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2641  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: New Season of Futurama Coming? on: February 19, 2009, 03:36:21 AM
I could never really get into that show. I enjoyed the occasional episode (like CeeKay said), but a lot of the jokes went right past me and the last one that I saw (Benders Game maybe?) was especially obscure and self-referential.
2642  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: I hate cable TV on: February 17, 2009, 11:23:58 PM
We get digital cable, about 20 HD channels, and a dual-tuner DVR for $70 per month. We rarely watch any cable stations so it's a tempting target, except that I bought a TV with no tuner to save $500 on the purchase. It can't get broadcast stations without an external tuner. No cable/satellite, no TV.  

We also pay $45 a month for internet and $60 for a landline phone, or $175 altogether. I could get a bundle from the cable company for $110 -- which is a promo rate for one year that doesn't include HD programming, the dual DVR, or any taxes and fees. Hidden charges make the savings too trivial to justify the disruption of losing the Earthlink email addresses we've had since 1997, and the ability to send and receive faxes over our copper phone line. With two home businesses, we need a real fax machine, not some lame e-fax thing.

Of course, if the unemployment lasts more than a few months we will probably have to junk the cable. We could still use the TV to watch DVDs, which is 90% of its function anyway. Can't give up the DSL or fax, though.
2643  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: What are you doing with your tax refund? on: February 17, 2009, 11:06:28 PM
OK, today I finally excavated my desk, did my sorting and filing, nagged my BIL (again) for his mother's paperwork, and completed the first section of our CPA's questionnaire. That took about 90 minutes, and now the deck is finally cleared for the hard part.

Our withholding is nearly impossible to calculate because my wife's 1099 income is highly variable, and because I don't know my K-1 results until mid-December. So it comes down to how well I guess at the 1040-ES payments, how good my wife is at finding deductions, and whether she hid any income from me during the year. We got killed in 2007 because she received and spent a big "profit sharing" check that she didn't know was actually retirement money, and because my company accidentally turned a profit instead of showing a tidy little loss. You can't take deductions against K-1 income, but you don't have to pay payroll taxes on it, either.

It's tricky. I always strive for break-even, but with so many variables I can be off by several thousand dollars. I made aggressive estimated tax payments in 08, but my profit was double what I expected. On the plus side, we had some fat new deductions like home equity interest and a new computer.

Now that my wife's unemployed, though, owing $thousands again this April would be a disaster. See why I'm avoiding this?
2644  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: What are you doing with your tax refund? on: February 17, 2009, 07:28:48 PM
Thanks to this thread's ever-increasing guilt-inducing properties, I am going to start on our taxes this afternoon.
2645  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Coffee Addiction on: February 17, 2009, 04:48:08 PM
Medical wisdom about coffee has its ups and downs. Lately, coffee is considered the new health food. Caffeine addiction is easily broken if you ever have a compelling reason to endure 2-3 days of headaches and lethargy. There is no compelling evidence that it's a bad thing, unless you're of the opinion that any addiction is a weakness.
2646  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: Presidents Day, pick your favorite on: February 16, 2009, 07:00:55 PM
I thought this thread was going to be about the historians' ratings.

The story gives the top 5 and bottom 5, with only a few references to everyone in between.

Quote
After Lincoln, the academics rated George Washington, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt, and Harry Truman as the best leaders overall. The same five received top spots in the 2000 survey, although Washington and Franklin D. Roosevelt swapped spots this year.

Rated worst overall were James Buchanan, Andrew Johnson, Franklin Pierce, William Henry Harrison, and Warren G. Harding.
2647  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: REDESIGN STATUS UPDATE on: February 14, 2009, 04:31:16 PM

Quote from: th'FOOL on February 13, 2009, 11:00:30 PM

feel free to ask questions or pile on scorn as you see fit Tongue

Is this going to be on the test?
2648  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: What are you doing with your tax refund? on: February 13, 2009, 07:01:52 PM
Thanks to this thread's guilt-instilling properties, I am going to start working on our taxes this afternoon. I suspect that we're going to owe money.
2649  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: Roman Catholic Church reintroducing indulgences? on: February 13, 2009, 03:46:29 PM

Quote from: Isgrimnur on February 12, 2009, 09:44:55 PM

Being a Christian revolves around one belief, as I stated earlier.  The rest are denominational differences.

