Friday, May 13, 2011

Friday the 13th

Friday the 13th falls on a Friday this month.

The bike riding thing continues. I can now average 10mph for a bit over six miles. Not that impressive, but it's slowly getting there. At the rate I'm increasing my distance, I'll be ready for the Iceman Cometh Challenge in time to enter the geezer division. At this point, I can't even imagine riding 27 miles in one go.

I'm still puttering around with The Tax Geek thing. This weekend, I'm going to give serious thought to domain names and e-mail addresses and web space. If there isn't someone already using The Tax Geek, I may do some sort of Facebook thing. Or maybe not. Facebook annoys me in a number of ways and I enjoy the occasional hiatus from it. Having a business page would commit me to being a regular user. I also found a couple places in Lake Mary that would probably work for office space. One has better visibility, but the rent is more than I'm comfortable with. I've talked to a couple people about setting up shop together, which would help, but that complicates the whole thing by a lot. I found one space that was only $500/month and had a storage area. We would be able to ditch the $65/month we are paying to store our moving supplies as well as give me an office. The problem is that the place is completely invisible. The landlord had told me it was a second-floor office. We had been routinely driving by the building ever since we moved here and never realized it even had a second floor. Worse, there is no external signage other than a small plaque next to the door that leads up to the second floor offices. The plus side is that it's cheaper than anything we've found and he is only asking for a six-month lease instead of a full year. Still a lot of money for what I'm likely to generate in income. I'm also resurrecting an idea from last fall: jumping into an established office. I still have a guy's name who offered me that option. The problem is that his office is a fair jog away from here. It wouldn't be as crazy logistically as it was in New Hampshire when Debbie and I were sharing a car and I worked in Vermont, but it would be close. I could have Debbie dump me off, then bike home, but I would be riding nearly 20 miles. I'd like to think that I'd be up to that sort of trip by the end of summer, but that could get grueling as a permanent thing.

I realized the other day that I had not been uploading photos to Flickr after I took them off the camera. So over the last few months we've been to:

A beach near Bonita Springs. My aunt and uncle have a winter place there so we drove down to visit for a couple days.

Disney's Epcot. These are from mid-April. We just went there again Wednesday, but those photos are still on the camera.

Disney's Hollywood Studios. Twice. The second time was to meet up with some friends we haven't seen in close to 20 years.

Nice thing about having the Florida resident annual passes is that we can drive down anytime we have a free day and hit one of the parks. We don't pay for parking, and even the food is usually free using the Disney points we rack up on one of our credit cards. It's a great excuse to get some sun (OK; a lot of sun) and people-watch.

One sign of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result each time. A Florida developer has a new program called "A-Dollar-and-a-Dream" that allows someone to buy a brand new $150,000 house for a $1 down payment. Didn't we already try that one? I've also noticed the local car dealers are back with their no-money-down, no-payments-for-a-year deals. We really are quite insane.

Speaking of housing, Zillow's housing data is still showing housing in a complete free-fall, down another 8% year-over-year with no end in site. Sixteen million families are upside-down and will likely never see prices get back up to what their mortgage balance is. Good times!

Breathless Headline of the Week: No Breakfast for Kids Wearing 'Wrong' Shoes At Gradeschool.The basic story is that after ignoring a dress code violation for the entire school year, some bored school administrator decided to deny a couple kids their free-to-them-but-very-costly-to-the-taxpayer breakfast because they were wearing black tennis shoes instead of black dress shoes. Mom is so confused. But the real gem comes from the boys' auntie:

“I don’t care if they had on orange shoes, they were in line to eat,” Robin Price  says. “I’m not going to feed you because you have the wrong shoes? Shoes? No, no.”

Here's a thought: Why don't the two "adults" in these boys' lives drag their drug-and-alcohol-addled asses out of bed early enough in the morning to fix breakfast? It's not all that hard. I'm not suggesting laying out a six course spread or anything. What does a bowl of oatmeal or grits (Cream-o-Wheat for you Yankees) cost? Maybe a nickel if you include the cost of boiling water on the stove? And it's done in less than five minutes so Mom and Auntie can go back to bed to sleep off whatever they ingested the night before.And then schools could focus on oh... I don't know... teaching something? Other than entitlement, that is:

“I felt sad. We’re always supposed to have breakfast,” first-grader Noah Nicholson says.

Yeah kid. You are "always supposed to have breakfast." At home. You need to talk to the big people that live in your house with you about getting on that.

Pigs are petri dishes for evolving human diseases. Thanks to factory farms, those diseases are now evolving under selection pressure from antibiotics. The bottom line: nothing good will come of this. And we'll keep right on doing it anyway.

The federal government stopped building the border fence, so now Arizona is taking donations. So far, $1.5 million from nearly 35,000 donors. Anytime the economy tanks, immigration becomes a political hot spot. Living in an area of heavy Mexican immigration (legal and illegal), I can tell you things are already getting ugly.

I almost skimmed right past this one: a former coworker decided to give herself a $1.1 million raise. Lack of controls was an ongoing concern when I was there. Maybe now those in charge will stop sticking their fingers in their ears and la-la-la-ing when the subject comes up.

Well, I need some lunch and then start sorting the 230 or so pictures from Epcot. The biggest advantage of digital is also the biggest pain: it costs nothing to take photos so I keep pulling the trigger. Then I get home and have to sift through all those photos.


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