Thursday, April 29, 2010

Tank one hundred and twenty-one

Total miles: 42700. Trip miles: 454.6. Gallons: 8.758. Price per gallon: $2.879.

Screen mileage: 53.3 mpg. Tank mileage: 51.9 mpg.

Multi-hour drives.

Monday, April 26, 2010

matters of life and death

matters of life and death
Originally uploaded by wereldmuis.

The Rubin Museum is currently showing two exhibits about death. One is called "Remember That You Will Die" and the other is "Bardo". Both were quite interesting.

view from the chelsea hotel

NYC view from the Chelsea Hotel
Originally uploaded by wereldmuis.

Lazed around NYC on Saturday. Nice day!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Tank one hundred and twenty

Total miles: 42245. Trip miles: 463.8. Gallons: 9.046. Price per gallon: $2.849.

Screen mileage: 55.8 mpg. Tank mileage: 51.3 mpg.

Many hour drives.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Tank one hundred and nineteen

Total miles: 41782. Trip miles: 340.2. Gallons: 6.552. Price per gallon: $2.799.

Screen mileage: 55.9 mpg. Tank mileage: 51.9 mpg.

4 hour drives.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Tank one hundred and eighteen

Total miles: 41441. Trip miles: 260.1. Gallons: 4.401. Price per gallon: $3.119.

Screen mileage: 53.5 mpg. Tank mileage: 59.1 mpg.

Unbelievable tank mileage.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Tank one hundred and seventeen

Total miles: 41181. Trip miles: 429.1. Gallons: 8.451. Price per gallon: $2.799.

Screen mileage: 54.9 mpg. Tank mileage: 50.8 mpg.

4 hour drives.

cold, wet

Originally uploaded by wereldmuis.

I went for a hike at Blue Hills today. I was planning on doing about an hour, but somehow it turned into 2.5 hours. Starting at Rt 28, I followed the Pipeline Trail up to the Skyline Trail, and took the latter back. It's about four miles.

The Skyline Trail was a bit slippery in places, but I managed to avoid falling. Be careful if you're hiking over rocky terrain this weekend!

I passed an excessively cheerful trail runner who grinned at me and said "isn't it a great day to be outside!" as if it were sunny and the sky was blue. He was right, though, despite the rain it was nice to be outside!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Tank one hundred and sixteen

Total miles: 40752. Trip miles: 117.8. Gallons: 2.196. Price per gallon: $2.739.

Screen mileage: 53.7 mpg. Tank mileage: 53.6 mpg.

Just before going on a long trip.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

A story about "TurboTax"

by Intuit

Both my federal and state tax returns have been accepted already (on a Sunday, yet!). The benefits of web filing!

Federal filing is free, but I shelled out $21 to get the state taxes filed. I won’t be doing that again, but it was nice to be done with it.

problems, problems (rated 2 stars)

by Angela Robinson

In the last season of The L Word, the show lost everything that made it interesting to watch. The soap opera elements overwhelmed everything else, and the characters turned into complete clich├ęs, behaving like mechanical puppets, moving at the absurd whim of the writers.

Does anyone understand why Jenny Schecter had any friends at all? Why did people keep forgiving and forgetting? In real life this would never happen, but I guess that’s just another soap opera element that made this last season so lame.

I still thought it was worth watching to find out how everything turned out, but it didn’t keep my attention.

A review of "TurboTax"

by Intuit

I’ve always done my own taxes. But I have a lot of stuff to do this year, and I decided to shell out the money for TurboTax and give it a try.

I had already done about 95% of my federal returns, so it didn’t save much time there. However, I had neglected to take the Making Work Pay tax credit. I just didn't understand it, didn’t have time to think about it, and didn’t think it applied to me. So TurboTax saved me some money there, score one for TurboTax, which more or less forced me to do the right thing on that one.

I had really bought TurboTax for help with my state taxes, since I find Massachusetts taxes unreasonably complicated. However, I didn’t find it especially useful for the problems I encountered last year. For example, as they lead you along, you are asked questions like “Did you report capital gains or losses on your federal return that are not taxable in Massachusetts?”. Well, how the f* do I know? That’s what I bought TurboTax to tell me!

However, TurboTax did find me another deduction which I had failed to take last year: the rent deduction. I remember scratching my head over this last year but quickly deciding it couldn’t possibly apply to me – yet, apparently, it does! This is the weirdest deduction I’ve seen among all state taxes, and I’ve filled out tax forms in four different states to date. So that saved me about $150 in state taxes, score two for TurboTax. If there are any Massachusetts renters out there reading this, you should definitely look into it and see if it applies to you.

