Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A Tiny Little Cyber-World

The other day I checked my email--not my regular email but rather the one I use for this blog. I must admit that I don't check that email account too often because I don't get a lot of legitimate emails. I mostly seem to get stuff from Yahoo and a lot of requests to help people in Nigeria get money due to them--with a portion of it going to me, of course. I get some emails relating to this blog but not a ton. Anyway, I checked my email and I had an email with "Your Brother #2" as the subject--except it actually said my brother's (#2's) name. The email was from a guy who said he had stumbled upon my blog by accident and loved it--"it's a riot and I have bookmarked it"--so I already knew he was discerning and intelligent--thanks Steve!!--and he went on to ask if I was Brother #2's sister. Why, yes, I am. How clever. How strange. The funniest part of the email was this... "and I am assuming that he was the brother you threw against the wall." And, yes, Brother #2 was the unlucky fellow who forced me into hurling him into our living room wall once upon a time ago. This guy went on to say that he had gone to college with my brother and had lost touch with him. He asked me if I could send him my brother's email address. Which I did. And then immediately realized I should have just sent my brother the email and let him contact his old friend. So then I sent my brother an email apologizing for giving out his email address to this old friend. After all, what if he was a serial killer or my brother's arch-enemy?? Then I went back through my blog posts to see what gave me away. I mean--it was only 8 AM on a school day (late start, though) so I really had nothing better to do. I couldn't figure it out. It was driving me nuts. So I emailed my new friend (and possible future president of my fan club as long as he's not a serial killer or my brother's arch-enemy) Steve to ask him how he cracked the case. Turns out he had been at my parents' house a couple of times with my brother while they were in college and recognized my dad from a couple of photos on the blog--or maybe he recognized the furniture. That, along with a few other references to location, was all he needed. If your day job doesn't work out, Steve, the CIA may be hiring....
But really--what a great email to get. It made my day. Oh, and my brother reports he's not a serial killer or his arch-enemy, just an old college friend. From all the way across the country and all the way across decades, it's really a small, small cyber-world.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Tax Time

I just bought Turbo Tax and am starting to input my tax info. Turbo Tax is great--easy, helpful, and a whole lot smarter than I am about taxes. I hit a little snag figuring out some cost prices of a couple stocks that I sold last year, so I put the whole pile of papers aside for a bit hoping that a break will help my brain figure out how to compute the cost price of a stock that was received when another stock was taken over and morphed into 4 different companies, each with its own percentage value of the original stock. My head hurts again just typing that. Anyway, I heard on the news today that the state of California is almost bankrupt. I also heard that if you are due a tax refund from California you might receive an IOU that will be paid when the state gets some money. What is up with that??? I started to wonder...does it work both ways? I mean, if you OWE money, can you just enclose a note with your tax forms saying, "I'm a little short right now but this note will serve as your IOU--and when I get some money I'll send it in."??? I'm guessing not, but it sure would be fun!