(8) Wed Feb 02 2005 20:53 PST Things that make me puzzled:
Watched Mr. Bush's little speech tonight. I cannot help but find many parallels between a children's playtime sandbox group and the US political arena. What I mean is, one side claps because Mr. Bush pronounced a word right, and the other side adamantly refuses to acknolwedge that they are even alive during such a feat. For all we know, the manequins at that Old Navy in SF that Sumana and her coworkers ransacked could have filled the seats of our donkey neighbors.
But what puzzles me more is Social Security. I for one am a cynic and never expect to see a penny of that money ever again. I become even more cynical when I think of my parents receiving my money when they so openly refused to support me growing up. As an aside, I have suppressed anger to my mother who gets her nails and hair done every Saturday yet had no money to put me through college.
So privitization of Social Security sounds like a nice program to me. It's just another 401(k), basically. Though I haven't fully investigated the idea, I am glad to have a President who recognizes the future calamity and wants to fix it NOW. Why the Democrats oppose this I don't understand. Is it simply because he is their "arch nemesis," like that bully that threw sand in your eyes when you were five, or am I missing something?
Of course, if the major body of Americans could handle saving their own money in the first place, the whole system wouldn't exist, and we would be left to our own designs. Having a bit of the Protestant ethic in me, I naturally save more than I spend, and wish everyone was responsible enough to take care of themselves without "Big Brother." But having spent the summer in LA, I realize the temptations of that new BMW now are way too tempting for many, even if it means living in a smelly rest home when they are eighty.
A final note: Does anyone else beside my wife cry at those silly OnStar commercials? It feels like the first "reality commercial" has made some headway with my wife.
Sat Feb 05 2005 16:56 PST The Early Bird Catches a Chair in the Testing Center:
I am so glad that I am a morning person. Even though it's been a long week and today was Saturday, I got up and studied for my test, and dutifully took it at 10:00 when the testing center opened. I had a four hour time limit and technically didn't need to take it until 12 at the latest, but I felt ready and off I went, dragging my feet all the way there.
By noon I was about half-way done with the insanity, and noticed there wasn't a seat unoccupied. Well, by 1:00 I noticed about thirty individuals taking tests standing in the aisles. As my test was open Internal Revenue Code, that would not have been an option. Truly I felt blessed to be a morning person today. I had a test yesterday as well, meaning that so far this weekend I have put in seven hours in that wonderful building.
Every time I open our freezer I see a jar of coconut and I am tempted to use it in some creative way. Today I decided to make fried ice cream with it, but since tomorrow is Fast Sunday, I can't yet. Susie and I always start fasting after lunch on Saturday; that we we sleep through the worst of it and can eat the second we get home from church. So the fried ice cream will have to wait. But I did scoop the ice cream into spheres and place them back in the freezer in tupperwares, so all I have to do tomorrow is crush up cornflakes, boil the sauce, and dip the ice cream in hot oil.
Fried ice cream is one of my favorite desserts, so I really hope this try-at-home experiment works out.
In case I forget later, graduation is April 21 and 22. Anyone is invited (but not obligated) to attend, and while staying in Provo, guests of my convocations may stay at Casa Chadwick free of charge.
(4) Sun Feb 06 2005 19:05 PST:
Had my parents over for dinner tonight. We had tacos and razzleberry pie. At first I was a little nervous to have them come; I realized that at most family get togethers I spend most of my time with the kids. Thus, even though we frequent my parent's home often, I rarely visit with them. But we had some nice conversations, and Susie even sold my mom a ton of Pampered Chef stuff.
(18) Thu Feb 10 2005 13:49 PST A Call to Arms:
Disclaimer: This entry has nothing to do with Rachel's masterpiece-in-progress, nor the illustrations associated with such masterpiece.
With that said, I love the show "The Amazing Race." Though I was sad to see a train edge Kris and Jon out of the lead, I find the show fascinating. They are currently taking applications for The Amazing Race 8, which will be filmed during June 2005. The application notes that teams will now be composed of four, instead of two, and should be grouped into family units, more or less.
