coming up

Dec. 26th, 2018 08:34 pm
thene: "'The spirit is a garden,' said he." Photograph from (snowdrops of gratuitous self-reference)
not dead, let's cut to the chase, everything's surfacing this season. I'm really damn alive a lot of the time. Doing the usual - reading, writing, rabbitholing, casual occultism, being with people, occasionally playing videogames. Tossing in new stuff like showing up to local music shows and protests. Showing up.

-got majorly back into skating, which has left me with a grade 2 AC joint separation and some kind of awful illiotibial band/piriformis/hamstring problem - the shoulder is mostly fine so long as I keep up my home exercise routine (bunch of pulling/lifting every 2 days), the hip is still getting poked and prodded by doctors and I am banned from sports right now. Which is really bugging me, after having spent the last 2-3 years remembering that I was secretly a jock all along and now I can't bear to think of all the muscle mass I've lost since it got bad in March.

-Still chugging along at the dayjob, except now I have a pile of FINRA certs and last month our old broker principal finally quit, which is to say, they now literally can't fire me unless they want to shut down an entire business unit bc no one else there can legally do my (incredibly mundane) job. This isn't as comfortable for me as it sounds; I'm not good at string-pulling and am too susceptible to same, and I feel boxed-in by my lack of technical education or skills. My best bet is to get more comfortable with all the new responsibilities then bail for something similar. Bottom line, I am too far down the wrong line of work bc it's stupidly lucrative and I'm not bad enough at it to actually get fired, but it hurts bc I know there's something else I'm way better at but superficially less qualified for. These are such nice problems to have, no lie. It's a couple of winters since I last had a tax gig and I am super tempted to pick one up, but I'm already dealing badly with the dark and cold and how easily I hit my point of introvert burnout. Just, if I'm not allowed to skate, why not sink the time into to something else that's joyful and life-affirming for me that would help me pay the orthopedic bills?

-I allegedly semi-run Boston Fannish Brunch but actually [personal profile] elaineofshalott does all the work. I am so incredibly grateful it exists as a community, though, y'all are good company.

-I've maybe never been doing better for local friendships & community. Not even just actual friends but just people who I recognise & who recognise me at shows, at the rink, at Cafe 26 downtown, in this godforsaken broken industry, wherever.

-one of the more important personal decisions I made in the last few years was to completely quit reading books by white men. I decided this early last year, I think just after the inauguration, and it's been a really liberating decision & I have read so much really good shit since then. I don't need to cite any single reason for it because there are so many reasons istg. At first I told myself it would just be for a year, or just til the end of this administration, but I get more and more sure that I'm done for good. Beyond books, I am enjoying local hiphop, punk and metal shows, I eat from Haymarket when I can, and generally I want to use the opportunity of this thriving city to root myself in things that are close and meaningful. I've been to a few big shows this year, often with friends, but I've had a better time at the small ones.

-really good books I have read lately include
The Drowning Girl, Caitlin Kiernan
A Taste Of Honey, Kai Ashante Wilson
Ninefox Gambit, Yoon Ha Lee
Rubik, Elizabeth Tan
Binti, Nnedi Okorafor
Occupy Me, Tricia Sullivan

-there was 1 (one) good TV show ever made and it was sense8 and it's over now :(

-Infinity War was so bad it drove me to ragequit MCU for good. The domestic violence apologism was nastily triggering for me and I am just fucking done. I don't have to put up with this shit.

-Spent Christmas right here in Somerville at [personal profile] silverandblue's place with [personal profile] elaineofshalott, a surprise [personal profile] seascribe, and others. We played the Orgeon Trail board game, which is a terribly made collaborative game about how HARD settler colonial violence is but we had a ton of fun.

-what else? I was in London right after thanksgiving, and stole a couple of days to go up to Leeds & Manchester as well, so I managed to see my siblings, auntie, plus Jessca, Fly & Alex and their various spouses, pets, small humans etc, and the city. I strayed by various old haunts and homes; Ealing Common at night, the basement of Watkins bookshop, where I told the cashier it had been years and he said "We're still here" as if it were a pleasant challenge. Spent aaaall the money at Gekko bc that is my literal #brand.

-basically I am on ALL of my bullshit these last 2 years and don't you forget it. except for cryptic mood blogging, I have missed that.
thene: Naomi Hunter is very suspicious. (naomi)
(I'm doing the #500Words challenge (<---I v much recommend) & figured I'd use the occasion to wax coherent on a few Issues etc. A lot of them will be on tax & economics bc I am tired of seeing the left concede arguments on tax and economics to innumerate blow-hards peddling just-so stories. You can pound the shit out of these people on economic issues. Call this the Stop The Left Being Scared of Math tour.)

You need to get health insurance. It's mandated now but you would need it even without the mandate; eventually, you're gonna need to go to the doctor. You are already paying for Medicare and Medicaid coverage as well. None of this stuff is optional.

One of the folks whose tax returns I do every year is a self-employed person who has an ACA plan. He is caught in the infinite loop in the tax code; his ACA premiums are linked to his income, which due to the Self Employed Health Insurance Deduction, is dependent on his health insurance premiums.

He recently acquired a new stream of income. It's probably going to lift him out of the range where he can claim ACA subsidies. I've run him a back of envelope estimate of how much extra tax he needs to pay on the new income. Due to losing that subsidy, he has to consider not only additional income tax, but also paying a larger health insurance premium. Not only that, but because it's tough to adjust an ACA plan mid-year, he will remit this extra insurance payment directly to the IRS. The effective tax rate on his new income is very high, and you cannot split the part of it that's due to taxation off from the part of it that's due to health insurance - they're literally the same thing.

There's a similar steep curve for a Medicaid claimant that's just had an income boost; they might be suddenly thrust onto the private market, either via a new employer or onto an ACA plan. A portion of their new income goes to covering this, because it has to. Like EITC, at present both Medicaid and the ACA subsidies are acting as negative taxes on poor-to-mid income people whose employers don't cover their healthcare. There's a steep curve if you rise out of the range where these negative taxes can be used to pull down the tax rate you pay. It's still not true that the poor don't pay taxes - they pay more state and local taxes than the rich in nearly all states and because most of them work, they pay a much higher rate of payroll taxes than most people on six-figure incomes do. And none of this is optional. It's mandated, and the bill would come due either way.

