Sunday, October 31, 2010

The IRS Isn't Scary

Got this at work and had to share. Amusing while still being true.

Do you remember trick-or-treating on Halloween when you were 5 years old and some high school kids jumped out in scary costumes? No doubt you screamed,
sent your candy flying and ran home.  

Taxpayers sometimes experience similar feelings when they’re notified the IRS is auditing their taxes. Truth is, we don’t wear scary masks; we don’t jump
out and say, “Boo!” In fact, we’re doing our very best to make the audit process (and customer service in general) professional and not frightening.  

In a new series of educational videos, “
Your Guide to an IRS Audit
,” a string of vignettes explains the examination process. The videos walk taxpayers through a typical audit from start to finish. They can see firsthand
the experience is very straightforward. SB/SE is at work creating a similar series to explain the collection process. 

But we can’t rely on videos alone. We are each accountable to our own customers. We must explain the actions we are taking and ensure our customers are
treated with respect and understanding.  

If you know someone who has been contacted by the IRS for an audit, send them the video links on While they still may consider an audit unsettling
– maybe a little scary, even – they’ll find out who we really are: skilled, dedicated employees who take pride in delivering the best customer service
we can. 


SB/SE Commissioner 

My Thanks to the Dems

I have to offer thanks to the Dems as I was thinking about skipping voting on Tuesday. As I was listening to the Broncos game however I heard one of the most snarky illogical political ads I've ever heard- sponsored by the Dems. This ad reminded me of my duty, not only to vote, but also to attempt to improve our culture, in so far as I can do so. With this in mind I plan to start donating on a monthly basis to the Heritage Foundation, as I view Heritage as one of the groups that is working towards improving and maintaining our culture.

So I thank the Dems for giving me, not only a reason to vote on Tuesday and not be lazy, but a reason to be engaged in the improvement of our culture.

Looking forward to Tuesday. Plan to have a couple of beers and some pizza as I listen to the results on the Hughniverse. Should be interesting.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Braille Readers Are Leaders

The time for the Braille Readers Are Leaders contest is quickly approaching, and once again I will be involved. The adult contest is a really cool fature that I am glad they are continuing this year. Anyone interested in joining me for a team should e-mail me.

Work continues a pace. On my new schedule, which is okay time wise, but is kicking me from here to next week with the actual being on the floor part. Thank God for the holy brew and gin in the evening. I trust this will get better, and in the meantime I have this ginormous Braille display to use while at work. Got a flu shot today, so am hoping it might leave me with a little more sick leave then otherwise. Here's hoping.

Trying to learn all the ins and outs of my Alva BC640 before the start of the contest, as I'd like to use it. Really a great display, but I very much look forward to the day when electronic Braille is more affordable. Hoping the Braille Wizard by NBP will be a solid step towards affordable electronic Braille, just like the Perkins Braille displays have been.

The National Federation of the Blind

Braille For Everyone

Saturday, October 23, 2010

White Cane Safety Day Proclamation

As those who speak with me for more then two minutes about politics knows I have huge disagreements with Obama about everything from economics to civil rights matters. Having said this I have always been most impressed by his White Cane Day proclamations, and felt it important to reprint it here.

The focus on the white cane as a symbol of freedom and independence, as well as the mention of the importance of Braille as literacy, are major points and should not be overlooked. Regardless of whether a given day is a travel easy day or one where I am veering all over the place, the fact that I can navigate independently is so important, and can be overlooked when not compared with the fairly recent past.

Additionally, the ability to read is extremely important. Although I don't read as quickly as I would like, the ability to use Braille, no matter how slowly, is a blessing. I know of those who can make it with just sound, but I question if their life is really enhanced by this lack.

October 15, 2010

The white cane, in addition to being a practical mobility tool, serves as a symbol of dignity, freedom, and independence for individuals who are blind or
visually impaired. On White Cane Safety Day, our Nation celebrates the immeasurable contributions the Americans who use canes have made as valued members
of our diverse country. We also examine our progress and recommit to full integration, equality, education, and opportunity for Americans with visual impairments.

Today, students with disabilities are reaching achievements considered unattainable just a few decades ago. Many gains have been realized throughout our
educational system, but we must accomplish more so that America's technological advances and assistive tools are available for the benefit of all students.
My Administration is committed to ensuring that electronic readers and other electronic equipment used by schools, including postsecondary institutions,
are accessible to individuals who are blind or visually impaired. We are also providing guidance and technical assistance to help colleges and universities
fully comply with the legal requirements to use emerging technology that is accessible to all students in the classroom. Blindness and visual impairments
are not impediments to obtaining knowledge, and we must highlight the availability of existing tools to facilitate communication and work to improve access
to them. Additionally, the Braille code opens doors of literacy and learning to countless individuals with visual impairments across our country and around
the world, and we must work with advocates and leaders throughout our society to promote and improve Braille literacy among our students.

Americans with disabilities are Americans first and foremost, entitled to both full participation in our society and full opportunity in our economy. My
Administration is working to increase information access so Americans who are blind or visually impaired can fully participate in our increasingly interconnected
world. To expand career options for people with disabilities in the Federal Government, I signed an Executive Order directing executive departments and
agencies to design strategies to increase recruitment and hiring of these valued public servants. I was also pleased to sign the Twenty-First Century Communications
and Video Accessibility Act into law earlier this month to ensure that the jobs of the future are accessible to all. This legislation will make it easier
for people who are deaf, blind, or live with a visual impairment to use the technology our 21st-century economy depends on, from navigating digital menus
on a television to sending emails on a smart phone.

