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    The New Rig

    Here are some pics of the new Macbook. It's a 2.4 ghtz Intel core 2 duo with 4 gigs of RAM. The Ralph Steadman designed Hunter S. Thompson artwork was a personalized touch the Apple shop threw in for free.  I haven't used a Mac with any regularity since my college journalism days and I've been a pretty loyal PC guy for nearly two decades, due in large part to my love of PC gaming. While there isn't much gaming goodness to be found on the Mac platform, I am enjoying the aesthetics of its design. I plan to use it for more creative tasks, particularly when working on freelance projects and expanding on my video editing knowledge.  The whole idea of getting a notebook computer and setting up a wireless Internet access point was necessitated by the need be able to look after Josh and Chloe while they are playing in the living room while theoretically working on the computer. At least that's the general idea.


    Mac Daddy

    Holy smokes, it would be a gross understatement to say that a lot has happened since my last sporadic post in December. Most notably, Chloe Katherine Jackson, our bouncing baby daughter, was born late last month. She and Katie and Josh all returned home this week after spending a month of the traditional Chinese recovery period that follows a birth at my in-laws. Life has certainly become more interesting to say the least. 

    The second addition to our family is the brand spanking new Macbook upon which I am slapping together this hasty post. Expect more pictures of baby and notebook to come, as well as some insightful commentary on how I am adjusting to both. The Mac is supposed to make things like freelance work and keeping up on the blog easier. The babies job seems to be to thwart such tasks. Lucky for her she is adorable. Oops, my nose is telling me someone needs a new diaper.


    Josh's New Hat

    Malc and Joyce gave Josh a new hat for Christmas. It's the first one he actually enjoys wearing.


    Bunches of Babies

    We had a little gathering of our friends this weekend for a sort of pre-Christmas feast. As one can see, the stork has been pretty busy over the last year. All of the kids on the photo have Western (ie. American, British, Irish and South African) fathers and Taiwanese moms.


    Darkest December

    So much is afoot these days that I thought I might throw up a post. First off, congrats to Jake and Kay for the birth of their baby son, David. He is a strapping lad who weighed in at an impressive nine pounds.

    Last month I jumped into uncharted waters (for me anyway) by finally opened an investment account. I went with TD Ameritrade for no other reason than it was unrecommended by a friend and coworker who's opinion I respect in these matters. My timing could not have been worse, or better for those that subscribe to the school-of-hard-knocks approach to learning about investing. I purchased four ETFs about 24 hours before the markets took their huge early November plunge. For the sake of full disclosure I'll reveal the names of the funds I bought, but as I just said, I'm a novice. Only a moron would take this as a recommendation (my lawyers told me to say that).

    I was lured in the seductive promise of emerging markets and started things off with two of BRIC countries--Brazil and China. I put about 40 percent of my October investment allowance in the iShares FTSE/Xinhua China 25 (FXI) ETF. Another 20 percent went into the iShares MSCI Free Brazil Index Fund (EWZ). The remaining 40 percent of my portfolio was split between two US-centered funds--the PowerShares QQQ (QQQQ) ETF that tracks the Nasdaq and the Vanguard Mid-Cap Growth ETF (VOT).

    Suffice it to say that my first lessons were hard ones, mostly thanks to the subprime mortgage crisis and its effect on our skittish friends across the Taiwan Strait--not to mention my own unbridled greed. I've been inching my way back up from the abyss, battered but not broken. Have I had enough? Pulling out and Running? Not a chance. Lessons learned. Ouch. Updates to follow.