The gracefully curving exterior of the Neoclassical-styled Ariel Rios Federal Building that today houses EPA headquarters as seen at night in a typically slightly blurry cellphone camera image I took, Washington D.C., 6;15PM, Feb. 18, 2011.
It is a graceful and ornate building built in the early 1930s. The Wikipedia article on it explains its history and why it was rechristened Ariel Rios in 1985.
I took an applied statistics class in this building one semester (in spring 2006, I believe) as part of my pubic policy masters program.
OK, this is my planned and promised / threatened weekend update ...
It is another totally dry day with nary a cloud in the sky as the wintertime drought continues.
But the big story today are the tremendous winds -- blowing 30 to 40MPH with gusts of 60+ MPH even here in D.C., rather than just in the Blue Ridge / Shenandoah and Allegheny Front.
The wind is really surging outside in fits and starts. There will certainly be power outages in the suburbs where the power lines are above ground.
The whole region is under both a high wind warning and a red flag warning (for enhanced fire threat).
Here is a screen shot of the Sterling LWX main Web page showing its regional county warning area (CWA) map updated at 1142AM, Feb. 19, 2011. The map only shows the most significant warning but D.C. is under both a high wind warning and a red flag warning.
It's about 55F right now.
Yesterday it reached a daily record high of 77F at DCA (old record was 76F set in 1981), and a daily record high of 75F at IAD (old record was 73F set in 1981), while BWI reached 74 (just shy of its daily record of 75F set in 1976).
All three airports surpassed their previous record high low temps at 51F, 53F, and 52F, respectively. The previous record high lows for Feb. 18th were, I believe, 50F at all three airports.
It MIGHT finally rain on Monday into Tuesday as it gets colder (more seasonal).
Financial Update ...
I'm spending money way too fast.
I spend on average nearly $60 per day -- and I'm yet again running out of cash ahead of my next paycheck (scheduled for Friday, March 25th).
Of the $1767 amount, I need to pay off two months' worth of both cable/internet and cellphone bills totaling, respectively, a ridiculous $283.17 and $177.14, or in all $460.31.
The reason I need to make two months' worth of payments is I paid $800 late last month in a payoff on one of my remaining four defaulted credit card debts (see below).
Then I need to make at least a $100 payment on my remaining $190 IRS bill -- this is from my 2009 tax bill that started out at $1250 or so.
I owed so much although my income was only $12,430 (see below), because it was virtually all earned as a 1099 independent contractor for that nightmare intellectual sweatshop place. I would have owed closer to $1650 but I qualified for a $400 "Making Work Pay" income tax credit that I didn't even know about (the IRS figured that out for me). Anyway, I skipped my IRS monthly payment last month (again for the same reason involving the other $800 payment).
As for 2010, while my income was up, reaching a whopping $44,497.80 -- compared to $12,430 in 2009; $28,874 in 2008; and, yes, $49 in 2007 when I was in grad school -- I'm still going to owe approx. $600 in Federal taxes because $8,875 of that was as a 1099 independent contractor for that nightmare place in Bethesda, Md., before I got my current job. One of these days I will relate all about that place, and I'll name names.
My 2011 income, assuming I don't get fired or otherwise lose this job, should actually be around $60,000 -- by far the highest I've ever earned, and NO 1099 bullshit.
As for taxes, unlike a certain vulgar and narcissistic one, and the gay bar/club mafia racket to which
Neither do I launder it through the D.C. gay community in a late-stage imperial decadent lifestyle.
I also have a recurring $27.72 student loan payment -- an amount that is at once so low it isn't keeping up with the interest accrual and that will rise substantially once I report my new income. Then there is the $25 per month to Weinstock Friedman and Friedman (W.F.F.) (see below).
I also need to pay off $80 I owe Gary and Kristof combined. Then I need to get a haircut and I budgeted approximately $150 for some desperately needed new clothing.
The view of the Smithsonian Castle with the Enid Haupt Garden in the foreground as I was walking home from work last night, 6:04PM, Feb. 18, 2011. It was such a mild night I decided to walk the 2+ miles home across the National Mall and downtown.
While all of the numbers I cited above will still leave me with about $69 per day for the Feb. 25th - March 9th period (which is shortened owing to the shortness of February), for the one after that (March 10th - 24th), after I pay my rent (which rises $20 per month to $1014 starting in March), I will only have $48/day and I'll almost certainly overshoot that amount.
Long story short, 9 months into my job and I'm still not actually saving any money and I've not yet been able to set up any 401-k plan. In America one is required to put a portion of one's income into a brutal and rigged sky-trillion dollar casino that is Wall Street / Ponzi Scheme that is the deleveraging shocked yet still debt bubbled present day American economy.
In the end, all that money it'll be stolen by Goldman Sachs in a conveniently timed "surprise crash" -- and the stunningly ignorant Teabaggers and screwball libertarians still celebrate such corporate theft as "freedom" -- EVEN WHEN IT'S THEIR MONEY! -- since it's not "da Gub'mint".
