Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Taxes

Jim just got audited.  Apparently, the IRS thinks all contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan are living in plush 5 star hotels eating grapes and drinking fancy champagne.  Unknown even to some CPAs here the IRS has this little-published rule that once an overseas contractor enters the higher tax bracket from his bonuses he stays there.  Even after you subtract the 90K federal exemption and do your write-offs for house payment or whatever, that remaining income is STILL taxed as if you were making 100K plus.  Basically it's like this.

Say you made $150,000 (i should point out that this seems like a lot but you have to consider that this is based on an anywhere from 60 to 80 hour work week.  No overtime bonuses, just bonuses for being overseas and in a war zone.  So if you think you're not making as much, all you 40 hour a week people DOUBLE your paycheck and then compare).    Take out the $90,000.  Say you're a Texas resident like me and your state doesn't bend you over and take money.  SO now you're looking at $60,000.  Say you deduct $10000 or so.  Now, you would THINK that you're now only on the hook for $50,000 of taxable income right?  WRONG.  The IRS is going to tax that $50,000 as if it was still $150,000.  Nice.

My friend asked the IRS lady why.  Her answer was basically "well because you make that extra money."  basically her whole reason was because we make more they WANT more.  Never mind we make more because we work 10 to 12 hours a day 6 or 7 days a week.  Never mind most of us live in tents or small metal shacks.  Never mind we're also going without the same luxuries the troops do without.  We don't get to go get drunk at the bar and enjoy a 2AM run to IHOP.  Never mind the same bombs and bullets that kill troops also kill us.  Oh sure not in the same numbers, but we die all the same.  You know what else we do without?  THANKS.  Nobody throws us a parade when we get home and nobody here besides our friends and family gives a damn if we die.  Someone has to do the job.  Someone has to clean toilets and serve food and since the troops nowadays are above that, we have to hire civilians to do it. It's all good though.  I don't need the parades or ribbons.  Yeah I went over for money.  Mostly for money.  I also went to learn more about how to do my job and to go experience more of the world and see things I never thought I would.  I mean, where else would I get the chance to take a picture of myself wearing a giant foam cowboy hat that says TEXAS and a poncho with the Houston Texans logo in front of the Crossed Swords Monument in downtown Baghdad?  I also like to think I was doing my part and I think I did more to aid the war effort than i ever did when I was enlisted back in the states.  I love my country.  What i DIDN'T think and i don't appreciate is that the IRS thinks they can just help themselves to more of my money to blow on BS like Cash for Clunkers because they just ASSume i'm living the good life.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Mobile

So I found a new app that lets me blog on the go.
Published with Blogger-droid v1.7.4

Monday, July 25, 2011

break it down now

An extended conversation with my buddy about my stubborn refusal to join the dating world again has prompted me to reexamine the decision and hyper-analyze.  I was going to do some long post but instead i'll just throw bullet points out as to why Jimmy is better off single.

- just shy of 2 decades working and i have almost nothing to show for it.  i'm 35 and i'm at what is basically an entry-level job.  not only does my career life seem to be going nowhere fast i've been reconsidering lately if staying in the IT field is the right choice.  which would be great if i didn't also realize i have nowhere to go if this falls out.  i can't think of anything else to do with my life.  this was bad enough back when i was 18 and i dropped out of the academy and faced the reality that the path i saw for myself growing up wasn't going to happen, imagine the shitty feeling I have thinking about that happening again at 35.  I won't insult women by saying you all have to be with a successful man, but I have to imagine pulling an epic fail in the career department really cripples my draw as a mate.  What girl wants a guy who's barely a provider for himself?

- there's no romance without finance.  what little extra money i do have i prefer to spend on myself on what i want.  not something that's going to go over well with any woman looking to be wined and dined.

- i am aggressively hostile towards the concept of "romance".  hey wake up honey!!  it's Valentine's day and while your friends are getting flowers and candy and taken to a chick flick, you get to spend all day listening to me rant about how those guys are a bunch of whipped pussies and your friends are whores.  yeah i didn't think you'd like that very much either.

- i don't tolerate bullshit games chicks play.  if you complain about something i'm going to offer suggestions on how to fix it.  if you are not interested in those suggestions, refuse to use them, or think i'm going to not offer them and instead just sit there and listen to you then yer out of your fuckin mind.  if you think withholding sex is a bargaining tactic with me, you're going to find how little a problem i have morally with going out and finding someone else to fuck.

- i like what i like and hate what i hate and if you think i'm going to either stop doing/using/enjoying something i like or start doing/using/enjoying something i hate because you like it then prepare to have your face laughed in.  been there done that, i'm not giving up something i like for anyone ever again.

