Thursday, July 30, 2009

punishment would be a deterrent.....

We have been having a discussion over on the GeezerGamer boards about DRM & anti-piracy devices. We also have gotten into a discussion about the general behavior of "the masses" on Xbox Live and Playstation Network (which you could extrapolate to the internet as a whole), but I'll save that for another post.

While in the discussions I have felt DRM and devices like it, are just part of the world we live in today, others have an opposite view that they are "paying" an extra price for being a good person who would not be inclined to steal or pirate material. I agree 100% with them, but I look at it from the business / company side of the equation, that business is just trying to "protect their own".

One of the other guys in the discussion mentioned enforcement, and he is completely correct with his thoughts and statement. At the end of the day, it is lack of enforcement of rules and laws which is making "good people pay for bad ones".

The are laws and rules for almost everything we do, but it seems that for some, those rules are silly, so not really meant for them. A good example is when the record industry does prosecute someone for piracy. There is a section of our society that looks at it and thinks those rules are unfair, and that the punishment is unjust. They might be right, but those are the rules in place now. Don't like them, try to change them.

But sometimes I can see the "bad guys" point and say, why can't I ignore the rules. Others do and are not punished. Just look at the Secretary of the Treasury who is in charge of the IRS. He did not pay his taxes in an honest or timely fashion, and he ends up getting rewarded at the end of the day with a Cabinet post. I'm not saying he should have gone to jail, but being disqualified from that particular job would have said, "your actions have caused you not to be able to get this position". Instead it was just swept away.

I have 300+ clients who don't think the tax code is fair, but they, and I, don't go around breaking the law. If we did, a punishment could be served.

So at the end of the day, I could blanket many areas with this. Bottom line is, we have rules and laws. Break them and there will be consequences. The consequences may seem harsh to some, but they are usually there in black & white. Crime should equal punishment. That is the way as a society we can take back what is rightfully ours, and by that I mean "paying" because of bad behavior.

We as the "good guys" just need to have a voice and make sure we let others know that we follow the rules and don't like being punished because some do not.

Until the next time.....

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

market fresh.....

Not much going on right now besides the landscapers finishing up our yard. They should wrap up everything tomorrow sometime in the midday. So far it all looks great, but I can't wait to see it all "put together".

Cassie got her haircut today to look like Hayley Williams of Paramore (pictured). Cassie really likes the band and Hayley, and they are a nice band for her to admire. The haircut looks great and Cassie is really happy with it.

Morgan has been stopping by the NC State Farmer's Market the past few Saturdays to pick up different fruits and vegtables for us to try. I like to eat berries and either an apple or pear every morning, so we started picking up my breakfast fruit from the market.

It has been nice to try out a few different items that we normally don't have for or with a meal. Morgan asn't crazy about collard greens, but I enjoyed them. I enjoyed even more the fresh lima beans that Morgan prepared for me. I also bought a jar of chow chow for myself to have with chicken of maybe a turkey burger, but have not had a chance to try it yet.

Kellie and her husband have given us a large bag of squash and an equally large bag of fresh string beans for us to eat. It was very nice of them, and greatly appreciated, as I have been enjoying all this fresh food.

NHL schedule is released tomorrow. Will be marking my calander for what night we will be at the arena. Less then 3 months before the hockey season starts up again.

That's it for now. Hope to have some yard pictures for the next post.

Until the next time.....

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

noisy around here.....

They finally started building the house next door to us (to our left if looking from street), so the noise has begun. It is not terrible at this point, and probably won't be too bad, but that is easy for me to say as I am not trying to broadcast 4 hours a day like my Morgan does every morning.

She has some "sound foam" in the office that she might have to strategically place around the desk / mic to soften the noise, but for the most part she is not overly concerned. I am just glad it is going on during the summer when we have the windows closed, and not after September when we open the house up. This is especially true because this building is on the same side as her studio / office.

Maybe this means we might get some new neighbors eventually. I see plenty of people around when I walk the neighborhood each morning, but then I turn on our block, and nothing. Of course I say this a day before the landscapers come to plant trees to give us more privacy in the backyard, and to cover up and give shade to the front of the house. :-)

Otherwise it is quiet around here. Well, in the house. :-)

Until the next time.....

Friday, July 3, 2009

office works.....

Sometime around 2am on Wednesday morning, the last of the files uploaded from my electronic filing cabinet to the servers over at my new "office". Did some random checking, and everything seemed to be there. Woo Hoo!

