The Wife’s Methods

During a particularly acrimonious fight last night, I found that I was losing myself, and had no clue what was happening. Tempers were frayed, voices were raised and a huge towel had become wet from our collective tears and nose-goo. And I was fighting a losing battle, against myself. It seemed like I was consuming myself, and there was no way out.

I walked up to the kitchen and pulled out two New York shot glasses from the shelf. I reached for the top shelf, where we store the stuff, and pulled out the Talisker bottle. And I filled the shot glasses, up to the brim, and we downed it, one glass each. Soon, it seemed like all was going to be fine with the world.

At once we calmed down. We started thinking more rationally now. The fight continued, but the voices got lowered, the collective discharge into the towel ebbed. We weren’t consumed by ourselves any more. Instead, we were now calmly talking to each other, trying to find a way out of the problem we had at hand. Note that we didn’t kiss-and-make-up-and-bury-the-fight like we used to earlier. We didn’t sleep until we’d finished our business and reached an agreement. But life had become so much better.

I must admit that over the last year or more, I’ve consistently underestimated the wife (earlier the girlfriend) and her methods. Sometimes I’ve never understood why she does things in a certain way (and expects me to do things the same way), at other times I’ve been too arrogant in my own thoughts, to give her methods a fair hearing. This was yet another such example.

It was I who had made an irrational decision that Talisker was meant for slow sipping and savouring. It was I who had thought it was “too expensive to be shot down”. And it was I who had made the wife promise she won’t gulp it down before buying the current bottle of Talsker. I admit it, I was wrong. Wrong. The wife, it turns out, had always been right.

Mahabharata at home

I was Parikshit. I was peacefully reclining on my bean bag and watching football when an ant that had been crawling on the floor decided to attack me. Like its cousin Takshak, it bit my foot so hard that that I was screaming in pain. Unlike Parikshit, though, I didn’t die. I instead turned into Janamejaya.

For this vile act of this one ant, I decided to put an end to the entire ant race. Unlike Janamejaya, I didn’t bother with trivialities such as conducting a yagna, feeding mongooses, reciting the Mahabharata and stuff. I immediately swung into action, with a Mortein Gold bottle in hand. I sprayed the liquid liberally on the line of ants that was walking across my living room, on the carpet, on the kitchen shelf even. I sprayed Mortein with a vengeance, in an attempt to put an end to the ant race. Massacre did happen.

That night I couldn’t sleep so well. I still can’t yet decide if it was because of the pain of the ant bite, or because of the sin I committed by murdering so many innocent ants. Maybe reading the Mahabharata once again will help me get rid of this sin.

Jet Lag And Other Stories

A couple of months back, Bryan Caplan had written:

1. Jet lag. What’s the best way to cope with jet lag?  Most people sleep on the plane, then gradually adjust to the local time once they reach their destination.  The problem: It often takes a week for people to get a decent night’s sleep.  By the time they’re feeling themselves again, they’re almost ready to go home.

My alternative: Do not sleep on the plane.  At all.  When you arrive, do not sleep – at all – until a locally normal bedtime.  Pay the fixed cost without cheating.  When you wake up eight to ten hours later, you will be refreshed and in sync with your new time zone.  In exchange for less than a day of sleep deprivation, you will feel fine for the rest of your trip.

So I  decided to practically test out his advice. When I was flying in to New York over the weekend, I took a conscious decision to not sleep on the flight beyond 7 am New York time. It was hard, and I had to watch drivel such as Sankat City in order to keep myself awake, but after a day of work in New York, I think it is working well. It’s hardly 10pm and I’m feeling insanely sleepy now but I suppose this can be classified as “normal” sleeping time itself.

I also saw Kaminey on the flight. Extremely well-made movie, and the lack of length helps. And I finished reading Jonathan Wilson’s Inverting the Pyramid also during the flight.

New York city is insanely cold, and windy! It is ar eally scary experience wehn the wind hits your face, and there is the chance that your nose might just break and fall off ! When i had gone for dinner last night, I ended up running backwards! Only to save my face from being hit by the wind. Thankfully today the weather was better and I managed to roam for a bit after work.

I hope to update this blog more frequently while I’m here in New York. And doo read all of Bryan Caplan’s article.

The Theory of Consistent Fuckability and Ladders for Men

Ok so the popular Ladder Theory states that men have only one ladder. It states that all men want to sleep with all women, and they simply rank every woman on the scale of how badly they want to sleep with her or whatever. Women, on the other hand, have two ladders – the “good” ladder, and the “friends” ladder, which allows them to get close to men without harbouring any romantic/sexual thoughts. Since men are incapable of exhibiting such behaviour, you get the concept of Gay Best Friend.

