wombat_socho: Washington (Washington)
Went out today to return some books to the library and apply for work at a Dunkin' Donuts that will be opening soon in Foxchase.
Well of course I came home with more books. )
wombat_socho: Wombat (DC)
I was surprised and pleased to find this (and its sequel, A Clash of Kings) on a book rack in the recreation center part of Patrick Henry Elementary, where I've been working as a special ed para these last couple of weeks.
Would you like to know more? )
Meanwhile, back in real life, the second half of June is going to be interesting since the unemployment insurance has stopped while I'm on this para assignment and the pay from the Alexandria Public Schools is delayed by two weeks. This means I'm not getting any income until the end of the month, at which time I'll get paid for the first nine days of the assignment. Whether I'll actually have my unemployment restarted by then is a good question. We'll see what happens.
wombat_socho: Wombat (DC)
Some things are going well; others, not so much.
Would you like to learn more? )
wombat_socho: Wombat (DC)
Well, that's that. Finished up tax season yesterday with another 11-hour day, went back today to wrap up some paperwork with my mentor, and talked some about what I need to do in order to make more money next season as a tax preparer. (Short version: take classes, pass promotion exams.) I still need to retrieve my cheese & mayo from the fridge, if they haven't thrown it out already.

I'll be doing an interview with the Tyson's Corner office of Accountemps tomorrow, since the Alexandria office didn't return my call for some reason, and hopefully will be beavering away soon at something resembling a full-time job with decent pay for the next few weeks. Decent being defined as more than $10/hour, since that's not much better than unemployment, although I'll grant you it's better for my head to be out and working in somebody else's office instead of squatting in my apartment sending out applications that never get replies. Most of the jobs Accountemps has listed right now pay more than that, and there's some really nice ones paying around $20 right here in Alexandria; we'll see what happens.

In between work and study and sleep and stuff, I have managed to get some recreational reading done. Among other things, I've been reading the Baen e-book version of Retief!, which is a repackaging of the original Retief anthology Envoy To New Worlds. I have caught one tweak/edit that annoys me - the subplot involving the telepathic abilities of the folks on Jorgenson's World is gone, and "Courier" is somewhat the worse for it - but otherwise, it's a decent collection of the Retief stories, which are what Keith Laumer will be best remembered for along with the Bolo Combat Units.

Also, Solomon Kane, which I gather is being made into a movie at long last. Kane is one of Robert E. Howard's works that for a long time languished in obscurity without the attention devoted to the Conan stories; unlike the iron-thewed barbarian, the deadly Puritan driven to punish the wicked of the world spawned no subgenre of his own. Still, one can find without too much trouble in the tales of Solomon Kane the same power, the same tribute paid to skill and indomitable will as is everywhere in the Conan stories. Nothing too complicated in terms of plot or characterization in these short stories, but they're decent enough brain candy. The copy I have is an old paperback that only has a third of the tales, but Del Rey has published The Savage Tales of Solomon Kane, which has them all. In fact, Del Rey seems to have reissued all of Howard's work with new covers and in some cases, the Kindle edition. Good on you, guys.

Also also reread The Barsoom Project and The California Voodoo Game by Steven Barnes and Larry Niven (predictably, in the wrong order); still good brain candy, and so far reality hasn't caught up with Dream Park yet. Soon, perhaps.
wombat_socho: Wombat (DC)
Eleven-plus hours in the tax mines yesterday, and I'm scheduled for another twelve tomorrow. And that'll be it for this tax season. I was invited to apply for off-season work, but since I'd only be getting 15-20 hours a week at (probably) my existing hourly wage, it makes more sense for me to head down to Accountemps on Tuesday, reactivate my file, and maybe take advantage of some of these accounting classes I've been slaving over this past year. The worst of the jobs listed on the site yesterday pays $3 more per hour than what Block is paying me as a first-year tax preparer, so even if commuting expense goes up I'll come out ahead. Best case, I nail down an assignment at $20/hour or better. We'll see how that works out.

Speaking of school, I am two courses away from finishing my accounting career studies certificate at NVCC. Both courses are being offered over the summer, but unfortunately both of them are only offered online, and I have learned the hard way that I do not do well at those. So I'm just going to take Intermediate Accounting II this summer, lugging Cowzilla to the campus a couple times a week to work on it away from the distractions of home, and then take Advanced Accounting this fall along with whatever business classes I need to meet the requirements for the CPA exam, which I'll be taking next January - or April, depending on how the Becker classes are scheduled over the winter.

