On Uber and PDX: A Not-Exactly-Love Story

@cjm I like the law about the wheelchairs. I like the law about the vehicle inspections. And I particularly like the law that limits the number of taxis that can be on the street at one time. San Francisco traffic was never a picnic, but it is demonstrably worse now, with 10,000 cars roaming around, and double-parked.

Posted on December 17, 2014 at 6:00 pm 0

On Honey, Sweetie, Chief, Boss: How We Talk to Strangers

Language. So much is personal context. Like, your entire own history. Cynthia Heimel, who is right about most things, wrote kind of a screed about referring to women as ladies, in pretty much any circumstance. Condescending. Paternal. Demeaning. (I paraphrase, accurately I hope. I cannot refer to the original right now.) You could tell she really felt it, and I was just, Really? How can you care? About ladies? And gentlemen isn’t the same?

Posted on November 18, 2014 at 5:37 pm 0

On Men Also Want It All

Yes of course it's childcare when it's your child. What you don't do for your own children is babysit.

Posted on November 6, 2014 at 5:17 pm 3

On Spend More on an Austen than Austen Herself Made in her Life!

The key is that word retail. So a pro buying from you in order to sell it would pay you no more than 60% of that. Same with every valuable thing you own. But if you insured it, you'd get $3,000 to replace it with.

Posted on November 3, 2014 at 4:18 pm 1

On On Wearing a Uniform

That's my uniform!

Posted on October 31, 2014 at 5:32 pm 0

On Everything You Need to Know About Diapers, Part 2

Real moms? Seriously? Even if that is only meant to refer to maternal ingenuity or something, Fuck you very much. All of these, "You do it the hard way if you really care about your family/the earth/moral superiority verging on perfect righteousness" cases rely on the given that your time (and really, we're talking about the real moms' time) is worth nothing to herself or anyone.

Posted on October 23, 2014 at 12:48 pm 1

On Jimmy John's Non-Compete Agreement Bans Employees From Working at Restaurants that Serve Sandwiches

When I was a young thing going to work for a startup in the late 80s, the contract included a non-compete section that was both simple and gigantic. For I think a year, employee could not do any work, contract or full time, for basically any company that did anything even kind of related. I don't remember what penalty it made. But someone's boyfriend lawyer told me to go ahead and sign because non-compete clauses are all about intimidating the ignorant, and completely unenforceable. Employers can tell you what to do while you're working for them (though not even who you can work for on your own time) but they cannot tell you what you can do once they aren't paying you any more. He suggested that maybe they'd like to pay a great big severance, and in order to get it I might want to sign something about who I'll work for. I inquired no further, and have signed dozens of the things since. Never heard of any company even trying to enforce one.

Posted on October 15, 2014 at 3:29 pm 0

On My Whole Foods Discount Is the Best—Worst?—Mostly Best

I am in Portland, working in a neighborhood where the only grocery store for a long way is a Whole Foods. But the area hasn't really caught up to WF yet. They try to discourage street people from using the bottle return, see more SNAP than other stores do, maybe. Yesterday I was in line behind a couple. They had way too much stuff for the little WF cart. Tons of stuff, not just groceries but laundry soap, dish soap, staples. They were definitely stocking a new place, and really stood out for the number of things they were buying. It was lunch time and a lot of people registered what they were doing, full conveyor belt, still big pile in the cart, and left their line for another. I pulled in behind them and had a while to contemplate how uncharacteristic it was. They were very nice. She suggested that I might not want to take another line, and I said it was fine, because I didn't want to say I was curious to see their grocery bill. When they paid (they split it) she pulled out a couple of NY Metro cards and they talked about whether they were worth keeping. The bill was $230-something, and they had maybe six bags. And this was a not a luxury haul. I didn't notice meat or wine. I wanted to take them aside and say, "I know this is the only grocery store you've seen since you've gotten to the neighborhood, but you've got to go over to the 39th Ave Fred Meyer for this kind of stuff." I felt pretty kindly toward them. It was like a newbie mistake. Or maybe they're rolling in dough and they'll never go anywhere else, now that they're not paying New York rent. Maybe the Whole Foods sensibility is part of what they came to Portland for. But I try to stay out of the place altogether. Once I was in a jam for dinner and bought chicken thighs that turned out to be $8 a pound.

Posted on October 15, 2014 at 12:18 pm 0

On It’s Time to Pony Up for an Accountant

Just real quick: An accountant and a tax preparer are not the same thing. And accountants (CPAs) have to be licensed, so they cost more. And also, very important: When someone tells you their tax preparer gets them a gigantic refund every year and you should use them, consider that it's very possible they are taking deductions that will not stand under audit, and they will be so fucked if it happens. If a tax person tell you that you can deduct every single thing you have a receipt for (You bought a guitar? That's your side career as a musician!) then they are not caring that an IRS auditor is going to want cast iron proof or they will just take that number our of the total, and you will pay the tax and the penalty. You can put any number on a tax return, and compose a fine narrative to go with it, but if you're audited, they do not have to accept your explanation. Try to deduct $2,000 worth of kitchen gear because you started a food blog and your auditor will not only want to see the blog, they will want to see your attempts to monetize it. It's a hobby if you can't prove a good faith (if not good sense) effort to make back at least as much as you're spending. There are people who have tried to deduct for instruments and recording equipment when they have actually made CDs, duplicated them, and sold some, and especially if it's been a couple of years and they haven't earned much money compared to what they're deducting, auditors have called it all a hobby and not allowed a cent of it. Plus penalties. There are horror stories. And the algorithms for teasing out sketchy returns get more sophisticated every year. They're the best tool the IRS has.

Posted on October 10, 2014 at 12:23 pm 1

On How Wizards Do Money: Parvati Patil

That's not emerald dress robes, and maroon with the lace torn off. WTH?

Posted on September 18, 2014 at 3:50 pm 0