Milestones: The Yaris, the IRS, and a growing Bonfire

Today is a big day here at Slacktivist World Headquarters, and not just because pitchers and catchers have started reporting for spring training. As of today, the Yaris is now officially paid off.

This sweet set of wheels is not my particular Yaris, but mine is just as adorably fearsome.

So now I’m in that sweet spot of indeterminate length — the space of time between when you’re done with car payments and when your car starts breaking down so much that repairs start to exceed the cost of those former payments. The Yaris is still in pretty good shape, so here’s hoping it lasts until the next generation of technological breakthroughs finally produce affordable plug-in electric vehicles.

We refer to my car here at SWH as “the Yaris” due to an old joke about the clumsy and intrusive product-placement on Smallville. Clark Kent’s friend Chloe Sullivan drove one on the show and it seemed the producers’ ad contract with Toyota required them to repeatedly mention the model name of the car, no matter how awkward or unnatural this sounded in conversation. (“Hurry Clark! We’ll take my Yaris!”) It didn’t help that we were also always thinking — No, don’t get in the Yaris, dummy, you can fly!

I joked about that for years … and then, after my ’96 Civic died, I bought a Yaris. So I guess the joke is on me.

The good news for the Yaris is that I now work from home, so I’m happily no longer racking up the mileage from a nightly commute to and from Delaware.

Working from home and trying to make a go of it here as a full-time blogger brings us to today’s other big milestone — my first experience doing my taxes with only a 1099. Hadn’t really appreciated the full tax implications of “independent contractor” meaning one is both employer and employee. You know you’re in for it when your accountant friend starts out by explaining that the IRS has very reasonable installment plans. Those should be about the same as the car payments on the Yaris, so it works out.

Still, I don’t mind taxes, I use them to buy civilization. And on that score I’m far less concerned about the price going up than about improving the quality of the merchandise.

A few more recent milestones:

• The Bonfire list now stands at 1,164 blogs. So the answer to that question “Where are all the Christian women bloggers?” turns out to be that they’re not hard to find.

If you know of any other blogs that ought to be listed there, please let me know in comments here or at slacktivist at hotmail dot com. The only criteria for that list is that they be active blogs written by Christian women. (This ain’t Beliefnet, so blogs with the word “feminist” in their names are not excluded.)

Let me assure you that 1,162 of the blogs in that list are excellent. The other two are just awful — but I won’t say which two, you’ll have to check them all out yourself to find out.

• My list of blogs by Christians of color, “The Mosaic,” is up to 124. That’s a little better, but still not as big as it should be. And still not yet big enough to make jokes about two of them supposedly being awful.

Again, please recommend any other blogs that belong on that list (especially if it’s your own blog — that wouldn’t be immodest, this is an invitation).

• My list of blogs by LGBT Christians — “Xn QUILTblogs” — is frustratingly just shy of a big milestone. It now stands at 98 blogs, and I’d very much like to break the 100-blog mark. I know there are other terrific writers and voices I haven’t yet discovered, and I hope some of you can introduce me to them.

Everybody likes big round numbers, and since most of us have ten fingers and ten toes, 100 just seems like a bigger deal than 98. Once that list reaches 100, I can tout it as a list of The Top 100 Blogs by LGBT Christians. If I tried to do that now, it wouldn’t be convincing. A list of The Top 98 Blogs would seem like when a shrinking local church makes a big deal out of its 95th anniversary and everyone just shakes their head sadly, realizing it’s because they’re probably not still going to be around for their centennial.

I know there are more than two excellent blogs missing from that QUILTblogs list, so please help me find them.

Those three lists are limited to blogs written by Christians because my intent there is to catalog, and amplify, the voices of Christians who may have been kept to the margins of straight-white-male American Christianity. But mainly I started these lists for myself — as an effort to expand the scope of my own reading and to add to the chorus of voices in my own RSS feed.

And on that latter point, I very much do not want to limit myself only to blogs written by Christians. So please feel free to recommend any other blogs you think I should be following as well (either here in comments or, again, at slacktivist at hotmail dot com). Thanks.

 

  • Natalie

    Once you get that 99th blog, all you have to do is add Andrew Sullivan’s Dish and you’re done.  