All the school & work stress this week has made the weight and BG get a bit out of hand. My weight has rebounded to 350, and my BG has been stubbornly in the low hundreds. On the other hand, I got a clean bill of health from the vascular clinic this week. My legs are both healed up nicely, and you can be sure I'll be hitting the pool hard this summer. Just need to bear down on the diet to get the BG and weight back where they belong.

I'm not sure the Nationals' present precarious perch in third is due as much to their improved pitching and defense as it is to how awful the Mets are and how long it's taking the Braves to get their act together. Unlike last spring, when the pitching and defense stunk while the bats were going nuts, the p&d are tight and the hitters aren't hitting. So far the defense is keeping us in the games, but we'll see if that lasts. Hopefully it'll last long enough for a sweep of the Brewers.
wombat_socho: Wombat (dead wombat)
I suppose I shouldn't be so flip in referring to the Secretary of Veterans' Affairs, but that's the kind of guy I am. The whole story starts last Wednesday night (although technically, this has probably been going on for most of the month, if not longer) after my exam in Government & Nonprofit Accounting, when I was struck by fever & chills of such intensity that I wasn't sure I'd be able to drive home. I managed to do this, fire off an apologetic e-mail to Stacy regarding Thursday's linkagery, and then collapsed into bed with water and Tylenols. I slept for about thirteen hours, woke up still feeling like crap, drank breakfast, took meds, and went back to bed after informing my Auditing professor I'd have to make up that night's exam on account of illness1.

Friday morning came, and I felt somewhat less crappy, but noticed that while the general whole-body achiness had subsided, my lower left leg was swollen, noticeably warmer than the rest of me, and painful to the touch. I was chatting with P at the time I noticed this, and we agreed it was time for a visit to the VA. Now, I thought this would be a simple matter of dropping by the ER, waiting a few hours, and then going home with a Z-pack, so I didn't bring anything but my Pixi and the Kindle. So of course, after spending about seven hours hanging around the ER waiting to be seen, they wound up sticking some Vancomycin into my arm, doing an ultrasound on my leg to look for clots2 and admitting me to a bed in one of the medical wards.

And that's where I stayed until late Sunday afternoon when they turned me loose to go home with a fistful of Bactrim and some antifungal cream to deal with the athlete's foot that had served as breaching charge for this particular bacterial attack. In the meantime, lots of reading, sleeping, watching the NCAA womens' hoops tournament, sleeping, and more sleeping while the staff dripped more vancomycin and saline into my arm. Not so much eating, though, since the VA still adhere's to the ADA's "balanced diet" stupidity, and I wasn't having any of that. Managed to keep my blood sugar in the normal range without my regular meds and without insulin for the weekend.

1He scheduled the makeup for this Wednesday night during the Government & Nonprofit Accounting class I have with him. This ought to be interesting.
2The radiologist didn't find any. I was almost disappointed. Almost.
wombat_socho: Wombat (Diabeetus Chef)
Fortunately, the snow is melting off, and we didn't get as much as we did during last year's Snowpocalypse, but there's enough there to stir up some unpleasant memories.

Once again we started the year in the tax mines with what looked like enough CSPs, but since one of them can't work nights and another won't be available until Saturday, I'm having to pick up some of the slack and work late during the week. I've already got 29 hours on the clock for this week, and will be working today and tomorrow as well, so that's good for my paycheck even if it crimps my class time this week. Meh. I can study accounting just as well at home, and maybe better. In the meantime, since we do have another CSP who can work days, I've been splitting my time between tax work and driving the front desk, which is doing my paycheck good. Kinda hoping the boss will go out to one of the local high schools and recruit us some help, but I'm not holding my breath.

One big change from last year, of course, is that I'm in a lot better health. Weight was up a bit at 355.8 this morning, but still, the trend is mostly down, and I fully expect to be at 350 or below by the end of the month. I've also been experiencing a string of very low morning blood sugar readings, low as in the 50s and 60, so starting today I've cut my glipizide dose in half on my doctor's advice. We'll see how that works out. Right leg continues to heal; maybe by summer it'll have healed over and I can hit the pool. Either that or I'll finally remember to take in my support stockings in and get the zipper fixed.

