Saturday, March 27, 2010

Betty and the Giant

In The Church of the Big Ring there are few holidays as important or joyous as the Road Bike Season opener. It often comes up suddenly with little warning as it did today. I started the day on the commuter running errands and while there was no question that there would be riding today, I didn't realize the high holiday was upon us and figured there would still be the CostCo run, perhaps another spin up to see George

I assumed it would be more miles on lumbering steel and touring tires.
Noodling through Saturday chores while the temp rose and the threatened rain sulked away without accomplishing a single patch of drizzle. I've had Saturdays like that so I understood as the skies lighted and the wind dropped. I've been screwing around with my road shoes, another story for another day, and thought I may have come up with a configuration that I had not yet tried.

I should have seen it as the harbinger of the high holiday but I missed it. TOB has a new horse in the barn and had spent the morning putting on svelte new shoes, bars and grooming it so her ride choice was clear. So off we go down the street each marveling at our handiwork but we don't make it past the end of the block before Betty's mournful wailing fills the neighborhood.

Even when we don't detect the opening rituals of the high holiday, the bikes know and won't risk missing out on the festivities. So it's a quick U turn, shoe swap and Betty is right side up for the first time in months.

And that's how it came to be that Betty and the Giant spent the day frolicking on the tarmac, celebrating the return of skinny tire days.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Stud-less in Minneapolis

I'm usually the last guy to remove the studded tires but I took them off a few weeks back and am happy I did.

Feels like I'm riding around nekkid but without the blushing...

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Turbo Tax HSA Miscalculation

So like many folks I'm diving into my tax preparations and as I have done in the past am was using Turbo Tax from Intuit. It's all going along swimmingly until I enter my HSA information at which time it tells me I have over-contributed and tells me I will be paying a penalty for my transgression thereby reducing my refund by more than $300.


The IRS clearly states I can contribute $3000 as an individual:

Limit on Contributions

The amount you or any other person can contribute to your HSA depends on the type of HDHP coverage you have, your age, the date you become an eligible individual, and the date you cease to be an eligible individual. For 2009, if you have self-only HDHP coverage, you can contribute up to $3,000. If you have family HDHP coverage, you can contribute up to $5,950.

The Turbo Tax online support forum is full of complaints (for example) on this issue going back to last year with transcripts from support chats showing Intuit (maker of Turbo Tax and Quicken) agrees this is a problem and will fix it. There is no solution available and lots of ranting on the Turbo Tax site's own support forum. 

A search of the interwebs did uncover a potential solution where you have to go under the covers and delete some form to get it to work correctly but really, should I have to go under the covers to mess around with something to get it to work correctly? If this is a reliable solution then why doesn't Intuit have it available in its support forum?

It's a matter of trust

I found this error because I know what the right answer is and the software got it wrong. How am I supposed to trust this software to make the calculations where I don't know the right answer? Isn't the point of this type of application to correctly make the calculations so you don't risk making your own stupid mistakes? How many other calculations need me to find some obscure form and delete it in order for it to make the right calculations? 

If I don't already know the right answer and detect that it's wrong in the software, how would I know to go looking for the right answer. If I do already know the right answer, why do I need software to "help" me out with my tax filing?

Trust is a delicate flower; does it ever really come back once it has been stepped on?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

My First Bike Mentor

My brother Dan introduced me to the bicycle as something that was more than just a toy. He was my first bike mentor and helped me purchase my first serious bike, the only one I have put more than ten thousand miles on in a single year.

Today he would have been 56.

Two years ago I visited Hatcher Pass in Alaska where his ashes were spread many years ago.

When I lived with him up there we went camping up on the pass and spent some good hang-out time. When I returned to the pass I knew there would be memories but it turned out to be a pretty spiritual experience. I remember scribbling the following in a notebook while at the top of the pass but forgot about it until I tripped on it a few days ago.

As I walked

There lay Dano
Quiet, at rest
Surrounded by beauty
Life beyond death
On a mountain side
Warm sun
Gentle breeze
I've come full circle
To say goodbye to his life
To say hello to mine
He found this place of beauty
Now it's mine