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Tuesday, January 28, 2003

Netflix informed me today that I'd reached my limit. It wouldn't let me add Sweet Home Alabama to my rental queue unless I deleted some other titles. So I more or less randomly dropped 41 movies off my list. The decision was based on the fact that I couldn't remember what they were about (or in some cases that I could remember what they were about).

Most of the titles I dropped were movies I knew I could add back in at any time. Some were classics, like 42nd Street and Annie Get Your Gun, that probably don't have much of a waiting list. Others were films I'd already seen but wanted to check the DVD features on, such as Jurassic Park and Speed. And then there were movies I knew other people in my family already owned, like Men In Black II and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back.

I'll be more careful adding movies willy-nilly, helter-skelter to my queue from now on, that's for sure. Mildred Pierce is just about to be released on DVD, but I have to think twice about it. Or maybe I should upgrade my subscription so I can have more DVDs out at one time. (Nah, that's a bad idea. I hardly have enough time as it is.)

The maximum you can have in your queue, in case you were wondering, is 500. That's probably enough movies anyway.

After working myself into waves of panic and near-panic for days, and after using all my energy to get the workload down to where I could be fairly certain it would be done by the Friday deadline, I find myself at a point where it suddenly appears to be almost finished. Now. Today. Tuesday. Ahead of time.

How can that be? I always leave everything to the last minute. What am I going to be doing at 4:59 Friday afternoon?

There's only one tax form left to complete, but it's a big one, the California sales tax return. That one always gives me fits because I don't know what I'm doing. The company doesn't sell products as a retail outlet, and we pay the sales tax on almost everything we buy. That means I enter a lot of zeroes in the tax form, and I'm always afraid that will raise a red flag in some office in Sacramento.

We were audited on our sales tax license once, years ago, and I was assured by the auditor that I was doing everything correctly. I just don't know if I believe her. We don't pay sales tax on material we buy from out-of-state suppliers, or on material we buy for out-of-state projects. That's the only time we use our sales tax exemption, and since we're a construction firm, we're in a kind of hazy area about which items we're supposed to report to the state.

I do it the way I think is fair and correct. If I'm wrong, somebody will tell me, eventually. Then I'll fix it. I think that's the way things should work anyway. If you're acting in good faith, you should be patted on the back and allowed to correct your mistakes. Punishment is for bad guys, not inept bunglers like me who are doing the best we can.

blue blooms

Bees have been humming around this bush at the corner of my garden for a couple of weeks now.

I think the sales tax return is the only one I have left to do, but I can't be sure. I keep coming up with one more form, and then one more, that I've forgotten or mislaid. I guess what I'll be doing at 4:59 Friday is exhaling, and realizing that it's too late to worry about anything I've overlooked.

And there's plenty left to do in February, so it's not as if the work load has suddenly crunched to a halt. The paperwork machine rolls on forever.

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I'm sorry if I convinced anyone to watch that awful pack of lies on Capitol Hill tonight. There's a new picture next to the word "smarmy" in the dictionary. Platitudes, empty promises, pie in the sky, voodoo economics — the speech had it all. He spent the first half of the speech giving back all our taxes, and the second half spending billions on his questionable misadventures.

And what's with Congress, applauding everything he said whether it meant anything or not? "The terrorists are learning the meaning of American justice." Unfortunately, Americans are also learning a new meaning for that word, and other words, like "freedom" and "security." And since when is every lawsuit "frivolous"?

Horror stories, however gruesome and frightening, aren't enough to justify what Bush wants to put the world through. War is not being "forced upon us." The world will not be a better or safer place after he invades Iraq and overthrows Saddam. Once this starts, there will be no peace, and there will be a lot less freedom.

Recent recommendations can always be found on the links page.

One year ago: Blanketed
"I've lived in Santa Rosa most of my life, and never before did I wake up to find snow sticking to the ground."

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