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Archive for September, 2008

So I got this big booklet printed on cheap paper in the mail today filled with information about the upcoming propositions for California. I’m kind of sick of reading Monetary Policy stuff and my other books haven’t come in the mail yet, so I decided to take a break and read this thing. I wonder if they have as extensive information for the candidates that vote for candidates that votes for candidates that eventually votes for a candidate who votes for a candidate who votes for the president in China. Probably not.

But anyways, here’s how I’m voting so if you’re too lazy to read through this thing, then you can just copy my answers. Unless you usually disagree with the stuff I say on this blog. Then you can vote the opposite of what I will vote for.

Prop 1. High Speed Rail: YES

I like trains. When I was a kid, I got all these old toys from my cousin from New York. There were plastic dinosaurs, legos, transformers, and even a toy train set. Sadly, the toy train set required batteries and my dad was too cheap to give me any so I had to steal them from the TV remote. It was awesome. I also enjoyed riding BART to school back when I was too poor to afford housing in Berkeley. My favorite parts was when the train was above ground so I can have a nice view of Hayward, San Leandro, and Oakland. What clinched it for me were the train rides in China. Even the hard seaters. People talked to complete strangers, drank together, and we all made new friends on those long rides. I think cheap rail transportation in California is the way to go. Especially if we can bring our bikes onto the train.

Prop 2. Humane Farming: NO

They’re gonna get eaten anyways. If people want their KFC chicken to have flapped their wings before they died and dipped into a vat of oil, they could’ve gone and bought those organic chickens instead. But I can’t really take these kinds of stuff seriously.

Prop 3. Children’s Hospital Bonds: DUNNO

I’m torn. I hate kids and I hate hospitals, but I like the idea of kids being able to go to hospitals if they’re sick and stuff. I don’t know much about the state of children’s hospitals right now so I don’t know if more money for it is necessary. I’m kind of leaning towards a NO vote, but I’ll probably just leave this one blank.

Prop 4. Parental Notification of Abortion: NO

If a kid gets pregnant, they should be able to get an abortion without their hardcore conservative parents freaking out. It’ll save the family a lot of emotional trauma. Ok, so it’s not that simple, but I’m not a girl and I’m not a dad, so this prop doesn’t really apply to me yet. Once I get that sex change and get my age reversed so that I’m 13 years old again and then get pregnant though, I’ll probably vote NO. Guess I better make that appointment with the sex-age changing sperm bank…

Prop 5. Parole and Rehab: YES

The original idea of prisons, not dungeons, but the modern idea of prisons thought up by that 18th century dude from England, was that it would be a place of education and reform. We’ve gone really far away from that and have strayed into that eye for an eye punishment stuff. More money on parole and rehab would be good. Though I doubt a drug dealer really will get reformed in rehab, it’s still better than sticking him in prison where he’ll get more hookups into the drug trade.

Prop 6. Money for the Police: NO

More money for the police? I mean even though there were a string of armed robberies in Oakland a few weeks ago, crime has been relatively low compared to when I was growing up in the early 90s. I don’t think the police really need all that much more money since they’re doing a decent job giving me biking tickets as it is.

Prop 7. Renewable Energy: YES

I like wind and solar power. Like when you drive east into the hills from Hayward, there are all these wind turbines all over the place. I think they’re pretty. Definitely better looking than those massive coal powerplants in Shanxi. I mean China is trying to invest in green energy so if the US didn’t follow, they would definitely be losing a lot of international street cred.

Prop 8. Eliminate Same Sex Marriage: NO

I think homosexuals, gays, lesbians, faggots, dykes, or whatever else left or right or moderate people call them should be able to get married since it doesn’t hurt me in any way and if God really does hate homosexuals, then they can receive their punishment after they die. I mean God apparently doesn’t like atheists either, but I don’t see any laws prohibiting the belief in nothing… yet…

Prop 9. Victims Rights: NO

This prop seems to be based on movies where this wife beating husband is sent to prison but then gets out on bail while the poor wife is hiding at home clutching a baseball bat at night waiting for the bastard to strangle her. I personally don’t know much about the parole system, but I somehow doubt this situation would happen too often.

Prop 10. Alternative Fuel Vehicles: YES

I want to buy an alternative fuel vehicle. Like in Back to the Future where DeLorean was outfitted with this fusion generator where it can turn bananas peels into fuel… oh wait, it only provides power for the flux capacitor while the car itself still ran on ordinary unleaded gasoline. Well, I bet if this prop existed when that movie was made, the whole car could have run on fusion and they wouldn’t have had to go through all that trouble in Back to the Future III pushing the time machine with a train.

Prop 11. Redistricting: DUNNO

Boring…

Prop 12. Veterans Bonds: YES

I don’t really see anything wrong with it. It’s not like the state is giving tax money to veterans. They’re only getting loans, which should be given to veterans who can pay it back, so it’s all good.

So there we go. Once China sends me their booklet on propositions, I’ll post up what I think on those as well on this blog.

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Mom’s Wise Words

For the first time in a while, my mom actually said something that made a lot of sense while me and my dad were yelling at each other about the current economic problems in America:

“If you and are son are screaming at each other about this, it’s no wonder the people in Congress are having so much problems passing the bill”

Yes. Yes indeed.

