Celebrity Death Watch: Major celebrity death of the past several days is Sidney Harman. Aside from having made lots of money in audio equipment and then gone on to buy Newsweek for a dollar, his major claim to fame in the D.C. area is that the theatre used by the Shakespeare Theatre Company is named for him. He and his wife, former Congresswoman Jane Harman, were long term patrons of the arts here.
Random Trivia: 14% of our troops who have been medically evacuated from Afghanistan have had altitude sickness.
Taxes: Virginia ended their free file program after last year. The idea was that people with lower incomes would get to use commercial providers free, while others could pay to file electronically. Being a cheapskate and noting that the feds at least have free fillable forms, I intended to file on paper. But Intuit saw a marketing opportunity and provided a prepaid code for all Virginia taxpayers, making it free to use their turbotax product. This meant that I used turbotax for the first time in my life (for both federal and state taxes). I found it fairly annoying that things are arranged in a different order than they are on the forms and call for more information. For example, I don't have to enter the info from 1099-INT and 1099-OID forms in separate sections on Schedule B, instead of just separate lines. Nor do I have to list each of my charitable contributions with the exact date. Overall, I wasn't super impressed and wouldn't bother to pay for the software. People who are less compulsively organized or more intimidated by tax forms may find the experience more satisfying.
Social Media: I've been getting some odd LJ comments. They aren't obvious spam, but they just say things like "this was an interesting topic." Which, of course, is completely generic and doesn't bear any particular relationship to anything I wrote. In all cases, when I look at the commenter's LJ, they have no entries, no friends list, and just a bunch of comments. Has anybody else experienced this and what could somebody be aiming to gain out of it?
House Envy: I went to a friend's housewarming party this past Sunday afternoon. He bought a condo in Crystal City towards the end of last year and moved in right at the beginning of January. He has already replaced the dining room floor, decorated with his vast collection of antiques (e.g. hung several old maps, arranged a lot of glass objects in curio cabinets he inherited from his greatgrandparents, etc.), arranged an assortment of stuffed animals on the guest bed, and so on. More to the point, he appears to have actually unpacked everything. Now, admittedly I didn't open up closets and maybe he has a messy storage locker somewhere, but I've lived in my condo for over 3 years now and my den remains the Black Hole of Vienna and I haven't hung most of my pictures. (Partly that is because I am looking for some display cabinets and haven't had time to find ones I like.)
He also has an awesome view of the airport, the river and much of the District. There's a part of me that envies the view but I made a concious choice of where to live and I prefer my neighborhood. I realized that much of my envy had to do with the orderliness of his place. And that is something that is within my control. I'm not going to ever achieve a clutter-free life (nor would I really want to) but I can do better.
Travel Planning: I believe I've mentioned before that I am planning a trip to Iceland and the Faroe Islands. The news this week noted that the Phallological Museum in Iceland has finally gotten a human specimen. This sounds like such a bizarre museum that it may be worth adding to my itinerary.
Reviews to Come: I saw Pink Martini (with the NSO Pops) on Wednesday night. Last night, I drove to Herndon for the Elden Street Players production of the musical, Thrill Me: The Story of Leopold and Loeb. Expect reviews some time next week.
Upcoming Calendar Items: I have mailed in my registration fee and made my travel arrangements for Convidence. On a completely different note, I have almost decided to enter the 2nd annual Virginia Tall Tales Championship.