Finally started working with the network yesterday, and once loaded, I had to make some tweaks to some personal preference settings, but once that was done, everything worked flawlessly. It was nice to work that way, and once done, just shut it down, and not worry about backing up, putting the backups in a safe place, etc.

On Wednesday, I finally got the tattoo of Morgan completed. Took over 3 1/2 hours, and it looks great. There are a few minor cleanups that need to be taken care of once I heal at the end of the month, but that is pretty normal. I posted some pictures on Facebook during the process, and will post some here of the completed, healed tattoo in a future posting.

Wednesday morning Cassie left for another week of camp. This time up in Virginia, and through our church and their student ministries. She returns late Monday afternoon, and then will spend the rest of her summer here at home. Even though Morgan and I like having this "alone time", it will be nice to have her around for the five weeks or so before school starts.

That's it for now, as I have some catch-up work to do and figure I can get it done while others take today off. Have a happy and safe 4th of July.

Until the next time.....

Monday, June 29, 2009

slow move to new office.....

So last post I mentioned that I would be using a "virtual office" through my tax software company's servers. Well, on Friday I started the migration. I finished all my work, backed up all the files for all the different accounting products to a separate directory and separate folders on my hard drive, and was ready to go.

Spoke with tech support Friday afternoon to get a few questions answered, and only saw a clear road ahead of me. After speaking with support, I moved all the Excel and Word files over to their "new home". Because I will now be using Office 2007, while I currently use Office 2003, I stayed in Excel and Word for a little while and played around. All was fine. I then wrapped up for the day, and figured I will move all the accounting files on Saturday.

So, around noontime on Saturday, I started moving the accounting files. Depreciation went smooth. Tax Programs for 2007 & 2008 (I could go back to 1999 if I want to, but probably don't need that far back) went flawlessly. Business accounting clients also without a hitch. Things were looking good.

Then came largest product, which is my "File Cabinet" program. This is the program where I have every piece of information (Which is tax returns and workpapers for personal income tax clients and for business clients it consists of tax returns, workpapers, payroll tax returns, and ledgers) for every client I have worked on since 1999.

This is 836 different client drawers and almost 16GB of information. I knew it would take some time, but I did not expect that almost 38 hours after I started, only 501 of the 836 drawers would be moved. Yikes! Good thing I hardwired the laptop and didn't try to do this wireless. It should be completed sometime tomorrow afternoon (I shut it down when Morgan is on the air). When it is done, it will be nice to move forward and not worry about client data and making backups.

Cassie came back from Camp Kanata last Saturday morning. She had a blast, like she always does, and looks forward to returning next year. The camp sent home almost 80 out of the 250 kids at the camp because of 100+ degree fevers. While they were concerned about Swine Flu, I would guess this was just a normal bug that made its way around the campgrounds. Cass feels fine, but did have a little bit of congestion Sunday morning and today. We'll keep an eye on her, as she goes off to camp up in Virginia through the church on Wednesday, as we will keep her home if a fever does arise.

That's it for now. I have a progress bar to watch. :-)

Until the next time.....

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

virtual office.....

I could not have been any lazier today. I really need to stop this, and get a little organized, as July is a "payroll report" month, and I will be working on 22 clients, plus one brand new one. After going for my walk, I washed the motorcycle, then decided to ride it for about a hour to "dry it". Really?

Then after that, I did take care of a couple of office emails, then it was over to the Harley dealership for a scheduled maintenance, which included an oil change, etc. Those last a couple of hours, so I just stayed at their tables in the dealership, grabbed some old coffee, read the today's paper and updated Facebook from my phone. I did behave and only glanced at the new bikes.

If I ever complain about my work life between May 1 and December 31, you have the right to call me out and slap me. :-)

I do need to get caught up, so I can start working in my new office. I'm not going anywhere, but I am changing the way I handle my clients and their data. My software company started an experimental program last year, where instead of purchasing the software I need, they "rent" my their entire software suite, and also include the latest MS Office as part of the package.

So for me, because I am by myself (you pay per user), I will save a couple thousand dollars over my normal yearly fees, have access to programs that were not "dollar wise" for me to purchase, and get the latest MS Office product. And even better, this is all done through their servers, so all my data will now be on their secured servers. No more backups (except for my pictures & iTunes), no more worrying about computer crashes, no headaches at all. As long as I have internet, and my password, all my data is always available to me.