So, now the call to arms: Who wants to join my family of two? It promises to be nothing but good times, a free trip all over the world is involved, and, like Jonathan (Victoria's scary, abusive husband), it's a chance to learn about yourself, or something.
If we win, we get $1 Million to boot! They are coming to SLC for second round interviews. We just have to make a tape about ourselves. I am really interested in applying, just to say that I applied, since the timing is perfect (post-graduation, pre-job).
My sister-in-law was going to apply for Survivor, which I found odd, however. She won't now because you have to have a passport, and she isn't going to spend $80 just to apply. I reminded my brother that Survivor is pretty rigorous, and she would probably not be able to wear her "covenants" for a month, but it didn't phase him. In The Amazing Race, being scantily-clad is discouraged. But the passport thing was her hang up again.
I am glad to see that crummy has been resurrected from its slumber. We missed him.
Tue Feb 15 2005 21:09 PST:
Stupid wireless connection
(10) Tue Feb 15 2005 21:10 PST Mid-Semester Blues:
Got some midterms back today. All above 90% so I can't complain. Since my last test ended Saturday, I haven't really done a thing. I hit the proverbial wall I suppose.
Voluteering in the tax lab has been quite the experience. Though most people have been amiable and grateful, there have been one or two interesting individuals. One guy wanted to deduct his $35K SUV for business purposes, even though he bought it in December and ceased his S-P in August. Hello! Did he honestly think it was legal? I think he did. hmm.
Then there are the others who enter legal information on their tax returns, but I can't help but think it is inherently wrong nonetheless. Yes, I am talking about EIC and other such credits. Some people are like 30, still in undergrad school, with three kids at home, and they get back like $5,000 that they never even put into the system. How can they honestly feel good about that? Oh well, I suppose I'll leave that one alone now before I get into trouble.
I went in early today and did our taxes. We owe about $1300 through no fault of our own. When Susie was unemployed, she had many jobs that withheld no tax and those added up. That and another job withheld about $500 too little, they have discovered. So through no fault of our own, the fuzz expects us to make timely quarterly pre-payments for the rest of our lives. Grr.
To get around this, we are going to get an IRA, so we can deduct it and get rid of these pre-payments. I don't mind paying the money at all; after all, we owe it and got to keep it for ourselves longer in interest-bearing accounts. But prepayments? We weren't committing tax evasion; heck, we weren't even trying tax avoidance. But substance over form proves otherwise. Oh well, we'll start a nest egg for a home down-payment that actually pays really good returns, so it's a blessing in disguise.
(4) Sat Feb 19 2005 12:36 PST People Persons:
Traversing the 15 is always an adventure. It rained from Cedar City on. I have honestly never seen it rain that hard in Utah. But luckily there were no accidents and, well, at least it wasn't snow.
Picture it: getting gas in Vegas. A lone French man approaches a Provoite at the pump. In limited English, he explains his dilemma. With no luck, his daughter comes to the aid, but unfortunately, her English is only slightly better than his. I try to explain that I am not from Vegas and don't know where their hotel is, but to no avail. I think the only English word they knew was casino. Nonetheless, I failed them both, and feel terrible about it.
Picture it: We stop off in Barstow around 9 pm at the local DQ. While Susie is in the bathroom, a woman approaches me and asks me where the hennigens is. Do I look like I work in a convenience mart?
Picture it: B-town, Saturday morning, 10 am, raining. A man is walking a dog while his wife is pouring beer in the garden. A woman approaches with a black satchel. She sees the dog, and approaches. She asks the man where the stray animals and children of the neighborhood reside. The man states that he is not from these parts and is pretty sure that there are no "stray children" in the hood. She asks the man about his hometown, and assumes this foreigner from Utah is a minister. She tells him she has no money, but eggs and meat in her satchel for strays. He tries to be polite and brush her aside, and she eventually leaves. Mom, you have weird neighbors.
The moral of these stories is the same: Wierd people naturally gravitate toward me.
A billboard in Vegas goes something like this: "Vasectomy.com: Easier and faster than you ever thought." Who are they kidding?
