Sunday, April 26, 2009

4 Gallons

I gave my 32nd pint to Bonfils Blood Center yesterday.

So, I know how to bleed... what do I want ... a medal? Well, actually I did get a medal. Well, not a medal exactly, but a nice pin that looks exactly like three others I've gotten over the years (except this one says 4 gallons instead of 1 2 or 3 gallons).

My wife asked me if eventually I get something bigger and fancier than a pin. I do not know. I guess I need to keep bleeding to find out.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Happy Beer Day

Today is the anniversary of the day that Germany passed its Beer Purity Law.

In Germany it is illegal to brew a beer with any ingredient other than malted grain, water, yeast, and hops. Apparently, April 23 is the day the law was enacted.

I do not know much about the law. Do you go to jail if you add honey to your wort? Does this law apply to home brewers or just commercial brewers? I do not know.

I do know that none of my home-brews pass muster with German Purity Law. All of my beers so far have a little something extra added for flavor or a boost in alcohol.

I will make sure my next beer is pure so that if any German guys come over I'll have something to serve them.

Happy Beer Day.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Last night, I paid my quarterly State Unemployment Tax (SUTA) for all my employees. For those of you who are employees, unemployment tax (both state and federal) is one of those taxes that employers pay for you without you generally knowing it is being paid. Isn't that nice of us?

Considering I am the only employee of my S-Corp, I hate paying SUTA and FUTA (like I love paying the rest of my taxes ... right?) because I sort of suspect that it would be hard for me to ever actually collect unemployment back from the government. I am the owner of my company, so technically I always have a job unless I close down my S-Corp even if I cannot pay myself. I do not know if I am correct about how hard it will be for me to collect. God willing I will never find out. But, even though SUTA and FUTA are not big expenses (in comparison to the other taxes I pay), I get angry paying them. As the company bookkeeper / accountant / owner / etc... I have plenty of opportunity to pay lots of taxes and plenty of opportunity to get angry at the IRS.

Last night, I got a surprise. My SUTA payment was about 1/3 as much as it was last year. Of course, I was sure that I had made a calculation mistake, but I did verify that, yes, my SUTA rate went down this year. I'm sure I have Mr. Obama to thank, and I am a little embarrassed that it took me by surprise. If I had 1000 employees instead of just one, that would be quite a savings. I thought Obama hated rich jerks like me.

Today, it hit me. Most likely the fact that I pay significantly less on State Unemployment Tax might just mean the Feds are going to get me (I do not usually pay FUTA until the end of the year). But, I just looked it up and the FUTA rate is going down too (although not necessarily for me ... FUTA has weird rules around who pays what based partially on what you pay to your State).

It seems odd that at record levels of unemployment, I have to pay less into the unemployment pot, but I guess I'm not going to complain. Its just one more thing I'll just let Tyler's and Connor's grandchildren pay for as our nation's debt continues to rise.

Monday, April 20, 2009


According to an article that came up on my iGoogle portal, the average American is watching 35 hours of T.V. a week. (here is the article). I do not know how the average American has so much time on their hands. Unless it is hockey playoffs or football season, getting in more than a couple hours of T.V. a week just does not happen at my house. And, even if it is one of those critical times of the year, I just do not have 5 extra hours a day. Basically to get in that much T.V. time, I would have to have the T.V. on from the time I get home until about an hour or two after I go to bed. The article does mention that the stats come from neilson, and that if someone has the T.V. on but is not watching, it would not be able to track that. It is a pet-peeve of mine people who have the T.V. on all the time even when they are not watching (and I know people like that).

I mentioned the article to a couple of guys I work with who both sort of mentally took stock of the shows they watch a week, and even though they both apparently have a lot more time to watch T.V. than I do, even so, they did not come close to 35 hours. So, that being the case, if 35 hours is an average, some people must be watching 40, 50, 60 hours of T.V. a week ... right?

I am shocked. Apparently, I need to talk to the average american to ask for tips on how to get so much free time.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tax Day

Due to a somewhat complex situation with company K1s, I had to file an extension with the IRS this year. Of course, I still had to do all the tax prep work because even if you delay your filing, the government still wants its money. And since my goal is always to delay giving my money until I have to, I do not come close to getting a refund. So, I wrote a large check to the IRS to send in with the extension.

