Monday, November 24, 2008

It's Almost Thanksgiving

I can't believe that it's almost Thanksgiving. It's all about two of my favorite things - food and football. That means my first semester back in school is almost over. It's gone pretty well so far. I'll probably end up with a mix of As and Bs. Next semester will be the hard one. I'll take Intermediate Accounting II, Auditing, Gov't Accounting, and Fraud Accounting in the spring, which will leave Taxation and an Advanced Accounting Capstone course for the summer term. It feels good to be almost halfway done already.

I have yet to receive any job offers from any of the firms that I interviewed with last month. That means I'll just have to wait until next semester when a lot of the accounting firms will come back to do more recruiting. I still feel pretty good about things, and going through the interviewing process this semester gave me a lot of valuable practice - I feel like I got better with each interview.

This has been one of the most disappointing ASU football seasons in my life. I've missed the last 3 games (whether on TV or in person) and it didn't bother me at all. The team is just awful to watch. They really shouldn't be this bad. For whatever reason, the offense is just pathetic. I just hope it gets fixed before next season.

Earlier this month, we went to Disneyland with the kids. Brooke has a lot of pictures from the trip on her blog, so check them out. The kids had a great time and all of us were worn out by the end of the trip.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Some thoughts on Texas/Texas Tech and the election

This post will be short. I thoroughly enjoyed watching Texas Tech beat Texas on Saturday night. I've always been a fan of Mike Leach, and enjoy watching his offense. The Smart Football blog has a good post on the game, and he includes a link to the New York Times piece on Leach from a few years ago, which is a great read as well.

There's also a good article from the Washington Post on the "Bradley Effect". Another good point that the article does not mention is that the Bradley Effect is more the result of people's fear of being labeled racist, than actual racism.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

1988 World Series

While sitting down at school today I saw something that brought back some childhood memories. On a TV close to where I was sitting, game 1 of the 1988 World Series was being shown. Even though I was only 9 years old at the time, I remember watching that game on TV with my dad.
A little background before I go on. When I was a kid, there was no Major League Baseball in Phoenix. My dad had grown up a Giants fan, because of the team's ties to Phoenix (the Firebirds were San Francisco's AAA team), so I was a Giants fan as well. And, because of the proximity to LA, most Dodgers games were televised in Arizona. So, in spite of the fact that I hated the Dodgers, I grew up watching a lot of Dodger baseball games. And, even though I was only 9 at the time, and liked neither team, I was very familiar with both the Dodgers and the A's.
Back to the story - I happened to sit down as the bottom half of the ninth was starting. It was great listening to the announcers' disbelief as Kirk Gibson limped to the plate. He took a couple weak hacks and fouled a couple balls off. When he hit a ground ball up the first base line that eventually rolled foul, he hobbled toward first base like an 85 year old man. He eventually worked the count to 3-2, and hit the famous game-winning home run. The best part, that I can clearly remember from 20 years ago, was the look on Dennis Eckersley's face as he watched the ball sail over the right field wall. It's one of the best sports moments of my lifetime, made better by the fact that I can remember watching it live when I was a kid. And although I've never cheered for the Dodgers, that game made me a Kirk Gibson fan. Interesting note - Gibson is now a bench coach with the D-Backs.

John Stossel has another good column. This time he writes on the myth that deregulation caused the financial crisis.
I'm very disappointed that I will miss the debate tonight because of class. I haven't been able to watch one yet - I usually just get to listen to Hugh Hewitt's post-debate show on the way home from class. Oh well, it's not like Barack Obama was going to somehow convince me to vote for him tonight anyway.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Big Week II

Just to clarify, this is the second post about the big week, not the first post on a second big week. Anyway, I'm totally exhausted, but everything has gone pretty well this week. I did okay on the two exams, and I feel like I've done pretty well in the interviews so far. I've got my last two interviews on Friday morning, and then I'll be done. I should start hearing back about second interviews sometime next week.
One thing that's nice about the on-campus interviewing process is that ASU has encouraged the accounting firms to have similar time frames for their hiring process. They all did their first round of interviews this week, and will all do second interviews by the end of October. They're all supposed to make offers by the beginning of November, and give candidates until after Thanksgiving to either accept or decline them. It's a really good process, and it takes away a lot of the stress - "should I accept this offer, or take a chance and wait for the company that I really want to work for to make an offer?"

I found a new favorite website this week, and don't worry, it has nothing to do with politics. I was on (another great college football website that I've been following for a while), and he linked to the Smart Football blog, which had a story on why Auburn's offense has been struggling so much this season. That post had some really interesting things in it, and it was obvious that he had a lot of expertise when it comes to the technical and strategic aspects of football. So I started poking around the site a little bit more and found some posts about the spread offense, and about run/pass balance. I was really intrigued when he started talking about game theory, Nash Equilibriums, and optimization problems, and relating it all to football. I thought I had died and gone to heaven - a combination of two of my loves - economics and football. It's probably too boring for casual football fans, but if you are interested in the strategic part of football, specifically offensive schemes, it's a great site.

