I don't want to be richSun, 30th Jul '06, 1:55 pm::

I just read a surprisingly blunt article by Felix Dennis, a British publishing tycoon, titled "If you want to be rich, first stop being so frightened." He's brutally honest in saying how he became rich and what all he had to do on the way to get there. His shortlist of who wouldn't get rich includes these gems: "If you cannot bear the thought of causing worry to your family, spouse or lover while you plough a lonely, dangerous road rather than taking the safe option of a regular job, you will never get rich. If you have artistic inclinations and fear that the search for wealth will coarsen such talents, you will never get rich. (Because your fear, in this instance, is well justified.)"

I always wanted to hear a really rich guy say everything he said in the article because at the back of my mind, I knew that was exactly what one would have to do. Sure, there are exceptions to every rule, but by and large, money and power aren't attained by the kindness of your heart and the virtue of your soul. I feel vindicated in a way because while I (just like my father) know exactly what I'd have to do to get all the way up there, I can't make myself do it.

Addressing his shortlist, I don't really have much of a fear of failure anymore. I used to but after tons and tons of disasters, failure is just another non-event to me. I rarely care what neighbors think (except when my lawn is ill-kempt). I can work 18 hours a day for a year if I want. I know I'm smart/good/capable enough to be filthy rich. I know getting rich is a game and I can play it if I put my mind to it. However, I'd rather not.

While I have the tenacity and drive to achieve "success," my definition of success is different from most people. I want success in invention and innovation, not in investment and influence. I think once you are above a certain IQ-level, you can pretty much do anything you set your mind to. After all, if you are smart enough to understand particle physics, you can understand the Ricardian Model of Comparative Advantage or Loss Distributions and Survival Models just as well. It's a matter of selecting which field you like; some just pay much more than others.

My favorite example is Investment Banking because I think it has the highest pay/effort ratio among all the typical jobs out there. Typical, because anyone with basic financial resources and a triple digit IQ can get an MBA and become one if they set their mind to it. It's not something like acting or sports that require talent or physical characteristics. It's not operations research or econometrics that requires intense appreciation of mathematics and statistics. If I had wanted to get comfortably rich, with say a salary of $150k-$200k by my late 20's or early 30's, I'd be an investment banker. It's not that complex really. Now writing a script that isolates specifics GUIDs from the registry and generates .Net code for a COM wrapper to extend every single class of an existing DLL written in VB in order to enable access the indexed properties of an object from PHP so that I can migrate and merge the data from two Btrieve 6 databases to a Pervasive 9 database is complex. And pretty much always goes unnoticed because nobody really understand what the hell I just said. But I like it. No, I LOVE it. And I'd rather be doing that than making money - because this makes me happy.

We have a choice in what makes us money. We have no choice in what makes us happy. For me, it's the unwavering desire to spend my 30's researching mundane computational or economic theories. For others, it's getting whatever job pays well enough to support their golfing ambitions or their family. And for others, it's eating pie. Hey, whatever makes you happy.

As for me, I'll have the PhD please. And would like to be comfortably poor as per Felix Dennis' Wealth Guide: £1m-£2m in assets.

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Sat, 29th Jul '06, 2:05 pm::

Reading something online, I was reminded of a horror movie I saw as a kid in India. It was probably the first horror movie I saw completely. Took a few minutes but I finally found it's name: Demons. Oh the good times...

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Wed, 26th Jul '06, 3:25 pm::

I want to get into the supply business of crazy theatrical properties. That way, I'd get mad props on a daily basis and could give mad props to people all over the world.

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Tue, 25th Jul '06, 1:05 am::

Sun, 23rd Jul '06, 4:00 pm::

I've noticed that almost every other Sunday afternoon of mine is spent Wiki digging. I'll pick some general topic and keep clicking on one link after another in the main article and end up somewhere I never thought possible. I wish there was an easy way to print the Wiki-trail for all to see.

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Sun, 23rd Jul '06, 6:30 am::

I wish my lawn was emo so it would cut itself.

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Sun, 23rd Jul '06, 2:55 am::

Been a relatively relaxed week and weekend. I've been watching some good movies lately. Just added lots of Futurama quotes when I found out what Slashdot does.

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Thu, 13th Jul '06, 11:45 pm::

Nominative Determinism or Aptonyms are "apt names" of people because of their occupation. Like Raymond Strike, the President of the National Health and Welfare Worker's Union in Canada. Or Robin Banks, who specializes in handling internet fraud for British Telecom. My dirty favorite: Dr. Alden G. Cockburn, a Urologist in Tampa, FL - about a 30 minute drive from me. If you like these, here's more.

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Mon, 10th Jul '06, 6:00 pm::

Happy B'day Daddddddy!!!!!!!