When someone talks about pulling health insurance from poor people or sick people, what they're describing is a massive tax rise applied specifically to poor people and sick people. I think the GOP are freaking out about the ACA right now because they know this, and are hoping that you haven't figured it out yet.
thene: The Joy is facepalming at you. (facepalm)
[let me ease into my muttering.]

I passed my second securities exam two weeks ago, the one that matters, with an obscene score, though as i've seen people point out online all TRULY legit professional exams are straight up pass/fail in order to nerf score wankery (and people further point out that high scorers can be shittier practitioners because we're all people who over-study before getting our hands dirty. As a gullible credidentialist idiot I'm now wondering if I will ever try studying for a CFA or CFP). The gap between elation and drop was sharper than I expected. Super glad I've freed up brainspace and evening time now I'm done studying, though I can't concentrate on ANYTHING. I'm still working about 57hrs/week (three 9-5s, three 9-8s), but only for another 4-5 weeks, after which I will be bitter and unfulfilled because I REALLY LIKE SOLVING DIFFICULT TAX PROBLEMS. I get a new doozy every week. Every shift. this week ALONE i've had L-visa bullshit, a MONSTROUSLY screwed up built in passive loss, and I had to teach myself how to deal with cancelled debt in rental businesses LOOK AT ME I get so geared up that on the quiet nights, I stretch and dance on the platform of Mass Ave station while I wait for the train back home. i am sure it helps that I accidentally (really) get paid more for 14hrs/week of this stuff than I ever got paid from holding down two jobs in ATL. (The accident involved the white man who got hired after I did asking for a truly grotesque hourly rate, which boss then decided he ought to pay to both of us because I am way more qualified than the white man, albeit riddled with continuity issues due to working mostly in short evening shifts. You see how it is. Boss is very sweet but not too organised and he is resistant to my attempts to change that).

so what the super exam bullshit gets me, in the immediate future, is more of the festering dramapit job that is totally unfulfilling to do, but which I can't immediately ragequit with any class. god, I'm spoilt. I am the last humanities grad left to land a finance job, and low tier scut finance pay is still more than I'd ever be worth anywhere else. I guess I ragequit in a year or so, either for a classier version of the same thing or for some other type of rentier middleman bullshit. i do filthy, nasty things no human being should have to do, getting paid due to legislative fictions, and the best thing this year might be that night job has also got me dabbling at bookkeeping; a nice decent job that will not be first against the wall when the revolution comes.

[and if I start with words in the reclaimed time gaps, I hope it leads to more than this. I wrote most of this before the weekend, which was lovely and restful and the only one of its kind for another month, but as M keeps reminding me, this is my lifestyle choice. I am slotting things away in tetris time, people shaped holes in the grid. Padding art and springtime on the edges of it all.]
thene: The Joy is facepalming at you. (facepalm)
the two jobs thing leaves me buttonmashing at my gummed up brain. sleep? sugar? caffeine? exercise? music? sex? joy? eventually i will learn that nothing i can put in my body or mind will cure a problem caused by excess.

and for the first time, I don't need to do this. The money is nice, covers all winter bills and a few house repairs, but, ffs, I am getting more from this 15hr/week tax gig than I used to make from the two gigs I jugged in GA both added together. I am not used to passing on money and it's not even THAT, I'm not used to passing on good work. I hate how bad I am at the day job. I have no appetite for the work, and I just get desperate to do something I'm meaningfully good at. I still believe there's a place where it will all come together. I hope I can get my securities license by the end of the month, though employer has to jump through another hoop or two. I want it off my back, plus it would let me think more meaningfully about what I'll do next.

other stuff-
-humans? i love all of the humans. I had this horrifying drop early last summer when several close friends moved away/left for long, long trips and certain other friends got too busy for months. in total this was all of my close local friends. i had to meet other humans, it was scary, but was good because they are good brave humans.
-puppies. always surrounded by puppies. (We are plus one dog and minus one cat; Cooper took a downturn early last summer and a worse downturn close to Christmas).
-skating weekly is good for me but I'm not going to figure out how to get much form back unless I take lessons again, which I don't want to do until I've passed my securities exam
-full of books; currently carting around the third Wicked And The Divine trade, Tricia Sullivan's new book, plus my textbook, and I'm reading Noise by Jacques Attali a chapter at a time, and Generation Of Swine a snatch here and there, and I want to read more poetry, and the 'to read' pile will soon teeter over. (i just counted 19 things in it, including three half-reads, but not including the two in my handbag)
-one day, I will have my shit together enough to finish writing this overwrought threeway.
-suppose I tried to make more space for theatre and prophecy (linked arts there)
-suppose i figured out how to fix all the things that are wrong with my house
-i have a niece as of december and I want to visit her, but when???

i am bad at this one life thing.
thene: Fang, Vanille and the space between them. (awakened)
stumbling to a halt on McGrath Highway, looking behind. A long way behind. Saw something funny enough to let go of. (gave up on vindication a long time ago).

I want to kick this off again because I miss spilling about my weird world, I miss that a lot. I didn't mean to walk away from it for so long, although you all know what happened since the last time I updated; nothing.

(yes, I missed writing whichever the hell words i wanted to, comprehension bedamned).
thene: The Joy is facepalming at you. (facepalm)
a) I'm in San Francisco because job
b) everyone else is finally done with our boss's bullshit and we are talking about collectivising (not that the Americans would dare to think of it that way). It's funny because recessionary learned helplessness has had me rolling with so much bullshit, but as of Wednesday both the Cyborg and the Bond Girl are terminally done with this shit and personally insulted and are needing to shake shit up, and that is two of the four people who matter, and boss just kinda fakeout not-really fired one of the other two. We're getting together to talk about it on Monday, and all I want to do is lay down some tools we have available collectively.

