My Proudest Accomplishments
Most of these feats may seem trivial , but they all involved small victories where I really admired my own abilities to accomplish a feat or solve a problem and felt really good afterwards in reflection. As you can see, stuff like getting a promotion at work have no place on this list. New additions to the list are at the end.
Last update: 05/19/2009
1. Passing Math 2B in college my first quarter as a freshman. It was calculus and I was totally lost and paranoid about failing the final because I despised the stuff and the thought of having to take the class again chilled me to the core with terror. The idea of a triple integral basically calculating the area of a 4-dimensional space which did not exist pissed me off. Fortunately, the professor was lazy and used exact homework questions for his tests. And the homework solutions were available to purchase from the campus bookstore. So, I dedicated 5 days prior to the final to doing nothing but eating, sleeping, and studying this subject and mainly the homework answers and the detailed solutions. I listened repeatedly to various tracks from Saturday Night Fever (mainly Salsation and K-Jee) in my headphones for 10 hours or so a day for 5 days straight while just reading math problems and answers over and over. My roommate thought I was crazy but I ended up with a B-.
2. One time I was skiing at Kirkwood with some friends and we were having lunch and some beers in the parking lot but didn't have a bottle opener and I was able to find the perfect car hubcaps next to mine to open the beers with.
3. When I went down to San Diego to clean out my old house my roommate was moving out of. His new place which we were going to spend the night wasn't available yet and the landlady had given him a temporary place, but gave him the wrong key and it was midnight. I was able to use a credit card to slide open the door and "break" into the place like in the movies.
4. When I was in Charlotte for 4 days on a business trip and worked all day Thursday, went to the airport for a 6pm flight, connected through Dallas (to save company several hundreds of dollars), got to my car in SFO at midnight (3am ET), drove 3 hours to Truckee (stopping for a 20 minute nap just before the summit as I was drifting off), got to cabin about 3:30am, slept 5 hours, skied all day at squaw, went to the Biltmore for dinner and played blackjack for about 30 minutes and won $60, then drove 3 hours to Mammoth where I met Tony at some dive motel and then skied the next morning and 2 more days in Mammoth, then drove 7 hours around the Sierras back to SF to work the next day.
5. When my company blocked various websites related to "games" stopping me from doing my daily Jumble at jumble.com and I was able to circumvent their blocking by going to translate.google.com, thus masking the URL.
6. When my friend Jeremy and I in college left San Diego to ski in Big Bear at 6am, skied all day, slept in 17 degree weather in the back of my station wagon in the parking lot of a Vons (my contact lens solution was half frozen), skied the next day, then after skiing decided to drive to Vegas, had a buffet and played a bit of Let It Ride and blackjack before Jeremy's girlfriend called yelling at him for going to Vegas, then drove back to San Diego with a 40 minute nap at some rest stop along the way.
7. When a drink lady in Vegas asked me what I wanted and I said "gin" and she said "Do you want anything in it?" and I said no, just straight gin and she shivered and made a sound of repulsion. To get a reaction like that from a hardened Vegas worker that sees so much sleaze and craziness is something to be proud of.
8. The first time at Squaw that I really broke through to a new level and skied down the West Face in fresh powder without stopping and perfect form and really felt like I owned the mountain and some random guy complimented me as I went by.
9. One summer I was home from college and had a temp job at Wells Fargo for a month which involved looking up people's account balances, writing them on a form, and then stamping the form with 3 stamps. I figured out an efficient stamping method by which I'd finish all the looking up of the numbers and the writing, and then do the stamping in one long streak holding all three stamps in one hand, one pointing out left, one pointing down, and one pointing right, and was able to speed the process by doing all three stampings on each form in one fluid movement.
10. Finishing college in 4 years with no summer school and only 1 credit over the minimum (damn that 1 credit seminar on supermarket tabloids and society) and the maximum allowable Pass/Fail-to-graded class ratio and only having to take 2 classes in the final 2 quarters (and one of those was the Films of Jack Nicholson) which saved my dad a couple hundred dollars.
11. Any compliment on my website from a random person that I don't know that takes time to email me after finding something interesting or reading an essay they liked. Same goes for when I see a lot of hits on my stat tracker from someone that randomly came upon my site searching for something and was intriqued and stayed a while checking a lot of things out.
12. I have never missed a day of work due to illness (not counting fake sick calls for interviews only).
13. I reached a high of over $110,000 of debt on credit cards outstanding at 0% interest, all of which was fully covered by cash in online savings accounts earning around 4.5% interest. Here's the BT that put me over the century mark.
14. In college when I was taking a Lit class on Mark Twain, before the reading list came out, I went to the library and checked out about 15 Twain books and anthologies, thereby allowing me to not have to buy any books for the class. I then returned any books that didn't include stuff on the reading list.
15. I had no knowledge of the Macarena when the 1996 craze hit. I don't know how, but I feel it's something to be proud of in that I must have not been doing dumb things that would otherwise had enabled me to know about it. I only found out years later when people made jokes about the dance and I asked what they were talking about.
16. I got a tie at a thrift store in San Diego for 25 cents in 1996 that I've worn on job interviews and is still something I would wear with a suit as it is a classic that will never go out of style.
17. When I was in college and I used to occasionally go exploring around Tiajuna with my friend Jeremy on our bikes. One time, the line to walk through back to the US was so long, I decided to just see if we could ride through the car entry and we went between the lanes and waved to the border patrol saving an hour or more time.
18. I never thought it would happen, but I topped my previous record with a single 0% Balance Transfer (actually, direct deposit into checking account) arbitrage play in the amount of $75,000. I was solicited for a new credit card upon making a large deposit at a BofA branch and even though I said I didn't need it, they kept pressing so I asked if I could combine all my lines and still get the deal and they said ok, after about a week of checking. The lady even sent me two thank you notes. The key, you might note, is the one-time $75 fee; it is very rare these days to see a cap on this fee and without it, the arbitrage is not economical since it's 3%. Estimated profit before tax and after expenses: $2,975
19. In a big meeting at work there was this thing going on with the conference phone where everytime someone hit the button on one of the two extender microphones to unmute them, it turned green but then the other turned red. This happened a few times and then I said "Maybe it's like WarGames and you have to hit both buttons simultaneously" and got a good laugh out of the crowd.
20. In my only trip ever to a San Francisco strip club (after a crushing A's meltdown in the 2001 playoffs), I was philosophizing about something to my friend, as I am wont to do after a few drinks. The place was empty except for our small group and some guy came on over the loudspeaker saying "stop talking about economics and pay attention to the ladies."
21. As of May 19, 2009, this page is the #1 result on a Google search for "Proudest Accomplishments."
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