Anyway, concerning the $800 I mentioned above, that was one of the 3 settlements I've made on the original defaulted credit card debts I had that totaled at one point approximately $13,000 (although in truth I only ran up about half that amount with the rest just being added on as part of the underbelly of said financialized American economy since that is the only way "growth" happens).
In any event, it is highly unlikely I will ever live long enough to have to worry about retirements and how to "pay for it." By that point (circa 2036), Social Security will in all likelihood have LONG since been stolen by Wall Street crooks, the cult-like GOP, and Robert Rubin-like corporate pussy Democrats.
The Washington Monument at dusk as I was crossing the National Mall on my walk home from work, 6:08PM, Feb. 18, 2011.
This image of the roughly one mile distant U.S. Capitol Building was taken at the exact same spot and same time (6:08PM Feb. 18, 2011) as the one above of the Washington Monument, but looking due east instead of due west. I would have made this the lead image but it is blurry (as I only have my crummy cell phone camera).
Back to my debts ...
In addition to the $800 payoff, I also paid $636 and I'm paying off at $25/month a $2500 debt that is now down to about $2100. This is also owned by W.F.F. (mentioned above). They ended up holding BOTH the debts from the small claims cases back in 2009.
In addition, I've nearly paid off my IRS bill (all but $190), or about $1060 of the original bill.
**Thus, in the past year I have paid off nearly $2900 in debts, with most of that coming in the past 7 months.**
**I know a lot of you deep down think I'm some worthless deadbeat, but there you have it.**
Now two defaulted credit card debts remain "out there" in the vast and shadowy debt collection economy including a $4100 and a $3000 debt. The mother lode of debt that I have, though, is my $225,000 in student loans held by the Dept. of Education's Direct Loan program.
The sidewalk on the 12th Street side of the Herbert Hoover Interstate Commerce Building, early night, Washington, D.C., 6:14PM, Feb. 18, 2011.
I'm home right now composing this entry. I got up surprisingly early (10AM) this Saturday considering how tired and headache-plagued, not to mention drunk last night. I went to Larry's Lounge with Gary, Jamie, and Wendy.
Yours truly in the take-out only pizza place on U Street next to my building, Washington, D.C., 2:21AM, Feb. 19, 2011. I got the smallest pizza they had for $6.50.
My apartment is a dusty little dump with blanket, pillows, and stuffed animals heaped high on the mattress on the floor that is my bed. Laundry I've yet to fold is also piled high. I'm barely holding back the massive dust bunnies that have long since taken over my apartment, wiping them up (often with a damp paper towel to wipe the hardwood floor).
Here is what my apartment looks like right now. This really is unacceptable but I've had zero motivation the past 3-1/2 weeks (since the Cobalt incident with Jackass and Lady Jackass) to do anything (except write that letter and post angry Arcturus blog entries).
I have the windows cracked and the surging wind is crashing into the old building in fits and starts.On the easy listening music channel I often keep on (RCN Channel 891) is Mantovani's version of "Theme from a Summer Place" right now.
As usual, I have no food in the apartment. I need to go grocery shopping. But I can't go over to 17th Street Safeway into the gay mafia's zone, so I'm forced to go to the Harris Teeter in Adams Morgan, which is slightly farther away to walk (no biggie) but a bit more money.
Then there is the Whole Foods on P Street, but I really can't stand that place with its funky and bogus organic this and eco-brand that, not to mention utterly mobbed with the goddamn office-building phony-liberal yuppies who are rapidly transforming D.C. into a weird, much whiter wealthy-only enclave.
One a week or so I go to the Watergate Safeway, but that's a 45min walk down New Hampshire Avenue from U Street to the edge of the Potomac River.
OK, I need to end this entry. My computer has crashed three times (it's some problem with its display mode) and Firefox -- which is so excellent at restoring lost sessions -- by its very act of restoring those sessions is making it worst. I had to start a new session outright.
My next planned update will early to middle of next week. I have off Monday as the "Washington's Birthday" Federal holiday (previously referred to as "President's Day").
The furious winds outside today are actually causing cable issues, too. And whenever the cable winks off, the digital box as to "reinitialize" itself in what takes about 10 minutes plus another 15 minutes to recover the channel guide, all while sucking huge amounts of power whether on or off. (My utilities are included in my rent so I don't "feel" that cost.)
The wind is also likely to blow out the pilot light of my stove, and that's a pain in the ass to relight.
Bottom line, I'll be lucky to get this effing entry posted or to cook a crappy lunch (the only thing I have in the apartment to eat is a Lean Cuisine roasted turkey dinner).
As for the rest of today, in addition to grocery shopping, I need to finish two work assignments -- but unlike that nightmare place I worked, these are short (not 40+ pages each) and interesting and are supposedly read by Congressional office staff.
I'll probably go to Nellie's tonight.