I am holed up in the allegedly worst part of San Francisco, in a beautiful converted office lot, stretching my legs and my fuckwith nonce, letting other people use the word 'mutiny' (idk is this the american libertarian way of dealing with colllectivising) and if I had to explain San Francisco, I would say it was like Barcelona except you would not want to live here. Visiting is cool though. Everything runs off of someone else's money, it's fantastic. I have been drunk on someone else's corporate dime every night this week. We're going to a Bonobo set tomorrow night, which will be the first time I've paid for anything after lunch. The Pure Largesse Lifestyle is real, and it is here, and it's tax-deductible to someone, somewhere, if only at 50%.

Every woman I work with except Spike has been subject to creepiness, harassment or unwanted touching this week; in my case, the guy whose hands I physically removed from my body on Tuesday was the Director of Something Important at Important Company, and i get to spend 5 exciting seconds mulling over this before rejecting his linkedin request because apparently this is the world I temporarily live in for as long as I force myself to feign giving a flying shit. This is the WORST time of year to fuck with me because I am literally fending off better paying job offers or letting them go to voicemail. The problem with the future is that it gradually becomes the present and that is the line where the value of discounted future bullshit reaches zero.

So if we don't have a workable asshole-curbing rig by the end of Monday, I may have a whole other career in a week or two; who knows.
thene: Happy Ponyo looking up from the seabed (Default)
Idk it seems too permanent. Can one un-resolve later if you realise you're full of shit? I am always full of shit. doubtless due to an aversion to making decisions I thrive on the liminal. The great thing about working tax prep is the year doesn't end until April. I like telling people that the English traditional New Year is March 25th (Lady Day). I read something a long time ago (I think on the old Freyasdottir page, which I can't even turn up on the Wayback Machine any more) about year-cycles phasing in gradually; you do the math.

I feel like I spent 2014 not so much treading water as swimming sluggishly in circles - always trying to drag myself to the next anchor point. I don't even know what I did last year. I didn't write worth shit (though I did get most of the way through what will be the longest thing I've ever written, ~50k), I didn't get anywhere new professionally (but I was working 3 jobs until April, and I did do a ton of stuff I'd never done before. Including the part where I made $100 in an hour freelance), I didn't go anywhere new or meet anyone knew (though I got to know Kip much better and now she's marrying my brother). We made more than we ever have and I haven't saved a dime. Something always came up - the house, my grotesque capital gains taxes, the winter bills I had to catch up on, Fly's trip here, the car, the dog, our trip to London, a mess over our real estate taxes, my laptop dying... Things always will come up. Not much to do about it except trying to make more money. Did I mention A CHIMNEY BRICK FELL THROUGH THE CEILING OF THE GUEST ROOM <--why I'm getting a second job

ugh I will probably enjoy having a tax job in a general wellbeing sense but a) I don't want to look at my resume and try to think of how to make my Mr Slime experiences sound appealing, b) I can't look at my resume because my laptop is dead and I am typing this entry on this stupid chromebook that my wrists hate. I don't even have to try that hard, because cuddlejob would take me back in a heartbeat, but I want to at least try getting paid more if I have to have that shitty a commute on a Saturday.

I got my skates sharpened last week. Boston schools go back this week, and tomorrow is the only day next week it'll be above freezing, so some lunchtime exercise will happen.


If I have told you to come visit me, please be assured that the guest room is not actually dangerous. Really, when you see how it's laid out you'll understand. The brick incident was right in the corner by the door. And we're going to get the chimney levelled off asap. No really just come visit me please.
thene: The Joy is facepalming at you. (facepalm)
My netbook had its final vertical-line meltdown a week ago Friday; not terribly surprising given that it was held together with duct tape and ice-lolly sticks and was wont to make this terrific whining noise when I turned it on, and had almost died in Logan Airport in October and had a few more fakeouts since, none of which I took terribly seriously. So not a surprise, just a massive annoyance not least as I hate buying things, especially complicated things. I finally bought a new one online earlier today; I'm typing this entry on K's chromebook, which she kindly lent me to shop on & generally appropriate until it arrived. The untethered life has its uses; have been reading books, cleaning shit, throwing cards at writing problems, sleeping more than usual. We spent a lot of today fixing the house - I meant to write after I came upstairs to bed but it's not happened, ugh. (I am p sure I'll be able to resurrect my ywriter backups, and I hadn't lost a ton of material anyway, entirely due to the 12 days pre-meltdown being completely useless. By fortunate accident I left most of the non-posted stuff I was doing on a USB stick in London in late October, and there's jack-all else to lose.)

Every Christmas I promise to do Christmas next year because Christmas is nice, but then December rolls around and it's too dark and too much effort. I spent the 21st lying in bed feeling this quiet gladness to be done sliding down again; all one can ask for, and no one celebrates that with me except for my dog. On Christmas, we all went to visit C because his household had piled out of town, and after food and a couple of games of Tragedy Looper we then kidnapped him and brought him back here. He is still here in spite of the fact that we have done nothing except mooch around and clean things around him.

I am happy that we achieved a lot with the house yesterday & today - built things, unpacked things, cleaned things, plus discovered two exciting problems, one of which is urgent and expensive. :) I finished my CPE at work on Wednesday after everyone had left except Tidy, so I'm all set to pick up a second job to help us cover this shit ugh. The fun intrusion here is that I'm getting paid to go to California a week on Friday, a fact so baffling it keeps slipping out of mind. I have never hitherto been west of Hunstville, Alabama, and no one has ever paid me to go anywhere further than Framingham. I gave myself 4 free days at the end of the trip, which I hope to fill with strangeness and adventure, or at least blood and blisters.
thene: Frank at the end of TTS, with his facemask open. (frank)

^^^in headlines like this, 'undocumented immigrants' often means 'all immigrants'; in this example, it definitely means me. This is how the Good Immigrant Bad Immigrant game works.

