I’m not THE Taxman, I’m A taxman

There’s a hilarious episode of Corner Gas featuring the great Kevin MacDonald as Marvin Drey, a tax auditor who comes looking for Oscar. The exchanges between him and Brent are priceless:

Marvin Drey the Taxman: Is your father coming in today?
Brent LeRoy: Is he in some kind of trouble?
Marvin Drey the Taxman: Trouble? What makes you think he’s in trouble?
Brent LeRoy: What if I told you he was out of town?
Marvin Drey the Taxman: Is he out of town?
Brent LeRoy: What if he was?
Marvin Drey the Taxman: Do you know where he is or not?
Brent LeRoy: What’s your favourite colour?
Marvin Drey the Taxman: Excuse me?
Brent LeRoy: I was just seeing how long we could answer questions with questions. That was fun, wasn’t it?

Poor Kevin is stuck with the feeling that he’s some kind of boogeyman because everybody keeps calling him “The Taxman”, as if he’s taking their money for himself. I wish that episode had been on last night to bring a little humor after fighting with some last minute tax issues. Yes, I was totally serious with that tweet – I pressed submit at approximately 11:57 PM. Everybody looked at me funny that I hadn’t done mine already, but then I remind them that there was that whole game show thing and I actually owed money this year. Why the hell would I want to send them anymore than I had to any sooner than I had to?

Of course I could have actually finished them before submitting but… hello, have we met?

At least this year’s return provided some amusement. Remember how I had that pseudo-audit? The one in which they ended up owing me even more money? Yeah. I had to pay taxes. On the interest they paid me. On the refund they paid me. For the overpayment of taxes I made. And if I later find a mistake, and they actually owe me another refund for this year, next year I’ll be paying taxes on interest on a refund for taxes on interest on a refund for taxes. Part of me wanted to leave something off to be corrected next year so I could keep this going ad infinitum.

P.S. This entry is courtesy of William Shatner’s rendition of “Spleen/Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”. I think I have to play that once a day now…

Gratitude does not even begin to cover it…

This weekend we had another bout of realization at just how freakin’ lucky we are. A big part of that has to do with, obviously, my game show winnings. We’ve been watching episodes of Millionaire regularly since I was on (largely to see what happened with the only contestant who went after me) and it’s almost making me nervous again. Last week, 2 people didn’t even make it to $1000 (along with another one from a few weeks back) and lots of people dropped down to $1000. In the few dozen episodes since I’ve been on, I don’t remember seeing anyone make it to my level.

I’m not bragging here, because it’s not all about knowledge. There was a lot of luck involved to get me to that level. And now we are truly realizing just how much that money means to us as bills get paid, home improvements are purchased, and interest is earned. This is not a situation I’m used to. But in the first month of this year, we’ve already begun to make dramatic changes to our life that will really help when the biggest dramatic change happens this July.

Over the next few weeks I’ll be talking about what we’ve been doing with the house and what we will be doing with the house. I’ll also be commenting on some of the other changes we’ve been able to afford. The purpose of doing so is to give people ideas who are looking at similar situations – not to brag about the fact that I won a lot of money. And that’s why, before I start blabbering about new stoves and closets, I just want to stress how ridiculously thankful we are right now.

Honestly, I still can’t fathom that it actually happened or that we even deserved it to happen – but I am eternally grateful that it did.

My fifteen minutes continues

What can I say about fame? It’s fleeting – but at least I can milk it for a few more entries.

– I was interviewed by my local paper Sunday night. Much to my surprise, I opened their webpage last night to find my goofy grin smeared across the front. Since most of you probably don’t subscribe to the West Orange Chronicle, you can read the article here. Thanks Debbie. Phone interviews are tough, but you did a great job with the article.

Meagan (one of my fellow contestants) did a big write-up of what it was like behind the scenes on her blog. I really wanted to do this, too, but I think it might be overload at this point. If anyone is interested, let me know. Otherwise this will probably be it for me.

– Humorously, while googling myself for fun… yeah, that’s never not going to sound dirty… I already found references to the show on the first page. There’s Game Show Newsnet’s Shortshots for the 12th – I’m not sure that they archive it, but the summary of my show is at the bottom. Then there’s Game Show Kingdom’s take on it, too. I also made it on that blog’s list of big winners for the week.

