Let’s talk about tax baby!

It was a nice afternoon. I was in my penultimate class of the day-Investments. I do not remember what the lesson was about that day, but I do remember my professor being upset about taxes.

My professor is German, married to an American woman, currently living and working in the UAE. He has a green card which made him eligible for all the goodies America has to offer, including (or should that be especially?) taxes.

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Finance Amateur.

In addition to this blog, I have a personal finance blog financeamateur.wordpress.com.

It is a little stressful having two blogs, so I have decided to merge them. I created a Finance category on this blog and will post my finance and money blogposts under this category. Finance amateur will still be open, so check out the older posts.

Thank you ūüôā

Hot Girls Wanted

I am fascinated by the porn industry; not the videos per se, more with the people who have chosen to tow that career path. I like to watch interviews of porn actors, to get into their heads. I would much rather watch them being human than watch them having sex. A lot of people are intrigued by the porn stars, even though they would never admit it. They hide behind insults and bible verses but they are really curious about these people. The fascination stems from its taboo, the fact that it contravenes what society deems to be normal and acceptable, the fact that most people would never do it (or at least think they wouldn’t).

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Confessions of a Shopaholic

There are two book series that I can read over and over again: Harry Potter and Sophie Kinsella’s Shopaholic series. Every time I re read one of these books, I enjoy it just as I did the first time.

Rebecca “Becky” Brandon nee Bloomwood is the heroine of the Shopaholic books. I have seen her go from a spendthrift¬†singleton to a spendthrift¬†woman in a relationship to a spendthrift¬†woman with a fiance to a spendthrift wife to a spendthrift¬†woman with a sister to a spendthrift¬†mother. Becky is my friend in my head. I laugh at the crazy things she gets up to and I want to smack when she starts daydreaming about clementine sandals she does not need and definitely cannot afford. Despite her childish impulsiveness and financial irresponsibility, Becky is a star and a great character.

As an ardent Shopaholic fan, I was expectedly very excited when in 2009, a Confessions of a Shopaholic movie was announced. Woohoo I thought. I could not wait to see the film, to see Becky and all the characters come alive on the big screen. It was going to be a fabulous movie of course.

Then it wasn’t.

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For the love of white feminism.

Where do I start from?

The term “White Feminism” is one I regularly see touted on twitter, especially by Black feminists. I never really paid it much attention until the video to Rihanna’s BBHMM came out. In anticipation of the criticism the video would receive, people started to defend it as a preemptive move, calling out those would be critics. I noticed that a lot of the defensive tweets had one thing in common: they all assumed that the criticism would come from White women, white feminists to be exact.

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ROBOTS VERSUS HUMANS

Recently, during a conversation with friends, one friend brought up the topic of Artificial Intelligence. She was fascinated by the field and wanted us to discuss it, and discuss it we did. Most of the conversation stayed on the surface; what it was, some applications and the resulting ease of life that AI provides. Towards the end of the conversation, we briefly touched on the possible negative effects Artificial Intelligence could have.

The conversation really got me thinking about the whole idea of Artificial Intelligence, especially its adverse consequences. Before I go further, what is Artificial Intelligence? Most people just think of Artificial Intelligence as being synonymous with robots, but it is more than that.

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Serendipity.

I recently watched a movie called Serendipity. It is a typical romantic movie. John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale meet by chance and spend the most amazing few hours together. Rather than exchange details, Kate comes up with the ingenious idea to leave it up to fate. If they are meant to be, they will somehow end up together. John writes his name and number on a five dollar note. Kate writes hers in an old copy of Love in The Time of Cholera, which she then sells to a used bookstore. They spend the next few years looking for each other, he enters every bookstore and opens every copy of the book hoping to find her number.

They both get engaged to other people around the same time. Neither of them can get married without closing the chapter on the wonderful stranger soulmate person. So instead of focusing on their wedding preparations, they intensify their search for each other, enlisting the help of their friends and just being stupid really.

They keep almost meeting, missing each other, finding clues, calling off their weddings. Long story short, they finally end up. They kiss and live happily ever after.