I signed up for an ACA plan in the last enrolment period back in spring. I was told that even though I was not applying for any subsidies I had to wait, because the shitty website couldn't verify that I was a Good Immigrant. So did my husband, because he's married to an immigrant. I got a letter in the mail requesting more documentation, which I submitted; we never heard anything back.

Saying that some people cannot legally buy a thing creates an opportunity for gatekeeping. The gatekeeping will be used to keep even more people out, because patriotism!!! It's most obvious with jobs; where some people are illegal workers (please pause to try to imagine how we came up with the idea of illegal work; it is the most lolwat thing ever), no one has any labour rights. The gates can be slammed at any time.

The US tax code is lurking around in an insidious fashion. Since Nixon (at least), the tax code has been used as the US's benefits system. The ACA is only the latest benefits system to be bolted to the tax code even though it has no business belonging there. The continual tension here is that undocumented immigrants pay taxes. (I love reminding people of this). If people you don't want are paying taxes and the tax system is also the benefits system, you have to create specific subsystems that render those unwanted people ineligible for the benefits part of the tax system. There has to be a gate or something awful might happen, like people being able to access healthcare when they get sick.

The whole disaster of public health in America is due to people deciding that some people don't deserve to access medical care. I'm apparently one of them. The cherry on the cake is that this whole beautiful thing gets framed as 'how dare immigrants come here to receive the glorious benefits of this health system' when in reality, this shit sucks compared to what you get where we came from. In every country where any of us came from. (Almost). We have all made our compromises, and having to deal with the shit factory that is US healthcare delivery is a massive sacrifice we've all made. We could have had universal care for life but instead we're here for some godawful reason.

What you're really all scared of is that we'll start telling everyone that.


Nov. 20th, 2014 11:13 pm
thene: PROTIP do not fuck with Minette (minette)
dear god I left for London over a month ago? and got back nearly 3 weeks ago? It's been one of those rare phases when people haven't been burning me out; I've not had enough time with anyone, not least as there are so damn many human beings I need to do human being things with. And then write. I'm past the teethgritting and into the part where the fangs sink in, finding new soft points in the underbelly to bleed words out of. Few hundred words here and there, backwards from the point where it all falls apart.

you should know: if I told you to come stay in my spare room for a while, come stay in my spare room for a while. Just tell me when you want it before too many prime chunks of next year are claimed. We've had six houseguests so far since we moved here in March, may be up to 7 by end of the year. Gull's in and out over the next few weeks (currently off down the coast, but she'll be back again Saturday), and we've been spending evenings pootling around the kitchen and sharing exciting stories about living with hoarders. Profoundly unexciting stories about trying to get on with life while there is always stuff in the way and everything is full of weevils.

Really makes me realise how much I am loving this absurd amount of space that I can let people I like do whatever with. It's not that it's worth remembering the weevils (or any of the other things I just deleted), just that it's amazing what you can do without weevils so I may as well do it. One of the prime functions of weevils is preventing anyone from sharing anything with you.

Next thursday, we are having the Happy Genocide Day party at Ting's house because Ting is allergic to my house. Gull is making frybread and Choctaw hunter's stew, and pumpkin pie because why not. Ting is making Chinese hotpot. I am making people uncomfortable.
thene: Frank at the end of TTS, with his facemask open. (frank)
^alanis understands

[I wrote this yesterday and forgot to hit post, obv]

I just spent another weekend in and around New York; I love being able to do this, make yesterday so far, far away. Lunch-ish on Long Island with [ profile] gullapip talking about the strange things that we have let pass for normal. (Fly once explained that I am from Gormenghast, and I am not looking back).

I need the metropolitan fix; endlessness afoot, the feeling of being inessential to the living, ancient creature whose guts you're burrowing into. Boston is still the same story; comfort and unscratched itches. Never draws blood. (was it really only yesterday that I fell down the stairs on the Long Island railroad? Friday seems more respectably faraway; being in the wrong place in the rain at almost midnight, and it's hilarious being an adult who owns a goddamn smartphone and therefore has options more expensive than hitching two miles up the highway).

Living on ice, waiting on promises (including from the government department that has not yet awarded the contract it said it was going to award over a month ago, no surprises there). I've studied enough that I feel like I can read and write again, while still having gained nothing from it. I need to get in my 24 CPE credits by the end of the year to stay enrolled as an EA, so hi, back to shopping around for the cheapest and shittiest CPE I can find because this is what CPE requirements encourage people to do. (The Bond Girl gave me a flyer for a multi-day CPE event devoted to hedge fund tax strategy. It was so beautiful - everything I have ever wanted, for a mere $1800. Just think, this exists because there are jobs where you can expense such things and get paid to go to them. Thus we fly apart between scrapings and largesse, leaving a void in the middle.)

I'll be in London in less than two weeks; M keeps asking what I want to do while we're there and I just kind of go 'um' because all I can think of is stones, rain and people, earth and the river and people, and a little rest and distance.
thene: Frank at the end of TTS, with his facemask open. (frank)
Zombie HQ is being redecorated this weekend. The socialists across the landing finally moved into the wheelchair accessible location of their dreams (which is in the building next door to Zombie HQ, where they will have to buy their own goddamn toilet paper), and we have therefore spilled over into their old office. No more clown car, at least for the next three weeks. Their place is swisher, too, with hardwood floors and a sink. Yesterday morning everyone was lugging their furniture out of the way of the painter and I just grabbed my laptop and curled up on an armchair next to the brickwall with the disused fireplace because oh my fuck I had work to do (am arguing with self about whether to work through the weekend but ugh I hate working and not being paid). The painter is a very gay ex-Calvin Klein underwear model from NYC; I don't know where the fuck does my boss finds all these people. I sat in my armchair and grumbled at him about feminism and tried to help him find a utility sink.