– I’ve topped my previous record for contact with a long lost friend, as an acquaintance from junior high (we didn’t hang out in high school that much) sent me a message on Facebook after seeing me on TV. I’ve been most curious about the possibility that people I haven’t spoken with in well over a decade seeing the show and recognizing me – and this makes one confirmed hit!

– I’ve also been wondering if people might recognize me around town – especially considering my picture is in the paper. But that’s pretty doubtful considering I’m in full-blown winter-mode: 3-4 extra inches of hair and a beard.

Quick thoughts on my fifteen minutes

– Holy crap, is it over already? After the months of waiting and not telling people what happened suddenly, BAM! That’s that. Sure, there’s still the actual money to look forward to, but the show itself just went so fast.

– I looked pretty decent on TV. Until I smiled. I seriously hate my smile. It looks like I went to a blind dentist with a set of busted power tools as a kid.

– Could I have giggled a tad more like a little school girl?

– My mouth was DRY. That seems like a pretty good excuse for why I kept making those weird faces. That’s what I’m sticking with…

– Meredith and I shared some nice moments – alas, I’m already spoken for…

– My best joke was cut out. I was surprised because everybody laughed pretty well at it, and it was a good closer.

– Overall the editing definitely helped me come off as far more cool, calm and collected than I was – even if they trimmed my awesome reasoning that netted me my final question. I did zoom through the early questions rather fast, but not with the ease that it appeared.

– I’ve watched it twice now, and it’s still a tad unreal.

There’s more to come, as I really need to do a breakdown of every question. Thank you to everybody who watched and cheered me on.

T-minus one hour…

Wow. It’s finally going to be on TV. And here I am without a TV. Turns out the cable TV to my company was never really tested. Surprise! It doesn’t work. So now I’m trying to stream it from home. Only that keeps stopping. ARGH! At least I can watch it when I get home, but I wanted to watch it “live”.

At least the stress is killing my nerves…

UPDATE: Thanks to the magic of UltraVNC, VLC, and Hauppage I am now streaming ABC to my company’s conference room. Who needs cable?

The day, it has come…

Coming to a TV set near you: ME!

Turns out, my episode of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire will be airing next week. That’s right, you too can find out whether or not I make a complete fool of myself by tuning into ABC at 12:30 PM on Wednesday, December 12th (well, that’s if you’re in this area – otherwise you’ve got to check the listings yourself).

I know there was mention of a party, but I don’t think we can pull it off this month. So we’ll probably look at a celebration after the holidays – maybe when the money comes in we can take turns rolling in a pile of singles or something. If anyone wants to swing by that night to watch it with us, drop us a line – or e-mail or whatever. Or just show up – we’re not picky.

Also of interest are the shows leading up to mine. Starting around this upcoming Wednesday will be episodes that we saw being taped, including people I hung out with all day in the “Green Room”. And since The Woman was stuck in the audience all day long, she’ll probably make a blurry appearance in the background on most of them. Can you feel the excitement?!?!

That’s all folks!

Yes, yesterday was the big day. No, I can’t tell you anything. Alright, I can tell you guys some things. Like the fact that actually sitting in the “hit seat” is unlike an experience I’ve ever had or, most likely, will ever have. I can also tell you that the whole thing felt so fast in the end considering how long the anticipation dragged on. I can definitely tell you that Meredith Vieira is awesome – she is incredibly sweet and comforting when you really need it. And I” admit that having complete strangers with no stake in your performance cheer for you is damn cool.

As much as my stomach has been absolutely abysmal for the last month thanks to stress and I’ve been looking forward to getting back to my real life, I am a little sad that it’s over. You really build some camaraderie with the other contestants and the crew members. I’m kicking myself for not exchanging e-mails with anyone. Hey Dave, Julia, Megan, John and everybody else, if you somehow stumble upon this entry, feel free to drop me a line!

Anywho, I’m cutting this short before I accidentally reveal something I shouldn’t. All of that will come in due time (well, more like the middle of January). I’m actually even disabling comments on this entry so as not to tempt any of you. It’s time to return to normalcy…