I was taught that a Christian must believe in the literal truth of Jesus's death and physical resurrection and ascension. That central miracle makes Christianity a religion, rather than a philosophy. Anybody who believes in it is a Christian. Anybody who does not, is not.

This simple definition helped me see at a very young age that I am not a Christian.
2650  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: What are you doing with your tax refund? on: February 13, 2009, 03:35:19 PM

Quote from: Laner on February 13, 2009, 01:58:59 AM

Quote from: Ironrod on February 12, 2009, 04:11:16 PM

Oh, and that $500 rebate fell to $400. Your weekly paycheck is going to grow by $8 instead of $10.

That seems completely pointless.  Or am I missing something?

The idea is that everybody will spend it because it's beneath notice. If you give people lump sums, they do dumb things like save or invest them.

Those of us who don't get paychecks will find a refundable credit on our 2009 tax returns.
2651  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Joss Whedons Dollhouse starts Friday on: February 13, 2009, 03:28:41 PM
I hope it's not any good. I already have too many TV shows to keep up with. Glad to hear that Sarah Chronicle is coming back, though. 
2652  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: What are you doing with your tax refund? on: February 12, 2009, 06:32:59 PM

Quote from: SensuousLettuce on February 12, 2009, 06:00:14 PM

Quote from: Ironrod on February 12, 2009, 04:11:16 PM

Oh, and that $500 rebate fell to $400. Your weekly paycheck is going to grow by $8 instead of $10.


So it's not a stimulus check like Bushy sent out? It's actually going to come in our paychecks each month?

Correct, they are reducing your federal tax withholding by $8 per week (last I heard) for two years. They figure it's such a small sum that everyone will spend it without even noticing, whereas you would save a lump sum or use it to pay down debt.
2653  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: Roman Catholic Church reintroducing indulgences? on: February 12, 2009, 04:33:40 PM

Quote from: Razgon on February 12, 2009, 08:35:02 AM

okay, being from a protestantic country, I'm a little confused...

Do Catholics take the bible on the word, and believe in the heaven and hell thing literally? I mean, is that the preached word? Otherwise, there's no way in, eh, well, hell, this would work as I see it

No, not as actual places, but as states of grace. "Heaven" is harmony with their god, and "hell" is isolation. The pope clarified this a few years back. The rank and file, though, still believes the medieval model.

http://www.ewtn.com/library/PAPALDOC/JP2HEAVN.HTM
2654  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: Why did obama have a list of reporters & the order in which he would call th on: February 12, 2009, 04:28:22 PM

Quote from: SensuousLettuce on February 12, 2009, 02:39:12 PM

Quote
"Zero" he shall henceforth be called.

I find that to be a terrible nickname. I prefer Obamarama- though I guess that's not decidedly negative...


"Obama-lama-dingdong" has the flair you're looking for.
2655  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Here comes the snow...there goes the snow on: February 12, 2009, 04:24:44 PM
It's nice to be able to walk on the sidewalks again. I was getting really sick of walking in the street and I don't think the drivers appreciated it, either.

It's not so nice to see all of the grit and trash and dogshit that was entombed in the ice banks. We need a good hard rain. They won't sweep the streets until April if they do it at all this year.
2656  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Fed Ex or PDP.com's fault... on: February 12, 2009, 04:16:36 PM

Quote from: gellar on February 11, 2009, 09:06:12 PM

I would contact the shipper.  They are more likely to get a response from FedEx and will be considerably easier to deal with.

gellar

The shipper will be able to file a damage claim and collect from FedEx. They will very likely replace your shipment for free. (I'm assuming FedEx's guarantee works the same way as UPS; I don't use FedEx but I've collected from UPS a few times). You should keep the packaging in case FedEx wants to inspect it. They almost never do.
2657  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: What are you doing with your tax refund? on: February 12, 2009, 04:11:16 PM

Quote from: ibdoomed on February 12, 2009, 02:27:03 AM


We're going to use this years to buy a new house.