In the afternoon, I was being paid and, mostly, not working; we went out to our boss's lakeside pad while the painters got to work on Zombie HQ. You know how I feel about the twee rural idylls of the elite; that country-seat bullshit was the basis of the most tangible expression of my parents' crazy, but selling up their crazy is the only reason I ever got my head above water, so. We spent almost the whole time outside, on the deck or down by the lake; The Diva spent a while asleep in a hammock. We told a lot of stories, including filling all the n00bs in on how incredibly fucked up everything was until roughly last October. I chilled with The Yogi and The Diva doing some quality Immigrant Wives Club bitching about our dispersed lives, the Department of Homeland Security, and the fact that Americans don't get time off work. The Pugilist explained how our boss found him; he was 15 years old and stumbled into a boxing club when he got lost trying to buy a burrito, at at some point became boss's personal trainer. Hey, I am only here because The Bond Girl was really hung over when we first met.

I don't remember why it came up, but My Friend dropped that Wolfie used to bring guns to work.

I'm not a stranger to workplace guns - I wrote a couple of years ago about D.M. just laying a handgun on her desk, like you do; but that was in fucking Marietta and it's just a little bit odd in Massachusetts and even more odd if you are, well, Wolfie. Most clean cut human being on earth. Not even American. Useless lying flake but way good at passing for sane; and there is My Friend (they were roommates when this began) telling us that Wolfie used to bring a gun to work 'to know what it felt like' ahahahaa oh my god that's hilarious. He used to be custodian of a lot of random office supplies, and sometimes The DJ found guns in his desk drawers when he went rummaging for tacks or post-it notes. Wow.

I rode back that night with My Friend and The DJ, who worked more closely with Wolfie than most of the rest of us; he said that the whole gun thing was really dark and sexual; some secretive phallic powertrip between a completely useless superior and an underrated underling that hung on the fact that virtually no one else knew that there were guns, and he wondered if Wolfie seriously wanted to bone him. (Which I don't believe, for one simple reason; he's American. It is a premise of all nationhood that men of other nationalities cannot really be heterosexual men, and barely even qualify as masculine; masculinity is one of the punchlines to the huge joke that is nationality. Yank speculations about the sexuality of foreigners are always really fucking weird.)


Aug. 7th, 2014 08:41 pm
thene: The Joy is facepalming at you. (facepalm)
amongst many other things, i am an art.

A few months back (it was freezing fucking cold, is all I remember, so it could have been any time through middle of April) I passed a girl with a mic on Winter Street who was asking strangers about time travel because apparently the City of Boston had paid her to do this. I stopped and unloaded all the shit in my head about the future, technological determinism and the Pill and exactly how we are going to fuck everything up next. The past couple of weeks, she's been back in the alleyway painting murals and setting up her sound installation and she told me that yeah, my voice is going to be in it a couple of times. I HUGGED HER IN GREAT AGITATION. I walk past this shit on my way to work every damn day. Maximal public embarrassment next few months oh god I can't wait. I added her on twitter and everything.

I'm busy applying for a federal contract that would, if we get it, maybe treble the revenue of Zombies, Inc; none of us have done anything remotely like this before but if you have something big, wordy and governmenty to do damn right you throw it at me. Stressed to hell and nothing has ever been so easy and it can only get easier. Hang on for three more weeks, and it gets easier.

Two weeks ago, My Friend was hanging his head in his hands and declaring that it was 'like playing poker from a short stack for two years'; I would like him to be able to sleep again soon. This month's buzzword, which I caught shortly afterwards, is full-stack startup and it works in the sense of clambering up the ladder and seeking progressively more rent off of higher and higher rungs of it.

I need to sleep, because tomorrow morning I have to go drop off some gift taxes for Mr Slime. He really hates gift taxes so I told him I'd do it for $100 a pop and he said yes? This took me under an hour. It is so almost easy that I am figuring the next step down will be total societal meltdown because my life has to cycle down sometime (law of the desert) and given how much else is going right I am not seeing any other way.

Worse than not writing; I'm not finishing stuff. Up to my tits in shit AUs and trying to just not worry about the fact I have nothing remotely likely to ever see daylight; just let it roll, because eventually something will surface in monstrous fashion and I should at least feed it up first. And then I went back to frags, shitpoetry and 750words logs from years ago and there's things there I needed to say? Things where I am trying to get to grips with what is happening around me? Daylight doesn't have to matter; the flow is worth it.
thene: "'The spirit is a garden,' said he." Photograph from (snowdrops of gratuitous self-reference)
Zombies, Inc continues to escalate into hybrid sitcom genres; most recently, a) boss randomly offered a job to a kid who teaches boxing & MMA at his gym. This kid (henceforth The Pugilist) appears to be really fucking good at said job, so all's good. b) boss's previous company just relocated to the other side of our block. We ran into them in a nearby bar and everything. The Bond Girl feared it would be awkward & force her to switch $tarbuck$e$ but it's really not, they're cool people, it's all good.


So yesterday someone we know there called My Friend because they were watching The Pugilist and my boss boxing on the roof. This has been happening at 5pm every night for about a week, because idk what is the point of being a rich old white man with a startup if you can't hire your own personal trainer for shits and giggles.

The Cyborg is, in the middle of this, trying to draft a list of corporate cultural principles to post on the wall (...I know. Dude, I love you but you are an actual machine), and we failed to persuade him to c/p rules of Fight Club. And My Friend hung his head in his hands and asked me to name anything, anything, that had happened here that was more bizarre than boss's former employees calling us about Rooftop Fight Club and I came up blank.

Comings and goings; Wolfie quit and without malice we have all been noting how tremendously much more functional the whole show is without him; Curly picked the wrong hill to die on and duly did so, which really depressed all but one of us; in addition to The Pugilist, we are also joined by Tiny Zombie, Tidy Zombie, and the Belle.

Drunk on Friday afternoon three weeks ago, I looked around and decided that if I did write real character portraits of the people I work with the tone would be a little like A Group That Almost Became Historic and it will probably go up in flames about as fast. I'm studying for Series 7, which may even be worthwhile. There is too much other shit I need to not let drop off the map, and am failing, which just makes me look back and go wtf how did I ever SURVIVE in the past much less DO ANYTHING; everything keeps getting easier, just a little bit easier every time something changes.

