o Bob Hope was inducted into the Order of Saint Gregory
the Great for his comic genius. Catholicism has this
catch-22. You are supposed to name your kids after saints,
but then you can never aspire to sainthood as the name is
already taken. If someone comes up with a good namespace
solution, CC John Paul on the email.
o I take pride in the fact that my Advanced Technology Program
grant offered by NIST and the Commerce Department was
flat out rejected. I haven't had my single phone
call debriefing yet, but I can only speculate that either
a) my proposal wasn't risky enough, b) they were offended
that my bribe wasn't big enough. I am happy about this
because now I can reconcile my beliefs that the US government
should cut the Commerce Department with I don't need
any free venture capital from them.
o I also take pride in the fact that I am probably the poorest
person on the face of the earth who has an Amex Platinum
card. I was going to tease Dan about this, but never got
around to it. For those of you who study system safety issues
you understand that most catastrophes occurr from a long
series of small unrelated, yet uncontrollable failures.
Keep this in mind when looking at the below events.
In addition to this point of pride, Inference Corporation
was founded by a USC graduate with his MS in computer science.
Inference Corp. is Amex's biggest supplier for technology
concerning credit approval and management. They make a rule
based system integrated with large databases and do very
complicated things globally based on a swipe of a card to determine
whether or not to approve the purchase. It seems that I was
able to trigger all their conditions. I will try and list
them here for everyone's benefit such that we can all
a) Buy an $80 golf bag. You don't have to buy clubs
or anything, they speculate that you will buy them
and spend a lifetime of tens of thousands of dollars
in golf feed. Within a month of buying the bag, go
and play on an expensive course just once.
b) Take advantage of school credit card deals. Amex
gave me a regular card for ugrad. Fill out the
corporate card application even though you don't
have a company yet. Pay your tuition using
a credit line and then pay it back immediately when
your student loan comes in. When I was at USC, I
had to cover my own tuition and they revoked my
student loans 8 times in 5 semesters. I had my
credit line listed as paid off completely 8 times
which looks like an established pattern of paying
off credit cards. Make sure that your alumni association
pays any fees. This is important, when you get upgraded,
it's too much trouble for them to switch to stop.
c) Upon graduation, pay off a student loan with your first
big paycheck. Any student loan that you pay off, even
a $400 overflow interest account will make you look like
a greatly responsible person.
d) Get a job, if only for a short time before going back
to grad school making more than 90% of all wage earners.
This isn't hard to do with a CS degree or two.
e) Buy a car, have your roommate total it and your insurance
pay it off after a year. Buy another car and pay half
of it off in 48 months, trade it in for a 24 month lease
pay off the lease, and then get another lease. You now
have an amazing track record of paying off huge purchases.
f) Own a stock option account. Go down to Quick and Reilly
and open an options account with about $100. Buy a single
option to the annoyance of your broker and let the option
lapse. Keep a minumum of $10 in the account so they don't
e) Purchase International plane tickets on an Amex just once,
even if it's work related and you are going to a conference
and you get reimbursed by the slow travel reimbursement
f) Charge an expensive hotel room to your card, even if it's
again work related and you get reimbursed.
g) Buy computer parts on your Amex to asssemble a PC together
for a friend. Have your friend pay you back when you get
h) Buy some really jewelry for your girlfriend for a special
night out on the town and then return it afterwards.
Conditions are like triggers, there are very little
allowances for revocation. It's hard to do 'unmatch'
rules once they have triggered.
i) Above all, have extreme employment confidence. Know that if
you really run out of money about 18 months into grad school
even though your advisor promised to get you out in that time
because that was the same length he spent after having his MS
getting his PhD and you only planned expenses that far out,
you can always get a job programming Cobol for $200k a year
and pay everything off with your first paycheck.