Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Eight Short (short) SF Stories

Here are eight short (extra short) SF stories I found over at the New Yorker magazine the other day.  Most are of the whimsical variety, so they are short and to the point.  You can find them here. 

As an update, I've been busy with several different things lately that has taken me away from blogging.  Some of it is just daily living stuff, and at times you just gotta take care of business.  One of the things was I got tagged by the IRS for my 2014 tax return.  I no longer do my own taxes.  I used to all the time, but it's gotten too complex for my feeble mind.  I started investing in the stock market back around 2000, and I still find investing and personal finance interesting on a lot of different levels.  It can be as complex or simple as you want to get into it.  At any rate, once I got into buying and occasionally selling stocks I could no longer do my own taxes.  I had to rely on an accountant and by and large I've had pretty good luck with good ones.  However, back in 2014 I ran into a pretty lousy one.  I won't go into the whole thing, but the upshot to it is, trust your gut.   This may apply to other things beyond taxes or personal finance. Like buying a house or car for instance, as well as other things in life.  Some of those old adages that you grew up hearing like:  If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is or a bird in the hand is worth two in a bush, or don't go skating in a buffalo herd--those have a nugget of truth to them.  Trusting your gut or intuition is another one that's hard, at least for me at times. 

The thing with the lady that did my taxes in 2014 was I didn't feel at the time she was competent or at least I was shaky about her.  True enough, she wasn't competent.  She made a bunch of mistakes on my tax return that threw up a red flag with the IRS.  So this year they sent me a letter saying I owed them a little over $3,000. extra, and I needed to pay it by a certain time limit (about a month) or they'd levy more penalties and interest on that bill.  Not fun at all.  At any rate, my current accountant, was already doing an amendment to that year.  I had taken that return by for him to look at as he might need it as a reference for my 2015 return.  He found a few oddball things on it that didn't make sense to him.  He told me to call my old accountant and ask her a few questions, and she answered them, but what she said didn't make a lot of sense either.  So I had to do a little more investigating. 

Well I won't bore you further.  The upshot of the story is trust your gut, and hey, you're never too old to learn something.  I'm just hoping that resolves my issues with the IRS and that's that.

Also earlier in the week we had some Texas storms that came through here and knocked out my wireless router and wired phone for a couple of days.  It's funny how something outside your normal routine effects you.  Plus I've been busy painting a couple of paintings for the upcoming 6 X 6 show here at the Downtown Gallery.  It's a charity/fundraising event, so I don't make anything off the sales, but it's always a fun way to recharge my creative side.  It's also a lot of fun to see what everyone else comes up with in their entry.  I had to admit there's a lot of creative and talented artist around our little corner of the world.  Below are the three things that I entered.

This one is called Pathprints.  It's done in acrylic.

This is a collage I did called Emerald Web.  It gave me the most difficulty.  There's always one out of the bunch that takes more time than the others.  I could never get the color right on it to suit me.  I finally just made the overall piece a greenish color.

This one is called The Arborist.  It's funny that everything I entered this year was in a greenish color, and that they all had a subject of plants in them.  I didn't do that consciously, it just turned out that way.  I wish I could stay a bit more productive in that area, but it's hard when you don't have a studio where you can go make something and leave all your supplies scattered about without worrying about messing up the place.   My studio is my kitchen table or garage.  In the summer, like now, the garage can be really hot or humid or both.  The kitchen works pretty well for small things, but you have to be really careful about not spilling paint and such.


At 7:56 AM, Blogger Richard Bellush said...

Clever octad.

There is no sense to a 2000 page tax code. (The oft cited "70,000 pages" includes information and interpretations that are not technically part of the code, but 2000 is plenty bad enough.) We try to make the code do too many things other than raise revenue. There comes a point where complexity itself is oppressive. But that's not going to change ... well... ever, so we seek what professional accounting help we can. I've had mixed luck in that regard to, and consider the fees a hidden tax.

At 9:28 AM, Blogger El Vox said...

The tax code for sure is stacked in the IRS, govt's favor. I think it has to be that complex and bloated so that the small guy pays his fair share, while the top 1% pay some, but also can finds ways to hide large chunks of it and not pay a "fair" share. Why else would Trump be so reluctant to share his past return--they have to doctor it up or at least make sure it adds up some way. I don't know how the IRS does it really, going over all the returns that comes in each year, and detangle all that. It seems a flat tax would even benefit them, but then the top 1% would not have their loophole, and it looks like they rule things.

Now that may be purely speculative and lacking proof, but you have to know that something is rigged. The thing is you can get pretty messed up with them, and they'll keep wanting more and more evidence that you're are not trying to screw them, sort of a mail paper war. I know my nephew owned his own business for a while and had to put up with that for a bit. It can be a headache.


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