  • PurpleAardvaark

    Shoot for 200,000 mile and 10 years. Every new car I have gotten since 1983 has made it at least that long.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Good luck! My car may be at the “sell it for parts” stage by comparison! It started overheating recently and the mechanic suspects a head gasket problem. Another person I know suspects fouling in the radiator. One’s a relatively fixable problem, the other is not.

    Crossing my fingers and hoping I can at least get the car home without an expensive tow.

  • Rebecca

    Leah Libresco of Unequally Yoked, whom you already have on your Bonfire list, is bisexual.

  • http://thegloriousliberty.blogspot.com/ TheGloriousLiberty

    For the Bonfire: http://thegloriousliberty.blogspot.com/ :) Thanks for the lists, I’ve gotten a lot of great reading out of them!

  • SisterCoyote

    H’m. I was thinking about a project to start, given that Ted Nugent has a column, and I just realized it would fit into your *Bonfire. I kinda wanted to spork it, snarky line by line of snark, and probably do other blog-y things too; in light of taking my own inherited Camry 3,000 miles to the west for love and education, life might just be getting interesting enough to write about. I’m not sure, though. Just reading three of his columns, I’m feeling less sarcastic and more weary and irate. We’ll see.

    Also, damn, my reading list has exploded since you started this list, Fred. I guess I can put off rereading the Silm for another two years…

    *And LGBTQ? I think? Is there a term that’s analagous to white-passing? Bi-with-an-opposite-gendered-partner? Straight-passing? Out-to-everyone-but-family?

  • http://www.blogger.com/home?pli=1 Coleslaw

    My Mustang is 13 years old and hasn’t really needed a lot of repairs (although the passenger side window no longer opens and needs to be looked at). It only has about 90,000 miles on it, which has probably helped. My husband wanted me to check Consumer Reports before I bought it, but I politely informed him that I wanted a Mustang convertible and I was getting a Mustang convertible, even if Consumer Reports said it would blow up in our driveway in 6 months (which it didn’t, but it didn’t exactly have the best rating, either).

    Sometimes a car beats the odds, and sometimes not. I hope your little Yaris is still chugging along in another decade.

  • http://www.facebook.com/robtish Rob Tisinai

    Congratumalations!  And I know this wasn’t your intent, but I just tossed $10 in your tip jar. The world needs more full-time bloggers.

  • http://nagamakironin.blogspot.com/ Michael Mock

    Well… I’m neither neither black, nor female, nor QUILTBAG, nor Christian… but I would absolutely adore it if you’d take a look at my Blog o’ Doom.  It’s a random sampling of the things that occupy my mind: zombies, small boys, superheroes, mad science, bits of fiction, thoughts on atheism and family dynamics, eldritch gods, odd bits of history, martial arts, music…

    It’s here: http://nagamakironin.blogspot.com

  • LoneWolf343

    You may not mind paying taxes, but that kind of strikes me as unfair, and probably not the best idea for the economy as a whole.

    But we can’t actually tax the people who have lots of money sitting around because SOSHALIZM!

  • http://beholdconfusion.wordpress.com/ beholdconfusion

    http://closetedradical.wordpress.com/
    The above belongs to a bi/poly friend of mine who is a Quaker theology student.  

  • caryjamesbond

    If I’m going to shamelessly self promote, this seems like the best place to do it

    http://newscum.wordpress.com/2013/02/12/this-mighty-scourge-of-war/

    Some thoughts on the old pro-gun argument of “we need this AR-15 to defend us against the government.”  (Or as its often put “The second amendment protects the first.)

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    You know, it’s strange how these gun-idolaters have so little faith in the democratic process they’re not willing to try it unless it occurs on exactly the terms they want.

    Didn’t they ever learn in school that one of the strengths of the way democracies work is that it attempts to allow for hearing multiple viewpoints and working out paths of action based on discussion and mutual agreement, rather than by the fiat of a leader?

    (Ironically of course they are only too happy to pretend that Dubya Bush effectively prosecuting two wars on his own initiative was jim-dandy so it seems that they are really secret autocrats or autocrat-followers who act like everybody around them has also got to be of that sort of ilk.)

  • Mornacale

    You wanted non-Christian blogs? You got it. In honor of pitchers & catchers reporting, I wanted to mention that if you’re a Phillies fan (which I seem to recall you are) you ought to be reading Crashburn Alley. I’m a Buccos partisan myself, but I know a couple of the writers over there and they’re excellent.