It was a nice enough film, but that is not what I am getting at.

One recurring scene in romantic films is the one where the bride (or groom) realises het best friend/gardener/ex/dog walker/pet gerbil is really her soulmate and so leaves her betrothed at the altar. (Sometimes the dumpee is not left at the altar, but is still dumped in an insensitive manner.) Everyone cheers and the movie ends. The funny part is how all the guest ignore the one left at the altar and start cheering on the new couple. Maid of honour, Sweet Home Alabama, Love and Basketball, The Accidental Husband (awful movie by the way), the list of such movies is endless.

While the viewers celebrate that true love has prevailed, all I think about is the  poor fella (lady) that has just been dumped, and on her (his) wedding day no less. The film Serendipity is more ridiculous than the others because the supposed soulmates only spent a few hours together. The characters were willing to throw their existing lives away because of a stranger who could very well have turned out to be a serial killer.

I wish romantic movies would change the script. Please stop abandoning people at the altar as if it is no big deal. Let the characters make the realisation that they are in love before the wedding day. Let The Notebook be your guide.

The only time in which this was acceptable was in A Different World when Dwayne Wayne poured his heart out Baby Please!

As moving and romantic as the scene was, I still felt sorry for Byron. Look at him slinking out sadly while the congregation erupted in happiness. He had been nothing but charming to Whitley and he definitely did not deserve to be embarrassed like that. At least Dwayne had the decency to apologise to him¬†I’m sorry Byron I love her!¬†

When the credits roll, I try to imagine what the lives of the characters would be like after the happily ever after. I want the characters regret abandoning their true love at the altar. If I was tasked with making Serendipity 2, I would make¬†John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale realise that having a magical moment with a stranger is not a good enough reason to call off one’s wedding.

I understand this is all make believe and is not to be taken seriously.

STOP LEAVING PEOPLE AT THE ALTAR! Thank you. That’s all.

Interesting tidbits

There is always so much going on in the world. Here are some sad, funny and interesting things I found while perusing the internet.

First off are these heartbreaking photos of a Greek pensioner in tears. He is one of the many pensioners who had to line up to receive only a part of their weekly pension: 120 Euros.

 

If you haven’t heard that Greece is in trouble¬†at the moment, then shame on you. Succinctly put, Greece is in deep financial bondage. It is battling a ton of debt, default and crippling austerity measures among other things. Tomorrow the country will vote on whether or not to accept yet another bailout that comes with more austerity measures. The country¬†is quite tense and everyone is anxious to see what the outcome will be. Will Greece accept more sanctions? Will it just say oh fuck it and leave the euro? What will happen if Greece leaves the Eurozone? Will other countries follow suit? Whatever happens and whatever opinions people have about the current situation, we can all agree that it is sad to see an old man cry.

One morning in February I woke up to a clip of a plane tilted to one side, hitting a bridge and crashing into a river. The plane was a TransAsia airplane. Over forty people died including the pilots. It was a truly tragic accident. New information has just been released as to the cause for the crash. According to reports, the pilot had accidentally shut down the plane’s only working engine and did not realise this until it was too late. The pilot’s last words were: “Wow, pulled back the wrong throttle.” The pilot had reportedly failed simulation exercises and was said to be clueless in certain emergency situations. It is a shame that the pilot was chosen to fly the plane despite this. People make mistakes all the time, but some mistakes are just unacceptable. Rest in peace to the souls of the departed.

Now for some lighthearted news. ¬†Finland hosts a¬†yearly “wife carrying competition“, and couples from around the world participate in the event. The competition is in its 20th year and it involves men trying to complete an obstacle course of some sorts, with their wives on their backs.

The rules are quite flexible on the “wife” bit, but I think if you are going to complete a stressful exercise with your head in the middle of a person’s thighs with the person’s bum touching your head, you would be better off with your wife.

The face of a winner- he and his wife have won the competition two years in a row.

Competitors also have to wade through water.

It does look kooky as hell and it is a nice change from all the carnage and horror reported in the news everyday.

Au revoir.