Monthly Archives: January 2005

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I hate the Infernal Revenue Service.

And why do I hate them? So many reasons. But mostly because I would really like to file my taxes online again this year, and I can’t. And why can’t I file online? Pick a reason.

Because since I have a spouse now that I have to report on my tax return, the online e-file places all want to know his Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification number, neither of which he has, and none of the e-file places will continue on a return without both spouses’ numbers.

Because all but ONE e-file service will not accept a foreign address as your residence – they only have a drop-down state menu for you to pick from.

Because the one e-file service I found that DOES accept a foreign address doesn’t handle foreign income – not that I had that much anyway, but if I’m filing taxes I probably oughtta report all of it.

The other big reason I hate the IRS today is because I’ve had a taste of another country’s tax return system. And it’s much, much easier to file your taxes in Australia than the IRS makes it in the US. There is ONE form for individuals. You file on your own. You don’t have to decide if you’re married whether to file separately or jointly. And for electronic filing, you use a FREE program that you can download, which (as far as I know) EVERYONE qualifies to use (now true, it is a Windows-only program, and they probably SHOULD do a web based one, but that’s government for you). There is no state income tax .

Ideally, I’d get rid of the income tax completely. But if it has to be there, why make it more complicated than it has to be?

“Well, I’m not saying I’d like to build a summer home here, but the trees are actually quite lovely.”

We are starting to do some research into buying/building a house.

At the moment the Adelaide housing market doesn’t look good for anyone with a single income, because there’s been a housing boom in the last year and a half or so. And the “experts” are predicting prices will continue to go up, although not as sharply as they did in the last year. And apparently a crash is expected in the next 6 to 24 months, so basically we’re hoping that happens rather soon. We have talked to a mortgage-finding service and know what our budget is, so we’re keeping an eye out for anything in that range. But of course nothing much is in that range, except houses in dumpy suburbs like Elizabeth and Davoren Park. Or little towns an hour from Darrin’s work.

I’ve done some number crunching and we can’t really do anything till about a year from now, or a bit longer. But maybe that’ll allow enough time for the prices to come down enough so that we can get something nice. If that doesn’t happen, or doesn’t happen quickly enough, building may be cheaper. I kinda like the idea; Darrin doesn’t. Apparently building in a new development usually means rules on what you can & can’t have in your garden (yard), and it also means that sure, you can plan the size of the house, but you’re on a tiny block of land. So unless you dig a basement (not common here at all, and probably expensive) or put on a second story (very unpopular because you can see into your neighbours’ yards, and they don’t like that), you’re left with a little strip of land around each side of the house, which isn’t really enough for anything but a clothesline. If we buy an existing house, it’ll possibly be on a more useful block of land (a big plus from my point of view, having grown up on 7 acres out in the country).

Anyway. Like I said, we can’t actually DO anything for another year, but we’re keeping our eyes and ears open. And it’s fun just looking at houses online & figuring out what I might do with them, and if the kitchen’s big enough, and hey, there’s already a shed for the servers, and that wallpaper will HAVE to go….

“I guess you know the Earth is gonna crash into the sun, but that’s no reason why we shouldn’t have a little fun.”

About an hour ago I turned twenty-nine. I was born at 4:58 am in the US Central time zone, which translates to 9:28 pm here, still on the 23rd. You’d think in all this time, and with me being a night owl to some extent, I would’ve actually been awake for the exact minute some year. And I was, in 2001 when I was working nights at Smead, but I was busy doing homework or something and I looked at my watch about five minutes after my official birth minute, and said to myself, “Whoops.” Also last year, my first birthday in the southern hemisphere (has it really been that long already?), I was awake, but again, I missed the minute. But not this year. This year I noticed the minute tick over and celebrated by…well, by not doing much of anything, really, just played solitaire.

Thanks to people who have sent me e-cards; however, the people who run these e-card sites tend to only create cards using Shockwave or Flash – both methods that are not supported (as far as I know) on Unix platforms. So I have not been able to look at them yet.

So what did I do on my 29th birthday? Well, we went to Fasta Pasta for lunch in North Adelaide, then we walked (or waddled) up the street to Picadilly Cinema, where we saw The Incredibles. Which was pretty funny. And then we came home, and I made some cheesecake cupcake things (which look a little funny but taste all right). And then when we got hungry we walked to Hungry Jack’s (Australian version of Burger King) and had some more food, then walked home, and here we are. And that’s about it.

Oh, and I did walk over to Coles (grocery store) as well and found So I Married an Axe Murderer on DVD for $15, and bought it for myself.

Note: Title quote from Weird Al’s “Happy Birthday”
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Things I haven’t seen in Australia yet

1. “Under penalty of law, this tag not to be removed except by consumer.” I only noticed this the other day when I bought some new pillows, and tore the tags off so they wouldn’t make noise while I’m trying to sleep.

2. Food boxes with a little perforated tab that says “Press here to open,” but no matter how hard you press the tab, the perforation doesn’t break. Aussie food boxes with perforated tabs actually work the way they’re supposed to.

3. “No shirt, no shoes, no service.”
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