Monday, August 30, 2004


wacky daffy

1) Pop Life decides to go vegetarian. If that makes no sense to you, don't worry 'bout it.

2) I got a letter from the government, the other day. I opened and read it, it said they were suckers! The IRS sent me a notice that said I owed them about $30K in back taxes from 2002. Suffice to say, I was momentarily shook but then I read through the whole letter and realized what happened.

For all prospective freelancers out there, here's a small lesson: if you've ever worked full-time someplace, you fill out a W-9 and you get a W-2 at the end of the year. For freelance gigs (assuming, of course, you actually get paid), you get 1099s instead - these forms go to both you and IRS at the beginning of the calender year. Accounting mistakes (not of the Enron level, more like a finger slip) happens and in this case, one of my 1099s was reported to the IRS as me having earned 10 times what I actually did - a simple decimal point typo, but one that had me in the gov't shit hole for 30 large!

3) I got an email from my mother, the other day, I clicked it and read it, it said I was a sucker!
    "Can you redesign a home page that's more eye catching? It would be better if you have colorful designs than just black and white without any pictures or design. It looks like a document."
I don't always agree with moms on everything, but on this...well...she was probably right. I've had the same design, in essence, since the first days of the Ozone: 1995 (cotdamn!). It really, really needed a revamp so I gave it one. It's still a work-in-progress but at least 60 year old Chinese moms won't be throwing me shade about how so mid-90s my design skills are.

4) I got a call from a telemarketer, the other day. I picked up and listened, they said they were suckers! The national Do Not Call Registry is a great thing but one consequence from it is that telemarketers have a smaller group of people to call and ergo, they call them all the goddamn time. When S and I moved into our new spot, we neglected to automatically sign up for the registry and I swear to gawd, within 24 hours, we had those damn calls where you say "hello? hello?" and then a distant voice comes on saying, "good evening - is Mr. or Mrs. Wang there?" #1: there is no Mrs. Wang in my household. Mrs. Wang is my mother, she lives in Shanghai. #2: I used to be cordial enough to, you know, lie to them and say, "I'm sorry, they're not here." Nowadays, I just hang up. I feel's not their fault they're underpaid wage slaves but seriously, after the 4th call in an hour (not remotely kidding), I ain't having it.

5) Speaking of "back in the day", today was the first day of classes at UC Berkeley. Even though this 13th fall at Cal, the experience is always overwhelming when suddenly, there seems to be a million fresh-persons everywhere, reading campus maps, hanging out in dog packs, roaming Telegraph, extolling the virtues of Amoeba (deserved) and Blondies (not). Don't get me wrong, I'm not hating on them at all but it does make me flash back to my own undergrad days at Cal, back in the heady days of the early 1990s. There are of course, major, major differences between now and then but here's some of the things that jump out.
  • I saw one newbie student, with a campus map in one hand, a cell phone in the other, trying to find his next class. Back in the day (BITD), even rocking a pager was hardcore (shout out to Sir Mix-A-Lot.

  • In giving students a talk about plagarism, BITD, I would never have had to mention stealing content from internet sites since they didn't exist then. This, of course, is probably one of the biggest changes. I worked in computer labs as an undergrad in the early '90 and actually saw the evolution of the WWW from jump. I take for granted how fully invested I am in this world now (duh, look at what I'm doing now), but I also remember the days before people's entire social and intellectual lives weren't all neatly centered around a single source of information exchange. I don't want to use the word "revolution" lightly but truly, in less than 10 years, I have probably witnessed the biggest sea-change in contemporary society that I likely ever will know.

  • Of course, some things have changed, especially in current events. BITD, there was intense strife in the Middle East, the World Trade Center was the target of a terrorist bombing and President Bush was seeking reelection during poor economic times and after leading a questionable war against Saddam Hussein and Iraq. Oh, wait a minute.

Pop Life is finally catching up on its reading (1,000 posts in bloglines!). Here's everything you should be reading/thinking/watching/listening: