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I should have taken Econ 101

Most of you know I'm a total news junkie, and because I'm not at my ideal job, I also follow economic news to try to figure out my prospects. Ultimately, however, I have no idea how the economy works, or I'm incredibly naive. I read this article a few minutes ago:

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Googles-rapidly-rising-apf-1236173074.html?x=0

The cliffs notes version is that google's stock dropped because its expenses rose faster than analysts predicted. Makes sense, except it doesn't.

Google's revenue went up last quarter by 18%. Its quarterly revenue was $6.54 billion. Its expenses were $3.7 billion.

In other words, Google made about 3 billion smackers in the first quarter alone, and its stock dropped. The opening line of the article:

"Google is helping the economy and hurting its stock. The company is hiring so many employees for projects outside its thriving search advertising business that its expenses are growing much faster than its revenue."

Let me get this straight. According to economists, Google shouldn't go on a hiring "splurge" during  a time of economic turmoil because it will affect short-term losses? Notwithstanding any help that Google is interested in providing for the economic recovery in general, a lot of talented people are out of work, so wouldn't it make sense to snap up that talent since Google clearly has the revenue to make long-term investments at $12 billion annually?

I think I'm starting to understand the appeal of socialism, finally. The House Budget Committee's recommendation for economic recovery and deficit reduction says to lower the corporate tax ceiling from 35% to 25%. I understand that lower taxes means more investment, but what the hell kind of sense does it make for a company to want to increase its revenue more than $12 billion annually? What the hell are you going to do with $12 billion? The GDP of Zimbabwe is less than $3.5 billion. Google could buy three countries in Africa with its annual revenue if it wanted.

I like the idea of being free to achieve a lot, especially when it comes to public good, but what the hell do you do with twelve billion dollars? I guess you could go on a hiring splurge and make a big dent in unemployment, but more people will want to invest in you if you just take all the money and put it in a sack instead.
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Reflection on the holiday season

So, for the first time in my life, I was not bombarded in November with Christmas Carols on the radio and thoughts of black friday, and it seems like the Christmas spirit just came to me all of a sudden. I gleefully sent out my Christmas cards, was so happy to decorate my office, teach my students about Christmas and listen to the music. This is SO not me! Normally I am the one ranting about how commercialized Christmas is and why the hell does it have to come earlier every year??

I guess Christmas coming at its own pace made me get into the holiday mood rather than fight it off. :)
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What I enjoy about my life in Taipei

1. There is always something to do, no matter what time of day it is. You can find a bar open until 6, you can stop wherever you are and have a decent selection of food until 2 am, cabs are cheap and nothing is that far.

2. It is never difficult to find, as Cassie would say, "male attention." If you are a white, bitter gay male, consider moving here.

3. Taiwanese people seriously know how to relax!

4. Being able to completely disappear and no one worrying about where I am.

5. A lack of responsibility in general!
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First day of fall semester...

Well tonight was quite shocking indeed.

My first class is the lowest level class I will be teaching, and the students hardly understand anything at all. One of them even had a hard time telling me her name. Oddly, there are two students in the class who speak fluent English, so I don't know why they're there at all. I will definitely be starting from scratch with these kids and it will be a challenge!

My second class was wonderful, most are working professionals with specific career objectives linked to their learning of English. They were eager to learn and participate, in a good mood and super motivated. I'm teaching two classes to this group and I'm going to have a lot of fun with them.
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Back to the normal pattern of ignoring LJ

Things are good, I have my schedule for next semester. I have Mondays off, and Tuesday mornings off as well. I'll be busy but you all know I enjoy that. I might go to Hong Kong to visit Sim in a couple weeks, which would be a lot of fun.

Went to Taizhong for the day (central Taiwan), rode bikes, ate lots of junk food and went to the gayest place in Taiwan, an ice cream shop called Sugar Queen which seriously looks like Queen Victoria threw up all over the inside.

I'm slowly figuring out how to eat healthy and trying to be the normal social person I am. I have a tendency to be more of a hermit here because the weather is so hot and I don't know too many people.

I'll update with something more exciting when I have something more exciting to write about.

Rob
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(no subject)

Things are going by fast here. Still haven't been paid due to unnecessary bureaucracy at the university, but hopefully soon. Oddly enough, I'm happy about the annoying amount of time it takes to get paid when you work for Seattle Public Schools, so that August 1st paycheck came in handy.

I'm finally completely unpacked in my apartment, and it's definitely home. I love love LOVE having this much space to myself! One of my air conditioners is broken, so I just chill out in the other room, usually.

Went down to GuangHua computer market the other day. It's really insane, 7 floors of computer/techie gadgets. The dork inside of me was definitely overwhelmed. I needed a new graphics card because my old one broke, so I bought a decently cheap one. When I got home though, I discovered they gave me the cheaper model of the card I bought! I'm kind of annoyed, but the difference in price is only about USD$13 and it takes an hour to get there and back, so I think I'll live. Besides, it runs starcraft 2 fine.

I'm giving midterms this week, which means I do half as much teaching as usual. I still have to make up one for Wednesday, but now instead of my usual Monday afternoon of procrastination for what to do for my writing class, I can write my midterm for Weds, then procrastinate :). 2 and a half weeks left and then I have a full week off. I have to say, my life is pretty chill so far.

Thank god LJ autosaves now, since twice now I would've lost what I had written due to spontaneous web page changes o_O.

In other news, the food continues to be amazing, and I've finally figured out how to not make my body hate me for eating it, like I even eat vegetables and enjoy them now! How stunning.

Not much else is going on, besides a little sightseeing and some not-so-G-rated updates that are forthcoming.
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Time's going by fast here

I seriously can't believe I've been here for over a week already, but I'm already starting to settle in. The level of detail I'm picking up on is much lower, which means I'm getting used to the wackiness here.

I cannot get over how backwards a country Italy is. Seriously. Taiwan is way more modern, like, things are open past 9:00, you can have internet  and air conditioning in your apartment, and you can even buy peanut butter here. Stunning, really.

So let's see, I've moved into my apartment. I really like it! It's nice and spacious and very very furnished. It's about half an hour from work by bus, which isn't too bad. As previously mentioned, I have internet and air conditioning. I also have two balconies, which is pretty sweet.

I've done some tourist things here, but not too much because heat really does get to me. Today I went to fisherman's wharf in Danshui. The one in SF was bigger and more impressive, but this one was cuter and had better views. It's really pretty here. I also met an old friend, an English language student from Seattle, on Sunday. We went window shopping in Taipei 101, which until recently was the tallest building in the world. She also took me for some delicious japanese food since that area of Taipei is where all the japanese tourists go.

I started teaching. I like my classes. My students are OK. They don't like to participate in class. But I told both of my classes that if they don't participate I will fail them, which instantly resulted in more participation! I'm teaching Monday night from 7-10 and Wednesdays, 1-4:45 and 7-10. Long days, but the trade off is I don't teach T,W,F. Woohoo!

I'm taking an overtime teaching load for the fall, which will mean I'll have a lot of work but get paid extra. Bring it!

More updates later.

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The scoop in Taiwan

OK so I'm writing this from my office because it's the only place I have internet access. I'm not sure what I'm going to do tonight, so I might cut this off abruptly.

Sanzhi...I have to turn some students' senior project into a video documentary. It's a town to the north of Danshui, northeast of Taipei City. It was a cute town. I liked how during the day it was not quite empty, but there were only a few people around. I thought it was easy to relax. The restaurant I ate at, Lao Difang, was really good. I had Oily Tofu Noodle Soup, which really wasn't that oily, but it was super delicious. I also had xiaolongbao, ginger pork dumplings. They steam them to order, which is awesome.  Bubble tea is better here, I might end up drinking it every day. It's also 5-6x cheaper! Sanzhi...there was a temple right in the middle of town with businesses built around it. It reminded me of Italy where there is a historical landmark and then shops and business as usual right around it. I think it's hard for me to really capture this town, or the other towns around Danshui, at least until I spend more time there. After Sanzhi, I still have to do Shimen and Jinshan. I accidentally went to Shimen today, sort of. I went to the beach, Baishawan (white sand bay). I didn't stay long,  because I didn't go there on purpose. Once I realized I had passed Sanzhi, I got off the bus at the next stop, which happened to be a really pretty beach! I might go tomorrow morning. I might go back to laodifang for lunch, it was so good.

Last night was my birthday, it was less chaotic than last year's. I went to the night market in downtown Danshui with Evan, one of my old conversation partners from Seattle. It was fun! I ate so many weird things: iron eggs, stinky tofu, squid balls, and pig blood cake were the weirdest. I liked everything but the pig blood cake. I also had taiwnese mochi, bubble milk tea, fresh mango ice and some kind of soybean dessert. I could totally get used to eating like that, especially since it costs so little.

OK now I'm going into town for a couple hours. Finish this later.