the 18-55mm is the one that comes with the camera and for a kit lens it's actually pretty versatile. it can go from a wide-angle (as demonstrated above) to a 4x zoom (below, at least i think that's 4x, i don't know how to calculate out the power percentage).
just to show you how much detail is in one of these photos, i've cropped a 720x480 section from a full-size 3456x2304 photo. (it's almost like having a more powerful zoom.)
this morning i had a financial panic attack. it's no secret that my taxes are a mess: the first half of the year i was on unemployment, and then the past few months i've been working like crazy. i finally built a cushion, about 4 mortgage payments so far (with hopefully more to come), but the thing is i haven't been paying taxes on any of my earnings for this past year (2005), and for those of you who know anything about being a self-employed person, the government requires that you pay taxes in quarterly installments instead of just waiting until the end of the year. what happens if you don't do this? well, on top of paying a huge amount of money come tax day, you also get fined. so with the 4th quarter deadline coming next week, i figured i needed to pay the IRS some money otherwise i'd be screwed come april. so i gathered up all my important documents and went down to the H&R office in porter square.
i got there right during lunch time, and the man i was assigned to was just coming back to the office with his sandwich in his hand. i didn't like him at first: i didn't feel like he was taking me seriously, and was sort of rushing things so i'd leave soon and he could eat his lunch. but he turned out to be a really nice guy, and went over my numbers for about an hour. the final figure he arrived at was way less than what i thought i'd be paying in taxes (i thought maybe i owed the government $8000 to $10,000): the thing that saved me was my condo, a large chunk of the mortgage payments i pay go straight to my deductions. we got to talking, and i found out he's a retired italian language teacher and he does this tax gig for 3 months out of the year and then collects unemployment for the rest of the year: a pretty sweet deal and something i want to do when i retire too! the most ironic moment came midway through our chat, when he asked if i had a calculator. i mean, come on, these are accountants, right? and they don't have calculators? he ended up borrowing a calculator from an nearby office, one with big buttons that was apparently slightly broken (he had to press the keys multiple times to get them to work). occasionally this chinese lady would stick her head into the office, complaining about how the printer wasn't working again. we decided that it wasn't worth the effort for me to try to pay the last quarter deadline, but instead i should just file my 2005 taxes by the end of the month since i'm going to be penalized either way. the best thing was he didn't even charge for his time (he forgot to punch in on his computer, and by the time we finished, he had already ate his lunch) and i left feeling pretty good about my situation.
my family came over for dinner tonight, my mother made some sort of shrimp linguine. my parents left their car here (i'm going to borrow it for tomorrow) and got a ride back home with my sister, who unfortunately got a ticket for parking without a permit in a residential zone (i had the permit, just didn't give it to her, and didn't think the meter folks would be checking this late in the evening; regardless, i volunteered to pay the fine).
finally, the weekend! saturday looks to be my only free day; sunday it's back to work, juggling between 2 more projects. if the patriots can win it in denver tomorrow night, i'll be happy the rest of the weekend.