  • Carstonio

    As a Smallville watcher I love the Yaris joke. Apparently product placement was all over the shows on both the WB and CW networks. The stated reason is usually that advertisers are trying to circumvent Tivo, but I associate it with Love Happy’s desperate scrounging for financing decades before.

    (“Hurry Clark! We’ll take my Yaris!”) It didn’t help that we were also always thinking — No, don’t get in the Yaris, dummy, you can fly!

    Well, technically Clark couldn’t fly because of a mental block, but he could run like hell. “No flights, no tights” was originally a fascinating premise, but it eventually grew restrictive and artificial. Fans used to argue over who was more to blame for perpetuating the policy for so long, the producers, Welling or DC. Yes, there’s something silly about Chloe suggesting that they drive, when her friend can pick up cars like beach balls and she knows it.

  • DorothyD

    You may not mind paying taxes, but that kind of strikes me as unfair, and probably not the best idea for the economy as a whole.- LoneWolf343

    I’m guessing that Fred is referring to self-employment tax (SS and Medicare). He’ll have to pay both the employer and employee contributions, which were 13.3% of income for 2012. 

    Yes, there’s something silly about Chloe suggesting that they drive, when her friend can pick up cars like beach balls and she knows it. – Carstonio

    I never watched Smallville, but I assume the usual superhero rules of maintaining a low profile applied? He can’t just pick up Chloe and fly off every time they need to run to the grocery. And flying requires a costume change, which can disrupt the flow of the story, so I can see how they resisted implementing any changes. But still, at some point if your audience is practically chanting “jeez, just fly already, we want to see some flying…”

  • Carstonio

    The premise of Smallville was that Clark hadn’t yet created the Superman identity to use his powers in public. So when his powers first began developing, he used them in secret, staying in the shadows or moving too fast to see with human vision. In later seasons his working clothes included an S, at one point looking like Neo from Matrix, and only toward the end did he realize the need a low-profile civilian identity.

    But still, at some point if your audience is practically chanting “jeez, just fly already, we want to see some flying…”

    Yeah, it was almost the sexist stereotype of the girlfriend whose boyfriend won’t commit. Particularly since the Kryptonian supporting characters could fly.

  • LoneWolf343

     Yeah, he’s paying DOUBLE taxes because he’s working for himself.

  • Jim Roberts

    It would be nice if his fair share was less, but our host has made it clear he does believe he should have to pay that share.

  • SororAyin

    “Still, I don’t mind taxes, I use them to buy civilization.”

    This comment is made of win.

  • http://accidental-historian.typepad.com/ Geds

    We refer to my car here at SWH as “the Yaris” due to an old joke about the clumsy and intrusive product-placement on Smallville.
    Clark Kent’s friend Chloe Sullivan drove one on the show and it seemed
    the producers’ ad contract with Toyota required them to repeatedly
    mention the model name of the car, no matter how awkward or unnatural
    this sounded in conversation. (“Hurry Clark! We’ll take my Yaris!”) It
    didn’t help that we were also always thinking — No, don’t get in the
    Yaris, dummy, you can fly!

    I love the way they do product placement on the USA Network shows, specifically Burn Notice and White Collar, since those are the two I watch.  Hyundai obviously bought product placement on Burn Notice, so Fiona drove a Genesis Coupe and every couple of episodes Michael would narrate the importance of a car just like a Genesis Coupe while attempting to chase baddies/escape from a dragnet/ram through brick walls to surprise drug dealers.  On White Collar we get one point in every episode where Peter uses the Ford SYNC system in some obvious way.

    It always makes me giggle.

    In last week’s episode a major plot point was a car accident that put Peter in the hospital.  For some reason he was driving a Chevy Impala in that scene…

    Also, am I allowed to pimp my very-much-not-religious blog if it’s already on the original blogroll?  Because that seems like a jerk move.

  • LouisDoench

    If you are going to follow a blog called The Dish, might I recommend Keith Law’s blog (http://meadowparty.com) over that other hack?

  • sandman20

    Please consider adding http://wideopenground.com/ to your Bonfire list.  It has gone from “unknown” to “absolutely must check every day for a new post” blog for me since January 1.