  1. When I tried to import my employer’s W-2 information, it failed. So that meant I had to type in all my W-2 information, which I normally do not have to do when filing. Hopefully there were no typos in that process.
  2. When I printed the forms, there was no option to just print even or odd sides. So I wound up printing one sheet at a time and flipping them over to save paper. Bummer.’
  3. Paying $90 to pay your taxes sucks.

So yes, it’s nice that TurboTax found me some extra deductions. However, it seems to me that I have no incentive to buy the product again. It confirmed for me that aside from a couple of neglected deductions, I’m doing my taxes correctly. It didn’t help me with some strange state tax questions. And I still needed to check it pretty carefully to be sure it was doing the right thing.

I think I would be inclined to buy TurboTax again if I move to another state, just to make sure I get the deductions right. Or possibly in years when I’m too busy with other things to give proper attention to tax filing. But I can’t see paying $90 every year for it. I don’t see the value in that.

near chickatawbut

near chickatawbut
Originally uploaded by wereldmuis.

I went for a two hour hike at Blue Hills Reservation today. The trails are still muddy in places, but otherwise the weather was great. By the time I got back to my car, around noon, it was starting to feel a little too hot.

I forgot to bring my camera so I took this photo with my cell phone. I'm on the north side of the fenced in area; the Skyline Trail is a bit south of here. The photo has a weird quality to it. I feel like there should be a UFO up there in the sky or something.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Tank one hundred and fifteen

Total miles: 40634. Trip miles: 470.4. Gallons: 8.472. Price per gallon: $2.799.

Screen mileage: 55.3 mpg. Tank mileage: 55.5 mpg.

Another long trip.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Tank one hundred and fourteen

Total miles: 40164. Trip miles: 379.2. Gallons: 6.881. Price per gallon: $2.719.

Screen mileage: 55.9 mpg. Tank mileage: 55.1 mpg.

Long highway trips. They're killing me!

Monday, April 05, 2010

A review of "Wait For Me"

by Moby

I started listening to Moby’s Wait For Me way back in Sept ‘09, and it didn’t really resonate. That wasn’t a fair treatment, though, because I had been playing Radiohead’s Amnesiac constantly, and nothing was going to get through that cloak of darkness.

I’ve been off Radiohead, and music in general, for a little while. The other day, I decided to give “Wait For Me” another try, on a long drive home. Well, damn, Moby has done it again. I listened to the CD four times over, and it felt like my heart had been ripped out and stomped on (which was how I felt when I was introduced to Moby via Porcelain). It may not sound like it, but it was a good feeling. Now I’ve got “Wait For Me” playing over and over and over again in my car. Thank you, Moby!

A review of "The Picture of Contented New Wealth: A Metaphysical Horror (Zero Books)"

by Tariq Goddard

I read about half of The Picture of Contented New Wealth at night, and it creeped me out. Then I read the rest during the day, and it was not so creepy, more funny and sardonic. It’s an interesting idea to write a family melodrama with demonic possession tossed in. I don’t usually read horror, so I’m not jaded, which maybe helped. The book is not overly long, and it was a quick read.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

flint's pond

flint's pond
Originally uploaded by wereldmuis.

I took a nice stroll around Flint's Pond today, for about an hour. The weather was insanely summer-like.

healthcare bill

Some people are vehemently complaining about the new healthcare bill, and how it will cause delays in treatment for everyone (I suspect they are right) or bankrupt the country (I suspect they are wrong). These people do not seem to be sensitive to the fact that previously, many people were denied medical treatment altogether, leading to unnecessary suffering and deaths.

In my formative years, I read Ursula Le Guin's (pdf) The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas. The story had a giant impact - it was one of those stories that resonated perfectly in me. Anyone who feels like ranting about the healthcare bill should go take a look at this story, and decide where they stand after thinking about it.

I agree that the healthcare bill is far from perfect, and not what I wanted at all. But the status quo was downright evil. I hope this change is for the better, or at least that it leads to something better.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Tank one hundred and thirteen

Total miles: 39785. Trip miles: 329.8. Gallons: 6.96. Price per gallon: $2.759.

Screen mileage: 52.1 mpg. Tank mileage: 47.4 mpg.

Long highway trips.