Oh, and I started going to school again. My monetary theory professor is a hardcore neo-liberal laissez-faire economist. Good thing I’ve long turned away from my communist roots and rejected Mao Zedong thought else we would’ve had a struggle meeting right then and there in class. Though I must admit, his class is pretty interesting compared to wasting away in a Beijing cubicle.

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Job Interview

I had an interview for a teaching job a few weeks ago and they called me back today and wanted to hire me. Sadly it was really far away from where I lived, they only offered me about 15 hours of work a week, and the pay was pretty low.

So I had to pull a Palin and say thanks but no thanks to that bridge to nowhere. The only difference being that my voice was smooth and sexy instead of that nails-on-chalkboard sound that comes out of her mouth.

And what does this have to do with China? Well, in China it was pretty easy for me to get a decent job just because I was a native English speaker. I could find a teaching position anywhere and get paid enough to live a middle class lifestyle. Now that I’m back in the States, I think I’m just going to settle for a job at Carls Jr. That jalapeno burger is pretty awesome…

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Yeah, so I know that this is supposed to be a China blog, but since I’m not in China no more, I’m gonna have to turn this into a whatever blog until I return to the motherland.

It’s been almost a month and a half since I’ve been back to the states now. Back in that little city that never really changes. The day after I came back (I slept the entire first day and night), I went over to the shoreline that was near my house. It’s not those traditional sandy beaches that you imagine of California though. The shorelines in northern California are mostly rocky. The one near my house is half landfill and half wildlife preserve. I went there for a little run at 6am in the morning because I couldn’t think of anything else to do with my jet lag.

It was strange. My hometown has absolutely nothing of value. It has a BART station and a pair of freeways that run through it so most people have heard of my city though the only time they ever enter it is if they get off at the wrong stop or off ramp. The run to the shoreline showed that nothing really changed down that road since my grandpa took me to there when I was a kid to watch trucks pass by. The chop shops and junk yards lined one side of the street while clean and empty single storied office buildings sat on the other. Nothing changed except they pulled out a bunch of trees by the community college to make space for more classrooms.

So when I first got back, I couldn’t help but feel how primitive my hometown was. Where were all the bright lights and hip young people walking around with bursting wallets? Where were the cars, the hustle and bustle, and the life that existed in Beijing 24 hours a day? It was empty on the shoreline that day I went running except for some old man and his dog (which seemed to strengthen my belief that America had fallen far behind). The air was too clean and the sky too blue for there to be any evidence of proper industrialization. There were too few people around for there to be a sufficient market demand. There was too much nature and unchanging buildings for there to be signs of progress. It’s like I went from the 21st century in China to some sleepy pre-Colombian America where the people are still happily living slow lives with their animal companions while advanced peoples across the ocean were blasting people into space.

Of course none of that is true. Once I finished by run it was around 8am and there was the rush hour traffic spewing toxins into the air. I went to the City a few days later and there were those nice shiny buildings and fancy cars parked on the side of the road. I even found my way to Chinatown one day and lo and behold, there were people selling all sorts of goodness on the side of the streets.

I guess 10% GDP growth really is much faster than 3%. I’ve got mixed feelings about it now that I’m back. I miss the rapid change of Beijing, but at the same time I’m kind of glad that the swing that I used to play on back when I was in elementary school is still around. What we all need a perfect balance where the world we live in changes enough to be exciting while enough of the old remains so that we can remember where we came from. With that said, I have come to the conclusion that a 6.5% GDP growth rate per year, a number that is right in between the growth of China and America, would be best.

What can I say? I’m so prepared to take those graduate economics classes in a few weeks.

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The Lack of Posts

So I haven’t written much since the end of the Olympics and I feel obligated to let my one or two loyal readers know that it is not because I am busy with something important. It’s just that I don’t have anything relevant to write about.

There was an interesting article on CDT about the low consumption rating of the Chinese people, but I don’t feel the need to expand on it.

Now that I’m back in the states, I find it more difficult to write about China. It’s not like I know less about the place just because I’m on the other side of the world (in fact I probably know more with access to UC Berkeley’s library and uncensored internet). Instead, it has to do with the lack of stimulation. Back when I was in China, I would walk outside and see something, which would spur me into thinking deeper and go off into tangents which would sooner or later result in a blog post. Over here, I go outside and see Mexicans washing their trucks in their driveways and have a stack of fantasy novels waiting to be read in my room. How am I going to get motivated to write about China’s politics or economic development from that?

And I’m so bloody sick of the election. It’s so incredibly monotonous. I hate McCain and Obama and that lady from Alaska and that dude from somewhere. I also hate all those political pundits that make all these comments about what the candidates have to do or what they mean by certain statements. It’s all they ever talk about on NPR and I can barely listen to it now. I want my old programming about random people who lived their entire lives in a windmill. Is that too much to ask for?

I think there should be something more interesting to spice up this election. Maybe have McCain and Obama go at it Taiwan-congressmen style. Ok, so maybe instead of having the presidents fight it out (McCain might be a war veteran, but he’s really old…), they can duke it out in a 1v1 game of Starcraft. Or their staff can play a game of Ultimate. There has to be something to lighten up this campaign because right now, it’s way to boring. I even prefer the run up to the Beijing Olympics to this.

But whatever. There’s only a couple months left and life can return to normal.

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