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Posts from — January 2008

Last clear night

Moon reflection

Marina del Rey, CA, 2008. By the end of the evening, it was raining (and it hasn’t really stopped since).

January 25, 2008

No wonder it takes so long to file taxes

IRSIn reviewing the instructions for when a business needs to prepare a 1099-Misc form for payments made, I noted the following complicated exceptions: no need to send a 1099 for payments made to a corporation unless that corporation provided legal services (strange, but ok) or if those payments were for medical and health payments (again, ok) and then they note one more exception:

Fish purchases for cash. [conveniently, the instructions go on to explain that] ‘Fish’ means all fish and other forms of aquatic life. ‘Cash’ means U.S. and foreign coin and currency and a cashier’s check, bank draft, traveler’s check, or money order. Cash does not include a check drawn on your personal or business account.

So make sure to keep track of the cash payments your business is making when buying any form of aquatic life! Something tells me that this odd exception can be traced back to a big case of fraud.

January 21, 2008

Primal urge

illustrationWhile I only recently discovered Hugh McLeod’s fantastically popular ChangeThis Manifesto: How to Be Creative from 2004, the gapingvoid cartoonist captures so many practically useful ideas about living a creative life, I can’t help but recommend it. It’s an eminently readable free PDF with plenty of Hugh’s unique back-of-the-business-card illustrations.

One of my favorite passages comes in the midst of Hugh’s reflection how some have passion to change the world. He traces the roots of that kind of passion to what he calls the “Pissed Off Gene”:

Human beings have this thing I call the “Pissed Off Gene.” It’s that bit of our psyche hat makes us utterly dissatisfied with our lot, no matter how kindly fortune smiles upon us.

It’s there for a reason. Back in our early caveman days being pissed off made us more likely to get off our butt, get out of the cave and into the tundra hunting woolly mammoth, so we’d have something to eat for supper. It’s a survival mechanism. Damn useful then, damn useful now.

. . .


Part of understanding creative urge is understanding that it’s primal. Wanting to change the world is not a noble calling; it’s a primal urge.

We think we’re “providing a superior integrated logistic system” or “helping America to really taste freshness.” In fact, we’re just pissed off and want to get the hell out of the cave and kill the woolly mammoth.

(Emphsis mine.) Go read it. Really. It’s fun too.

January 18, 2008

Back on the road

Dale Evans Parkway Exit

Apple Valley, CA, 2008. I was ready for a long drive in the rain to kick-off the annual pilgrimage to LasVegas for CES, but as soon as I crossed the mountain pass, the clouds parted a bit and the rain stopped. The vista views were dramatic with the sun poking through the dense clouds.

January 7, 2008