  • http://willbikeforchange.wordpress.com/ storiteller

    On the product placement front, Top Chef is definitely one of the worst offenders.  They refer to both their vehicle and the food/prep items far too often, especially because it’s supposed to be a reality show.  There was a very clever Onion video on it the other day: http://www.theonion.com/video/top-chef-contestants-forced-to-prepare-entire-meal,31209/ 

  • LL

    If it makes you feel better, I have the car the Yaris replaced, the Echo. It’s 12 years old and still running good (as far as I can tell). Hopefully, I haven’t just jinxed it. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/jon.maki Jon Maki

    Smallville product placement was always hilariously obtrusive.  I think the worst example – in a lot of ways, actually – was when  Warner Music released a collection of music from the show and called it “The Smallville Mix” or something.

    At one point in the episode (“Featuring music from ‘The Smallville Mix!’”), Pete Ross hands Clark a CD and says something like, “Hey, Clark, I burned that mix for you” and we get a lingering close-up of Pete handing him the CD, which shares a name – handwritten on the CD – with the album Warner is pushing.

    The fact that it was so glaring, yet kind of ran counter to the concept of selling an album, given that they drew attention to the album by showing a character handing out a pirated copy of it, actually made me burst out laughing.

  • Persephone

    Fortunately for you, it’s a Toyota. It’s likely to be a long time indeed before you need your next one. My ’96 Tacoma has lasted longer than every other auto I’d owned previously– combined. It’s outlasted the cumulative effort of one Dodge, one Chevrolet, one Chrysler, and two Fords. If I had known it would be this good, I’d have bought two and packed the other in preservative, to be unsealed upon the demise of this one– should that day ever come.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-McGraw/100001988854074 Patrick McGraw

    The car product placement on Bones and Rizzoli & Isles is also pretty hilarious. There was an episode of Bones with an entire scene dedicated the a car’s robo-parallel-parking feature.

    On Rizzoli & Isles, the writers do their best by having Angela usually be the one to expound on a car’s features, which is pretty in character for her as The Best But Most Embarrassing Mom Ever.

  • DN

    I bought my Yaris in ’08 when my previous car broke down for good because Consumer Reports said it was very unlikely to cost me much money in repairs.  So far, so good.

  • ohiolibrarian

    Another Christian (Catholic) woman’s blog for you: The Scallop.

    I work with her and she’s very nice. She’s working on a book about her transgendered daughter.

  • Carstonio

    At one time in radio, many programs for named for single sponsors, and this carried over into television briefly. Imagine a modern crime drama or reality show having that practice.

  • http://lost_erizo.livejournal.com/ LE

    I’ve had my Yaris for 8 years and it’s running beautifully – I’ve had some body repair due to fender-benders (not my fault, covered by insurance) but the only money I’ve had to put into it is for oil, tires, a new battery, and a radiator sensor (which was probably damaged in the afore mentioned accident).  It’s a great car.

  • ScorpioUndone

    My old blog, at lightupmy.wordpress.com was about my transition from
    male to female. I don’t do much with it anymore since my transition is
    basically done, but there were several articles about how I viewed my
    Christian faith in light of being trans.

    Alas, it doesn’t fit the
    criteria of being an extant blog so probably doesn’t belong on the top 100, but I don’t think that makes it any less accurate a portrayal of what life has been like for me as a Christian and a trans woman.  Of course, I also quit the church around the time I finished up with surgery– too
    much talk of sexual brokenness for me. I didn’t need constant reminders
    of it when I was already feeling less than stellar on a regular basis.  

  • Consumer Unit 5012

     (Ironically of course they are only too happy to pretend that Dubya Bush
    effectively prosecuting two wars on his own initiative was jim-dandy so
    it seems that they are really secret autocrats or autocrat-followers
    who act like everybody around them has also got to be of that sort of
    ilk.)

    Don;’t be ridiculous.

    There was NOTHING ‘secret’ about their desire for autocracy.  Look at how much they wanted Dubya to be anointed God-Emperor of Mankind.

  • http://twitter.com/calimae Cindy

    Another one for your Christian women bloggers list:  http://www.hickoryhillspres.org/blog/

    She’s the pastor at the church I’ve started attending. :)

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    That said, I think the really telling thing is that people like that don’t seem to grasp that the idea of endorsing such rigid power structures with such unquestioning obedience to authority goes against what the concept of a democracy is.

    And they assume that liberals follow just as hierarchical a tendency as they do, which further widens the gap between their perception and what the actual facts are.


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