Sunday, February 26, 2006, posted by Q6 at 7:30 PM
Like math problems? I'm doing my taxes. Here's a good one for you: if I keep my withholding at "married" with 4 dependents but I file as Head of Household with just myself and my son, I owe federal and get a refund on state (which almost breaks even); if I adjust my withholding to reflect reality and file the same way, I'll get refunds on both federal AND state, but my take-home pay will be insufficient to get me to April 15. Withhold less and break even, that's my motto.
My son, after inquiring why I was trying to throw the computer out the window after three hours of tax calculations, asked me to explain taxes to him. It took me a little less than an hour to explain it--forty minutes of which I used to call my mom and have her explain it to me. I've got an uncle out there, somewhere, who's a CPA; you'd think the recessive genes would kick in when my son needs answers.
In the end, I will get through another tax season with my fiscal butt intact. (I can write off my blog time, right?)

Saturday, February 25, 2006, posted by Q6 at 1:46 PM
My girlfriend told me about this author I've come to enjoy--Christopher Moore. Actually, I purchased The Stupidest Angel on my own, then she told me about several of his other books. My favorite to date, of course, is Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal. I'm going to force my brother (the pastor) to read it, if it comes to that; if it sounds irreverent to you, what you must understand is that Moore earns the right to be a little irreverent by demonstrating such a detailed knowledge of his chosen subject matter. It's truly one of the funniest books I've read. I just finished The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove, which, like The Stupidest Angel, takes place in the fictitious town of Pine Cove, California, a place inhabited by a group I've come to adore in an I-can't-miss-my-favorite-soap-opera kind of way. I'm looking forward to reading more of Moore.

Which is what I do--I read an author until I've exhausted his works, then search the Internet for months to get information on his next book. I'm still waiting for something new from Clancy, Crichton, and Grisham.
Thursday, February 23, 2006, posted by Q6 at 9:20 PM
For the longest time, I told myself I didn't need an iPod. Everybody had one of these things sticking out of their ears in an Invasion-of-the-Body-Snatchers kind of way: "Pod" people. iPods started to seem really creepy to me. Since I had two or three good radio stations I could depend on, I didn't need an iPod. I already have a flash drive, why would I need an iPod? I just replaced the CD burner in my desktop computer, so I don't need an iPod to store my photos.

Then my son got an iPod. I downloaded iTunes, looked through the Music Store, helped him get his iPod set up, . . .now I'm kinda hooked. I loaded all of my CD's onto my computer. I've got six or seven playlists set up. I'm investigating podcasts. I'm THIS close to downloading videos and movie previews in anticipation of getting my own iPod.

I think I need help.
Monday, February 20, 2006, posted by Q6 at 4:21 PM
I'm a Big "West Wing" fan. Huge. It's almost geeky how much I love this show. I don't have a problem with the series coming to and end, much to the surprise of several of my friends--I'd rather see the show end well than go on badly. When Aaron Sorkin left the show, it looked like the series just might go bad before its expiration date; but the show has spent the better part of two seasons on the finale, and there's a lot of good you can do with a drawn-out ending like that. Of the things I like best on "The West Wing" are the attention to detail in the function of government (although there have been Internet debates over the accuracy of the show's interpretation of the White House, Congress, Secret Service) and, more than anything, some of the best dialogue EVER written. The actors--all of them--play this dialogue so well that it doesn't even seem written, it just seems to flow out of them. I only have the first two seasons on DVD, but that will change over time.

For those who follow the show closely: yes, I want Santos to win; no, I really don't care if Josh and Donna hook up; no, I don't think Toby really did it; and I'd like to see them bring Sam Seaborn back to take Leo's spot on the ticket (but I don't know if his character's old enough). That sound geeky enough for everybody?
Thursday, February 16, 2006, posted by Q6 at 10:22 PM
Twice a month I'm at the airport, picking up or dropping off my kids as they travel back and forth to their mother's place in Nevada. I know the airport like the back of my hand. I've memorized flight numbers; I know ticket agents by name; I've turned security screening into a streamlined science; I could inventory the gift shop for you right here and now.

Here's the problem: I never go anywhere. I'm always the courier, never the passenger. Of course, my travel ability has a lot to do with how much time and money I have in surplus, and the fact that I never travel certainly says a lot about my schedule and finances. My girlfriend is headed to New York and Washington DC with a large group of 8th graders from our school. There were half-joking comments made about my going on the trip--but finances and scheduling are still issues, ultimately. I really would like to see Washington DC, and people tell me I would enjoy New York (although given what I've seen in media and such, I don't see why). I figure that when my time to travel has come I will be blessed with the finances, scheduling, and destination--all the cosmic tumblers will fall into line, and I'll be going places.