I miss being able to write. Trying.

I've almost finished Final Fantasy XIII-3, which is all mood and sidequests and no plot and it still manages to get the huge joke better than XIII-2 did. Fun as hell, and I also really like Lightning's character voice in it; it's surer than it was in the base game, even. I've done everything except finished it; stopped to [not] write for a while.

This is not what I meant to not write tonight, but hey.
thene: "'The spirit is a garden,' said he." Photograph from (snowdrops of gratuitous self-reference)
I spent tonight watching opera with Folksy, because it was free and The Diva was doing her thing. She is so good and so beautiful. I think her facial expressions alone may make her very famous one day. I still wish I was better at being friends with Folksy, but I haven't found a way to broach any intimacy. The catch is, he is eerily like [personal profile] aihal, in appearance and mannerisms (but in other ways very much not), so I think my brain just doesn't get that we're not actually friends and can only talk about easy things. Like the everyday terror of being almost married to an opera singer.

And on my way home tonight I found my first real holy fuck what bit of nighttime open ground in this town; it's Cambridge Common Park and it fucking knows it, goddamn. It's also a very long way off my usual beat and finding excuses to visit it will be hard.

This week, wow. Almost every part of this week occurred on Tuesday, between me fucking with words and religion because I'm listless and it's something to do. I got the go-ahead to start studying for the Series 7 exam, although I haven't actually done so yet - need to dig up some free study guides online this weekend. More peculiarly, I am the only person who gets to do this. Because The Cyborg finally fucked up in about the most beautiful way you can when you're 23 years old and completely perfect; he got drunk with our boss and told him that his girlfriend wanted him to move to NYC next year. Kids. Do not have plans. Ever. Especially do not tell your employers what your plans are.

There was other stuff on Tuesday. Huge stacks of money. First ever Zombie lawsuit. Nothing that matters. The Compliance Lady who came in to talk to us about how to become the thing that we thought we were setting out to replace is also an EA, which was cool because no one understands my batshit skillset any more (least of all me) so I hope it was legitimising to everyone involved (especially me).

And I care while I'm being paid to care and then I'm trying to fit the rest around it. I have tulips and an exchange fic and a deck next to my bed, almost human thene things. I am trying, and I should sleep.
thene: Happy Ponyo looking up from the seabed (Default)
of course now I do have time to blog, I'm not feeling it.

highlights reel:
-the part where I yelled at Mr Slime and this accidentally caused him to subsequently treat me in an almost human fashion and I thus unfortunately wussed out of telling him to go fuck himself when my contract wound up last week. He offered to pay me to do more gift tax returns for him and I have developed this really unfortunate fascination with gift taxes and I am a complete sucker and this is why (see two posts down) Ting described this guy as a 'glory hole'.
-the part where I went to NYC to see Jessca & Kate (who were there for a con) and got my metropolitan fix on and bought a glorious new handbag which is GREEN, at Kate's instigation. I did start typing a blog post while I was there but all it says is that walking in Manhattan is always the right answer.
-I live in the ugliest house in Somerville and there is a leak in the kitchen roof and I am really, really happy and so is my dog. There were unexpected flowers in the front garden; daffodils already dying, tulips just come into bloom and a sempervivium. My commute is now under 25 minutes, and we have a guest room, a washer and a dryer, and a tiny backyard for doge to doge in. Huge quality of life upgrades here.
-in order to fulfil extravagant plans, my boss at Zombies, Inc now wants me and The Cyborg to get some kind of securities license; he says he's not yet sure which out of serieses 7, 79 or 82. Any of these is some serious 'never be unemployed or work a shit job ever again' stuff. And I never intended to get into finance and have only done so completely by accident, and this describes at least 90% of my life (the parts that actually work, at least).

things I would actually like to blog about but probably won't:
-the way employment is, lately, being sold to me not as a way for me to make money but as a way for me to have superficial contact with people who have money, as if, should I talk to enough moneycelebs or do enough of their slimy tax returns, somehow my standing in life will eventually improve by sheer osmosis even as the work itself keeps me as far away from said money as possible. I am supposed to be impressed. I can't get over the way that people who would swear up and down that humans are perfectly rational economic actors completely abandon this principle when it comes to employing other humans. Did I mention what a huge gift the recession was to abusers of every variety. <--I'm having trouble articulating how this is related but it so is.
-everything I try to write about loving Zombies, Inc sounds silly. It is; I still get detached and inwardly sneering when anyone (ie. my boss) tries claiming there is anything special about it. There's this alchemy of closeness and knowhow, but that has everything to do with being alive and nothing to do with making money. Ps I still kinda hate my job but I am getting way better at it lately, probably by accident.

I would also like to play FFXIII-3 :(

re. FFEX

Apr. 4th, 2014 07:33 pm
thene: Happy Ponyo looking up from the seabed (Default)
hello world,

I signed up at the next-to-last minute (like, literally 6.58pm tonight) and three of my prompts were recycled and the fourth was me blanking and grabbing a thing that I liked. if you need to ask me what the hell I am smoking, feel free to do so via this post.