However, this absence of dual ladders for men exists only if you look at the short term. If you are a man and you are looking for a long-term relationship with genetic propagation as a part of your plans, I argue that the female twin ladders can be suitably modified in order to separate out “friends” from potential “bladees”. In order to aid this, I present the Theory of Consistent Fuckability.

From the ladder theory, we know that every man wants to sleep with every woman. For a fruitful, long-term, gene-propagating relationship, however, this is just a necessary but not sufficient condition. As I had argued in another post, given that divorce is usually messy, the biggest cost in getting married to someone is the opportunity cost of getting into long-term relationships with the rest of the population. And if you are involved in gene-propagation, it is ideal if neither of the propagators cheats on the partner – from the point of view of the child’s upbringging and all such jazz.

So if you are a man and you want to marry someone, you must be reasonably sure that you want to sleep with her on a consistent basis. You should be willing to do her every day. If not, there is a good chance that you might want to cheat on her at a later date, which is not ideal from your genes’ point of view.

A small digresssion here. You might ask what might happen to “ugly” women (basically women considered unattractive by a large section of men). However, the argument is that the market helps you find your niche. For example, if you want to cheat on a woman, there must be other women who are superior (on your scale) to this woman who want you to do them. Assuming that I am extremely unattractive and the fact that not too many “attractive” women will want to do me, I should be able to set my “consistent fuckability standard” appropriately.

Returning to the point, when you are evaluating a woman for MARRIAGE (note it doens’t apply to shorter term non-gene-propagating relationships), you will need to decide if you will want to have sex with her on a consistent basis. And based on the answer to this question, you can define the universe of all women into two – those that you want to do consistently and those that don’t. And they form your two ladders.

Now, reasonably independent (maybe there’s a positive low correlation on one of the ladders) of this consistent fuckability factor, you can evaluate the women on other factors such as emotional compatibility, strengths, weaknesses, culture fit and all that jazz. And rank them on those. And then use this distinction on the consistency factor and you will have your two ladders. So you have the “friends” ladder – which is differnet from the friends’ ladders of women in the sense that you want to sleep with them but not on a consistent basis. And there is the “good” ladder of those who you want to do consistently.

To summarize, consistent fuckability is a necessary but not sufficient condition for a fruitful, multiplicative, gene-propagating long-term relationship; and because of this, under certain circumstances, men also develop a pair of ladders.

Currently listening to: When I’m Sixty Four, The Beatles

Discrete and continuous jobs

Earlier today, while contributing to a spectacular discussion about ambition on a mailing list that I’m part of, I realized that my CV basically translates to spectacular performance in entrance exams and certain other competitive exams, and not much otherwise. This made me think of the concept of a “discrete job” – where you are evaluated based on work that you do at certain discrete points in time, as opposed to a continuous job where you are evaluated based on all the work that you do all the time.

A good example of a discrete job is that of a sportsman. Yes, a sportsman needs to work hard all the time and train well and all that, but the point is that his performance is essentially evaluated based on his performance on the day of the game. His performance on these “big days” matter significantly more than his performance on non-match days. So you can have people like Ledley King who are unable to train (because of weak knees) but are still highly valued because they can play a damn good game when it matters.

In fact any performing artist does a “discrete” job. If you are an actor, you need to do well on the day of your play, and off-days during non-performing days can be easily forgiven. Similarly for a musician and so forth.

Now the advantage of a “discrete” job is that you can conserve your energies for the big occasion. You can afford the occasional slip-up during non-performing days but as long as you do a good job on the performing days you are fine. On the other hand, if you are in a continuous job, off-days cost so much more, and you will need to divide your energies across each day.

If you are of the types that builds up a frenzy and thulps for short period of time and then goes back to “sleep” (I think I fall under this category), doing a continuous job is extremely difficult. The only way that it can be managed is through aggregation – never giving close deadlines so that you can compensate for the off-day by having a high-work day somewhere close to it. But not every job allows you the luxury of aggregation, so problem are there.

Now, my challenge is to find a discrete job in the kind of stuff that I want to do (broadly quant analysis). And maybe give that a shot. So far I’ve been mostly involved in continuous jobs, and am clearly not doing very well in that. And given my track record in important examinaitons, it is likely I’ll do better in a discrete job. Now to find one of those..