So I have another question that I might as well pose here. This 15k tax credit I'm hearing about... is that a deduction or are they actually going to give us an additional $15,000 back next year?

Buy a house? Good lord man, how much are you having overwithheld?

The stimulus package isn't finalized yet, but this morning's newspaper said that the tax deductions for home and car buyers were gutted. I don't know if that means removed completely, or just reduced to insignificance.

Oh, and that $500 rebate fell to $400. Your weekly paycheck is going to grow by $8 instead of $10.

None of this is certain until it lands on Obama's desk anyway.
2658  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: A picture of irony on: February 11, 2009, 08:50:25 PM

Quote from: PeteRock on February 11, 2009, 06:17:32 PM

I enjoy seeing Hummers in downtown cities, like Philadelphia.  Their size and restricted interior visibility make them as far from ideal for parallel parking as any vehicle I've seen on the road.   retard

My biggest issue with ginormous SUVs isn't their fuel efficiency, but with the driver's inability to negotiate parking lots and parking spaces.  If you can't park it you shouldn't be driving it.  Suburban Arizona housewives who drive 19 passenger SUVs to the local grocery drive me absolutely mad with their inherent inability to simply park their vehicle.  Things only get worse when they try to leave their parking space.    

Ironrod's Maxim: The size of the vehicle is inversely proportional to the skill of the driver.

It's a defense mechanism. The biggest SUVs are usually piloted by 90-pound women on cell phones.
2659  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: 15 Companies That Might Not Survive 2009 on: February 11, 2009, 04:44:08 PM
Can't say I'd miss a single company on that list, although we'd all miss the jobs they provide.

We have a big Rite-Aid on the main intersection in our town center. Or maybe it's a Brooks. I can never remember if Brooks bought Rite-Aid or the other way around, I just know that the name changed a few months back. I suppose having that prominent building go dark would be a problem for somebody. Not the customers, though. There's a CVS a block away. 
2660  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: Roman Catholic Church reintroducing indulgences? on: February 11, 2009, 04:38:13 PM

Quote from: SensuousLettuce on February 11, 2009, 04:32:01 PM

Quote
In exchange for certain prayers, devotions or pilgrimages in special years, a Catholic can receive an indulgence, which reduces or erases that punishment instantly, with no formal ceremony or sacrament.

Quote
There are partial indulgences, which reduce purgatorial time by a certain number of days or years, and plenary indulgences, which eliminate all of it, until another sin is committed. You can get one for yourself, or for someone who is dead.

This is absolutely appalling.


Some pretty wacky stuff there. To an outsider, it looks as nutty as anything Scientology has dreamed up. I guess it's a pretty big profit center for the church, though, even if they technically can't be sold.
2661  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: What are you doing with your tax refund? on: February 11, 2009, 04:30:08 PM

Quote from: kratz on February 11, 2009, 04:13:44 AM

Quote from: Ironrod on February 11, 2009, 01:19:48 AM

Quote from: kratz on February 10, 2009, 05:10:29 AM

Down payment on a 'new' used car for my wife, since her '97 was about to shit the bed.  Got a Subaru Forester.  I dig it.

Nice. I wish we could replace our 10-year-old Forester. If we could, I'd buy another Forester.

Heh... our 'new' one is 8 years old.  Nice though... 86K... didn't cost too much, leather... AWD is a huge plus out here where it snows and gets super cold.

Ours has 130k miles and is beat to crap. It's my wife's so it's always overflowing with trash. She is fiercely protective of her old beater and doesn't want to replace it because I'd nag her to take care of a new one. She really likes not worrying about new scratches and dents. She's religious about oil changes, though, and that's why it's still running fine. I want to replace it before it craps out, though. 
2662  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: A picture of irony on: February 11, 2009, 04:24:25 PM
No more ironic than an SUV with a "Support Our Troops" ribbon on it. Unless you consider creating job security "support".
2663  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: What are you doing with your tax refund? on: February 11, 2009, 01:19:48 AM

Quote from: kratz on February 10, 2009, 05:10:29 AM

Down payment on a 'new' used car for my wife, since her '97 was about to shit the bed.  Got a Subaru Forester.  I dig it.