In three weeks, it'll have been a full year since I spent any time in the hospital.
wombat_socho: Wombat (DC)
Haven't really been thinking much about baseball, what with everything else going on...today in the tax mines was moderately busy, to the point where I almost had trouble finding a quiet half-hour to take my mandatory break. The new office manager told me this morning that I couldn't just work straight through my shift; I was going to have to take a half-hour break sometime in there. That's okay, I guess; I'll just work an extra half-hour to make up for it at the end of the shift. So there. ;P
Also on the work front, I finally got my H&R Block business cards in, so now I feel like a real tax pro and not just a little wooden one. Probably still going to be driving the front desk tomorrow since there's no CSP on duty, but I do have two appointments booked which I'm going to go solo on, since my mentor only works during the week. I think I'll do okay, and so do the old heads in the office.

Time to bag up the chicken thighs and chorizo I baked for dinner tonight; it turned out okay, maybe not as good as the crockpot version, but you can't have everything. Johnsonville did a good job on the chorizos, that's for sure. After that, I'm going to read some more of James Schmitz' stories from The Hub: Dangerous Territory, which I snagged for the Kindle from the Baen Free Library, and nod out early. 0900 comes early in the morning, and I want a large breakfast of eggs & meat before tomorrow's shift.
wombat_socho: Wombat (DC)
I set off a bit of a kerfluffle the other night at the PRSFS meeting by opining that most "classics" aren't worth the time wasted on reading them, and trotted out Trollope, Hemingway and Stendhal as examples. Apparently I'm not the only guy that feels that way. Correia also has an amusing post in which he fisks an e-mail from an annoyed leftist. Hooray for HATE MAIL! indeed.

Yesterday was a pretty slow day in the tax mines. I followed it with some opportunistic bargain-hunting at Harris Teeter, where I picked up a couple of 12-packs of Coke product for $1.88 apiece, then headed out to Mark Taylor's place for steak & conversation, both of which were good. I found myself playing courier for Mark, conveying a couple bottles of homebrew mead to P, who I met for a snack of wings after parting company with Mark. P and I made desultory conversation while paying minimal attention to the ass-whipping the Packers were issuing to the Falcons; we exchanged mead for Butterkaese, and then she went off to work while I headed up the road to the Sterling Walmart, where I filled in some holes in the previous week's grocery shopping. Unfortunately, I forgot to pick up a replacement bulb for the bedroom lamp and tea, so I had to go out for those today, but I did address the heavy cream and pork rind shortages. :)

Back to work on Marketing and Business Administration.
wombat_socho: Wombat (DC)
I haven't really been spending a lot of time here, really, what with working three days in the tax mines, two night classes, and doing a sub assignment tomorrow on Jackson-Lee Day. Which is good because, you know, bad for the head to hang around the apartment all day on the internets, which is inevitably what I do unless I'm eating or sleeping or tending to personal/apartment maintenance. So I haven't been posting much here or on E2. Lots of Cityville posts at FB, though. #^_^#

Managed to get a handle on the eating situation; carbs are back down where they should be, blood sugar numbers ditto, and the weight is heading down as well. Weighed in this morning at 357.4, which means I'm back below my start weight for December. It's progress, and progress is good. Pretty confident that I'll hit my goal of 350 by the end of February, if not before. I have a freezer full of meat and a few veggies, though I might run out of bacon. We'll see how it goes.

Business at the tax mines is pretty slow. We're expecting things to pick up Saturday, which will be the first day we can e-file, and I'll be spending the day in the office playing loan officer, maybe even doing some taxes, or more likely manning the front desk. Things will start picking up toward the end of the month as more people get their W-2s and come in looking for their refunds. Be interesting to see how many of them don't qualify for the new Emerald Loan which replaces last year's Refund Anticipation Loans, and how many of those slope off to Jackson-Hewitt. Me, I'm not too concerned. I have about half a dozen returns I'll be doing for friends and family, and I'll probably pick up enough simple/easy returns from the senior tax pros to keep busy.
wombat_socho: Wombat (DC)
Spent what seemed like most of the day driving back and forth to classes at the Columbia Pike office, ending with the Bank Agency training, which I got confused with my CSP training and was therefore late to. :( At least I know where the Leesburg Pike office in Falls Church is now; right across the parking lot from Trader Joe's. Might have to stop in there and see if they have some of the stuff Harris-Teeter doesn't; for example, FAGE's full-fat yogurt, which is so incredibly awesome that it cannot be explained - it can only be experienced.