- i'm an angry loud person.  most of the time, i'm not pleasant to be around.  most of the time when you're around me you're going to be getting ear-fulls of why i hate everything and everyone. 

- me me me.  if i don't want to do something i won't do it.  good luck trying to get me to. 

anyways..... this all adds up to better off single. 

as a reminder, this blog is only part place to publish and share stuff with people and request opinions.  the other part is a place for me to spill my thoughts because it adds clarity and helps to look back from time to time.  this be less share and more spill.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Sad

Ok Lucas, enough is enough.

Droid-theme Xbox?

i say enough is enough, but i don't expect you to stop.  i also don't expect us to stop paying you money.  hell, as disgusted as i am at the shameless money grubbing and whoring of the Star Wars brand, i'll admit that i contributed to it.  easily.  ask my parents.  i got pics of xmas after xmas with me and my Star Wars stuff.  i'm such a consumer whore that even as disgusted as i am with this 360 thing....  i'm STILL foaming at the mouth to play the MMORPG game coming out. 

Basically this is like what I imagine (since i don't know i've only read and heard about) it's like to watch a loved one or good friend turn into an alcoholic or addict.  You watch them turn into something ugly and disgusting and as much as you want to wash your hands of them you are forced to think back to when the sickness infecting them to the core of their souls wasn't there.  You think about good times and happy smiles and you stick around and you just hope that maybe some day they'll come back to you.

I don't think alcoholic Star Wars is coming back to me, but i'll always remember the good times. 

Friday, May 27, 2011

random complaints and observations

- It never ceases to amaze/frustrate/depress/scare me that people who are unable to remember a password longer than 24 hours, spell the word Password, or even tell the difference between logging into a web page and logging into a computer are trusted to keep dangerous people and things off our flights.

- If pressed i'd have to say I don't like John Madden.  Not for any particular reason, but when I think about things I don't like about him I can't find anything I do like that would cancel it all out.  My biggest 2 strikes against him are 1, making it possible for Frank Caliendo to have a career and to open the door to him ruining my enjoyment of Sunday Countdown and 2, I find him as an announcer to be way overrated. 

- this isn't directed at any one person.  i've had plenty of people say plenty of things along the same lines.  OK, that being said.....  everyone needs to get it thru their heads that acknowledging the cause or the blame or the unavoidability of a bad situation DOES NOT CAUSE IT TO BE LESS BAD.  example.  i know damn well why i have a job that erodes my soul and sucks the will to live from me.  i have it because my stupid ass decided to go to ITT Tech instead of getting a fucking real degree and getting some certifications to go with it.  I have it because I decided to live in a metro area with a total shit IT job market.  I have it because I sat on my ass for almost a half year before I took job hunting seriosly.  Now then.... knowing all this doesn't change anything.  It doesn't mean I regret all my choices, It doesn't mean i don't regret some a LOT, but most of all it doesn't change the fact that the job still sucks.  Being in a shitty situation is bad enough, but people reminding you it's your own fault or even if it isn't your fault doesn't make it less shitty.  I don't complain because i'm looking for meaning or root cause or blame or anything like that.  I complain because it is unpleasent.  I am fully aware that my shitty job, shitty outlook on life, lack of a future, lack of a career, fat ass, and marital status are all my own fault.  I made the choices i live with the results. 

- at some point there's going to be a giant shift in the dynamics of business, telecommunications, entertainment, and how they all combine or clash to come to us.  Sooner or later the internet companies are going to realize they can't nickle and dime us and bleed us dry.  Sooner or later Hollywood and the Music industry will have to give up fighting the internet and accept that as long as they continue to charge outlandish prices for increasingly bland content, we're going to keep stealing it.

- man, Mother Nature sure has been a bitch this year.  Japan, Mississippi, Missouri, here.....  She will fuck you up!!

- The female body can be such a magnificent work of art some times.  I mean, just amazing.  I regret a lot in life, but never a second that I've spent enjoying the optical feasts the female form has to offer.

- I don't see why everyone thinks getting in shape is hard.  I mean, you just need to stop eating fast food and instead resign yourself to driving by a McDonald's and fighting the urge to jump the counter and eat every meat-based product they have until they cops drag you away.  Instead you get to mix powder with water and drink your meal twice a day.  Nom nom nom.  You also just need to hit the gym 6 times a week lift till your body hates you and grind away on an Elliptical because you're too fat to job and know that if you run, you might as well save your knees the trouble and just shoot them off.  Then a couple times a week you dodge harpoons and float your gelatinous blob in a pool.  Not that hard right?

- Why do TV and Movies continue the path of crappy crapiness?