Now, I'm not big on change, so it took me almost 6 weeks to tell them "yes", but I did it last week, so there is no turning back. I just need to get together with them on uploading all my data from the laptop to them, then I am ready to go. I am hoping to do this later tomorrow or Friday, so I can upload the information over the weekend.

I have never worked on a network before, so it has been a little bit of an adjustment while I have been playing around in the "empty office". I know most of you are used to that type of office environment, but for someone who has worked by themselves, this is a whole new area for me.

That's about it for now. Supposed to be gaming tonight with the other members of the GeezerGamers Community Podcast. We are now listed and available for download on iTunes. Search for GeezerGamer Community.

Until the next time.....

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

kick start this blogging again.....

OK, going to back into some posting here on my blog. I figure if I can keep posting on Facebook, I can post here also about the different things going on in my life.

I have caught up on most of the other blogs that I link to here. I apologize for not following and commenting during my "non writing" time. I should have been better about following all of you, even if I didn't want to write myself. Sorry.

The news for today is that Morgan has sent in an application for the Food Network show, "Next Food Network Star". She decided to try this last week, and has been working on the application ever since. For those that know Morgan, she is a morning show host and loves to cook (including a small catering business that has done work with our churches), so this will be a nice combination of talents / skills / likes for her.

For me, this has been the laziest of after tax season times. Not that my work hasn't been getting done, because it has, but I have no real "extras" to tackle, so it has allowed me to me lazy, and I'm just not used to it. Instead of getting up at 5:30, I have been rolling out of bed around 7am or 7:30am. I'm not used to that, but I have kind of liked it. Otherwise, I have been reading a bit, riding the motorcycle whenever I can, and just spending lazy time.

Cassie is off at camp (through YMCA) this week. She will be gone until Saturday, then home for three days, then she is off to a camp through church up in West Virginia. So, she will be home enough to wash her camping clothes, pack them, and then it is away again. She loves it, and we are glad she likes these times away. After that, she will be home for about 5 weeks until school starts again.

Well, there is a catch up for you. I promise to be better. :-)

Until the next time.....

Friday, May 15, 2009

visiting with the parents.....

Still have not gotten the "writing bug" back at full tilt yet, as the gap from my last post would indicate. I mentioned to Morgan tat I am doing what I need to do for work, around the house, and family, but nothing extra. Still sluggish from tax season. Ugh. Not like it will get any easier as I get older. :-)

I traveled on Wednesday down to Florida to see my mother and stepfather. And for those of you who know me, yes, I flew on a plane. Took something to relax me, but I don't seem to have same same anxiety about flying as I used to. They are healthy and look pretty good after the beating they both have taken these past two years. That makes me feel better.

Looking at their calender, it seems like each week has a day or two with doctor appointments to check on this or that, and to have different tests. Hopefully that will be ending soon.

At home, all is going well. As I said above, I still have not done too much "extra", but I did get to check a few things off the after tax season "to do" list.

One thing taking much of my time are the NHL Playoffs, as I watch every game on television. There is nothing better then playoff hockey.

Actually, there is one thing, and that is when your favorite team is part of those playoffs! The Hurricanes won their second straight Game 7 of this playoff season (and 4th straight series win in a Game 7) by beating the Boston Bruins 3-2 in overtime last night, while on Boston's home ice. I have seen many game 7s, and a few have gone into OT, but never have I watched my team in a Game 7 that went into OT. I was a wreck.

Now it is on to face Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference Finals. Over in the West, it is a match-up of Original Six franchises as the Detroit Red Wings go against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Our friend Tony commented on my last post and mentioned that he and his wife, Alisa, are speaking at a marriage retreat in July through our San Diego church, CRB. It will be about the topic we studied in our first small group with them, Intimacy Ignited. He asked if we might be able to make it. We won't this year, but if they start asking Morgan to travel out there for work, we will try to make sure I tag along once and get to see all our friends from CRB. We miss ya.

Until the next time.....

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

OK, it has been forever.....

Yes it has. Hope all is well with all of you, your families, and loved ones.

My last post was the day after my birthday on March 22nd, so that is over 6 weeks ago. Of course I had the built in excuse of tax season, but that ended 3 weeks ago, so what happened? Plain ol' laziness. I was so constantly busy from March 1st forward, that I just wanted to do nothing with my brain after the 15th, and that is basically what I have done, or haven't done, based on your perspective.