Winamp was acting weirdly, pretending that music in its library wasn't actually there, so I flushed the library, ripped a few CDs from the long-lost collection, and reloaded it. So far so good, except now I'm having second thoughts about all the Goo Goo Dolls and Third Eye Blind. Welp.

Started reading David Drake's Northworld Trilogy, which is sho' nuff some strange and weird stuff.

Tomorrow, another Skills To Win class in the afternoon and CSP training at night, plus a meeting with my new office leader to start the day. Thought I was going to be able to sleep in but realized that's not going to work. So I better get to bed.

TKA? KO!

Dec. 19th, 2010 11:32 pm
wombat_socho: Wombat (Happy)
Well...that was easier than the original final exam, to be honest. Not that it matters - I passed the Tax Knowledge Assessment tonight, and I'm going to do some serious taxes this season. Still grinding toward the CPA, of course, but this is definitely going to improve the cash flow.

Now if I could just find out what's going on with that damn Cost Accounting final.
wombat_socho: Wombat (DC)
This morning I attended the first of eight Skills to Win classes I need to take for H&R Block between now and New Year's Eve. This one was taught by the district manager, and was really more of a briefing on what Block expects all of us to be doing throughout the tax season. They're continuing to emphasize customer care this year, as well as the usual tax professional training; lot of emphasis on working as a team, too. The good news is that I'm being paid for the training; the bad news is that because my original offer letter doesn't make me active until the 27th, I probably won't be paid until after that, and I'm not sure whether they're going to pay me my CSP wage or something else.

Spent the afternoon studying for the Cost Accounting final tonight, which I'll be leaving for in a few minutes. I think I'll do okay. All I need is a 65 to pass the class, and I think I'll do better than that.

Tomorrow is Richard's funeral.

Sunday I'll be taking the Tax Knowledge Assessment online after some intensive grinding on filing statuses, dependent rules, and the EIC.

That'll pretty much take up the weekend.

UPDATE: Well, what the hell? Arrived at the school, met two other students who were also there to take the final - and neither the teacher nor the other students we knew were planning on doing the test showed up. I guess it's nice to have the extra study time, but having this happen on zero notice is...really annoying.
wombat_socho: Wombat (DC)
I could have been attending school in Pyongyang.

*sigh* I passed the H&R Block tax preparation class, but failed the final by two points, mostly on questions about best filing status/dependents/EIC that the tax prep software answers for you. So...I dunno. I gather there's another exam I can take which is actually harder, or I can just pack it in, resign myself to spending this tax season as a CSP, and do the tax course again in the fall. Long term, it doesn't matter that much since it doesn't count towards my CPA, but I was looking forward to doing some taxes at Block for several people, which is now very unlikely. Welp.
More academic FAIL after the cut )
wombat_socho: Wombat (DC)
So. Two finals tomorrow, one in the H&R Block course and one in Small Business Accounting. Another final on Tuesday, in Intermediate Accounting. Another on Thursday in Cost Accounting. And the week ends with [livejournal.com profile] therevdrnye's funeral. In between, I need to study, take some more unit tests in Business Law and Government/Non-Profit Accounting, and submit papers for Business Law as well; I also need to get my advisor's approval for an English class I'm planning on taking next semester, since apparently my certificate requires a token obeisance to the humanities. Going to be busy, busy, busy.

Think I'll get an early start on it by lulling myself to sleep with a review of questions from the H&R Block workbook. Between that and the nose hose, I should get a solid eight hours' sleep before rising tomorrow morning and wake up ready to slam dunk the tax prep final. We'll see how that plan works.
wombat_socho: Wombat (DC)
Got my offer letter from H&R Block today in the e-mail. It's not too clear on what I'm going to be doing at Foxchase next year, perhaps because I haven't passed the final exam in tax class yet, but it is clear that I'm getting a $0.30/hr raise over last year's hourly wage, and that is Good. No doubt the precise nature and timing of my duties will be determined by el Rey when the office formally opens in January, to say nothing of exactly what I'll be paid as a rookie Tax Associate. Apparently there's some talk about the rookies being on a straight hourly wage until they prove themselves, at which point they go on a lower wage plus commission, but I can wait to find out. Either way, it's all experience, and this is Good as well.

