Body Talk

Posted in Health on February 1st, 2007 by Дмитрий

As much as I don’t mind my extra padding, and as honest as I’m being when I say I’m happier with my body now than I ever have been, I’m not entirely healthy.

I have a family history of diabetes, and I’ve been having trouble keeping my blood pressure and blood lipids at a healthy level lately. I’ve made some pretty good changes to my diet in the past month or so, but I need to get out more and walk and stuff. If I drop 15 pounds (and keep it off, of course) most of these problems will disappear and I can count on being diabetes- and artery-clog-free for a few more decades (after which I’ll probably have to start dropping more pounds, I’m sure).

It’s either drop 25 pounds and lose my bear appeal or start using meds for my triglycerides and potentially be diabetic in 10 years. I’m sorry, I want to live too much longer for that. Basically, I need to dump some baggage if I want to feel safe in this sack of skin. It’s all I got, after all.

1 July 2009

Posted in Economics, Work on February 5th, 2007 by Дмитрий

That is the date I intend to have the means and motivation to move on from my current mode of earning a living.

It will be followed by a month-long cross-country road trip, after which I intend to reenter university to get my Econ on.

The necessary precursors to this goal are:

  • Have all debt at an interest rate in excess of my mortgage paid off entirely.
  • Have at least 6 months of cash living expenses in the bank.
  • David to have a job that can pay for our food and maybe for a few months of no-job me. 

There is of course the chance that my SF gig will dissipate earlier if they decide (as is their right with 90 days’ notice) that I am no longer a fit for the direction of the company. In that case the road trip and university plans would probably go on hold as I scrambled for local income to first get the above 3 goals achieved.

Either way, I have resolved to do it. Let’s get to it.

Taxes Taxes Taxes

Posted in Economics on February 12th, 2007 by Дмитрий

Well, I overestimated how much being a homeowner would help my tax bill, underestimated my travel expenses for work last year, and thus underestimated the estimated taxes I should have paid over the past year. I also failed completely to pay my NC estimated payments, which was just a stupid oversight for me and I deserve any penalties I am saddled with. Being an independent contractor sure is fun…

Basically what this all means is that I have until 15 April to pay more than a month of my income to the IRS. If I fail to do so, I start paying wonderful penalties and interest… Yay!

Of course, I wouldn’t give up this opportunity for anything: I think every American should spend some time being an independent contractor. You become much more aware of how much tax you pay when you actually have to write a check or pay it out of your pocket. When you get it ‘deducted’ from your net take-home paycheck, it’s just a figure on a check stub - after your first paycheck or two you budget around it. But when it’s something you pay quarterly and out of money you already have in the bank, it sure feels more real.

I’m definitely not saying I deserve to pay any less tax than anyone else - I’m only saying that maybe we’d all be a bit less passive about taxes, waste and bureaucracy if we were all experiencing the crush to taxes so directly…

States Payroll Lobbyists for Big Tobacco

Posted in Economics on February 15th, 2007 by Дмитрий

Well, not really, at least not yet. But there is this.

I think I posted a few years ago that taxing cigarettes so heavily was a big mistake for the states that were doing settlements with the tobacco companies. Sin taxes always work that way: You are ostensibly trying to discourage the sinfulness by making it more expensive, but that cash gets addictive to bureaucrats.

In California, whilst the property taxes have been some of the slowest-growing in the country, the state has repeatedly raised cigarette and tobacco taxes (and hydrocarbon taxes…). Every year or so a new measure is on the ballot asking voters to approve a raise in the tobacco tax in return for some treat like a freeway or a bridge or a school where their kids won’t get shot at as often. It’s all very cute to watch them pretend that tacking on a few more cents per pack is a viable method of revenue collection. Bureaucrats are always very good at deluding themselves.

This is one reason that many people argue that gas taxes should go only toward transit infrastructure: if a state becomes dependent upon a specific type of tax to keep up a revenue stream in its government’s general fund, it inevitably becomes an interest lobby for that particular form of consumption. In terms of gas taxes, if people stop using as much gas and the revenue stream dries up, the logic is that the infrastructure will take less of a beating and thus the funds won’t be needed as badly if that’s all the gas taxes pay for.

If tobacco taxes were being used only to fund anti-smoking campaigns or pay for health care for uninsured smokers, it might not be any more fair or rational a tax, but at least it would be logically utilized, under the assumption that if fewer smokers smoked, and thus less tax was collected, that the consequence would be less need for anti-smoking ads and fewer lung cancer patients in state-funded hospitals. That might be flawed logic to some extent, but at least it’s an attempt at logic.

The general way taxes on specific goods are managed, however, is to tack on special riders every now and then, until eventually most of the tax is essentially just contributing to the state’s general fund, and thus in order to balance the budget, the state must ensure that that good continues to be consumed.

I always wondered at what point the attrition of smokers would reach the threashold where tobacco-tax-dependent governments started to need more smokers and thus stopped insisting on anti-smoking campaigns and laws against public smoking, etc. Maybe that day is near?

What Does Marriage Mean?

Posted in Family on February 16th, 2007 by Дмитрий

It means sitting out all night in the rain to enjoy a bit of civil disobedience, only to find that the words you’re told to recite by a homo county supervisor are true, beautiful, and more meaningful today than ever before.

Thank you for sharing your life with me, baby.

“Urban” Putrid dot org

Posted in Charlotte, creative clASS on February 16th, 2007 by Дмитрий

This was a post I just made to a thread at “Urban” Planet - you know, that site which is mostly about the latest trends in high-rise downtown condo development and where Ikea will locate in Charlotte?

This post was pulled and I was banned, which I totally expected, because that’s what the faggy board owner does with anyone that doesn’t (literally) lick his ass, so I’m preserving it here. Needless to say, we shan’t be returning. Anyone want to join a new group here for those who love real cities that were built before 1990 and actually have poor people and low-rise buildings in them?

[QUOTE(metro.m @ Feb 15 2007, 08:36 PM)
I can understand that because your justification that Bank of America should be able to offer cards to Illegals because Gay sex was once unconstitutionally considered illegal is one of the most ridiculous things that I have ever seen posted on this forum.] Emplasis Mine

Of course, it IS amusing that the sodomite owner of this board is one of the few complaining about illegal immigrants. How the tables have turned in this country… Mr Metro: please remember that CAN was twice reviewed by other supreme courts and found perfectly constitutional. Law is only what the mob deems in its interest at the time. Better watch your back when I’m in charge of that mob.

But then, this forum is less about urbanism and urban theory than about the latest condo trends and preppy metrosexual posing, in a theme park where there’s a bar on every corner, an Ikea below every loft, and no inconvenient poor or brown people cluttering up the neighborhood. Sorry, my fat, sober, low-rise-loving homo ass forgot.

No wonder this is the first post I’ve made here in years… And only because my partner, OtherStream, was so putrified by this thread. Enjoy your bland, tall, class-segregated utopias, guys. I want nothing to do with them.