Apr. 2nd, 2014 09:03 pm
thene: Happy Ponyo looking up from the seabed (Default)
me: skeezy boss asked me if i could do some gift tax returns for him after the deadline and i said 'maybe' instead of 'no'. he has figured out he can bribe me by giving me delicious gift tax returns to do.
and yes, it will be v nice to have friends again!
Ekaterine: ...why do you enjoy those?
and what is WRONG with you? :/
you're already burning out
me: yeah. i need to be a mature individual and tell him to go fuck himself
i am just still in that mentality of not saying no to work even if it is shit work
Ekaterine:'re crazy
You need to get out of crazy job mentality, really
me: and this work is not ENTIRELY shit? but it is only WORK, i am confident i could find similarly interesting work without the skeezeball attached to it
Ekaterine: yes, that
and also, if you need sleep and hanging out with people and ...eating that isn't refueling, you should say no to extra work
me: i am like, not sure i am allowed to choose to not be employed by terrible people if those people are relatively polite and are willing to give me gift tax returns
Ekaterine: ...yes you're allowed, you crazy lady
me: eh, after deadline a little bit of here-and-there wouldn't ruin my life much. my getout, however, is that i need to start studying for a series 7 license
so i can feign 'nope busy'
Ekaterine: :/
lady, you don't need to feign busy
you just need to be "hey, I have a life"
or "I don't have time"
and you don't need to clarify to anyone else that it's "I don't have time because I want to go home and masturbate for 4 hours and then write smut"
me: :)
you know me
Ekaterine: I do
that's something I do too :/
I don't have time to do translations for you because I'd rather masturbate for 4 hours
me: :)
Ekaterine: that's something I need to put on a t-shirt and have someone else wear it
me: i thought that is what twitter is for
Ekaterine: ...haha
then someone else needs to twit it, not me :P
I don't need people coming to me and being "wait, you said you were busy? are you really busy or are you gonna be jilling?"
me: ting :)
Ekaterine: thank you for tweeting that
i missed literal years of work, though
being unemployed or underemployed or stuck in immigration
Ekaterine: I know that's why you have ISSUES
but seriously, GET OVER THEM
I can sit here and repeat ad nauseum: "just because people are offering you money for your time doesn't mean you need to accept that offer"
it's like...telling an ugly duckling "look, you don't need to have sex with everyone who is willing to, okay? You have CHOICES now."
me: do i? the problem is, accepting the work does, in itself, generate further CHOICES
Ekaterine: continue the possibly soggy metaphor, you're not a nympho
you don't need to have endless sex options
you have a dedicated sex option and whereas it might not always stroke the spot, it's still worth not having random sex with a bunch of strangers in search of the elusive worldshattering O
Ekaterine: ...the STDs aren't worth it
careful now, you're starting to sound like a poly nympho
Ekaterine: also, seriously, the amount of bad, soggy, grunting, bad body odor, whambamnothankyouma'am sex you need to go through -- blagh
I'll take the trusted and true option over that
me: i see, i see
Ekaterine: but seriously. You're not starving in the streets. You know you'd rather have time to go to ESB with me rather than do gift taxes for slimeboss
me: okay that is true
just please get rich enough to give someone over $14000 so i can have gift tax returns pls pls
Ekaterine: blink
see, you could give ME that money and I could give it back to you
and that way you could do it TWICE
:) problem solved, amirite?
me: omg
thene: PROTIP do not fuck with Minette (minette)
So, there's this guy. We'll call him Asshole.

Asshole worked for a well-known private equity firm. In addition to the wages he received for working there, he was also a partner in two of the firm's investment partnerships, and received pass-through income from these partnerships (more on this later). Asshole quit his job last summer and started an MBA course.

Asshole earns too much to qualify for any of the education tax credits; those credits are awarded to low or middle-income people who put themselves, or their children, through education programs in order to have better lives in the future, and therefore they phase out at something like $100,000 of income /too lazy to look it up. However, Asshole is undeterred. He's going to deduct all his MBA tuition as an unreimbursed employee expense.

Is this legal? Well, that depends. This is what the code says you can deduct:

If the education--

(1) Maintains or improves skills required by the individual in his employment or other trade or business, or

(2) Meets the express requirements of the individual's employer, or the requirements of applicable law or regulations, imposed as a condition to the retention by the individual of an established employment relationship, status, or rate of compensation.

There's certainly types of education that qualify. A few days ago, I deducted a young City of Boston teacher's tuition as an employee expense because it was the best option available to her and her employer (the school system) requires that she get a Master's degree within 5 years in order to keep her job. But MBAs? This has been the subject of multiple court cases, and a lot depends on circumstance, such as whether or not you can prove you were established in a trade or business before quitting your job to do an MBA.

So Asshole presents Mr Slime with a 1098-T that states the total amount he paid to Swank Business School. Foolishly, he also hands over his student account transcript and I notice that almost everything on it is not tuition - no, Asshole, you cannot deduct your health insurance as an employee expense just because you paid it via the school, much less your fucking cable bill what the hell. So I let him deduct the part that was actually tuition paid in 2013 and move on to his partnership income statements.

(Why do private equity funds and venture capital funds operate as partnerships? Because partnerships are not like corporations. With corporations, if you buy stock that costs an amount of money equal to 5% of the company's value, you own 5% of the company, and while there are different classes of stock and yours may not confer voting rights etc, you are gonna get your 5% share of the company's dividends. Partnerships, however, can be rigged however you want. Typically, the people who set up a PE or VC fund put down just slightly over $0.00 and are entitled to 20% of the fund's profits. This is why they are so good at wasting money on shitty things that fail - it's not their money, it's other people's money.)

Partnerships do not pay taxes. (Neither do most small corporations, termed S-Corps). Instead, they pass their income through to the partners, and each partner reports their allocated share of the partnership's profits on their own individual tax returns. The partnership income statements that Asshole turned in each contained a boilerplate statement that the partnership existed to passively make investments on behalf of its members, and that all of each fund's income was therefore investment income (taxed at a top rate of 20%) rather than ordinary income derived from work (taxed at a top rate of 39.6%). Such protestations have, recently, been the source of unending but unproductive wank as they are one of the major reasons that Mitt Romney pays less taxes than you. The PE fund is pretending it does...nothing! It does not manage companies, it does not provide any work in order to generate its income. It just sits back and money just magically happens, like. (Again, this can be completely legit - eg. real estate partnerships that collect rent while only occasionally having to lift a finger to repair something or find a new tenant, or partnerships that make long-term stock investments and don't do much trading).

You see how this applies to Asshole?

Yes, Asshole just made a deduction to his income of almost $20,000 of college tuition in order to 'Maintain or improve skills required by the individual in his employment' which his employers, and he, are simultaneously claiming is not even a real job.


