Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Past, present, future...

...prompted by a post from Jenny F. Scientist (http://naturalscientist.blogspot.com/2008/04/from-definite-to-definitely-vague.html) that caused me to note ease of timing.

Ten years ago: had just proposed to my wife, was happily wandering through grad school, life seemed joyful and defined. one of the best years and periods of my life, certainly.

Five years ago: had just seen our first child born, was being productive, had shed catastrophic first postdoc for a welcoming and vibrant lab. Bought a house, gained money (and weight, alas!), still on track if a little more stressed, a little more harried, many fewer friends.

Right now: transition. New faculty post in a few weeks, new house to be built, second child on the way, relocating - every damn thing in flux. That girl I met in a bar in Kentucky, almost fifteen years ago now, though, is wonderfully still there :).

Five years away: well, I go for tenure in just under 4, so...! With any luck, we'll be professionally stable, Aidan and Bleep will be happily running through childhood, and a little more time will have appeared.

As for ten years - well, I suspect that the five-year goals are the timescale that works. Ten years - and tenure - should change whatever I want, but nothing needed. I hope. Maybe I'll finaly have *enough* time for friends.

Five years from now

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

[An actual post: really just a holder for the comment made over here: http://scalzi.com/whatever/?p=631]

I was tickled to see the page header today: I'm one of the folks paying US taxes but not getting to vote. As a Brit, the irony is that bit greater.

Allocation of taxes by the payers has always seemed to make sense to me. I suspect that one needs, though, at least one override (for the IRS!) and once there's one, the slope is in place. It would, though, I think get us to the state of the airforce needing those bake sales; not a bad thing. [And actually unlikely; I am well aware both of the value of the US military and of the large number of people who would allocate funds in that direction. My guess is that this directest of democracy would turn out pretty well, although the dual tier state-federal system might complicate things.]

AMT didn't *quite* hit this year, but it will next: acquiring a second child is going to throw our deductions over the line, I think. Yuck. On the other hand, we're moving soon, and have chosen to live in a school district where our school taxes are going to be $15K instead of the one next door where they'd be $6K.. one of the few places where we *can* see the direct results of our dollars.

The UK PAYE (pay-as-you-earn) system is much less onerous on the individual, but I enjoy US tax day: it increases awareness of tax loads and how the system is set up, and I actually enjoy playing with the math (although I have stopped doing the calculations for joint vs separate filing after having it come out in the same direction for several years). Hiring an accountant always seemed to me to be 'giving in' somehow - and the programs never catch everything that even I do.

Anyway - happy tax awareness day, everyone!