April 16th, 2012

#3305: I thought Rat was anti-whom.

Two Pearls Before Swine strips.

Sometime last week:


They got Rat! THEY GOT RAT!!

* * *

Went to read a Mark Steyn column at the Orange County Register site, and got this survey thingy that I couldn't close; the best option was "bug me later" and I never trust them when they say that kind of thing. As I usually do when presented with this sort of horseshit, I simply made stuff up--and got this:

Apparently the Orange County Register thinks that old people don't use computers. "Aren't they all, like, senile or something?"

My Mom was 84 when she died and she used a computer regularly. (Admittedly 90% of what she did on the thing was play Solitaire and write letters to her sister. Still.)

* * *

As the reality of "global warming" comes to light we see people pushing back against the fake science.

NASA is one of the big pushers of AGW, because NASA's top priority is to employ bureaucrats and AGW provides a fantastic way of doing that.

* * *

The word used to be "homonyms" and now is "homophones", and regardless of which it is these days the idiots that Bluesun is quoting used the wrong damn one.

You have a hoard of ammunition. A horde is a large, unruly group. You can be attacked by a horde of zombies, but you can't have a horde of bullets unless you live in the world of Beauty and the Beast, where inanimate objects come to life.

People who fill their houses with useless crap are called "hoarders".

And yeah, .22 LR ammo comes in a 500-round box, usually for under $20. If 500 bullets is a HOARD of ammunition, we're all fucked.

* * *

Raciss white woman is afraid of what a rap club will do to her neighborhood.
Now, why might this devoutly anti-racist woman imagine that having an establishment devoted to "hip-hop and urban entertainment" would not be compatible with families or white spinsters like herself? What could the problem possibly be?

The only difference between white "racists" like John Derbyshire and avowedly anti-racist whites like Ms McMillen is that the latter completely lacks self-awareness.
She doesn't want the rap club in her neighborhood--though at least she recognizes that the people who want to establish the place there actually have a right to do it--and then contorts herself into a pretzel trying to explain why in a non-raciss fashion.

* * *

The scale of the universe.

...at ten to the minus 24th, we see a neutrino. You then go eleven orders of magnitude smaller before you see anything else in the chart: the Planck length.

The Planck length is (theoretically) the smallest useful length--nothing in the universe can be, it is thought, shorter than a Planck length.

The chart starts at one meter, and can be zoomed in or out; it goes all the way in to the Planck length (as stated) and all the way out to the approximate diameter of the universe (both observable and actual-estimated).

It's Yet Another Scale-of-the-Universe Thingy, but it's kind of cool.

* * *

I woke up this morning to an odd dream, one which was similar to a dream I had in February.

It was a holiday of some kind. Not like Christmas or even Independence Day, but something SF-y, like "Equinox Day" or something. The exact name of it was not stated in the dream and I had no reason to think of it, but it surrounded the change of seasons.

...because they changed abruptly and violently.

In the dream my sister and brother-in-law were here from Louisiana, and Mom and Dad were still alive; and for some reason I was sleeping in the family room and Mom was sleeping on the sofa, the way things were in the 1970s.

Mom always read a lot, and Dad couldn't sleep if she was sitting up in bed reading. Likewise, Dad snored like a steam-powered lumber mill, and Mom couldn't sleep with all that noise going on. So Mom frequently (usually) slept on the sofa. She'd be up past midnight reading or doing crossword puzzles.

Me, I had a honey of a nightmare when I was a single-digit age and got out of the habit of sleeping in my bed, and would sleep on the floor in the family room (where Mom was) rather than risk having another nightmare like that one. (What do you want? I wasn't even ten years old at the time.)

So this dream was like that; but I was an adult, my brother-in-law was still recovering from his stroke last December, etc.

I woke up early in the morning, after sunrise; everyone else was asleep. I pulled aside the patio door curtain to see that the season change had come; the south winds were blowing.

And man, were they blowing hard. The highest wind velocity ever recorded on Earth is 231 miles per hour--well, in reality, anyway; I think these winds were faster. And it was still getting worse; the longer I watched, the faster the wind blew. The trees were bending and the noise was incredible, and as the back door was open a crack I felt myself being pulled towards it. (Even in my dreams, I'm a physics nerd.)

I watched the wind blow, anticipating branches breaking--and I noticed then that not so much as a single leaf was being blown down by that wind. There was no damage being done by these extreme winds--none at all. The high winds were making me a little nervous--or maybe "excited" is a better way to explain it. But at the same time I realized that I was perfectly safe and nothing bad was going to happen, not to me, the house, or anyone for that matter.