Of course, the reason I had to extend is because I do not have final numbers on one of my companies, so I have to make a guess. If I do not pay the government enough, I have to pay a fee and interest. But, if I overpay, is the IRS going to give me interest on my overpayment? No. Does not seem fair, does it?

Then, of course, being the small-business owner that I am, I need to pay estimated taxes for the first quarter of 2009 on top of my "final" payment of 2008.

And now, I am not even done. I still need to finish up the last of the return once I get my last K1.

I hate tax day.

At least I am not one of those suckers who lent the government significant interest free money to the IRS this year. (anyone who gets a refund)

Friday, April 10, 2009

They don't need blood?

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you probably know that I give blood about as often as I am allowed. My church runs a blood drive basically every 8 weeks, and I almost always go.

Today I got a voice mail message saying that my next appointment has been canceled, and if I would like to be scheduled for Abiding Hope's next drive in June, I could call back and they would gladly schedule me. I just went online to schedule the appointment for June. But then, I thought, "Well, I could probably go somewhere else ... I wonder if they can schedule me on the 25th for a different location."

So, I called the Bonfils Blood center and asked the nice lady if I could give elsewhere on the 25th. She asked me where I live and once she looked something up, told me, sure, I could come to the Bonfils facility in Highlands Ranch. Cool, I have to drive about 20 minutes instead of 10, but that is not bad at all. She scheduled me. I'm all set. Just have to remember to drink plenty of water ... blah blah blah etc...

I asked her if she knew why the church drive had been canceled, but she told me she is just in the call center and does not know.

I think that Bonfils is canceling blood drives because they do not need as much blood. The reason I think that is because CHFA (my current client) has periodic blood drives and canceled their last one. CHFA told their people that Bonfils asked to cancel because the blood supply is up and the demand is down. This is due to a reduction in elective surgeries. Can you guess why there are less elective surgeries? There are less elective sugeries because of the crappy economy. So, I guess besides gas prices being down, another plus to no one feeling confident to spend money is that the blood supply is up.

If you give blood or really pay attention at all, you know that blood centers are ALWAYs asking for people to give blood. The blood supply is always lower than they would like. But not now. At least, not now in the Denver Metro Area.

"So, if they don't need your blood", you may ask, "why are you giving blood?"

Well, my somewhat odd feelings (bordering on an obsession really) on giving blood are pretty well documented in this blog, so if you want details, you can search on "blood" and maybe get a pretty good idea. Really, it comes down to the fact that I like giving blood. Obviously, if Bonfils did not want my blood at all, they would not have accepted my "walk-in" appointment, so I do not think it is a matter of they won't be able to use my blood. I figure they have calculated their walk-in traffic is enough for now and they probably still want some people to come in. CHFA did explain that certain types were still needed and that was why some of the CHFA employees were getting phone calls. My O+ blood type is pretty common (I think it is the most common), so they do not care about me so much I'm sure, but like I said, if they decide they don't want my blood they can give me a call and tell me.

Anyway... it is just interesting to me that for the first time I can remember, a blood center is actually trying to reduce their donations.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

I'm Sorry

If I see you as a parent with your child on a leash, I am automatically going to consider you a worse parent than me. I'm sorry. I know I am basing a harsh conclusion on a very limited set of data. I do not care how crowded it is or how many children you have. As soon as I see the kid on the leash, I smirk. I feel sorry for the kid and I mentally judge the adult holding the leash as cruel or incompetent or both. Yes, I know it is condescending and somewhat prejudiced emotional reaction. It is pretty arrogant for me to make that conclusion, but I cannot help it. The conclusion to which I will jump is that you are somewhat inferior as a parent.

So, I was in the library tonight picking up a book for my wife when a family of 4 walked in. A boy who was probably not quite 3, a girl who looked to be about 5, a dad and a mom. The boy was on a leash held by his mom. And as soon as they came in, the boy started screaming. Screaming may be a little of an exaggeration, but we were in a library and he was loudly expressing displeasure.