More good articles from Thomas Sowell - this week he's written a three-part series on Barack Obama. They're here, here and here.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Big Week

Next week is going to be a big week. As of today, I have 9 job interviews, with the possibility of 2 more. They're all audit positions with public accounting firms, which range in size from Big 4 companies to medium-sized local firms. I'm pretty excited, as well as a little nervous. If any of these interviews lead to something, I'll receive a job offer before Christmas, which would make the rest of the school year a lot less stressful for me, and probably ease Brooke's mind quite a bit. If not, it won't be the end of the world - most of the firms will be back in the winter to do more recruiting for next fall.

School is still going pretty well. I had two exams last week, which I did okay on. I'll have two more next week, along with a case for my cost management class.

Last week was an adventure. Our air conditioning was out for about 5 days, and since it's still 100 degrees here, we had to find places to stay. If you want all the details, check out Brooke's blog.

Also, on Sunday, Abigail participated in her first Primary Program in sacrament meeting. She did her part very well and I am very proud of her.

I haven't mentioned anything about ASU football in a while, probably because there's not much good to say. The game against UGA was not all bad, though. They didn't get absolutely curb-stomped by the Bulldogs. The game was somewhat competitive, and when ASU scored early in the second half to make it 21-10, I thought it might turn into a good game. ASU couldn't take advantage of the situation, however. I thought their offensive game-plan had some flaws, and they were unable to exploit any weakness that the Georgia defense may have had. Georgia played a cover 2 all night, and ASU refused to do anything but throw 5 and 10 yard curls and outs. I would have liked to see them take some chances (they needed to take chances to beat Georgia) and throw down the middle of the field, splitting the cover 2. But Rich Olson, the offensive coordinator, was fired from the Cardinals for being too conservative, so I really shouldn't expect anything else.
Overall, I'm pretty pleased with what Dennis Erickson has accomplished in his short time at ASU. He's definitely recruited well, and the defense has gotten better. But the offense has struggled at times, due to a lack of creativity or sophistication. Last year, I chalked it up to a simplified offense due to it being Erickson's first year. He even made comments during the off season that implied that that was the case. The offense hasn't looked any different this year, though. They may line up in spread formations, with 4 and 5 receivers, and give fans the impression that what they're doing is cutting edge, or innovative, or whatever, but the reality is that the offense is incredibly bland, and doesn't do much to really challenge a defense. The problem with all this is that ASU doesn't have the talent to get away with such a simple offense, like the USCs, Ohio States and LSUs do. And Rich Olson's experience says he's not capable of anything different. I think Coach Erickson should consider finding a new OC. I've always been jealous of Oregon's offense and think Chip Kelly is a genius - maybe that's the direction he should go.

Here's another good article on the financial crisis. Also, John Stossel and Thomas Sowell have more on the subject.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Good Reads

Over the last few days, I've come across some good information on the financial crisis. Dirckthenoorman posted a New York Times article from 2003 that has some interesting stuff in it. Also, John Stossel and Thomas Sowell have written some interesting articles. The Stossel piece is here, and the Sowell articles are here and here.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

School and other things

Man, it's already been month since my last post. Anyway, after about a month, school is going well. Most of my classes are pretty straightforward, and I feel like I'm understanding the material pretty well. I'll start having exams next week, so we'll see for sure.
A couple of weeks ago, I attended a "meet the firms" event on campus. It was a pretty good networking opportunity, especially since it was at the west campus, and not very crowded. 3 of the big 4 were there (PWC didn't attend), as well as a lot of meduim sized accounting firms, and a few gevernment agencies, including the IRS (not exactly my dream job). The interesting thing I found out was that a lot of the firms are already getting ready to interview for jobs that begin next fall. So I've spent a lot of time lately working on my resume, and filling out applications. Being in a 1 year Masters of Accountancy program, with an undergraduate degree in something other than accounting, creates an interesting situation. Most of the interviews take place in early October, so if I get selected, I'll have only a month of accounting classes under my belt. Most of the other candidates are in 5 yr MAcc programs or are doing an undergraduate degree in accounting, so will have had a few years of accounting classes. Also, the typical routine for an accounting student is to do an internship prior to the last year of school, which I didn't do (I wasn't even considering returning to school a year ago). So I'm applying for a mix of full-time positions and internships, and we'll see how it works out. It may be a year from now before I'm able to get a really good job.

All summer, I've been looking forward to the beginning of football season, and especially ASU's game with Georgia. It was supposed to be a big deal: Top 5 Georgia vs Top 15 ASU, both undefeated, ESPN Gameday in Tempe, etc. Boy, ASU blew it. Coach Erickson didn't want to give UGA anything to work with as far as game film, and played it too close to the vest against UNLV. Big disappointment. I'm still excited for the game, though, and maybe since I'm not expecting too much, I won't be let down.