Tag: taxes

Writing and wrapup

I started yet another new story tonight, making it the first time I have ever had three stories in progress at once. I don’t have a title for the new story yet, but my working title is “The Time Machine”, and it is essentially about a person with a lifelong obsession of building a time machine.

Yes, kruppenheimer, I know that someone already wrote a story called “The Time Machine”; mine is a working title; I will have a permanent title before I finish the story. Sheesh!

I just wrote 1,700 words of the story and had a great time doing it! It’s one of those stories that just flows out without any planning (other than the fact that I know how the story will end). What’s more is that I think this is going to end up being a short story. If I had to guess, I’d say the story will end up being around 4,000 words or so. I’m stopping for the night, but 1,700 words is very good for me for one evening. Not only that but I stopped at a point at which I am eager to start up from again, which means I am already looking forward to writing more of the story when I get home from work tomorrow evening. It really felt good getting it on (virtual) paper.

Work was frustrating today (as I mentioned earlier) because of a project that may get dumped onto my team. And when I say my team, I mean me. I have my biweekly tag-up with my boss tomorrow and I have a feeling that during that meeting, I will be volunteered for the project. It is the least interesting project I could possibly work on, it would force me to break existing commitments on other projects (in the name of “higher priorities”) and in my opinion, it could have been avoided if certain people stopped being firefighters and started planning ahead.

I got through about 55 pages of The Winds of Change and I am really enjoying it. Somehow, I’d never read Asimov’s story “Belief” before (although I knew about it from reading his autobiographies). I really enjoyed that story.

I thought about staying up tonight and watching Heroes and Studio 60 in real time, but that is just nuts and I have decided against it. I have to be up at 4:30 and I’m getting into bed in 10 minutes. I won’t go to sleep right away (I have to wait for the laundry to finish up), but I won’t be up late and I’ll try to get a decent night’s sleep. In the meantime I’ll let TiVo do what it was designed to do.

I have a recommendation for a new tax person (my tax person retired two years ago and last year I used H&R Block and was really disappointed with their service). I’ll be getting in touch with her later this week and get the process of tax preparation started.

I’m caught up on Battlestar Galactica, having watching the latest two episodes over the last two days.

Okay, I’ve got a few things to do before I go to bed. G’night everyone!

Taxing mail

I received my W-2’s in the mail today, which seems earlier in January than usual. It means that I now have everything that I need to file my taxes, but as usual, I’ll wait until April Fools Day to do so.

I also got my social security statement; you know, that annual thing that tells me how much I’ll get each month if I retire at 65, 67, and 70 years of age respectively. I don’t expect that social security will be around when I am that age and so I plan my retirement as though I won’t have that money. It will therefore be a nice surprise if I turn out to be wrong.

Here’s one for the (tax) books

I had my taxes done on Saturday. They were e-filed Saturday at around noon. I just got an email from my bank notifying me that my $224 Maryland State refund was just direct deposited into my checking account–less than one and a half business days after I got my taxes done! Now that’s some efficiency!

So you know what I did to celebrate? I went downstairs to Larry’s Cookies and got two huge cholocate chip cookies and two milks for $7.70. Why not splurge after an event as unusual as this?

My taxes are done

I had a 10 AM appointment at H&R Block today. I’ve got to say I wasn’t all that impressed. It was fairly informal and the guy doing the taxes seemed a little flakey. But then my previous tax guy was very professional and business-like. He was also cheaper. H&R Block charged me $190 for all my taxes. My previous accountant charged me $130. Oh well, it’s done.

I’m getting just enough back from Maryland to cover my tax preparation fee.

I had estimated I’d owe $3,100 to the Federal government. In fact, I owe about $2,900, which includes a $65 “underpayment” penalty. The forms have been efiled. I’ll get my state refund direct-deposited and I have to write a check for the federal taxes by April 16.

Tax appointment

My accountant, who I’ve been using since something like 1999 or 2000 retired last year and so this year, I am forced to find someone new. I called H&R Block this morning and arranged a tax appointment for Saturday morning at 10 AM with the guy with whom I spoke on the phone, Ron. I’ve got a list of the documents that I need to bring to the appointment. At this point, my guess is that I will owe in the neighborhood of $3,100. Let’s see how close I really am.

Something in the water

I don’t know what it was, but I was in a mood today. I can’t quite describe it. I was on some kind of roll that I just can’t explain. I was, in fact, hilarious. I had myself in stitches. Some of it was work-related. On the other hand, I felt rather productive today as well, making some significant progress on two seperate projects. So it all evened out, I suppose, although one can never be certain about these things. Perhaps it’s something in the water.

Ever year since 1998, I have attended the Remedy User Group (Remedy being a workflow development tool that I use in my job, and being something far too boring and mundane to go into here, although just by stating that rather pitiful fact I am probably alienating an entire community of Remedy enthusiasts). A few years ago, Remedy was bought by another company, BMC, which makes software that, if you can believe it, is even more boring and mundane than Remedy. In any event, the Remedy User Group conventions used to be fun; they are held in a different city every year. Over time, however, and especially recently, they have deteriorated. This year, it has been renamed to BUG 2006, BUG standing for BMC User Group. I simply can’t bear the thought of attending a convention that sounds like a gathering of a bunch of entomologists and so I have decided not to attend this year. It was being held in San Francisco at the very end of August, but I am not going. There is something rather frightful about attending conventions like these, if you’ve never attended one before, and they grow more and more frightful with each passing year. After a day of “breakout sessions”, things descend into a kind of Lord of the Flies chaos. These people, who have taken over the local hotels, now take over the local bars. They fill themselves with liquor and talk about things like active links and filters and escalations. They hit on one another, with pickup lines that would astound an outside audience: “Hey babe, I’ve got my database normalized to Fifth Normal Form. Wanna come run a query on it?” It can be hideous. Everyone has a blackberry and so no one actually pays attention to the presentations. It is something that at this stage of the game is well worth missing. It’s time to learn something new. In a way this is very good. There is something cathartic about growing out of the need to attend these conventions. There are people who have been attending these conventions since the first one was held in 1992. It is what they plan their year around. That’s just not for me.

I did a little polishing on “Blind Date” this evening after watching another good episode of Smallville. The story still needs some work but overall, I think it’s pretty good for 1,600 words.

I dont’ need to pack my lunch tonight because I’m having lunch with Trevor tomorrow.

I do need to hit the floor, however, and attempt 35 pushups tonight and at the moment, it doesn’t seem possible. I can see myself getting to 20 rather easily. At 25 things start to slow down. At 30 all I can think of is how much longer it will take me to do five more lousy pushups. If I do this enough it is supposed to get easier, but when? Well, I suppose I just have to keep at it.

I’m pretty sure that I’m going to New York next weekend so I’ve got to call and get my tickets tomorrow. Also need to look into getting a new tax person, as my old tax guy has more or less retired to Arizona. He was in L.A. and it’s about time I got a new tax person out here. But he or she is not going to tell me anything that I don’t already know. I could take a very nice vacation with the amount of taxes I will end up owing this year.