- I love having USAA as my bank.  It's all done online.  Now even depositing checks.  I just got a check from the Honda Dealership for an overpayment from my trade-in.  Thanks to the USAA app on my Droid, I logged into my account and after snapping pictures of the front and back of the check... BAM!!!!  In my account.  No muss no fuss.  In a time where banks seem to be going out of their way to fuck over customers and squeeze any possible money they can out of them, it's nice to have a bank with some fucking integrity. 

Sunday, May 15, 2011

One thing i learned

If my current job has taught me anything (it's taught me quite a few things, most of them I really really could have done without learning) it's that I now know I would never be able to hack it as a teacher.

I respect teachers.  It's a job that is thankless at times and with a few exceptions is not a very well paying job when you consider what is being provided.  I'm sure I could write a longer post about what level on society's fucked-up-o-meter it is when the people who are teaching our kids to read a book and add are paid like a server at Applebees and the people who are teaching your kids that dressing like a nimrod and getting wasted and locked up is cool if you're famous are paid more than all the teachers they'll ever have.

Anyways.  My main point is that I've found out just how frustrating it is dealing with people who are ignorant and not only have no motivation or incentive to learn, they are not expected to.  I listen to these people day in and day out who are nothing but apologetically stupid.  They don't care that they're idiots because nobody expects them to.  They aren't going to make an effort to get smarter because nobody really cares if they do.  The system has been set up to cope with their level of knowledge.  It runs and it runs, turning gears composed of apathy and profit driven by people who are only interested in fixing problems that only impact their personal being.  Teachers have to cope with students who don't want to learn but they also have to deal with some students that not only don't want to learn but are not expected to.  I was reading this article about a girl working hard to succeed in school and in it it says she actually overheard her dad tell her teacher "it doesn't really matter what she does now she will eventually give up." and that he expects her to fail sooner or later.  If I lived to be 1000 and spent all those years trying, I'd still never be able to comprehend how a father could possibly let those words leave his mouth.  Most likely because my dad didn't see failure as the finish line in life.  My dad sure as fucking hell didn't just settle for growing up poor and spending the rest of his days making himself feel better by rolling around in his kid's failures like a pig in shit.  That's just one girl in one class in one school.  It begs the question, how many other students fail or are going to fail because they won't ever try to succeed and no one will ever care if they do?  Now take the person that has to try and reverse all that.  Who has to stand up there in class and shoot basketballs of knowledge at the rims of these kids minds knowing that the shots are sometimes heavily guarded by the system, the parents, and the students who just don't care about the scoreboard.  (I'm not sure if that analogy is brilliant or insanely stupid)

I sympathize with the apathy.  I'm not really any different.  Most of the time if you've removed all incentives and reasons for me give a damn, nary a damn shall be given.  My frustrations were born from my own unhappiness in my environment and when I sat and thought harder and deeper to the "why" of it all I was forced to take a hard look at my job.  The more I looked and more I thought, the more it became clear that nothing is going to change because nobody in a position to change anything has any reason see changes happen.  In a lot of ways it's a liberating conclusion to come to.  It's easier to cope with stress when you know exactly where the stress comes from and that it's not because there's something you're doing or not doing.  Of course it's also equally depressing knowing that there's stress there and nothing you can do will change it. 

You take the good you take the bad and there you have.... my crappy life.  sit ubu sit.  good boy.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

My picks

I think Obama getting another term is a foregone conclusion unless something HUGE happens.  That being said my friend Chris says the GOP should put Palin up just for laughs.  Funny thought but.... I say if we're going to go for "aw fuck it" picks..... let's get creative.


- 2 gays guys.  change the mascot during the campaign to a pink elephant.

- 2 firefighters or soldiers.  one from NY the other from Boston.  theme of "if we can set aside our differences so can you"
- Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.  let's go for the hottest looking ticket.
- 2 porn stars.  theme "if you're going to elect someone who's going to fuck people and suck up.... let's get real professionals!!"
- James Earl Jones and Morgan Freeman.  It'll be better than Obama.  Black, but even MORE pleasant to listen to the speeches.  Since being all talk is all the rage in Presidents now.
- Trey Parker and Matt Stone.  Honestly, no matter who the GOP puts up these guys are far better.
- The Rock and Stone Cold.  theme of "fight you for it"
- Jeff Foxworthy and Rodney Carrington.  theme of "if the right is going to be called redneck hillbillies no matter what, let's get guys that are hilarious."
- Samuel L Jackson and John Travolta.  or....  Ving Rhames and Bruce Willis.
- Christopher Walken and Will Farrell.  chris does all the talking, will follows him around with a cowbell.