Mailman brought drugs from the VA and the new Sheetz Discover card, which I promptly activated although I probably won't be getting out to the ass-end of Fairfax/Loudoun County or Frederick where the Sheetzes are until...well, who knows. I want to be spending less time on the road and more time trying to wrap up all these classes I'm still way behind in, but we'll see what happens. Today, for example, I needed to get together with [livejournal.com profile] digex to settle some bidness, but P invited me to lunch at Malibu in Falls Church and wound up driving me out to Laurel. One thing led to another, pix were taken, music was sampled (but not mixed) and pretty soon it was time for P to go crash. I wound up taking MARC from Laurel to Union Station and Metro to the Pentagon (change at Gallery Place), from which I rode the express bus back to Foxchase, arriving around 1900. Not much studying got done. :(

So...time to get the nightly linkagery done and toddle off to bed, for tomorrow is the tax class and Intermediate Accounting.

Truth.

Nov. 30th, 2010 10:22 pm
wombat_socho: Wombat (DC)
(h/t [livejournal.com profile] cutelildrow, who ganked it from [livejournal.com profile] melvin_udall)


That pretty much sums it up.

In other news, maxed the last quiz in tax class this morning after going in cold, having forgotten that the quiz was today. Final's a week from Thursday. I'm stoked.
Picked up P from Dulles, played her Stacie Collins' Lend The Devil A Hand*, which P agreed rocked very hard. Had dinner with P, dropped her off at her place, then maneuvered through the back roads of Loudoun County to US 29 and then headed for Intermediate Accounting class, arriving only 20 minutes late. Busy day and a good one.


*Off the incredibly awesome Sometimes Ya Gotta, available for download through this here link. Click it. You know you want to. Wombat needs more BACON!
wombat_socho: Wombat (DC)
Shortest Intermediate Accounting class ever; Prof. Peterson had stuck an extra day in, so after a brief review of the test (on which I got an 80, BOOYA) he released us for the long Thanksgiving weekend. I am celebrating with spicy pork rinds. :)

Also, maxed the case review in today's tax class, going 16 for 16 on the questions - and you have to properly do ALL of the segments of the return to get all 16 correct. I am beginning to fall in love with the TPS software.

Going to renew my Foxchase lease tomorrow for 15 months, which should take me through March 2012 at $995/month plus utilities. I'll probably wind up moving into a new house/condo during tax season, but we'll see; I should have a full-time gig nailed down by then.
wombat_socho: Wombat (HALO)
Decided to call the Arlington district office instead of trying to find the place, and got an answer about the amount of class I've missed that took some weight off my mind. I need 72 to satisfy the attendance requirements, and between illness & the VA I'm only down to 76, so I'm okay there. All I have to do now is pass the final, which I'm pretty sure I can handle.

Spent the rest of the day digging out my e-mail inboxes, studying, printing coupons, studying, cleaning out the apartment, studying, and working my way down from the horrible 136 BG I woke up with. I still don't understand where that came from, but by the time dinner rolled around I was back down to double digits and stayed there afterward, so that's good. Have to remember that I can't just stuff myself full of food, even if it's all fats & proteins. Ketosis is great, but it doesn't just make mass vanish.

Downloaded emacs tonight, going to port it to Cowzilla before heading over to [livejournal.com profile] smitty1e's to work on the blog. Between that and a visit to Mark Taylor's to burn meat and hang out, that's pretty much going to take care of Saturday.

Pretty much decided that I'm going to be a no-show for Detour again in 2011. Considering that I am managing to get by only because of substantial help from friends, it would be rude and boorish to sky off to Minnesota and blow about a grand (between airfare and hotels) when I could and should be spending the money on more important things closer to home - like, say, rent and utilities. I know that's going to be a disappointment to my friends in Minnesota, but the situation is what it is. By 2012, things should be different, and I should be making decent $$$ again so I can afford to pull my own weight and spend excess money on going to conventions again. For now, though, conventions are entertainment for the bourgeoisie, and I don't even qualify for the proletariat at the moment. So it goes.

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