Nice. I wish we could replace our 10-year-old Forester. If we could, I'd buy another Forester.

To answer my own question: The fine for sending a 1099 late is $30 per instance. That goes up to $50 after 30 days, and $100 after 6 months. Since nobody polices this, there is effectively no penalty, and it's up to the payee to keep track of and report this income. Which means we will just guess if the form doesn't show up by April.
2664  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: What are you doing with your tax refund? on: February 10, 2009, 03:48:21 AM
If we get anything back, we might be able to take our annual week in the Berkshires this summer. If we have to pay out, no vacation this year. I haven't even started sorting paper yet. It's too depressing.

We're still waiting on one 1099. Does anyone know what the penalty is for a payer who doesn't mail their 1099s by Jan. 31?
2665  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Support for a terminally ill friend on: February 09, 2009, 07:34:39 PM
A friend whose husband died of pancreatic cancer planned a memorial garden. Her husband helped lay it out and choose the plantings, then various friends and relatives contributed plants, statuary, decorations, etc. Now she has a pleasant, private place to remember him, surrounded by living beauty.

I guess that's not appropriate here because you're not dealing with a survivor. Might give you an idea, though.
2666  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Holy crap. I just realized it's been 10 years since I joined GoneGold. on: February 09, 2009, 05:13:13 PM
I joined Gonegold to announce that Pharaoh had gone gold. I was the producer. Wiki tells me that was Oct 31, 1999, so I guess my 10-year anniversary is still coming.
2667  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Anyone else here on Facebook? on: February 08, 2009, 05:32:28 AM
I just got a friend request from a guy I haven't seen in 25 years. He was my best friend, once. FB certainly seems to have hit some kind of critical mass among my peers lately. The bare-bones page I created 6 months ago is starting to draw attention with no effort whatsoever on my part.
2668  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: A new rome game..Grand Ages: Rome..pics/vid on: February 07, 2009, 05:57:25 PM
It's a big download, 850 MB, that installs to a 1.5 gig. The installer ran fine and the game launched slowly, but without problems. Sound stuttered badly. Went into the Options and dialed the graphics down to low and turned music off. Started the tutorial.

I quickly decided that the game is unplayable on my old P4-2.66 with 2 gig RAM. Uninstalled. I don't know what I was thinking. All I can tell you is that this game is not friendly for old systems.

2669  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: A new rome game..Grand Ages: Rome..pics/vid on: February 06, 2009, 11:12:56 PM
I don't know when I'll get around to playing it, but I'm downloading now. I'm something of a citybuilder aficionado...I don't like RTS, though.
2670  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Fences, by Stardock on: February 06, 2009, 11:04:42 PM
I like it. Four groups cover everything -- Programs, Documents, Internet, and Games. Nice and neat.
2671  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Fences, by Stardock on: February 06, 2009, 06:35:06 PM
I don't have very many icons on my desktop, but I'm an organization freak so I'm trying it out anyway. My wife is the one who could really benefit from this; her desktop is always cluttered chaos.
2672  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Lost returns next week! [Spoilers!] on: February 06, 2009, 03:15:48 PM
As soon as we saw those frenchies in that raft, I knew they were returning to the crazy french chick. I was disappointed that they couldn't use Mira Furlan to play her young self, but I suppose that would have been too big a stretch. I wonder if she will be back.
2673  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Joe Cocker explained!! on: February 04, 2009, 11:12:28 PM
 nod I'll have what he's having, please.
2674  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: I'm all for gov't agencies saving money, but this is ridiculous. on: February 03, 2009, 11:28:05 PM

Quote from: gellar on February 03, 2009, 07:54:19 PM

Quote from: pr0ner on February 03, 2009, 05:36:12 PM

Quote from: cheeba on February 03, 2009, 09:32:31 AM

Quote from: Alefroth on February 03, 2009, 12:46:48 AM

They are proof that you have paid for the service of having an envelope or parcel delivered from one part of the country to another. They are sticky on one side, and have different values. It's a pretty cool system.
Huh. Didn't know people still did that.

