Ryan on Rails

Yes, I've gone and ditched drupal as my content management platform. I can't say that I had any real complaints with the actual software, other than I don't know PHP, and I don't want to. And you really don't need to, but after moving my site from the somewhat sketchy Site 5, to the somewhat better Dreamhost, I was plagued with little incompatibilities that I didn't know how to fix.

In theory, I'm a Ruby on Rails developer these days, so it just seemed right to roll my own using Rails. And keeping with the principals of Agile Software Development, I'm deploying early. I'll fix bugs and add features as I go. Namely, I need to add tagging, and allow comments.

Oh, and I am using an open web design created by Pat Heard. Currently I'm using it pretty much as it comes from him, but I hope to tweak it soon to have a bit more personal touch.

UPDATE: I've just noticed that there is some odd behavior when viewed by Internet Explorer. One problem was quickly addressed, others persist if viewed by any version of Internet Explorer previous to IE 7.

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The Grayness of the Tax Code

It is tax time again. After two years in a row that were pretty simple for me, I'm faced with more difficulties in 2006. Starting my business adds lots of complexity. I should probably file for an extension and hire a tax professional. I may still do that. But first I wanted to complain about the lack of consistency of information out there concerning taxes.

When determining the "Placed in Service" date for business equipment, you may be tempted to use the guidance found in IRS Publication 946 "How to Depreciate Property". You figure the IRS is the authority on the subject, but I consistently find these publications written as vague as possible. They are filled with tons of examples which you think would clear everything up, and yet somehow it doesn't.

Take for example the following excerpt taken from page 7 of this year's publication 946:

Example. You bought a home and used it as your personal home several years before you converted it to rental property. Although its specific use was personal and no depreciation was allowable, you placed the home in service when you began using it as your home. You can begin to claim depreciation in the year you converted it to rental property because its use changed to an in- come-producing use at that time.
That sounds pretty clear. OK, so I buy a $2000 computer in 2005 for personal use. In 2006, I start a company, and I begin using the computer for business use. What is my Placed in Service date for depreciation deduction purposes? The example above clearly indicates that the date should be the date I bought the computer, despite not using it in my business for a year. What would the basis be? Well, on page 12 of IRS Publication 946 clearly states that it should be the lesser of either the original cost (including adjustments to that basis) or the Fair Market Value (FMV) of the date the use changed. Well, for any computer, the FMV will be the lesser of those two amounts. But this makes no sense! Shouldn't the Date Placed in Service match the date you are using to value the asset? OK, OK, so when did the IRS ever make any sense. What follows is what really makes me throw my hands up.

TurboTax says this:

Placed in Service

Property (an asset) is considered placed in service when it is available and ready to be used for its intended purpose.

If you start using a personal asset in business, the placed in service date is the date when you started using the asset in your business.
So TurboTax is even more vague. The first paragraph more or less agrees with IRS Publication 946, but the second paragraph explicitly contradicts it. While I've never been a good web searcher (even using google), but I couldn't find anything on the web to clarify the issue (mostly a bunch of hits on the specifics of deducting SUV's and/or hybrid/electric vehicles).

What's an honest taxpayer to do? I guess the same as always... pick your interpretation, and be consistent with it. Oh, and hope when you're audited, that the IRS agrees with your interpretation. Sigh.

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Bowling a 289

Apparently I needed to take a break from bowling. A bowled quite a bit in leagues from 2002-2004. I improved a lot over that time too. I think when I took up bowling as a hobby, I was averaging about 125. When I bowled my last league game in 2004, my average was about 185. Not bad at all. The best game I'd ever bowled was a 279, and it was at an old center in Mechanicsburg, PA, where I think the pins were so old the edges had totally worn away. It wasn't a league game either, so there was no pressure. I'm not sure what my high league game was prior to Monday's, but it was probably something like 245. I don't think I ever broke 250 in league play before.

Since my last league game in 2004, I easily bowled less than 20 games. I am an alternate on the AOL bowling league, and Monday was the 3rd night I'd participated, or just 6 league games played prior to that night. My second game of the night started off pretty good. But even after my fourth strike, I thought, my groove would end soon. After the sixth strike is when I first started feeling that adrenaline rush. I started taking long walks up down the bowling center between my turns so as to expel some of those adrenaline jitters.

Even if people from other lanes were beginning to notice, I wasn't aware of it yet. My seventh and eighth strikes were pretty easy, as I was managing to stay relatively calm. I'd focus very well and shut out everything other than what I needed to do. On the ninth frame, I noticed that other people were watching me from afar, but they were still sort of pretending that they weren't noticing, and I managed to pull out another strike.

My heart was pounding while I was waiting for the tenth frame. I kept walking though, and tried to settle down. When it was my turn, my surroundings still looked about the same. I went through the same routine; although I probably spent a little additional time breathing and clearing my mind. Strike! Yes, I can do this. I turn around.... Where did all of these people come from??? There was a decent crowd behind my lane now watching to see if I could do it. And I have to bowl again, it is still my turn, and I don't get to go for a walk (although in retrospect I'm sure I could have). I did my best to focus after that, but I couldn't... I choked. My eleventh ball left a single pin, which I did pick up with my twelfth. It was quite a rush. So now I'm just 11 points... or two rolls away from a perfect game.

Mom would have been proud.

Player 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Ryan X
X 9 /

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Where Have I Been?

create your own visited countries map

create your own visited states map

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Riudoso Blues

I didn't do such a good job keeping the blog up to date the past week. We spent Monday night in Yuma, AZ, Tuesday night in Tucson, AZ, Wednesday night in Truth or Consequences, NM, and Thursday and Friday night in Albuquerque, NM.

Dad and I had a good night in Tucson. We stayed at the Hotel Congress. It isn't real fancy, but it is a cool place to stay. You're in a pretty hip part of town. Lots of bars and restaurants. The hotel itself is pretty interesting. It is very old, and looks like it has been frozen in time about 100 years ago.

We didn't spend much time in Truth or Consequences at all, so I can't really comment on it. It sounded like a cool place to visit, but we got in there late, and left pretty early. I had made an appointment in Albuquerque for my car to get the recommended 30,000 mile maintenance, so we hurried into Albuquerque to make the appointment. That service ended up costing $660... which in retrospect given this weekends events, sounds like an incredible waste of money.

Saturday was a driving day. We were going to pass through a couple of towns that Dad was thinking of retiring in. First up was Ruidoso, NM. We got into town, ate lunch, then we headed to a property for sale he was interested in. As we were turning into the driveway of the property, we were hit from behind by a Ford Explorer. We were propelled into (and onto) a stone wall.

Since this happened on the weekend in a small town, we've been stranded without a rental car. Also, the insurance claim specialist from both my insurance (State Farm) and the other party's (Geico), don't work on the weekend. Tomorrow I'll finally start getting some answers.

I suspect this spells the end of our adventure. Seems this road trip was cursed from the start. If you go back to the very beginning, I started towards the wrong city. Of course there were the circumstances leading to the hiatus in the middle of the trip. And now this. I believe I'll probably be home in the next few days. Who knows what the future of my car is. The pictures actually don't seem to show as much damage as there appeared to be in person.

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