Now, ok we all understand that I just admitted a prejudice against parents who have their children on leashes. But in a jeffco public library? Really? And lets just forget the leash. Two parents two kids. One of the kids is crying. TAKE THE KID OUT OF THE LIBRARY. I don't like leashes but, I have an absolute PET PEEVE when it comes to parents who let their kids be disruptive in public places. I would not allow either of my kids to be one tenth as disruptive in a restaurant or a grocery store let alone a library. If something similar happened to me, the quiet child would go with Tracy and the disruptive child would be outside standing with his nose against a tree or a wall until he calmed down. He would then apologize to me and then we would go back in and apologize to his mom and the librarian or he would return to his timeout.

These parents handled things a bit differently. The dad went to a computer and told his wife to take the boy back to look at Thomas things. I did not stick around much longer so I do not know if that worked.

I do understand that in certain circumstances it can be difficult to keep a child civilized in public. But quite frankly, this situation should have been very easily controlled.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Beer Tasting

We visited Henderson, NV for Tyler's spring break this year. I brought four of my Sheppy Brews along with me and the night before we left, Tracy's cousin and his wife joined us at Grammy and Papa Lou's house. I broke out the 4 beers and gave everyone a little taste of each of the four beers:
Overall, I was pleased with the reception of the beer. Everyone was very nice with their praise without over-doing it so that it felt pretty sincere.

As it is the lightest, we tasted Classic American Blonde Ale first. It was the favorite of the group. Grammy and Lisa are not really beer drinkers and Jerry and Papa Lou prefer light beers, so it is not a surprise that they would prefer my lightest beer. But, I do have to admit that it is a good beer, and based on this response and positive comments from my sister-in-law before, I am going to make sure I brew this again and that I keep this beer in stock. Unfortunately, this was my last bottle, so I will have to make more soonish.

The second beer we tried was the second lightest, 1776 Ale. 1776 Ale is a very hoppy amber ale. The liberty hops give the beer an almost pine like taste and I think is very similar to New Belgium's Mighty Arrow. 1776 was not as well-liked, but did not seem to be disliked. This was simply a case of the style not being what the group was used to. To be honest, I also have to be in the right mood to drink this beer.

The third beer was my Eric's Red, which is my favorite brew so far. This is a deep amber / almost (but not quite) red beer. You can taste hops on this one, but they are not nearly as strong as 1776. This is a more malty beer. The 2-week conditioning period was not done yet, but it was close enough that I figured it was ready to taste. So, it should be even better when I try it next. I think I will try to keep this beer in stock. My tasting group liked this one very much as well.

Maple Brown is my darkest beer so far, and the last one we tasted. It was a major disappointment to me and clearly the least favorite of the group. Unfortunately, there is a definite alcohol taste to this beer, which overpowers the malt. I was unable to taste the maple at all. I am surprised I disliked it so much because I thought it tasted pretty good when I bottled it. I will let it condition a bit more and continue to try it, but I do not think I will brew another maple beer again for a long time.

It was fun having this little tasting party. Everyone was very kind with their comments. Jerry said he would be my sales guy when I was ready to go commercial with my micro-brewery. Of course, I do not really have any plans to go commercial, but it is fun to think about it.

I am glad people beside me seem to like my beer.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Valley of Fire

On Tuesday, we loaded ourselves in Grammy's and Papa Lou's Durango and headed out to the Valley of Fire Nevada State Park. I have to say it was really cool. There were lots of red rock formations, some of which we were allowed to climb on. We saw 4000 year old petroglyphs. It was pretty awesome. We even got to do a geocache on the way to the park and drop off a travel bug we picked up on our last geocache in Colorado. This one is an alligator that comes all the way from Florida. I do not know if this poor guy will like the Nevada desert!

This is a picture of some of the 4000 year old petroglyphs.

This is a picture of the CO Shepards among the Nevada Red Rocks.

Connor taking care of Grammy while the rest of us go on a hike.

The rest of the hikers (Papa Lou is the one behind the camera)
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