Woke up somewhere about there.

This is the second time I've had a dream like this one, and the first time was earlier this year (perhaps February). In that dream I was looking out the front door and the winds were coming from the north--and like reality I lived alone here--but it was otherwise the same: extreme high winds, no damage, and I was perfectly safe.

I'm sure that speaks volumes about how screwed up my psychology is. *sigh*

#3306: And I breathe a heavy sigh of relief.

Taxes are done. I don't owe nearly as much as I feared I would, due in part to the fact that I--for the first time in my life--used the long form and itemized my deductions.

Thanks to the way I lost my shit last May, I had a staggering $10k in medical expenses, all told--including insurance, hospital fees, ER fees, doctor fees, lab fees, ambulance fees, fee fees, and the horse I rode in on; therapy came to about $3k all by itself. Naturally you're not allowed to deduct the whole amount; you have to multiply your adjusted gross income by 7.5% and subtract that from the total medical expenses, and that is the amount you get to deduct.

Even so, thanks to the foresight I somehow had in having the banks withhold 10% of the money I inherited from my Mom's IRAs, I only have to write a check for $1,700 to Uncle Sam. Also, bonus points for establishing a new IRA and putting in the maximum contribution, because that let me deduct another $5k.

And all of these are things I can produce either receipts or cancelled checks for. *flex*

This time two weeks ago I was really fretting, because I saw the tax bracket I was in (that I thought I was in) and thought, "I'm gonna have to write them a HUGE FUCKING CHECK!!!" Well, I don't, and THANK GOD.

It would probably have been less if I'd secured the services of an accountant. Next time I'm orphaned and inherit a large sum of money, I'll have to remember that; but at the time (about this time last year, oddly enough) I was most assuredly NOT thinking straight. I only thought I was. *sigh*

But $1,700 isn't too bad, and while I'll have to take that out of my IRA (and therefore claim it as income next year) it won't be too egregious.

As bad as this is for me, my sister and brother have it worse. I kinda-sorta got away with not going to an accountant even though I should have; but they can't do that. They make $$$ (brother is MD and sister is PhD) and their share of the inheritance will have caused major headaches for them. I suppose if I'd managed to hang on to that job in Rantoul (with my fingernails and the last shreds of my sanity) I'd be in the same boat--to a lesser extent--because that was a pretty good-paying job considering the circumstances.

Well, my brother uses an accountant anyway, so it was an incremental cost for him. Not sure about my sister.

...but they're done, and I'll be going to the bank tomorrow morning to do the paperwork and get a cashier's check; I'll stop at the post office on my way home to mail it, and it'll be completely off my "to do" list.

* * *

I could have gotten them done yesterday and mailed today if I'd had to. But why give the feds your money any sooner than you have to? It's all just going to be wasted anyway, and they've already spent (last year) the money I had withheld. The feds will spend the $1,700 I owe them in 0.034 seconds. (Under Obama the feds have been spending about $3,000,000 per minute--or $50,000 per second.)

* * *

I had done the rough calculations last week some time. If it weren't for the way they depreciate your medical expenses deduction I would have been paying $1,000 less than I am. Gay.

But I'm glad I went through everything with a fine-toothed comb and made sure of my numbers. I'd rather have it be right--and have to pay some more--than to get myself noticed by the big flaming Sauron eye of the IRS. Because even if you always tell the whole truth on your IRS forms, an audit is a disaster that sucks down your time and money. You have to produce receipts and a whole bunch of documentation, and frequently they'll go back several years rather than audit just that year's return, and-and-and.

...and even if things check out they can still get you under "rule 1001" if you make a misstatement, even if it was the result of an honest mistake. Yeah, ask Martha Stewart if she's happy with how her federal case went. So you need a lawyer involved, too, and those guys don't work for chicken feed.

* * *

But today I stayed in bed a lot. I got up around 10:30-ish to feed the cats and myself, and to write today's post; but after that I returned to bed and slept...and when I woke up I was surprised to see that it was already 5:30.

It had to be done, though; for the past week my sleep has been less than stellar and today I actually felt relaxed and calm enough that I could really sleep well--and I did, even without taking any Xanax. The bed was comfortable, the cats didn't bother me, the phone didn't ring.

Then: General Tao's Chicken for dinner, because it's been a while and I had a hankering for it last night, but it was too late and the Chinese place was going to close. (I looked at their hours and said, "Yeah, it's too late." I didn't even bother calling.)

Anyway: time for WoW!