As we observe the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act this year, my Administration reaffirms our national commitment to creating access
to employment, education, and social, political, and economic opportunities for Americans with disabilities. Together with individuals who are blind or
visually impaired, service providers, educators, and employers, we will uphold our country as an inclusive, welcoming place for blind or visually impaired
people to work, learn, play, and live.

By joint resolution approved on October 6, 1964 (Public Law 88-628, as amended), the Congress designated October 15 of each year as White Cane Safety Day
to recognize the contributions of Americans who are blind or have low vision.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim October 15, 2010, as White Cane Safety Day. I call upon all
public officials, business and community leaders, educators, librarians, and Americans to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies, activities, and

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fifteenth day of October, in the year of our two thousand ten, and of the Independence of the United
States of America the two hundred and thirty-fifth.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Dracula and work

Yesterday evening I went to see Dracula at the theater, and it was amazing. The acting was excellent (particularly that of the Count and Van Helsing) and the stage effects were well done. The adaptation of the book was almost word for word, and it blended humor and seriousness in such a way as I haven't seen on the stage in a long time.

My only regret is that they cut out the character of Quincy, the brash American from Texas. I have always loved Quincy's character, as it symbolizes for me the American character and the impact it had on the world, even at that time.

Nevertheless, the play was a once in a lifetime experience I will never forget. I strongly suggest seeing it if you have the time and are near to Denver.

After the play Soren, Lora, and I went to a new bar for me, Fresh Craft. The food was excellent (almost as good as the company), and the beer was better. The service was friendly and prompt. I plan to go back as soon as possible, as it looks like an excellent place to huddle oneself in for a few hours. The music was good but not too loud, which is so unique in downtown IMO.

On other fronts the job is rather shaky. Unfortunately, the work I am doing is just not inspiring (unlike the work I did for the CCB, but I don't feel I can afford to resign before next June. Every morning getting out of bed is a struggle, and every night I go to sleep tired and emotionally drained. Perhaps I shall resign anyway, but we will see. I have a new schedule and new manager come Monday, so I am waiting to see how that turns out before making a final call.

Regardless of what happens I intend to stay in Denver. Even with $35 a month for RTD passage the freedom granted by being able to move about the city is wonderful. Colorado Springs, while a beautiful city, simply can't offer the same freedom of movement. THis freedom helps me understand why sighted people love their cars so. Truly the ability to move where ever one wishes is a blessing and freedom I think is taken for granted too often.

I follow with the iced coffee...

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Hare Awakens

Alas as with the tortoise and the hare this hare took a week long nap in the matter of reading the Bible. I have awakened, however, and am now on day 19. I hope to catch up to where I need to be via double readings over the course of the week. I find reading the Bible in the morning tends to help me through the rest of the day. Certainly between it and my coffee I am vaguely awake by the time I hit my desk at 8am.

The rest of life goes fairly well. Still trying to maintain my social life, and still getting a handle on the job. The latter at least seems to be getting easier somewhat, and I am very much looking forward to getting out on the floor on 10-25.

I have been listening to this over the past week and thought I'd share it.

I follow with the iced coffee...

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Humor at work and Shopping at the Temple

Work today was quite the roller coaster- I began the day getting an earful for joking with the customer about the quality of my equipment. I felt this was a simple statement of fact, and the appreciation of the humorous element of this fact would be fine to share with the customer (as that is part of the reason said customer is stuck for such a long period on the phone). Alas this is *not* the case. Considering my employer I wasn't expecting to have customers falling on the floor in laughter, but I found the talking to nonetheless unfortunate. Better to know now, then to have "issues" in the future I suppose.

Calls went fairly well today. My superior was pleased with them. The last one unfortunately involved a grumpy individual who sucked the life out of me over the phone, and then hung up before I could even assist him. *sigh*

So I did what any respectable individual would do- I went to the Temple of Capitalism and bought some Red Bull and chewy chocolate chip cookies. The latter I heated up in the microwave, and the former I made into a Jagerbomb. I also broke down and bought Wal-Mart's version of icyhot, in hopes it will help with the neck. We'll see how it goes.

Looking forward to a quiet evening consisting of books, a hot tub, and watching my favorite actress.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Fall and the Gauntlet

I am very pleased the the weather has finally started to cool, and I can start to believe that I live in a city and not an oven. The smell of smoke in the air, the cool breeze, and the excellent weather always fill me with a sense of expectancy. Never sure what I expect exactly, but every fall it is there.

Social life goes well. Went to Rock Bottom with my dear friend Deanna and her boyfriend Andrew yesterday evening. Great time, between the company and the food.

Started properly on the phones at work yesterday. All in all a pretty good start; although I had forgotten some things since it's been a couple of weeks since I've been on the phones. If yesterday was any indication the days should be tiring but fly by.

The gauntlet also goes well. Although this hare is tempted to take a nap now and again I have thus far been able to maintain my lead (I am as of this writing on day sixteen of the reading plan). The regular reading is helpful for me, as it makes for a good way to wake up in the morning and sustain me during breaks etc. at work.