Lastly, I have been trying to make sense of one of my coworkers. He is a 24 year-old divorcee with a two year-old who met a girl on hotsaints.com who is also a 23 year-old divorcee with a two year-old. Their first date was three weeks ago. They got married yesterday afternoon by the justice of the peace, at 4:30, since he works until 4. His ex had a baby two weeks ago that is not his.
Then I stumbled upon this article, which I think partly makes sense of why Mormons can be like this: Divorce rates in red vs. blue states.
I'm not quite sure the cause-effect the author offers rings true to me. But I think his points have some interesting correlations.
(5) Tue Feb 22 2005 11:56 PST Always the Guinea Pig; Never the Guinea:
I've said it before and I'll say it again: Rachel is going to miss Sadie. She was good in the car; my old dog never behaved that well. But I did leave her leash on her in the cave for convenience, and while I was driving and Susie was sleeping, she chewed it into three pieces.
She also didn't like our pit stop for her in Cedar City. She just shivered; but she is a Utah dog now so I hope she can adjust. She enjoyed our small house for about two hours and then her new owners came. I was hoping to keep her for the week and take her up to SLC on Saturday, but I suppose this was for the best.
Sadie was terrified of the kids (rightly so with one of them) and wouldn't leave me or Susie. After about 30 minutes she warmed up sufficiently to put her back in the cave and ship her off on the last leg of the journey. It made me cry, and I've spent an equivalent of 10 days with the mutt.
I hope they treat her well. Their oldest daughter, Megan, has a tendency to wander off; I would feel so guilty if they let Sadie do that. Megan randomly shows up and my brother's house at all hours of the day, and just invites herself in and goes through stuff. She started coloring in Susie's scripture journal last night as well. And Susie wonders why I am not ready to have kids. I've been told by Ashley (my sis-in-law) that when she takes Megan home, the dad doesn't leave the couch, so Megan invariably comes back over. But the mother was very nice, so I have high hopes for Sadie. And if they mistreat her, well, I know where they live.
Needless to say, I am not going through that ordeal ever again. Now I understand why a mother, only seeing a child for hours before giving it up for adoption, may never get over it. I hope that is one arena that I never have to deal with; so much red tape, and if you adopt, there is no guarantee that some jerk liberal judge won't give the child back to its "mother."
Did Rachel's taxes this weekend. Finished my own as well. I never got to relay the good news: After much deliberation, I reduced our total tax liability from $1300 to $650! Through getting an IRA and finding a Utah state secret deduction, we really showed the IRS who's who and what's what. FYI--In Utah, post-tax insurance premiums are deductible.
I miss Bakersfield already. It is quite pleasant there in February. Here, well, still no sign of the sun in weeks. Is it April yet?
(1) Fri Feb 25 2005 16:57 PST Late:
Even though Lent has already started, I was thinking of making a goal not to eat out until Easter. Susie and I don't eat out much, but honestly, it adds up quick. I'm interested to see how much the savings would be.
I got my start date: July 27, 2005. Our days here are finally numbered.
(12) Sat Feb 26 2005 19:44 PST When Life hands you moldy bread, make dinner:
Our Newsweek came today. It's two days late, and isn't stapled together, so it's a looseleaf hodgepodge of colored paper, at best. That's Democrats for ya!
Though right now I rather welcome the liberal bias found therein. On the way home from Califoria last week, I listened to The O'Reilly Factor, Sean Hannity, and Dr. Laura Schlesing-whatever the whole way home, as I am currently fed up with Top 40 Radio, and Susie won't let me listen to country music in my own car.
We went up to see my mum today, as Rachel would say. She sat and talked with us the whole time, took us to Costco, bought us Chinese food (even the yummy shrimp cooked in an unidentified white sauce with walnuts that was amazing), and bought pie for dessert. It was a pleasant surprise. If anyone knows what white sauce I speak of, let me know.
I also got a cool brush from her for my laptop screen. I've been waiting for this to be invented. Today was a great day--two thumbs up. Speaking of thumbs up, tomorrow are the academy awards, and I don't care.
(9) Mon Feb 28 2005 14:10 PST This one goes out to all the techies:
So what is all the hype with the new Internet browser Firefox? Does anyone out there use it? How do it you get it? Complaints? Compliments? I am curious.
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