said James F. Reda, founder and managing director of James F. Reda & Associates, a compensation consulting firm. “And you know these companies that are in trouble are not going to pay much of an annual dividend.”

Mr. Reda said only a handful of big companies pay chief executives and other senior executives $500,000 or less in total compensation. He said such limits would make it hard for the companies to recruit and keep executives, most of whom could earn more money at other firms.

So part of the plan is to rein in executive compensation at firms that receive TARP money. OK, check. It's a good political move and the public was pretty sick of executives getting huge bonuses when their companies were failing. And since the government had to bail them out, it's also understandable that they'd want a hand in the way things were run.

That said, I'm trying to picture Mr. James F. Reda saying that first line with a straight face. Calling a $500,000 limit "draconian" and "not a lot of money" seems to me a statement that's wildly out of touch with reality (granted, the comparison group he's thinking of are CEOs in Fortune 500 companies). For most people, half a million is a windfall and Reda's attitude only underscores the income disparities out there. Is it wrong for me to be disgusted by the way he said that so casually?

He then goes on to talk about the issue of being unable to keep executives if the pay is limited to that amount. While I agree that you need to have the right incentives in place to get people to work optimally (a good solution would be to include stock options as a part of that $500,000 where they have the chance to receive ridiculous amounts of wealth if they succeed in reviving the bank's fortunes, so the theory goes anyhow), I'm not sure how strong a correlation exists between executive compensation and how well a company is doing in general. My professors have told me that no such correlation exists according to some study, but I haven't taken the time to look into this study so let's leave it alone for now and ponder the theoretical pay versus performance.

What I'm curious about are the marginal benefits of executive compensation to the company. Let's say that by increasing the base pay of an executive by $500,000 and add another $500,000 in stock options, the company earns an additional net income amount of $2 million, one can't begrudge the company for doling out that extra amount.

But if we go up the pay ladder, we have to ask ourselves at what point a corresponding increase in executive pay will result in no increase to the company's bottom line. My guess is that that amount will be somewhere around $5-10 million (this amount includes housing and dining stipends, bonuses, stock options, and other benefits) because once you reach that point, an extra million dollars isn't going to coax out much in an increase to the company's net income and the company would be better off using that amount to expand their business further.

Furthermore, there's no guarantee that higher pay leads to better executive performance either and we've seen evidence of this in John Thain (Merrill Lynch), Vikram Pandit (Citi), and Rick Wagoner (GM) whose companies have been flailing around pretty badly. It's not like you'd want to retain people who are incompetent as chief executive anyways. One could argue that things would have been worse had these people not been present, but the flip side of the coin is also true, so that's an argument I'll simply dismiss unless someone can present a compelling scenario.

In the end, I think money can only motivate so much. Most investment bankers, by the time they reach the point where they'd be considered for an executive position, are already damn wealthy and the only real benefit of being a CEO is the prestige that comes with managing such a large company and managing it well. Other than that, it's hard for me to see how pay and benefits would get them to produce more because you either have the skills to manage a company well and allow it to grow or you don't.

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Jan 24, 2009 - 03:14 AM
Clannad ~AS~ Episode 14 (With apologies to Infernal)
The scene is definitely a spoiler though, so don't say I didn't warn you. So here's Akio:


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