I've been trying to call India all day. No dice :( Once again my parents are going to think I forgot their b'day. It is technically impossible for me to forget anyone's b'day because I got 2 different reminder software/emails for each important occassion. Urgh.

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This 'blog entry SUCKSSun, 9th Jul '06, 10:05 pm::

I have come to the sad realization that I apparently have the worst choice in everything. Every single thing. Ever. If I like it, then it sucks. It can be anything - music, movies, actors, actresses, sports, books, or food. If I so much as mention it to my friends that "Hey! This 'x' is good..." it is met with the juggernaut punch of "Ewwwwww! 'X' SUCKS!"

The list of things that I like and for some reason the people I know don't, is pretty damn long. From Jon Stewart and Johnny Depp to Scarlett Johansson and Uma Thurman, from Annie Hall and 007 series to Zoolander and Sin City, from Aerosmith and Cake to Queen and Coldplay. It does not matter whether Annie Hall is Woody Allen's greatest cinematic achievement till date, the very fact that I casually mentioned it a friend online, means it stinks. Who cares if Sin City is quite possibly the best rendition of a comic to a movie that still maintains the comic-book aura, the mere fact that Chirag Mehta in Florida, USA uttered the phrase "Wow! Sin City is superb!" means people have to absolutely bring it down.

The statistical odds of me unknowingly liking everything that is critically "bad" are very very low. If indeed I can like the suckiest of the sucky out there, I can make a lot of money by immediately betting on my dislikes. No. I don't think I have a case of bad taste in all there is to be. The problem is you. Yes, you. You pretend to hate every single thing that's popular because it's so much easier to say "'X' is an over-rated hack' and "'X' is too long and boring." It's ok though. Not your fault completely. Here's what really happened.

As a society, we've been trained well to listen to the view of the elite few and shape our views and likings according to theirs. So when Roger Ebert praises a film, we walk in expecting it to be good. Nothing wrong so far. His film reviews are unbiased and quite accurate and his words are in fact worth their weight in gold. The problem is not whether Ebert does and does not like something. The problem is our innate desire to be elite. After all, our society has been structured to respect and revere the elite.

It so happens unfortunately, our peers identify us by the choices we make, not why we make them. Consequently, if we want our fellow beings to respect us and be in awe of our choices, it is paramount that we pick everything that a commoner wouldn't. It is cool to be different. Corollary, it is uncool to choose like a plebeian. Instead of doing what the elite do to become an elite ourselves, we start liking things that we think the real elites like. We form a mirage of what the elites might like and start liking those things. You know, that raw-sounding underground band that only you know of? Oh and that foreign film with blue blood instead of red?

Now that you have wedged yourself between the layers of unique-taste and appreciating-the-underrated, it's time to start defending your high and mighty position. A friend mentions Sin City is great and you have to mention that Frank Miller doesn't know how to bring life to his characters, "They're so two-dimensional." Well no sheetrock Sherlock, it's a comic on paper! While I understand that everyone has the right to critique everything that they know nothing about, that doesn't mean you start hating anything that doesn't meet your precise definition of what might be good.

Having read a million online profiles and met tons of people, I've come to the conclusion that while everyone is different and has different tastes, once they fit in with a certain clique or stereotype, they choose pretty much just like everyone else in the group. In their view, the stereotype they're trying to fit into is the coolest, the most elite. So they have to like what other people with that stereotype like. Even the people that do not want to fit into a stereotype have similar choices. Odds are, if you like Fight Club, you also like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. If you like Futurama, you also like Amelie. Odds, not certainly. Odds are fairly good that if you hate They Might Be Giants, you also hate Monty Python.

I don't need to hear your excuse for hating anything. I doubt Monty Python will get any funnier because you have a different idea of how they should have acted out their skits. Truth is, most people hate things because it is cool to hate them. And what's cooler to hate than the popular? If it's popular, it means the commoners like it. If the stupid common people like it, you certainly don't want anything to do with it.

Try mentioning to anyone with even a slight pride, that you listen to the Billboard Top 40 songs and they'll frown upon you. "Ewww! How can you listen to that crap?! I only listen to the classic Beatles songs." Guess what? Beatles topped all those Top charts. You may or may not have better taste than me, but you certainly are trying hard to pretend like you do.

I doubt that I'm ever going to get people to appreciate the genius of Peter Sellers or the wonders of Tom Waits, so I'm going to do the only thing I can to avenge the insults I bore. From now on, everything anyone says is good, I'm gonna hate it. For absolutely no reason other than the fact that YOU like it. Once I've made it clear I hate it, I'll make up intelligent-sounding bourgeoisie-denigrating reasons to prove my point. You may now walk away in awe of me and leave me plum full of my elitist self.

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Wed, 5th Jul '06, 1:05 am::

Song for the week: "Make It Rain" - Tom Waits

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