Family time, church time, out on the motorcycle (when not raining), watching hockey, and video games have been pretty much it for my extra time since April 15th. Nothing "taxing" (pardon the pun). Usually by now, I have merged all the new client information from tax season into the existing information (mailing labels, labels for their folders, etc.), so that it is already done for next January, with any clients I receive from now on being merged one at a time, but I have not even wanted to do that type of stuff.

Looks like the final tally will be 319 returns for this year, with only 3 lost (2 women got married, and new husbands don't like using an accountant, and the other was a CA client I had for a while, but don't know what happened), so that ended up being a net increase of 51 clients. I feel truly blessed and even humbled (yes, I can actually be humbled), because that is all recommendations and "word of mouth" from existing clients and friends, as I do no advertising at all.

I was not prepared for that much of an increase, so I think that is why I got so "brain tired" towards the end. I'm just starting to get back into it, and hope to be caught up with all those little "loose ends" by the end of this month. That includes going back and reading over the blog posts I have bypassed from my day to day reading. I may not comment on your writings, but I will be reading those on my list. Luckily, Casey's are mostly pictures, so his won't take me as long as some of the others.

As for these pages, I hope to get back into a regular routine again. I like writing, so hopefully once I start again, I won't let time go between posts.

Otherwise in a nutshell, things are very good. Very, very good. I could not imagine being this happy with the woman I love as we approach 19 years together come June 2nd. On that same day, our "little girl" will be leaving elementary school, and getting ready for 6th grade this August. On top of that, she will be returning to Wake Christian Academy for her education. She, and we, are very excited and happy about her return to the school.

And just to add to all of this, the Carolina Hurricanes are making a playoff run, and as I write this are tied at 1 game apiece with the top seeded Boston Bruins in the Eastern Conference semi-finals, with the next two at home in the very loud RBC Center.

So, that's it for now. Hope to get read and caught up on many of the blogs I have listed to the side, as my brain starts getting out of this "fuzz", and I start getting into a normal "of season" routine.

- Burt Reynolds' "sidekick", Dom DeLuise passed away.
- Josh Hamilton injured, and off to a slow start. Hope he gets healthy soon.

Until the next time.....

Sunday, March 22, 2009

been a while.....

Yes, I am still around, and this post is to prove it. :-)

Nothing overly exciting been going on since my last post 3 weeks ago. Morgan and Cassie spent a week down in Florida at my mom's house. They had a great time, and really enjoyed themselves. They visited Universal Studios, and got a chance to see the Space Shuttle launch by just standing in my mother's driveway. Morgan has pictures up on her blog and Facebook pages.

Otherwise, Morgan and Cassie have been just doing "their thing", while I have been working, and that is much appreciated by me, when my mind is in "tax season" mode. This tax season has been a "bear", and I will really need to crank it up these last 3 1/2 weeks, with many nights going to 11pm or later. I have been conscious about not working past 9pm any night, so I will not burn myself out, but I did not anticipate so many new clients this year, so I am still a bit behind in my "to do" pile. It looks like I will go over the 300 count in terms of personal tax returns, which will be about a 15% increase. I feel truly blessed to be doing so well, and this "bump" will help me plan my workdays better next tax season. I caused this myself in February, where I probably should have worked a few more late nights. Oh well, it will all get done in time, and I am better prepared for the future years.

I do stop each Saturday at 3pm to get ready for Saturday evening church services, and then do not work on Sundays. I answer my e-mails, but I do not work on a tax return after 3pm on Saturday until I start again on Monday morning.

Did take some time out to celebrate my 43rd birthday this weekend. Had a nice dinner out on Friday evening, and went to see the Hurricanes play the Capitals on Saturday night. The Canes' are playing real well right now, and they came away with a 4-1 win.

Last week, we got the phone call from Wake Christian Academy that Cassie has a spot in their sixth grade class. We had been thinking, discussing, and praying about the situation for a while now. While our first choice was for Cassie to return to WCA, we had come to peace (somewhat ;-) ) with her going back to public school, if the WCA door was shut on us. Now we just need to finish the interview process, to finish off her application and acceptance. Cassie is excited to go back to WCA, although a little bummed about leaving her current school. This is mostly because she really likes the year-round schedule, and to tell you the truth, Morgan & I really like that schedule also. Easier for her to be off 3 or 4 weeks at a time, at different times of the year, instead of 10 weeks during summer.

That is pretty much what has been going on, so I'm done for now. Only have a little more time before I am back at the desk tomorrow morning. Hope all is going well with all of you, and I look forward to doing more writing next month after the 15th has passed by.

Until the next time.....