Are you serious?  I pay medical bills through the mail all the time.

Same... I don't think hospitals give you much of an option other than to pay by mail.

gellar

I routinely pay my MIL's medical bills with online billpay. Maybe the bank sends out paper checks. 

I only use stamps for my property taxes and quarterly estimated tax payments, and for the very rare check payment to an individual. I'll bet I don't go through 20 stamps in a year.
2675  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: Does anybody really think these bailouts will work?... on: February 03, 2009, 11:21:06 PM

Quote from: Scuzz on February 03, 2009, 10:22:50 PM


$600 million to buy hybrid vehicles for federal employees.


Priuses or Hondas?

Quote

$850 million for Amtrak.


Ah, they wouldn't be Republicans if they weren't taking a shot at Amtrak.
2676  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: It's Tax Time! on: February 02, 2009, 07:03:12 PM
I have resolved to start filling in our CPA's questionnaire tomorrow -- or at least to do my filing, so that I can start on that. My wife's 1099s haven't even started arriving yet, and I won't get my K-1 until the CPA finishes my corporate returns. Once those pieces are in place my wife needs to spend a day sorting her records and filling in her expenses. Making most of her freelance income disappear is a long, tortuous process...complicated this year by the transition into unemployment -- starting her job search, prodding her freelance clients, filing for unemployment, and exploring health insurance alternatives. The good news is that we might be poor enough to qualify for a state COBRA subsidy.

My goal is to have it figured out by March 15 if the CPA and the wife both cooperate. That would give us a month to come up with any payment due. Maybe I'll warm up this week by doing my MIL's taxes, if her lazy son will ever bestir himself to send me her paperwork.
2677  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Here comes the snow on: February 02, 2009, 06:49:08 PM
Last I heard was 4-8" of the heavy wet variety. Oh well. I'm actually going to leave my car out of the garage tonight to let nature wash off the top layer of road grime.
2678  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: I'm all for gov't agencies saving money, but this is ridiculous. on: February 01, 2009, 06:33:47 PM

Quote from: jblank on February 01, 2009, 12:51:14 AM

Quote from: morlac on January 31, 2009, 03:45:24 PM

Quote from: jblank on January 28, 2009, 09:36:31 PM

http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D960C7KG0&show_article=1

Quote
Massive deficits could force the post office to cut out one day of mail delivery, the postmaster general told Congress on Wednesday, in asking lawmakers to lift the requirement that the agency deliver mail six days a week.
If the change happens, that doesn't necessarily mean an end to Saturday mail delivery. Previous post office studies have looked at the possibility of skipping some other day when mail flow is light, such as Tuesday.




 Rather than constantly raising rates, they need to address other problems they have, like long lines (who is the genius at the PO that thought it was a good idea to make customers go to the main windows to buy stamps), employees going on breaks when there are 10+ people waiting in line, and the piss poor customer service we taxpayers get there.

Just buy your stamps at the grocery store, it's painless.

I don't go to the grocery store, but because of our substantial shipping from eBay, I have to frequent the P.O. a time or two a week.

Don't they have an Automated Postal Center machine? Clerks are there for the clueless and for people with complex shipping problems.

Our carrier is friendly and does a fine job. Lately I've been using carrier pickup for my shipping, saving myself a daily drive to the P.O. The desk clerks there are all 60+ years old and working in endangered jobs. They are generally competent, but slow and surly. I only deal with them when I need to ship Express and international packages.
2679  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: "This site may harm your computer" - Say what? on: January 31, 2009, 03:21:56 PM
All better now. Must be a new feature isn't ready for prime time. Somebody's face must be red.

EDIT: I just noticed that I posted this in PC Gaming. Boy, is my face red.  icon_lol
2680  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / "This site may harm your computer" - Say what? on: January 31, 2009, 03:09:18 PM
I just googled "AARP insurance". Every single listing for at least three pages in has a link that says "This site may harm your computer." Clicking that link brings up a 502 server error. Clicking on the site link itself (AARP.org has got to be safe, right?) brings up a malware warning page. Tried a different search; same results.

WTF?
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