Feb. 9th, 2014 04:07 pm
thene: "'The spirit is a garden,' said he." Photograph from (snowdrops of gratuitous self-reference)
It's Sunday, I clocked 70 hours last week, and I need to work. I took my pile of Mr Slime work out of my bag and I need to do it. But I want to breathe first ok.

We're buying the Ugly House. It's being inspected on Monday. K and me are spending all of our money on it because we were too feckless to get a mortgage approved initially (I have no credit score, but K and M did eventually get approved for a hundred grand - but not until after we put in our cash offer). I am cool with having close to no money left as we're very solvent and our costs of living after the move are going to be minuscule, and Zombies, Inc now appears to be actualfax profitable - so I can at least rely on continuing to take home $500 a week there, maybe more if shit really does get bigtime. In the meantime, I will be one of three owners of this weird, chintzy, far-larger-than-necessary house a few minutes walk from a station that's opening in about a year's time & another station that's allegedly opening in 2019, which will be shortly after K (who is paying for most of this house) finishes undergrad. The Ugly House's peculiar layout includes a bonus extra sitting room/bedroom downstairs, so we will be free to make people visit us.

You only need to be rich once; I still remember the start of the month my father died, when we had $7 left after paying the rent and had to spend $5 of it on gas to get home from taking our change to the bank. I was working two jobs, but M's job had shorted his pay by $200 and were shrugging their shoulders and telling us to wait another two weeks for them to rectify the error. That was three years and a couple of weeks ago. Just think, now I am going to have enough spare income to afford health insurance for the first time since moving to this country.

None of my three jobs provide health insurance. I have never had a job that offered health insurance. I have kind of a lot to say about stuff like this. Taxing Women offered much insight into the Ann Romneys of the world, and how the tax system enables them by providing them with tons of breaks for not working - untaxed family fringe benefits, unearned Social Security credits, being allowed to contribute to an IRA even on $0 of earned income. And as Daisy pointed out, the woman didn't even raise five houseplants; this is on my mind because I did my first Sch H middle of last week, for one of Mr Slime's clients. A Sch H is how you submit Social Security & Medicare payments for your household employees - maids and nannies and such. The client made $200k a year in a job prominent enough that when I googled her I found media interviews she'd done and she paid a nanny $9/hr to bring up her children, because raising children is such valuable work blah blah blah who cares just hide the immigrant woman who lives in your house and looks after your family and don't talk about how much she's worth to you. It's a secret between you, me, the IRS and anyone who wants to listen to me talk about you on the internet.

(After we move, I need to fill the Ugly House with houseplants. Just because.)

no seriously 1% tax returns reek of entitlement, I don't even (and $200k isn't even 1%). They also document some jawdropping stupidity and inability to handle money, hello actual 1% dude who lost $225,000 failing at flipping a house while living in it and therefore rendering the loss nondeductible, and oh i see you are also nursing a $200k capital loss carryover, I am never putting money anywhere near the financial institution you work for, I'm just saying. Mr Slime has been letting his clients deduct their fucking dry cleaning as an unreimbursed employee expense for years, and I had to break it to him that this is really explicitly not okay because the tax code says that the clothing & upkeep deduction is mostly for blue-collar workers: "It is not enough that you wear distinctive clothing. The clothing must be specifically required by your employer. Nor is it enough that you do not, in fact, wear your work clothes away from work. The clothing must not be suitable for taking the place of your regular clothing. Examples of workers who may be able to deduct the cost and upkeep of work clothes are: delivery workers, firefighters, health care workers, law enforcement officers, letter carriers, professional athletes, and transportation workers (air, rail, bus, etc.). Protective clothing: You can deduct the cost of protective clothing required in your work, such as safety shoes or boots, safety glasses, hard hats, and work gloves. Examples of workers who may be required to wear safety items are: carpenters, cement workers, chemical workers, electricians, fishing boat crew members, machinists, oil field workers, pipe fitters, steamfitters, and truck drivers."

I may be kvetching about this particularly hard because I am still embarrassingly bad at manipulating Lacerte, the 'high-end' program Mr Slime installed on my laptop (hint; it's a slowass POS compared to the one I use at Cuddlejob), and fucked up some income apportioning last week; and I am learning some real mormonism here (I decided that in the interests of accuracy I should stop referring to jawdropping but legal tax manoeuvres as 'voodoo'), some of which I want to write real posts about just in the interests of explaining to the world why they should cease to be legal as soon as possible. I should probably get on with the fucking job first, though.

Oh, and he says it's okay for me to communicate with clients by email, so long as I pretend to be some kind of...unspecified and unnecessary document assistant? and not imply I am actually doing their returns. What the everloving fuck. I'm more qualified than he is - he lists his fucking RTRP on his business card even though the IRS abolished the qualification and I am a freaking EA. Wherever I wind up working next year, I intend to ask whether my name & PTIN will be on my returns; anywhere that says no is getting a firm rejection and I will be telling them why. I think I can allow myself the staggering luxury of self-respect in my future employment decisions. Hope I really can tolerate Mr Slime for two more months. (ETA: while dithering over composing an appropriately misrepresentative email to one client, I have added the letters after my name to my gmail handle out of pure, passagg malice. I may be turning into Esq - who, incidentally, has been a COMPLETE flake this year, but that is another story that I don't have time to write down.)

I am STILL doing the alternate days of hate at Zombies, Inc; I feel great one day, totally cool with flinging all my social energy into a brick wall, enjoying the flow of things, then the next day I just can't even pick up the telephone. I keep trying to push myself a bit harder there regarding the things I find hard. My real problem lately is that I'm now on the same level positionwise as the Cyborg and I even have my own intern now, but The Cyborg is, like, a machine. He has become one with the data. I am struggling to stay ahead of his interns. I think he makes more than me, but not MUCH more, and it is completely unreasonable to pay me anything like what he makes because for the love of god I am pretty sure this company could make money if it consisted of only the Cyborg making the product and My Friend selling it and My Friend at least makes commission. I have never been not good at a job before, but as I try more and stupider things I should probably adjust to this feeling.

Hey, have another link about jobs getting shittier.